Quote of the Day: Dostoevsky on Virtue Signalling

The narrator describes an article by the writer Karmazinov, Dosteovsky's satirical portrayal of Turgenev:

"A year before, I had read an article of his in a review, written with an immense affectation of naïve poetry, and psychology too. He described the wreck of some steamer on the English coast, of which he had been the witness, and how he had seen the drowning people saved, and the dead bodies brought ashore. All this rather long and verbose article was written solely with the object of self-display. One seemed to read between the lines: 'Concentrate yourselves on me. Behold what I was like at those moments. What are the sea, the storm, the rocks, the splinters of wrecked ships to you? I have described all that sufficiently to you with my mighty pen. Why look at that drowned woman with the dead child in her dead arms? Look rather at me, see how I was unable to bear that sight and turned away from it. Here I stood with my back to it; here I was horrified and could not bring myself to look; I blinked my eyes—isn't that interesting?'"

Dostoevsky, The Possessed

42 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: Dostoevsky on Virtue Signalling

  1. A plug for an article on Gatestone: Germany: The Terrifying Power of Muslim Interpreters

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8391/germany-muslim-interpreters

    Do I hear you ask, Stakhanov, you’re a sworn interpreter with experience translating for German courts and the police, is it really that bad?

    My answer is a qualified yes. You see, I usually don’t get to observe interpreting in the top refugee languages being done, as I would have no reason to be in the courtroom or interrogation room then.

    However, some of the Arabic-language colleagues are in the professional association, and I can say without a doubt from conversations over a cup of coffee (as well as reliable reports of criminally corrupt behavior) that the slimiest, shadiest representatives of our profession come from their ranks. (Not that other nationalities are invariably upstanding citizens, sometimes they aren’t.) And these are actually the “cream of the crop” in that they had to pass an examination under official auspices at some point in the past and do not need to be sworn in by a judge ad hoc every time. I shudder to think how much worse some cab driver or busboy dragooned off the street and sworn in on the fly for a hearing can be.

    —–
    Hey, how about a weekly Open Thread so we don’t have to feel guilty for posting off-topic anymore?

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  2. I like that quote, thank you for that. Virtue signaling is something we all do all the time, exept when talking to a shrink…
    It’s only that the underlying virtues differ. I urge everybody who has a genuine interest in a constructive dialog between liberals and conservatives to read “the righteous mind” by Jonathan Haidt.

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  3. I never had enough commenters before to justify OT posts, and still am not 100% sure I do. I and always thought they would just sit there with zero comments, making me look like a dork. But I’ll post one tomorrow and see how it goes.

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  4. Accusing people of virtue signaling, by the way, can be a form of virtue signaling itself. More often than not it is a classical “Totschlagargument” (word of the week column?) that prevents any meaningful debate. It seems to me that it is mostly directed at liberals, and to a point, I can see why. But, believe it or not, there are very smart people among the pixie dust coated folks out there. Not engaging with their ideas because they “don’t really mean that” is not helpful. Unfortunately that is very common these days.It reminds me a bit of the self styled “Protestwähler” who declare all parties as unelectable.

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  5. I generally agree, but in my definition at least, virtue signaling is defined by the fact that it is merely virtue signaling. Just posting a badge or a meme or wearing a T-shirt or writing a tweet. Actually making a policy argument based on some kind of principle or on empirical data isn’t virtue signaling, because it’s not merely signaling. Now it may be unconvincing or hypocritical, but it’s more than simple signaling.

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  6. Competition, rivalry, conflict (armed or otherwise) are all constants of life. “Si vis pacem para bellum.” If you desire peace, prepare for war. The people of the Bronze Age all knew and understood this maxim. The belligerent naifs, like Pajama Boy Schorsch here, deny it. Mass immigration by Muslims, a threat to free societies? Why, only a “right-wing populist” (or “Nazi” — less work typing) could think so! Either these naifs already have well-paid sinecures as virtucrats (broadly defined to include media, education, welfare) or they are hoping to snag such a position, which makes signaling their “virtue” all the more essential — the shriller and more loudly the better.

    The West is fucked. Millions of barbarians are being let in to destroy our societies. And the virtue signalers are swelling with pride that they play a part in making it happen. What do you expect from humans who have had their skulls filled with shit from kindergarten age onwards? The civil war has already begun and it is not being fought between Muslims and unbelievers. At this point, the former are mere tools in the hands of the corrupt Uniparty following the lead of the immensely powerful Red-Green media, the welcome-industrial complex, and various special interests. They are determined to ram through their policy of massive demographic transformation without consulting the people (because they know what the outcome would be).

    Maybe we shouldn’t have made our productive people ever more productive, year after year after year — the unintended consequence of the perpetual productivity increases is simply too grave. Danisch (with a good dollop of exaggeration) estimates that only ten percent of the workforce perform useful intellectual work, another ten percent usefully work with their hands. (His own version of the Pareto Principle?) The remaining eighty percent are kept busy with some kind of make-work job financed out of the surplus generated by the twenty percent. Unable to qualify or graduate from a tough engineering or science course, they are herded into “universities” (no longer deserving of the title) to study useless pop sociology that makes a mockery of science.

    I don’t believe that the 80/20 split accurately reflects reality, but if only one in four people are so angry about their exclusion from actually productive society* that they want to destroy that which makes them angry, and if they are disproportionately represented in “multiplicator” positions in the media and in education, then these 25 percent can do huge damage.

    Their inferiority is keenly felt by them and they deeply resent the society that consigns them to their status. Like Samson pulling down the temple over his head, they are determined to destroy that which does not accord them the admiration they — raised in one-child families to be narcissists — feel they deserve. Après nous le déluge.

    *Consider also that not even all scientists are productive. Arguably, the hugely wasteful preoccupation — to the tune of a trillion dollars — with (supposedly) catastrophic man-made climate change has something to do with the plethora of scientists who know they will never make a significant discovery in their lives and therefore embrace voodoo science if that promises to secure lifetime employment for themselves.

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  7. Honestly, isn’t it getting tiresome to always repeat these prepared catchphrases, tropes and clichés about the same enemies (the Left, humanities and the arts/social sciences, migrants, “unproductives”, etc.), over and over again? You sound like an old, embittered Leninist who’s just replaced the pantheon of his former gods and demons with new ones. As one commenter jokingly put it here, it seems as if you’re lobbying for the fence industry…

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  8. “Danisch (with a good dollop of exaggeration) estimates that only ten percent of the workforce perform useful intellectual work, another ten percent usefully work with their hands. (His own version of the Pareto Principle?) The remaining eighty percent are kept busy with some kind of make-work job financed out of the surplus generated by the twenty percent.”

    Exaggeration? Really? I don’t know how Danish arrives at this figure, but I shall call your attention to the following:

    —–

    Synopsis

    This work explores and critiques the consequences of globalization for both democratic institutions and jobs. Pointing to the weakening of the nation state, it contends that the “one world” created by globalization is collapsing. The authors argue that in future only a fifth of the world’s labour force will be needed, creating the 20:80 society; a global economy out of control will lead to social upheaval and, in the end, war. The book aims to provide an alarm call for the restoration of democracy, politics and the state.

    Hans-Peter Martin is an Austrian journalist and politician who has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1999. Harald Schumann is a German author and investigative journalist .

    THE GLOBAL TRAP: Globalization and the Assault on Prosperity and Democracy – November 1997
    Hans-Peter Martin, Harald Schumann

    —–

    Which I have and which is by now pretty damn expensive:

    https://www.amazon.de/GLOBAL-TRAP-Globalization-Prosperity-Democracy/dp/1856495299

    So how did THEY arrive at this figure twenty years ago?

    —–

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Global_Trap

    Die Globalisierungsfalle: Der Angriff auf Demokratie und Wohlstand is a 1996 non-fiction book by Hans-Peter Martin (born 1957 in Bregenz , Austria), and Harald Schumann (born 1957 in Kassel, Germany), that describes possible implications of current trends in globalisation. It was published in English as The Global Trap: Civilization and the Assault on Democracy and Prosperity in 1997. At this time, both authors were editors of the news magazine Der Spiegel. From 1999 to 2014, Hans-Peter Martin, who is stated in the book to be one of just three journalists to be allowed to take part in all activities at the Fairmont convention, was a member of the European Parliament.

    The book was a best-seller in the author’s native Germany[1] and went on to be a worldwide bestseller with over 800,000 copies sold and translated into 27 languages.

    (One one that was met with deafening silence, I might add… reading it is like reading a scientific report that a meteor will hit the earth; there is nothing you can do about it; so why talk about it and deprive the people of their blissful unawareness…)

    In particular, the book is known for defining a possible “20/80 society”. In this possible society of the 21st century, 20 percent of the working age population will be enough to keep the world economy going. The other 80 percent live on some form of welfare and are entertained with a concept called “tittytainment”,[2] which aims at keeping the 80 percent of frustrated citizens happy with a mixture of deadeningly predictable, lowest common denominator entertainment for the soul and nourishment for the body.

    In the beginning, they describe how at a conference at the invitation of Mikhail Gorbachev with 500 leading politicians, business leaders and academics from all continents[3] from September 27 – October 1st 1995 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, the term “one-fifth-society” arose. The authors describe an increase in productivity caused by the decrease in the amount of work, so this could be done by one-fifth of the global labor force and leave four-fifths of the working age people out of work. The authors predict huge number of unemployed,[4] perhaps finding themselves in lowly-paid voluntary community services to boost their morale.

    —–

    A conference you, as everybody has, no doubt, have heard of, read reports of, have discussed… One of the participants, it is said, was Zbigniew Brzezinski, and if he says or does something, you’d better be aware.

    —–

    “What about the global poor? Globalisation from above and below” (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2014. The Foundation, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev convened a meeting to discuss the global situation inviting politicians like George Bush and Margaret Thatcher, corporate heavyweights like Ted Turner of CNN, John Gage of Sun Microsystems, Southeast Asian magnate SyCip, global players in finance, as well as academics from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford. The press was noticeably kept out of the picture.

    “The Fairmont Conference”
    Retrieved 14 July 2014. There was no tolerance with wasted time at this conference: 5 minutes for each speaker, and 2 minutes for each comment. The condensed results of the future that the invitees came out with were terse, a cryptic duo: “20-80,” and “Tittytainment.” “20-80” represents the ratio of workers to unemployed in the future society. … “Tittytainment” is a term crafted by the Zbigniew Brzezinski and a portmanteau of two words: tits (as a reference to breast-feeding) and entertainment. This Tittytainment is a mixture of “intoxicating entertainment and sufficient nourishment” that can “tranquilize the frustrated minds of the globe’s population.” … In noting the huge number who lost their jobs in the wake of 9-11, as mentioned by Petras, it is instructive to recall the statement of John Gage, one of the founders and top executives of Sun Microsystems, at the Fairmont conference back in 1995: “I have 16,000 workers, if we excluded a very few number, the vast majority are a reserve that can be laid-off when re-organizing.”

    —–

    To wrap it up, it did not say WHEN this “future” would manifest itself, but who knows, maybe we are witnessing the beginning. And as it should be a world-wide synchronized event, there shall be no escape. Now let us think of the young goatherds who come here to jump onto a dissolving ice floe inhabited by nasty old white men like me.

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  9. Interesting, I have a vague memory of having heard about, but not read, the book. That scenario is not realized yet, although we see the parasitic sector (subsidized journalists, artists, think-tank “intellectuals”, …) growing faster than the dwindling productive sector can keep generating wealth.

    “What about the global poor? Globalisation from above and below” (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2014. The Foundation, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev convened a meeting to discuss the global situation inviting politicians like George Bush and Margaret Thatcher, corporate heavyweights like Ted Turner of CNN, John Gage of Sun Microsystems, Southeast Asian magnate SyCip, global players in finance, as well as academics from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford. The press was noticeably kept out of the picture.

    Yes, the megacorps and the billionaire investors are salivating at the prospect of moving staggering numbers of people from eking out a livelihood at threshold of destitution into a first-world lifestyle with first-world levels of consumption. Actually, living standards in 3rd world had been increasing steadily for more than two decades, but you can boost global GDP even faster if you parachute Bangladeshis into Munich. Which, in turn, boosts your stock portfolio if you are invested in global stock market indicies, more if you can trade on inside knowledge.

    Maybe that’s why the most elderly billionaires, like Warren Buffett and George Soros, are so eager to push the pedal to the metal on mass migration — they want to live to see the fruits of their efforts — while the younger billionaires like Peter Thiel (who endorsed Trump at Repub convention) are less boosterish about it.

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  10. Agreed. When I am in a bad mood and I really feel annoyed I like to keep asking the signaller if he/she “really means that”. But like pointing out cognitive fallacies you often end up looking like an ass, and rightly so…

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  11. Has it occurred to you that I have never called Andrew a right winger or Nazi? I have no reason to. Has it occurred to you that he has never called me a belligerent naive? I don’t think he has a reason to.You are just a rude person without manners.

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  12. Right, you did not call Andrew a Nazi, but I did not say you did. Nor was it he who called you a belligerent naif, it was I.

    There are different types of belligerent naif. There is the antifa-idiot like Benway (falsely accuses me of having called him a Nazi then addresses me as “little Adolf”); par for the course on his Indymedia hangout, where they regularly high-five each other for primitivity.

    Then there is the passive-aggressive latte-drinking Pajama Boy with his supercilious air, unwarranted by any actual substance to his thinking. That’s you. The feigned incomprehension that you regularly exhibit here is a tactic designed to get under people’s skin and rile them up … or make them repeat the argument so that if there is a minor inconsistency the second time you can pounce on it. Transparent and tiresome.

    Whether or not someone like you thinks I’m rude and have no manners is of no concern to me.

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  13. Stakhman, I follow an extremely laissez-faire comment policy here, and I like many of your contributions, but I would appreciate it if you would tone down the language and avoid personal attacks. Don’t make me stop this car!

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  14. My post was meant to convey to you the idea that it is entirely possible to have a civil debate on these issues. You are not very good at doing that.

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  15. Daddy they started it!

    Seriously now: If you find my “personal attacks” intolerable, then all you have to do to stop me posting to your blog is ask; so long, sayonara, tanks for da mammaries.

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  16. What really comes across in this 20 year old book is that, after the collapse of the communist block as the antagonist of the west (and I will not debate this in detail or morale here and now), the world leaders (did I say elected? no, I did not) got together (in the sense of a short list of the then most influential people on this planet; they know each other; and I will not debate…) to themselves debate rigorously on how the lives of 5 billion people plus were to be organized from now on. In a sense, I don’t even think it’s wrong; it would have happened one way or another; but it was notably done out of public view (and I will not debate…).

    Agreement was reached that out of the 5 billion, for simplicity’s sake, 1 billion was needed to keep everyone in the fish. Even that is not wrong; think of a family of five; of course, you have to double/halve those figures as we are talking age 20-60 of 0-80 here: 40/40; but hat is of no importance; the first importance lies in the fact that the majority of humans today is of no economic use to humanity (and when has it been, last? and was that wholesome? again, I will not debate…).

    The other thing that comes across is that the second importance lies therein that the useless majority shall not think of themselves as useless; this is imperative. Why exactly, I have forgotten; it was not really expressed. Perhaps unrest would follow, demands, criminal behavior, riots, political debate… food for thought, but no matter:

    To avoid this, the useless majority are given chores to do and so receive a handout. Again, this is not evil per se, as there are useful chores; but there are useless and detrimental ones, too. Mow the lawn! But I mowed it yesterday! Then mow it again! This is a golf course! Oh (just joking; what I want to point out is the market vs controlled economy, shall we say; again, I will not debate…). Either you do ST because it is paid for (i. e. there is an economic demand) or you do ST because you have to “do ST”- paid or unpaid, demand or no demand. Keep the people busy, keep ’em happy or unhappy, don’t let them think.

    Don’t ever let them find out they are useless, and what they do is useless… and so on; it may be much cheaper (see Andrew above: The Cheapest Suffering Preventer), and safer, to pay a cooperation to provide “jobs” than to manage dole or state jobs; that depends on the ever- changing circumstances.

    That was what that convention was about, and that course is being run ever since- including he division of wealth, wealth being accumulated by those who have understood that it is important to employ as few people a possible in their line of business; taxes and donations are cheaper (just a thesis of mine I just throw in here and do not wish to defend). Do you know that Pakistan alone has 200 million people? What for? Exactly. This is hard stuff, once again. Do you think of humans as worthy per se, or must they be useful, and to whom in what way? Either way you look at it, you are looking straight into hell; look away, and it will come.

    Danisch arrives at this relation, as far a I can see, from the other end of the economics: In any taxed society, there are net tax payers (here & now, 20% of the workforce) and net tax receivers (80% of the workforce).

    This is not really under debate; you will find those numbers often enough. Now, that does NOT say these net tax receivers are useless; not at all; or that all net tax payers are useful. In the end, it not even easy to discern if and when a person is tax positive, neutral or negative, to put it that way. Economics are not an exact science (if a science at all, which I doubt; too many “schools”). Take German state- paid teachers: Useful? On the whole, yes. Taxpayers? Yes. Net tax payers? No! Subsidized industry workforce? Depends, don’t it. And so on. But the numbers 20:80 coincide with global human economic usefulness as discussed in GLOBAL TRAP. A correlation? Perhaps.

    In the light of GLOBAL TRAP, let’s put it this way: When people are still useful, TV is run from after work late afternoon til midnight; they have to sleep, and pity on the poor bugger who’s on late shift. The more useless people become, economically, the more useless TV there is; first 24/7, then 24/7 plus 500 new channels, then 24/7 plus 500 new channels plus video on demand, then 24/7 plus 500 new channels plus video on demand plus mobile phone videos, even on international flights some might take just once in their lives, and remember just the movie they saw on board. Move along, move along. There is nothing to see here. Except Pokemon. Which, as a plus (really??) generates thousands of “jobs” in the entertainment industry, until that is robotized too (which it already is).

    I don’t think it will stay under control this way. But that is just my opinion. But it must and will be addressed, one way or another.

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  17. One way to address this relation is to realize that the borderline of usefulness can run right through you yourself, in every single person’s life, in the way that only 20% of what you do (for money?) is useful, and the other 80% is complete- and utterly useless 😉

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  18. So are you a “useless” (Stakhanov is more direct and simply labels them “parasites”, revealing his true world view) or “useful” person in this scheme?

    Anyway, Danisch is, as ever, wrong in his babble about “taxpayers”. Then again, so are many people using that word, which is why I always wanna clinch my fist every time I hear it. Everyone on German soil is a taxpayer. A Japanese tourist who buys something from the local supermarket becomes a taxpayer by paying VAT. That’s the reality. When will it finally get into people’s minds, once and for all? This notion of “the good taxpayers” vs. “the evil welfare scroungers” is pure class demagogy.

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  19. Typepad HTML Email

    Well, the ideal solution would be to adopt a less aggrieved, hostile tone. As always, needless bashing distracts from and detracts from actual arguments. This is a forum for
    people to have a spirited conversation, not to hack each other to pieces.
     

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  20. stakhy, to be honest, venting grievances online is somewhat passive-aggressive and less than ideal, i should now. eg i rather should be doing something like xy-einzefall, technically better and on a host of different topics, much better use of my time and surely more effective to save the abendland’s sorry little ass.* benny is a black holebox of sorts, ideally, we get the chance to put things in and see what comes out. a blessing of sorts, you should use him as a sparring partner (…from hell). like you i’ll go on bitching & moaning anyway, can’t help it, but as always (or at least surprisingly often) less is more (hey solvent, here’s looking @you, kid).

    * but that’s tedious + depressing, and i’m not a texan bull,** charging relentlessly.
    ** that’s being a little funny now + then, but hey, ok…

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  21. Can we have both? Schedule a regular Purge Day — twelve hours of sheer lawlessness, no rules, no oversight, no consequences.

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  22. Again, very interesting. Just two brief points: Any binary split, not just 80/20, is far too simplistic. You have people inventing, innovating, designing, planning, manufacturing, delivering, repairing, building, demolishing, healing, helping, cooking, serving, cleaning, gardening, instructing, training, policing … these are far more than 20 percent in my view, more like three quarters or so of the working-age population. Only a minority may be net taxpayers, but that does not change the fact that what they all do is needed (“useful”). Impossible to slash this workforce down to 20 percent of the (working-age or not) population. That idea, to be blunt, seems like utter insanity to me, or maybe someone watched too many Jetsons episodes as a child.

    Then you have maybe ten or fifteen percent unemployed, collecting benefits or having given up and taken early retirement. These people generally are not parasites (although predictably our resident genius thinks I said so).

    And that leaves ten percent (all these figures are vague estimates and highly subjective, twenty percent is equally as likely here) who suck from the public teat, from the regional “Lotto” administrators each pulling down annual salaries more than half again as high as the federal chancellor’s for twiddling their thumbs, to the “Against the Right” activist filling in a project application that will gain him a taxpayer-funded monthly income that, while modest, is still four times what he would get being on welfare. Included also are the staff and employees in public broadcasting and the obscenely high pensions they can expect… and the list could go on for twenty, a hundred, a thousand pages.

    Oddly enough (or perhaps not) as Group 3 grows in numbers, rather than each of them cutting back his or her demands so that there is enough to go around for each of them, they are currently in a feeding frenzy, perhaps like a murder of crows (carrion birds feasting on a carcass).

    And on top of that, now there are also millions of functional illiterates, for the most part unable to “integrate”, and soon also their families. In the short term — while Buffett and Soros are still alive — this boosts GDP in Germany (more mouths to feed, more jobs in social services, etc.) and also in Pakistan and Bangladesh (remittances via Western Union), hence promises directly appreciating portfolios. In the long run this means ruination, but by then these two gentlemen will be dead.

    In the pre-industrial age, full employment was guaranteed by the colossal need for labor in agriculture. As ag became more productive, excess labor was soaked up by manufacturing. Now that manufacturing is so much more efficient (logistics and automation), surplus labor should be free to move where it is wanted.

    I’m sure you are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I happen to think that there is no end to this progression: as basic needs are being met people discover they have refined tastes and look forward to paying for things they could not have imagined enjoying. And all these sophisticated pleasures require workers, so in principle there should not be more than maybe five percent unemployment, ever, if you disregard boom/bust cycles. There then needs to be investigation of what is holding up the reallocation of labor.

    One great unmet need in Germany is for single-family homes. The rate of homeownership is one of the lowest in the developed world. Two factors that keep artificially depressing this are (1) insanely stringent building codes, especially for “energy efficiency” (savings due to lower energy consumption are never recouped) and (2) insanely stringent environmental and land-use regulations that make land scarce and terribly expensive. The obvious culprits are the Greens but there are others.

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  23. Really? The word “taxpayer” makes you go all woozy? Well… ok… whatever you get off on… be my guest…

    It must horribly frustrating to life a world surrounded by people who simply don’t get it into their heads that they are taxpayers, and then be forced to read their stuff, taxpayer or no taxpayer, which there ain’t.

    Funnily enough, I hear different: You buy a newspaper, and you’re a taxpayer. You buy a can of gasoline, and you’re a taxpayer. All the while yelling: I am a taxpayer! It says so here on my receipt! See? VAT! That proves I am a taxpayer! This is quasi my certificate as a taxpayer! And as a taxpayer, I have rights! As a taxpayer I have the right to demand more service! For which I shall then be forced to pay tax again, which makes me a taxpayer once again! No matter what I do, I just can’t stop being a taxpayer! Everyone is a taxpayer! Yes, I do hear that quite often.

    Taxpayer, taxpayer, taxpayer. That’s all they’re on about. Taxpayer. I am a taxpayer, and I’m furious about how little I get in return, and the disregard I receive as a taxpayer. As a taxpayer, I pay for everything. That’s all I am to them, a taxpayer, nothing but a taxpayer, a cow to be milked. A taxpayer, a taxpayer, a taxpayer. Oh! Ohhhh! Ohhhhhhhh! How I hate being a taxpayer.

    That’s what I hear all the time from the dumbbells who just don’t get it that they’re a taxpayer

    Ach, dear Cloris Leachman</A…

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  24. Those are all valid points; I don’t have any answer on how to work this out properly, and I won’t even pretend to.

    I will go even further: It is not my job to do so. Or yours. Or of any single person. That would be the task of literary thousands of experts who call themselves “economists”, like the NASA engineers putting a man on the moon.

    Tackling, let alone solving the problem of world-wide structural unemployment, production, poverty and wealth accumulation, even in theory, is never ever a one- man- job. Not even someone like Marx. Never. Ever. And IMHO it should be public.

    The Book GLOBAL TRAP – really a report on a pretty clandestine conference by people then calling themselves the Global Brain Trust, “went on to be a worldwide bestseller with over 800,000 copies sold and translated into 27 languages“.

    Many people, like you, have heard of it (I suppose there was a SPIEGEL plug, too). At least 1 million people will have read it. There will be a copy in every ministry of the OECD.

    Merkel, Obama etc may not have read it personally, but some of those who “advise” them will. Just look at the roll call once again. Do you think that was just for fun? I don’t.

    It sounds more like Stanley Kubrick’s war room with a bit of gold glitter on top to me, and IMO it should have been made into a movie, alongside the umpteenth drama on the 3R (always go for the past and future, never for the present).

    See this War Room Quote: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.

    Would be far more to-day.

    So, what do we hear? Nothing. Rumors of more clandestine conferences by the powerful- of- the day; I won’t name them, but I suppose the ones I think I know about are not the clandestine ones.

    And public clamors for a new and better elite, who are not the problem(g). The people are the problem(g), says or king federal president. Would you vote for a virtue-signalling narcissist guy like that? Somebody did.

    But what do we see? We see politicians act, and hear them speak, as if they have read the book / attended the conferences and are acting out some ominous “plan” (Merkel) that they say they have, but won’t explicate.

    Have you ever thought about what Merkel’s (and before, Thatcher’s, etc…) phrase “There Is No Alternative” (TINA =”I have no choice” / “We have no choice” / “You have no choice”) could mean? Not as an expression of evil, but of induced helplessness?

    There should be a very open debate on this; but first, the truth must out, hurtful as it may be. And this will take time to prepare, swallow and digest. 30 years, 1 gen. min.! And we have wasted 20 years already. At least. 1 generation.

    If the forces that be overtake the realization that should be, as in during my lifetime, it will be violent. People will defend their illusions- perceived- as- truth to the very last. They have nothing else to go on.

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  25. http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-global-brain-trust/article/8289

    Very amusing, thank you. Did you read it? If you did, why do you think such a collection of has-beens, quacks, never-will-bes and snake-oil-salesmen ever made a difference in the course of world events?

    If your “20/80” book by two former SPIEGEL journalists takes something like that Fairmount conference seriously, it’s garbage. Glad I didn’t waste my time reading it.

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  26. Could be. Could be also that that is the impression that ridiculing article is supposed to convey to the public, and you fell for it. 🙂

    It does not even matter if the whole thing was just a scam /boon to Gorbachow et al has-beens or if these were just the glitter on top to pose an excuse.

    The important thing is that it the whole shindig, cover-up or not, conveys a message, which is then spread among those targeted.

    If then some time later “strange” things happen, like leaving qualified South European unemployment where it is, faking unemployment numbers, firing those who let the real numbers / correlations slip out while managing employment and importing non- qualified from elsewhere; while Germans wonder where all these job opportunities are that are floated around in the media; more an more people get paid for knucklehead jobs or with faked qualifications, while automation and “Industry 4.0” are the next great thing; even decades ago the man-free factory running 24/7 was THE RAGE in Japan and elsewhere; third (service)- and 4rth (media) -tier jobs replace second-(manufacture) tier jobs (first- (agriculture 90%, the absolute number are even more staggering), which must be paid out of the first & 2nd, in short, when people are indeed being paid for jobs that are being “created”, and huge and growing sectors of the market are debt- and debt-job driven, then you can start doing your math.

    Where you then put the X on the curve at present is completely irrelevant and matter for learned debate (which counts me out).

    For an onlooker (and more I am not): If it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck etc, then it probably is a duck. If it looks as if 70-80% of the work force are absolutely not needed to keep things going, but have to be “busied” with frills & fancies which are then displayed on TV as serious occupations (I won’t mention any here, no need to get personal), accumulating wealth on the one and debt on the other side 1:1 and so on, then it probably is the case.

    if you then can remember: why, I read about that bread- and- games dystopia in the “20/80” book by two former SPIEGEL journalists way back then, and the subject keeps cropping up here, and there, and if a political hardball like Brzezinski was around, who wrote the masterplan for the Ukraine crisis and the rainbow-colored Arab spring revolutions long before they happened, if even the STERN has a feature on private US companies that organize revolutions and guarantee electoral victories to the highest bidder in foreign countries (which does not state who is paying), while the selfsame orange paraphernalia (flags, balloons) of the Ukraine revolution of 2004 turn up in Merkel’s CDU election campaign 2005 (Chinese surplus, I suppose), well, you can still say nothing has to do with nothing is the safer option.

    Especially when a highly industrialized country (of which I happen to be citizen, but I ‘d say the same about the US, Singapore or any other) is being run off the track while running at high speed by ruining its work force from the inside and out, then I take it that either it’s products are not needed (any more), or its workforce isn’t. If it were just sheer stupidity, that would otherwise be corrected PRONTO.

    Or to put another way, please: what do you think the roundabout 2 billion people inhabiting Africa and central Asia will occupy themselves with once their agriculture gets mechanized, and what are Southeast Asian and South American people occupying themselves with now – and to what extent? Travel is cheap, you know…

    Remember, the first question was not, how do we keep all of them occupied -that was the second- , but how many do we need to keep the system running – ‘we’ meaning everybody on this planet. And yes, it does have a taste of central word government, like it or not. That, exactly, is the decision which will be taken in the near future. I will not be involved.

    What was the EU’s answer to Brexit? “Keep the Borders open, and more European integration and centralization; the elite are not the problem; the people are” which translates as: “Manage the wandering masses of the world in central Europe”. It has nothing to do with economy. They are not needed where they come from, and they are not needed where they go. Why not?

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  27. I also feel you may be making an error of judgment by looking at a 20 year old report with the eyes of today; now-a-day’s has-beens may have already been past their prime in 1995, but they were not necessarily ‘has-beens’ in that sense yet, way back then.

    And I do not know if the authors were still employed by the Newsmagazine SPIEGEL in 1996 or not, but the SPIEGEL was then not the rotgut trash heap is today, where I am told up to 10 or 20 authors sign a single opinion piece, acidly illustrating the distopia I am describing here: one or two should suffice.

    All part of the big decline.

    There is perhaps better literature on the subject, of which I know not. Or isn’t there?

    In der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen

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  28. If then some time later “strange” things happen

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy

    I understand the appeal of searching for the one cabal that met in a secret location, whence all our troubles flow. Hey, I consumed a number of Robert Ludlum novels so I am hardly immune (though I draw the line at Dan Brown — blah!)

    From time to time, Danisch, too, indulges this weakness for joyful paranoia and conspiracy theorizing (but I think he is at least semi-aware of this failing of his).

    In truth, powerful people meet all the time to hatch plans, in places public (Davos and G20), semi-secret (Bilderberg) and top-secret (???). Some of those plans come to fruition, but aft they go agley.

    Most of the time, tomorrow turns out as you would expect by straightline extrapolation from today, the day after tomorrow likewise, and so on. History’s momentum usually trumps even the most powerful schemers. (But which currents in the momentum were strongest becomes clear only in hindsight.)

    “Manage the wandering masses of the world in central Europe”. It has nothing to do with economy. They are not needed where they come from, and they are not needed where they go. Why not?

    If status is measured by how many children (more precisely, how many sons) a man has fathered and culture-plus-religion force women into roles as breeding machines, and if public health, sanitation and medicine are selectively adopted from the West (but not the core values of Western civilization), you are faced with the problem of finding jobs for the sudden “youth bulge”. If, in addition, the dhimmi (first Jews and then Christians) abscond to where they are treated better and your business model was reliant on exploiting these market-dominant minorities and using them as convenient targets of opportunities for your disgruntled commoners, and if your religion tells you that you are the best of peoples and need not learn anything besides your holy book, then … well, then you are going to find it hard to carve out a niche for yourselves in the global economy.

    The natural inclination then is to decamp for the nearest functioning civilization and start exploiting them: roll back the reconquista, turn St. Peter’s cathedral into a mosque! If your targets’ elites are so brainwashed, or corrupt, that they will not only not resist but actively aid you in your Grand Endeavor, so much the better.

    And this is where we are now. I would have preferred to stand aside and watch them starve to death (for their misery is of their own making, not ours), but our rulers have decided otherwise.

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  29. Hindsight?

    I don’t think so… not in this case. By sheer chance, I had read about the 20/80 prognosis when the book came out, and being interested in economics at the time, I poked around for any pros and cons.

    There was very little to go on – like I have said, the report (and I KNOW it is sensationalist – I put that aside) fell into a kind of very deep well. You never really heard an impact.

    That fact alone amazed me, considering every other hoot and holler was met with a hysteria of answering shrieks and screams. Here… nothing. It fell like snowflakes fall on velvet cushions. That alone -the avoidance- was enough to make me take it seriously.

    Here, the prime assumptions* of our society were being challenged, and society chose to not notice. Psychologically, this means a home strike. It’s so close, so intimate, that it’s below your range. Like abuse, you will not notice it, though you know it is happening. A taboo will not be breached.

    In the end, I sort of knitted a kind of timetable of consequences in my head – when will what be how, and it has been pretty much in keeping… of course, I did not expect such insane, psychotic reactions, way beyond hysteria, that we are witnessing now – and looking at
    petrified, brooding Merkel’s courtroom, I sometimes do think… – foolish me was counting on hysterical, but sane reactions once the problem was manifest.

    But that’s what happens if you avoid looking at the warning signs, and suddenly you are in a situation where there is no way out. The door opens into the circus maximus only…

    Of course it could be just a coincidence, but then, I have only one life to try things out; so I don’t really care and will go on taking it serious despite the following fallacy description. Like everyone, I cannot out of my skin 🙂

    * All human systems are based on prime assumptions, and over the decades, as long as all goes well, theses assumptions are lost & forgotten; the people in charge will tinker with the architecture, all the while the system may be slipping off its foundations and suddenly stop working. The postwar German pension system, for instance, was based on Chancellor Adenauer’s assumption that “people will always have children, come what may“.

    80- year- old- catholic Adenauer, survivor of two world wars, could not foresee womens’ liberation come sweeping all across the nation, with chemical contraceptives and legal abortions, which took off the legs of the postwar pension system in one fell swoop. There was no plan B. So alternative plan Bs were dreamt up and implemented without trial. Will they work? Probably not.

    Now, the postwar industrial economic system is based on the assumption that industry will employ 80-90 % of the work force or thereabouts, come what may. The instance that primary assumption is no longer valid…, see above.

    History’s momentum, as you call it, changes its course when the ball rolls off the table; and the schemers in this case, if so, weren’t scheming to change; they were scheming to adapt without telling anyone; to avoid riot.

    Cable / private TV and the Internet has been very successful in this – and the latter, as you can witness, is being strangled off the minute the people wake up to notice & protest.

    Our answer to pressures of our own progress has, up to now, been to adapt by ruthless wars; first mechanization, then electronics. TV and modern communication, even computing was invented & developed during WWII.

    Well, we will see, and I’ll leave it at that.

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  30. Sorry to bother you yet again, but I still have trouble reconciling two of your assertions:

    The first is that Germany’s pay-as-you-go pension system is breaking down in the face of a dwindling birth rate: too few workers will have to support too many retirees.

    Yet you claim that no more than 20 percent of the workforce are needed to supply our needs (incidentally, who decides what needs are valid and which are not?). For argument’s sake, let’s assume this is real. It would imply that productivity has risen by several hundred percent, right? In that case, no problem for one full-time worker to carry more retirees on his or her back than in the past. And if more workers are needed to provide elder care, surely they can be recruited from the 80 percent who you claim are being sedated with television.

    Am I misunderstanding you?

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  31. Am I misunderstanding you?

    No, I don’t think so. It is just that you are still thinking within the rules of the game set by others, rules that may be wrong – your questions mix payment with product, money with merchandise. Separate the two, and you will see. In reality, they do not have the same currency.

    Universally speaking: Always question your assumptions! If just one of them is wrong, invalid or even just unsure, the whole thought construction resting on them goes into the bin. Into the bin, and never look back. You’ll hit bedrock after a while. Don’t think ahead, my friend, think back.

    I’ll give you a very simple and bland example of what I mean: Your question: who decides what needs are valid and which are not? pivots on the assumption that a decision is made. If not, then your question falls flat, and that’s it.

    Or: My first assertion above beholds about five assumptions (mostly trivial), one of them being that the money presently paid into the German pension system indeed goes to support the present pensioners (and is not siphoned off somewhere). Either can be the case – you decide what to assume, but keep in mind that you decided.

    Another is that the workforce pays into it. That may, or may not be the case (see: migrants; low pay; in which case the whole construction, and its proposed solution: more workers & more migration is: scrap). A silent assumption usually is that it takes one worker to support one pensioner (farm offspring model). That figure could, however, range from 0,x-x, and change over time (it does). And so on, and so on. A tedious, but very useful tactic to break the gridlock. Robot brains are good at this 🙂

    At first, I did start to take up your arguments one by one, but then decided that this conversation, though fun, was going too private, off topic, off limits and lastly off the rails. If one does not agree on the axioms first, these arguments are endless and inconclusive by design. I know, for I have led them. Especially when there are no reliable statistic (like on productivity) in the public domain – in fact, hardly any at all. (Why aren’t there, btw?)

    And we are walking into a second trap here: Even if we do come to a conclusion, it will help no-one, not even us – we could not enforce it. A waste of time and energy better spent. I’m quite comfy with what I (and around ~50.000 people online worldwide, last time I looked) have worked out in bits and pieces, but I shall repeat myself:

    I cannot solve the world’s economic theory problems on the back of an envelope (or in a 30 year’s work called Das Kapital revisited). As they said in SP: This goes so much deeper than you and I can understand, and there’s a war coming.

    You see, all details & arguments aside: Of course it COULD work – and in fact it does, in jerks, leaps and bounds: there is enough to go around, and that amount has been rising since ~1800. Proof (if such a silly proof need be): World population has risen steadily ever faster since ~1800, and sharply from ~1950 on. Only a guy in a cave would dispute that.

    The trouble is that the MATHS describing this don’t work, leading, if you rely on them, to idiot decisions and /or violent confrontation.

    And I know very well where to lay the blame for that.

    Ta-da.

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  32. More Post hoc ergo propter hoc – fallacy or not:

    Stakhanov – I was on to other things when I came across gender mainstreaming once again, and remembered this was pushed (or rather bullied) onto the world agenda around that time as well; more than that, it was contemporaneous (what a nice word!):

    September 4 – September 15 1995 in Beijing, China:

    The Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace conference convened by the United Nations (Result: Global implementation of gender mainstreaming – Heaps of papers), together with:

    September – 6? 7? 1995 Huairou, China: NGO Forum (Go ahead, try finding something on that!
    I did: https://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/EOP/First_Lady/html/generalspeeches/1995/ngo.html tl;dr, well well well guess who’s gonna be pres…)

    WP: Huairou District is situated in northern Beijing… In 1995 during the United Nation’s 4th World’s Women Conference in Beijing, the Civil Society community was forced to meet in the Huairou district, an hour from the official proceedings, leading to a great deal of discontent, as many of the non-governmental actors present felt marginalized. In a tent at the Civil Society Village established especially for poor, grassroots women at the conference (organized by GROOTS International), the Huairou Commission, a registered non-governmental organization with a global secretariat in Brooklyn, NY, was established to ensure that grassroots women would have a voice at subsequent UN conferences and in other development processes… In 2005 a website documenting the 1995 Huairou NGO Forum, a temporary town of 30,000 women, was launched. (http://www.womenstown.org)

    September 27 – October 1st 1995 in San Francisco, USA:

    Fairmont conference on the future one-fifth of global labor force / four-fifths society (Papers??)

    Thought that might amuse you.

    I think co- incidence means that (related?) things happen to happen at the same time, so what’s Latin for: My, what a strange coincidence that is! fallacy?

    Non est coincidentia? Or Quod non accidit? 🙂 🙂

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  33. solvent, why this particular selection of NGO meetings … and not others? Hundreds, nay, thousands of international conferences took place across the world during roughly the same time period. As a matter of fact, I served as conference interpreter at a few of them myself. Got to know some of the “leading lights” of the NGO circuit, up close and personal. And yes, they are every bit as nasty as you would imagine … for example, one co-creator (and later himself a recipient) of an abomination called the Gaddafi Peace Prize. Seriously corrupt, fucked up people (the upper ranks) and clueless seat stuffers (everyone else). Individually they are little more than pompous gasbags, but when they come out in force they can do real damage.

    There are so many of them, hacking away at the moribund body of Western Civilization, each of them trying to rip out a piece of flesh and carry it away in their beak before someone else does. Current and former communists, prog academics, elected officials, unelected bureaucrats, “journalist”-activists, trust-fund kiddies, sugar daddies and foundation administrators, scammers, crooks, psychos, thugs. It’s a wonder that as I am typing these words, I can still have a reasonable expectation that clean drinking water comes from the tap and that the electricity won’t bug out. For how much longer?

    Consider that the decline may not forever be slow and gradual. Instead, we could discover the consequences of fewer and fewer ants running around trying to maintain the hill while grasshoppers smash their way inside and help themselves to the food stores. Ants running, building, provisioning, patching up … until they simply drop dead from exhaustion. The end, when it comes, could be precipitous.

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  34. …why this particular selection of NGO meetings?

    Simply because I was looking for it (hinging on “globalization” & “the future agenda”, as in the Lisbon Strategy, all agendas with a profound impact on the present) and was astonished by the fact that it was not only the same year, but the same month… and anyone involved could have easily returned from Beijing, have a break, prepare for the *deservedly* much more posh come-together to wrap things up in San Francisco, and then go off to the next.

    Coincidentia non est, just to coin a vanity phrase here 🙂

    Concerning the rest of your description: That is exactly the way I experienced it, whenever I was close enough. Ye GODS! What IS this – The Day of the Locusts?!

    And I agree. Know-nothing mental cases I knew personally first received handouts others had to work for, then rose through the ranks, promoted by the corrupt, who wanted to distract from their own personal agenda (which was usually to keep that particular money tap open), and, as a final crowning, appeared in the nation-wide media as “speakers”. And the journalists , no quotation marks there, desperate for content easily come by, printed the goo.

    As you say, it all started a few years after the fall of the communist block, and, in Germany, reunification. Perhaps that’s why it’s so bad here: former frontier zone; but seen from here, the US looks just as bad, and that’s where the media people get most of their ideas from.

    Either the West just couldn’t handle the victory, or it simply fell next, its one prop gone. And the parasites took over (but if one regards Merkel, and ditto Gabriel, BTW, as political parasites, first hijacking their party, then their country: could they have done this all alone – or does it take much more than just political and social indolence and intoxication to allow such an insidious coup d’état?).

    Now, one could forgive a momentary lapse of weakness, a let slip through by way of exhaustion and re-orientation, but this doing has been an burgeoning agenda ever since then: run things and institutions down, scavenge, go for the lowest mark in everything, scoff, deride, and destroy anyone or anything that takes things seriously – with the exception perhaps of riot control in certain areas.

    What I still don’t know is: is this just dry rot, or is there a real drive behind it, except Leichenfledderei, scavenging the battlefield? And would knowing that help?

    Probably not. If there is an exit strategy, it rests on doing.

    The end, when it comes, could be precipitous.

    Death, in the end, always is – and I am not sure we are not going over the cliff already.

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  35. > end … precipitous.

    nope. not gonna happen. andrew made that clear. structurz, very stablezz. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. z!

    …do more drugs. iz healthifulls! omnomnom. shroomzz!

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  36. All of this is not new, it’s just growing. Way over a decade ago by now, one social institution in my neighborhood always had a minibusload of resenting*, foreign- tongued, mostly female “social victims” on hand they could drag to any event where money could possibly be mulcted. * they had to, or no dough.

    I learnt this from aspiring social workers learning the ropes of an already then top- to- bottom corrupt business, over a glass of beer (or wine, as may be). That’s how you learn these things. The gist of it sort of was: “That’s … remarkable, but I need the job to get me going” (=no whistle blowing there). If you are in need, import the “needy”.

    That’s what the beginning of the 1-fifth-society was all about.

    So, who’s working for who? “Die Welt” reports (g) that in 83 German firms surveyed positively, 449 migrants / refugees had been put on a proper job, while 14,000 workers engage themselves in volunteer work for the migrants / refugees – whatever that may be. It’s a bit unclear, but I suppose the dimensions are there.

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  37. Sorry, that should have been clearer (caffeine deficiency) – the minibusload of foreign, female token social victims mentioned above was of course carted around to secure the financing by the taxpayer of different projects, such as learning useless skills they already had (cooking, sowing…) or a language they hopefully would never learn (German).

    Of course, neither took place after foist inspection. And of course, one out of a hundred was later displayed in the newspapers a symbol of huge success (and never mind the other 99), so that the application for next “successful” project could be shoved in.

    And of course, that was not the only scam, or the only scamming institution around where I live – or far and wide. The dusty desks and brand-new, but covered equipment of locked learning rooms I have seen…

    I could go on, dear taxpayers, but I won’t. It is just sad, and boring after a while.

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  38. *that’s sewing, not sowing! Slight computer hiccup. No matter.

    Now to ignite the third stage and leave for outer space:

    In case of doubt: Of course, the ones higher up, responsible for forking out the money, knew ist was a fraud, and that they were financing employment, not alleviation – and willingly so; anything to reduce official unemployment numbers – those influence your credit standing as a state you know.

    They would have been stupid not to. Every little bit helps… of course, it had to look good on paper, so people adept at amalgamating buzzwords into project finance applications were in high demand.

    I’m out of focus on these things, but given the oodles of moolah spitting out of the money sprinkler at the moment in permanent crisis mode, I would guess even that is so much easier now. We need 250,000 – or else – should be enough words to crank ’em out with a bit of help from the press. Gives the word “press” a new twist, don’t it…

    That’s how they learned. How do I know? I used to go for the work horses – the ones with the tired eyes. Catch ’em in a corner, privately, during lunch break, after hours, at home… and ask: Now, privately, just between you and me – what’s the call? And the flood gates opened. Male or female didn’t matter. Everybody was in on the game. One closed the confession with the lasting words: Can you get me out of there?

    Sorry… no.

    I reckon even that has changed by now…

    Vintage space film 2001 is on ARTE tonight, no breaks, and I hope it’s a good copy.

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  39. Yes, and the guy who spawned, wrote and acted that out on German Television(!) 2001-2003 is Kabul-born Attik Kargar, of which I don’t know if he’s Afghan and /or Muslim.

    Times have changed… or perhaps he was just an early mentally disturbed individual offender – he did once say something in an interview, like, his mother and / or grandmother did take serious offence at this line of work… 🙂

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