Aerar

A commonplace of german politics

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It could always get worse

30 April, 2010 (13:32) | religion | By: Aerar

(German version published on 23 February, 2010)

Probably it was a try to apologize. This was never one of the strengthes of the catholic church. But now it is about to become grotesque: “Es gibt für Kinder gefährlichere Orte als die katholische Kirche.” (German) (my translation: “There are more dangerous places for children than the catholic church”), said the leader of the German Conference of Catholic Bishops Robert Zollitsch. Surely, motorways for example. Or child traders.

Within the families the risk that children or youth would become victims of sexual abuse were 36times higher than in contact with a catholic priest. An unbelievable ratio. Millions of families where the kids spend the most of their daytime just manage to be 36times more dangerous than some thousand catholic priest in temporarily contact. Sounds as if they don’t want to deny and cover anymore – no, they are now proud of their archievement. Parents protect your children. Ursula, where are the Stop signs at the doors of the churches?

FDP leader Westerwelle in favour of minimum wages

29 April, 2010 (11:54) | particulars, political trade | By: Aerar

(German version published on 13 February, 2010)

“Man muss in Deutschland sagen dürfen, dass derjenige, der arbeitet, mehr haben muss als derjenige, der nicht arbeitet.” (My translation: “It have to possible in Germany to say that those who work need to earn more than those who do not work”)

said Westerwelle at a greeting of graduates of foreign German schools (in the Tagesthemen-video at 6:22 minuten (German)).

In addition he demanded indirectly from himself and his party to excuse themselves for all the dispraising of motivated citizens who got into a difficulties due to the current economic situation and criticized the former practise of supporting heirs and other clients who until now got tax privileges without noticable personal accomplishment (from 7:44):

“Ich finde diejenigen, die die Leistungsbereitschaft der Bürgerinnen und Bürger so mit Füßen treten, die sollten sich entschuldigen.” (my translation:”I think those who tread on the toes of the motivated citizens should apologize.”)

Still about 1360 days

28 April, 2010 (20:02) | particulars, parties, political trade | By: Aerar

(German version published on 4 February, 2010)

At 27 Oktober 2009 the 17th period of the German Bundestag began lead by the parties of CDU/CSU and FDP under Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is usual to evalutate the government’s work after the first 100 days have passed. This time should be enough for the partners of the coalition to get into their work.

The aftermath of the work of the previous government of course still effects the current government’s work. So it became a usual procedure that all positive news (especially such from long term political fields as the labour market or the government deficit) are welcomed by the current government as a proof of their successful work, while negative news of course are the result of the antecessors bad work – the latter of course only if the it was not participating in it.

So real results could not really be expected after 100 days already. But the government should be able to state their position and to provide a vision of the politics to be expected in the future. In addition the government should have established a practicable workflow. So on the other hand the 100-day-evaluation is a good tradition. Something like midterm grades which differently from end grades could be used to strenghten or correct the current way.

Searching for other 100-days-evaluations I found that there hardly were any. The editorial offices of the portals of the big papers like SPON (German), der FAZ (German) or the taz (German) probably have to write something about that theme. Within the Blogosphere (German) there are only few authors who think this milestone considerable.

And in fact there is not too much to talk about. The disastrous bilance of the government has been noted and been widely discussed during the last weeks and months. It seems as if CDU, CSU and FDP do not match as good personally and programmatically as they themselves and especially the electors would have expected. Despite that the government did as a start discussed to begin a shadow budget. And especially the FDP has severe problems to save at least some of their promises made during the campaign to real politics.

But as well the single politicians did not perform too well. Ursula von der Leyen renamed child pornography (German) to protection of young people (German), but until now failed to find a proper new name for Hartz IV (German). Angela Merkel at least managed once to put down her foot (German). Unfortunally at a theme where really was some need for discussion about data protection, tax honesty or tax law in general. At least one managed to recognize his failure and probably offered his demission (German).

All in all the evaluation leaves the picture of an incapable government (partly by own fault, partly driven by the tense economic situation), incapable of action and without visions. A government making technical mistakes, which is at odds with itself and of which in best case could be expected to save the status quo. The opposition on the other hand limits its actions to cure its own wounds and to watch the governments failures with joy (and probably with some shudder) and to evaluate the probabilities of a red-red-green government.

Too good to be bribed

13 April, 2010 (14:12) | economy, parties, political trade | By: Aerar

(German version published on 21 January, 2010)

Somehow I consider my proposal to regulate donations to parties is getting more important. The taz writes in its online version:

“Die Förderung der erneuerbaren Energien ist ein gesellschaftlich notwendiges, sinnvolles und richtiges Ziel”, sagt die Bundesgeschäftsführerin der Grünen zu den Vorwürfen, auch ihre Partei schrecke vor der Annahme von Spenden nicht zurück, die im Zusammenhang mit politischen Entscheidungen stünden. (my translation: “The promotion of renewable energies is a necessary, useful and right aim” said the secretary of the green party against the blames, her party does not deny to accept donations which are connected with political decisions” (German)

Now I even believe to a certain degree that the green party would promote the development of alternative energies even without donations from the solar and wind industry. But it is the question whether this donations were a support of an independent work or an encouragement to go some steps further?

Well, of course this is not a question as the green party obviously has enough wisdom to decide what is necessary, useful and right. And of course therefore stands above moral, modesty and bribery suspicions. Why didn’t they say this before the elections as then I maybe would have voted for them. At least I had found the party which simply is doing everything right. But I can vote for them from now on – at least until we can vote for companies directly at last.

Addition (23.01.2010):

Maybe the FDP did not only had in arrangement with the hotel industry (German) This time they did it correctly. So again to get it noted down for all the other parties: hotels = evil, solar energy = good.

Bought, donated or funded?

12 April, 2010 (11:53) | parties, political trade, proposals | By: Aerar

(German version published on 20 January, 2010)

In the end that is the question in the discussion about the donation of a hotel owner to the FDP (German).

The suspicion of purchasability is weighting heavily as it is destroying democracy. And it is a problem for everyone involved and for the tax payer as well that such suspicions are hard to be proved or to be confuted.

A donation on the one side is not connected with any preconditions but on the other hand it causes at least a moral obligation to thankfulness at the reciever. And the gratitude of a governing party is not that bad at all.

Funding is used here more in the sense of: “giving something to someone else without letting the reciever know who the donator was”. So my proposal is to allow in future only that kind of “funding”:

Proposal:

Money or comparable donations to political parties to support their work are only allowed anonymously.

Companies or people are still allowed to support the work of their favourite political parties. But as long as the donor is unknown, he is less likely to recieve a return for this.

In practice some extra rules (such as the need of round values to be donated) might be necessary which deny a secret marking of donations. Another effective step would be this additional proposal.

Additional proposal:

All donations to political parties have to be paid to an independent assembly account. From there the money will be handed over in whole (and so made anonymous) to the parties.

I think it could be that easy. Or not?

You have two votes

9 April, 2010 (16:32) | elections, proposals | By: Aerar

(German version published on 13 January, 2010)

Das Wahlrecht zum Deutschen Bundestag muss laut Bundesverfassungsgericht geändert werden. (my translation: The electoral law for the German Bundestag needs to be changed as the Federal Constitutional Court said” (German)“, states the blog “rot steht uns gut” and already makes a proposal how that could be done. The problems that might occur are named by the author himself and therefore he makes an alternative proposal (German), which in my opinion is not good either and which is impracticable. But it is good to formulate thoughts at all.

I once have made some simply thoughts myself about the importance of the first vote and asked myself what the voters are voting for.
I think voters vote for points of view. This might be distinct points such as plans to lower taxes or simply directions which indicate how the voter will be represented in new currently not concretely stated questions. In addition often the intention of a decision in a concrete question is important.

In my opinion it is the current state that party reason is leading the decisions of the single delegates. This could be called for by the party directly or indirectly. So for me it is a basic question whether the delegates or the parties make the decisions. I consider in fact it are the parties.

Splitting the vote into a first vote and a second vote is a split into the election of persons and of parties. So the question is whether to accept the status quo (“the parties decide”) or to strenghten the position of the delegates. Because of the confusion the split arouses among many electors I would prefer the removal of one of the two kinds of votes.

Above that I think the first vote is badly implemented as the voting for local delegates often is dissatisfactory (”But then I would like to have the choice between all german politicians and not alone those who by chance happen to live in my district.“). How that could be reflected on the ballot papers will stay an open question. If these should not become metres long a solution might be a code number on a (long) list which could be written onto the short ballot.

Always I am no friend of faction constraint and therefore would prefer to elect politicians directly. But in the praxis I consider this to be dangerous, as it is already difficult to know the positions of the parties. Knowing the exact convictions of each politician is nearly impossible. But that would undermine one of the basic principles of election, which is that the voter makes an intentional decision.

So my proposal is:

The first vote will be disposed. The parties publish their lists beforehand and those lists also are hung out in the polling stations. The voters only vote for parties. All delegates will be elected by the party lists published by the parties. The rights of the delegates and their duty for the people remain.

This proposal in my opinion has as the drawback that it additinally weakens the power of the delegates compared to their parties. But this could be compensated at other places (e.g. by having more (secret!) ballots). The election process gets easier by this mode and those cases where voters accidentally put their vote wrongly will be reduced.

Stockmarket madness

4 April, 2010 (13:27) | economy, media | By: Aerar

(German version published on 11 January, 2010)

Now this really has shocked me for a second:

Die Dynamik der chinesischen Wirtschaft hat viele Experten überrascht und für Optimismus an den Börsen gesorgt. Der deutsche Leitindex Dax markierte zeitweise sogar den höchsten Stand seit September 2004. Auch der Ölpreis legte kräftig zu. (German) (my translation: “The dynamic of the Chinese economy has surprised many market experts and lead to optimism at the markets. The German main index DAX temporarily even reached the highest level since September 2004. As well the oil prices raised strongly.

The crisis blown away from one day to another? And to what astromical heights the oil prices may have shot? But in the end it what just a typo in the title as the article itself says: “Sein Tageshoch lag bei 6094 Zählern. Das war der höchste Stand seit September 2008.” (my translation:”Its days’s height was at 6094 points. This was the highest level since September 2008.”) What a relieve at least for today.

Burning questions

3 April, 2010 (13:41) | economy, homeland security | By: Aerar

(German version published on 8 January, 2010)

Arson attacks on cars (link no longer found) especially in Berlin and Hamburg are not just a new fun sport of the autonomous scene but have a background as a fight against gentrification (German) in this towns. Therefore most of the attacks take place in quarters which are affected by this problem.

The basic problem is that different ways of live clash there which do not match and what leads to conflicts. Obviously some supporters of one side by igniting cars decided to use measures which are not acceptable. In addition other people get between between the fronts in this conflict as a collateral damage.

Despite of this open violence it should not be forgotten that the other side is using violence too. Even if it uses legal measures. It uses its economic force to expel long-time residents from their living space. This is based on the principles of free market economy and is principially fine for me. The free market economy sets an incentive for effort and is thereful useful for the whole society. In ideal case it allows to decide how much of live time one wants to spend on material quality of life. But as long as those benefits are distributed unfair and certain jobs are paid highly different this system is not plausible.

I would understand if a hard working nurse (I know it’s a stereotype), running double shifts for years would take the money she earned by this way and takes over my flat because she is willing and capable to pay my landlord more than I do. If a investment banker would try the same I have much more problems to see any legitimation for him.

Germans are in favour of body scanners

2 April, 2010 (17:01) | homeland security | By: Aerar

(German version published on 6 January, 2010)

According to a poll by Forsa Germans are in favour of the usage of body scanners at airports. More than 60% think the new control measure would be helpful. (German)

This was just reported at Focus online. My god, sometimes I am ashamed of my fellow countrymen therefor I prefer to citate an American instead
So ist es bei Focus online zu lesen. Meine Güte, ich schäme mich manchmal für meine Landsleute. Darum zitiere ich lieber einen Amerikaner:

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

(Benjamin Franklin)

Terror works for sure

30 March, 2010 (14:33) | homeland security | By: Aerar

(German version published on 31 December, 2009)

I still believe that the main impact of (attempted) terror strikes is the panic reaction of the western world which punishes itself with self selected cuts of freedom, isolation due to hatred of foreigners and waste of money and quality of live. Even the possibly most powerful man in the world (German) can’t stop to follow this “logic” anymore.

It is willingly neglected that such measures are ineffective (German), as on the one hand there will never be complete security and on the other hand there are so many “soft targets” (e.g. high speed trains) still available. It does not need much cleverness to kill some hundreds of people if only one is having enough contempt of human life and is willing to sacrify his own life.

So I consider all measures above a certain level of minimum security to be completely mislead as they only fight the symptoms without bothering much about the cause. And even with an intense dealing with the cause there will always be some radicals left. So I tend to accept those remaining terror strikes such as it is done with natural disasters. That politics is basically ready to sacrify human lives for reasons of costs was impressingly demonstrated at the last climate summit. The aims of terror fighting as it is promoted these days are not honourable in my opinion but driven by seeking for power, control and survaillance.

Btw: The inducement for this article was this graphic. I can not prove whether the numbers named there are correct but they are about the level I would have estimated myself.