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Topic: What's going on in Benelux? (Read 29891 times)

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #76
I'm sure that our systems are up to some specs just fine. The EU does not regulate the signals down to the second, does it?

There are discrepancies in the implementation of EU standards that Brussels barely knows (or cares) about. I remember some five years ago or more a funny news about an EU report on railway travel delays. Romania came out on top: No delays whatsoever. It was because, according to the Romanian definition, a delay starts when the train is delayed more than 15 minutes. Less than that is not a delay in Romania, so Romania did not report any delays. You think auditors from Brussels go to check things in Romania? Nope, never. Nobody in Brussels is so crazy as to go to Romania. When you got a job as an official in Brussels, you stay in Brussels; that's the essence of EU jobs.

Rail Baltic(a) also looks like a massive success from Brussels, while people on the spot observe horrifying madness, yet reports about the madness do not reach any authority, because the reporters are not officials. For example, this is the first completed section of Rail Baltica in Lithuania. Does this look "standard gauge" to you? Does it look navigable? Does it look high-speed? Yet it is 100% Brussels-approved

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #77
I'm sure that our systems are up to some specs just fine. The EU does not regulate the signals down to the second, does it?
I believe the main reason for longer times would be larger sections of track that are seen as occupied. (E.g., 5 km instead of 2 km.)

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #79
I think Chinese HSR trains run on ETCS signalling, but still use 5 minutes lead time. That means that the trains are minimum 32 km (20 miles) distant on the fastest trains.
The crossing in question shouldn't see trains going more than 50 km/h; it's in the middle of Helmond.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #80
More info on how Belgium works (or doesn't).


I'm trying to decide whether to go to Switzerland or Japan for next vacation. Probably Japan, because it would be fun to find out how arduous it is to fly around Russia. During Cold War people did it all the time, so it should be no biggie.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #81
Netherlands on track to approve working from home as a legal right

Working from home is set to become a legal right for employees in some jobs in the Netherlands, which could become one of the first countries to enshrine remote working in law.


The legislation will require employers to consider employees’ requests to work from home as long as their professions allow it.
If the law only "requires employers to consider" it, then it's not a right.

Of course it's nice to have as many rights as possible, but I prefer to be able to make my own decisions about my practical work environment without any interference. The employer may or may not find out that I have not been to the office for last two years.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #82
If the law only "requires employers to consider" it, then it's not a right.
This article or at least your quote is incorrect or misleading, though of course it's a limited right nonetheless. That employers are required to consider it is the current (well, past) situation. They could just say no. The new situation is that they are required to grant the request if it's "reasonable and fair".

What that means exactly is up to the courts. As an example, an employer might try to refuse all requests by saying going to the office is a requirement for "social cohesion". A judge will then follow through by asking whether it wouldn't suffice for social cohesion to be at the office two days a week.

So no, there's no right to hybrid work, but there's also no employer's right to refuse working from home to grant hybrid work as it's always been until yesterday.

The initial proposal went further, namely that employers would only be able to refuse with weighty arguments. It took a year of negotiations to come up with the final form. Employer's organizations were afraid they wouldn't be able to make people come to the office now and then.

But in essence, employer and employee organizations were both in favor. No one was seriously opposed to some form of solidifying hybrid work as a limited right.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #83
Rights are sacred, unnegotiable. If it is subject to permissions, then it is not a right. Many jobs cannot be done from home, not even most white-collar jobs, so there is no point trying to legislate it as a right. It ruins the concept of right.

I tend to take my own initiative to "reasonable and fair" things, such as not showing up at the office, because I myself am reasonable and fair, obviously. As long as my contractual productivity level is good enough, the employer should have no reason to whine - and no reason to even know about it.

In my most productive years I tried multiple jobs in parallel. It is doable to leave the impression that you are in two places at the same time. It gets trickier with four or more jobs at the same time.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #84
So, the guy was found out running two jobs in parallel and was, to his own surprise, basically rewarded for it.

Indeed the stories lowly workers tell themselves. They think that honesty matters, openness matters, loyalty matters, (self-)sacrifice matters. Actually these things indeed matter a lot, but they do not matter at all vis-a-vis your employer and also not in business life in general.

If you want to learn business, observe carefully what your superiors do. They run multiple jobs themselves. In addition to the main job, they sit in councils, attend meetings and make arrangements full of conflicts of interest. Whenever things get hot, they do not side with loyalty, but with the greatest potential of profit. Whenever a choice needs to be made between private/family interests and their workplace, they always screw their workplace. No exceptions. This is normal behaviour in business life, if the plan is to be successful. Gather mammon in this life, right here right now. The guy with most money at the time of death is the winner.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #86
Hoe CDA-politicus René van der Linden een pion van de Russen werd

This high-profile discreditor of Estonia was well-noted in our press some 15 years ago. Belatedly, Dutch press is catching up.

I don't follow Dutch press at all, so he may have been exposed earlier. But if he was exposed earlier, then why is he still roaming free? Maybe because it's not a crime to be Putin's spy. Schröder is also free, which explains a lot about what is a crime and what is not a crime in the West.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #89
Biden Wins Deal With Netherlands, Japan on China Chip Export Limit
President Joe Biden’s administration secured an agreement with the Netherlands and Japan to restrict exports of some advanced chipmaking machinery to China in talks that concluded Friday in Washington, according to people familiar with the matter.

And an interview from just before this announcement with the ASML cfo here:

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #90
Will "Made in China" electronics now be replaced with "Made in Netherlands" electronics?

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #91
More likely something like India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Poland, etc.

The Netherlands/Benelux makes the equipment to make things in other places but the end products have mostly left since the '90s.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #94
The Dutch seem to be having some discussion about their colonial past.

Slavery was abolished in Suriname and the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean on 1 July 1863, but many enslaved labourers were forced to continue working on the plantations for a further decade.

The king’s apology comes amid a wider reconsideration of the Netherlands’ colonial past, including involvement in the Atlantic slave trade and slavery in its former Asian colonies. In 2020, Willem-Alexander apologised in Indonesia for “excessive violence” during Dutch colonial rule.

In December, the prime minister, Mark Rutte, acknowledged that the Dutch state bore a responsibility in the Atlantic slave trade and had profited from it, and apologised. However, Rutte has said the government will not pay reparations, contrary to recommendations made by an advisory panel in 2021.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #95
It's the 160 year anniversary of the abolition.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #96
It's the 160 year anniversary of the abolition.
A big celebration, I imagine.

Not very deep analysis in the video, I'd say. There would be much more to explore. For example anti-colonialism can also easily be deployed for colonial purposes a la "We are done thinking that the white race is superior now. All races are equal. In fact, races don't even exist. Therefore calm down and let the current rule continue in your colonial province. Everybody must like rule of law." But at least the author acknowledges that the video could be longer, so looking forward to it, maybe...

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #97
It somewhat touches on it in the video, but it's almost within reason to think everything in Suriname was awful while things were mostly alright in Indonesia. That's not quite fair, notably see and That last one in particular is a shameful absurdity. Also see plenty of 19th and early 20th century literature about how thing weren't necessarily all that great in Indonesia, although I don't think much of it questioned colonialism as such — just the way it was done. And the video does touch on "contract workers" from Indonesia (basically indentured servants) but the West and East Indies are overall fairly disconnected from each other.

I don't think the Spanish had such a split. To put it bluntly, they were awful everywhere. The Brits had a vaguely comparable split, but they were still much more awful in the east. The Belgians, well, their single colony was one of the worst of all. One could keep going. The French were maybe okay sometimes?

The video seems to imply or take as a given that all colonial empires are equally bad and that attitudes toward the empire must relate to other factors like education. That seems a bit wanting. It may be the case that all are bad, but some are (much) worse than others. And the Dutch one — well, until the 19th century it was a trade empire, except in the West Indies (i.e., where it was quite actively bad). That's in stark contrast to the aforementioned Spanish and English. Would the people of Papua New Guinea have been happier without the Dutch? Absolutely. And yet they may well have preferred centuries of Dutch hands-off colonialism over the Javanese hands-on variety, much like how many Indonesians may well have preferred the Dutch over the Japanese, as strange as that may sound.

Is it weird to be proud that it wasn't nearly as bad? Probably, but I do think it puts a slightly different angle on those numbers, and the video focuses almost completely on the West Indies. At the same time that seems fair, since the proud ones seem to want to forget about the slave stuff completely. Still, the simplest explanation is that they're not talking about the same colonial empire at all.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #98
The ruthlessness of the French is not to be underestimated. For example, the first slave colony ever who managed to break free, Haiti, "agreed" to a compensation of such magnitude that the country has been an economic and administrative black hole ever since. France should obviously have forgiven the debt a hundred years ago, but no, there are no signs of it relenting

And don't think "Oh, it's just debt." Often enough post-colonial relations are a continuation of slave-master relationship and debt is the clearest post-slavery form of it. Also pretty much all "aid" serves to perpetuate such relationship. This is the case across all former French colonies. Routinely "aid" involves
- a contract with the Western company, instead of a local company, thus funnelling the money back to the donor country
- a design to corrupt local officials so as to achieve privileged access to local resources or inundating the market with Western products, stifling local production
- in case of any trouble, often Western "peacekeepers" move in to guarantee safety to Western citizens on location (actually privileged treatment and immunity from local laws), or the contract is made punitive — the aid becomes debt that must be paid back, even though it went to a Western company in the first place.

Haiti's suffering under the debt was noticed across the world soon enough, so that when other colonies later wanted to break free, their terms henceforth were, correctly, "No! You colonised us, so you compensate us!" Unfortunately, often the safest way to secure getting retribution for having been colonised is to renounce (at least some aspects of) independence.

In my estimation the French colonial empire is largely intact, almost like British. Dutch colonialism has retreated quite a bit, but not fully of course.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?

Reply #99
Belgian army chief foresees that Russia attacks Moldova and Baltic states next.

"We zien dat Rusland is overgeschakeld op een oorlogsindustrie", zegt Hofman. "Ik denk dat we ons terecht zorgen moeten maken. De taal van het Kremlin en van president Vladimir Poetin is altijd dubbelzinnig. Het is absoluut niet uitgesloten dat ze later ook andere ideeën krijgen. Ofwel in het zuiden in Moldavië of de Baltische Staten."

How is such a prognostication possible? Because there is no plan to ensure that Russia will be pushed back in Ukraine. The West has decided that Russia shall not lose.

Earlier Stoltenberg said that we must be ready for ‘bad news’ from Ukraine.

Also, everybody's favourite "realist"[1] John Mearsheimer recently argued thusly: Ukraine must become "neutral" (i.e. disarmed and unconcerned with its own foreign affairs) and give up the four annexed oblasts, or else Russia will want to annex four more oblasts. So, in order to stop the annexation of four more oblasts, Ukraine must yield and sign peace with Russia on Russia's terms. He makes this point beginning at 1:08:35 in this interview:

In other words, the school of geopolitical so-called realism teaches: There are big dogs and small dogs, and small dogs shall have no sovereignty. And Ukraine is small!
After Henry Kissinger.