So. I’ve been called a „Putin apologist“ lately, by certain people in here. You know who you are, I will not mention any names.
Let’s get some things clear here about my views on Putin and „the West“. Just as a short PSA, so that you at least can bash me for what I really think mmmmkay?
„Putin is an autocrat / dictator / (insert your preferred label here)!!!“
Yes he certainly isn’t a leader who supports democracy and human rights to their fullest. Not at all. I have not denied that, and I do not deny that now either. However… is that any different in „the West“? Oh yes, the repression system isn’t as drastic and in-your-face here – generally – as it is in Russia. But look your own mirror image in the eye and try to honestly tell yourself that it’s any different in our respective countries, if you really have plans that would change the system. We’re not in danger of falling victim to a Strange Accident™ normally, but when was the last time you have seen anyone promoting real change not getting fought tooth and nail by the ruling system, across all official party divides, including all the major media? Sure, normally such parties/candidates are just not talked about by the journaille, or if they are, then they are badmouthed as much as possible. But is that any different in outcome? We’re allowed to disagree on minor issues, but never on the core issues, namely the rule of the 1 %.
Also, totalitarian or not, he is an officially elected leader. If we’re not happy with that, that’s our right. But if we want to change that, does anyone think that saber-rattling will do the job? Ever checked how much public support Putin enjoys from the Russian people? You let the tanks and bombers roll into position, you only reinforce the impression that the average Russian has of The West.
„Putin annexed Crimea!“
Annexion, last I checked, was defined as violent takeover of a region that does not agree to you marching in.
Crimea had declared itself independent of Ukraine and invited Russia. We can certainly argue whether that declaration of independence was or was not engineered by Russia, but that’s a different question. Calling the Crimea thing an annexion is, flatly, a lie.
Oh right, why would anyone want to leave Ukraine after what happened a few years ago? Well even western media with their obvious bias didn’t stay silent about the new regime having recruited far-right groups to support itself very fast.
When was the last time you agreed with anyone calling bona fide nazis a group of good people?
This here has become infamous over here, a screenshot from our state-owned "quality" TV. It shows one member of what the TV station called "Ukrainian freedom fighters against the Russian threat". You may notice a certain thing in that image. When called on it, the TV station said "sorry our fault"... then promptly did it again. Several times.
Besides, that the West started meddling in Ukraine at all leads to the following point.
„Putin is a dangerous aggressor!!!“
How many countries did Russia conquer and/or wreck since Putin got into office?
Let’s look at the West during the same time mmmkay? Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria… these are just the ones that occur to me spontaneously. Yeah some of you will now mention Russia’s involvement in Syria. Folks, Assad officially invited Russian forces to his country. According to international law that makes the Russian forces the only foreign military that’s allowed to be there. We can certainly argue whether or not Assad is a good leader or not, but see above, he also is an officially elected leader. If we want to work to change that, fine, but we’ll have to do it in accordance with international law. Hint: Sponsoring rebel groups or bombing anyone or anything in that country is not in accordance with the law.
Two wrongs do not make a right.
For most of the world, yes there is a global superpower throwing its weight around and acting like it’s allowed to do anything according to „might makes right“. I point you again to the list of aggressive acts I provided above. Doesn’t look like that’s Russia does it?
„Putin was boss of the KGB! Of course he’s an evil asshole!!!“
He was KGB officer from 1975 to 1982. After Glasnost became a thing under Gorbachev he had a nice number of other functions, being a bona fide mayor for example. He only returned to intelligence work, kind of, as boss of Russia’s internal intelligence (the FSB) from July 1998 to August 1999. For those who don’t want to bother looking it up, that was under Yeltsin, with whom the West was always a-ok. Funny how no one ever even mentions all the other points Putin has been at during his career. That is, funny unless you look at propaganda values.
„Putin’s a threat!!!“
Ever looked at Russia’s current military spending? Or do you remember the far-beyond-desolate state the Russian army found itself in after the collapse of the Soviet regime?
Did you know that Putin recently announced that Russia would decrease military spending soon?
Putin’s Russia is only a military threat to those who can’t call upon NATO or other powerful allies. And that assumes that he’s planning an aggression. If Trump gets his wish and all NATO members increase their military spending, Germany alone will invest as much into new war toys per year as all of Russia. Now add to that the other NATO members, and the US with their obscene military budget. Who’s the threat here?
By the way, after the collapse of the Soviets, a certain US official had assured Gorbachev that NATO would, literally, advance „not a single inch“ eastwards. Now look at the map and wonder how trustworthy NATO looks to the average Russian. Just sayin‘.
Yeah sure, Russia still has nukes. And if you assume that Putin is a card-carrying moron that’s certainly an option to him. Only a moron would launche those missiles knowing that his own country would end only minutes later too.
Russia may well be a threat to certain individuals, see the Skripal case if the evidence is good (I have objected to UK’s May blaming Putin because I’ve yet to hear any strong evidence besides her „I said so!“). In such cases, of course that criminal act has to be dealt with. We have to do it right though, the proper way. Unless we no longer want to claim that we’re the Good Ones™.
By the way, don't point at secret services as source of "evidence". Remember those WMDs in Iraq, which were supposedly such a threat even though no one ever found a trace of them? Or Tonkin? Northwoods? GLADIO? All that came from secret services and the like. Guess how much I trust them.
And while we’re at it, yes those who spit on democracy and human right should be dealt with. However, looking at how the Western nations have acted in recent times, they definitely have no right to act as judge. You know who should hold court over that? The United fucking Nations. That’s what we have them for.
But strangely, no one, not even the most „but we’re the good virtuous ones!!!“ Western nations, considers them much. Wonder why…
(EDIT: Aaaaand I'll just leave this link here.
"The best the MSM have come up with is that a St. Petersburg outfit called Internet Research Agency (IRA) placed $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to the $81 million Facebook ad spending by the Trump and Clinton campaigns), some of the Russian ads actually directed against Trump. As Jeffrey St. Clair pointed out in the pages of CounterPunch, in the key states where Clinton lost the election, the traditional Democrat strongholds of Michigan ($832 spent on token IRA buy ads), Pennsylvania ($300), and Wisconsin ($1,979), all but $54 of this amount was spent before the party primaries even started.
Facebook’s vice president for advertising Rob Goldman said that in fact most of the total Russian ad buys occurred after the presidential election."
" Even if there were genuine evidence that Russian officials had hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta emails, as originally claimed by the intelligence agencies, one should put this in context of the long history of the CIA’s efforts to overthrow many democratically elected leaders who had the temerity to stand up to the superpower. These would include Allende, Arbenz, Mossadeq, Lumumba, Chavez, Goulart, Ortega, and others. The list of US interventions in foreign elections just since 1948 (Italy) is voluminous. ")
So alright. There's been a surge of forum threads in here recently that in one way or another dealt with feminism and/or related topics. And methinks there's some common mistakes made on both sides there... mistakes that grab a basically good discussion and toss it into the sewers. It may perhaps help if we all, should we ever touch that topic again, try to keep in mind a few things that I feel need to be considered.
What exactly is feminism anyway?
I've seen quite some unneccessary bitching that resulted from people talking past each other regarding what feminism is and isn't. Some thoughts on this:
As I understand it currently, feminism is the concept that men and women shall have equal rights and duties and not be confined to any rigid gender roles. To have that said, I fully support that. Some minor issues can be raised here I think (the name feminism kind of sounds like it's only about women, and there's some merit in the statement that it might be better to just deal with equal rights and duties, and the best, for all human beings and just be a humanist), but acting like that's a serious and important thing is overblown I think.
However, I also consider it a sad fact of humanity as a whole that every group/movement/whatever that gets sufficiently large can and does incorporate some morons, a lunatic fringe if you want to call it that way. In the case of feminism these morons are those who do not want to get rid of gender roles and gender-based discrimination but just reverse it so that now women are the masters instead of men.
If you agree with that latter idea, please stop reading now. You will not like the rest of it. Thank you.
Of course many, if not all, of these morons will call themselves feminists too, and they may well honestly believe that they are feminists. To make a clear distinction within the context of this entry I'll call the misandrist loonies "bitchocrats" as an homage to a good book about the specific German variant of this stuff.
I've seen quite a few comments (usually from men, but not always) who rant against what they call "feminism" while what they really mean is bitchocracy. These same people have often stated in the same thread, sometimes in the very same postings, that they fully support gender equality and just oppose replacing the traditional patriarchy with a "modern" matriarchy. Yet somehow this seems to evade many people on "the other side". Bottom line of this section: Blokes, please stop to ask yourself for a moment whether the person you want to criticize really is a feminist or just claims to be one. Gals, please take a closer look on what exactly someone is pointing at with indignation. It's not always the concept of gender equality.
Is gender-based discrimination an either-or thing?
There seem to be those who assume, whether consciously or not, that if there is one kind of gender-based discrimination going on in this world there cannot possibly be its polar opposite anywhere else on the same planet. Ah how wonderful that would be - it would make the entire topic much easier to understand and deal with. Sadly, no. Reality's a bitch.
Looking at the world as a whole, I'm (sadly) confident that there are much more women on the receiving end of the discrimination game than there are men. For starters, I'm not currently aware of entire countries where men can be treated like cattle and no one blinks an eye. For the opposite, there's quite a few places in the world where that's normal.
...I need only take a look around here in Germany to see that discrimination against men can and does exist too. It tends to be of the more subtle kind I admit but that doesn't make it less real. Looking at popular memes in the media, ads and such shows that nicely already. There's many kinds of "humor" at a man's expense that suddenly look like pure horrific discrimination as soon as you reverse the genders in the concept. Ummm, if it's sexism one way, why would it not be sexism the other way?
And it continues in other parts of society, up to and including legislation and politics. Our leading bitchocrat can publicly demand that men be stripped of all protection of the rule of law as soon as women blame them of anything, to (quoting her) "send a message to men that they aren't safe from women anywhere", and no one cares. Town officials get fired just because they publicly declare that in theory gender-based discrimination can have both women and men as victims. A man can be declared guilty of rape and thrown behind bars even though the claims of the victim don't add up plausibly in any way, including that the man supposedly threatened his "victim" that she better not tell anyone or else at a time when he was already jailed and awaiting his trial. Then, after it became undeniably clear that the entire rape claim is bullshit, the system kept sitting on its fat arse for two years before setting him free. In at least one case where a man was suspected of being into child porn, the fact that no porn at all had been found on his PC (where it should have been according to the accusations) has been claimed to be in fact proof that he's guilty because "if there's no porn found on there then it clearly has been deleted to destroy all evidence". Let me get this clear... so men either have gigs of porn on their PCs or they must have had gigs of illegal porn on it previously? (To be fair, at least as far as I remember the judge didn't follow that line of reasoning)
Yes, these things are not as severe as the shit that women had (and often have) to put up with traditionally in many places for a long time. But does that mean that therefore it's not real at all?
Bottom line: It can sadly be very justified when a man complains of discrimination against his own gender. Which kind of discrimination is worse is another topic but just because he says that doesn't automatically mean that he thinks there's no discrimination against women at all. Both kinds of crap are sadly not exclusive to each other.
Oh, and while I'm at it, two caveats:
"Feminism as a whole is not a monolithic thing, it consists of many groups, concepts, ideas et cetera"
I've seen this brought up a few times when someone blamed "feminism" of having crossed the line and promoting matriarchy instead of equality. The statement ain't wrong, but some may want to stop a moment and consider that this goes both ways. If there's many "kinds" (ha ha, babblical cretinist pun not wholly unintentional) of ideas feeding feminism, which one is "True Feminism" then? With what justification exactly do you say that your concept of feminism is the correct one?
"Priviledge is often invisible to those who possess it"
I agree. We humans are like that... we see that which we hate much more clearly and prominently than that which we love. However... while this is usually meant to say "men don't realize how priviledged they are compared to women, thus they think there's no discrimination going on while there really is a shitload of it!", this blade also cuts both ways. Is it impossible that on the other hand women sometimes don't see anti-male discrimination that's going on in front of them?
Note that I'm not saying that the one is more frequent or more blatant or similar than the other... just that this is possible.
Well that's it for now. I know I'll catch flak from some for writing this entry, but maybe... just maybe... some people will read this and find that it helps them expand their horizons too. And if that happens my effort wasn't spent in vain.
So, a friend of mine (staunchly evil leftist ) picked up the nice quote somewhere, a long time ago... "We Germans tend to take something that's basically good, then exaggerate it to beyond insanity so that it becomes a sick parody of its former self".
Enter German "feminism" (as opposed to what I've recently learned feminism to normally be about!), in this case its stance on prostitution.
Prostitution is mosly legalized and regulated over here, since... dunno... some 8 years I think. By some nitpicky details it's still not considered a fully legal profession compared to, say, carpentry, but the ladies of the night have legal protection, health care, the whole she-bang basically. There's still a criminal side to it (old sick habits die hard) but we're making progress. And on average German prostitutes are much better off than those in many other countries, for all I know.
And then came the hateful harpy known by the name Alice Schwarzer, which has been seen as The personification of feminism over here since the entire thing began back in the 60s/70s. She recently presented her new book, about the universal evil of prostitution and how it's about 120 % exploitation and slavery of women.
Now, don't get me wrong. Inasmuch as prostitution involves forcing the gals to do the "job", human trafficking and such, of course it's illegal and must be fought. But as the American (?) saying goes that I've seen quoted a few times on this site and elsewhere - "if selling is legal and fucking is legal, why should selling fucking be illegal?".
So she demanded, at this presentation and ever since (again!), that prostution be banned totally so that women can be free. Umm right, good thing that no one ever tried to ban it right? I mean, surely it will totally work, it's not like people have ever found that a ban just forces it (back) underground with according consequences for the women eh?
Oh, and among the audience that day were some gals of HYDRA, that's more or less the union of German sex workers (Yeah I know, sounds like a Bond villain's gang ). They asked the harpy for her stance on those hookers who aren't forced but do the job willingly, for whatever reason (kicks / bucks / whatever). To which she replied with the sophisticated debating technique of "doing her best to scream them down".
So, let me see whether I got that right. To defeat a so-called evil that has plagued humanity since the darkest past we should... return to that past. Is that about right?
At least that goes together nicely with the latest legislation of our Western neighbors in France, who decided to try the very same thing, only that they are planning to declare the customers instead of the hookers to be criminal. I'm sure someone thinks that's better than the bans of the past too.
You know, when I sometimes say that German "feminism" does its best to ban any and every possible variant of male sexual desire for women, this is about what I'm referring to. Take a good thing and warp it into insanity, indeed.
I hate it when my above-mentioned pal is so damn right.
So yeah, elections to the Bundestag are coming closer and the general level of bullshit and propaganda spread all across our major media and such predictably increases once again with each passing day. Made me realize how surprisingly easy it often is to get at least a good hint at which side of some fanatical debate is the correct one.
We all know that thing... it's an important topic, one you better should care about at least a bit, and you see two armies fighting that usual bitter war about who's right regarding the topic. This being the real world, the topic tends to be a complex one... sadly. So what are we supposed to do? Study for years to be able to form a good opinion? Well that's the best way of course but how many of us can spare all the time and effort?
But then, judging from my experience there's usually always a way to get at least a good guess about who's right.
Be it economy, politics, religion, the conspiracy theory of the day, usually one of the two sides knows decently well where the other side is coming from, while the other one doesn't know jack. The knowledgeable side is usually also the one that addresses the "enemy's" claims while the other side at best changes claims when some of them are disproved.
Take religion for example. On this site especially we know the endless babblings of the morontheists about how supposedly atheists just want to sin without being held responsible and such... and how the same morontheists just change topic after unbelievers ripped their claims to shreds and pissed on them.
Observe all those conspiracy theories for many more examples. Just think of 911 "truthers" pointing to other buildings who were on fire once and claim "these didn't collapse so it must have been demo charges on 911!", totally ignoring that they had been constructed very very differently.
Or look at current economic politics. On the one side you have the austerity crowd totally convinced that the markets will fix themselves all on their own if no evil regulation is applied to them as people are rational (Rational? People? Few people are rational enough to keep their own lives in order but somehow they supposedly will think crystal clear in situations that are too complex for the best computers to predict better than just a roll of some dice!) and that "of course" in times of crisis you need to cut spendings and all will be well soon. On the other side you have the "evil leftist communists" who point to exactly these ideologies having caused the great depression and several other similar cases throughout history, provide good arguments on why a national economy is very different from your personal finances and why spending more in a crisis can be a good idea actually, and who predict total failure of austerity measures time and again - and time and again the "communist" predictions come true and every time the austerity morons basically just respond to that with "but next time we'll be right! Really! Please give us another try and you'll see!"
The list is endless really.
Of course I'm sure that if we look around for a while we'll find some exception to that rule but so far... the method has never failed me.
And some may want to give this method a try. It can make life much easier.
(Writing this while kind of tipsy, so if the result is nonsense, at least I know where I can put the blame... )
So I guess it was quite clear that some day I'd write something about this very topic, considering how much contact I have with US folks via this website. Guess I can just as well get it done now.
So there's this ever-recurring gun control debate in the US (well not just there, but it seems like this is the most prominent example) after every single fucking time someone lost his (sometimes also her, but mostly his) mind and gunned down a couple of people. There are those who fight the noble fight for stricter gun control, and there are those who either say (more or less politely) that gun control won't solve the issues, or who downright spew hatred against those evil evil ones who want to rob US folks of their constitutional right to own a gun.
Alrighty so what's my (old-Europe German) position on this?
Let's just take a look at what's the chain of events that leads to a killing spree shall we? As I see it this chain looks like this...
1. someone decides that the best course of action for her, for whatever reason, is to blow the brains out of some innocent people
2. that someone gets hold of a few guns (assuming that she doesn't have enough already)
3. that someone performs the murderous act, obviously overpowering whatever security is in place to protect innocents
4. after the bloodshed, people talk about it and the media report about it, in whatever way
5. (assuming the nutjob survives) there's a trial, whatever outcome it might have - that's a rare occurance as far as I can tell because most of the shooters either deliberately kill themselves or get killed by The Good Ones.
Now let's look at gun control. What items on this list can it affect? Maybe I'm wrong but thinking about it the only one seems to be #2. And for those (usually folks on the pro-gun side as far as I can tell) who call for increased security and armament, obviously that would be item #3. If I'm wrong, feel free to tell me so. Thanks.
Now what I'll focus on, for now at least, is items #1 and #4. These seem to receive precious little coverage in the US normally. Again, I may be wrong, and if I am, feel free to tell me (actually I'd like to extend this statement to the entire rest of this blog entry, just to keep things simple).
As for #4 - as I see it, how the media react to such a thing is probably more important than many people think. There's a thing called "copycat suicide" in English regarding cases of suicide and how media report about them; over here in Kraut country we call it the "Werther effect" after Goethe's infamous "the sufferings of Werther", a writing that in its own time spawned a spree of suicides among people who felt the story resonated within their own souls. As I understand it, it's pretty much an established fact that when the suicidal receive media coverage far and wide, more people feel motivated to kill themselves because they see that if all else fails this is a way to finally get noticed after, while they still were alive, no one paid any attention to them.
Is it absurd to wonder whether the same might be true with those who contemplate starting a killing spree?
I never studied the entirety of killing sprees (or "Amokläufe", literally "Amok runs" here in Germany) that happened, but from what I understood most of these people felt like hopeless losers in their lives. I'll assume here that they weren't born with suicidal/homicidal tendencies so what happened to make them act like that? Could it be that they desperately tried to make themselves heard and had the impression that no one ever listens?
Just imagine: What would happen if the mass media these days had some respect and a sense of responsibility for what their publishings might cause? What would happen if they reported what happened, but without mentioning the name or any details about the killer? If only we knew... but of course the mass media these days care about exactly three things, these being money, money and money. If it bleeds it leads, and the more they can shock us all emotionally the more they will sell. To they will do their best to tickle our horror funny bones so that we keep paying. And if for every one case they report they spawn five more, so much the better - keeps them in business.
But of course, if you kept reading this far you really want to know what I'm thinking about #1 on my above list. Right?
So okay, here goes.
Now, I won't claim, and I don't think, that all Americans are insane gun nuts. Tip of the hat to people on this very site, people like Nivek, who I am fully willing to see as responsible citizens who may own guns but know how to use them, and more important, when to (not) use them. If you feel offended by what I'll write now, please at least try to keep this in mind will you? Thanks.
But really, what does owning a gun (or two, or thirteen, or whatever number) mean to Americans?
Okay I know about that infamous 2nd amendment, and I concede that if you say that it's your goddamn fucking right to own a gun you have a right to defend against attempts of... whomever... to take them from you.
But, like I mentioned in one posting not too long ago, what's the benefit of this amendment really, in these present days? Alright you can defend much better against a criminal than you could without a gun, but ignoring the usual media hype for the moment, how rampant is crime really in the States? How many times does the average American really get into a situation where her life or death may depend on having a gun? From what I've learned from non-mainstream sources, the risk is pretty small indeed. So why arm yourselves to the teeth? What's in it really what motivates at least some US citizens to (seemingly) not feel like complete human beings without having some tools at hand that can blow a deadly hole into another human within a heartbeat?
Then there's the claim that US citizens need guns to defend against the government just in case it becomes tyrannical. I'll not argue about whether your current government already is tyrannical because that's not the topic of this posting, but let's just assume that you are indeed living in a totalitarian nightmare state and Them (ya know, those of the government) are planning to take you and your guns right now. What are your chances?
I'm confident that a person who has guns and knows how to use them may well be able to fight off some cops. But what will happen after she did? When will one of those infamous SWAT teams be called in? Or three? Or your just-as-infamous national guard, or still worse? How much armament would you need to win a fight against those?
Bottom line of it all, yeah dammit you have the right to own guns, your constitution says so. But is that part of the constitution still reasonable? And while we are at that, what exactly is the difference in mentality that leads to Americans not only loving guns so much, but actually (seemingly?) using them much quicker than... dunno... pretty much anyone else unless they live in a war zone? Ain't that really the root of the problem?
Isn't it really more a question of mentality?
Of course if we assume that this is true, there's another nasty issue following right in the previous one's footsteps. If mentality is the problem what's the solution? Can there be any solution that is not, in some way, to some degree, brainwashing? And is that acceptable? When? For how much of a price?
But that's a topic that, I think, I shouldn't tackle right now. I'll need some time to think about what my position on this is.
And I guess I should sober up too.
Whee, I knew there was something I had forgotten. Like this blog.
Looking back now at what I wrote before I think I should clean house. Quite a few things have changed, regarding my view on things. Oh well, will have to think about it a bit when I have the chance. For now, "inspired" by the morontheist calling itself "ordinarycrap", oh wait, "ordinaryclay" and crapping into the forums, I'd like to officially make a point that I've made quite a few times already in postings here and there.
It's not religion in and of itself that's bad. It's a certain mindset.
It's been years ago since I got pointed to the blogs of Mr Arthur Silber, one very harsh critic of the things that are wrong in the USA. I think it was Nivek on our site here who posted a link to there, back then. While Arthur mostly just rants about current US politics and the public's apathy toward what's wrong there, years ago he wrote much more diverse things - among others, he referred quite a few times to the works of Alice Miller. I have to admit to my disgrace that I haven't yet read any of her books but if what Arthur writes is even half true I think she hit quite a few nails on the head. Her view, to sum it up with my own words, is that children who are more or less trictly trained to obey their parents and other authority figures, no matter whether what those say or do makes sense or not, will grow up to be adults who know nothing else, only able to follow an authority. A führer if you will, harsh as the word may be. These damaged and wrecked personalities are at best able to choose a führer if they don't have one at the moment, and after they chose one they don't care for anything else. They obey (in their minds) the right führer and are thus always right, good and virtuous by default.
Sound familiar maybe?
If so, I'd posit that this is exactly what "we unbelievers" here on the site see with the morontheist like ordinaryclay. They run in here, post their nonsense, get their arses handed to them... and don't care. They post the same shit again or at best change the topic for a while. Are they simply too dumb to realize they got owned? I think that's not the case. I think that at least many of them are "simply" broken persons who only learned to obey, never developed authentic personalities. Yes they lose every time they try, and they always make fools of themselves, but they do it for the right führer, so from their point of view they're good and virtuous and the victors.
Now I've never been in a morontheist cult, over here in Germany they are still rather rare, though we have our local nutjob covens of course... so maybe I'm not qualified to judge this. But as I dare to see it, while it seems quite plausible that an ex-member of a US-style morontheist cult would see the religion itself as the reason for all this madness (their so-called "holy" book sure helps justify that shit!), it's more the mindset of the followers. I guess broken people will feel drawn strongly toward societal constructs with strong authorities at the top, whether real or imaginary. Morontheism easily provides such an authority, obviously.
It's common in these cults, but you can find it elsewhere too. Just have a look at the hardcore conspiracy theorists - birthers, 911 truthers, antivaxxers... the same mindset, the same "belief armor" as it's been called on the skepdic site. And while I fully support gender equality, certain groups of feminists (who, as I see it, fully deserve to be called "feminazis") demonstrate just the same mindset, the same belief armor. They could find themselves in a world where men have to crawl on their bellies within a mile of any woman if they don't want to be shot on sight and still say they're discriminated against. Hey, I had one of these radicals first tell me that she follows the content of sites like jezebel or heartlessbitches "religiously" (literal quote), then turn around and tell me unmistakably that in her opinion men don't even deserve to have basic human rights when women are around. Yes I also thought she's just joking at first, so I asked whether she's serious. Yup she was. Go figure. Untermenschen much?!
Just as well, there are many religious people who don't see any reason to condemn others just because these others don't believe the same they do, or go out and preach and try to convert others. Heck, let's admit it, we all know that there are even more than just a few christians and muslims who keep shaking their heads in disbelief when they see the morontheists' babblings. Hey, I'm a (heathen) believer too, go ahead and count how often I've preached and tried to convert anyone on this site (unless jokingly to stick it to one of the morontheists)
Bottom line, just to remind you all as we all to easily forget that: "The enemy" is not really any kind of religion, it's a mindset. Combating the symptoms of this shit is fully legitimate (like not giving morontheism any chance to impose its sick ideas regarding abortion, homosexuality et cetera on the whole of society) but if we really want to eradicate this sickness we need to confront and fight authoritarianism.
Of course that'll be one enormous task. But to the best of my understanding, if we really want to win, that's the target we have to aim at.
Oh well. New moon again. Did the time of month draw me to posting once again or vice versa (did I subconsciously decide to post because I knew what's today)... or pure coindicence? You decide
So what's new? Not that much I guess, nothing important that is. Sadly. The main article of this week's Der Spiegel comes to my mind again - "land of smile". Seems that the mood of the German population has indeed markedly increased since the last elections in September '05.
Not that there's any plausible reason for it. For all the problems still are out there.
The only thing that's changed is: After that great coalition has formed and the former enemies now work together (more or less) in the Bundestag, no one wants to disrupt the peace with such a disgusting thing like facts. The mood here has improved because the old problems are no longer addressed. Before, one could easily rant about the opposition's inability to solve them. Now, the opposition is your ally.
Welcome to the land of willful denial.
In other news, I've finally started to work on my planned homepage again. Some two pages have been completed - one is a disclaimer clarifying my position with respect to those monotheists out there who aren't literalist madmen, the other deals with the standard debating (or rather, debate-avoiding) tactics of the common single-digit-IQ fundie. Now all I have to do is decide on an overall design of the site-to-be. It will probably be a very simple one - the content should matter, not the form.
Anyway, I feel that I should include some pages about the mad side of islam too, or at least some remarks in my current works "this goes for islam too". Considering all the fuzz lately about those cartoons in little Denmark I think it would be unfair to continue ranting primarily about the jebus cult - the mohamed cult deserves a slap too. Or at least the braindead fundies on both sides do.
Having a look at the fun side of life, I currently enjoy both the nice DVD recorder (w/ hard disk) I bought shortly after Yuletide, and the nice SciFi show that appeared on German TV recently. I'm referring, of course, to the new version of Battlestar Galactica. Granted that I've seen but four episodes so far (not counting the pilot), but what I saw so far was quite cool. I guess I'll archive that show for quite some eps to come.
And I finally prepared my online Go player's life seriously. After I looked at two internet Go servers quite some time ago, I dropped the idea of online gaming regarding that game. Until I received multiple recommendations to check out the Kiseido Go Server (aka KGS). I'm impressed. Granted that it needs a proprietary client program, but it's cool. Now all I have to do is jump right in.
Oh right... as I take another sip of some good stuff (Tullamore Dew... aaaah, Divine!), I think I should mention that I started participating in alpha testing a fantasy MMORPG recently. Considering that it's totally free, and the makers intend to keep it free, it's quite cool already. A nice background story, and what has been completed so far looks good. The only annoying thing is that currently the NPCs only understand a very limited, specific vocabulary.
And there's a Linux version of it too. As soon as I found out finally how to make the Linux client of the game actually start (currently it drops me back to the bash shell immediately without any error message...), I guess I'll finally start some serious gaming using my favorite OS...
(Aaaah, favorite OS... let's see. At work, recently a new record has been set. Some days ago, around 12:26pm, we closed an incident covering a server share having run out of memory (5 GB of free space available). That same day, 01:30pm, the next "out of server space" incident was opened. So much for "just how long will 5 Gigs of memory last in an environment with some thousands of users?"
Of course, with some decent Linux servers, a quota mechanism would have been in place for quite some time now... but no, we just need to stick with the Redmond horror... )
Ah, one last thing. Maybe, just maybe, I'll soon be posting from... somewhere else. It's been said that our branch of the company (IT professional services, in contrast to IT automotive services which will keep hugging VW closely) starts looking toward other countries for expansion opportunities. Gee, I wonder whether there'll be some jobs available in Ireland, or Norway. To just say goodbye to this land of willfully ignorant morons where politics are concerned does have its appeal, provided that I can live wherever I land and hopefully can provide for my wife too. Whatever opportunity presents itself, I can count on being among the first people asked whether they'd go there, considering my skills in the English language...
Well, well. Some hard months I can look back on. But it looks like they were worth it.
I sneaked my way into my new workplace with quite some success. Earlier today, after our monthly team meeting, I asked my boss about the possibility to occupy one of the vacant places that will open next year.
You know, for months without end we cursed the user management of the Volkswagen bank for being... well... either too dumb or too lazy to do their work. Now, in today's team meeting, we heard "by the way, we'll take over the user management next year".
Anyway, I asked my boss if it seems possible for me to assume responsibility for assigning user rights et cetera for the host applications of the bank. I fully expected a "No, you're new to my team and the EHD team (which I am a part of) is still undercrewed".
What I heard was "Not at the moment, I still need you in the EHD. You've become a valuable asset to that group and I can't yet afford to lose you completely. But part-time work, split between EHD and user management, looks possible to me".
Oh well, I know that I'm pretty much the best English-speaker in my entire team, so yes, it would hurt if the EHD team would have to get by without me. After all, if the password coordinators from the UK, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, China, Turkey et cetera can call any moment, you want someone available who at least has not much of a problem talking to someone who speaks only English. But that I'm a "valuable asset" was something I didn't dare to hope.
And what does all this have to do with "lunacy"?
Well... it's kind of funny. In this year's early July, the possibility first showed up on the horizon that I might be able to leave my old team at Auto5000 for the VW bank in nearby Braunschweig. New moon.
Then it was decided that this wouldn't be possible. Just after full moon.
Suddenly another position at the bank opened for me to jump in. New moon.
Now look at your preferred moon phase calender. What's the time of the lunar month today when I just heard that I might soon rise to a position of responsibility?
New moon again.
Aaaah, it's those things that make you wonder, ain't it?
Oh well. I didn't forget this blog... but you know how it is. Sometimes there's so much more important things to do...
...like working yourself into the routine procedures at your new workplace. I guess I (mainly) figured it all out now. Of course, there's still the possibility of major crashes of some system or another making us all mad.
Like yesterday. It's not fun when all database servers in a global banking organization go down in flames. Did you ever stop to imagine just how many IT applications absolutely depend on a database these days? We have some 80 SAP systems in the VW bank, and along with the databases they all went down too! Imagine how many desperate users called yesterday...
...and to add to all the fun, our own software for registering and processing incidents... some weird piece called "Peregrine service center"... also needs a database, so we weren't even able to register all those calls! Weird, I tell you... weird!
But then, there's some fun news from Germany too...
for example, the upcoming elections to the Federal parliament on September 18th will not be officially over for some time after that deadline, because one of the candidates somewhere in the "new federal countries" - read: the former GDR - died of some unknown-to-me cause, so everything in that district has to be re-organized. At least it hit one of those who really deserve it (IMHO)... the local candidate of the far-right neo-fascist group NPD.
(Alright, who was the saboteur? I've got a medal or twenty to give to you...)
And, of course, from a personal point of view I'm now a married man. Nothing official, as far as German officials are concerned, but still... I feel bound to the holy oath I have sworn last weekend on the German Althing (gathering of all the faithful) of the Eldaring association. And so does my beloved, though of course she has sworn by her Celtic deities.
If all goes well, the civil marriage will take place sometime around next Beltane (May 1st). We'll see.
Finally, it has been decided. I'm one of those who leave our production line support team at Auto5000, and I'll head for the Volkswagen bank in nearby Braunschweig.
Had a talk to that team's project leader. He seems okay, and from what I've seen of my future workplace, it will be absolutely cool! You know, back then in 2002/2003, I learned a heap of stuff (you gotta know something to become an MCSE, MCDBA and LPI-C1 ) that I could never use "here" at Auto5000, because we never had sufficient permissions to dabble with the systems. What good knowing how to do things in active directory configuration et cetera when you don't even have an active directory system where you work?
Aaaah, but the bank project is a big thing. Full-scale administration of lots of stuff (not everything though - the Volkswagen admins want to keep control of course), up to and including the "operating team" monitoring the datalinks to sites all across this planet. Kind of "the elite of office IT support". And in sharp contrast to Auto5000, the superiors in the bank take us seriously. They are willing to really listen to us and contemplate what we suggest... while here, we are expected to do magic, more than the external companies can do with their own products, and all for free of course.
It will be one Niflhel of a challenge, after almost two years in which many of my skills atrophied due to lack of use... but I'm definitely hot for it! Let alone that I'll finally be back to normal work times (mostly... some variation is inevitable), and thus, a mostly normal social life again! Yee-ha!
Last evening, my beloved lady and I attended a graduation party of a friend's sister. Considering the sheer amount of hard drink that was ready to be consumed, and the open declaration of her brother "We didn't buy beer or wine or any other wimpy stuff - this evening's motto is to get stoned, dammit!", I looked forward to some fun of course... but guess what - after no more than 30 minutes, half of the gang (except for me and my beloved, all were students, and not all of them had even graduated yet!) was discussing politics, religious topics, economy, the upcoming early elections to the federal parliament... pretty much all the topics our adults seldom discuss anymore! And all this while drunk, but still very reasonable...
...I guess our fears about our youngsters are a bit exaggerated. There is still hope for this strange country.
Aaah, what a great beginning for a weekend.
Today at work, we had an extraordinary team meeting including our CEO. The message? "Our customer has decided, effective July 1st, to pay for two people on the early and late shifts, one for the night shift, one dispatcher, and half a project leader. Furthermore, one office supporter will stay here for the rest of the year to train the workers employed by our customer - next year they will completely take over the office support branch".
Let's see. That's 7.5 people, 6.5 starting next year. Currently, our production line support and office support teams include a total of 16 people.
The workers who will have to take over office support are 100 % useless. They don't know jack about PCs and large-scale (domain-level) networking, they are lazy as hell and so belligerent that they already once insulted one of their direct superiors face to face.
As for our production line support, this will work even after the decimation of our staff until the next major patching/updating orgy or until the next time a nasty new virus breaks through the defenses of Volkswagen. With so few people we simply won't have enough capacity to fix more than minor problems, and oh, only one after another please. Hey, it's only an automobile factory with 3,500 employees - no problem to manage that all with one single person on night shift, eh? After all, we're no wimps...
Don't even start me about how much of a specialist every single one of us became, had to become, in order to keep the damned factory running. Ever imagined how many completely different PC systems there are in a modern factory today? The simple problem of "whoever has to leave has to train one of the few who stay to be his replacement, and oh, all in two weeks please!" boggles the mind.
Bottom line is, it's a typical paperpusher decision. Someone was too dumb to do his financial calculations right (again... it's by far not the first time in the 18 months I've been working here), and we, the "foreigners" (no direct employees of Auto5000), have to pay for their incompetence by being (partially) fired.
Yep, it'll be a wonderful weekend after all that.
The two minor nice points:
1. Never ever has our company fired anyone just because one of our many projects was terminated. It will become difficult to reassign so many people to somewhere else, but it should be possible. At least we'll keep our jobs - in all likelihood that is.
2. I wonder how dumb and embarrassed the managers of Auto5000 will look when after some weeks or months they realize that it simply doesn't work with so few people in production line support. The very first time some system has to be patched, we'll have to reboot (it's window$ after all...), therefore the system will be down for a while. As we will no longer get paid for working on Saturday evening or on Sunday, this means that production will have to pause whenever something has to be patched. One minute "downtime" of the production line means the calculatory loss of € 6,500... let's take a guess about what this will mean for their profits.
Ain't it amazing?
There they go, ranting about how all those Evil Foreigners have nothing better to do than to come to Germany and supposedly ruin our country out of sheer malice... demanding that we let no one in, for any reason, because the foreigners (so they claim) will just take away all the jobs, and kick out those foreigners who are already here (unless, I'm sure, they make and sell Gyros or other "outlandish" fast-food )...
...but they have their propaganda papers printed in Poland.
Right on, neofascists - with every such incident you show that you can be trusted roughly as far as I can throw a Leopard battle tank with my bare hands. One day we won't need any anti-fascist action anymore because the idiots heap enough ridicule on themselves to commit political suicide
(Background: Accidentally, a van full of above-mentioned propaganda material of the far-right German party "NPD" was spotted crossing the Polish border into Germany. The material had clearly been printed in Poland, one of the favorite targets of the NPD members' rants)
One wonders how moronic those Polish printers must be to make a deal with these braindead numbnuts...
Some may think that 60 years are more than enough time to cope with your country's past.
Not so. Not in Germany.
(Warning - I had some Vodka, maybe not all of the following will make sense)
It is now 4 pm local time. Since about high noon, the German news channel N24 broadcasts only the current news, life transmissions of the ceremonies in the Bundestag (our parliament), and documentations about WW2 - mainly the "color of war" series, with color pictures and movies which only recently were (re-)discovered in ancient archives. I admit that adds a new dimension to the horror of the past.
In the news, it is shown that the whole city of Berlin breathlessly awaits whatever the planned public marches of our current neofascists (namely the "NPD" party) will end in. Thousands of policemen await the command to arrest whoever wants to disrupt peace there. Leftist activists stand ready to exploit any opening in the lines of the police to kick some neo-nazi arse... or worse (better?).
(I'd appreciate it very much if some grenadier batallions of our Federal forces would be ready to gun down all of that scum, from both sides, but I guess that'd be too much of a good thing)
In the ceremonies, I see (among other things) how chancellor Schröder asks the Russian people for forgiveness of what Germans did to Russians back then.
Let's be serious for a minute, okay? Just whom does he ask for forgiveness?
It's been 60 years, folks. Most who had the horrible misfortune of suffering through the nazi occupation of Russia are now either dead or well into retirement age. Today, it's still somewhat plausible that someone asks for forgiveness in the name of Germany. I find it somewhat exaggerated, but it's okay. But what in, say, 20 years?
For how long will this collective "we are guilty" continue? Will we ever get rid of this trauma, even though no German alive in those coming times will know the nazi horror from anywhere outside of history classes?
Does anyone today say "We're terribly sorry for the crusades"?!
Let's imagine for a moment how a US president asks the American natives for forgiveness of what the first settlers did to the Apaches, Comanches, et cetera. Does that sound somewhat exaggerated?
I don't want to deny that horrible things happened, and that the generation of my parents and grandparents was heavily involved in that. But who benefits from an eternity of "yes we are guilty", if anyone indeed?
I wonder what would happen if someone of German descent would point out, these days, the fact that the modern nation of Israel isn't all that innocent either in its treatment of the Palestinians... is there any doubt that this hypothetical German would be branded for the rest of his life as a neo-nazi pig?
Aaah, justice of the victors. Granted that the nazis of the past deserved it. But is my generation still to blame for the past?! I don't think so.
(Some good news - I'm just hearing in the news that the planned neo-fascist demonstration in Berlin has been cancelled due to persistant resistance of the leftists. Maybe the day will end more nicely than I expect anyway)
And the TV documentations continue, with "The liberation of Europe". I guess I should just watch TV for the rest of the day.
Thank you for your patience, dear reader.
Aaaah, our dear politicians...
(This seems to develop into a political blog, eh? )
...in the news: The German "Bundesagentur für Arbeit" (federal agency for employment), faced with the crushing load of some 5.2 million unemployed persons, decided to do something that <sarcasm> really will create countless new jobs.
They chose a "new" logo for them. € 25,000 for a sign above the entrance, some € 75,000 for new paper et al.
What's "new" in that logo? Before, it was a stylized red "A" in a white circle. Now it's... white in red.
And they wonder why both citizens and politicians are foaming at the mouths.
I expect the first lynch mobs against Bundesagentur managers to begin within days.
After months of first having to correct the same idiocy by production line workers and application programmers over and over again, then having to kill each and every minute separately because for some reason no one crashes any important system anymore, I finally arrived at my three weeks off work. Yep I was happy.
Until I started my TV app yesterday evening.
Wanted to watch one of the few marginally good shows on German TV, and what did I get instead?
White smoke from the Vatican! New pope elected! Yeah!
So I sighed and watched... and hoped it won't be HIM.
It IS him. RAT-zinger. Probably the most conservative cardinal of the German catholic church.
Nothing like a new supreme bigot to ruin your (holi)day.
Combine that with my beloved's birthday I can't attend due to urgent financial matters and the death of an uncle (cancer...) and guess how I feel.
Oh well. I guess things can only get better now. Even if only slightly.
(I typed it all before, then the server connection went doodoo while posting, so this time it will be much shorter )
Sometimes I really really hate my fellow Germans, especially when the "Generationenvertrag" is concerned. That means "generation contract" and is the system that finances the retirement of our elderly people. It works really simple: Those who work, in whatever job, pay a certain percentage of their income to power the system which then provides those too old to keep working with their retirement incomes.
A nice concept, back in the time when it was conceived. Whose idea was it? That of none other than "Iron Chancellor" Bismarck, back in the 1870s!
Now guess what? The system is based on a healthy population pyramid with many young workers at the base and few old ones at the top receiving the money. The burden thus is placed on many many shoulders and no one need to fear collapsing under the financial load. Back in the old German empire it was the solution.
Now add advanced medical care and sinking birth rates, and what do you get?
The pyramid has become a mushroom. Just how little IQ do you need to realize that the contract can't work that way?!
Yet what happens here?
The politicians, who should have known about the coming problem since the 70s, keep announcing "the solution that will keep the contract working".
The labor unions demand "a working solution to keep the contract alive" from the government.
And the common people swallow it whole. It's what they want to hear, because any alternative would demand that they get up off their collective asses and do something for their own retirement. Many of them aren't even aware of how the contract works - they think they'll just get back later what they pay now, with interest!
Yes, if we announce the obvious (the generation contract is dead!) it will mean that those who are in retirement now, or will retire in the next one or two decades at least, are in deep shit. But does anyone have a real solution? I have yet to hear one!
Granted that this is not the only problem Germany has today, but it gobbles up so much money that it contributes nicely to the depressing situation here. How much longer until the politicians who ignored the problem for decades finally (and shamefully) admit their mistake? How much longer until the only possible course of action is accepted?
Humans. Sheeple. Ostriches. Sometimes there's so little difference between those species it makes me want to puke.
(At least I actually thought about the problem, and invested the greater part of what I inherited after the death of my father into a nice investment fonds. Assuming a very conservative interest rate, that should gain me around € 5,000 per month when I finally retire in 30 years. Some will surely call me arrogant because I demand that others face a burden that doesn't concern me, but hey, the truth was out there to see long enough. It's not my fault if people love their precious blindfolds so dearly!)