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Posts Tagged ‘economy

“Isn’t the Right to Work a Civil Right?”

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Lutz Brockmann is the first mayor who the union speaker can remember who managed to appear on each and every May Day rally in Verden to date. “Only you have managed that, Lutz.”

Good to know that our mayor got something done in his six first years in office.

Verden's mayor Lutz Brockmann greets the masses

Verden's mayor Lutz Brockmann greets the masses

Apart from Mr Brockmann himself who is a member of the social democrats (SPD), neither the SPD nor the “Left Party” had information booths at the rally. The (market)-liberal democrats (FDP) were obviously missing, too, and so were the conservative christian democrats (CDU). The Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall) had a booth there, and so had the Green Party.

At least one employer was there, too, but stayed on the sidelines. The union speaker didn’t invite him for a beer.

The rally was organized by the German Federation of Unions, the DGB. And it was a smart decision to let a green politician talk. Brigitte Pothmer is a member of the German federal parliament (Bundestag), and she was the one who could actually deliver something that deserves to be called a speech. She even had the nerves to tell her audience that Greece needed financial help, and that it would get financial help: “The longer it take, the more costly it will be.”

That said, just like everyone else, she kept talking about the rights of young people to be trained in the companies after finishing schools, about the right to earn good money for ones good work, the right to this, the right to that. No word about the need to do a good piece of work before getting paid, and no word about the duties to learn reading, writing, and to acquire a basic numeracy before being unleashed on innocent industrial units.

“Isn’t the right to work a civil right? Aren’t decent wages a civil right?”

Obvious answer: to prepare oneself for a good working life is a civil duty. To get the means to make it happen is a civil right. To dumb oneself down is not.

There was a lot of talk about the youngsters and their rights. Their right to oversleep wasn’t mentioned, but it was manifest yesterday morning. You saw many greyheads there on the rally, and I remember no0ne who might have been younger than thirty.

And that, even though they only started at eleven a.m., rather than at 10 a.m. as tradition would demand.

It would have been an even smaller congregation of early Christians if they hadn’t been joined by unionists from the neighbouring town of Achim, who organized a bicycle tour to Verden. Achim itself hasn’t seen a May Day rally this year.

Anyway, Mrs Pothmer made an entertaining talk. And the trade unionist, as usual, managed to produce at least one phrase which made no sense at all. Something like “more work for more money”.

Weather was nice, same as last year. It only started raining in the afternoon. And the Bratwurst was even better than last year.

Another Friday Night in Verden

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Cave people

Cave Peoples' nightlife (picture: JR)

A number of nightlife fans aged between sixteen and twenty had a big fight in the Sandberg street, in the vicinity of a discotheque, on Friday night or Saturday morning. Then they let loose on the arriving police (usually one or two patrollers only) who defended themselves with pepper spray. A twenty-year old was chased and arrested after throwing a cobblestone. The sixteen-year olds were handed over to their lucky parents.

If education worked, the police would have had a calm night, and the idiots would have a future. And if idiots had a bit of memory, they might have been prepared for police who is somewhat chippy these days anyway, and in no mood to take chances.

Knockout Drops

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My vacation started today, and it is Friday. So off I went to my favourite pharmacy to by some knockout drops. The following is the dialog I had with Ms Richardson, the fourty-something year-old owner of the my favourite pharmacy.

Me: Good morning!
She: Good morning, Mr Taide! And what a beautiful morning it is, isn’t it? Your vacation started today, right?
Me: That’s right! And to celebrate the advent of this beautiful season, I’ve decided to go to the Dropstone discotheque tonight.
She: Oh, the Spring-Feelings-Make-My-Heart-Big-Bang Party?
Me: That’s right. I’m in the mood for an extramarital one-night stand.
She: Enjoy!
Me: That’s why I’m here.
She (whispers, tongue-in-cheek): You don’t need viagra yet, Mr Taide, do you?
Me (hating it when middle-aged pharmacists try to be tongue-in-cheek): Naah, not at all! I’m as powerful as a bull in its prime. But I’d like to buy some knockout drops.

Everyone in the sales room is now staring at us.

She (neither whispering nor tongue-in-cheek any more): Are you MAD?!
Me: Oh, uhm, no. Why should I be mad? Because I’m going to the Dropstone?
She: Because you are an outrageous, filthy, rapist, criminal BASTARD!!!
Me (now slightly annoyed): You are jumping to conclusions. I’m not going to drug anyone but myself.
She (confused): Yourself? But why?
Me: It helps me to deal with the situation. I’m too cheap to pay for sex. On the other hand, I reckon that sex with Dropstone acquaintances is going to be relaxing, but ugly. I’d prefer to awake with a mind-lapse next morning. Besides, if she claims that she didn’t want to have sex with me, I can counter-claim that I didn’t want to have sex with her.
She: We don’t sell knockout drops.
Me: Why didn’t you tell me at once? Could have saved both of us a lot of time. See you.

____________

In the News today

More and more women become victims of sex-related crimes involving so-called knockout drops. The federal pharmacists association demands measures to fight this crime. “This subject must get into public focus, and the international criminal dealing business with pharmaceuticals must be controlled more tightly and be punished more severely,” the association’s president Erika Fink said yesterday.

Brutal Poachers in Baden

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No, not in Baden-Baden, where the pretty people play. It’s Baden, Verden district, where they prefer a nice game of soccer instead. If they don’t go for a completely different kind of game.

brutal poachers

brutal poachers

Like those BRUTAL POACHERS (German: brutale Wilderer) who have caught several deer in wire loops during the past few days, in the marshlands around Baden. Kreisjägermeister Hilmar Kruse and the police are waiting for tips from the neighbourhood, says our district’s weekly Aller-Report.

One might argue that there is an overpopulation of deer in our district – but if anyone is going to kill an animal here, it needs to be someone officially entrusted with the bloody job.

That said, I can understand the concerns about the wire loops brutality. But in that case, the Kreisjägermeister should make good, fire-noise-oppressed UZI available to all poachers (firenoiseoppressed, to keep the poachers’ business sufficiently secret).

But only one shot at a time please. Too many hits spoil the broth.

Wöltingerode/Vienenburg: a Humble Venue for a Humbly-abled Government

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Lower Saxony’s prime minister, Christian Wulff, seems to have a soft spot for Cistercian monasteries. He had his son baptised in Loccum, and this month, he took his cabinet to the monastery of Wöltingerode, in Vienenburg, the Harz mountains.

Wulff has been Lower Saxony’s prime minister since March 4, 2003. He is the member of a conservative party, the Christian Democrats. They are traditionally credited with knowing how to handle budgets. Ora et labora, the old rule of monastic order, was still true in our times, the prime minister told his ministers at the outset of the venue there in Vienenburg.

Some will become aware here how dramatic the situation is, the Nordwestzeitung quoted a government official. The Wulff government plans to slash some 1,500 jobs in the public service, and another 4.6 billion Euros of debt for the federal state. And public officers, whose jobs are basically safe, will need to get prepared for a retirement age of 67. And the state will need fewer teachers, Wulff suggests: the number of students would drop by almost 25 per cent. In short: after seven years of a party in government that knows how to handle money, we are bankrupt.

That would be reason to condemn Mr Wulff’s and his government’s performance. As long as they were in the opposition, a “Lower Saxonian public debt clock” was showing the latest digits in the Christian Democrat’s parliamentary group’s conference room. (I suppose they have either removed it, or have become blind to it.)

Another problem is that it’s impossible to see a policy in what Wulff and his ministers are now doing. Education is one of the few core jurisdictions of a German federal state (i.e. a member state of the German Federal Republic). So far I have only heard that there will be blood, sweat, and tears. But where is the enemy that needs to be overcome? And where is the glory that awaits us after victory? What, besides saving money, does this government want to achieve?

The federal state government’s communication skills either suck, or their jobs have been slashed long ago.

Palestinian Leaders: Live with us in ONE State (and be very afraid)

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A government, or an elected authority, must act in the best interest of its people. It wouldn’t be easy to argue that Fatah always had the Palestinians’ best interests in mind in the past – or that the leaders will take their peoples’ interests into account in the future. But the Palestinian Authority might be in the process of finding a very effective position in the stalled peace process with Israel.

When Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office on March 31 this year, the Obama administration called on his government to halt all settlement building. But when confronted with Netanyahu’s blank refusal, Washington changed its stance and suggested that the most important thing was to get the negotiations going again. The BBC’s Jerusalem correspondent’s interpretation was that “on the issue of settlements, the Obama administration blinked first”.

Up to now, it seemed that lodging protests was the only option the Palestinian Authority had, apart from calling yet another Intifada, which would do nothing to make life in the West Bank any easier. Instead, PA president Mahmoud Abbas may simply not run for re-election in January.

To some extent, this may just be a face-saving operation, because it is hard to see how there could be valid elections in the West Bank and in Gaza anyway, if Hamas simply refuses to take part in them. And Abbas’ decision may not yet be final.

But there is a bigger picture behind Abbas’ reluctance to run again. In response to statements made by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday, in which she rejected the Palestinians’ demand for a full cessation of settlement construction as a precondition for the resumption of peace talks with Israel, both Abbas and PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat suggested that Fatah could abandon the idea of a two-state solution, and a one-state solution could become an alternative. After all, with as many Israeli settlements as there were in the West Bank now, a Palestinian state wouldn’t be viable.

This could turn out to be the smartest approach Palestinian leaders have taken in six decades. Let’s live together in one state, Mr Netanyahu, and we’ll outnumber and outvote your people before you can spell roadmap.

Then again, Fatah isn’t exactly the African National Congress. The ANC, in principle anyway, respected the human rights of all South Africans, whites included, and people, no matter to which ethnic group in South Africa they belonged, were never as broadly and deliberately targeted and killed, as Jewish people were in sucicide attacks before the building of the “security fence”.

If Fatah manages to make a one-state-solution plausible to a global public, and to paint Israel’s government as some kind of Apartheid regime, things could become very uncomfortable for Mr Netanyahu and his government. But that would require that the Palestinians respect the human rights of Jewish people, just as they demand respect for their own human rights. Every suicide attack would mute the effects of Palestinian propaganda.

And so far, too many Palestinians still argue that injustices are done to them  Muslims, i.e. as members of the global Ummah, rather than stating the violation of Palestinian individuals’ rights: children, women, and men – no matter if they are Muslims, Christians, “Infidels”, or whatever.

The Muslim-solidarity appeals may earn them sympathies – and some support – from Morocco to Indonesia, but not in North or South America, in Europe, or in East Asia.

Anyhow, the Palestinian leadership would have reasons to drop the two-state solution. If  Washington can’t even persuade the Israeli government to freeze the settlements for the duration of peace talks, there is little chance that America can play the role of an honest broker in the actual negotiations. And in the absence of negotiations, the demographic factor might be working for the Palestinians.

That would be a lousy perspective for the individual Palestinians. But so would be “peace negotiations” without effective mediation.

Written by taide

November 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Vrouw Antje comes to Aleppo

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When people talk about Historische Alepposeife, they mean HISTORICAL Aleppo soap, which means that it is very old and traditional.

But now that Vrouw Antje has arrived in Aleppo…

Vrouw Antje comes to Aleppo

Vrouw Antje comes to Aleppo

things are becoming messy… 

Vrouw Antje: You can look, but you better not touch

Vrouw Antje: You can look, but you better not touch

And when I say messy, I mean REAL messy:

Something's rotten in the souq

Something's rotten in the souq

Actually, even worse…

Aleppo soap spacecakes

Aleppo spacecakes

It’s THAT messy now!

So mind the Dutch, next time you come to Aleppo. Recent excavations suggest that Antje’s been here for a long time:

Aleppo Ancient Boobmonsta Excavation Site

Aleppo Ancient Boobmonsta Excavation Site

And when I say for a long time, I mean for a REAL long time!

Related:
(Not) the Queen Diana of the Orient, September 12, 2009
En nu… zit Jesper zelf op de Trekker, June 13, 2008