Politicians.

politics

I wonder if politicians are really stupid or if they receive instructions on acting like that once they’re in some kind of seat of power. You may wonder why I ask this. If you do, you should pay attention to what politicians do and say for a change.

Speed.
A while ago here in the Netherlands they allowed people to drive faster on certain motorways. (US: freeways.) My first thought was: ah, they need more money. How is driving faster getting the government more money? Easy. You drive faster, your car uses more fuel, you get more fuel, and fuel is heavily taxed. Simple when you look at it that way. Another kind of more money comes from the confusion that arose: many people didn’t know where to drive 130km/h, 120km/h and so on, as the signs for that were either not in place or unclear. Result: people drive too fast and get tickets. More money for the government.

So how does this make politicians stupid?
More fuel-consumption in cars produces more exhaust, and that affects the air. Measurements have proven that this indeed happens on the stretches of motorway where the speed limit was raised. After reporting that to the politicians in the government, the ruling was: we’re not lowering the speed limit.

This is of course understandable from their point of view: lowering the speed limit again will anger or annoy many people who like to spend a lot of money on fuel drive fast. It will also show that the politicians didn’t think this through, and of course it would affect the inflow of taxes and the benefits of speeding tickets.

The fact that this rule makes the air worse again is of no concern. Until people get sick of that, go to the doctor for it, and in turn that could well raise the fees for health insurance for everyone as the cost of healthcare go up.

I’m not impressed. Actually politicians fail to impress me more and more over the years. (Note that this is not true for all politicians. Just most of them.)

Oh, CNN…

Just now I found this on Slashdot:

Syrian Gov’t Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan

CNN reports that at least for now we may be able to set aside the question of whether and under what authority the U.S. should intervene militarily in Syria, a question that’s dominated the news for the last few weeks. From the report: “Facing the threat of a U.S. military strike, the country’s leaders Tuesday reportedly accepted a Russian proposal to turn over its chemical weapons. … The development, reported by Syrian state television and Russia’s Interfax news agency, came a day after the idea bubbled up in the wake of what appeared to be a gaffe by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It quickly changed the debate in Washington from ‘Should the U.S. attack?’ to ‘Is there a diplomatic way out of this mess?’ Syrian Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Tuesday his country had agreed to the Russian proposal after what Interfax quoted him as calling ‘a very fruitful round of talks’ with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday. Details of such a transfer have yet to be worked out, such as where the arms would go, who would safeguard them and how the world could be sure Syria had handed over its entire stockpile of chemical weapons.”

Oh, CNN. You are so good in making America look good. Why do I say that? Look at this part: From the report: “Facing the threat of a U.S. military strike, the country’s leaders Tuesday reportedly accepted a Russian proposal to turn over its chemical weapons.

The way they wrote this is as if the Syrian government agreed to a Russian plan, in order to avoid a US attack.

Then look at: Syrian Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Tuesday his country had agreed to the Russian proposal after what Interfax quoted him as calling ‘a very fruitful round of talks’ with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday. 

Not one word of a US official taking part in the talks. Not a word that the Russian minister threatened with a US retaliation.

It were probably the US politicians who were facing the threat of a military strike. Russia was the one who came up with the plan, and luckily president Obama had the wits to see its value.

 

Romney style

Dear Mr. Romney.

You are probably devastated that you did not become president of the United States. I know there are many people who mourn this with you, so you won’t be alone. Do cheer up. If all else fails, maybe a few rides in your car-elevator can lift your spirits.

Do you now really leave US politics as you said you would? Or will you change your mind about that? People won’t be surprised when you come back of course, you changed your mind on abortion, rape, taxes, job creation and a number of other issues too.

If you do not return into politics, do not despair. There is a brave new world waiting for you out there. I would suggest learning Mandarin, as most Chinese speak that.

Sincerely…

Dear Mr Romney

Dear Mr Romney,

Only know I see the fabulous reasoning behind your plan, and how you managed to lower the American income tax. Yes, and I must say it is an amazing plan which should be admired.

You exported many jobs to the Chinese mainland where people are doing the work for a lot less money than Americans would do. This of course is not the cunning part, it is only a spin-off. You made certain that lots of American people do not have a job, which means they do not have to pay income tax, thus effectively lowering the income of the state on the count of income tax!

I must say, dear Mr. Romney, that this is fantastic. It almost makes me sorry I am not part of the United States. Or as we say in the Netherlands: je naait het steeds. (You screw it constantly.)

Sentenced to live

Imagine you are a hard-working person, happy and glad to do all kinds of things. And you get a stroke that leaves you paralysed from neck to feet, so the only life signs you can give is blinking your eyes. Okay, this might not be appealing.

Now imagine that this happened to you 7 years ago, and since then you have not been able to do anything but lie somewhere and blink your eyes. I challenge you, do it for an hour. Just lie somewhere and let someone read your blinking eyes. Just an hour. Not 24, a whole day. Now imagine doing this for 7 years. 2555 days.

This happened to Tony Nicklinson in 2005. His life is a nightmare and asked doctors to end his life. He is paralysed so he cannot take something lethal himself, even if someone buys those for him. He has to be helped dying in an active way. We call this euthanasia. A judge ruled that they cannot allow someone to help Tony die, as this is murder, and only the politicians can change this. Tony has decided to fight this ruling.

“It is not what I had hoped for, but it is not unexpected,” Mr. Nicklinson made known. “Judges, as politicians, are happiest when they can evade real problems. This means another year of physical discomfort and misery to find out who owns my life: me or the government.”

See the BBC post.

There is the human approach for you. I really wonder what is in the mind of people who condemn others to such unhappiness, and disrespect someone’s personal wishes…

(On August 22nd, Mr. Nicklinson’s battle ended. He died.)

Elections and voting – the Dutch way

The world is hearing everything about the America elections. Of course, very important as there are many Americans in the Americas, and America is still seen as one of the most important and influential countries in the world. Their voting system is weird though.

You have to register to vote. Instead of having the obligation to go vote because it is your duty as a proper citizen. Then there are Republican people there who try to limit decide who is allowed to vote by trying to exclude all kinds of groups who probably won’t vote republican. (Does not sound very much in favour of the Republic for which they claim to stand.)

Let me show you how it works in the Netherlands, one of the far less important countries in the world compared to the Americas. However, the Americas might still learn something from us.

When you live here as a registered citizen (meaning that you are legally allowed to live here, income and an address), you get a voter’s pass in your mailbox:

Voter’s pass-yay Mr. Blurrycam

This is not some silly reminder that there are going to be elections. It is a summoning to  vote. In other words: you are supposed to go, as in “you have to“. You’re not being excluded because the liberals don’t like the colour of your skin, or some other dweeb thinks you are not sensible enough to vote for them. If you choose not to vote, that’s your own stupid decision, but then don’t come whining when the new government is not what you want it to be: you had your chance and let it slip. (Usually they are not what you want even if you voted, but that’s politics, not voting. Whining, by the way, makes no difference.)

Can’t go to a voting bureau on the designated date? No problem. On the back of the voter’s pass there is a space where you can appoint someone to vote for you. The appointed voter takes your and their own voter’s pass, and their passport or other ID and does the voting. If you go yourself, you take your voter’s pass and your own ID.

Overview of candidates

You also receive an overview of candidates to vote for. This may look like many candidates but don’t worry: on the picture you barely see half of them (there are more on the back).

Instructions.

On the back of the list with candidates there is also a description on how the voting process goes, and it contains an overview of the places where you can go to vote in your town or city. Even in a small town like Cuijk where I live, there are 15 voting bureaus, and they are open from 7:30 in the morning until 9 in the evening.

I understand that this kind of voting is different from that in the Americas as we don’t vote for a president (we have a Queen). We elect the government / senate / congress / parliament, take your pick of preferred name for it. The idea however should be clear. (We’re doing it better. :p )