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Topic: What's going on in Benelux? (Read 16003 times)

  • ersi
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What's going on in Benelux?
Opération antiterroriste en Belgique: la police visée par des menaces, une interpellation à Molenbeek

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.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #50
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).
'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]
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'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]
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'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]
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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]
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'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.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #51
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.
  • Last Edit: 2020-03-08, 16:25:35 by ersi

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #52

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #53
The NRC published the following opinion piece:

,,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.
  • Last Edit: 2020-03-18, 07:53:30 by Frenzie

  • Barulheira
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #54
Fundamental rights? They are an illusion. Sometimes people are forced to do the right thing. That's human life.
The threshold is debatable.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #55
Possibly in the wake of racist police violence in USA, King Leopold II of Belgium is not so hip these days.

Last week a statue of Leopold II in the city of Antwerp was set on fire, before authorities took it down. Statues have been daubed with red paint in Ghent and Ostend and pulled down in Brussels.

[...]

For activists the holy grail is the giant statue of Leopold II on horseback at the gates of the Royal Palace in Brussels. A petition calling on the city for its removal has reached 74,000 signatures.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #56
Given the atrocities committed in the Congo Free State, I don't think he's ever been particularly hip. Even back in his day he was quite controversial.

  • rjhowie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #57
The statues craziness shows how easy it is for mental midgets to fulfil their limitation grey cells.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • jax
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #58
Given the atrocities committed in the Congo Free State, I don't think he's ever been particularly hip. Even back in his day he was quite controversial.

Leopold, reclining on his throne of severed hands, that would be a statue to remember.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #59
He supposedly said they should cut off anything but that, because the hands attached to the body are what he needed to make money.

  • rjhowie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #60
You should have added to thay passing history comment re the former Belgian rulers that whatthe country got into after freedom was as bad if not worse.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • jax
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #61
The Netherlands don't headline very often. This is one of those times.

Netherlands: Another night of riots over coronavirus curfew

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Dutch towns and cities have witnessed another night of rioting as groups of youths went on the rampage and confronted police defying the nation's strict COVID curfew measures.Netherlands sees another night of violence
The Netherlands experienced another night of unrest heading into Tuesday after protesters opposing a coronavirus curfew confronted police and threw fireworks. 

Riot police clashed with groups of protesters in Amsterdam as well as the port city of Rotterdam, Amersfoort in the east, and the small southern city of Geleen near Maastricht, police and Dutch news reports said.


  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #62
Comparing car-driving in the Netherlands to that in USA.



  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #63
It's definitely not untrue, though I nevertheless think he's exaggerating a bit about America.

On the flip side, I've never been anywhere near Florida. Michigan's the only state I've been in that makes the top 20.

https://katapult-magazin.de/en/article/dont-cross-the-street-in-florida

  • ersi
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Florida walkability
Reply #64
Miami conurbation (all the way from South Miami to West Palm Beach) is passable in most places. It has decent (and improving) public transit.  But occasionally they forgot the sidewalks. On my first visit I was shocked to find that there was no way to walk out of the airport to a bus stop nearby. I ended up in the middle of a highway with my suitcase - no sidewalks. Luckily a taxi driver picked me up and took me to the bus stop.

Otherwise the metro is okay. Tri-Rail connecting the entire conurbation is okay. Bus traffic is decent (often their ticket registers are broken, so the drivers allow people board free of charge). Streets and buses can even accommodate some cyclists. I explored many "downtowns" of the Miami area and they were all good enough for a walker like me. In some places the walkable "downtown" did not reach very far though.

Outside Miami in other places I saw, such as Orlando and St Augustine, bus traffic is so sparse that if you miss a bus, try again next day. And particularly Orlando is hostile to pedestrians. There are islands where you can walk, but those are isolated islands. St Augustine is tolerable because it is basically a single city. Orlando is a mess of several disconnected cities and there is no rhyme or reason to its geography except to keep things and places far away from each other.

Across and throughout the state, there were two types of (out-of-town-)roads: Smaller and narrower with lower speeds, paved with some type of asphalt, and speedways of full concrete. Actually, if you are a pedestrian or a cyclist, there is just one type of roads: Cars only. I got by without having to drive though and returned alive.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #65
Across and throughout the state, there were two types of (out-of-town-)roads: Smaller and narrower with lower speeds, paved with some type of asphalt, and speedways of full concrete. Actually, if you are a pedestrian or a cyclist, there is just one type of roads: Cars only. I got by without having to drive though and returned alive.
That sounds like America in general. The videos on Not Just Bikes capture it all quite well. Colorado's making some leeway though, see this article.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORzNZUeUHAM

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #66
Limburg province is being evacuated. Netherlands needs probably more dams in that direction.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #67
As I understand it more/larger flooding areas are generally more beneficial than larger dikes.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #68
Beneficial for what? For the floodwaters?

In my opinion, the oceans are sufficiently large area for floodwaters. The obvious thing to do is to either deepen the canals or raise the dikes to protect people. However, it's apparently not working quite smoothly over there, the most heavily dammed and sluiced neighbourhood in the world. Is the soil perhaps sinking too fast? Should there be more coordination between the countries? Or should the people simply move out to, idk, South Africa?

  • jax
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #69
Dams are counterproductive, and are liable to make flash floods and floods worse.

Some dams are useful and necessary, but for cases like this you want to slow the water and widen the floodplain, precisely what dams don't do. Ancient Romans and modern Japanese build massive underground reservoirs, but that is hardly the most cost-effective solution.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #70
In my opinion, the oceans are sufficiently large area for floodwaters. The obvious thing to do is to either deepen the canals or raise the dikes to protect people. However, it's apparently not working quite smoothly over there, the most heavily dammed and sluiced neighbourhood in the world.
This was once in a hundred years or less kind of rainfall (give or take climate change...), not your regular once every couple decade kind of thing. There were still insufficient overflow areas for the kind of future climate events predicted closer to 2050 than to 2020. Anyway, here it is explained in English by Flanders: https://sigmaplan.be/en/

Also I think you're at least somewhat conflating west and east. In the east there may be dikes but it's hardly the most heavily dammed and sluiced. It's the mountains over there.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #71
Also I think you're at least somewhat conflating west and east. In the east there may be dikes but it's hardly the most heavily dammed and sluiced. It's the mountains over there.
I was assuming that the Germany-facing side was having less of those constructions compared to the seaside, and the Germany-facing side would need more. In Germany floods are a regular at least once in a decade thing. This one is perhaps indeed a once a century kind of flood.