Thursday, 17 July 2008

Religious Smoke

If you go to DutchNews.....you will get a interesting and amusing report on how the smoking ban has made folks creative. Apparently....café owners in the Netherlands are considering a motion to make a religious movement known as the One and Universal Smokers Church of God.

‘We stand firmly behind the church’s teachings and that is smoking,’ Cor Busch, owner of the former Lindeboom café in Alkmaar commented. ‘Smokers are being discriminated against… but a beer and a cigarette belong together.’

This has only been an issue for three weeks now....and frankly....alot of Dutch are upset by the episode so far. So now....a number of bars are starting to claim that they have a religious right to smoke....as part of their religion. I'm going to be curious to see how the EU handles this religious discrimination. Frankly.....to make this successful....you need some American religious freaks...like the "Huck" Huckibee to sweep in and help these folks out. Although, you must remember..."Huck" don't smoke....although I'm suspecting he might inhale....if given a chance.

Germany and Maut

In Germany today...across the autobahn system...we have a sensor system where trucks are taxed by the kilometers that they travel. Its called maut. So far, its been trucks only. The truckers aren't happy about this but then its the best way to collect on taxes.

Yesterday, the government announced a hefty shift up on taxes.....13.5 cents to 16.5 cents. The government is hinting that they want to get the trucks off the roads....because of congestion and get supply over onto the train tracks. They are suggesting a year by year upswing....to convince everyone to stop trucking.

Obviously, the truckers aren't happy. Somewhere in the discussion yesterday, Merkel even made the mistake of admitting that the 2 billion Euro she takes in (roughly 2.5 billion dollars)....most goes to the big government pot and has nothing to do with roads or bridges. Yep, almost $250 million made it back to roads. The media and the truckers were both amused by this admission.

The suggestion of pushing the trucks off the road? Well....here is the trigger. Traffic accidents with trucks continue up. Traffic issues with slowed traffic throughout the country.....continues to be a major problem. Drivers are complaining....especially for Saturday travel throughout the summer months. The current amount of traffic simply isn't working. The amount of reconstruction and renovation on roads...at an all time record. Truckers are already forbidden from Sunday travel entirely. So the government thinks that going to the rail will help.

The issue here...is that vast numbers of vehicles are simply not a German truck going to a German point. I would venture to guess that 50 percent of the trucks on the road today are international trucks (from Poland to Russia to Italy and even Spain). Going from one end of Germany to the other on a train....simply isn't going to be cost effective or time effective.

The amusing thing here....is that Germans simply aren't asking more questions. If the price goes up for truckers....they pass this straight to the stores who pass it onto the users. Yep....toothpaste will go up three percent....without issue....just to pay for more taxes for the government. No one is smart enough to grasp where the heck this tax goes and how it really works. They depend on stupid Germans to accomplish the tax raise.

If I sound like I'm upset with living here....yeah....its just another little reminder how stupid the residents and citizens of this country are....and they just don't get it.