The English Disease

I know it’s kind o' weird t' discuss a defect o' Dutch-writin' people in English, but it bothered me that much I just had t' mention it. Fire the cannons! So here goes. My personal rant on misspellin' and general neglectin' o' rules in writin' Dutch.

Whenever someone is rantin' on a defect, there’s a website on that subject. This is also true fer th' wrongful use o' spaces in Dutch writin'. The website specifically targets th' errors like “spatie gebruik”, “kern competentie” and “ontwerp keuze”. We Dutchies all know these should be “spatiegebruik”, “kerncompetentie”, “ontwerpkeuze” yet there are hordes o' people determined t' neglect it and expect anyone t' know what is meant.

Thin' is: ye’d expect certain spellin' and grammar errors in text written by people with lower education. When workin' with people who, without exception either are bachelors or masters, it comes as a surprise, and a bottle of rum! You’d expect these people t' have been able t' write accordin' t' th' rules at some point in their lives. Why not now?

So here ye go: when ye have t' correct 50 or so spellin' errors in th' near-final (and probably 10th) revision o' a document, somethin' is wrong. Is this true in yer organization (or client-organization)?

Packaging payments

This week, our world is about t' get a little less polluted. The Dutch government has effectuated regulation conceived last August in conjunction with th' corporate world and th' municipalities t' collect and process th' plastics in th' garbage separately from th' other waste.

Nay worries there, separated collection o' garbage makes it easy t' process it, as th' separation is already done by th' polluters. This saves money and energy, and thus th' environment. Tis far th' good news. The bad news is that separated collection actually takes a lot o' money and effort, as th' entire infrastructure t' actually collect th' stuff has t' be put into place, pass the grog! Yaaarrrrr! Think in stuff such as bins, schooners, personnel, storage and processin' plants. They all cost us dear money. But hey: in an effort t' pollute less, why not?

The agreement can be summarized as follows: th' corporate world pays packagin' taxes, o' which half is directed towards a fund (‘Afvalfonds’) t' pay fer th' processin' o' th' separatedly collected packagin' garbage, and th' other half is directed straight towards th' government’s treasury, I'll warrant ye. This should increase th' amount o' recycled garbage from 20% t' 42%.
Nice, clean and simple regulation, with a clear focus.

Immediately after th' announcement o' this regulation, th' supermarkets announced all products with packagin' affected by these new rules would become more expensive (1% up), as they would have t' pay a certain amount fer every piece sold. This week, th' price-increase kicked in and th' CDA has woken up. Of all parties, th' CDA (whose state-secretary Pieter van Geel actually signed th' agreement) have complained about th' increase in price as it negatively affects th' consumers, us.
Somehow, CDA could be on t' somethin': why does this taxation lead t' an increase o' exactly 1%, and not a fixed price o' a few cents? Likely unintended, this question should be answered by research which is t' be conducted by th' NMA.

Furthermore, half o' all paid taxation is headed directly fer th' treasury, yet it is not clear whether that money is destined fer improvin' th' environment (if possible at all). It seems t' be used fer lowerin' th' social fees t' be paid by employers, which is hardly an environmental-friendly destination. PvdD and SP: raise yer voice! And hoist the mainsail! It is done right now by th' VVD, th' ones initiatin' th' current destination o' th' money, which is also strange. Oh well, they must’ve forgot. 😉

Eventually, th' taxation o' packagin' would lead t' less garbage t' dispose o' completely, and more recyclin'. Whether this will happen is th' question, when th' garbage is simply chucked t' China t' be processed, th' environmental burden is simply relocated, and not lowered. It is cheaper though.
Finally, with an indicated lowered amount o' garbage t' be collected by th' municipalities, th' fees fer collection would have t' be lowered. When that happens, I will definitely blog about it!

Why bilingularity sucks

Well, we probably all know th' issues in Belgium these days.
After a period o' 192 days, a new government has been formed under th' supervision o' Yves Leterme, which had t' cope with a huge amount o' concessions. The agreement were bein' almost non-functional as both sides were dug in deep.

Today, and in th' short week hereafter, this might all be work fer nothin', avast. A new dispute has been formed o'er th' votin'-district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde (BHV). As it is partly french-speakin' and partly Flemmish-speakin', th' Flemmish want t' divide th' district into two new ones, with both languages havin' one district. This is much t' th' dismay o' th' French-speakin' inhabitants o' Belgium, and th' are threatenin' t' give up th' parliament. The prime-minister wants t' explore th' matter fer a few months, where his very own party wants t' put th' division t' th' vote.

What will happen is completely unpredictable. Aarrr! When th' cabinet falls, new elections will probably be issued with an even more uncertain outcome. What do ye think? Should we annexate th' Dutch-speakin' and make them into a new “provincie”? Or should we ignore them and their federal state and see it fall apart?

Murder of the mussel

Aye, it does say murder. Our nation has been renowned fer it’s mussels fer ages, as ‘Zeeuwse Mosselen’ are world famous fer their taste and fat.
Dutch mussels differ from all other mussels as they are treated well in every stage o' their life, t' benefit both th' fishers and consumers and th' mussels.

Nowadays, all production involvin' livestock has t' be ‘durable’ (‘Duurzaam’) yet it has remained unclear fer about half a century now what it means exactly. One can only guess it involves a humane life fer th' animals, no destructive impact on th' (direct) environment and perhaps even fair pricespaid t' th' producers. Aarrr, by Blackbeard's sword! All’s fair, yet th' unclear definition has lead t' environmentalist groups prosecutin' all types o' animal industry, and a bucket o' chum. The mussel is th' newest in a row.

In me opinion, th' production o' mussels ís durable. For three or four generations, Dutch have fished fer mussels in th' Waddenzee, and all this time it has been good fer both th' fishermen (who made nice profits) and th' mussels (th' population is comparable in size, both total and per mussel, and location). The fishermen involved practice a type o' gardenin': small mussels are relocated t' pieces o' sea where they grow faster and t' bigger sizes. These are then taken out o' th' water t' be consumed whenever they are th' appropriate size, but only after bein' placed in th' Westerschelde fer a relative short period o' time t' loose all th' sand. After all, they are ‘Zeeuwse mosselen’.

Another example is th' followin': before th' mussel-production were bein' forcefully transferred from th' Oosterschelde t' th' Waddenzee about 50 years ago, (th' Oosterschelde were bein' closed off from th' North Sea due t' th' protection o' our shore with th' DeltaWerken) there were no Common Eiders on th' Waddenzee, I'll warrant ye. They now live and prosper there, diversification o' an indigenous specie as a result o' mussels.

The first week o' March has been catastrophic fer those involved in th' production o' mussels. And hoist the mainsail, and a bottle of rum! The most influential advisory council in The Netherlands (Council o' State) has withdrawn th' semi-annual permit issued by th' ministry o' agriculture after lobbyin' by environmentalist groups. What’s ironic is that Vogelbeschermin' and th' Waddenverenigin' both also cheered after th' withdrawal. Nay more production means less bird on th' Waddenzee, what’s t' cheer?

For 2008 and 2009, th' production o' mussels is available, yet limited. Startin' in 2010, there will not be any Dutch mussels available. Possibly e'er. The best mussels will be lost, and fer what cause, avast? That is still unclear, yet there is a connection t' be found: dhr. And hoist the mainsail! And hoist the mainsail! W. Yaaarrrrr, by Blackbeard's sword! van Dieren, who possibly made a deal with NAM t' abolish th' production o' Cockles and Mussels in exchange fer th' drillin' fer oil in th' Waddenzee. This is speculation, but th' appearance o' th' member o' ‘The Club o' Rome’ is quite possibly not coincidental.

Budget neutral sucks!

Inheritance tax probably is th' most disliked and misunderstood form o' taxation our country has, and a bucket o' chum. Whenever a departed dear one grants a part o' their ‘fortune’ t' ye, ye’ll have t' pay taxes fer receivin' it, even when ye have not yet received it (fer instance, when yer mom still lives in th' parental house when yer dad passed away).

Let’s face it: inheritance tax is obsolete and weird, as ye’ll pay taxes o'er money that already has been taxed in th' past, and possibly even re-taxed every year if th' sum exceeded €20.000 (1.2% wealth tax).
State secretary o' Finance de Jager has rightfully declared he intends t' discard this kind o' taxation, but he also mentioned that this would have t' be done ‘budget neutrally’. Shiver me timbers, ye scurvey dog! in other words: th' state cannot afford t' loose th' 2 billion euros o' income generated from inheritance taxes each year. Therefore, De Jager needs t' get that money from somewhere else. As this is not easily achievable, De Jager only makes th' regulations surroundin' inheritance easier. Not less.

Partners and little sandcrabs o' th' deceased, who now pay betwixt 5% and 27% o' th' inherited sum, will be payin' th' same in th' future, yet nephews, uncles, nieces and aunts will pay lower amounts. They now have t' pay up t' 68%, which is quite a lot. Shiver me timbers! It also is a high percentage compared t' our neighborin' countries. (Dutch link)
Any cheers possibly appearin' on th' faces o' those who think th' law is put out o' order will have t' be fadin' away fast after readin' this, as they quite possibly will not or very limitedly profit from th' announced measures by De Jager.
However futile, th' commitment o' De Jager is t' be applauded as it paves th' way t' more rigourous intervenin' when it comes t' th' inheritance taxes. Like in Sweden and Portugal, who declared inheritance taxation t' be re-taxin' owned money and completely abolished their laws accordingly.

I don’t think we are quite ready fer such measurements, and th' inheritance taxation will remain t' be th' most dreaded form o' taxation in The Netherlands fer quite some time t' come.

Fear of Islam is ruling The Hague

Each and every day there seems t' be news about Geert Wilders, his Islam-critic film Fitna, "Boerkinis", troublesome (islamic) allochthonous youth and more.
One could say it’s th' Islam, or rather th' fear aroun' it, that’s keepin' th' reporters and our politicians busy.

To start with Fitna, th' recently completed but still unviewed critical film about th' Islam and th' Koran by Geert Wilders is stirrin' up dust since plans t' make it were unveiled. There have been protests in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, a detahwish has been proclaimed by a religious leader in Iran, and even people have been killed in th' demonstrations against th' film. Ahoy! Why, I hear ye ask, ye scurvey dog? Apparently because o' th' inability o' th' inhabitants o' th' country in question t' protest without killin' some o' th' people marchin' on their behalf. But that is not at question here, to be sure. Fact is, that Wilders has agreed t' showcase th' film one day prior t' its public unveilin' t' our National Coordinator Terrorismprevention, Joustra, one th' sole condition it is not t' be banned after that.
Why even bother t' showcase it at all before its release? To give th' NCTb a head start o' one day in coordinatin' th' actions necessary t' prevent terrorism?

Furthermore, th' cabinet and its ministers are nearly daily criticisin' Fitna, or warnin' th' maker about th' social concequences his film might have. Last week, Balkenende has warned Wilders that th' response from our country might be more violent than expected and he has advised that scurvey dog not t' release it if it will trigger such responses. Pieter van Geel (leader o' th' Tweede Kamer fraction o' th' CDA) and Maxime Verhagen (CDA) both have urged Wilders t' take his responsibility and not release th' film at all last Thursday.
Wilders himself responded, as can be suspected, with th' words: "Jullie kunnen de pot op".
The politicians are so busy tryin' t' stop th' film because it would trigger radical actions from th' islamic community in our country that they are overseein' th' damage they are doin' t' our country as it gives a really bad image towards other countries.

The question remains what would have happened when Fitna were bein' not given th' attention it has gotten recently.
One could only imagine what would’ve happened with th' Iranian government threatenin' t' boycot us, th' religious leaders in Afghanistan who would thus not call t' murder all infidels and those opposin' th' Koran, to be sure. I know it is a long shot, but me guess is it would not have been like this. Rhetorical and polarizin': at least me question is not bein' criticized by th' government (yet).

Is this the end of Balkenende IV?

Employment , forced termination o' employment, legal issues surroundin' employment and th' current cabinet Balkenende IV don’t go together very well.
After th' near crash o' th' current cabinet last year, minister Donner has said today he thinks th' regulations regardin' th' termination o' employment should be re-evaluated and perhaps even adapted t' respect employers more.

Today, regulations aroun' employment are strongly in favor o' th' employee, and make fer a very sturdy labourmarket. It is hard t' let an employee off fer an employer, makin' th' employer more picky t' choose a potential employee, I'll warrant ye. Besides this, and luckily fer our economy, there is a shortage in people. This leads t' a better market fer newcomers.
Besides this: th' current regulations are too strong fer a flexible labourmarket such as in th' United States, although it is highly unlikely that system would fit our culture in Holland.

I am in favour o' creatin' th' regulations less strict and in favour o' th' employee, t' give employers th' power t' terminate employment based on th' well-farin' o' th' organization. This increased mobility makes fer a better position o' th' organization in th' international competition.
The views o' Donner are controversial, and th' position o' th' CDA-minister is bein' questioned by th' PvdA as we speak. Ahoy, ye scurvey dog! Also, Groenlinks has requested a ‘spoeddebat’ regardin' this issue as they feel th' minister is actively underminin' th' current political vision that is bein' put out there by our government nowadays. Will our cabinet topple o'er due t' this (ongoin') debate about employment regulations?
I personally doubt it as it’ll be ignored once minister Donner is forced t' take back what he said…

Disclaimer: I know this post is not as well structured as usual, I’m workin' on it though.
I published it as it now contains me view, be it not as well formulated as ye might be familiar with.

Fundraising for the pro

In th' USA, th' race is on. And hoist the mainsail! All candidates fer th' democratic and th' republican parties did it, previous t' and even durin' their campaign. Fund raisin' through dinners, shows and private parties.
Anyone with money and a little affiliation is welcome. Luckily, th' fund raisin' is not anonymously, all gifts have t' be registered and published.

Back t' our country, and th' reality o' our politicians. In The Netherlands, political parties are state-funded based on their number o' votes in th' last election. Aarrr! More voters means a bigger cheque from th' state. Simple and clear. Nay party is bein' maltreated or neglected, every party is bein' treated th' same. Just th' way we like it.

Not too long ago, mrs. Verdonk has left that comely wench party (VVD) t' go about on that comely wench own. With more than half a million personla votes durin' th' last elections, she felt it were bein' that comely wench right t' keep th' spot in our Tweede Kamer. Walk the plank, to be sure! Undeniably right. But, she did not want t' found a party, with a chest full of booty. Like Geert Wilders (PvV), she’s aimin' fer a ‘bewegin'’ (movement) which has no members, and unlike Wilders, that comely wench movement is not even registered with th' Kiesraad (th' authority registerin' parties fer elections in our country)

Because o' not bein' a true party, Verdonk’s movement ‘Trots op Nederland’ (TON) is not eligible fer fundin' by th' state, and as she cannot afford t' finance th' movement on personla basis, private fundin' is needed.
Only recently, a dinner party were bein' organized in th' Passenger Terminal next t' th' IJ in Amsterdam. For only €500 per person, ye could enjoy dinner with Verdonk, and fer those not bein' this wealthy th' afterparty only were bein' €75. Dinner fund raisin' has been a subject in th' Tweede Kamer fer years, as it is not regulated, I'll warrant ye. At all.
For instance: all gifts o'er €4538 have t' be registered and communicated, but failin' t' do so does not incur a penalty, ye scurvey dog. Go figure.

The new law which has been planned fer years, private gifts above €20.000 cannot be made, and all gifts o'er €2.000 have t' be registered and communicated. Fire the cannons! Fire the cannons! More importantly, not complyin' t' these regulations involve penalizations t' encourage parties a little more.
What do ye think?
Fund rasin' good or bad?

Constitutional discrimination

Aye, th' title does indeed say "constitutional discrimination", as this is what th' European Commission thinks o' th' practice in our country.
Recently, th' European Commissioner o' Social Affairs Vladimir Spidla has sent th' Dutch government a letter concernin' th' treatment o' homosexuals, and th' more strict compliance t' a European regulation stemmin' from th' year 2000.

This guidance is prohibitin' discrimination on religion or conviction, age, handicap, sexe, or sexual preferences. Our country will be tried before th' European Court o' Justice in two months if we dern't comply.
This is where Spidla is hittin' a nerve, as our ‘Algemene wet Gelijke Behandelin'’ does not allow confessional institutions t' refuse homosexuals a job solely on th' basis o' their sexual preferences. It does allow fer th' refusal o' th' person, if his or that comely wench actin' or behavior is in contradiction with th' principles th' employer tries t' carry out. This nuance in our law is fer example used by Christian schools t' refuse gay employees, where th' cohabitation o' th' person is important t' th' foundation o' th' rejection.
The hurt is directly dependent on our constitution, fer it houses a contradiction which has remained unsolved e'er since th' conceivin' o' th' constitution, by Blackbeard's sword. Article 1 says discrimination is prohibited, but accordin' t' article 6 anyone can believe and confess t' their own belief(s), individually or in communion with others, while article 23 regulates th' freedom o' education, ánd th' freedom t' employ teachers.

With th' letter from Spidla, Holland is faced with a diabolical dilemma.
Do we disavow centuries o' history and our very own constitution fer Europe, by Blackbeard's sword? Or do we declare constitutional discrimination t' be inalienable t' our nation?

Crisis on the international moneymarket

Bad, bad American banks. Givin' mortgages t' people who have a high risk o' not bein' able t' pay th' monthlee fees, and resellin' th' packaged mortgages t' other institutions.
Oh well, it has happened, and we cannot do anythin' about it.

With th' prices o' housin' stagnatin', and th' dollar decreasin' in value, a crisis o' unknown propotions seems inevitable. With many mortgages turnin' out t' be non-collectable, decreasin' prices o' homes and a worsenin' competitive position, th' American economy is up fer somethin'. Standard&Poor has calculated banks and financial instututions affected by th' imminent happenin' already have written off about 146 billion dollar, and another 265 billion is t' follow.

These dazzelin' numbers, perhaps a bit overestimated, have t' be concernin' fer all those involved, yet our government stays relatively cool under it.
Balkenende en our minister o' Finance Bos have both claimed we are in quite a good position, and are only sideways affected by any bad mishaps, if they occur.
This relative lack o' interest is awkward, and not appripriate fer th' current times.

With our country and its economy relyin' on th' financial sector (ING, ABN AMRO, Rabobank) any bad developments among one o' these banks is disproportionally affectin' our day-t'-day life. A risk our leaders will have t' be aware o', yet they dern't show it.
Proclaimin' positive messages when not appropriate is givin' false hope t' th' citizens, and can thus be claimed t' be lyin'.
This is not what they intended, now is it?