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Showing posts from 2011

(05b) UK versus European Union

In a previous article (Europe shows its balls), I described how Europe tried to go ahead with necessary reforms even after PM David Cameron (UK) blocked major reforms. Here I will continue to talk about my unbelief of the refusal of the UK to allow the necessary changes to happen, especially because the proposed changes are those already implemented in the UK.

Recently, Europe was angry with the veto of the UK against necessary reforms. I really do not understand the reasoning of the UK. Germany (and other countries) wants stronger control on the spending of European countries to prevent them from cheating (as Greece did) or lending too much (although investments by governments should be allowed such as (1) improving schools or (2) spending money on research into solving cancer, dementia and other diseases to save future money as people will be healthy for a longer period and thus can contribute longer towards society or into research on how to solve the financial crisis or (3) to imp…

Christmas - another view then we are always told.

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Merry Christmas and peace to everyone.

In the Christmas story, we mostly talk about the mother and the child. Indeed, Mary had to suffer (as all women have) while delivering her child. And this child, as so many others in the world, was born in the gutter because his mother was not welcome in the hotels and (I assume) hospitals didn't exist in those days. But what would we do when all rooms are full (or not) and a pregnant (unknown) woman would like to deliver her child in our house. Indeed, ... .

But poor Joseph. He is mostly ignored while I think he brought the greatest sacrifice. How many men would stay with their wife and support her and her child when she became pregnant from another? How many men would believe her when she says it was God who made her pregnant? Would most men not say she could have refused? And why didn't God choose a woman who was free and not married? But probably He couldn't choose a free woman because then she might have been killed as everyone w…

(05a) Europe shows its balls.

Finally, Europe has balls!!

In the past, whenever Britain didn't get what it wanted within the EU, it threatened to veto the whole agreemeent, even when all other member states agreed with the changes. The veto was always used to push Europe in the direction of the interests of the UK. Rarely would the UK do something for the good of all of Europe. Of course, sometimes powers were allowed towards Europe but essential changes were always stopped. Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron knows changes are necessary in the EU because otherwise the Euro might collapse and quite often he says it. (European politicians can't devalue the Euro to make it cheaper against other countries and thus stimulate the export a little?) But then he uses his veto to block every change.

I do agree the UK does not have to accept everything from Europe. But the UK should make it clear they want to work together with the other European countries and then countries will discuss more issues with the UK. But b…

Vlaamse miniaturen - a beautiful exhibition.

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On Sunday, I went to an exhibition about Flemish (Vlaamse) miniaturen. There were books that no-one had seen for decades and that will disappear again until someone will rediscover them. They are so fragile that light damages them. I find they should be scanned with modern scanners that will not damage the books and show them on the internet so that everyone can enjoy them and if they want to could read. I will show some pictures and give my comments with them. I used the brochure to scan most of these picture while two pictures where published in a newspaper. The picture on the right shows the advert for the exhibition. It is Eve. She is taken from the painting on the right where she is in Paradise together with Adam and some animals, all peaceful together and God is overlooking all of it (a voyeur?). Remember, this painting is part of a book, thus quite small and still so much details.Although it is very beautiful, the next one I show is much funier.

On the left two sober paintings …

Bill Clinton - Daring to question some of his decisions

Today, I read an article in "The Guardain" (12/11/11) about Bill Clinton where he has set himself (quote) "a new new mantra. One a day ... he makes it a rule to find a reason to say "I didn't know that " and "I was wrong". He takes it so seriously that if the opportunity doesn't come up naturally, he creates one".

I find this a good "mantra". One should always question the decisions one makes and see whether these are/were good decisions. It shows great leadership if one dares to say one was wrong on certain decisions (although many people would disagree). It shows great leadership that one dares to listen to advisers and dares to change ones mind when necessary. Of course, one does not always have to change its mind about certain things (e.g. human rights (although this doesn't mean one can't punish people who do evil)). That is why I like President Obama: he decided to employ many advisers and therefore often it takes…

Gent - such a beautiful city

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Gent (English: Ghent (although I find one should try to say the name of a place in the local language, certainly as it sounds the same)) is a beautiful city. It has two medieval castles within its centre and a number of canals. Along these canals are histarical buildings but also interesting newer buildings. I lived in this city for almost five years, working on my PhD. Recently I decided to visit this city again.

I left Brussels by train and arrived in the main station of Gent. As you can see, it is a beautiful station with many decorations depicting the most beautiful and most important (i.e. capital) cities of Belgium. The photo demonstrates the beauty of this station, especially after it's recent restoration.


Opposite the station, I waited for Kurt as we would have a lunch together in a nearby vegetarian self-service restaurant. While I waited, I noticed some interesting details on a building. Here two pictures of these details.




















Later, Kurt and I went to the centre of Gent whe…

(04) How to protest, and win the support of the public?

What is going on at this moment?
Tomorrow, Belgium unions will organise a demonstration against the decisions taken by the almost new government. Earlier this week, there was a massive strike from public workers in the UK and many people came on the streets, quite unusable for the UK.

These people protest against the many changes affecting every ones lives. E.g. the age of retirement in the UK increases from 60 till 66 (while many claim at the same time pensioners' income will go down). Of course, this is a gigantic step and those who could nearly retire don't want to work an extra six years. But the main problem is that, although we knew the average age of the people increases, politicians never dared to make the necessary reforms earlier and introduce them gradually so everyone could adjust to the changing system. Now, the changes are too big. I always thought of retiring at 70. One of the reasons why politicians didn't dare to modernise the pension was because many with…

Assault in gay bar in Brussels

This week, there was an assult by two men in a gay bar in Brussels.

As I feared might happen more in future happened this week on a small scale in Brussels: two men entered the gay bar "Le Fontainas" in Brussels and started to insult the people. One barman defended the customers in the bar although a little too heavy: he used a knive and wounded one of the guys.

There are now two possible directions:
these two men will understand they can't insult people because they are differently and they will stop insulting people in future;or these two men will become even more agressive towards gay people who they find are indeed agressive and next time they might invite more friends to insult (or even damage) gay(-friendly) people as they might show no mercy and no forgiveness. The revolutions in the Middle East might worsen the problem: many people try to escape the violence in their country and come to Europe. And instead of being greatful for being allowed into Europe to escape …

(03c) Three Power system: Belgium (and Europe) (part 2)

In the first part of this article about Belgium, I closed with the prediction the rating will go down after an agreement would be reached and a government formed because, the markets would claim the solution didn't reach far enough. I was so wrong, the rating went down the same night I wrote that article. And guess what, the next day the politicians negotiated very long and reached a compromise about the budget. (I admire politicians who try to solve the problems while people say they do politics for their own gain (and some do), each politician thinking their ideas are the best while probably a combination of all these ideas would be advisable. However, I dislike those in the financial world who brought the world on its knees (I do not mean the ordinary bankers but those we don't see or know)). The Belgium politicians still have a few more problems to solve (e.g. about migration) and then we can have a government (if it will not all collapse again at the last moment). Then I …

Out in arabia (in Brussels)

Yesterday evening I went out in Brussels. First I met up with Billy in La Reserve as we promised each other in the afternoon to go out together. After two drinks, we wanted to discover some other places so we left. We went to Homo Erectus, but after one drink we preferred to go somewhere else.

We pasted the Rainbowhouse in Brussels. This is a place I never know what goes on: often it is not open or something happens I have no interest in. But yesterday night, the doors were open, we could hear music and it seems there was lots of happy faces and moving bodies. We decided to go inside and noticed it was the Arabian night. This night is ones a month and often I don't know when it goes on. But now I know how good the atmosphere is I will try to find out the date for the next party as it was real fun.

I find it very courageous of these people from middle eastern origin to dance in the centre of Brussels where there is still quite some hospitality from a certain population of people to…

(03b) Three-Power system: Belgium (Part 1)

As I mentioned in my previous article about the Three-Power system, I think an economical One-Power system will emerge before another Three-Power system will rise again as it is much better (although a little slower).
But I fear also in politics (and other parts of life) are we moving towards a One-Power system (sometimes this is necessary to restore order). I already mentioned that people might start voting for a strong (mostly conservative) leader. Of course a strong leader is needed, but he should always respect the other powers: Parliament and Justice. He should not ignore their powers, claiming they slow down and interfere with the decisions he wants to take. But the other powers also deserve to be respected (and here is a major problem). Here, I will discuss Belgium as an example (a good example to discuss Europe and the rest of the world as three different communities have to work together within a small country). As it is complicated I will discuss it in a number of publications…

(03a) Introduction to the Three-Power system (as we all know but have forgotten to use it properly) plus an external force

In my Introduction to these series of publications that said I would talk about a Three-Power system (and an external force). Many people know this system but equally many have forgotten how to use it properly. This system should be used at all levels: politics, economics, education, ... . However, recently I noticed one of the reasons why we are in the current mess is because we neglected this system of the Three-Powers (most importantly, respect for each power is essential), while many things start to become a One-Power system (or dictatorship).  Here I will explain why I fear everything will evolve into this One-Power system until an external force will bring a correction upon this One-Force system so we can re-introduce the Three-Power system, restoring the balans, and the external force can rethreat until it is needed ones again.
Recently, the French-Belgium bank Dexia almost went bankrupt if the French and Belgium governments would not have interfered (such as they did during the…

(02) Automatic wage indexation system, should it be stopped?

I do not understand humans anymore, and especially those who earn lots of money, often the so called bankers and economics. I will explain this via the automatic wage indexation system, something that we still use in Belgium but a growing number of politicians, business people and some ordinary people are saying it should disappear as it is damaging the economy.
In this article I will try to explain why I think it is wrong to stop this system, and why I believe it is one of the best systems ever. But, indeed, there is one system that should disappear: the bonus system as that distroys the whole financial system because it blinds people.

In Belgium, the automatic wage indexation system is used to calculate and changes our salaries. This is a system whereby the wages and salaries are automatically adjusted according to inflation (or deflation). This means that the price evolution of a number of products (but not all) determine the evolution of wages and salaries. Whenever changes in the …