Roland Dürre
Monday April 9th, 2018

Double Agents

 

Double agent Dnalor in Warnemünde

Irony and Reality

Since I am an avid reader of John le Carré (Verräter wie wir) and Herbert Rosendorfer (Das Messingherz), I am, of course, very familiar with secret services and their methods.
Currently, there is another fantastic “use case” that I want to discuss with competence and analyse technologically. It is called Lapirks or something close.

Incidentally, the two books I mentioned are absolutely brilliant and worth reading. If I had to choose, I would probably put the „Messingherz“ silghtly before the other one. But here is my topic of today: the “double agent murder“!


Let us assume you are part of the secret service of an EU country and you want to do away with a double agent who is an extreme pain.

A double agent will have played two “employers” against each other for several years. He was paid well by both. Neither of the two employers can ever be quite sure if and when they were the employee’s priority. Perhaps both? This is also true for the employer who, at long last, will have him sitting as a(n) (inconvenient) louse in the pelt and has to pay his old age pension.

Consequently, being a double agent makes you some kind of champion in the secret service league, probably only topped by the very scarce three- or fourfold agent. On the other hand, it must be assumed that, first and foremost, a double agent is always an agent in his own interest. …

The employers of a double agent are in an uncomfortable situation. Because there is always the suspicion that, in reality, they were the ones that were cheated. But then, among secret services, “reality“  is not really important. What matters is “non-reality“!

Of course, if you kill someone, you will not like admitting to the deed. Not even if he was a double agent. In such a case, nothing is more natural than pointing towards the second employer.

For the double agent murder, you have two options: the single or the double indirection. The more intelligent but also the more costly way is doubtless the double indirection. In a nutshell, this is how it works:

Initially, you first let the – feign – suspicion point slightly towards yourself.  And then you are totally relaxed while proving that you actually cannot have been the murderer. Obviously, the other employer of the murdered (or rather: executed?) person must have done it.

Naturally, in neither of the two cases you use one of your own agents to kill the double agent. Usually, a friendly secret service will do it. Together with said friendly secret service, you will leave traces of evidence (that must be easy to prove wrong) that point towards your organization. And you also leave traces of evidence (that must be rock-solid) that show that the other employer was the murderer.

Using well prepared evidence, you show that you definitely cannot have done it! However, the other employer wants to make you look guilty! How outrageous! And here you are: you have the simple conclusion that only the other employer can have been the one. After all, he is evil incarnated, which is easy to prove, because, as everybody knows, you are a saint.

This scenario (initially feigning that you yourself are under suspicion and then finding out that the other one must have been it) can actually be quite successful. Especially if you perform with virtuosity and patience. And it can easily happen that the other employer will eventually look quite stupid.

However, this scenario is more for intelligent people. And in the Lapirks case, the only party that might perhaps have used this method are the Russians.

If the English were the culprits, then they used the simple indirection – which is common among secret service agents. To be sure, mostly it will not succeed because it is so clumsy. But this is irrelevant, because in the secret service world, nothing ever succeeds. Only the consequences of their activities are often quite atrocious.

The often used method of the simple indirection (which, of course, le Carré does not use in his demanding novels) works as follows:

You (as a secret service) ask a really good friend from the former Warshaw Pact for his support (this is really just an example!). He could, for instance, belong to the secret service from the former East Block countries you are now allied with. That would be someone who switched sides and has know-how and material about the environment of the second employer of the double agent who needs to be out of the way. Using “quasi Russian” methods, he puts the double agent out of action for a small favour. He likes doing this, because he (no longer) likes the Russians and enjoys giving them a hard time.

It is absolutely normal and not a problem if the double agent survives because he has not done a good job. More likely than not, the entire affair is about something totally different. That is the advanced secret service alphabet.

You will then immediately inform your political “superiors” that the Russians have, again, as is typical for them, done something very evil. Naturally, the term “superior” is nonsense, because if you are secret service, you do what you like. Forget about parliamentary control mechanisms…

In the case of a double agent, it is always easy to find a motive. In this case, the murder is meant as a warning to other double agents. Well, it sounds a little artificial, but then what is not artificial when we are talking secret services?

Your government will gladly believe you, because, after many embarrassing activities, they want to demonstrate strength. In fact, they do not want to know who was the culprit. After all, even they themselves (their secret service) might have been the ones. As I said: what government trusts its own secret service? And you really do not want to know something as unappetizing as this, do you?

Consequently, the best thing a government can do is be offensive and accuse the other side. The more massive and resolute you are about accusing the other party, the less anybody will doubt your word.

Of course, you will have to remove all witnesses. In our case a consternated cat. Since the secret service has a weak spot for cats, said cat will be killed for “humane reasons“. And, of course, you will have to follow the usual procedure, like burn all documents and delete all data.

Nor can you provide any tickets. After all, you cannot jeopardize your sources (other double agents). They, too, might get killed. Incidentally, this is an extremely stupid argument. It opens all the options.


So much for my satirical comment.

It could have been totally different. Especially if we are talking double agents. Perhaps a third party cheated on both the Brits and the Russians. It might have been some Mafia or the Americans. Or an individual criminal? Just because he needed revenge for something. Or whatever. Many scenarios are imaginable and the ”truth“ will probably never surface. Only one thing seems obvious: the “official” version as published by the British secret service is the least likely one.

And, again, I ask myself why we have secret services at all. And if these per-se uncontrollable police-like military units that are permitted to work beyond the constitutional state are perhaps a rather dangerous instrument in a constitutional democracy where the government is democratically legitimated.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday March 10th, 2018

You Know: He Might Actually be Right, Our Mister Trump.

Two facts are beyond dispute:

1) The EU imposes higher import taxes than the US

and

2) the US import more from the EU than they export into the EU

(source: Zeit)

Roland in Southern Georgia, where, for an entire century, wales and seals were killed just because it was profitable – which is also some kind of globalization.

Well, this suggests that the “partner” with lower import taxes is “the stupid one“, because he is the one who gets to import more than he can export. Basically, that sounds logical.

Let us look at the numbers and first take cars as an example.
The USA impose 2.5 % import taxes on cars. The EU imposes an import tax of 10 % on cars that transport passengers (cars, pick-up trucks if the loading area is smaller than half of the axis distance). This means that the EU imposes four times as much import tax as the USA.
Additionally, German car producers and their customers are also massively state subsidized (business car privilege, Diesel cars, research funds and prizes, no speed limit and no tolls, …).

The situation for motor bikes is similar:
The USA charges 2.4% for the import, the EU charges  8 % for motor bikes with a cubic capacity up to 250 ccm and 6 % for motor bikes with more than 250 ccm. In other words: the EU charges more than 3/2.5 times as much as the USA.

In general, it can be said that the current import tax rates for the two partners USA and EU are relatively low . Depending on which source you take, you can read:

“For the EU, we are talking an average of around 3 per cent of the product value, for the US, we have a little less than 2.5 per cent.“
(Cited from and source: Handelsblatt)

“According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the import tax of all US products in 2016 were at an average of 3.5 per cent. On the other hand, EU products had a rate of 5.2 per cent, and China even one of 9.9 per cent.“
(Cited from and source Spiegel)

So both sources say that the EU import taxes are, on average, considerably higher than those imposed by the USA (according to Handelsblatt by 25 %, according to Spiegel almost 50 %. For more information about import taxes, click here).

If you consider the twenty leading import and export countries for steel in 2010 (source: Wikipedia), you will notice that many countries exported around the same amount as they imported.

For Germany, this meant an export of 25,352 and an import of 22,733 (thousand tons) in 2010. For many other countries, such as Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Austria, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, … the export/import balance is similar.

Countries like China, Japan, Russia, that, for instance, exported twice as much as they imported, or at least considerably more than they imported. On the other hand, the USA imported twice as much as they exported – and the tendency increases.

But let us now assume the countries would first use their own steel and only export what they do not need, or else import what they cannot produce.

What a gigantic savings potential would lie in such a behaviour, along with all the avoided extravagance and environmental damage? Because overcoming the time-space threshold generally costs so much more than the allegedly so cheap transport.

In the late-capitalist world order, these ideas are unpopular and inconvenient. The conservative economic science of the 19th and 20th centuries, too, will simply tell you such assumptions are nonsense.
Because, according to the old theories, free trade is beneficial for all parties concerned and basically the requirement for global wealth. But what will “global wealth” be worth for me if the planet is spoiled in the process? Is such a thing as “global wealth” possible at all in reality?

In late capitalism, globalisation basically always was exclusively oriented towards taking advantage of the world-wide differences in wealth in order to maximize profit. It is always about making use of cheap labour. External costs, such as the destruction of nature, will be ignored – and this has been practiced for a long time. The fact that overcoming the time-space threshold costs considerably more than just the transport is “forgotten”.

In my eyes, the much-praised globalization becomes more and more suspect. I do not know how Mr. Trump feels about it. He is probably the last person who has the environment on his agenda. But perhaps protective taxes are exactly what the world (the environment) needs today.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
They say that a “trade war” is now threatening. I find it rather sad that the term “war” is used in this context. I believe we would find it quite easy to live with the consequences of a world full of tax mechanisms. The same is true for border control mechanisms. The consequences and the atrocities of all kinds associated with a true war, however, would mean a totally different dimension of misery.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday November 15th, 2017

The Future of the Planet

Today, I will not write about electric bikes or sex, but about politics.

The Jamaican coat of arms

Jamaica

Currently, many people develop a sudden interest in the land of Bob Marley. It is about Jamaica, which, naturally, is only a silly word-play. It is all about the “Coalition Discussions“ (Koalitionsverhandlungen) in Berlin. We call them Jamaica because the coat of arms of this country is identical with the colours of the parties concerned (black, yellow and green).

I must admit that I had been hopeful for the Green Party to be the positive factor in these discussions.

But what is the Green Party doing?

They went to Berlin with demands that were probably justified but it is clear that these demands cannot be successfully pushed through during negotiations (which has already been proved). The first of these demands was that the combustion motor be abolished in the year 2030 (1) and the second was that all coal-based power plants be closed by the same year (2). Especially (1) sounds more than utopian. Besides, we do not need general goals but actual measures.

Electricity must replace coal, not use it up!

I will not comment on (2). After all, it is evident that the only way we can and must end the “dark” era when fossil energy was burned using electricity. Yet replacing coal by electricity cannot mean that half of the electricity world-wide is produced with coal. This must (and will soon) become a thing of the past. However, I find (1) a lot more exciting.

Driving an automobile is out!

Everybody must realize that an “individual mobility” based on electricity cannot and will not be the same as many of us now use the car. Just like “autonomous cars”, too, will not be driven in the same way as MEN and WOMEN drive them now.

2030 will soon be here!

In only 12 years, it will have arrived – that is as many years as the life-span of a car used to be. In that respect, what the Green Party demanded would have been rather easy to realize.

Prepare for the exit!

One of the factors is to quickly establish a speed limit – if necessary, why not step-by-step so that people can get used to it – but with a clear end even before 2020 at a maximum of 30 km/h in closed built-up areas, 70 km/h on secondary streets and 100 km/h on motorways. And, also step-by-step, a truly relevant and drastic increase in taxes on fossil fuel (including kerosene for planes). And if then the gigantic subsidies on “business cars” (at least the huge practice of abuse) were finally restricted, then the entire scenario would make sense!

Slim end efficient!

That would be a slim and efficient solution and it would raise hopes for a “soft landing”. It would also make quite a few stupid ideas, such as road charges, obsolete. And the Green Party, perhaps for good reasons, does not wish to be unpopular. Mind you, I personally believe that being unpopular brings you more votes than it costs you.

Investing in the future

And the money you get from all these projects must not be spent for building even more new motorway crossings on two levels with up to ten lanes, which today apparently, as a consequence of the motorway expansion having to happen on ever more lanes, has become a necessity. Instead, we should invest these moneys in a public transport system and, of course, in the “energy change” – which basically only means the abolition of nuclear and coal-based electricity production. As I see it, we are actually already quite well under way in this respect.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday October 12th, 2017

Failed Emancipation

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment #54)

“Waiter – please bring a double cognac as fast as possible …!“,  Carl cried out excitedly while he was literally gulping air …

“Under way”, groaned the waiter while hurrying along his table. Thick drops of perspiration were building on his broad forehead.

“Whatever is the matter with you, Carl? Is it really necessary that you start filling up on cognac this early in the morning, when morning has hardly broken?”, Gerlinde irritably asked while taking a small sip of her freshly pressed orange juice with a worried expression on her face.

“Fear thee not, Gerlinde, I only need something really stiff to digest the news I am just reading in the paper here!“

“So – what sort of news is it?“ Gerlinde asked with raised eyebrows.

“Just imagine, the king of Saudi-Arabia and his very ambitions sun Mohamed bin Salam actually now, in the 21st century, want to allow women to drive cars!“

“How come?“

“Well – starting on June 2018 – women in Saudi-Arabia will be permitted behind the wheel of a car even without the consent of their husbands. Isn’t that absolutely maniac?“.

“Great! But as I know these brothers, there will certainly be some foul exhortation idea behind the deal… “

“Perhaps – but before you judge them too quickly, my dear, maybe we should remember that in Germany, too, the husband had the exclusive right to say what his wife and children should do until 1958.“

“Hm – great! But at least the women did not have to wear veils, did they“?

“No, they did not have to do that – but even if men allowed their wives to work, they were the ones who decided what happened with the incomes!“

“Super – that is what pimps still do for their sidewalk birds, isn’t it? “.

“Correct. The world is still as it should be in this patriarchal milieu!“

“It seems to me that you really need more cognac, Carl! If you are under the influence of alcohol, you definitely do not talk quite as much nonsense …“

“Yes, but only because I mostly go to sleep immediately! But where is this incompetent waiter now with my medicine?“

“Perhaps the waitress is quicker”, said Gerlinde. She jumped up and set a not-bad-looking young waitress onto the path of the dreamy waiter.

“And besides, if their husbands had not consented”, Carl, who obviously now knew no peace, continued, “women were not allowed to open their own bank accounts until 1962. How does that strike you?“

“There you see, my dear Carl, that is exactly why I absolutely do not wish to marry. I certainly would not want that to happen to me!“

“However, my dearest Gerlinde, this precaution is not necessary, because ever since 1969, every married woman in Germany is fully contractually capable.“

“Wow – that means everything really went at breath-taking speed with respect to the emancipation of the females – I am sure the CSU was the absolute pacemaker …“

“You mocker”, Carl smirked. He was still waiting for his cognac and getting more and more impatient …

“You are really poorly off with your cognac, Carl! In the meantime, would you like to take a sip of my orange juice? …“

“Excuse me! Has the day come when we men can no longer even drink our own cognac ?…“

“Carl, I will soon break out in tears“!

“Yes, please do – because otherwise I will have to do it”, Carl moaned.

“But there is truly no reason for you to do that, my dear Carl – with the exception that your cognac does not arrive, you men have no reason at all to lament, do you?“

“Oh – oh – and what about the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’; she is not only Honecker’s Late Revenge but also the Revenge of all Women Against Men for suffered wrongs!“

“As always, you are exaggerating, Carl!“

“I am not exaggerating at all, because the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’ would even be elected by all the women and elderly persons if she were ’a mounted specimen’  …“

“You know, instead of talking such nonsense, you probably had better get your own house in order “!

“Why is that..?“

“Why don’t you look at all the ’male specimens’ – for example the wonderful Herrn Schulz – or the kissing Herrn Junker – or the divine Mr. Trump – along with the grinning Kim Jong Un – or the eternal Bavarian drooling Herrn Seehofer… or – or – or … compared to those honourable gentlemen, even a ’preserved specimen of the Female Chancellor’ looks like an improvement to me …“

“Well, unfortunately, and as an exception to the rule – and very reluctantly – I have to agree with you, dear Gerlinde: the guild of men currently active is really a unique example for the word pitiful!“

“There you see, Carl …“! – when Gerlinde said this she had enough tact to suppress all display of triumph!

“But still, God has mercy on us men, Gerlinde: because at long last, my very dearly craved cognac is arriving!“

In fact, the friendly waitress suddenly came scuffling from nowhere and placed a huge brandy balloon – into which Carl might actually have jumped directly – in front of him under a thousand apologies and manoeuvres for the endless waiting time. And before Gerlinde could look around properly, his head actually already hung in the balloon up to his neck…

This was the only possible explanation for the fact that Carl, immediately after the cute waitress had vanished as picturesquely as a gazelle, could come up with the dry statement that, regardless of all currently felt superiority of the females, nobody could seriously doubt that even this lovely waitress was still moving on a pair of ’waiting upper legs’  …so why would we need a superiority complex? When all was said and done, women were, like in all times, basically just ’a piece cut out of man’, weren’t they?

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 6th, 2017

Catalonia

My Dream of EUROPE

La senyera – The Catalonian Flag.

Currently, everybody talks about Catalonia. So I will also add my “five cent”:

I would be quite glad if Catalonia were to secede from Spain. It would not do any harm to Europe, either. On the contrary.

And Catalonia would not be able to escape the EURO, either. Consequently, we would also have to permit them to remain in the EU and ignore a possible veto from Spain if Catalonia applies for EU membership. After all, they already were members, which means that it is not a new membership.

Maybe the remainder of Spain wants to continue with the monarchy as established by Franco and apply for leaving the EU? However, I would not recommend it to them. They definitely should refrain from re-erecting Franco monuments and leave fascism well alone.

We might need a few additional stars – just like we need more of them in the skies?

But this is not about Catalonia. For me, it is all about a vision for Europe that would probably contribute a little towards solving a few of the current problems.

What we need is a EUROPE that is a close-knit federation of regions (i.e. regional countries or states). These regions should have more or less the same size and thus be able to cooperate at eye-level. My assumption is: the smaller the states, the more of them we have and the closer they are connected, the better!

To be sure, to make it a success, a few requirements that are hard to meet would need to be fulfilled:

  1. A federation of European regions would have to serve the people – and not the entrepreneurs, concerns and speculators.    
For me, that is a central requirement. Consequently, free markets at any price, the mindless abolition of borders do not have priority. Limitless growth, maximum consumption for all and unlimited riches cannot be the ultimate goal of a new “federation of values Europe”.  Just like a misinterpreted freedom without duties is not a value.
  2. Europe cannot be allowed to become an end in itself.    
Europe must not aim at becoming a superpower and have an internationally leading role, perhaps even be some kind of new world police. Because that is not what we need and besides, a Europe that develops sustainably will have an important role worldwide with huge influence anyway, even without nuclear weapons and carriers.
  3. Solidarity is not something that is achieved through subsidies.    
Solidarity between regions and humans cannot be achieved by handing out cheques. In particular, it cannot be achieved exclusively by handing out cheques. The subsidies for farming in the old EU are a good example. They destroyed exactly what they (perhaps) wanted to preserve.
  4. The national states must go.    
That is true for all of them, especially the big ones like Germany, France, Italy, Spain … (and also Great Britain, which, as of now, is still part of it). Because we no longer need all this nationally dominated lamenting – we could actually leave it, for instance, to soccer.

For me, the points 1 and 4 are the most important.

Ad 1.)  What is so bad about a county protecting its local markets and characteristics in a reasonable way? What is so bad about more control if crime increases? As I see it, you need some kind of border control when you have reached a certain dimension. And if that is so, then I prefer a systematic and controlled way of doing it, rather than  the haphazard way we see today.
In a living and responsibly functioning Europe, there can be no room for lobbyism and the currently existing oligarchy of interest groups they call parties.
This may sound unimaginable, because you need to re-define democracy and probably you will also need a more direct democracy. But we are entitled to some utopian ideas!
Because we have the right (and the obligation) to preserve the European cultures in all their diversity and to also preserve a heterogeneous Europe. This must be explicitly desired in a Europe of regions. It must be discussed together and supported by ample means. Otherwise, Europe will never really materialize.
And it must happen in the interest of all people – except the speculators and some super rich individuals or super powerful systems. Especially if they are de-personalized and have become independent.

Ad 4.)  
How nice would it be to have a Europe of smallish regions. The reasons why it would be nice are mostly rational. Basically, small and self-organised systems always work better than big ones, especially if those big ones are also controlled and administered externally. Flat hierarchies make a realistic form of subsidiarity easier. Politically spoken, we would only have two, rather than – as today – three hierarchical levels in the “upper echelons”.
In this model, the EU would be the top level and the international presence of all regions. It is controlled by the council of the regions, all of which can have their own autonomous structures. The nationally infected level in between, for instance Berlin, Paris, Rome – or, in this case, Madrid – would be gone for good.
You would also no longer need a veto right for individual states (no matter if we are talking a few 100,000 people or 80 million). It would be replaced by a qualified majority in the council of regions.
Whenever a region falters or behaves totally irrational, which is something that can always happen, it would be easier to heal than today. Just remember how impossible it is to influence a country like Poland. In a system at eye-level, it would also be easier and more direct to practice solidarity than it can be done with the current EU sprinkling system.
In other words, the EU would have to consist of “states” none of which can be bigger than, for example, Bavaria. But perhaps even Bavaria is too big to be just one EU region? Even here, a reasonable division is quite feasible, and thus at least a good solution would be possible.
So we have to divide the national states. It would be easy for the FR of Germany, because we already have a rather reasonable county structure. You could just take it (and perhaps improve it as suggested in the last paragraph). I would leave small states like Bremen or Hamburg. If currently Estonia qualifies for EU membership, why should not the two proud German Hanseatic Cities be a region each – just like Estonia would be a region?

If we wish to heal EUROPE, then we may and must definitely have and strive towards these kinds of utopian ideas! Otherwise it will never become true! And then comes the big hangover!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Here is a positive idea about the so detrimental shared currency:    
I basically believe that the best solution would be to have different currencies according to the “maturity/state” of a region (I will call them EURO1, EURO2 and EUROn). But that is a very complicated topic. I would rather not discuss it here.
However, here is a positive idea if you have only one EURO: It is quite possible that one EURO for all regions– regardless of many disadvantages – could also have a huge advantage. One EURO for all of them would be something like the iron ring that holds them all together. And thus it makes it impossible to exit and helps when it comes to overcoming future regional crises. But then, that would again need another utopia to become reality – a currency policy of the EZB that differs from the one currently witnessed under “Super-Mario“ Draghi.

Roland Dürre
Sunday September 10th, 2017

Another “Coming Out“ – #BTW2017

A cynical party-parody. Unfortunately, I mean it seriously, which makes it a sad thing.

In two weeks, I will again have to vote.

Perhaps 50 years ago.

My civil “super-ego” forces me to go to the elections. After all, I do believe that democracy is doubtless one of the better political systems, even if ours has been seriously perverted and consequently suffered huge damage due to “election marketing”, the dominance of lobbyism when it comes to legislation and government and a party oligarchy.

Besides, the party I vote for will not only get my vote but also one Euro from the state (if certain requirements are met ).

Consequently, I have spent quite some time already in preparation for the next election Sunday. Here is the current state of my personal evaluation. I chose the exclusion principle:

For historical reasons, I cannot vote for the big “people’s parties“ CDU and CSU. They both are responsible for the German re-armament against the expressed wish of the German people. In quite a goal-oriented way, it was prepared by the protagonist Adenauer immediately after WW-II and then realized as soon as possible in a fashion that I would call “criminal”. 
In doing so, they failed to take advantage of a unique historical chance. A chance that perhaps no other country except Germany ever had – which was due to its miserable history in the 20th century. As a consequence of the establishment of the “Bundeswehr”, the GDR followed suit three years later with the creation of the “Volksarmee” – and that was the moment up from which two German states, both heavily armed, confronted each other on either side of a brutal border. 
Without re-armament, the revival of the German weapons industry would not have been possible, either. Another result was forced labour that they called “compulsory military service”. It cost me 18 months of my life. 
Moreover, both “C-parties” have – to this day – seen to it that the political and social characteristics of the FRG are such that it became an opportunistic and egoistic welfare system. Protection of your property has become the highest social value. Even the “C” in the name cannot camouflage that fact. 
Under CDU dominated governments, the state became a marionette of the industry, the destruction of the environment (air, water, soil, nature) was accepted and even promoted (!), as for instance can be seen in the war on the streets. It became the ruling task of the educational system that young people should be turned into consumers and trained to be the labouring masses for the industry. Social solidarity was misinterpreted and freedom was sacrificed. . 
Parties that, to this day, believe that all these measures were good will not get my vote.

Neither can I, these days, vote for the SPD and Green Party, because they not only supported all these things, but also must be made responsible for making foreign German Armed Forces activities possible. At the time, the red-green coalition broke a taboo:
The German Armed Forces were no longer exclusively for defence, but “in order to take world-wide responsibility”. Consequently, that was the time when the FRG started to not only export weapons but also war. 
Unfortunately, if you take a close look at history, the polemic rhyme: “Who was the traitor, social democrats?” is only too true for the SPD. Even my agreeing with the ideal of social democracy cannot make up for this. 
As I see it, the Green Party developed from an idealistic-moralistic party to become an indoctrinated event – besides, I observe that the change from being an opposition to becoming a reigning party took place in an exceptionally foul way: ideals were sacrificed for positions and power.

I do not want to give my vote to the FDP. I am not really familiar with their negative historic achievements because I never took great notice of the party. However, in my perception, the FDP is and always was a party that – with the exception of a few protagonists – always acted rather opportunistic. It also basically always functioned as a party of patronage. And they received even more huge donations from industry than the other aforementioned parties. Besides: if someone demands and propagates FREEDOM yet does not know the meaning of the word, then I do not want to support them.

So what other parties do we have?

Currently, the AfD is rather successful. Well, I need not give reasons in this article why I cannot and will note vote for them. Just like the NPD is out of the question for me. Luckily, it seems like the NPD is no longer relevant. Regardless of the fact that, for reasons I cannot follow, the aforementioned parties constantly seem to try and forbid the NPD, rather than the AfD.

Next, let us take a look at the “Freien Wähler“ and the Freie Bürger Union (FBU). In Wikipedia, several groups of voters  and one small party call themselves “Freie Bürger Union“. They are present in various German cities and constituencies. Bavaria is a regional centre of these groups. And: they consist of bourgeois conservative or rightist-liberally  oriented regional communal politicians, activists and sometimes former representatives of the CDU/CSU who are no longer party members. I cannot give them my vote. 
Among other things, the Freien Wähler want to strengthen municipal self-administration. Their given reason for becoming candidates both on county and state level is that the politics of county and state undermine the independence of the municipalities The party is in favour of separate financial responsibility for the municipalities. On the European level, the party demands that excluding a region must become a set rule in parliament. I cannot vote for them.

So now I need to discuss the “Piraten”. According to Wikipedia, this party considers itself the party of the Information Society and thus as part of the international movement for participation when it comes to the change, they give high priority to “digital revolution” and consequently the information society. I rather like that. In fact, I already voted for the Pirates once in the past. To me, they seemed like a party full of values that, luckily, did not have a programmatic approach. Instead, they basically want to provide their know-how on digitalization, which is a focal point of their agenda. I also knew some members of the Pirate party. They were small entrepreneurs or else freelancers. Some of them were quite nice. 
Then, however, the Pirates thought they had to write a program and thus give up the principle of free actions following the best possible knowledge. In my eyes, this was how they exchanged their agile souls for the hope of success. Ever since then (as a matter of course), their development was in one direction only: down. For me, they were no longer a party I could vote for. What a pity.

Now I already analysed 10 (in words: ten) parties and none of them can get my vote! Am I heading towards abstaining? Will I let my election-Euro go unused? Well, not all is lost, because there are a few parties left.

I find Die Linke in Wikipedia. It says that Die Linke (aka  Linkspartei )  was created through the merging of the SPD splitter WASG and the Linkspartei.PDS. The latter is a result of a re-naming of the SED successor PDS in 2005. This is how Die Linke suffers from a stigma that, to this day, has prevented it from becoming acceptable in society. Allegedly, there are still numerous SED and Stasi people on board, although this seems unlikely to me, if only for demographic reasons. If I were the Wahlomat kind of person, I would probably vote for “Die Linke”, because in their program, I find quite a few things that I absolutely agree with. 
On the other hand, I own a small but industriously earned amount of money – and there is a historic fear in me that the communists might wish to take my millions away from me. As they say: “Only the most stupid calves will vote for their own butchers.“
Apropos calves: there is a Song, but it is directed against the AfD – rather than against Die Linke. However, I do not wish to be a stupid calf.
On the other hand, perhaps I should vote for Die Linke, after all? With modern “democratic honesty”, you should probably vote for the party that you like best. Consequently, I cannot discount the possibility of giving them my vote. Albeit without enthusiasm. But then, enthusiasm left me a long time ago.

But I have not yet reached that stage. I keep looking. Riding my bike to Unterhaching, I see a poster advertising “Die Grauen”. I am thinking of my sparse pension. If I had nothing on top of it, I would be really poorly off. Regardless of the fact that I paid the highest possible pension insurance for decades.
However: Die Grauen have the slogan “For all Generations”. What a disappointment. They are not in favour of us retired people, after all.
However, I find it nice, because I have children and grandchildren. And I want them, too, to be well off. 
According to Wikipedia, “Die Grauen” see themselves in the tradition of the movement Graue Panther that was founded in the 1970ies by Trude Unruh. As opposed to this movement, the party does not see itself as a party for the elderly, but instead has an all-encompassing political approach that they also want to see reflected in the name tag amendment. They formulate their philosophy in the foreword of the party program: “In a global world that moves faster and faster, Die Grauen want to combine the energy of youth with the experience of the elderly and form a society worth living in”. Well, this seems to sound nice. For me, however, it contains too many buzzwords. So I will gladly forget Die Grauen.

I start getting desperate. I found a dozen parties – and only one of them is even remotely an option. But – as they say: never give up. If you fall down, you have to get up again. Clean your mouth and continue.

So I continue. And lo and behold, I see a poster with a very special message:
Don’t be a Horst!

That is something I understand immediately. I definitely would not wish to be one. When he was Minister of Health in Berlin, he committed enough crimes. And now he is king of Bavaria. 
Except: the poster advertises “Die Partei”. According to Wikipedia, DIE PARTEI  is a party for work, for a constitutional state, for animal protection, for elite promotion and for basis-democratic initiatives (Apronym: Die PARTEI). It is a German small party that was founded in 2004 by a few editors of the satire magazine Titanic and distinctly has parody character.“ 
We also read: Die PARTEI meets the legal requirements formulated in the Parteiengesetz. However, some doubt that their program is actually meant seriously. Among other things, they imitate characteristics and electoral campaign methods used by other parties and occasionally some of the members are seen on other party’s events.

Well, basically I am the type of reader who reads POSTILLON, but you must never be too one-sided. “Die Partei“ is also called the satire party. When I hear satire, I think cabaret. And immediately, I think of people like Bruno Jonas, Claus Wagner, Dieter Hildebrandt, Gerhard Polt, Jörg Hube, Josef Hader, Georg Schramm, Maximilian „Max“ Uthoff, Sigi Zimmerschied, Urban Priol (Pelzig) and Werner Schneyder. Not to forget the much-loved Hanns Dieter Hüsch. These are all people I saw many times and some of them I was personally acquainted with. They all absolutely impressed me with their sensitivity, their sharp intellect and their precise logics. I admire how they were able to retain their sense of humour in the face of everything. These are people I managed to have honest discussions with quite quickly.

Most of the cabaret people I saw on TV or when I went to their shows made a huge impression on me. Maybe it makes sense, after all, to actually vote for a “satire party”. Especially if such a party offers itself to frustrated non-voters who need to be persuaded to vote at all? 
Unfortunately, this party, too, has a shadow looming over it. A short time ago, I followed a constructive facebook discussion about whether or not anybody can call himself responsible if he votes for a satire party in times like ours, where the social spiral rapidly points downwards and huge problems loom over the horizon. Because times are basically the exact opposite of hilarious. 
As I see it, this is a serious argument. But then, maybe we should solve the problems with serious humour? So now I found another party besides Die Linke that might qualify as a recipient of my cross and one Euro.

However, I want more. This is not the way to get on. So now I use another concept of thought and ask myself what was the last relevant social change in Bavaria I considered progress and which party initiated it.

The answer is easy – it was Non-Smokers’ Protection. In Bavaria, it has now even been enforced on the Octoberfest, which is something that seemed to be unthinkable for a long time. Consequently, this year, I can really look forward to the Octoberfest that takes place at the same time as the elections. I will spend the evening of election day with friends drinking in a smoke-free environment. In Bavaria, the protection of non-smokers was initiated after a plebiscite “Non-Smokers’s Protection” on July, 4th,2010 after a successful  petition for a referendum  “For true non-smokers’ protection!“. The petition had aimed at changing the Bavarian Health Protection Law (Gesundheitsschutzgesetz, GSG). As a consequence, they eventually installed a ban on smoking  in all pubs without exception. The C party had been against it on the grounds that, allegedly, the entire Bavarian restaurant sector would be ruined. The initiative had come from Sebastian Frankenberger and the ÖDP.
Well, my discussion of parties had actually not yet mentioned the ÖDP. Incidentally, their program is a fairly good match to my ideas. However, I sometimes fear that there might be a lot of protestant frugality and catholic saintliness in this party. However, as long as the goals are the right ones and I am not forced to become a catholic…

So now I found three parties that might actually be worthy of my vote: Die Linke, the Partei and the ÖDP. During the next few weeks, I will gather some more information and think about it – and then I will decide. After all, I know full well that decisions are always made under uncertainty.

And now, for the time being, there is an end to me “outings”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Today, when I rode my bike home, I saw a DKP poster at the Ottobrunn S-Bahn station. It said: “More Income, Less Armament”. Well, that sounds reasonable and rational. But can anybody vote for DKP? Somehow or other, that would be strange.

Roland Dürre
Thursday August 10th, 2017

Digitalisation – Experts Talking at InterFace.

More often than not, situations arise by accident. All you have to do is create the right surroundings. It is always the same in life. Here is the story about how the “IF Expert Talk” on “Digital Transformation” at InterFace on July, 14th, 2017, was brought about.

First and foremost, you need to know that my beloved IT colleague and card-playing friend Lothar has been a member of the SPD for many years and as such was also the chairman of the board of directors at SPD-Ortsverein Neubiberg. In this role, he had invited me a few years ago to give a presentation about “new economy” (or something similar) for his SPD comrades at an SPD event.

That is what I did. After all, I travel a lot trying to make people aware of the fact that progress is, basically, important, but that you also have to act with a huge amount of responsibility when creating progress. To demonstrate this, I often cite the great Bertrand Russell:

All increase in technology will create a corresponding increase of wisdom if you want it to go with an increase, rather than with a decrease, of human happiness.

This sentence should make us all a little more considerate and critically contemplative.

So, while we were playing cards, Lothar told me that Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel (deputy SPD chairman) was going to be in our region on Friday, July, 14th and that the regional SPD was welcoming him between 4 and 5 p.m. He said that the guest had expressed the desire to attend “an event in or near Unterhaching“, with as little organizational effort for him as possible.

And the new SPD chairman was keen on organizing the visit to a modern enterprise in Unterhaching for Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, perhaps with some connection to digitalization. Since he remembered my presentation at the SPD (years ago), he had the idea that maybe InterFace AG was a good choice.

As you all know, I am no longer active in the operative business of InterFace AG, but I still try to accompany and support the enterprise as a “friendly board member”.

Consequently, I gladly made the visit of an SPD delegation at the InterFace AG headquarters in Unterhaching possible. Among other things, I believe this kind of thing is also part of our social responsibility as an enterprise.

And, accidentally, the regular board member meeting of InterFace AG was scheduled for the very same day, July, 14th, between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Which meant that both my highly appreciated colleagues on the board of directors Dr. Professor Kathrin Möslein (deputy chairwoman) and Manfred Broy (chairman) were present.

And who could be better qualified to say something about digitalization in Bavaria and Germany than Manfred Broy, who is the founder of the Zentrum-Digitalisierung.Bayern (ZD.B)? Consequently, it was an obvious thing for me to ask the chairman of our supervisory board to interrupt our board meeting while the SPD delegation was visiting and to be part of the expert talk “digitalization” with Bela Bach and Herrn Schäfer-Gümbel.

After the expert talk, we continued with our supervisory board session and our visitors went to see the IF Lab. The video where you can see our visitors judge their stay actually made quite an impression on me.

Here is the full-length video of the “IF expert talk” on “digital transformation” from July, 14th, 2017 in Unterhaching at InterFace AG. You see the SPD candidate for parliament of the region München Land, Bela Bach, the SPD vice director Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, Prof. Dr. Dr. hc Manfred Broy (founding president of the Zentrum Digitalisierung.Bayern) and Paul Schuster, speaker of the board of directors at InterFace AG. Incidentally, Bela Bach did a great job moderating the expert talk. Earlier, she had told me that this was a first for her!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday August 5th, 2017

Theatre, States and the Church …

On Thursday, August, 2rd, I went to a debut performance at the Sommerhausen Torturmtheater. Currently, they are playing a piece by  Philipp Löhle. The title is “Der Wind macht das Fähnchen“.

This time around, four female actors play on the small Torturmtheater stage: Judith RiehlNadia SchwienbacherChristian Buse and David Lindermeier. Other active persons were Oliver Zimmer as the director and, of course, the great Angelika Relin, without whom this entire enterprise would not even exist.


Visiting the Sommerhausen Torturmtheater.


And Barbara and yours truly enjoyed the privilege of being present at the debut performance. We very much enjoyed a special performance. It was an evening as it will never return and it made me truly happy.

You cannot miss this performance. It will (only!) run until September, 30th, which means you already want to plan your trip to Sommerhausen. Here is the pre-view:


“Here it is, my whole pride” – the family. An experiment for the brave? 
In the year nineteen-hundred-and-some-uneven, when the world was still a better place, the story begins. Father, mother, son and daughter can be seen smiling in fast-motion as snapshots are taken at the breakfast table or during the Italy vacation. However, the bourgeois image is tricky, because as soon as hard times come, nobody stands up for the other. The family, too, depends on economic ups and downs. Everything collapses when father miscalculates the future of the modern “internetwork” and – consistently – gives notice. And it is this of all consistent acts he hands down to his son for life at the moment of truth.  
After crisis and separation, there is re-unification and new family portraits, seemingly in total harmony, but the idyll now has cracks. Irreparable cracks.


I had already been fascinated by the last play I had watched: “Eine Sommernacht”. Now it was even better – if that is possible. There is always great theatre at the Sommerhausen Torturmtheater. “Das Fähnchen“ is an exciting comedy with plenty of whit and intrigue!


It was a great theatre evening.


The beautiful conclusion of a wonderful day we had spent on our bikes. After approximately a hundred kilometres on our bikes on our way from Klingenberg to Sommerhausen, along the river Main with a few shortcuts through rolling hills, we arrived at Sommerhausen late in the afternoon. There was still time for refreshments and relaxing. And half an hour before the comedy started, we arrived at the Torturmtheater.


Some theatre before the theatre performance.


We enjoyed the always impressive theatre foyer and were looking forward to the performance. It was not altogether by force (it was not really necessary to listen carefully) that I listened to a conversation between a middle-aged gentleman (perhaps between forty and fifty) and an elderly couple (perhaps between sixty and seventy, with the lady not really saying anything, instead only reproachfully looking at her husband). For me, it was like a “small private theatre before the real theatre started“!

It was a dispute where the younger gentleman kept noisily finding it outrageous how the church behaved and what special rights that were no longer acceptable it took for granted. The other person tried to speak in defence of the church in a softer voice.

The younger gentleman criticized the church tax as a consequence of the concordat that seems to have been first installed in the 1930ies after negotiations with the Nazis. He found it annoying that leading church managers, like cardinals and bishops, get paid by the state.

The other gentleman pointed out that, after all, the church was socially very active with good deeds and that this was probably worth the price the state pays. Then the older gentleman said that the protestant church was probably better than the Catholic church. The younger gentleman countered that the protestant church actually made quite a huge profit with the Diakonie. And it continued in that manner.

Then the younger one found it lamentable that children had three hours of religious instruction at school where they were indoctrinated. The older one defended this system by claiming that school, basically, was not just there to teach knowledge, but also to give young people values. None of it was really high-level, the arguments were the same as always and nothing new. Not really exciting. Not even the values.

(After all, in my opinion, introducing values is actually part of teaching knowledge. But then, I learned a long time ago not to become an active participant in these kinds of discussions).

So I started thinking about the experiences I myself had had with the church. That reminded me of my friend and teacher Rupert Lay. I learned so much from him, above all that I have to appreciate my own qualities and take myself seriously. And that I have to be an autonomous person who is not easily manipulated.


The Jesuit Rupert Lay.


Rupert’s goal in life was to be there for the poorest of the poor. However, for him, that were not only the homeless and those who were ostracized from society. In his opinion, especially top managers belonged in this category. Which is probably correct. For me, it is hard to imagine any other profession (with the possible exception of pastors) where you have so many crazy people as among the directors of the German and international concerns. Sorry, but when I say “crazy”, I mean people who suffer from massive psychic illness and disorders.

Rupert Lay was mostly concerned with managers who had stayed sane. The “sick ones” were sorted out during his preparatory seminars. They never were allowed to attend his advanced seminars. After all, they would probably only have been a nuisance and would not have understood anything.

The really expensive fees you had to pay for Rupert Lay’s seminars were all transferred to his order, the Jesuits. And since Rupert Lay generally structured his activities to look like pastoral care, the tax office did not benefit either. At the time, some civil servants at the tax office found this extremely unfair, but apparently even they could not win against the power of the churches.


Heinrich Henckel von Donnersmark – Stage Name: Augustinus – and Rupert Lay.


I was also reminded of Father Augustinus, whose secular name was Henckel von Donnersmark. He was a baron. I knew him as well and liked him very much. Even though Rupert Lay was a Jesuit while Augustinus was a Premonstratensian Chorister. Both of them were the protagonists for ethics in business. I rather liked that. They were important counsellors of German top people in industry and politics. And they also made a good name for themselves as excellent speakers and management trainers.

Rupert Lay saw the system church a lot more critical than the “nice” Augustinus. Consequently, we (the Ronneburger Kreis) invited them to Frankfurt for a dispute. And we were quite surprised, because in the end there was far too much harmony. Basically, they kept telling the opponent that he was right.

For me, Augustinus was the best orator I ever knew. I well remember one of his presentations in Wiesbaden in the 1990ies for ICL – at the time a relevant IT producer from Great Britain. He had introduced himself as manager of “the enterprise Catholic Church” and described his role as that of the “lobbyist of the most powerful and oldest enterprise of the world”. Quite some self-irony.


Churches talk about peace and love.


On the other hand, the presentation also gave me an insight about myself that I see confirmed to this day. The church is an enterprise that has peace and love written all over its statutes. Quasi as Marketing. They have been doing this for more than 2,000 years. In all these years, it thrived with this message and became really rich and perhaps also powerful. I find it extremely sad that, in all those 2,000 years, it never managed (and perhaps never even wanted) to make the world a little more peaceful and love-oriented. On the contrary: to this day, the Catholic Church, along with its competition on the market, cause the opposite of peace and love: war and hatred.

Consequently, that was the time when I first understood that I do not wish to associate myself with a system like the church. Nor will I say more about it.

Just like I will never again vote for CDU/CSU because they are the reason why we had re-armament in Germany. The same is true for the SPD and the Green Party. I will not vote for these parties because they broke an important taboo when they allowed fighting missions abroad for the ‘German Armed Forces.
Basically, everything is quite simple:

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
And if you want to go to Sommerhausen by train, you want to look for the railway station of Winterhausen. From the Winterhausen station, it is only one kilometre to the theatre on foot..

Roland Dürre
Friday March 17th, 2017

We Cure the Symptoms and Ignore the Sources.

Long Live Populism!

or
Talking Instead of Acting?

Charly, the Great Dictator.

Now I witnessed the first (electoral) campaign events with Martin Schulz. Even from the distance, I got the impression that this is another and admittedly talented attempt at using the general uncomfortable feeling of many persons as a resonance body for someone’s own goals and demanding a few improvements where small details are concerned that, however, only equal a treatment of symptoms if you look at the entire picture.

In these speeches, I perceived what is probably generally called populism and what is probably the last remaining recipe for success in the current generation of politicians. Apparently, nobody ever got the idea of asking what caused the problems and then introducing change in a social consensus through political activities.

Consequently, Martin Schulz is the next populist looming on the horizon for Europe. This time it is a candidate for the one “party of the people”. Again, the motto in the speeches I heard is the same:

We are appalled by the symptoms and enjoy to point out what went wrong, but we do not dare to approach the sources.

After all, that would be system-critical and call for change. Which is an absolute no-go. Especially for the SPD. Because that is something the comrades forbade themselves many years ago. After all, they want back to power. And even when they were part of the government, they avoided all “system-critical” issues wherever possible. Because “holy” practical constraints and systemic necessities stood in the way of change.

The environmental catastrophe and destruction of our planet (plastic, climate, …) and the social polarization of humanity with all its consequences such as flight because of destroyed living space and more left them just as untouched. In fact, they would like to just leave these issues out of the government altogether. Because it would only have be a nuisance.

“Social Democracy First” is rhetorically easy to communicate. Except: it is a little harder to actually realize and then to work on the causes. After all, you do not want to be (too) inconvenient and you also would not wish to hurt anybody, would you? These topics do not even appear in the electoral slogans, because bad news are not popular. Especially if you can no longer ignore them.

Regardless of the fact that reality, too, might well be a good topic for populists. See the video below. But if you talk about reality, you cannot be afraid of your own courage. You have to be able to bear the truth. And you are ill-advised if you fear that it might cost you votes. So what you need is courage. But currently, it seems that cowardice is more popular. Fear happens between the ears and it reigns over the world in a truly demonic way.

So here, yet again, I am trying to describe the reasons why our society drifts apart into fewer and fewer rich and more and more poor people. Which is exactly where you should get active if you call yourself a social democrat.

The reasons for polarisation are:

  • The free speculation with everything: currencies, enterprises, food, raw materials, property, copyright, all sorts of rights …
  • A property legislation that protects individual “mental property” in an exorbitant and excessive way;
  • A general understanding of ownership that seems to have totally isolated itself from the maxim of “ownership is also a responsibility”;
  • The social legitimacy of illegitimate influence on common-good interests exerted by interest groups (aka lobbyism as a criminal act of advantage theft);
  • Propaganda, including the seduction and manipulation on all levels, also of the sub-conscious, as a normal business method (aka marketing). Seduction that aims at making the concerned persons behave in contrast to their will and ratio.

Although we know better, we still believe that

  • Growth beats health;
  • Taylorismus beats task-identity;
  • Shareholder Value beats common-good economy.

When will we understand that

  • the interests of the stakeholders (customers, employees, …) should have priority over the shareholder interests and that
  • In a society with a future social togetherness instead of private property preservation must have the highest priority both for all individuals and the entity?

So why do politicians never talk causes but instead only make loud populist noises? And why do they always only write in their programs about minimal corrections and symptoms that need to be cured? And why do these methods actually make them successful?

🙂 Here is an example for POPULISM I rather like. Even if Harald Lesch is only partly correct (and I can easily imagine it), my aforementioned “social fear” might soon no longer play a role at all, because surviving will be more important.

Yes – this is exactly the speech I would like to hear from a politician…

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday February 21st, 2017

MORE MONEY FOR ARMAMENT …

Says the USA as they look towards EUROPE …

 

 
 
 

I find it terrible

  • After all, up to now I believed it is the world-wide goal of everybody to wage fewer wars, kill fewer people, produce less misery and build fewer weapons.
  • And that weapons always will only be useful for business in the weapons industry.
  • In the last fifty years, I myself never knew a war that solved any problems. On the contrary.
  • Side effect: now I know that Greece (relative to its gross national product) is the EU country that spends most money on armament (2,4 %) and Germany (thanks to the strict rules formulated by the “federation partners” when we were “re-united”), least (1,2 %).
  • Just like I always also hear that, among all the EU countries, Greece is worst off and Germany best off.
    🙂 Honi soit qui mal y pense!
  •  

     
     
     

And here are some questions.

  • Why does not EUROPE counter by asking the USA to spend more money on climate protection?
  • How does EUROPE expect to become more independent if they do not vehemently oppose the amoral request of the USA, rather than agreeing like an obedient sheep?
  • What exactly are the shared values of the USA and Europe that need to be defended?
    (Would you like me to guess? I cannot think of very much.)
  • Does the NATO really have to manoeuvre in the Baltic States and already plan the next manoeuvres in Poland?

In particular, I do not understand it because EUROPE, just like the USA (and the same is true for the enemy RUSSIA) are bankrupt with permanently increasing debts. And besides, these nations, just like the entire world, have totally different concerns that they really should get worried about. It is the “fear that eats up the soul” and truly fills the heads of some old men from a world long gone. That makes me sad.

RMD
(Translated by EG)