Tag: politics

If You Write It, They Will Read It

Now let’s imagine you are a nobleman, living at the beginning of the 16th century in Middle Europe. You hang around the court of the Emperor and help to administer the Reich.
Your ruler decides to promote you and sent you as ambassador to the Czar.
What do you do ?
Certainly you turn to your database – that is the library – and look for a tome, manuscript or print, that describes what you need to know, like where to go, how to travel, whom to bribe.
Shock Hubbub, Panick & Confusion – no such book : You have to write it yourself !
Enter Sigmund von HERBERSTEIN (1486-1566) (Ger., Eng.).
Sigmund was a third son, so his chances to inherit a lot were pretty small. But his father took care to give his son a good education, and – what is even more important – this education fell on a good soil : Sigmund was interested in nearly everything, and very curious.
From 1514 on he lives at the court of Emperor Maximilian I. (1459-1519) (Ger., Eng.), he stays in service until 1553, for nearly forty years.
At the beginning of the 16th century existed only few permanent representations, usually a ruler choose one person for a special commission, a special envoy. HERBERSTEIN carried out 69 such missions, 30 saw him visiting Hungary, 15 took him to Poland and two into the Moscow State.
The first major journey was not successful. He was sent to Denmark in 1516 : Isabella (1501-1526) von Habsburg was married to king Christian II. of Denmark, who had earlier met an Netherlandish girl, taken her to Copenhagen and lived openly with her. The girl’s mother, an innkeeper called Willems, seemingly run the state. The king not only deeply insulted his wife, but also the house of Habsburg in toto, and there was no successor in sight due to a lack of consummation. Within a few years this remarkably dumb sovereign had insulted all rulers in the neighbourhood, was forced to flee the country and take asylum in The Netherlands where his legal wife died.
HERBERSTEIN should admonish the crowned ass, what he did to no avail, but in such a way that the king was not upset (and not cancelled his connection to the House of Habsburg). Interestingly Sigmund’s last mission in 1553 was to accompany another young Habsburgian princess, Catherine, to Cracow, right into another unhappy marriage.
Also Sigmund’s second mission in 1517 was not successful, when he was sent to Moscow to broker an armistice between Poland and the Moscow State. Nevertheless he showed great diplomatic skill in this mission – and he stayed in business. He reported to the Emperor personally, and old Maximilian seemingly was fascinated by the stories about this strange land & country in the East. So when a second mission to Moscow was necessary in 1526, now under the emperors Charles V. and Ferdinand I., it was only natural to have Sigmund take part in it – even Madrid (Charles V.) proposed his name. HERBERSTEIN was not only sent over in diplomaticis, but Ferdinand told him to collect any information about the country, the society, and put special emphasis on the religious situation. In the end Sigmund von HERBERSTEIN was sent to write the first regional and cultural study about unknown Russia.
He returned back to the Emperor’s court at the 13th of February 1527, and shortly afterwards presented his report. Sadly we know nothing about this report’s fate. In the 1530s Sigmund was looking for a humanist to work on his text, to have it stylistically improved, but we do not know what came out of this. It is not clear if the text that was finally printed 22 years later – in 1549 : Instant success, 20 more imprints until 1600 – is identical or, if not, how close related to the first version.
HERBERSTEIN lived on to see the success of his book, and in his autobiographical writings, which are also very instructive, he mentions that knowing the Slovenian language was very helpful for him. Sigmund was born in Wippach in Slovenia, and he put a lot of effort in learning the language of his peasants as a youth. So knowing a Slavonic language was very helpful for him on his travels in the East, less perhaps in Poland where the nobility was fluid in Latin and Italian, two other languages Sigmund verifiably spoke.
His text * is an interesting read, still after five hundred years.

* I used : HERBERSTEIN, Sigmund von : Das alte Rußland. In Anlehung an die älteste deutsche Ausgabe aus dem Lateinischen übertragen von Wolfram von den STEINEN. Mit einem Nachwort von Walter LEITSCH. Unter herausgeberischer Mitarbeit von Paul KÖNIG. 2. Auflage Zürich 1985 (Manesse Bibliothek der Weltgeschichte) (Rerum Moscoviticarum commentarii).
LEITSCH (1926-2010) was an Austrian professor of history at the university of Vienna, I used his Nachwort / postface.

Here We Go

Good Morning America. I’ve saied it before, I willingly repeat it : All will be better under President Trump. My sarcasm was sadly not delivered to you, or you did not understand it ; you took it a tad too serious, my dear.
I can say nothing about North-American domestic politics, I do not live there. I only look at the foreign politics, and what President Trump announced through the crusade was not very nice. Like that treaties are not always binding, so-called allies should “pay” “more”, notably Japan and Germany. And if we do refuse to pay for your “protection” ? Will “slits” and “krauts” join the rest in the camps ?
I read on a news site the names of possible candidates for President Trump‘s cabinet, and as foreign minister a person called Newt Gingrich was listed. I only hope that this is a very sad joke. If not, Hunter S. Thompson is approved as so often, when he assessed : The scum is always rising.
I had to remember Thompson now and then over the last weeks, and think it is possible that he would have liked this outcome. President Trump is more rock’n roll than Billy Boy honking his sax ever was and could be. Maybe after some bottles of whiskey and a pound of mind altering substances it even makes sense, and could give a real kick, like flirting with disaster always does. One can only hope that America’s flirt with President Trump will not hurt the rest of the world, at least too much.
Speaking about the rest of the world, I think I hear the machinegun-like sound of corks popping out of champagne bottles from the East and a Homeric laughter, maybe there’s party in the Kremlin ?
Now the man is legally elected, as were other important Fuehrers too, good luck with the one and only President Trump.

We life in magical times.

The Ugly

Politics. I had to say something, sorry.
It is not right to assume that Mr Hitler came back fighting from the shores of the Baltic Sea last weekend.
This is what one could be tempted to think when reading the news about the last election held in Meck-Pomm, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – a vast empty region in the North-East of the German federation with borders to Poland.
Fact is that the imho far-right-out, nationalistic & genuine racist “party” called AfD scored 20% of the votes – more than the (in a “great” coalition on federal level) ruling CDU (what translates into christian & democratic union, chancellor Merkel is the head of this party, Ger., Eng.), but less than the SPD (social democrats, the minor partner on federal level, but giving the MP in Meck-Pomm ; Ger., Eng.).
Loosers are the Greens, the “Linke” (the left-wing party, a strange thing of Eastern origin), and of course the old-fashioned neo-nazis of the NPD (nationalist party of Germany – no wonder, those followers voted for the Afd).

The Afd started as an anti-Euro movement among scholars some years back. The founder, a man called Lucke (Ger., Eng., macroeconomics – what can you expect ?), was ousted, and today the joint is run by other figures I will not mention here, and do not link.
When the original AfD was more or less running out of steam, the so-called “refugee-crisis” came along, and in the East (where else, eh ?), oh so angry and fearful citizens started to march & protest, carefully orchestrated by old NPD-cadres, calling themselves “Pegida” – also something I will not touch with a long iron prod.
They are more or less (depends on yourself & what you hear) openly not only islamophobic, but nationalistic & racist, and they are it to this day. The AfD saw a lot of infight, but in the end it became something like the bourgeoise, parliament-ready arm of this “movement”, the new “leaders” had absolutely no qualms about rubbing shoulders with the “concerned citizens”. And all what hangs there.
And here we go.
The old nazi party, riddled with scandals about money, unfit personal, confidential informants etc. simply is going to vanish.
The AfD is the new pool for all & everything right of the middle. This gives the Bavarian CSU (a local-only sister-party of the CDU) some headaches because they always bragged that there would be nothing else right of them – a concept they successfully executed over the last sixty (!) years. If you look closely right from the start in the late forties – ahem ! – but this is only a minor theatre of war. Let me say it clear : They always sucked up the Nazis. But this time …
What the last election showed, and very possibly the next one in Berlin will confirm, is the simple fact that roughly 20% of the voters are more or less open racist. The AfD is not known for nuances : All people of islamic faith / Muslim – whatever may be the “correct” name for those non-Christian deity-killers – oh excuse me, scratch that, those were the Jews ! –  heck, all of those fuzzy-bearded camel-shaggers who came here for blond women & free cash, are terrorists and need to be concentrated in camps.
We need walls, and a fortified border – not a European one, but a national one. Because “Europe” is of course the kickoff of all evil, and Merkel is Satan’s grandmother. And if you do not like this, fuck off to What-Ever-Stan, and leave us true Germans alone – throw in the curse word of your choice here.

BTW – all this, just a little  overdone by me, is a kick in the groin for all those people of Turkish background, who live in this country since the sixties or so. Who helped to build this economic, who had a hard time here, who finally found their own ways to what is called “integration” – a blank futile fraud, a terrible word stuffed with ideology – anyway : All those humans of Turkish origin, who after years had the possibility to build their own churches – yeah, they call it mosque, what is the difference, eh !?-, who after years finally found a way of peaceful coexistence / communal life and all, who live their life next to other peaceful “German” citizens – and all of a sudden they come up with the faith !?
Shall them wear a green half-moon on their clothes ?!

Please excuse me, venerated reader, that I ex-aggerate this – but it is really hard to listen to those people. And I confess that I gave up. I had enough of this over the last months with my co-driver, I listened to this whining for a long time.
Starting from my co-driver, it boils down to something like “We do get nothing – they get all !” via the gender-thing (“They just want to fuck and treat German women like dirt !”) to finally “All terrorists – they want to rule here!”.
So it is substantive envy (“they” do get all – “we” get nothing) ; it is fear of sexual aggression and rape ; it is something that was actually canalised by the “Pegida”-movement, in German “Fremdbestimmung”, heteronomy, the loss of liberties, freedoms (practised or not), new values imposed / forced upon them good law-abiding-oh-so-Christian-citizens.
Of course, it is clear that there are no answers when one asks who “they” are ; where one law-abiding-Christian-citizen gets less than others and is in fact cut from things (money, benefits, whatever) because of refugees ; where & when the mullah forced them the last time to the Frayday prayers.
There is nothing.
Just a big ol’ Kuddelmuddel. Just fear and not one single spark of self-thinking. If you are friendly, call it something like “overextension” ; if you are less friendly – and a bit more realistic -, call it the limit of their intellectual possibilities.

Anyway. They are not going away. Sadly the social-democrats, under their current “leader”, a man who is interested in his own fat belly only and who just wants to be “Kalif anstelle des Khalifen, (Ger., Eng.), are just a “Schuss in den Ofen”, what my dictionary gives as “lead balloon”. That is a nice & friendly translation. In German I use more colourful words.
From 1977 onwards, the terrible year of terrorism in Europe (especially Germany), when my political consciousness started to come into existence & became a part of me, for nearly forty years, I voted either for the “red” party (SPD that was) or for the “green” party, never ever for the conservatives. (Think Kohl.)
I may have written this on my blog before – or may have mentioned it elsewhere, I forget – but the best thing Germany now has, is chancellor Merkel, GOd may bless her.
I really hope she will take it one more time – it is what these heartless, inhuman, anti-humanistic, greedy little suckers deserve – a healthy kick in the teeth, by a woman who grew over limits other people never knew existed.

I am not concerned for Germany, I really believe that the German democracy is strong enough to outweigh these idiots. (Otherwise I had to become a refugee & emigrate.) And Meck-Pomm is only a part. But see & understand that the new right is in other federal parliaments also, especially the East (where else ?!). And next is Berlin, which carries some symbolic value to it.
On a European level I am very concerned. The AfD makes contact to the Polish nationalists, the simply crazed out Slovakian idiots, the Hungarians under that tinpot-Fuehrer Orban, the strong Front National in France, those well-established guys in The Netherlands (and all there !), and the idiots around Mr Brexit Farouge, or whatever his name may be.
They all come together in the European Parliament, an institution they oh-so-terribly despise, but use and suck out like a lemon – like vegans running a McDonald’s for pleasure & profit.
It sucks.
Enough of this nonsense. I am tired. I want a glass of white and a fag.
If you followed me up to here, venerated reader, let’s hear some music now, hope you enjoy it : Let’s tango !



(Sorry, published a bit too early, still needed correction. But now it stands, hach !)

Sunday Music

Are weekends not meant to be restful ? A chance for the body to rest, for the soul to find peace, and generally do-nothing-ness all around for 48 hours ? That was the plan, it’s why Schabbes was invented. Here things were a bit different, not in an unpleasant way, more in a tiring one.
So I am tired and feel a bit blue. I do not have much to say. I’ll go to bed early and catch some sleep, tomorrow it will be early. I’d like to kill my co-driver, but we have only one week before the Easter holidays, these four days shall pass too. Then there will be silence from this endless silly chitterchatter – incredible how much nonsense a person can utter within a few hours. The poor woman either suffers from logorrhea or from frantic silence (anepia ?), not much in between. I prefer when she finally shuts up – please excuse the rude expression, but you’d understand if you sat in my place.
In other news, there were some elections over the weekend in Germany, in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Sachsen-Anhalt. In all three states the “AfD” (Alternative für Deutschland) reached double-digit results, in Sachsen-Anhalt more than 24%. The two parties that form the ruling coalition on the national, federal level – CDU & SPD – both suffered more or less, also did the Green Party – with the notable exception of BW where they became the strongest party with over thirty percent.
Critics of chancellor Merkel point out that the less than satisfying result for the conservative party would be a direct result of her politics in the “refugee-crisis”. Notably the Bavarian chieftain says this loud and again. What in my humble opinion is nonsense, because the Green party, especially in BW, wholeheartedly supports Merkel’s politics. The Green BW head honcho Kretschmann was indirectly even supported by Merkel when she toured the land. People are not against this politics, they do not like the conservative politicians in this state. To be fair, it was a remarkably ill-fated campaign for the conservatives there from the start. Also in Rheinland-Pfalz it was in the end about persons & personalities, less about federal politics, and it seems that the conservative frontrunner – who was some weeks ago in a comfortable lead – made simply some (personal) mistakes.
It seems that a lot of nonvoters came to the polls because of the actual developments – and they mostly voted for the AfD. As it seems the loss of votes for the established parties went directly to the newcomers, with impressive results. But the AfD has a problem : It is a party against something, not for something. They are against the influx of immigrants and they serve all prejudices imaginable – and of course it is okay to use guns against immigrants to protect the borders. Really great idea. They tout a new (is it that new ?) nationalism and are against any solution on an European level. And that is it in respect of their election programme. It is even less than what Trump has to offer !
The AfD stands for simple solutions, is basically anti-European & nationalistic, and – at least on the fringe – has connections to Pegida etc. and openly far-right groups. In Sachsen-Anhalt they reached 24 percent from zero, lead by a young bloke with absolutely no political experience, who is managed by the leader of the AfD in Thuringia, a certain Herr Hocke, who is even in this right-wing party too far out for most of the members.
It is the East. Where refugee-shelters are torched on a regular basis ; where left, green and conservative politicians are threatened by fascist militants on a regular basis ; where no-go-areas exist for coloured people – and I do not want to know what would happen to an orthodox Jew or an Muslim imam in the Saxon province.
The AfD is imho not “nationalsozialistisch”, it is a (proto-(?)-)fascist movement, comparable with the origins of Mussolini, in as much as it is a movement against something, with only hazy ideas what it should stand for (like e.g. pegida’s Abendland, what is basically wishy-washy), with strong anti-liberal, anti-democratic and anti-humanistic tendencies. It floats in the same drab dishwater as other Eastern ideological movements in Hungaria, Poland, Slowakia, or the Front national in France, all this. To be fair, the Front National has a consistent ideological basis and program, the Saxon hobby politicians only have a vague emotional condition, what makes them not less dangerous.
Let’s turn our backs on this ugly stuff.
This Sunday Music is a bit longer than usual (nearly 15 minutes). It features a hard-working drummer whose name I could not find out (sorry mate !), a black jacket worn by Joey DeFRANCESCO, and two tweet jackets playing guitar, called Pat MARTINO and John SCOFIELD. They use as a starting point the theme from the song “Sunny”. I hope you like the music – and I hope that we all have an easy week ahead !