Monday, January 28, 2008

CDU-Candidate in Hessia Gets the Hard Punishment He Sought for Others

Two articles with appropriate assessments of the convicted party balance sheet fraudster Koch's loss in yesterday's election in Hessia, both from :

Amtliches Ergebnis in Hessen: Roland Koch droht die Abschiebung

Roland Koch droht die Abschiebung
Der CDU-Ministerpräsident kann in Hessen nur noch in einer Großen Koalition weiterregieren. Doch die ist unwahrschienlich. SPD-Chefin Ypsilanti will lieber eine Ampelkoalition.

Nur Rot-Grün verhindert Lähmung
Der Grüne Fraktionschef im Europaparlament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, plädiert für eine rot-grüne Minderheitsregierung in Hessen als Weg aus dem Patt. Die müsste sich von den Linken tolerieren lassen.

After his latest gambit of playing the law-and-order trump card and blaming crime on foreign kids, while his own administration had cut funding for police, district attorneys, and judges in his state while also reducing programs for integration, education, and social work, this Minister President had to eat some crow, finally. Already, in the CDU slush fund scandals, the courts had deemed him indeed guilty of falsifying his party's books with his signature verifying fraudulent donations and money laundering through third countries, though it was not punishable, as fraud in political party books at that time was not a crime! Unethical it was, though, as was his entire campaign this time round.
Now he and buttoned up Chancellor Merkel are claiming he should form the next government there anyway, because everything he did, of course, was, in their opinion, right, though he has no chance of assembling a coalition majority and his party (and hers) was the major loser in the election, despite squeaking to first place with 36.8% of the votes ahead of the SPD with 36.7%.
Cohn-Bendit's proposal of a minority government with toleration by the Linke may be the only possibility open, if the FDP, till now in the CDU swindler's pocket, continues to resist a three-party coalition with Greens and SPD.

The results were as follows, in percent, 2003 in parenthesis, change afterwards:
CDU 36,8 (48,8) -12,0
SPD 36,7 (29,1) + 7,6
Grüne 7,5 (10,1) - 2,6
FDP 9,4 ( 7,9) + 1,5
Die Linke 5,1 ( --) + 5,1

Seats in the parliament in Hessia will now be divided up as follows:
CDU 42
SPD 42
Grüne 9
FDP 11
Linke 6
110 seats in total, for a majority, a coalition needs 56 seats.

We may soon see some of Merkel's buttons pop soon!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Fifty-five percent for Obama with a message of change in South Carolina is indeed a sign that my homeland may finally be ready to return to the path of advancement it left with after the murders of those calling for a turn to the future in my childhood and adolescence (JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm).
Fifty-five percent in South Carolina for a black man as nominee of the Democratic Party for the presidency of the United States is reminiscent of the hope for progress I knew when we merged into a single highschool the white and black ones in my hometown in the '60s without negative incident.
Whoever ultimately wins the nomination, I hope with every breath that this sentiment for change and progress and civilization and justice and fairness and equitability and future wins in November. Obama, Clinton, and Edwards should ALL play major roles in the next administration! The rest of the world could then heave a sigh of relief, to witness the US returning to the ranks of civilized, enlightened, democratic countries committed to human rights and justice and freedom everywhere.
When it is darkest, as it surely is with that bushbaby in his playpen (even his Wolf-O-Witz [="wolf-of-the-joke" in German] has been restored to a place of "honor" among the playmates), this light may still gain force and remind constantly the candidates in November that the United States is NOT the land of torture and senseless war and spying and police-state measures, but a land where the people can indeed still stand up and say: Change it!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Contemplating Freedom

Having read this essay several times, today I found myself concentrating on two paragraphs concerning freedom. In a treatise on the danger and chance of technology (not of technologies, but of the essence of technology, the concept of Being it derives from), these thoughts on freedom, liberty, Freiheit, liberté may appear abstract. Perhaps that is precisely the reason we so often do not consider freedom in essence. Perhaps that is precisely the danger. So here, at the risk of bemusing some, disturbing others, and giving some few pause to think, I am providing my own translation of those few lines, followed by the original. For the moment the English version satisfies me somewhat. Whether it still will do so tomorrow is difficult to predict; for I will continue thinking about what is thought worthy. What is worth considering is worth saying in another way another day. But it must at all costs be spoken. It's worth thinking about!

Freedom’s essential sway (essence) is not originally attributable to will or merely to the causality of human desiring.
Freedom administers the free, in the sense of the illuminated, i.e. of the revealed. The occurrence of revealing, i.e. of truth, is what freedom is most closely and most intimately related to. All revealing is part and parcel of a sheltering and a concealing. Liberating, however, is concealed and always conceals itself, the secret. All revealing comes from the free, goes into the free, and brings into the free. The freedom of the free consists neither in unbound arbitrariness nor in the bonds of mere laws. Freedom is illuminating concealment in whose illumination that veil flutters which conceals the essential swaying of all truth and which makes that veil appear as one that shrouds. Freedom is the realm of that sending forth which each time sets a revelation on its path.
[-RG transl.]

Das Wesen der Freiheit ist ursprünglich nicht dem Willen oder gar nur der Kausalität des menschlichen Wollens zugeordnet.
Die Freiheit verwaltet das Freie im Sinne des Gelichteten, d.h. des Entborgenen. Das Geschehnis des Entbergens, d. h. der Wahrheit, ist es, zu dem die Freiheit in der nächsten und innigsten Verwandtschaft steht. Alles Entbergen gehört in ein Bergen und Verbergen. Verborgen aber ist und immer sich verbergend das Befreiende, das Geheimnis. Alles Entbergen kommt aus dem Freien, geht ins Freie und bringt ins Freie. Die Freiheit des Freien besteht weder in der Ungebundenheit der Willkür, noch in der Bindung durch bloße Gesetze. Die Freiheit ist das lichtend Verbergende, in dessen Lichtung jener Schleier weht, der das Wesende aller Wahrheit verhüllt und den Schleier als den verhüllenden erscheinen läßt. Die Freiheit ist der Bereich des Geschickes, das jeweils eine Entbergung auf ihren Weg bringt.

[„Die Frage nach der Technik“ in MH GA Bd.7, S.26 bzw. Klett-Cotta-Ausgabe S.24-25]

Playpen Security Shenanigans to Snoop on YOU

The Senate (reportedly still under Democratic control) seems determined to help President Bush violate Americans’ civil liberties and undermine the constitutional separation of powers. Majority Leader Harry Reid is supporting White House-backed legislation that would expand the administration’s ability to spy on Americans without court supervision and ensure that the country never learns the full extent of Mr. Bush’s illegal wiretapping program.
The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA — which Mr. Bush decided to ignore after 9/11 — requires a warrant to intercept telephone calls and e-mail messages between people in the United States and people abroad.
It is now up to the House to protect Americans’ rights. Mr. Bush has already started issuing the ritual claims that if his bill is not passed instantly, Osama bin Laden will be telephoning his agents in the United States and no one will know. Let us be clear, Mr. Bush has always had the authority to order emergency wiretaps — and get court approval after the fact. That has never been the problem with FISA.
The House should vote to extend last summer’s flawed rules for at least 30 days and go on recess, forcing the Senate to do the same thing, and then bring the whole matter to a conference committee. There will then be plenty of time for a real debate.
Lawmakers and the rest of the nation should bear this in mind: Mr. Bush’s version of this law does not make intelligence-gathering more robust. Opponents like Senators Christopher Dodd and Patrick Leahy want to spy on Al Qaeda, too. They’re just not willing to do it in a way that undermines the very democracy that the spies, Congress and the president are supposed to be protecting.
- The New York Times, Editorial, Published: January 26, 2008
It's time to start concentrating on real security issues, real efforts to protect democracy and justice, human rights and freedom, and, yes, our physical safety, instead of trampling on everything the "enemy" is supposedly trying to destroy in Western civilization while telling a grandmother she can't bring two jars of homemade marmelade onto an airplane to take them to her grandchildren. Security risk. The simple question is, who and what is the security risk ?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recognize Anything ?

A little contest: If you recognize anything in these photos, then you can also guess what must and will be done. Enter your hypotheses as comments.

This is all an aftermath of the incident referenced in my post from January 3rd, the sixth paragraph concerning the perils of sobriety.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Having Fun in the Playpen (Middle East Version)

Yes, that darling bushbaby has been on the road again, perhaps imagining that other countries might be nicer to him, i.e. be even less intelligent than those he has bamboozled back home. Sooo, I'm giving space to Comedy Central, to sum up the import and impact and impotence and implosion and impossibility of what the clown's up to these days.

(By the way, my absentee ballot for the NY primary, Dem, is already in the mail, so you can't change my mind on that one anymore, whoever you are, however much you scowl or cry or grin or sermonize or cajole or coax. My vote has been cast.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

subterfuge, scandal, shock

Undertake whatever is necessary to maintain each and every individual's freedom to speak, write, sing, paint his/her own opinion and to uphold the right to read and look at whatever we want, in other words: to think!

Article 11
Freedom of expression and information
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stop the Shame / Institute Justice !

The sixth anniversary of the opening of the prison camp at Guantánamo is a reminder of how long its inmates have been confined there without receiving any semblance of JUSTICE. They have not been charged, have not been tried, have not been convicted or sentenced. They have been held against all enlightened and democratic principles of justice for as much as six years.

Close this place down. If we hope to protect democratic principles, an essential one being justice, then we must charge and try, have a jury convict or release, those held up to now without anything even resembling what justice demands.

Here, photos from The Atlantic of this place outside of any legal system.
This sad anniversary as seen by the Associated Press in the Washington Post, by Libération, and by Die Zeit.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Essential Knowledge

Go to the mailbox, take out an envelope from DHL, open it, read a notice about some package for you from the US having been given to Customs for processing of duty fees, with the address where you have to go to pick it up and pay whatever, without knowing what it is, and all within 3 days or you'll be charged a "storage" fee. The place is nearly an hour away, halfway between 2 S-Bahn stations, which means a hike is also involved, only open till 6:30pm and it's now 4. So you take off immediately, get there shortly before 5 to see a line a mile long, wait a half hour to be asked if you have a receipt for the order from Amazon, tell the customs agent you don't know what it is, it must be a gift. OK. You can wait in the next waiting room till they call your name, which they do after another half-hour, again ask what it is, you say open it and we'll both find out. Then you see it's a book from your wish list, was sent on December 6, is your Xmas present from your sister, and tell the guy so. A gift is good, he says, and wants to know how much it costs, cause it doesn't say on the packing slip (of course not, it says merry christmas from T), but the jacket bears a price, which you tell him would be lower at Amazon, and he says that's ok, cause the dollar amount shown amounts to less than 45 euros, the maximum amount permissible for a gift without duty on it, and you can take it and leave. And take the packaging off the counter.
It was "The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge", and picking it up also expanded my knowledge about christmas presents arriving from across the ocean. Today is almost mid-January.
( And thanks, really, for the present, sis, it's great ! )

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Reason means THINKING

And that's what Ayaan Hirsi Ali does in her review of Lee Harris' new book The Suicide of Reason. Here a link to that book review-essay in the NYTimes Book Review.
The necessity to defend reason, free thinking is an utter necessity, an urgent need, and it is my hope that this year will bring some light into the jungles of mystical romantic fundamentalist mindsets.
It does not help to look the other way: darkness must be seen to give light a chance.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"And behold, another year begins, [...]

[...] It knows what it is. And somehow, as if by magic, everyone in the whole world does, as well. The sweet sound passage of time."
(Bubble, from Absolutely Fabulous, comprehending the beginning of 1995)

Today is the beginning of the election of a a non-bushbaby so that the US can finally have a president again.

"Etwas, das noch so leis ist und kaum entstanden, soll man nicht gleich mit Worten belegen. Es ist genug wenn man es spürt." -W.Bräunig: Rummelplatz, S.584.

But once you can find the word, can speak it, you are contemplating existence.

Tomorrow we accompany the Berlin Mom to the radiation therapy planning session.

My hand stopped bleeding about an hour after I fell on some glass on the way home from an otherwise very enjoyable New Year's Eve celebration in Erich's village. It doesn't even hurt anymore, just looks disgusting, but now only scabbed, also bruised. D was my first-aid man, as he is anyway in my life. And we weren't even inebriated.

Enjoying some time to finish up some books, write a bit, think, before I start teaching again next week.

So, Happy New Year, everyone!