Max resigns herself to voting

Friday, 12 September 2008
Books Burning by Catherine Jamieson

Books Burning by Catherine Jamieson

Please have a gander at this: Women Against Sarah Palin

…and then VOTE OBAMA.

Vote from Abroad

I am not being a good anarchist this voting season, but I cannot look at the McCain-Palin ticket and do nothing.  I absolutely loathe McCain – as everyone knows by now, but the thought of right-wing religious nut anti-woman Sarah Palin in the White House literally makes me vomit.

* Thanks to Sweet Potato for sending the WASP link.


Beijing Olympics 2008

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Paris Olympic torch relay protest

  • Tiananmen Square
  • Tibet
  • One child policy
  • Capital punishment
  • Organ harvesting
  • Censorship
  • Persecution of ethnic and religious minorities

Why the fuck did the IOC award the Olympics to China in the first place?

And what the hell did they expect?

Max comments on the BBC World Service poll

Wednesday, 2 April 2008
bbc globescan world opinion poll

What a load of shit. Talk to stupid, uninformed people, and you get stupid, uninformed ideas. No, that’s not fair. Talk to people that are too easily influenced by the mainstream media and you get the opinions that are being shoved down their throats.

The BBC survey of world opinion talked to 17,457 people in 34 countries from October 2007 to January 2008. Those surveyed were asked to rate Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the US, and the EU as having mainly a positive or negative influence in the world. A summary of the results is in the table above.

I shall now take the survey myself and then comment on the other 17,457 people’s collective answers. But only concerning the interesting countries, and I will work my way down the table.

Please tell me if you think each of the following countries is having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world.

Germany – okay, probably positive. But what strikes me is how quickly we recover from history. I was in Munich at the weekend. C took me to see Königsplatz, where the Nazis held their rallies, and to the Olympic Park, the scene of a PLO terror operation that ended in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes. I just find it funny that Germany got the highest rating.

EU – negative. First, I don’t like centralised government. Second, anyone who has a positive view is clearly not a non EU citizen living within the EU. I am. The EU makes me angry.

France – totally positive. I like good food and drink and it’s a stunning country.

Great Britain – mostly positive, but with reservations. Britain is historically great and gave rise to the modern concept of freedom with the Magna Carta way back in the year 1215. But today Britain is a surveillance society. British Airways and the British Airports Authority have totally fucked up the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, which has been making me laugh since last Thursday. Britain is also too accommodating to Islamists and too full of people who look down on Americans.

China – totally negative. Human rights, toys, military build-up, IP theft, MSG… And I tend to think that the Beijing Olympics are going to be a disaster.

Russia – negative. Putin, oligarchy, Litvinenko, Chechnya, Politkovskaya. You can’t trust the Russians. Good vodka, though.

US – mostly positive, but with reservations. I know I criticise The Amerika a lot, but it’s my country and I’m supposed to. I hate the war in Iraq and I hate the current administration and I am sure that our next president won’t change anything. However, the US is the single largest donor of foreign economic aid. We do most of our giving privately, which keeps money out of the hands of governments to the greatest extent possible. We still have freedom of speech and powerful dissent. The US also seems to be judged by harsher standards even whilst it has a more difficult role in the world. It’s not all fun and games being a superpower, you know. At any rate, it’s just retarded that the US is below China, India, and Russia. Give me a fucking break.

North Korea – totally negative. Where the hell did they find the 23% with the positive view?

Israel – overall, positive. Although the Iranians must be wondering how they did even worse. Of course Israel is not perfect. But you try being the only democracy of any sort in the Middle East. You try being the runty Jewish kid on the edge of a playground filled with Arab bullies. There are probably more misconceptions about Israel than about any other country in the poll, for which I would primarily blame Arab propaganda and a misguided press. For the 52% of you who see Israel as a negative influence in the world, try looking for the truth behind the politics and the propaganda and you might begin to see things differently.

A vote for the Democrats is a vote for Al Qaeda

Saturday, 15 March 2008
mccain bush hug

Or, in other words, a vote for Obama is a vote for Osama.

Politicians have no shame. Or, in other words, McCain is a dick.

I saw this story on the dreaded Huffington Post: McCain: Al Qaeda May Intervene To Tip Election Towards Dems.

John McCain would have us believe that a vote for a Democrat is a vote for Al Qaeda. Therefore if you vote for a Democrat, you support terrorism. And if you support terrorism, you’re the same as a terrorist. So if you vote for a Democrat, you are a terrorist and you’d better have your overnight bag packed and ready by the front door so that when you’re renditioned you’ll at least have your toothbrush.

Or you can be a patriotic Amerikan and vote for McCain.

Calling a spade a spade

Friday, 14 March 2008
geraldine ferraro vp pin

Okay, I suck. I have let my job totally get in the way and I haven’t managed to post all week. That in spite of some juicy things going on: Eliot Spitzer (prostitution), Geraldine Ferraro (accusations of racism), Mehdi Kazemi (sodomy), new marijuana laws in the Czech Republic… Luckily I am not going anywhere this weekend and I anticipate spending some quality time in front of my computer.

But for now, I would like to share excerpts from some emails that were exchanged yesterday between me and my friend Ricardo, who is a limey and also lives here in Prague. Ricardo is blue and I am violet.

Irrespective of whether Hillary or the Osama bloke (didn’t a paper get in trouble for that?) win, it is questionable if either will have enough support against the next gung ho tyrant-in-waiting of the United States of A. His arms look a bit too short.

Geraldine Ferraro (a former VP candidate) just got into trouble for pointing out that Obama is black.

I thought he was 50:50. Does that mean it’s wrong to say he’s black and equally that he’s white? Blimey.

He is 50:50, and I think you are allowed to say that he is white, but only because anyone can see that he is black. You are not, however, allowed to refer to him as African-American because although he is half African and half American, his ancestors were not slaves so therefore saying African-American would somehow be misleading.

Why is it that you’re allowed to say that Obama’s campaign is going well because he is young, because he is good-looking, or because he reminds people of John F Kennedy, but you can’t say that his race has been a factor? Especially when clearly it has. Just as some people are voting for Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman and some people will vote for McCain in November just because he is a white man, some people are obviously voting for Obama just because he is black. And so what? That’s just because lots and lots of people don’t vote on the issues.

Mrs Ferraro, your mistake was that you forgot to speak in a whisper when you said the word “black”.

Update on Everything

Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Kafka Metamorphosis beetle

The Flat

The contract has been fixed to our satisfaction, our funds are almost consolidated, there is always champagne in the fridge, and we are signing next week.

Max’s Residency Permit

Martin was able to fix things on Monday with VZP so that I did not have to pay their stupid penalty (see post below). Then Katka went to their office to conclude my 2-year health insurance agreement. Martin took the health insurance agreement, my passport and a power of attorney so that he could go to the foreigner police for my visa the following morning.

This email was waiting for me when I arrived at work on Tuesday:

Hi Max,

It’s unbelievable but I don’t have your visa because that stupid woman at FP has completely changed her mind – she has made a copy of your insurance card and has said that everything was OK, but she has refused to give me visa based on the power of attorney (last week she said that you do not have to go there in person). I don’t understand that but it was impossible to persuade her on anything else today. This is unbelievable country… You (or secretary) will have to go there tomorrow in the morning and stand the queue for the number…


I answered Martin straight away:


It’s not unbelievable. That’s normal. They talk out of their arses and then they talk out of the other side. FP, VZP… they should all be shot. I am trying to get in touch with my visa agent and hopefully she’ll be able to help me out tomorrow. Don’t worry about it, it’s not your fault.

You didn’t lose my passport, did you?


Martin hadn’t lost my passport and I was able to get in touch with Lenka within a few minutes. I went to the foreigner police in person this morning. Upon arriving back at my office, I sent this report to a few friends:

For anyone that has been concerned about my impending (and repeated) deportation…

I got my new visa this morning. The foreigner police wouldn’t give it to Martin yesterday with a power of attorney so I had to go myself today. I paid 800 Kč to get a number so that I wouldn’t have to wait (which could take either hours or days) and I was in and out of there in about 12 minutes with my shiny new visa.

On another note, I then took my passport to my embassy to get extra pages put in, which are necessary because EU countries have become a bit too stamp happy. It used to be that you went to the window, handed them your passport and asked for new pages, and they would do it immediately and hand your passport straight back. Not anymore. This time I had to fill in a form and leave my passport there. If I pass the security check, I’ll be able to pick up my fatter passport this afternoon and Abby V, I’ll see you in London tomorrow. If I don’t pass the security check, I guess that will mean rendition and waking up in Gitmo.

I went back to the embassy after lunch and they returned my passport to me with 24 lovely new blank pages. That should last me another two or three years.

But my passport is gone once again. I had to give it to the secretary that has my power-of-attorney for the Trade Licence Office. She’s on her way there now to show them my new visa so that they will renew my trade licence. Then someone will have to go to the commercial court to show them that my trade licence has been renewed so that can be registered in the Commercial Register.

And then I should be all set until I move into my new flat when I’ll have to send people running around to every possible administrative authority in the Czech Republic in order to change my address. What a country.

Meanwhile, over in Max’s other hell…

Thursday, 28 February 2008

I sauntered into work this morning at about 10 to find this email from one of our trainee lawyers waiting for me:

Hi Max,

I was at the foreigner police in the morning (quite interesting place); almost everything is OK, except of (bad news) term of your health insurance. As FP needs to extend your visa obligatory for 2 years (good news), they need evidence that your health insurance will last till March 2010. However, FP women on the phone were not able to tell me before for how long will be your visa extended. That was the reason why we have decided to extend your health insurance for 1 year (anyway, insurance company could extend it only for 1 year by one agreement).

I have asked Katka to go to the health insurance company today or tomorrow and to conclude another insurance agreement valid until 2010. Then I will visit FP on Monday, give them a stamp and health insurance documents and they will grant new visa immediately.

I will stop by you when you’ll be at your desk.


Great, I thought, it sounds so easy.

So Katka, a secretary, went to VZP, which must be the worst insurance company in the world. There she was told that it would be impossible to conclude a health insurance agreement for a year from now (March 2009 to March 2010) and that instead I would have to cancel my 2008-2009 agreement, pay a 20% cancellation penalty, and then conclude a 2-year agreement. Which you may note, if you understood the email above, is absolutely contrary to what they had told her in January when she originally went to renew my insurance.

Katka, bless her, did not tell me anything – she was too smart for that because I have been known to shoot the messenger, so to speak. Katka told Martin and Martin had to tell me and face the wrath of Max. Which in fact he enjoys. All I need is some leather, a pair of thigh-high boots and a whip, and I think he’d be in heaven. [Martin, if you’re reading this – NO. Forget it.]

Two minutes later I was on the phone to VZP getting the director’s number. Martin took over and called; he talked to the director’s secretary. I am trying to teach these kids not to take things lying down. And that if two people in one office give you two different answers, go higher and talk to someone who knows what they are talking about.

“I always win,” I said to Martin. But then I had to admit that I lose a lot in this country – the trade licence office, the commercial register, the foreigner police – and it always costs me money.

And that’s where we are. The director was in a meeting and it was really too late to find anyone in authority to talk to. Martin will start trying again tomorrow morning at 8. But I had to promise him that if we don’t get things sorted out by tomorrow afternoon, I will pay the 20% penalty so that he can go and get my new visa on Monday. The penalty will actually be less than 1800 crowns (just over $100) and it’s not worth getting deported (again) over that.