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Finland for Thought » 2006 » August | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

Finland for Thought
             Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & United States

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31.8.2006

Gallery of Modern Finnish Ruins

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:00 pm

Very nice photographs, very eerie…

Abandoned buildings, derelict factories filled with incredible old machines sitting alone in the dark halls with their power turned off for good, or nearly collapsed sawmills rotting silently away in the forest, being reclaimed by nature are the best, most authentic and interactive museums of industrial archaeology and local history.

For several years I have searched, explored and photographed these ruins of the modern world, the slow deterioration and decay of forgotten space. This site is a collection of information and photographs of such places.

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Hat Tip to ilikepeanutbutter for the link!

30.8.2006

Finns’ prejudices against Estonians

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 7:51 pm

For the first time in history, an Estonian company will be handling the road maintenance in a region of Finland…

The prospect of an Estonian company maintaining roads in the area has raised a good deal of curious discussion at the Finnish Road Administration and the Finnish Road Enterprise. Raekallio understands the curiosity.

“For decades, Finns have been businessmen in Estonia, and employees have been hired from there to Finland. We are used to being the managers and bosses. Now the setup is turning upside-down… Prejudices are so strong that many were unwilling to take jobs with the company.”

MORE: I don’t get this prejudice many Finns have towards Estonia, it’s as if Estonia is still part of the Soviet Union or something. The people are poor there, the place is dirty and unsafe, people are shifty, the vodka will make you go blind, there’s lots of hookers….bleh!

I think those Finns who dislike Estonia are quite jealous and see their country as a threat. They worker longer, harder, and for less. There are exciting changes and progress being made in Estonia, it’s an exciting place to be – meanwhile Finland has remained stagnant, following the status quo for what seems to be an eternity with no end in sight. Estonia has been the dorky kid school that everyone picked on, but that’s not the case anymore, and soon they’ll be picking on us!

A liberal sees another country progressing so rapidly and sees this as a very positive thing for their citizens and the rest of the globe. Others see another country progressing so rapidly and sees this as a threat their comfortable lifestyle. The welfare state is under attack and the weapons fired are hard-working and inexpensive labour, inexpensive goods, increased competition in the region, and possibilities of policy reform such as flat-tax.

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“Advertising leaflets are truly dangerous.” ??

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:14 pm

Here’s an excerpt from Hesari about the Porvoo cathedral fire. Am I understanding this correctly?

The main defendant himself expressed contrition and said that he acted on whim. “I put paper in the drain and lit it. I didn’t think that the fire would spread. It was a mindless act. I have a critical attitude toward religion, but I am not hostile toward it. Now I regret that the foolishness of one person has caused so much harm to many others.”

The judge in the case, Lars Karlsson, asked the defendant about the ladder and the paper. The defendant said that he had shredded advertising leaflets that he had found on the street. “Advertising leaflets are truly dangerous. They should simply not exist“, Karlsson said.

…a Finnish judge thinks leaflets are “truly dangerous” – WTF? Is he worried about papercuts, or drunken youth using them to spontaneously set old churches on fire? Maybe this is the same judge who got arrested for drunk driving on their morning ride to court. I hope this sentence was taken out of context. LOL!

“The poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland (and Sweden)”

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 9:27 am

Here’s some shocking statistics that is bound to make the leftists’ eyes bleed. The poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland and Sweden (well, to be fair, they have 1% more)…

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How we’re supposed to read this is that the USA has a very uneven income distribution, that the poorest 10% only get 39% of the median income, that the richest 10% get 210%. Compare and contrast that with the most egalitarian society amongst those studied, Finland, where the rich get 111% and the poor get 38%. Shown this undoubted fact we are therefore to don sackcloth and ashes, promise to do better and tax the heck out of everybody to rectify this appalling situation.

But hang on a minute, that’s not quite what is being shown. In the USA the poor get 39% of the US median income and in Finland (and Sweden) the poor get 38% of the US median income. It’s not worth quibbling over 1% so let’s take it as read that the poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland (and Sweden). Which is really a rather revealing number don’t you think? All those punitive tax rates, all that redistribution, that blessed egalitarianism, the flatter distribution of income, leads to a change in the living standards of the poor of precisely … nothing.

Wow! Now take into consideration the much much higher purchasing power that America’s bottom 10% have compared to Finland. But then take into consideration the socialized services that Finland offers like healthcare (America’s bottom 10% receives the same care), housing (America’s bottom 10% receive the same housing, actually all Baltimorians get townhouses/rivitalot, in Helsinki you get a tiny apartment).

Finland does offer it’s poorest 10% much nicer schools than America’s 10%, plus Finns get free higher education – but how many of Finland’s bottom 10% are utilizing that higher education? However, Finns do receive a box that can be turned into a bed from the state before they have their first child, that appears to be the key difference between the two systems. The author sums it up…

If we accept (as I do) that we do, indeed, need to have a social safety net, and that we have a duty to provide for those incapable or unlucky enough to be unable to do so for themselves, we need to set some level at which such help is offered. The standard of living of the poor in a redistributionist paradise like Finland (or Sweden) seems a fair enough number to use and the USA provides exactly that. Good, the problem’s solved. We’ve provided — both through the structure of the economy and the various forms of taxation and benefits precisely what we should be — an acceptable baseline income for the poor. No further redistribution is necessary and we can carry on with the current tax rates and policies which seem, as this report shows, to be increasing US incomes faster than those in other countries and boosting productivity faster as well.

29.8.2006

Why Finland is Fantastic: Reason #1,912: Hanging outside in your bathrobe

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:55 pm

In the U.S., there’s only two types of people you’ll find hanging outside their homes in a bathrobe or a towel – Either white trash, or wealthy people who have a big fence around their yard so no one can see in. And maybe the occasional Sunday-morning dad walking up the driveway to get the paper. You just don’t want your neighbors to catch you outside not wearing any clothes, it’s not good for property values.

But in Finland, it’s perfectly okay to be out on your porch in your bathrobe or a towel because everyone will think you just got out from the sauna and are enjoying the fresh air. I’ve had long conversations outside with my neighbors with absolutely nothing between the ground and my balls. It’s great, you don’t even need to come from the sauna, I’ll often sit outside in a towel after a shower, eat breakfast out there half naked as well.

28.8.2006

Finland increases birthrates thanks to welfare state policies

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 7:34 pm

In the welfare state, everything that is good is thanks to the welfare state policies – everything that is bad abroad could be fixed with some welfare state policies. Here’s an example

The number of children that Finnish women have during their fertile years has remained fairly constant for a long time: an average of 1.9 babies per mother by the age of 35.
The situation in Finland is different from that in Italy, Spain, and Greece, where the average number of children per woman is significantly lower. This can be attributed to the difficulties that women in those countries have in dealing with both work and a family.
The birthrate is also low in many former socialist countries.

See… Italy, Spain, Greece, who traditionally have larger families, are having less children because they don’t have the same welfare state policies as Finland. No mention of increased contraceptive usage in traditionally religious countries. No mention of increased women’s rights which empowers women to have more control over their own bodies. No no no, it’s just the lack of welfare state policies which is causing this. And how would that explain the United States’ birthrates which is roughly 50% higher than Finland, the U.S. isn’t exactly a bastion for welfare statism.

Racial attack on refugees near Kotka

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:29 pm

Just curious – why is the state placing refugees out in Nowheremäki where racial intolerance runs deep? Wouldn’t these people fare much better in Finland’s larger cities along with other foreigners from their home country who can support them? The state is just throwing them in the lion’s den by placing them in these towns.

Two young men have been in the south coast city Kotka in the aftermath of an incident in which a group of men attacked a building housing refugees from Myanmar – formerly Burma. About 20 young men broke windows of a public housing apartment house in the city’s Suulisniemi district on Wednesday. The building is home to 40 Myanmar refugees who arrived in Finland in April as part of this country’s refugee quota.

[...]Junkkari says that on previous occasions police had received scattered reports of windows of refugees’ apartments being broken in the same area, as well as clashes between people of different nationalities, but the latest one was more extensive than before. Social Worker Virpi Kupiainen has spoken with the refugees themselves after the attack. She says that the predominant emotions are great anguish and fear. “We tried to offer them the possibility to go somewhere else provisionally, but they decided that they did not want to leave, because they would have to come back anyway.”

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A History of Violence: Tuomioja, Halonen, and the Welfare State

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:11 pm

“Now the EU spoke in one voice, and it was listened to. The fighting in Lebanon would not have been ceased so quickly if there had not been a common EU stance.”

Definitely agree there, the EU with Finland at the helm had definitely shaved off an hour, maybe two, of fighting. But who knows, if the EU would have acted even quicker without the ceasefire-terminology debacle, the violence may have stopped 3-4 hours earlier instead. Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Erkki Tuomioja and Finnish President Tarja Halonen were high-profile players during the Israel-Hezzbollah crisis, they were in charge of ending the violence – but as welfare state socialists, are they the right people for the job?

Welfare state socialists strongly support lots of rules and regulations that govern our lives – and each of these rules and regulations are backed by threats, repercussions, and eventually violence. Think – you don’t want to be forced into the army or civil service…you’re threatened with jailtime. Don’t want to goto jail? Men with guns will visit your house. Don’t agree with the insanely high taxes? Again…threats, jailtime, men with guns. Every welfare state initiative is backed by violence. Do you think the people would actually voluntarily pay these outragious taxes? Of course not, the welfare statists need the prisons and the guns to impose their ideology onto you.

But, I’m not an anarchist, I realize we do need laws, especially when it comes to violent crime. The point is that we should have less rules, less regulations. Take the U.S. as an example – lots of rules, lots of regulations…and it’s all enforced by violence, and it shows! Some people might argue that the U.S. and Finland have all these laws to prevent violence in the first place – Finland has stifiling taxes for social programmes to curb the possibilities of violence in society, the U.S. has tough border controls and lackluster privacy concerns to curb potential terrorists. This may be true, but all of that reminds me too much of George Bush’s “we must wage war to create peace” policies, it’s quite hypocritical to end violence by acting in a violent manner. It’s like the parent who punishes their kid by spanking them because they hit another child.

So I wonder – are welfare statists the right people to make peace? Israel and Lebanon have certain policies to keep the peace, and as we’ve seen, aren’t afraid to use violence to uphold these policies. Is the welfare state much different?

26.8.2006

Helsinki Complaints Choir

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:16 pm

This must be written by a left-winger… :-)

Hat Tip to Iiris L. for the link!

25.8.2006

Toys ‘R’ Us arrives in Finland!

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:48 pm

Wow, I didn’t know they were coming. I love Toys ‘R’ Us. A shame it’s in Jyväskylä and not Helsinki

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56 arrested during Helsinki riot

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:17 pm

Anyone have any photos?

Finnish police arrested Thursday 56 demonstrators at Helsinki’s annual Night of the Arts festival, according to Chief Inspector Jukka-Pekka Lämsä Friday.

The detained demonstrators were participating in a march promoting graffiti art. According to the police, some of the 100-200 participants on the march set off fireworks, smeared walls with graffiti and broke a few shop windows in the centre of town.

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Hat tip to FinnFreak for the photos!

23.8.2006

Finland makes for happy time

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 10:13 pm

Ain’t nothing like taking a break during your busy day to read some engrish

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Many Finns Sceptical of Evolution

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:06 pm

Wow, I need to remember this statistic the next time someone reminds me of America’s religious fanaticism. The difference however, one-third of Finns don’t wish to push their nutty theories on others in public schools…

A surprising number of Finns are sceptical of the theory of evolution, according to a study by Science magazine. A third of Finns do not believe Darwin’s theory that all animals descended from a common organism, and that they adapted to changing environments to create new species. Around ten percent were not sure what to believe.

Finnish scepticism far exceeds other Nordic countries. In Denmark and Sweden, less than 15 percent rejected evolution, in Iceland, less than ten percent. Out of 34 countries studied for the survey, Finland falls 17th in the number of sceptics.

Espoo Cine this weekend!

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:54 pm

Don’t forget, starting yesterday and ending Sunday is the annual Espoo Film Festival. Lots of great movies, cheap tickets (6e), most movies have English subtitles, even the Finnish ones. Highlights include: “Thank you for smoking“, “Puzzlehead“, and Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth“. And tonight at 22:00 is a free outdoor viewing of Aki Kaurismäki’s “Calamari Union” with English subtitles – I hope to be there.

Anyone going to the festival? Any other movies we should look out for? This one sounds interesting, “Aika tappaa“, finally a Finnish film that doesn’t take money from the state, I hope it’s a huge hit…

Finland does not produce many independent films. With very few exceptions, all Finnish films distributed commercially are productions supported by the Finnish Film Foundation. The only really independent film of the recent years has been the space parody Star Wreck, created by a group of hobbyists. Now it has received a worthy companion in the form of Aika tappaa, a feature-length film produced, written and directed by the first-time director Timo Puustinen with no state funding whatsoever.

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22.8.2006

House for sale in Vaasa

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:12 pm

Look at the photos very closely. Do it now because by the end of the afternoon, I’m sure it will be removed…

http://www.huoneistokeskus.fi/Aspx/Realty/RealtyDetails.aspx?ref=Oikotie&RealtyID=701202

UPDATE: Sorry, it’s already gone. (here’s a screenshot of what it looked like)

Hat Tip to Erno I. for the link!

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