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A Horse Named Stranger

German politics. Flinten Uschi defying the laws of gravity

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On 8/11/2019 at 5:16 AM, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Unlike fowel farms, which are by all accounts just horrible. The (junior) farmer once visited one of those turkey farms (yes, for the company with the W), and let's just say he doesn't eat any turkey anymore.

If you can't trust produce farmed in Germany, then I'm really scared! :frown5:

Well, I'm guessing this wasn't an overnight development anyway - and should have stuck with the 'Was ich nicht weiss macht mich nicht heiß' principle I guess and not read this portion of the thread ;)

Oh well, looking forward to all that chlorinated chicken coming my way across the Atlantic after Halloween! :ack:

 

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9 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Saxony in contrast has 12% (similar to Bavaria) eco farms, they occupy just 6% of its farmland. So basically half. That's a pretty consistent theme in the East, with the exception of Brandenburg.

Interesting East/West divide; if I may attempt an explanaition: Western Germany and especially the South-West has seen "Eco"-Farming for a long time, Demeter started in the 1920's, Bioland in 1971. Organic farming has had time to grow and develop alongside conventional farming within a continuous ownership-framework. In Eastern Germany, farmland was collectivized: farms bigger than 100ha were expropriated and smaller farms had were forced into farm cooperatives. As a result, small farms (beyond your own garden) disappeared, fields were consolidated, barns and machine halls were centralized and most importantly, there was only conventional farming: Huge fields, massive use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer and a massive destruction of local eco-systems. This lasted until 1990, after that however, the physical structures, the consolidated fields, barns etc. remained, and many of the old owner-families who got their land back from the dissolved cooperatives didn't have someone ready to take over, so the big structures remained, the original owners either sold or leased to "professional" farmers who saw the potential in those structures that were optimized for conventional farming. Eco-Farms had a very hard time - for one, the knowledge and tradition was cut off in Eastern Germany and also the landowners didn't trust these new (sometimes outright esoteric) ideas. So those enthusiasts who started organic farming in the East after 1990 had a hard time to find the land and those who got land back from the cooperatives usually had less than 100ha.

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On 8/12/2019 at 11:31 PM, Ser Hedge said:

If you can't trust produce farmed in Germany, then I'm really scared! :frown5:

Well, I'm guessing this wasn't an overnight development anyway - and should have stuck with the 'Was ich nicht weiss macht mich nicht heiß' principle I guess and not read this portion of the thread ;)

Oh well, looking forward to all that chlorinated chicken coming my way across the Atlantic after Halloween! :ack:

 

I think we need to change the scapegoat for this development. Most still blame the farmers, the industry or the goverment. But without any change  in the behaviour of the consumer more eco-farms, optional price raising or new laws would lead to more misery rather than sucess. 

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On 8/13/2019 at 8:41 AM, Alarich II said:

Interesting East/West divide; if I may attempt an explanaition: Western Germany and especially the South-West has seen "Eco"-Farming for a long time, Demeter started in the 1920's, Bioland in 1971. Organic farming has had time to grow and develop alongside conventional farming within a continuous ownership-framework. In Eastern Germany, farmland was collectivized: farms bigger than 100ha were expropriated and smaller farms had were forced into farm cooperatives. As a result, small farms (beyond your own garden) disappeared, fields were consolidated, barns and machine halls were centralized and most importantly, there was only conventional farming: Huge fields, massive use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer and a massive destruction of local eco-systems. This lasted until 1990, after that however, the physical structures, the consolidated fields, barns etc. remained, and many of the old owner-families who got their land back from the dissolved cooperatives didn't have someone ready to take over, so the big structures remained, the original owners either sold or leased to "professional" farmers who saw the potential in those structures that were optimized for conventional farming. Eco-Farms had a very hard time - for one, the knowledge and tradition was cut off in Eastern Germany and also the landowners didn't trust these new (sometimes outright esoteric) ideas. So those enthusiasts who started organic farming in the East after 1990 had a hard time to find the land and those who got land back from the cooperatives usually had less than 100ha.

My (romanticized) guess is, there's a size limit to which you can run a  farm Eco style. If you hit a certain size, you will end up using more chemicals.

9 hours ago, Karneol said:

I think we need to change the scapegoat for this development. Most still blame the farmers, the industry or the goverment. But without any change  in the behaviour of the consumer more eco-farms, optional price raising or new laws would lead to more misery rather than sucess.  

Yep. You get what you pay for. If you pay little money for food, you don't get to complain about the way animals are treated on those meat factories. But then again, the Eco steak from the happy cow is something you gotta be able to afford. The soy fed cow from what used to be a piece of the Brazilian rain forest is simply cheaper.

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On 8/16/2019 at 9:35 PM, A Horse Named Stranger said:

My (romanticized) guess is, there's a size limit to which you can run a  farm Eco style. If you hit a certain size, you will end up using more chemicals.

I don't think it works that way, I just don't see the link where one necessitates the other. Not that anecdotal evidence is conclusive, but in this article here, they are writing about 4.000ha which is very big by German standards (of course it's an east German farm). Interview with Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein about organic farming where he also mentions the size-problem. But it is true that the trend towards "industrial" eco-farms is a topic of very controversial discussion within the different eco-farming associations.

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Posted (edited)

Moving on.

Now that Olaf Scholz has announced it's intention to run for the SPD chair afterall, I finally have the opportunity to include this neat little song in a post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlyclVRzL0o

No, it's not Extra 3, but from one of the few good things to emerge from Bavaria.It doesn't make up for the CSU assclowns, but I appreciate the gesture and effort you put into it each year.

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger

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Well, I cast my vote some hours ago. Now it's time to pray for a miracle...

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CDU-SPD-Greens presumably in Saxonia.

SPD-Left-Greens presumably in Brandenburg.

At least the FDP stayed below the 5% threshold. Yes, I am desperate for some positives.

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Yesterday was a depressing shit-show of tactical unawareness in the first vote results. Yay, you voted your local Linke or FDP or Green candidate, while the actual race between CDU and AfD was decided for AfD. What the hell you people? If one of two evils is about to win, you make sure the lesser evil wins, especially when it means that your party will get more candidates into parliament via overhang and adjustment seats. Voting for a green direct mandate is an urban luxury. FFS, my local constituency went to an AfD candidate, because apparently not enough people can do even the simplest of tactial election arithmetics.

Also: more than 13% of the second vote is not represented, more than half of that on account of FDP and FW not coming across the 5%. Not exactly a great result for a PR-System.

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1 hour ago, Alarich II said:

Yesterday was a depressing shit-show of tactical unawareness in the first vote results.

I've heard that Germans don't tend to get tactical in their first vote - which is interesting, because we have exactly the same electoral system here, and New Zealanders get very tactical with their electorate vote (basically, a hold-over from the days of FPP. National vs Labour tribalism still kicks in).

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1 hour ago, Alarich II said:

Yesterday was a depressing shit-show of tactical unawareness in the first vote results. Yay, you voted your local Linke or FDP or Green candidate, while the actual race between CDU and AfD was decided for AfD. What the hell you people?

Admittedly, I was thinking about voting more tactically this time around, but figured that in the "Speckgürtel" of Berlin the votes generally would play out like in a more urban setting and there was not too much risk involved in not supporting the SPD. The AfD still achieving 17% here is still depressing (with my neighborhood being at 14%), but it ended up a race between SPD (25%) and the Greens (19%), with the CDU following at 18%. If I'd live more out in the countryside I take it that propping up the centrist parties would be an utter necessity, even if it would send them the wrong message.

Though granted, the 4,9% for the Animal Protection Party are kind of sad.

Edited by Toth

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Most people probably don't care who their MP is, especially in regional elections. I couldn't tell you who is mine. The strength of the parties in parliament is determined by the second vote, so who cares about the first. Yes, there are all those quirks that lead to extra seats, but how many understand those? Besides, it isn't really a two party race anymore for the direct mandates. In some cases the winner had less than 25 percent of the votes. And the Greens actually won some mandates. 

Biggest change from 2014 is probably how the Linke got thrashed. Looks like the days when they could claim to be the party of the East are over. Big losses also for the CDU. That's remarkable as far as Brandenburg is concerned as they were in the opposition. Looks like being in government at the federal level hurt them. 

Some interesting local results, too. Klara Geywitz, who is  running for the party chair along Olaf Scholz, lost her seat to a Green candidate. And no list mandates for the SPD in Brandenburg. Prime minister Woidke won his constituency, but the AfD got more second votes than the SPD. 

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1 hour ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

I've heard that Germans don't tend to get tactical in their first vote - which is interesting, because we have exactly the same electoral system here, and New Zealanders get very tactical with their electorate vote (basically, a hold-over from the days of FPP. National vs Labour tribalism still kicks in). 

Yes, it seems rather pointless - especially for small parties - to appoint direct candidates for every seat instead of concentrating on second votes.

1 hour ago, Loge said:

Most people probably don't care who their MP is, especially in regional elections. I couldn't tell you who is mine. The strength of the parties in parliament is determined by the second vote, so who cares about the first. Yes, there are all those quirks that lead to extra seats, but how many understand those? Besides, it isn't really a two party race anymore for the direct mandates. In some cases the winner had less than 25 percent of the votes. And the Greens actually won some mandates.

I think your dismissive attitude towards first vote is naive and dangerous. At least wrt the situation in Saxony, where I live.

First of all - even if your claim was true, that most people don't care who their MP is, they do care which party he represents. The quirks as you call it are a built in feature of a mixed system of FPTP seats and a PR parliament: the system is purposly designed to make vote-splitting (i.e. tactical voting) possible and if you decline taking advantage of that, it will probably lead to adverse effects, such as the greater evil gaining the seat.

Now why are the direct, FPTP-seats - and therefore the first vote - so important, if party-strength is determined by second vote? For this, you have to understand that usually  the direct seat in parliament has a distinctive advantage over the so-called list-seats. The MP usually maintains a representation, a sort of citizens centre, in the constituency. These are used to inform the constituency about the work of their MP, provide a direct contact for citizens, an office and a clerk or two to run the activities of the MP in the constituency. In other word: it provides the anchor-point for grass-roots political work. And this is what's happening: the AfD is using their constituencies to establish and maintain a steady network and political groundwork. They employ sometimes very unsavoury people and use the seats as a rallying point for some really disgusting persons and ideas.

So yes: it does matter who wins the constituency, even if it's only the lesser of two evils. Now there are a few, urban seats that are contested by Greens and/or Linke (which is why I said, first vote for Greens is an urban luxury, same goes for Linke), in the rest of the country, the vast majority of seats are contested between AfD and CDU. Just to give you an example: the constituency Bautzen II, was won by the AfD by mere 31(!!!) votes while 23% of all first votes went to candidates who never had a chance to win the constituency! My constituency was won by the AfD-candidate by a margin of about 6,9%-points. The third in this race (Die Linke) managed to get not even half the votes of the CDU-candidate, but still got 12,8% of the first vote.

This is what I mean by total tactical unawareness! In the name of not sullying your hand by voting for a CDU-candidate you've basically handed the constituency over to the AfD (I'm even madder at the FDP and FW first vote, such a pointless waste!).

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45 minutes ago, Alarich II said:

Yes, it seems rather pointless - especially for small parties - to appoint direct candidates for every seat instead of concentrating on second votes.

I think your dismissive attitude towards first vote is naive and dangerous. At least wrt the situation in Saxony, where I live.

First of all - even if your claim was true, that most people don't care who their MP is, they do care which party he represents. The quirks as you call it are a built in feature of a mixed system of FPTP seats and a PR parliament: the system is purposly designed to make vote-splitting (i.e. tactical voting) possible and if you decline taking advantage of that, it will probably lead to adverse effects, such as the greater evil gaining the seat.

Now why are the direct, FPTP-seats - and therefore the first vote - so important, if party-strength is determined by second vote? For this, you have to understand that usually  the direct seat in parliament has a distinctive advantage over the so-called list-seats. The MP usually maintains a representation, a sort of citizens centre, in the constituency. These are used to inform the constituency about the work of their MP, provide a direct contact for citizens, an office and a clerk or two to run the activities of the MP in the constituency. In other word: it provides the anchor-point for grass-roots political work. And this is what's happening: the AfD is using their constituencies to establish and maintain a steady network and political groundwork. They employ sometimes very unsavoury people and use the seats as a rallying point for some really disgusting persons and ideas.

So yes: it does matter who wins the constituency, even if it's only the lesser of two evils. Now there are a few, urban seats that are contested by Greens and/or Linke (which is why I said, first vote for Greens is an urban luxury, same goes for Linke), in the rest of the country, the vast majority of seats are contested between AfD and CDU. Just to give you an example: the constituency Bautzen II, was won by the AfD by mere 31(!!!) votes while 23% of all first votes went to candidates who never had a chance to win the constituency! My constituency was won by the AfD-candidate by a margin of about 6,9%-points. The third in this race (Die Linke) managed to get not even half the votes of the CDU-candidate, but still got 12,8% of the first vote.

This is what I mean by total tactical unawareness! In the name of not sullying your hand by voting for a CDU-candidate you've basically handed the constituency over to the AfD (I'm even madder at the FDP and FW first vote, such a pointless waste!).

Ain't no such thing as first class and second class seats. A seat is a seat, no matter how it was won. And of course the guy who gets into parliament via a list represents  their constituency just as much as the guy who won the direct mandate. Nothing stops them from having an office there. Actually, my daily commute used include a walk past the bürgerbüro of a member of the Brandenburg landtag. She was of the FDP (still is, but hasn't been a MP since the 2014 elections) , so there is no way she could actually have won the constituency. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Loge said:

Ain't no such thing as first class and second class seats. A seat is a seat, no matter how it was won. And of course the guy who gets into parliament via a list represents  their constituency just as much as the guy who won the direct mandate. Nothing stops them from having an office there. Actually, my daily commute used include a walk past the bürgerbüro of a member of the Brandenburg landtag. She was of the FDP (still is, but hasn't been a MP since the 2014 elections) , so there is no way she could actually have won the constituency.  

 

Yes, a seat is a seat but a won constituency gives you legitimation to speak for the constituency. If you don't win a constituency and still get into parliament via the list, there's no-one stopping you to maintain an office. But much of the official representative functions for the constituency will be done by the winner of the first vote, for example when it comes down to planning aspects (Landesentwicklungsplan). The direct candidates for the constituencies are not nominated via list, but as direct nomination of the local party structure. He/She is usually already well connected at the ground level of the party structure and of course, each direct mandate strengthens the local party structures, especially if you are trying to build up a relatively new party. You can dismiss this and pretend it makes no difference but I can tell you already that in 5 years time, it will take a lot of effort to prise those constituencies out of the AfD hands as it will make the local groundwork a lot easier for the AfD.

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@Alarich II I understand your point but I don't think you are right. Especially in Saxony the politics of the CDU has enabled the current situation. I know it is perhaps not the fault of the individual candidate but I don't see how it could be justified to reward the party who shares a lot of the responsibility for the current situation. They have been in power for as long as this state exists and see where it lead to. I actually think it is better to lay bare how it really is on the ground instead of letting this open wound fester even longer.

Also tactical voting was traditionally the tool of choice of the right leaning parties (I'm looking at you, FDP). The left parties have the tried and tested method of splitting their vote without gaining anything.

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