schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
The constant terrible political news is exhausting, and I don't even live in the countries most affected. Currently, every bit of positive political news feels like a torch in a cave, so if you are like me, have something that is currently cheering me up: at least for now, the planned surveillance laws in Austria failed.

Some background: this got longer than planned )

This was meant to be more cheerful. Also shorter... Ah well, I already typed it up.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
During work I keep coming up with things I want to post about, and then when I'm home I'm too lazy and/or tired, similarly often on weekends. No vacation for me until September, most likely, but I told myself to pay attention and take a mental health day if I need it. I haven't been sick yet so I wouldn't feel bad about it.

D&D )

I recently found a book again that I'd searched for for years: "Bloodrights" by N. Lee Wood. I was prepared to be disappointed, but to my happy surprise I still like it a lot. It's harsher than I remembered, especially in regards to the cost of striving for power. The surprising reveal at the end made me look at much of it in a different way and made me like it even more. Yay trope subversion. Spoiler )
I liked Antonya and many of the other characters, and rereading the book now there are several scenes that I now much better understand the id buttons they pushed (esp. Kerrick & Morgan.) Also, something I'd forgotten about which was a nice surprise, queer people exist and are, while not completely normal, not a big deal.

Politics, because it's unavoidable: The current situation in Poland is scary, it shows how easily things like that can happen. That the protests appear to have had some success is encouraging but not more than a silver lining.
There are so many countries were democracy is under attack…
In Austria I'm trying to focus on the push-back against the surveillance program, but I'm scared about the new government after the next election. The outcome seems almost certain and it would be a bad one imo, but as we've recently seen in the UK a lot can change during an election campaign, so we'll see.
schneefink: Teyla and Sora with drinks, laughing (SGA Teyla and Sora cheerful)
Austria just elected the left-wing instead of the right-wing candidate president! And it wasn't close, a 6% difference, ten times as much as in the original run-off election. Even bigger voter participation too. I'm so, so relieved.

I still don't think the Constitutional Court decision to repeat the election was correct, but in hindsight it was probably a good thing. If they hadn't the FPÖ would always keep the rumors alive that Van der Bellen only won because of manipulation, and like this it's unambiguous.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
Content note: US election
just in case )

If you want some distractions and good long things to read, have some recs from the "various" pile. (The length of the rec does not mean I liked one of them better, it just turned out that way.)

Raptors in the Rainforest by [ profile] DisaLanglois (Jurassic World/Parks)
270k, gen, post-canon
Summary: How intelligent are velociraptors? Very, very intelligent, as Owen Grady discovers in the aftermath of the Jurassic World disaster. But his quest to prove their intelligence and save his raptors will take him further than he ever expected, and the world will never be the same again.
Why I loved it: This series has fantastic raptor culture and humans being adopted into raptor packs, culture clash exploration (from the beginning and then even more (spoilers), great action scenes, very nice h/c, strong loyalty elements, and also dinosaurs. The central relationship is Blue & Owen Grady, hetero-species life-partners, and it's great. I also love many of the OCs, especially the dinosaurs. And did I mention dinosaurs?

Finding Home by [ profile] darkcyan (Natsume Yuujinchou)
250k, gen, apocafic
Summary:On a school trip, between one moment and the next, Tanuma's teacher and about half of his classmates disappear. Everyone must figure out how to deal with this changed world, and the new dangers it has brought with it. Meanwhile, Tanuma wants to believe that Natsume was not one of those who disappeared that day ... but if not, where is he?
Why I loved it: An amazing ensemble fic, where every character gets a chance to shine. The character voices are great, so are the relationships, and the plot. This is apocafic, and it's not miraculously reversed at the end, but the survivors band together and find unlikely friend and allies and build a community, it's very warm and hopeful despite everything.

Harry Potter and the Natural 20 by [ profile] Sir_Poley (Harry Potter/Dungeons & Dragons)
300k, mostly gen, crossover, WIP
Summary: Milo, a genre-savvy D&D Wizard and Adventurer Extraordinaire is forced to attend Hogwarts, and soon finds himself plunged into a new adventure of magic, mad old Wizards, metagaming, misunderstandings, and munchkinry.
Why I loved it: This is a WIP that hasn't been updated since early 2015, but it currently encompasses two and a half school years and I found what's there very satisfying. It does mean that many storylines are unresolved though, fair warning.
At first I was very sceptical about this crossover: Harry Potter and D&D? It is, however, brilliantly done. Milos' biology, magic etc. still work according to D&D rules, which leads to some hilarious misunderstandings and very creative problem-solving. Depending on which aspects you concentrate on, HP wizards and D&D wizards are very powerful in different ways. In addition to that the author also did amazing worldbuilding of a world that works according to D&D rules and everyone is aware of that. Milos is aware that he is a PC, and he tries to use his meta knowledge from his D&D adventures in Hogwarts.
Full Disclosure, after book 1 I put this down and didn't pick it up again for a few weeks: book 1 is good, but not outstanding. Book 2 however introduces fantastic new storylines and characters and starts to deviate a lot more from the HP storylines, and that continues in book 3 in ways that would be spoiler-y to mention. The ending of book 2 was a gut punch, and then it got even better.

US Election

Nov. 9th, 2016 09:06 am
schneefink: (Hängebrücke)
I'm afraid for my family in the US, for my friends and their families and loved ones, for everyone who looks in any way "different", for anyone who voted for Hillary (or wanted to but couldn't), for people in the countries that will suffer because of the new US president. I hope you all are and will be safe. Love, hugs, good luck, anything you need. People are going to die because of this election and it's terrifying.

I'm not afraid for the people who didn't support HRC or supported Trump, I'm afraid OF them. And angry, so so angry. I'm angry at so many people and institutions, the media, the Republican party, the Supreme Court...
I hope I can use this anger as personal motivation. I involuntarily woke up around 3am today, right when the first polls said that the odds for Trump were above 50%. Went to sleep, woke up three hours later from nightmares, couldn't fall asleep again. I have to do the best I can, now more than ever.
schneefink: (ahsoka)
Tired of US presidential election drama? How about something different: Austrian presidential election drama! Not so over the top that you would have thought it was too ridiculous to even make up a year ago, and with WAY fewer global consequences. Practically relaxing, by comparison.

Some background. The first round of this presidential election was back in April (!), then we had a run-off election between two candidates – one from the left-wing (Grüne), one from the right-wing (FPÖ) opposition party – in May. Fortunately, the candidate of the Green party won by 31.026 votes.

OR SO IT SEEMED. The FPÖ then challenged the election before the Constitutional Court, Austria's Supreme Court (more or less.) They claimed the election had been manipulated. The Court discovered that in several districts there had been instances of sloppiness when counting the votes, like opening the postal votes too early or not getting all necessary witness signatures. However, there was no proof and no indication of manipulation.

You'd think the Court would maybe order the votes to be recounted, something like that, right? Nope. The Court ruled that the election had to be repeated in full, because "there was a theoretical possibility of manipulation" – which the law doesn't even cover, the law clearly presumes an influence on the result! Mathematicians proved that the chance the votes affected by irregularities would have changed the result of the election was one in eight billion. The judgement was plain wrong. (one of many articles (in German.))

Nothing we can do. Repeat the election at the beginning of October. EXCEPT! There was a problem with the envelopes for the postal votes, which are very popular. Some of them opened on their own, making the votes invalid. The glue was faulty. The fucking glue.
ETA: The FPÖ briefly tried to use this to start a "get rid of postal votes" campaign, because they usually do very badly with postal votes, but fortunately that met with so much opposition that it died down quickly.

So the election had to be postponed again! This time, at the beginning of December. (In the meantime, btw, the office of president is being fulfilled by the three leaders of the National Council. The president in Austria, while in theory having not insignificant power, is traditionally not very involved in day-to-day politics.) A new law was necessary to even make that possible. The new law also stated that while in the repeat election in October only the people eligible to vote in April could participate, in the next repeat election everyone who is eligible by December can participate, changing the electorate.

Ahh, but it gets more ridiculous. The weekly newspaper "Falter", which published several articles criticizing the Constitutional Court judgment, recently interviewed one of the judges of the Constitutional Court. He didn't really say anything new, but one interesting detail was that he said he believes FPÖ leadership had prepared to challenge the election result even before the election. This unsurprisingly led to outrage among the FPÖ, who "didn't have a choice" and have now sued Judge Schnizer on multiple counts because of libel and related charges.

There's still a month and a half to go until the election! Let's see what else happens. If we're lucky it'll be the last one for this presidential election. There's a very real possibility that the FPÖ candidate will win in December, which would mean that a political party lost an election, appealed to have it overturned because of formalities so they could try again and hopefully win this time, and it worked. That would be absolutely infuriating. It's bad enough now: I'm so angry at the Constitutional Court, like, what the fuck. Thinking that the highest Court in the land isn't competent doesn't feel good, btw. (Of course I knew judges are fallible, but still.)

Sometimes when I'm frustrated with Austrian politics and the election in particular I tell myself that at least we don't have it as bad as the US, where that orange asshole became the presidential candidate for one of the two major parties despite… basically everything he's said and done. (Fortunately the chances of him actually winning seem very low right now.) Dear Americans, best of luck with the election, with keeping up your health and nerves until then, and fingers crossed that after the first election there aren't any additional complications.
schneefink: (ahsoka)
I'm so angry about the result of the UK's EU referendum. Also a bit scared, but mostly angry at how easy it apparently is to make a majority of voters vote based on nationalist propaganda and nebulous promises and racist anti-immigrant agitation. Austria's presidential election: probably more luck than anything else (and we still haven't found out if it'll have to be repeated because of fricking formalities.) I'm angry that British young people, most of who voted to remain, now have to live in a country whose fate was decided by the fear of old people, who won't experience many of the negative consequences for e.g. the job market and - this sounds shallow, but many of them will die soon. Of course old people have as much of a right to vote as anyone, but it just seems so incredibly selfish. Of course not all old people are like that, blah blah, but I'm still angry. And I'm just waiting for a more detailed voter breakdown to have more groups to be angry at. (White people probably. I'm curious about the gender breakdown.)
Eh, better angry than worried for now.

Hey, silver lining, I could probably take a very cheap vacation in the UK this summer...


May. 23rd, 2016 04:04 pm
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
The Austrian presidential election was decided by 31.026 votes, 50,3% - 49,7%. Over 72% voter participation. The most important thing: the right-wing candidate lost. Though it's way too close for comfort; I've seen some international headlines "Austria rejects right-wing candidate" and you can't say that after he got almost 50% of the votes. (3,6% of the votes were invalid, more than enough to potentially decide the election.)

Just to clarify, the most important election in Austria is the election of the national parliament, which determines the government and the chancellor. The president has traditionally had a mostly ceremonial role. However, he does have some important powers and the right-wing candidate said "people will be surprised what is possible." Ugh. It's suspected that he planned to fire the current government to get a new election sooner, which would favor his right-wing party.

Some context: there were five candidates for this presidential election, four from the bigger parties and one independent. Austria used to have two big parties for decades, the conservative ÖVP and the socialist SPÖ, but they lost a lot of popularity due to several different factors. The biggest opposition parties are the left-wing Green party and the right-wing FPÖ.
We had a run-off election between the Green party candidate (Van der Bellen) and the FPÖ candidate (Hofer.) The election was on Sunday, but it was so close that the final result wasn't known until about 1-2 hours ago. (Did it have to take so long to count all the votes? Seriously, Innsbruck? The Pens lost yesterday so not even that was a good distraction.)
A very accurate quote from I-don't-know-who/multiple sources: "100% of Austrians think 50% of Austrians are idiots."

The majority of women, people living in cities, and people with high school degrees voted for VdB, by the way. The majority of men, people in rural areas, and the overwhelming majority of workers voted Hofer. Nobody tell me again that not every single vote counts. Oh and right-wing voters already have their conspiracy theories: this is proof that people are brainwashed at Austrian universities, clearly, and also that the votes were manipulated etc. etc.

I'm SO RELIEVED. It was so close, and the prospect of having a right-wing president was scary. As it is I'm already nervous about the next parliament elections. Hopefully this close outcome will lead to positive reforms in the center parties. DO NOT WANT right-wing chancellor H.C.Strache *shudders*
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
It's winter, so there are much fewer refugees arriving in Europe currently. A much needed break to figure out how best to deal with the situation. A recent mayors' conference in Austria came up with the slogan "after a 'welcome culture' we now need a 'welcome structure'", accurate.

The Austrian government had the great idea to set an "upper limit" of how many refugees the country will accept, or a guideline of how many people the country is currently able to deal with well, they're still fighting about that. Some politicians apparently think that you can count people and say "oh sorry, you're late, human rights don't apply to you because we don't want to spend money on you don't have space left." I absolutely get being annoyed at countries like England that are unwilling to take on refugees, but at the same time other countries take on more people by an order of magnitude and people are still drowning.

It's hard to get a good picture of what the situation here actually looks like because both sides, pro- and anti-refugees, exaggerate and/or obfuscate, so I try to be very careful. There have been some cases of refugees harassing people, especially women, and there have been some ugly racist actions.
From my family I know that the family the parish is housing is nice. LB says it's starting to be discouraging to the several people in the parish who are spending a lot of time helping them out with learning German, school, shopping etc. that they feel like their help isn't appreciated; gratitude is an important reward for volunteer work. I wonder how much of that is communication issues though and I can imagine that it'll change.

I knew cross-cultural communication difficulties would crop up, and one I did not anticipate are handshakes. Apparently in Syria/Arab countries unfamiliar men and women don't shake hands, for cultural/religious reasons. However here handshakes signal respect, and if someone shakes someone else's hand but not yours it's generally seen as a sign of disrespect. I know it bothered LB quite a bit, and we talked about if people who are living here should be expected to adapt, without really coming to any conclusions. On the one hand I don't think anyone should be forced to touch someone they don't want to touch, on the other hand socially it's an insult. In Graz a teacher is actually suing the father of a student: in a professional setting he shook all her male colleagues' hands but not hers, which she says is an insult and gender-based discrimination. I can definitely see her point, and I'm very curious how that lawsuit will go.
schneefink: (Hängebrücke)
The EU Commissioner for Migration praised Austria's refugee camp Traiskirchen: "certain things could be improved in the next days, but all in all it's a hospitable and orderly environment. […] refugees are treated in a very humane way", and that Austria should be lauded for establishing this camp. (transl. by me) This is barely a month after Amnesty International visited the camp and reported inhumane conditions because of self-inflicted total systematic failure. During that time from what I can tell some conditions were improved, there are now a bit fewer people there and new management, so at least that's something, but I'm skeptical things changed this much. Since the latest wave of Syrian refugees coming from Hungary the media are reporting a lot less on those already here.

The outpouring of help for the refugees in Vienna + surrounding areas is beautiful. There are a lot of donations, one time when I drove by the train station ten minutes from my home half the pavement was full with refugees and helpers handing out stuff. Currently they're mostly still looking for money to buy tickets. There was already one big demonstration for treating refugees better (unfortunately I couldn't go because I was sick), and so far there has been surprisingly little xenophobia even from the political right and in the public discourse. Unfortunately I'm sure it won't last.
Isn't it interesting how public perception of refugees is much more welcoming when they're not staying here? Maybe I'm becoming too cynical.

I'm actually feeling mostly positive about my country in this regard right now, which is nice. There are many incredibly helpful people who are doing good things, the current wave of refugees is treated relatively well by a combination of volunteers and public institutions (thank you ÖBB), and even politicians seem to not be screwing this up yet. Austria is one of the leading European countries in accepting refugees per inhabitants (4th in 2014, according to UNHCR. 1st is Sweden, 2nd Hungary and 3rd Montenegro, while Germany and Turkey lead in refugees accepted per GDP/capita. data)

On the other hand I'm frustrated with several aspects of public discourse (what else is new.) For example there seems to be this idea that this is all happening very sudden. Maybe this particular group, but Europe has had a refugee problem for years that it refused to acknowledge, and people warned it would get worse and still nothing happened. People talk about the photograph of the drowned Syrian kid as if they only just found out that refugees are drowning on their way to Europe. This has been happening for years, thousands of them, and after every bigger catastrophe for a week people would remember this problem exists and then forget it again. (Props to Italy for actually financing a program to save people. Now the EU has a program but it has a much smaller budget.) That makes it hard to believe that this time a sustainable solution will be found instead of another temporary patchwork fix.

Or how so many seem to put all the blame on Hungary for not treating the refugees better. Hungary has finite resources, is shouldering a large part of the refugee crisis, and that after a recent economical crisis, and many EU states just can't agree on what to do and do very little. When Austrian journalists are talking about how terrible the situation at Keleti is and how terribly the Hungarian police is treating the refugees there's always this self-congratulatory undertone of how Austria is doing much better and acting in a much more humane way. Selective perception.

Unfortunately I have only a limited ability to deal with the refugee topic despite the fact that it's extremely important. (Also since I moved out of my parents' place and don't get their newspapers anymore it's been harder to stay well informed in a non-stressful way.)
Some "regular" political absurdity to end this post: Ursula Stenzel was a member of the ÖVP, Austria's moderate conservative party, and has been for ten years the political leader of Vienna's first and central district despite the fact that the whole city has been firmly in SPÖ, i.e. socialist, hands for years. She's known for not liking fun, like street artists and festivals etc. For the next city elections in October the ÖVP didn't nominate her as their main candidate again, so she recently announced that she will run for election as an independent candidate – on the list of the FPÖ, Austria's right-wing party, the party that the ÖVP has been trying to distance themselves from whenever politically convenient, which is always except when they desperately need a coalition partner. Politics.
schneefink: Parker grinning, from First David Job (Parker smiling before jumping off a buil)
Vienna currently has a majority voting system, and also thanks to that the socialist party SPÖ has been in power for the past several decades. Only at the last election they only got 49 of a hundred seats, so they entered a coalition with the Green party.

The Green party thinks the majority voting system gives the SPÖ an unfair advantage and wants to change it. SPÖ isn't happy about it, and they can't agree on a compromise. The Green party announces that they'll try to change the voting system with the help of the two opposition parties. SPÖ isn't happy about that at all.

And then suddenly one delegate in the Viennese parliament switches from the Green party to the SPÖ, and the opposition + Green party don't have a majority anymore for their voting system change.

It's such a perfect example for how politics is all about power, even though it should be (and is) frustrating I can't help but grin every time I think about it.

So far neither the SPÖ nor the Green party have cancelled the coalition, though both say they feel betrayed by their partner. Next election is planned for October. We'll see.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
The terror attacks in Paris were a tragedy. No question. But the aftermath is a mess.

media, politics, xenophobia... )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
It's getting harder and harder to read the news. I hope it's only my perception, but I can't remember a time where I was aware of so many crises happening all over the world at the same time. Wars in Syria and Iraq, in South Sudan and other countries where I'm not even aware of it (the list of ongoing armed conflicts on wikipedia is fucking terrifying), terror groups like Boko Haram, the Ukraine conflict, Israel/Palestina, Ebola, neo-nazis gaining power in Europe, police/justice corruption in the US, ongoing economic problems and especially youth unemployment in so many places, there are still countries where oppression is normal like North Korea, refugee tragedies every day and also on Europe's borders... I'm pretty lucky where I am, but it's still terrifying. Years ago I read "if you're feeling inadequate just remember that those people in front of you probably also read Harry Potter fanfic in their free time or knit or obsessively follow a sports team or have to deal with family drama etc.", and that was reassuring at first, but ever since then reports of people dying hit me harder, and people being at an enormous disadvantage just because of circumstances or prejudice or bad luck make me want to scream in frustration. Life is not fucking fair.

(Another thing about the Scotland elections: apparently they lowered the required age to vote to 16. They did that in Austria too a few years ago and I still think it's a terrible idea. Not to say that 16-year-olds are stupid, but the vast majority of them don't have the life experience or exposure to a variety of information and realities that would allow them to form their own opinion independent of their upbringing and they're extremely easy to influence. 18-year-olds have the same problem, but they've hopefully at least had a bit more life experience.)

Happier things: Vorarlberg pictures!
2 pictures )

A few months ago I got my first filling at the dentist, under local anesthesia. It didn't hurt at all and I wondered why so many people complained about going to the dentist. (Many more in books that I read than people I actually encountered, but still.) Last week I went again, this time for a much smaller hole, so he apparently thought that anesthesia wasn't necessary. Now I completely understand. Ouch.

I'm procrastinating on C which I planned to do to procrastinate on B which I planned to do to procrastinate on A. A is my thesis that I really have to work on. NHL training camps have started and someone just recommended a 500k fic. This is hard.
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
I went running today! Because in the morning I signed up for a hockey class that starts in November and I have to get in shape. People who know me IRL were laughing at me. It's going to be great.

What I thought about during running: Space politics!

One of my favorite things about the Vorkosigan books are the politics. Politics everywhere, annoying and exhausting and complicated and sometimes corrupt, but necessary and important.

Then I looked back and realized that politics were also a big part of the reason why I enjoyed Gundam Wing and Gundam Seed so much. Space politics! \o/

I was trying to think of other series/books/movies with politics and I realized that even though many contain politics of some kind, it often doesn't feel like it. Often politics are very far in the background and treated mostly like an external force, e.g. Harry Potter or SG-1. Or it's something the main characters explicitly have no interest in, e.g. many Discworld books. Or canon concentrates on who has the better claim to the throne (Lord of the Rings), or everything is framed as conspiracies and power struggles removed from any actual government (Tales of the Otori, Dresden Files.) Or the politicians are the bad guys in the background that the protagonist has to fight somehow (Hunger Games.)

I'm currently starting to watch Babylon 5: the entire premise is about interplanetary diplomacy and politics. Still, during the first few episodes it felt more like a conflict between the ambassadors than between their nations. I'm hoping that will change. I was excited about the hints that Earth politics might play a role later when they mentioned the elections. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.

So what does it take for me to feel like a canon is in some ways "about" politics, or that politics play a major role?

First I should probably define "politics": Wikipedia says it is "the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (a hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities." I was mostly thinking of the second meaning.

Some thoughts:
a) Politics have a strong influence on events.
a.2) Events have a strong influence on politics.
b) Politics are the reason why characters act, not just the reason that characters are made/forced to act.
c) We get to see at least parts of the political process, and if necessary explanations why it works the way it does and the ideas behind it.
c.2) Some politicians are not-completely-minor characters.
d) The connection between politics and actual governing is shown.
d.2) Bureaucracy is a plus.

Marvel's Civil War has a little of a and b, almost none of c, and has d. The storyline had the potential, but was mostly about the fight between two conflicting ideas and only cared about politics as the way to bring that about.

The X-Men movies have great potential, but also mostly fail at c. (And the argumentation is often simplistic and the politicians are shown as idiots.)

Star Wars I-III is an interesting case: they tried to include politics, but imo didn't do it very well, because the viewers' viewpoint characters were the Jedi, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and Anakin. If it had been more centered on Padmé it would have been completely different, but they cut a lot of her scenes, so a lot of the politics seem like external events and most of the characters fail b. (Maybe that's even how to explain b, because I'm not sure it's clear: Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan don't go to Naboo because of the Trade Federation's blockade, they go to Naboo because the Jedi Order tells them to.)

In contrast, Gundam Wing meets all of the criteria, and from what I remember Gundam Seed does too. The Vorkosigan books too when taken as a whole, some more and some less.

(Btw, the one show that I remember watching that was about politics in this world, Borgen, unsurprisingly meets all the criteria, but I stopped because it was very realistic and therefore frustrating, and because I wasn't sure there'd be a happy ending and didn't want to watch anything sad.)

So: space politics! Or fantasy politics! Thoughts? Recs?
(I think after Babylon 5 I might try another Gundam series next, but I'm not yet sure which one.)
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (A:tla Iroh make tea not war)
This is an unpleasant topic, but unfortunately not one I can avoid. Have a short list of some things currently going wrong in Austrian politics. (I don't think "most things" is an exaggeration just because it could theoretically be even worse. Okay, some of that is probably media bias.)

Cut for: Who can find the lost billions, what do you mean corruption is illegal, don't actually shoot them (we think), we don't need no information, let's go buy a party, and media, what do you mean media? )
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (A:tla Iroh make tea not war)
[personal profile] unjapanologist has information about the ACTA vote in the European parliament (soon! I nearly forgot about it) and links how best to email your MPs. Let's hope citizens' voices actually count for something in the EU.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
I hadn't planned to write about Austrian politics, but I need to rant.

Our vice chancellor, finance minister, and head of the People's Party stepped down yesterday because of health-related reasons. He was not completely incompetent (and so much better than Grasser, who was stupid and corrupt), so I'd say it's a loss.

The problem is that he didn't name a successor. Meaning they're already fighting for his positions. It becomes painfully obvious that we're lacking competent politicians who could step up.

1) Please, please don't promote Mitzi Fekter. She's minister of the interior and either paranoid, stupid, or trying to steal the voters of the right-wing party with her immigration policies. Okay, no, I guess it's just genuinely her belief. Which is even more frightening.

2) Hopefully whoever steps up will fire Bandion-Ortner, minister of justice. She only got the position because she was a judge in one of the largest business trials, and by now they found out how many grievous legal mistakes she made in that sentence. A minister of justice should not make as many mistakes about law as she constantly does. She's not even sure if she's attorney general or not and seems to get involved with ongoing trials arbitrarily or at least depending on how the media reports on it. About the recent discussion - separation of powers, anyone? And hey, here's a thought: if you think the prosecutors and judges aren't working fast enough, how about appointing more of them instead of less? Everyone working in the legal system says we need at least twice as many public prosecutors, especially for business trials, but not, the state wants to save money in that area. Fair trials are a basic principle of constitutional states. This includes actually making going to trial affordable for everyone instead of continuing to raise all sorts of legal fees. And the fight against corruption everyone is talking about will not work without prosecutors who, you know, bring corrupt people to court. How can they not get that? I thought we're not in Italy! (Sorry, Italy.)

3) Just heard on the radio that Spindelegger, the foreign minister, will become vice chancellor. I don't know much about him, which means he didn't do many rant-worthy things. And he says he'll re-arrange his team, so - maybe?

4) Still no word who'll become the new minister of finance. My guess is they're having trouble finding someone. This is the party that didn't appoint a candidate for presidency because they couldn't find anyone willing to take the risk with a chance of success. If the two former major parties continue like this, Strache's right-wing party might become even more powerful. Ugh.

And this is not even half of the administration. There's much more to rant about. Sad.

Think positive - it might get better! Yeeeah, right. Maybe.


schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)

October 2017

1234 5 67


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 17th, 2017 10:35 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios