Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Elder Statesmen

561 words

German ex-chancellor Helmut Schmidt has an amusing column in the magazine of his weekly Die Zeit. It came up when they started to ban smoking in restaurants and bars and - with Schmidt being a notorious smoker - is called Auf eine Zigarette mit Helmut Schmidt, features a photo of him with a ciggie and has an ‘interview’ on some current topic which gives him the opportunity to be ‘statesman’ or ‘elder’ or both.

In the current issue the topic is eavesdropping and stealing data. And we learn that while he was chancellor he didn’t deal with the issue of intelligence agencies who spy on people because he considered it distasteful. He was happy that the job was done both well and quietly by a member of staff. Which I find a rather odd way to deal (or rather not deal) with this. It was still his responsibility in the job he wanted to do. If he really considered spying a bad thing, he should have worked against it while he had the opportunity.


I accidentally listened to the radio and amazingly they had a rather interesting report on there about the legacy of Dubya. While it’s apparent that the guy is a crook and moron, the details of this aren’t all that clear on this side of the big ocean. They had a number of stories in there on how people were shut up for doing their job in a way that contradicted the executive’s policies on stuff like Guantanamo. Scary shit. Particularly when you take into account that we’ll just know about the cases they didn’t shut up successfully.

I don’t even try to understand Americans, but my impression was that they tend to be unreasonably proud of the country they happen to hold a passport of and that they take great pride in things like their constitution and the history that it comes from. Seeing how Dubya and his cronies treated that heritage makes it even less comprehensible how people could vote for them the second time around.

Amusingly even McCain sounded quite sane in comparison to the current U.S. government. But then again with those conservative crooks the problem is that the only reason he is against torturing people is probably that he may have experienced similar situations himself and thus has first hand experience on the issue. However, I’d say that just doesn’t cut it for a leader. A bit more abstraction is needed, including the ability to reasonably judge things that haven’t been experienced first hand.

I guess it’ll be an entertaining election season over there, we’ll see what they come up with.


Interesting article by Mandela’s biographer. If only more leaders could have a tiny bit of his patience, smartness and forgiveness. That would certainly solve a number of problems. But even in South Africa things aren’t looking that bright anymore. Mbeki degraded from benignly incompetent to crooky incompetent and lazy while his designated replacement Zuma appears to be a first class populist crook. Which leaves us with Motlanthe who is interim president now and - on the surface of it anyway - looks like a rather reasonable person.


Uh, and ‘good riddance’ meeting ‘de mortui nihil nisi bene’


Disclaimer: Not all people referred to in this text may qualify as ‘statesmen’, ‘elder’, or either of the two.

October 13, 2008, 0:04

Tagged as current, politics.

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Comment by Anonymous: User icon

He was happy that the job was done both well and quietly by a member of staff. Which I find a rather odd way to deal (or rather not deal) with this. It was still his responsibility in the job he wanted to do. If he really considered spying a bad thing, he should have worked against it while he had the opportunity.

That’s plausible deniability, Sven. Try it at work when or if someone accuses you of something. Lack of knowledge is step one to enlightened truth. Step two is “I do not recall that event”, basically, amnesia.

Seeing how Dubya and his cronies treated that heritage makes it even less comprehensible how people could vote for them the second time around.

Perhaps they think losing some elements of that heritage will preserve the greater whole. After all, they’re being attacked by A-rabs, and one of the candidates is a A-rab terror loving brown person…

October 13, 2008, 15:56

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