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General => DnD Central => Topic started by: ersi on 2015-01-16, 08:06:44

Title: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-16, 08:06:44
Opération antiterroriste en Belgique: la police visée par des menaces, une interpellation à Molenbeek (http://www.lesoir.be/759408/article/actualite/belgique/2015-01-16/operation-antiterroriste-en-belgique-police-visee-par-des-menaces-une-interpella)

Not sure if Lesoir.be is some major news source over there, but I have had it in my bookmarks for at least a decade. The ongoing story in the news right now is a major counterterrorist operation in Verviers, Belgium.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Jimbro3738 on 2015-01-16, 09:14:36
According to Google Translate...

In the aftermath of a dozen raids in three districts ( Brussels, Verviers and Halle-Vilvoorde ) as part of a broad anti-terrorist operation to dismantle a group of jihadists from Syria who planned income imminent major attacks against police, the threat of attack still looms . The alert level was raised to three on a scale of four. Therefore, the security has been tightened around the police , as in Charleroi where officers stand guard , guns at the ready. He asked not to go to the police in case of absolute necessity.....
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-16, 09:48:45
Not sure if Lesoir.be is some major news source over there, but I have had it in my bookmarks for at least a decade.

I have no idea how the website fairs, but Le Soir is one of the bigger newspapers.

Here's one that might sound odd to Americans: in Antwerp police officers have permission to take their service weapons home (link (http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/binnenland/2.37212?eid=1.2209911)).
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-16, 10:55:16

I have no idea how the website fairs, but Le Soir is one of the bigger newspapers.

Then I must have found the right thing when, once upon a time, I was looking for important Belgian newspapers.

I tried to search our site to see if we had a thread about this region. Now I notice we do: The Europe thread (https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=163.0).

However, there's something peculiar about Benelux and particularly about Belgium. The capital is Brussels, which is also one of the so-called capitals of EU at the same time.

While local governance has been historically good under all circumstances, the country itself is a historical oddity. Wikipedia says there were some riots in 1830 after people had seen some nationalistic opera. The riots, called the Belgian Revolution, led to the declaration of independence.

While any nationalistic revolution narrative is always cute and enjoyable, it seems to have been dominated by the French-speaking population who completely ignored the presence of another ethnicity that would have benefitted from totally different national borders, while with Belgium as a nation itself benefits no one in particular. In my opinion, strings were pulled collectively in the surrounding countries and the riots were an effect or symptom rather than the cause. Precious few countries are born by self-determination and neither did Belgium.

Ethno-linguistically (and probably also loyalty-wise) divided, the country doesn't know whether to be unitary or federal. This century the country has suffered severely from the federal experiment. The parliamentary part of the constitution is so off base that Belgium has been without a prime minister for long periods, so I have heard. Do you have one now? Does it make a difference if there is a prime minister or not? Curiously, at the same time it hasn't occurred to anyone to do away with the monarchy.

Very, very weird country. Then again, maybe not so weird. Most what I said describes the EU too one way or another. Belgium is like the EU in miniature.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-16, 11:52:52
While local governance has been historically good under all circumstances, the country itself is a historical oddity. Wikipedia says there were some riots in 1830 after people had seen some nationalistic opera. The riots, called the Belgian Revolution, led to the declaration of independence.

Wikipedia is indeed hilarious.
Quote from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Revolution
On 25 August 1830 riots erupted in Brussels and shops were looted. Theatergoers who had just watched a nationalistic opera joined the mob. Uprisings followed elsewhere in the country. Factories were occupied and machinery destroyed. Order was restored briefly after William committed troops to the Southern Provinces but rioting continued and leadership was taken up by radicals, who started talking of secession.[4]

:lol:

While any nationalistic revolution narrative is always cute and enjoyable, it seems to have been dominated by the French-speaking population who completely ignored the presence of another ethnicity that would have benefitted from totally different national borders, while with Belgium as a nation itself benefits no one in particular. In my opinion, strings were pulled collectively in the surrounding countries and the riots were an effect or symptom rather than the cause. Precious few countries are born by self-determination and neither did Belgium.

France is always supporting French speakers of all sorts, but in this case we can primarily blame the fact that the Flemish upper classes had adopted the French language under Austrian rule. They weren't waiting for things like a restoration of the language of their ancestors or an educated populace. They got the populace on their side with widespread support from the Catholic Church against a Protestant monarch.

Do you have one now? Does it make a difference if there is a prime minister or not? Curiously, at the same time it hasn't occurred to anyone to do away with the monarchy.

It mostly makes a difference for international affairs. The monarch is just a form of symbolism. While in theory I suppose I'm a republican, it's really quite irrelevant. It also seems to have a major touristic appeal on the likes of Germans, French, and Americans.

Very, very weird country. Then again, maybe not so weird. Most what I said describes the EU too one way or another. Belgium is like the EU in miniature.

What's weird is the modern nation state. But anyway, look up the Benelux on Wikipedia. Most things later implemented by the EU were tested here first.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-16, 12:15:09

Very, very weird country. Then again, maybe not so weird. Most what I said describes the EU too one way or another. Belgium is like the EU in miniature.

What's weird is the modern nation state. But anyway, look up the Benelux on Wikipedia. Most things later implemented by the EU were tested here first.

I know. They tested it, it failed, and they reimplemented it on the EU level anyway. I would strongly prefer a Swiss-style supranational arrangement for the EU. Except with a single official language - Latin :)
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-16, 13:01:27
What failed? I <3 the Benelux and the EU. :P
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: mjmsprt40 on 2015-01-16, 14:39:56
I have to admit to having to look up "Benelux". OK, now I know, so I can follow along and get something out of this.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jseaton2311 on 2015-01-16, 20:14:01
Anyone see the movie "If it is Tuesday, this must be Belgium"?  Comedy/Love Story and a commentary on how some Americans see Europe.  They go on prearranged tours that stick to a strict schedule which whisks them around Europe on a whirlwind tour.  They don't really know where they are unless they check the schedule...lol.  Old movie and off topic here, but a good commentary on American tourists that I'm sure rj would have a field day with!   :cheers:  :knight:
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-16, 20:29:55
Well, I like the cover art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:If_It's_Tuesday.jpeg), although it's probably meaningful to people who've been to Antwerp.

You might want to check out In Bruges. I'd describe it as a good adaptation of The Dumb Waiter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dumb_Waiter) set in Brugge.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-19, 09:26:56

What failed? I <3 the Benelux and the EU. :P

They are quite okay as separate countries (and Belgium would be okay as a collection of municipalities divided along ethnic lines between France and Netherlands). I consider their supranational cooperation an utter failure. It's not an organisation. It's by far less visible and makes by far less sense than the Nordic Council.

I would be okay with the EU if it worked either in the manner of the Nordic Council or in the manner of Swiss Federation. The way it is now, the member countries have no equality, and the union has no common defined interest that would have any connection to the members. Both the US and Russia have it easy to manipulate the members separately to steer the union in their own ulterior motives, and they both do it regularly. Similarly, Benelux is a set of neighbouring countries, not a union of any sort. It's quite a scandal that the EU pretends to be anything substantial when it's easily proven otherwise at every critical turn.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-23, 12:24:58
To state my opinion of the EU and Benelux another way:

Internally the EU is an oligarchy of technocrats. People feel the need for some equality and justice. The technocrats rule with this promise, but they really regulate and legislate for their own convenience. They end up being simply a burden.

Externally the EU is like a headless chicken. Take the international banking rules, which were set up precisely as the US imposed them (e.g. L/C's from EU banks are dispatched citing US law that permit breach of privacy), the more recent GMO de-regulation (https://euobserver.com/environment/124582) (EU allows "member states to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMO", i.e. US can negotiate with the countries separately and break them down one by one), and reaction to urgent crises such as annexation of Crimea. That's the behaviour of a headless chicken.

Weren't these features present already in the Benelux experiment?
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-23, 16:30:37
Weren't these features present already in the Benelux experiment?

I'm not sure I even comprehend what you're complaining about. The Benelux was initiated as a customs union between three wholly independent countries, not as a republican reincarnation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Similarly the EU was and is first and foremost a customs and now also monetary union, currently taking baby steps toward becoming something more akin to the United States within the first decades of its existence. Yes, I happen to be in favor of integrating all of our respective national entities into an EU diplomatic corps and an EU army, and yes, I believe that Crimea shows these would be good things to happen for Europe and the world. In short, it sounds like you're complaining that 1950s Europe didn't create that which we may finally be ready for in the 2010s thanks precisely to those humble and universally acceptable beginnings. I truly don't understand where you're even coming from. Did the Estonian government present the EU as something it's not when they sold it to the Estonian people?

Regarding the "visibility" of the Benelux, two points:

1) Post-1995, after many decades of Benelux success, the most important goals have been supplanted by the EU. Mission accomplished.
2) The Nordic Council is quite invisible from over here too.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-23, 17:39:15

I'm not sure I even comprehend what you're complaining about.

Hmm. Good question actually. Even made me thinking a bit.

My complaint is politics in general, I guess. People generally do their job, furthering circumstances of life so that it benefits their neighbours, but politicians are just leeching on the rest of the population while pretending to be useful. I did mention a few specific things that have gotten in my way. They are not small things. They are political agreements that are meant to last. There's no legal way to prevent their disastrous consequences.


Yes, I happen to be in favor of integrating all of our respective national entities into an EU diplomatic corps and an EU army, and yes, I believe that Crimea shows these would be good things to happen for Europe and the world.

Agreed, if the integration did only good,* if the EU diplomatic corps produced some actual results in our own interests,** and the reaction to the annexation of Crimea would have been something honourable, statesmanly. None of this is the case, unfortunately. And I don't mean "unfortunately" as in "hopefully it will get better". It's my verdict on the EU's character. The EU's character is problematic.

* Ready to give up your own identity in favour of integration? The pro-integration cosmo-metro multi-cultists are forgetting that some of the population (namely the overwhelming majority of the natives of each member country) have an identity to keep under the pressure of encroaching integration. The dark side of integration is assimilation. It so happens that e.g. Estonians are barely above the threshold of assimilating others. More likely we are on the verge of becoming assimilated, i.e. the identity is endangered.

** See my list of complaints.


In short, it sounds like you're complaining that 1950s Europe didn't create that which we may finally be ready for in the 2010s thanks precisely to those humble and universally acceptable beginnings.

Maybe this is the complaint of some in the Benelux, but in the Baltic countries we have sharper complaints against the entire post-WWII world order. We object to Yalta agreements that gave us borders as bad as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact did. We complain that the EU gives us neither any consolation for that those agreements took place or the security against their ever happening again.


I truly don't understand where you're even coming from. Did the Estonian government present the EU as something it's not when they sold it to the Estonian people?

The voting result was narrow. A third of the population was in favour. A third was opposed. A third abstained. Just before and after the real voting, the polls showed that the no-side was slightly leading, whereas the actual referendum was counted as if the yes-side won. As with votings in general here, particularly after the introduction of the oh-so-progressive e-voting, the results look fishy, smelly, stinky. Even if they are not outright rigged, they are still unsatisfactory.


Regarding the "visibility" of the Benelux, two points:

1) Post-1995, after many decades of Benelux success, the most important goals have been supplanted by the EU. Mission accomplished.

So the success of Benelux consists in the fact that it was supplanted. Maybe from your angle this indeed looks like a success.


2) The Nordic Council is quite invisible from over here too.

Could be, because the Nordic Council is a truly internal thing. They don't decide their security/foreign policies together. They discuss it, like they discussed the embarrassing submarine in Swedish waters but, for example, the countries belong to Nato or don't s they wish, or are neutral or inclined to friendliness with Russia (a personal problem with the current Finnish minister of foreign affairs specifically, not the rest of the current leadership of Finland) as per their own national doctrines. Still, in the Baltic countries the Nordic Council meetings are closely followed and the Baltic countries have envoys and attachés or whatever they are called on those meetings, in addition to journalists.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-23, 19:57:43
My complaint is politics in general, I guess. People generally do their job, furthering circumstances of life so that it benefits their neighbours, but politicians are just leeching on the rest of the population while pretending to be useful.

I believe the bureaucracy and the waste is all (well, perhaps not all -- they can quit the antics in Strasbourg) part of the requirements of a democracy. Some of our best and clearest laws come down directly from our oh-so-benevolent dictators Napoleon and Hitler. It can seem annoying, but it also defends us against caprices. Btw, did you read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? ;)

Maybe this is the complaint of some in the Benelux, but in the Baltic countries we have sharper complaints against the entire post-WWII world order. We object to Yalta agreements that gave us borders as bad as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact did. We complain that the EU gives us neither any consolation for that those agreements took place or the security against their ever happening again.

That's quite interesting, thanks. I would like that to change, for sure.

Ready to give up your own identity in favour of integration? The pro-integration cosmo-metro multi-cultists are forgetting that some of the population (namely the overwhelming majority of the natives of each member country) have an identity to keep under the pressure of encroaching integration. The dark side of integration is assimilation. It so happens that e.g. Estonians are barely above the threshold of assimilating others. More likely we are on the verge of becoming assimilated, i.e. the identity is endangered.

I do not believe the EU holds any of those weird ideas of centuries past, like one state one religion or one state one people. Quite the opposite. Incidentally, the Frisians are fiercely proud of their language, it's spoken by only about half the number of people who speak Estonian, and I don't believe it's in much danger of dying out anymore than it's been for the past few centuries. Then again, numbers have little to do with it. Afrikaans is spoken by millions, yet it might well be significantly more endangered than Frisian. It's really more of a status question, unless the numbers are truly minuscule.

So the success of Benelux consists in the fact that it was supplanted. Maybe from your angle this indeed looks like a success.

Subsume would've been a better word. Presently our armies are in the process of working increasingly closely together, so that it's becoming a Benelux Defense Force in all but name. Who knows, perhaps there is a pioneering role left for the Benelux yet.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-24, 01:25:55

Btw, did you read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? ;)

No. Does it say something insightful?


I do not believe the EU holds any of those weird ideas of centuries past, like one state one religion or one state one people. Quite the opposite.

Now, here's a difference between what is claimed to be the ideal of the EU and what is actually the case. I said that the dark side of integration is assimilation. The key here is the native population's capacity to assimilate. Yes, France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, etc. accept impressive amounts of refugees. However, the amounts are not beyond their capacity. They watch closely their own capacity, in terms of keeping German in Germany, Dutch in Netherlands, and French in France. Language policies in France are repressive. France has been mildly rebuked for this. Moreover, all Western European countries, except Germany, were major colonial powers in the past. The tide has turned, but the governments are obviously watching not to drown under it.


It's really more of a status question,...

Of course it is. The status is an important factor in the nation's capacity to assimilate/integrate. That's why countries where the local native prestige is low or even endangered, like in Estonia and Latvia where the population is evaporating, the balance of immigrants versus natives is much more on the edge than in the West, even though we never colonised anyone, but were colonies instead, and where integration policies have thoroughly failed, the status question is very important. Give in an inch to the so-called minority (is a minority who has their native country with imperial ambitions immediately next door really a minority?) just might mean suicide because it weakens our own status beyond the breaking point.

Obviously, we need some survival policies, and when the Western countries have their survival policies despite their integration rhetoric, then why should we behave any different? Yet our politicians behave according to the rhetoric, ("because that's EU directive" - all unpopular policies are justified this way, so the reputation of the EU is nothing pleasant) and I say this is one of the very reasons why the integration policies have been failing. If the natives are behaving suicidally without any self-respect, justifying all stupidity by that it's orders from Brussels, then Russians see no point to get assimilated or integrated. Local natives are inconsequential to them. According to them, Mother Russia will take her lands back soon enough, and until then they can speak English with the locals, if any speaking be needed. The EU matters. And Russia matters. The local people are just a weird curiosity of centuries past that doesn't matter.


Presently our armies are in the process of working increasingly closely together, so that it's becoming a Benelux Defense Force in all but name. Who knows, perhaps there is a pioneering role left for the Benelux yet.

They really missed a great opportunity to show themselves in Ukraine when the airplane fell. There will be no other such opportunity.

Edit: Besides, instead of the invisible cooperation of the armies, Wikipedia mentions this: "The Benelux is particularly active in the field of intellectual property. The three countries established a Benelux Trademarks Office and a Benelux Designs Office, both situated in The Hague. In 2005, they concluded a treaty establishing a Benelux Organization for Intellectual Property which replaced both offices upon its entry into force on 1 September 2006. This Organization is the official body for the registration of trademarks and designs in the Benelux. In addition, it offers the possibility to formally record the existence of ideas, concepts, designs, prototypes and the like." 
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-24, 10:29:14
No. Does it say something insightful?

The people of planet Whatever came up with a plan to get rid of the useless third of their population, such as politicians and telephone sanitizers. Their plan worked. Then they all died of a fatal viral infection that spread via dirty phones.

Obviously, we need some survival policies, and when the Western countries have their survival policies despite their integration rhetoric, then why should we behave any different?

I really have no idea what rhetoric you're talking about. Are you hearing distant echoes from the '90s? :P

Quote
Yet our politicians behave according to the rhetoric, ("because that's EU directive" - all unpopular policies are justified this way, so the reputation of the EU is nothing pleasant) and I say this is one of the very reasons why the integration policies have been failing. If the natives are behaving suicidally without any self-respect, justifying all stupidity by that it's orders from Brussels, then Russians see no point to get assimilated or integrated. Local natives are inconsequential to them. According to them, Mother Russia will take her lands back soon enough, and until then they can speak English with the locals, if any speaking be needed. The EU matters. And Russia matters. The local people are just a weird curiosity of centuries past that doesn't matter.

The EU only has friendly movement of people rules for EU citizens. Russians are not in the EU, ergo how hard of a time they'll have entering the country has preciously little to do with the EU. If the Estonian government implements Russian-friendly immigration politics and claims this is an EU directive, they're lying.

They really missed a great opportunity to show themselves in Ukraine when the airplane fell. There will be no other such opportunity.

That's the kind of event that could speed up such plans. The bigger question is why the Dutch army wasn't sent out, regardless whether some possibly already existing first cotrained Benelux unit were part of the mission.

Besides, instead of the invisible cooperation of the armies, Wikipedia mentions this

That's a part of the customs union that existed since 1960 or so. It proves that not all of the Benelux was subsumed by the EU. For the Benelux armies iirc various parties started announcing their intentions in 2011, actually meeting in official form in 2012, with the first real tangible results (such as small numbers of Dutch air force troops stationed in Belgium and vice versa) in late 2013 or early 2014.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Belfrager on 2015-01-25, 17:27:33
Before the Benelux there was the European community for steel and coal or something like that. Wasn't it?
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-25, 18:01:25

No. Does it say something insightful?

The people of planet Whatever came up with a plan to get rid of the useless third of their population, such as politicians and telephone sanitizers. Their plan worked. Then they all died of a fatal viral infection that spread via dirty phones.

Amazing. (Not going to read it.)


Obviously, we need some survival policies, and when the Western countries have their survival policies despite their integration rhetoric, then why should we behave any different?

I really have no idea what rhetoric you're talking about. Are you hearing distant echoes from the '90s? :P

Current news rather


Note that Cameron is speaking against one of the four so-called freedoms of the EU - freedom of movement of people, a foundational principle of EU. An EU3 prime minister can afford it without any consequences. If some Balkan or Baltic prime minister spoke the same way, there would be sanctions.


If the Estonian government implements Russian-friendly immigration politics and claims this is an EU directive, they're lying.

This is a lie that works every time. All the governments in the "new" member states use the EU-directive argument liberally, because the opposition cannot have a counterargument to it. How would you stop it? Would you make an EU directive against it? :lol:
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: rjhowie on 2015-01-25, 19:12:54
May I neatly remind you at this point that this is an island we live on. As a boy at Senior Secondary school the population was 48 million and now around 61 or 62 million and scheduled to go over 70 million and no sign of stopping and immigrants breed like flies.  It is high time the mainstream politicians were more courageous and to the point and  immigration is a very high  thing in the minds of most. The number of people who want a Referendum and in fact get out is increasing all the time. The Labour Party like turkeys waiting for Christmas is so up for the EU in the face of this climb so I do hope Milliband gets his come uppance.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-25, 19:46:38

Before the Benelux there was the European community for steel and coal or something like that. Wasn't it?

The Benelux was created in 1944 by our governments in exile. The EGKSECSC is from half a decade later.

Note that Cameron is speaking against one of the four so-called freedoms of the EU - freedom of movement of people, a foundational principle of EU. An EU3 prime minister can afford it without any consequences. If some Balkan or Baltic prime minister spoke the same way, there would be sanctions.

What I'm hearing: "UK welfare is kind of retarded and I want it to become retarded in a different way (or possibly even more retarded)."

There would be no sanctions for someone merely saying stupid things. There might be repercussions for implementing rules that breach EU law, but rather than sanctions that would most likely be something more like the ECJ nullifying a national law or forcing a different interpretation of it.

Promising things that are impossible as per EU directive is just as delectable as pushing things through which are wholly your own idea. (And in the case of the UK they have a nasty habit of proposing things in the EU, somehow successfully convincing others of getting it passed, and then claiming to their own populace that this is an idea that came from Brussels so they can shift the blame.)

I actually linked to an EU page refuting false stories about the EU in the news on My Opera, but I can't seem to find the link in my bookmarks. I suppose I forgot to add it at the time.

May I neatly remind you at this point that this is an island we live on.

Because as we all know the mainland magically expands whenever more people move there. :right:
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-25, 20:55:51

Note that Cameron is speaking against one of the four so-called freedoms of the EU - freedom of movement of people, a foundational principle of EU. An EU3 prime minister can afford it without any consequences. If some Balkan or Baltic prime minister spoke the same way, there would be sanctions.

What I'm hearing: "UK welfare is kind of retarded and I want it to become retarded in a different way (or possibly even more retarded)."

You are not hearing well enough. He is speaking up against EU-internal immigrants, saying he'd make different welfare and employment benefit rules about them. This is forbidden in principle. According to the so-called EU constitution, the four freedoms apply uniformly in the union without distinguishing laws about it in any member state. The citizens of other member countries are supposed to get the country's benefits when they move there, immediately as a matter of principle.


There would be no sanctions for someone merely saying stupid things. There might be repercussions for implementing rules that breach EU law, but rather than sanctions that would most likely be something more like the ECJ nullifying a national law or forcing a different interpretation of it.

Promising things that are impossible as per EU directive is just as delectable as pushing things through which are wholly your own idea. (And in the case of the UK they have a nasty habit of proposing things in the EU, somehow successfully convincing others of getting it passed, and then claiming to their own populace that this is an idea that came from Brussels so they can shift the blame.)

Again, this is an unnegotiable basic EU freedom he is talking against. Do you remember Jörg Haider? He was blocked from the democratically rightful post of prime minister by collective EU diplomatic sanctions even before he had said anything. If I remember correctly, the diplomatic blockade resulted in a government crisis in Austria that lasted until Haider decided to not go along into the cabinet at all and he stepped down from the party leadership. What could he have said? Possibly something against immigration from outside EU, which is a legitimate policy topic, and maybe something about EU-internal movement too, but hardly worse than Cameron. The point is, Haider didn't get to say anything at all, much less to act. Plus his death could have been a political murder. Given the circumstances, there should have been investigations to clear the EU authorities from suspicion. The EU is no pretty boy.

Except when it comes to Cameron undermining one of the basic freedoms, which is the most shakily implemented one among them anyway. Imagine Cameron speaking up against some other freedom, such as free movement of capital, "Our banking system should be a national club favouring the investments and savings of the hard-working British..." or free movement of goods "Our customs system should be a national club protecting the markets of the hard-working British..." etc. It would literally mean pulling the carpet from under the entire EU. I am saying that this is precisely what it is in this case too, but he gets to say it without even an admonition from others.


I actually linked to an EU page refuting false stories about the EU in the news on My Opera, but I can't seem to find the link in my bookmarks. I suppose I forgot to add it at the time.

I'm quite sure I just refuted your link, whatever it was.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-26, 10:48:08
You are not hearing well enough. He is speaking up against EU-internal immigrants, saying he'd make different welfare and employment benefit rules about them.

That's the uninteresting surface message. Thinking it through is much more fun. Provided he is not lying (which he probably is (http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=89&newsId=1980&furtherNews=yes)), the UK welfare system is in grave trouble with or without any foreigners. Which he's probably lying about as well. In any case, he's promising things he knows he can't do.

Do you remember Jörg Haider?

Not especially, but you largely disproved your own point by making Austria your example. And for future reference, "most likely" leaves room for exceptions. Haider's a pretty egregious exception.

he gets to say it without even an admonition from others.

What, this (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/11290575/Jean-Claude-Juncker-accuses-David-Cameron-of-beating-up-EU-immigrants.html) doesn't count?

I'm quite sure I just refuted your link, whatever it was.

I'm quite sure I just refuted everything you ever said and every will say in this very sentence, no matter the content. :)
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-26, 11:27:59

That's the uninteresting surface message. Thinking it through is much more fun. Provided he is not lying (which he probably is (http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=89&newsId=1980&furtherNews=yes)), the UK welfare system is in grave trouble with or without any foreigners. Which he's probably lying about as well. In any case, he's promising things he knows he can't do.

Analysing his doublespeak does not make him better. It makes him worse.


Do you remember Jörg Haider?

Not especially, but you largely disproved your own point by making Austria your example. And for future reference, "most likely" leaves room for exceptions. Haider's a pretty egregious exception.

I disproved my point by bringing Austria as an example? At the time the EU was considerably smaller and Austria was counted among the rubble, so if my point was that the fatties bully the tinies (and this indeed was my point), then I proved the point rather than disproved it.

I agree with you in that bullying Haider out of the cabinet while he rightfully should have been the prime minister is an exceptional demonstration of spontaneous determination by the EU (if this is what you meant), but you should understand that this case has left a character mark on how the Brussels is viewed from here. Every time our government tells the people "We must make this stupid law no matter how bad it feels because this is EU directive" (which is a few times every year) we feel bullied like that. And yes, our government is lying often enough when saying this, but what have you (EU, Brussels, Benelux) ever done about it to prove that you are not like that? This is the EU reputation we are talking about, you know.


he gets to say it without even an admonition from others.

What, this (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/11290575/Jean-Claude-Juncker-accuses-David-Cameron-of-beating-up-EU-immigrants.html) doesn't count?

Yeah, it actually does. Thanks for pointing out. Note however that this is in no ways comparable to what was done to Haider.


I'm quite sure I just refuted your link, whatever it was.

I'm quite sure I just refuted everything you ever said and every will say in this very sentence, no matter the content. :)

Actually, from your link (and I remember now having heard it before) Angela Merkel brought the exact same argument as I did.

Quote
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, had made clear she would never agree measures that would impinge of the fundamental principal free movement.

And I repeat, this is not a small matter. Had anybody else talked like Cameron (even for fun or for lying or for "purely internal purposes" like it's sometimes said), there would have been real sanctions. Because the people in the smaller countries feel sanctioned and bullied by the EU often enough while UK is one of the unreined bullies.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jax on 2015-01-26, 12:05:51
The Nordic Council (and the Nordic Council of Ministers) is not a big success, nor is it a great failure, due to the lack of ambition. It is basically a talking shop. The most significant transnational Nordic cooperation was the Nordic Passport Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_Passport_Union), which didn't happen under the Council aegis, and is pretty much superseded by the Schengen accord anyway. It is a good model if you want no binding transnational agreements.

In the heady days of the 1990s it looked like it might be extended to the Baltic States, that never happened.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-26, 12:17:52
Analysing his doublespeak does not make him better. It makes him worse.

:up:

I disproved my point by bringing Austria as an example? At the time the EU was considerably smaller and Austria was counted among the rubble, so if my point was that the fatties bully the tinies (and this indeed was my point), then I proved the point rather than disproved it.

That's certainly not an impression I share from my memories of the '90s. I might go as far as to say it was like if Norway or Switzerland joined the EU tomorrow. A very different thing from the inclusion of Greece in the early '80s or the accession of countries from the former Warsaw Pact.

And yes, our government is lying often enough when saying this, but what have you (EU, Brussels, Benelux) ever done about it to prove that you are not like that? This is the EU reputation we are talking about, you know.

That is the moral duty of a free press, which is why freedom of press is important to the EU (http://www.pressfreedom.eu). The EU also releases promotional materials about the way it functions in every language and its websites are perhaps surprisingly well-made. How do you tell the hog it ate the cabbage? People just swallow these lies and half-truths whole seemingly without applying critical thought or independent inquiry.

And I repeat, this is not a small matter. Had anybody else talked like Cameron (even for fun or for lying or for "purely internal purposes" like it's sometimes said), there would have been real sanctions. Because the people in the smaller countries feel sanctioned and bullied by the EU often enough while UK is one of the unreined bullies.

We smaller countries can form voting blocks. For instance, although this is a slightly different topic, with regard to the Benelux army there are talks of merging our not-yet-merged air forces with Denmark's as well. You should have a nice ally in the Dutch once you convince them that it's a bit megalomaniac and self-defeating to keep acting like the smallest of the large countries as opposed to the largest of the small countries. On the flip side, we have "bullied" (in your vocabulary) the likes of Italy and France in the past for transgressions. But that was before most of Eastern Europe joined.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jax on 2015-01-26, 13:25:36

May I neatly remind you at this point that this is an island we live on. As a boy at Senior Secondary school the population was 48 million and now around 61 or 62 million and scheduled to go over 70 million and no sign of stopping and immigrants breed like flies. 


As covered before, the UK has had very low population growth. If it hadn't been for net immigration the UK would have been even more insignificant globally than it is.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jax on 2015-01-26, 13:35:58
Every time our government tells the people "We must make this stupid law no matter how bad it feels because this is EU directive" (which is a few times every year) we feel bullied like that. And yes, our government is lying often enough when saying this, but what have you (EU, Brussels, Benelux) ever done about it to prove that you are not like that?


It's called passing the blame, something politicians are adept at. If they can push through the legalisation they want in the EU (which is a slow and error-prone process), then they can say their hands are tied, this is an EU directive.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jax on 2015-01-26, 14:06:16
There are four power centres in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris, and Brussels (maybe one day Ankara, but let's not get ahead of ourselves). Brussels only as the capital of EUropa. If the EU was dismantled there would be three left. The power balance in EU/Brussels is complicated. The engine used to be Paris-Berlin (Bonn), each had what the other wanted, and together they could rule the rest. It was 843 all over again.

London decided this was not in their interest, and it was better to expand and conquer, an expansion that went as far North-East as Estonia (in part due to Nordic pressure), and as far South-East as most-of-Cyprus (in part due to Greek pressure). Berlin-Paris is still strong, but no longer sufficient.

In Brussels The Rest is not as strong as Berlin-Paris-London. That is, technically Berlin-Paris-London would need the support of Estonia (or other rank-breaking country) to form a blocking minority, but as hard as it would be for the Big 3 to agree, it is easy comparing to the Other 25.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2015-01-26, 14:49:05

Analysing his doublespeak does not make him better. It makes him worse.

:up:

Yeah, right. Good that we've made sure he's no good at all.


And yes, our government is lying often enough when saying this, but what have you (EU, Brussels, Benelux) ever done about it to prove that you are not like that? This is the EU reputation we are talking about, you know.

That is the moral duty of a free press, which is why freedom of press is important to the EU (http://www.pressfreedom.eu). The EU also releases promotional materials about the way it functions in every language and its websites are perhaps surprisingly well-made. How do you tell the hog it ate the cabbage? People just swallow these lies and half-truths whole seemingly without applying critical thought or independent inquiry.

What if freedom of the press is among the lies that politicians tell? I know that the EU says that freedom of the press is important, but we hear a lot of other things that the EU says are important. And this is not a case of people swallowing lies. It's rather like the game "Simon says": We have to obey. Why do we have to obey? Because this is what the gov't and the free press assure to us.


We smaller countries can form voting blocks.

Yeah, remember how this worked so well when Rumsfeld was rallying everybody for the wars and demolished any hope for the EU common stance by dividing us into "old" and "new" Europe. Those were brilliant blocks, weren't they?

Or the way Russia tricks the West with gas (you surely know about the pipeline that marks the Schroderisation of the West), so that Brussels demands from us (so we hear, the free press says so) border agreements with Russia so as to prepare for the hopeful visa-freedom with Russia (https://euobserver.com/foreign/119304). Even the mere idea of visa-freedom with Russia was a moral outrage from our point of view, not to mention that we have border disputes with Russia which we found no support for from Brussels. Luckily the idea of visa-freedom was eventually put on hold, even though too late, only a year ago, after signing the humiliating border agreements and after revealing to Russia lots of ways in which to pull the strings among the EU member countries. Thanks a lot, Brussels.


On the flip side, we have "bullied" (in your vocabulary) the likes of Italy and France in the past for transgressions. But that was before most of Eastern Europe joined.

Our previous prime minister thought it was funny to make jokes about Greece. You can say he was bullying the Greeks. At the same time he went along with guaranteeing Greece's state bonds. He thought we would get something in return. Of course we didn't, never did. So we are paying now the welfare of the country which has double higher welfare than we have here. How funny is that? This is the manner in which we are able to bully.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2015-01-26, 20:21:21
What if freedom of the press is among the lies that politicians tell? I know that the EU says that freedom of the press is important, but we hear a lot of other things that the EU says are important. And this is not a case of people swallowing lies. It's rather like the game "Simon says": We have to obey. Why do we have to obey? Because this is what the gov't and the free press assure to us.

The Dutch press reports that the Dutch government insists on ISPs logging all kinds of data in spite of the EU explicitly saying they misinterpreted the intent of EU regulations and went way overboard. If the Estonian press does no such thing that's problematic. What do you think the EU should do about it then?

Yeah, remember how this worked so well when Rumsfeld was rallying everybody for the wars and demolished any hope for the EU common stance by dividing us into "old" and "new" Europe. Those were brilliant blocks, weren't they?

NATO isn't the EU, and describing isn't making.

after revealing to Russia lots of ways in which to pull the strings among the EU member countries. Thanks a lot, Brussels.

Let them pull. Nothing unites like a common enemy.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jseaton2311 on 2015-01-29, 16:39:56
You might want to check out In Bruges.


I thoroughly enjoyed the movie last night.  Wonderfully dark comedy with unlikely people in absurd situations set in a fairy tale city, thanks for the tip.    :knight:  :cheers:
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jax on 2015-01-29, 16:58:22
It is a nice one.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jseaton2311 on 2015-01-29, 17:21:37
The movie or the city?   :knight:  :cheers:
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2016-02-22, 19:02:23
A great exhibition of Hieronymus Bosch going on in his home town http://boschexpo.hetnoordbrabantsmuseum.nl/nl/jheronimus-bosch
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-02-23, 10:31:56
Interesting. I think I've seen his work in two or three different countries (Paris and Venice or Berlin), but never in the Netherlands. :P
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Jimbro3738 on 2016-02-23, 18:43:03
Here's one that might sound odd to Americans: in Antwerp police officers have permission to take their service weapons home

The better to shoot their neighbors.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-02-23, 21:42:32
Hieronymus Bosch

The man was on drugs, there's no other explanation.
Absolutely brilliant.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2016-03-22, 13:00:17
Attacks in Brussels, explosions at the airport and the metro (underground or subway or whatever you call it in English) http://live.lesoir.be/Event/Explosion_a_Zaventem
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Jimbro3738 on 2016-03-22, 19:11:28
The man was on drugs, there's no other explanation.
Absolutely brilliant.

Brilliance? I'll show you brilliance!
Storks that eat at garbage dumps in Portugal.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/opinion/elegant-bird-discovers-junk-food.html?emc=edit_ty_20160322&nl=opinion&nlid=70505299 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/opinion/elegant-bird-discovers-junk-food.html?emc=edit_ty_20160322&nl=opinion&nlid=70505299)
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-03-22, 19:40:03

Attacks in Brussels, explosions at the airport and the metro (underground or subway or whatever you call it in English) http://live.lesoir.be/Event/Explosion_a_Zaventem

Oh yes, I forgot about this topic.

In other news, the prime minister just said no one in Belgium should leave their house if they don't have to.

Edit: http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/regio/brussel/1.2607986 (http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/regio/brussel/1.2607986)

Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-03-22, 23:17:14
Brilliance?

No, brilliant.
Shut up.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-03-22, 23:20:55
Attacks in Brussels, explosions at the airport and the metro (underground or subway or whatever you call it in English) http://live.lesoir.be/Event/Explosion_a_Zaventem (http://live.lesoir.be/Event/Explosion_a_Zaventem)

Terrorists wants to kill  themselves.
Populatons wants to feel safer.
Governements wants to to keep populations under control, all abuses are done for your safety.
Everibody is happy...
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-04-02, 06:54:13
Brussels Airport (Zaventem) can reopen thanks to a newly reached agreement

http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/regio/vlaamsbrabant/2.43601?eid=1.2616906

The Christian union says there'll be screening of passengers and luggage before they enter the airport terminal. It might take up to summer for the airport to get back up to full speed.

In related news, over 900 luggage handlers are technically jobless because they haven't had anything to do for 10 days.

http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/regio/vlaamsbrabant/2.43601?eid=1.2617052

(Also, I'll be in Brussels on Monday. Here's my SmileyFaze impression directed at any would-be terrorists. <^>(-_-)<^>)
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-04-09, 14:35:44
Apparently the Dutch Ministry for infrastructure and the environment is hard at work to make truck drivers obsolete.



Via http://mobile.lemondeinformatique.fr/lire.php?id=64459&cat=vide
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: jax on 2016-04-09, 21:19:44
It is familiar, as the first caravan are Scania (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scania_AB) trucks, and Scania is one of the two keystone companies here in Södertälje (the other AstraZeneca). So:



Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-04-09, 21:38:41
Autonomous truck trains and google cars. Obviously a machine/computer government will be best than an human one.
Bunch of fools.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-04-13, 15:31:17
Breaking: Belgian airport security has serious deficiencies
http://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_securite-a-l-aeroport-de-bruxelles-national-des-documents-accablants?id=9268475
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-04-13, 18:04:06
It is familiar, as the first caravan are Scania (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scania_AB) trucks, and Scania is one of the two keystone companies here in Södertälje (the other AstraZeneca).
Here's an article in English for those who don't read French: http://qz.com/656104/a-fleet-of-trucks-just-drove-themselves-across-europe/
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2018-08-21, 05:52:31
Apple store evacuated after iPad blows up
Quote from: https://mashable.com/2018/08/20/ipad-explodes-amsterdam-apple-store/
Apple Store in Leidseplein square in Amsterdam has been evacuated after an iPad exploded [...] three people had respiratory problems following the incident.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-07, 20:50:24
According to the socialist newspaper Volkskrant (People's Newspaper), GroenLinks (GreenLeft) and PvdA (Party of Labor) are thinking about merging into a new party called ELAN (Eensgezind Links Alternatief Nederland, United Leftist Alternative Netherlands).
Quote from: https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/groenlinks-en-pvda-een-partij-gaat-het-er-nu-van-komen~bb7b9802/
'Een bundeling van krachten zou progressieve kiezers eindelijk het gevoel geven dat ze kunnen winnen, dat er een andere wind gaat waaien in dit land, dat we de samenleving eindelijk terugveroveren op de marketeers, de graaiers, de profiteurs, de nulbelastingbetalers, de fraudeurs en de renteniers.'
"Bundling our forces would finally give progressive voters the feeling they can win, that the wind will turn in this country, that we'll reconquer society from the marketeers, the grabbers, the profiteers, the zero-taxpayers, the fraudsters and the people of leisure."[1]
Quote
'Het zou een blamage zijn als rechts de eerste vrouwelijke premier levert. Er moet een linkse vrouw kandidaat worden.'
"It would be a disgrace if right delivered the first female prime minister. A leftist women needs to become candidate."[2]
Quote
'Het zou echt een keer moeten gebeuren, ook als symbool tegen de politieke fragmentatie. We hebben het altijd over verbinding. Laat dat zelf dan ook zien.'
"It should really happen, as a symbol against political fragmentation. We're always talking about connecting. So let's show it ourselves."[3]
Quote
Dat de verschillen inhoudelijk klein zijn, bleek vorig jaar, toen in de aanloop naar de Europese verkiezingen PvdA en GroenLinks op alle zestig vragen van de Stemwijzer een identiek antwoord gaven. De partijen zijn min of meer tot elkaar veroordeeld. Waarom dan geen fusie?
That the differences are small was shown last year, when both parties answered all sixty questions of the voting guide identically. They're practically sentenced to each other. So why not a merger?[4]
Quote
'Wij vertegenwoordigen het jongste electoraat, de PvdA zo'n beetje het oudste electoraat, aldus een vertrouweling van Klaver. 'Het zou waanzinnig zijn om die twee merken weg te gooien.'
"We [GreenLeft] represent the youngest electorate, Labor about the oldest electorate ... it'd be crazy to throw away those two brands."[5]
You know another name for "people of leisure"? People who didn't frivolously go on expensive vacations to South Africa every year, but saved and invested some of it. But sure, good luck getting votes by insulting those who should vote for you.
I can barely even begin to comprehend the thought process behind this statement. Are we talking about the Netherlands here or about the US or something?
This guy should talk to Mr 'you're all grabbers" up there.
This is nothing particularly new. They're called GreenLeft for a reason. It's primarily a matter of emphasis.
Sounds about right.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: ersi on 2020-03-08, 07:04:53
You know another name for "people of leisure"?
In ancient, classical and modern leftist ("modern" starting roughly with Marx) economic literature it has been a rather consistent term, "people of leisure" or "leisure class". Classical and Marxist economic literature are in near-full agreement with their analysis of social stratification. They only differ in whether the stratification should stay as it is or needs to be addressed by means of a heavier wheel of redistribution or outright revolution.

Another term for this is "rentier".
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rentier
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rentier_capitalism

Added: By the way, I am in the middle of a book on this topic http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/833
It is a discussion of how the leisure class emerges in "advanced barbaric stage", then the primary leisure class acquires a "vicarious leisure class" in industrial society and then how the vicarious leisure class transforms into upper-echelon employees in corporate service while the primary leisure class turns into corporate owner class. Fascinating and thought-provoking reading, even though suffering from some culturally contingent a priori speculation regarding the early stages of social relations. Still, Piketty is worthless in comparison.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-17, 22:11:23
Apparently we're entering lockdown now.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/coronavirus/news/belgium-enters-lockdown-over-coronavirus-crisis-until-5-april/
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-18, 07:33:36
The NRC published the following opinion piece:

Quote from: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2020/03/17/staat-perkt-burgerlijke-vrijheden-radicaal-in-a3994061
,,Kijk eens wat er nu wordt uitgeschakeld: onderwijs, kunst, cultuur, wetenschap, grote bijeenkomsten. Als je niet beter wist zou je denken dat dit het draaiboek van een rechts-populistische machtsgreep is.

,,Ik maak me als staatsburger grote zorgen over de dag dat we weer tot normaliteit moeten terugkeren. Kan dat dan nog? Of zijn er dan zoveel processen in gang gezet die een eigen dynamiek hebben, dat we helemaal niet meer terug kúnnen? Omdat er weer nieuwe redenen zijn om onze rechten op te schorten.

,,Ik zie geen enkele bezinning op de vraag of we wel op de goede weg zijn, niet epidemiologisch, maar qua grondrechten. We hebben te maken met een dambreuk. Als historicus weet ik dat het intrekken van rechten zelden tijdelijk is."

Wat, vraagt hij in zijn artikel, als we op een morgen wakker worden in een gezondheidsdictatuur? ,,Daarmee bedoel ik een situatie waarin de mensen in de eerste plaats gezien worden als potentiële dragers van een virus, niet als individuen met rechten."
"Look what's being eliminated now: education, art, culture, science, big gatherings. If you didn't know any better, you'd think this is the script of a right-populist seizure of power.

"As a citizen, I'm very worried about the day when we have to return to normality. Is that still possible? Or are there so many processes that have their own dynamics, that we can't go back at all? Because there will be new reasons to suspend our rights.

"I don't see any reflection on whether we're on the right track, not in epidemiological terms, but in terms of fundamental rights. We're dealing with a watershed moment. As a historian, I know that revoking rights is rarely temporary."

What, he asks in his article, when we wake up one morning in a health dictatorship? "By that, I mean a situation where people are seen primarily as potential carriers of a virus, not as individuals with rights."



It seems a bit far-fetched for now.
Title: Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Post by: Barulheira on 2020-03-18, 11:57:14
Fundamental rights? They are an illusion. Sometimes people are forced to do the right thing. That's human life.
The threshold is debatable.