10 reasons why the Danes are happy

This meme is incorrect
This is incorrect.

What makes Denmark happy is, not so much the product (which is important of course) but the PROCESS (I will use capitals to emphasise important points).

Addressing the five reasons in the picture

1. There is no statutory minimum wage in Denmark. Rates of pay for manual workers and salaried work are established by COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS.

a. Over 65% of Danish employees are members of a trade union.
b. The COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS are negotiated by these unions, covering effectively 80-90% of Danish workers.
c. An agreement may determine the actual rate of pay or minimum wage at industrial level. The standard wage varies by age (different wage rates for workers over and under 18 years), experience (higher wages for more experienced workers), qualifications or performance and work severity.
d. Although Denmark has no official minimum wage the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS often determine a de facto minimum wage for different workers, and THIS IS RENEGOTIATED EVERY 2 OR 3 YEARS.
e. These COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS are recognised by all (including the courts) as sacrosanct. In any dispute, the first question is, “What does the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT say on this matter?”
f. The AVERAGE MINIMUM WAGE is 28.6426 AUD

2. Full time is usually 37 hours a week, but it is allowed to NEGOTIATE a higher number of hours.

3. If you have the academic qualifications (that is, passed the Student exam with sufficiently high scores), then UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS FREE.

a. Students can also receive a small grant based upon their home and family circumstances. This is reduced in relation to their parents or their own income. Most students have a part-time job.
b. The normal time for a University education is 5 years, when students who pass their exams are awarded a Master’s degree.
c. A bachelor degree, which can be awarded after 3 years study, is not considered by the civil services or private industry, as a completed academic education.

4. CHILDCARE IS NOT FREE IN DENMARK.

a. Childcare monthly rates in Copenhagen for 2016: Nursery 718.071 AUD. with lunch / 599.292 AUD without lunch. Kindergarten 530.013 AUD. with lunch / 397.158 AUD without lunch.
b. However, every parent is guaranteed a child-care place in a local authority institution from the child’s 6th month.
c. Both parents have the right to take maternity leave. They divide and share this time. The present maternity leave is 52 weeks after the child’s birth. On maternity leave, they receive the equivalent of “sick pay”. This can vary, depending on the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT in their sector, between 100% and 50% of their normal wage.
i. THEIR JOB MUST BE AVAILABLE WHEN THEY RETURN. In other words, the employer can only employ a contracted worker as a replacement. The agreed length of the maternity leave will determine the limits of this contract.

5. HEALTH CARE IS FREE. There are some exceptions: Prescription charges and some dental care are but two of the few. However if you are on a low income or a pensioner, you can receive a financial subsidy.

The fundamental five IMPORTANT reasons

 

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  1. Danes are educated to negotiate.
  2. The consensus is that the “social-security net” is as essential as any other form of insurance..
  3. The consensus is that the National Health Service is as sacred as any other form of insurance.
  4. The consensus is that education should be free as it is a vital form of insurance for the future.
  5. The consensus is the Dane will pay up to 50%, and more, in income tax, to pay for these freedoms – and insurance policies.

One final point: the word SOLIDARITY is the basis of most Danes assessment of their national responsibilities.

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An offer we couldn’t refuse

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The first time I left the UK was in 1967. I was 20 years old. Quite old for first-time foreign travel even then. What an adventure it was.

I had worked the first half of the summer on a chicken farm, mixing the food. A job that had no safety precautions. We threw lime, meat and bone (dried offal from a slaughter house), fish meal (nothing smells worse), assorted anti-biotics and other unknown drugs into mixers – one of which was a conveyer belt channel at our feet –had we fallen, it would have reduced even the bulkiest of us into chicken-bite chunky-bits.

We stank. There were no on-work showers, so my half-hour bus journey home was always in total isolation. As was my journey to work. An evening and a morning bath was not enough to remove the perfume of polynemus paradiseus delicately combined with essence of dried pig’s bladder.

Only a dip in the Mediterranean could solve my problem.

I bought a student return ticket, London to Athens for £75. This included:
• 3rd class train from London to Dover;
• deck class on the ferry from Dover to Calais;
• 3rd class train from Calais via Paris to Milan, Italy (24 hours);
• an eight hour wait in Milan;
• 3rd class train from Milan down through Italy to Brindisi (36 hours);
• deck class on a ferry from Brindisi via Corfu (8 hours plus 4 hour stop-over)
• back on the boat and through the Corinth canal to Pireaus (72 hours).

We had to try, with limited success, to sleep where we sat. We ate and drank only what we hustled from station vendors who only accepted brightly coloured bank notes on the far too brief stops.

I was mesmerised on the trip to Milan. The 5 others in our compartment, sat and smoked, shared their duty-free, and played cards with all the bonhomie of seasoned travellers.

My nose however was stuck to the window.

“Out there,” on this very flat French landscape rapidly fading as the sun went down, “live folk who do not speak English. Unbelievable. And they drive on the wrong side of the road. How do they do it?”

I was tired. A slug of brandy and I was out.

We woke at five when the train whistle blew. If I thought the French landscape was unbelievable, the sight on both sides of the train was…Heaven. We were in the Alps.

It was like being in a slide show of the beauties of this world, where every 3rd slide was a blank. We would rush from one side of the train to the other comparing these still snow covered “real” mountains. Each one seemed more magnificent than the other did. Then the black slide – the tunnel. Out again. Huge valleys with half a dozen lonely apartment blocks disguised by pointed rooves – the Swiss chalet condominiums. These exquisite fresh, clean spaces guarded by even more snow capped sentinels.

We stopped at Lucerne I think it was. Uniformed officials boarded the train. Our passports were checked and stamped.

Can you believe it? “The sound of Music”, “From Russia with Love” and “The Lady Vanishes” coming together in the early morning clunkety-clunk of the night train to Milan. Orgasmic.

I have often speculated if this first flirtation with le cheval de fer, is the cause of me never wanting to drive or own a car.

The-best-public-toilets-ever-0

We arrived just before lunch at Mussolini’s magnificent opera-house railway station in Milan. We had two thoughts in our head. Use the toilets and eat.

Our visit to the toilets was stimulated by basic needs. Not the least of these being a wash and a change of underwear. Temperatures from now and until our return six weeks later would hover around 35 degrees. It was August after all. However, we also wanted to visit the toilets to see if they really where the best in Europe.

We were not disappointed. A white jacketed, dark trousered, immaculately coiffured attendant greeted us at the entrance.

“Prego”

I was shown my cubicle. “Prego” He flourished a cloth and ceremoniously wiped the toilet seat.

“Prego” He left, closing the solid oak door behind himself.

The cubicle could have slept six. It had a black and white checked marble floor, a toilet, a bidet. Alas, no bath. Nevertheless, given that the washbasin was the same size as a welsh miners’ bubble bath, this was of little matter. Especially as the taps were made of gold. The room was panelled in oak.

A half-hour later a group of “naturally stoned” and clean-smelling travellers met to find our eating-place. The company who sold us the tickets had told us we could get student concessions if we ate at the “railway workers” café under the station. There was some discussion. Half did not want to eat, now they were in Italy, at a “greasy spoon”. The others, of which I was one, knew our budget told us we had no choice.

Milan-station-restaurantThe café, in contrast to the baroque station above, was simple black and white. White marble floor, white table clothes and unpretentious black chairs. The cashier at the door made us put our bags behind her desk. She understood a little English.

“Is it OK for student concessions?”

“Si, si”

“We want what everyone else is eating, please”

“Si, si”

We sat down and a waiter (yes, a waiter in a workers’ café) poured wine in our glasses.

He served the pasta. The name pasta seems so banal for how it tasted. There was pasta –of course – there was cheese, there were herbs, garlic, maybe a hint of some spirit. I have never before or since tasted such a rich and subtle combination of taste.

The waiter topped up our glasses. We emptied them with a “cheers” and made to go.

“No, No. Prego, prego”.

He brought the meat course. Meatballs from heaven served in God’s tomato sauce.

Our glasses were topped up again. Could there be more?

Yes. Milanese ice-cream in huge glass bowls decked with green and red grapes.

Our glasses were topped up for the final time. Was this the end?

No. The fat lady does not sing until she has had a cup of fresh-made Italian coffee.

We discussed among ourselves. Surly we had made a mistake. This is not a workers café, but rather some bourgeois, ex-fascist restaurant, or worse still, a mafiosa lunch oasis. We will be shot if we cannot pay.

It was with some trepidation we approached the cashier.

“How much, please?”

“You, studenta, si?

“Si, Si”

“50 cents each”

An offer we couldn’t refuse.

[end of part one…]

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Um (Mother) must help

a an d ms
This heated discussion about the events in Köln is important.

It just misses the point.

Of course, the sexual harrasment of young women is completely unacceptable. It is made worse in this case because it appears to made by one ethnic group.

A group that via their religion and culture has developed a misguided attitude to women.

The criticisms of these events has based itself upon several approaches:

  1. Get them out. The immigrant from Muslim lands has no place in Modern Western culture. They therefore should not be here.
  2. Educate them. Use the power of dialogue and argument to make Muslims change their ways.
  3. Lock them up. Increase the penalties for sexual harassment and abuse.

The “get them out” often disguises a racial prejudice that could be, in the long run, just as dangerous as Muslims’ attitudes to women.

Besides, it is unrealistic to ethnic cleanse Europe on any basis. We (they) have to learn to deal with this matter.

Which introduces the problems with “Educate them”. There must be a will to change and be educated.There is no sign of this among far too many of the Muslim community.

Both men and women are happy with the contradictions displayed in Muslim young men’s behaviour.

It is the will of Allah. Why should they change? Any answer to this question will always be countered by “it is our tradition”.

Locking them up” will never help. Quite the opposite. Most militant Islamists have had their religious distortions cemented by a spell in prison. In prison, the Imams have no restraints.

However, I do believe there is a way.

A combination of “out of the box thinking” and points 2 and 3. It requires some modification to the Law. Not in respect to the offence, but in the punishments available for those convicted.

For conviction of a first offence of sexual harassment and or abuse, the offender (regardless of ethnicity or religion) will be forbidden to be in public alone or with other men. He must always be accompanied by a woman (preferably his mother).

This humiliation to ingrained male chauvinism (over a suitable length of time) ought to confront both the offender and (if necessary) his  companion there is an “error” in the way of thinking that has caused the offence.

Two years being forced to have “Um” constantly at his side, should change both their attitudes.

If that does not work, then:

That bare chest will be made available for the Liz Salander method.

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It don’t mean a thing if it aint got that…

dancer-painting1

swing… if the “it” was music. But what if the “it” was religion? What if the statement was: religion don’t mean a thing if it aint got…? Aint got what?

The quick “pop” answer is love. 

This is true of course. It is the central theme of at least three of the great religions. But I would qualify, what is easier to say than do, with a double negative. Even love don’t mean a thing if we aint got “no illusions”.

The great illusion we must all overcome is the illusion of separateness.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27] – together “in his own image”.

It is the primary task of religion to communicate not worthiness but union, to reconnect people to their original identity.

The Bible calls this state of separateness “sin.”

God’s job description is to draw us back into this primal and intimate relationship.

My dear people, we are already children of God; what we will be in the future has not yet been fully revealed, and all I do know is that we shall be like God (1 John 3:2).

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Terrorists are less than mosquitoes. Smack!

chartoftheday_1758_estimated_number_of_deaths_caused_by_malaria_worldwide_n

World-wide from 2006 to 2012, 2,856,000 innocents died as a result of a bite from a mosquito. In the same period, 161,834 innocents died as the result of terrorist (smack) attacks.

The worst is malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people every year; another 200 million cases incapacitate people for days at a time. It threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Other mosquito-borne diseases include dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis. [Bill Gates]

Why do we give terrorists (smack) so much publicity?

Because that is what they (smack) want and we are mad. We are mad because we encourage this motive for terror (smack) by indulging in analysis, discussion and fear. The terrorist (smack) buried any argument he (smack) or she (smack) may have had together with their (smack) humanity in the abused and murdered bodies of their (smack) victims.

The only good mosquito (smack) is a dead mosquito.

The most positive observations confirm the dead mosquitoes ecological role (and how it exceeds the role of the terrorist – smack):

As part of their useful role, the larvae of mosquitoes live in water and provide food for fish and other wildlife, including larger larvae of other species such as dragonflies. The larvae themselves eat microscopic organic matter in the water, helping to recycle it. Adult mosquitoes make up part of the diet of some insect-eating animals, such as birds, bats, adult dragonflies and spiders.

statistic_id202871_terrorism---number-of-fatalities-worldwide-2006-2014

Those who carry the terrorists’ (smack) coats

There are some so-called intellectuals who wish to engage in debate – “maybe the terrorist (smack) has a point?”.

No. He (smack) or she (smack) have no points. They died when they (smack) chose violence.

Do not argue with these so-called intellectuals. They will never admit,  whether they make financial contributions via dubious NGOs or just speculate from a warm stool in the Uni Junior Common Room, they are fulfilling a role akin to those who buckle up the suicide vest – no more, no less. They too bask in the publicity. It gives them the impression they have something important to say.

They too must have smack. Not the absolute smack deserved by the murderer, rather the slam of the door.

Just say, go away and make children.

roommate-slam-door

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The World’s Biggest Scandal

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The next time anyone tries to convince you of the need to cut benefits to the unemployed or there is not enough money to care for refugees, consider this:

An estimated $21 to $32 trillion of private financial wealth is located, untaxed or lightly taxed, in secrecy jurisdictions around the world. Secrecy jurisdictions – a term often used as an alternative to the more widely used term tax havens – use secrecy to attract illicit and illegitimate or abusive financial flows.

Illicit cross-border financial flows have been estimated at $1-1.6 trillion per year: dwarfing the US$135 billion or so in global foreign aid.

A global industry has developed involving the world’s biggest banks, law practices, accounting firms and specialist providers who design and market secretive offshore structures for their tax- and law-dodging clients. ‘Competition’ between jurisdictions to provide secrecy facilities has, particularly since the era of financial globalisation really took off in the 1980s, become a central feature of global financial markets.”

The UK is the Worst Offender

The UK is regarded by Tax Justice Network (TJN) as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, single player in the global offshore system of tax havens (or secrecy jurisdictions) today.

There are two reasons for the discrepancy between its ranking and its importance.

The first is that the City of London, or “the City”, a term used to describe the UK financial services industry centred on London, is on some measures the world’s largest financial centre. As this report explains, this is built substantially on ‘offshore’ characteristics – though these characteristics in the UK’s own case aren’t particularly predicated on financial secrecy but on other offshore offerings, particularly lax financial regulation.

The second is that the UK is intricately connected to a large network of British secrecy jurisdictions around the world, notably the three Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man) and the 14 Overseas Territories, which include such offshore giants as Cayman, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

Though these jurisdictions have a measure of independence on internal political matters, Britain supports and controls them: the Queen appoints many of their top officials, and her head is on their stamps and banknotes. Illustrating the fact that these links are above all financial, Jersey Finance, the official marketing arm of the Jersey offshore financial centre, states that:

“Jersey represents an extension of the City of London.”

Overall, the City of London and these offshore satellites constitute by far the most important part of the global offshore world of secrecy jurisdictions.

Had TJN lumped them together, the British network would be at the top of their index, above Switzerland. (In fact, the British network is even bigger than this ‘official’ network, and includes 54 Commonwealth countries, many of whose final court of appeal is at the Privy Council in London.)

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Solution to violence in Israel

stoned

I witnessed the UK riots (Liverpool version) in 2011. The hooded gangs as they marched into the city centre reminded me then of the Intifadas.

Those involved, primarily, are of the agegroup 14-21. An age where their brain is not sufficiently developed to control their desires. They (not all young people – just those who commit violence) assume their identity from gangs and are fired up by viciousness and its repercussions. They have no political concepts. Any “Nationalism” has no more significance that the football clubs or the city of their teams.

An extra spice, when the consequences of their actions are considered, is the political interpretations put upon their violence. It disguises the real animalistic thrill they are seeking and is useful as an excuse if caught.

The long and the short is, I see no difference apart from, in Israel, its deadliness. These excesses are only possible because the “excuses” appear to have support amongst those older, more respected, members of their community.

I have a solution. It may appear as a joke. However, I am serious.

Legalize marijuana.

Allow the State of Israel to control its production and distribution. As a viable crop, the cultivation of marijuana could also help save the economies of many kibbutzim and moshavim.

Introduce a law that says each Arab between 14-21 can receive one kilo gratis from the State for every year he is not arrested for, or suspected of, any violent crime.

Introduce another law underlining the seriousness of being caught under the influence of marijuana whilst a member of the IDF.

The advantages are many:

  1. Those suffering from Cancer and other incurable diseases would have available a drug that would give some relief.
  2. Those who have traumas as a result of war or terrorism would have available a means (without stigma) to help them come to terms with their horrible experiences.
  3. The economics with respect to taxes and profits would at least be as beneficial to the State as the alcohol industry.
  4. The young, over-exited and frustrated, will be able to find a way to control their actions. If only on the basis: if you are stoned it is not too easy to throw stones.
  5. Consider the increase in Tourism
  6. In ten years, the word Palestinian would be synonymous with phrase “peace-loving beatnik”: a person who enjoys the freedoms bestowed upon him by the State of Israel.
  7. Hamas would become amo, amas, amat.
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Being a refugee is not a choice

Nobody chooses to be a refugee: their only choice is between dying or living.
No Jew turns away a refugee: their only choice is between living and dying.

exodus-gods-and-kings-hd-images

In 1881, 4.1 million Jews lived in the Russian empire. Over the next three decades, 1.5 million Russian Jews immigrated to the United States, and another 0.5 million left for other New World destinations, a mass migration surpassed in strength only by the Irish earlier in the century.

RussianJews

On 13 May 1939, more than 900 Jews fled Germany aboard a luxury cruise liner, the SS St Louis. They hoped to reach Cuba and then travel to the US – but were turned away in Havana and forced to return to Europe, where more than 250 were killed by the Nazis.

stlouisarrivingantwerpgetty

Nazi persecution of European Jews confronted the world with an unprecedented humanitarian challenge. The extraordinary circumstances of the plight of the Jews called for a response that was also out of the ordinary.
But countries around the globe resisted the pressure to take special measures to relieve Jewish suffering.
The United Kingdom was no exception. It opted for caution and pragmatism, subordinating humanitarianism to Britain’s national interest.
Nor, when the crisis of the Jews became yet more grave, did the British approach change fundamentally.
During the Holocaust, Britain’s policy — much of it made in conjunction with the United States government — continued to put self-interest first, leaving minimal scope for humanitarian action.

 [Whitehall and the Jews, 1933-1948: British Immigration Policy, Jewish ... by Louise London]

cyprus

Cyprus internment camps were camps run by the British government for internment of Jews who had immigrated or attempted to immigrate to Mandatory Palestine in violation of British policy. There were a total of 12 camps, which operated from August 1946 to January 1949, and in total held 53,510 people.

exodus

Exodus 1947 was a ship that carried Jewish emigrants from France to British Mandatory Palestine on July 11, 1947. Most of the emigrants were Holocaust survivors who had no legal immigration certificates for Palestine. Following wide media coverage, the British Royal Navy seized the ship and deported all its passengers back to Europe.

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Where are the refugees?

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German and European Union leaders have called for European countries to share the burden of absorbing the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have poured into the continent this summer.

One plan, which was proposed in May, would have established quotas based on each country’s size and resources. The quotas were rejected in June, but they may be a starting point for any comprehensive solution.

More than the quota                         Fewer than the quota
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Source: New York Times analysis.
Note: Austria has not disclosed how many people it has granted asylum.

What about Arab countries?

Jordan:  has an annual per capita income of $11,000 and has received 630,000 refugees.
Lebanon: has an annual per capita income of $15,000 has 1.2 million Syrians, making them about one-quarter of the population.
Turkey: has an annual per capita income of $20,000 has over 2 million Syrian refugees

Qatar:  has an annual per capita income of $143,000 has no refugees 
Kuwait: has an annual per capita income of $71,000 has no refugees
Saudi Arabia: has an annual per capita income of $52,000 has no refugees
United Arab Emirates:  has an annual per capita income of $44,770 has no refugees
Bahrain:  has an annual per capita income of $24,281 has no refugees

kuwaiti

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Worthy to be here

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Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

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