New entries, Germany

15.2.12

I have gone by this tree in Freiburg for so many years now, it lives with a huge tumor and still prospers – I don´t orientate myself at people who have it all, I admire people who never had it easy and still do not give up!

After attacking Saltdean today I can be pretty sure that I will be able to deliver on my promise, that is to say be able to have a photocopy of B&H town map in my head, then I will go to England and shove it up their bottom! Let´s see how they react to that! HCO has showed in their newest response to me that they have checked on legal terms if I´d have a leg to stand on in my appeal in case I sue them, which is not very likely – yet I want them to open their eyes for the real concerns of the people, so that they take care of their needs not just govern them! Brain vs Bureaucracy! In times of severe cuts in public funding this should be the answer, cab-drivers need good knowledge so that they can be proud of it and be able to do a good job, they do not need to fuss about an annual renewal of the license! And I don´t want to hear that this is not possible because of this and this! Make it possible! When you have really set your mind to do something you can accomplish anything! If Cameron can send a destroyer to the Malvinas (in case you don´t know this name, the Falklands) B & H City Council can renew my license!

…und den Kamin etwas stutzen. Trotzdem kommt es immer noch häufig vor, dass ihn...

Check out this crazy Swiss dude, he has been a pain in the arse of the officials for so long that he got it officially in his papers now, that this vehicle is fitted with a wood stove! (He is only not allow to drive when fired.)

7.2.12

Guinness will not authorise my world record again, I guess I am to rebellious for them (or didn´t have the expensive fast track appliation) I will think what I can do about it! Claim ID: … Membership Number: … Dear Mr Jochen Lembke, Thank you for sending us the details of your recent record attempt for ‘Most countries as licensed taxi driver ‘. We are afraid to say that we are unable to accept this as a Guinness World Record. We receive over 60,000 enquiries a year from which only a small proportion are approved by our experienced researchers to establish new categories. These are not ‘made up’ to suit an individual proposal, but rather ‘evolve’ as a result of international competition in a field, which naturally accommodates superlatives of the sort that we are interested in. We think you will appreciate that we are bound to favour those that reflect the greatest interest. 

We have the great honor of nominating Private First Class Bradley Manning for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings. These revelations have fueled democratic uprising around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.

I am translating the books of peace- and occupy activist David Swanson into German! That´s the one I am on first.

When the World Outlawed War Graphic

Further Infos: http://davidswanson.org/outlawry

http://www.taxi-driver.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=17526 There´s where the action is right now.

I´ve made progress with the town-map, Westdene ist the most difficult area and I know this by heart by now, meaning I`d be able to draw a map of that area just from out of my head.

Why I will be rebellious all my life!

Sussex wrote: “Therefore as you don’t have a license you need to do whatever the council deem fit for you to gain a license.” The council is God, the creator of Heaven and the Earth and Licenses, they can give me a license at whatever conditions they deem fit. I want them to make an exception for me because it´s not an ordinary case and I´m not begging them anymore, I´m offering them something in return, they should be happy about that! I am an ambassador of Brighton, am I not, so it´s their chance to see that the image of Brighton I spread is a cosmopolitan, tolerant and colourful one, a town that supports artists and not the one of narrow-minded stubborn bureaucrats who do everything by the book and will only be tolerant to the posse around the City of London. Sussex wrote: “However I suspect they will not require you to do the DSA is you have a pass certificate”. We´ve had that already, Sussex, DSA is only valid for one year. And I´m, telling you, I am a well experienced driver, if you put my mileage together I had been ten times around the globe, I have a HGV-license and have been a cab-driver in three countries, I will not do this again without having them delivered a good fight! I don´t see a point in that test anyway, as long as drivers in the UK do 40 miles an hour through narrow roads with parked cars on each side so that school children can only be safe when protected by guards. I´d have to do the test again, while a person who just renews the license each year for 20 years without ever driving, maybe doesn´t even know how to do it anymore, has not! I will not accept such nonsense voluntarily! And don´t you ever think this is a German-wise-ass-knows-it-all or even German-against-English-authority thing, I had the most tremendous quarrel with German authorities and even Swiss ones, it´s just in my nature that I don´t accept things without seeing a point! When I was 16 and our headmaster came in our classroom (that guy was an old Nazi and was really feared) I was still on my chair while the others had long stood up and he asked me do you need an extra invitation and, well, yes, I think I had already well decided to be rebellious in all my life by that age.

1.2.12

Now here´s the ultimate offer I have made today! Check it out!

“Dear Madam, thank you again for answering and please accept my apologies that I may have assumed too quickly you wouldn´t. Moreover, I am sure you have looked at this thoroughly and from all sides. Yet, you see, my point is, whatever regulation there is and there has to be, for good reasons, there always has to be room for an exception to that rule. What I´m trying to get across with all this is that my case would justify such an exception. Surely, if this might be something that even you as the superior of HCO cannot decide I´d be happy to deal with the authorities that can. I am sure there will be someone who is directly responsible for these regulations and if it is B&H City Council itself, then I will be happy to deal with them, I am convinced, and I don´t want to appear immodest, that this is something they might accept as an exception and I don´t care how much time it takes or what effort, you see, unlike it would be if I´d come over to England I can keep my head above water here and I have always other work in between. (For France is still not in reach soon I could work towards Innsbruck, Austria, perhaps, in between, to get the license there is a small matter compared with Brighton). If it would not be possible to supply me with a provisional license then I have a further suggestion, because I would be happy not having to ask for an exception out of sheer mercy or even pity with me, yet as an exchange for something I have to offer! Now, I might very well just submit this offer to you for your own consideration, yet I´d feel much obliged, if this is indeed something which is out of your hands, that you could perhaps name me someone I could send this to or even forward it to this authority yourself, together with the whole correspondence. It is an offer which would be very generous on my side, the way I am looking at it, for it would involve a tremendous amount of extra work, much more than a new application would involve, yet it could just be a fine way to sort out this issue in a way that would suit us, and even others, both and therefor I would do the sacrifice gladly. As I have already made clear I don´t see any point in any of the requirements I would have to meet as a first time applicant again, but I do see a point in showing proof of a very profound knowledge, even more, it is something I would take much pleasure in showing to you, because it would be a real challenge for me. So, to compensate for your generosity, perhaps, by making an exception for me, I would return this favor by demonstrating to you a profound knowledge of B&H roads, as a matter of fact I would have the pleasure to prove that I would be therein the best applicant you´d ever had! I want to be able to show that my knowledge is so good, that I have a photo-copy of the town-map in my head! Not only want I be able to answer you all questions in the Theory Test to a hundred percent, in naming which road out of the list is the beginning and end of any road, I want to be capable of drawing a little sketch of the road and it´s adjoining roads, of course not as a piece of art, but still accurate enough! Of course, if the council or someone else would provide me with a vehicle for the Road Test (as I will not have the means to buy a car like the last time, not even the cheapest one) I would be more than happy to demonstrate my skills in finding the roads behind the wheel, but if not I am offering to go even a step further and demonstrate my capability of finding the shortest way to whichever road you name me from the list, from whichever point in town, blindly, by naming all the roads necessary to pass through or where to turn! Now you know that this is much more difficult than finding them in reality, for then you would be able to orientate yourself on landmarks and obviously by driving slow enough to spot the road signs, which, I have to give it to the authorities, are quite exemplary signed for in B&H, (even more so if compared with some French towns where they are almost invisible). Moreover, I would be more than willing to do this in a sort of a contest, thereby helping to motivate drivers to do a good job and be more satisfied with it by triggering their ambition, in Brighton and elsewhere, the more drivers who would want to take part in that contest the better. Now to pimp this up media-wise we could even try to get this on TV in shows like “Wetten, dass” (You Bet!) or anything else suitable. (Though it pretty much looks like Wetten, dass, the most successful TV-show in Europe will not run again, sadly.) Yet, just trying to get on shows like these will get a lot of positive attention for B&H´s standards on knowledge, which should be standard world-wide, I still am happy to emphasize, just as I want to emphasize that annual renewal is, erm, less good. (Needless to say, of course, my knowledge right now is not up to scratch yet, so I would need time for it and advance notice.) Yours sincerely, Jochen Lembke”

It is obvious we rank low in the hierarchy of transportation and ambulance drivers tend to look down on us, to them we do nothing important and are always in the way. Though I had no immediate trouble with them in England, I cannot say they are different in any way from how they behave in Germany and from there I can tell two little episodes about them.

First, the one where I was at a light and sort of over-took the queue for straight direction behind it, the ambulance in it, to turn to the right. The whole maneuver was not entirely according to the rules, but I was not in any way endangering anybody or taking advantage of anyone, for I was the only one heading for right direction, so why the ambulance was honking at me was clearly out of frustration and because he felt superior to me.

Now, I had the windows open and his horns were really loud and it almost gave me a heart-attack, so just out of a nervous reflex my arm jerked out of the window, my hand extended, followed by the extension of my middle-finger, though I miraculously was still able to hold back the rest of my fingers.

Unfortunately the driver and his co-driver must have mistaken my clearly nervous twitching for he reported it to the police and I had to show up at the station and explain the situation. I obviously did this sufficiently for nothing ever followed.

Secondly, (in Freiburg doctors visiting patients on an emergency schedule are regularly driven by cabs), I was waiting at the entrance of a house for the doctor, when an ambulance pulled up behind me, pulling out a stretcher. After a while a guy came to me, asking me to pull up further, so that they don´t have to wheel the stretcher for a distance of only 20 meters to the entrance of the house.

I did, yet to my grim satisfaction I later learned that there was no elevator in the house, so they had to carry the stretcher up and down 6 storeys!

31.1.12

Dear Jochen, (who surely is passing it on!)

When the Congressional Supercommittee (remember them?) failed, automatic federal budget cuts were to kick in — half to things we need and half to the bloated military.  The military cuts would take us back to 2004 spending.  We seem to have survived 2004 and the years preceding it OK.

The Pentagon claims to be making other cuts already, but they are “cuts” to dream budgets resulting in actual budget increases — and that’s not even counting increased war spending through other departments.

Demand real cuts to war and weaponry, and investment in human needs.

House Republicans have sent President Obama a crazy video opposing military cuts and introduced legislation to slash 10% of non-military government jobs instead. In the Senate, John McCain is said to be working on a similar bill.

Meanwhile Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has just announced the Obama Administration’s position: They will oppose the automatic cuts, or any other actual cuts, to the military. This will mean severe cuts to education, transportation, and — as President Obama indicated in his State of the Union speech — to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Tell Congress and the President what our priorities are.

Did you catch this line in the State of the Union? “Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.” But in reality, the White House has proposed to reduce war spending by ONLY $27 billion next year, spend that money elsewhere in the Pentagon, and edge us closer to a war on Iran that could mean major additional appropriations.  

The rhetoric from Obama is a sign we are being heard. Action will follow only if we get louder. We can insist that actions match his rhetoric if we all speak up now.  

Take action and find additional resources here. 

And please forward this to everyone you can.

David, Aimee, 
and the RootsAction team

P.S. Our small staff is supported by contributions from people like you; your donations are greatly appreciated.

Resources:

Rep. Lee: National Strength Tied to Economic Strength

Military Spending Is Going Up


World Public Opinion: Does the public favor defense budget cuts?

19.1.12

I can only pass this on, it looks as if a total crook, who has gotten rich by exploiting people and hiding that from tax money on the Caymans is running for US-presidency, just another crook in a long row of crooks before him, for honest men don´t stand any chance to even pass the pre-elections in the US!

Dear Jochen,

Last night ABC News reported that presidential candidate Mitt Romney is hiding millions of dollars in a secret account in the Cayman Islands, “a notorious Caribbean tax haven.”

Romney has remarked: “If there’s an opportunity to save taxes, we, like anybody else in this country, will follow that opportunity.”

Tell Mitt Romney to prove he’s not a tax dodger by releasing his tax forms.

Romney is proposing a tax plan that would radically transfer wealth to the wealthy, even more than current tax policy.

We might get some insight into Romney’s devotion to the public good, as opposed to the exclusive good of multimillionaires, by examining his own tax history. But he refuses to make his tax forms public.

Tell Mitt Romney to make his tax forms public now! Not in April.

Romney, who made a fortune through investments that often ruined the lives of workers and their families, said this week he thinks he pays about 15% of his income in taxes – that’s right, a lower rate than most of us who work for a living.

His income is from capital gains, Romney explained, “rather than ordinary or earned income.” And he’s called for the capital gains tax to be reduced to zero!

Would a Justice Department under President Romney ignore tax dodging on the grounds that everyone does it?

Add your name to the demand that Romney release his tax forms now!

Thanks,
Aimee, David, Sarah and the RootsAction team

P.S. Our small staff is supported by contributions from people like you; your donations are greatly appreciated.

Our thanks go out to all RootsAction activists who pushed the President to oppose the tar sands pipeline. He has refused it a permit . . . for now.  We’ll keep watching.

17.1.12

Here´s my new letter to HCO: Dear Mrs. … First of all let me introduce myself, my name is Jochen Lembke, I’m German, 50 years old, I´m a writer and cab-driver. I have done the license for Brighton & Hove in 2008 and then worked as a cab-driver in Brighton during 2008/9. Before that I had driven a cab in Germany in two major cities roughly the same size of Brighton and after that in Zurich (Switzerland). So, this makes it a kind of a world-record, which I will apply for officially. (I applied previously, the first time they turned it down as it involved writing about it and that was just too complicatedly described for them), a cab-driver who has worked as a licensed driver in three countries so far and I am intending to expand it in the future to as many countries as I am able to achieve, my next step would probably be France. About this I keep a blog since 2008 and wrote a book about each country, according to this project I call myself “Europe´s cab-driving writer”. I am writing to you now because I would like to ask for an exception of the general practice in licensing. Regarding this I had already contacted Mr. … last October via letter from Germany and also in person, I had come to Brighton for a week just for this. Regrettably he turned down my request, but we agreed on that I should contact you about this, dear Mrs. …, as his superior. The thing is, I wasn´t able to renew my license in 2010, because at that time I didn´t hold a UK-driving license, only a Swiss one. (The year before I could manage to renew it, though I was no longer a UK-resident, but kept the UK-license in order to do a renewal and exchanged it afterward.) My project “Europe´s cab-driving writer“ requires me to go on from country to country. I´d really love to come back to Brighton yet (for another year in between or an even shorter period like only three months of a year), partly because of the standards in knowledge, that make me certainly more attached to Brighton than to Zurich, where I still by far don´t know all the roads by name, partly because of my undying love for it. I found out about the minute I left Brighton. Funny enough but only human. The only problem is the license, with the required annual renewal, linked with UK-residency and driving license. Therefore, I´d like to ask you to consider an exception to that general rule for me. In a sense this would be meeting only EU-standards. (In France for example, one gets a lot of credit with a valid EU-cab-license. I was in Colmar at the office and I had to show my German cab-license and a certificate of my employer stating 2 years of employment minimum in full time and for that they are willing to free me from the first two parts of the exam out of four. In Germany one can renew their license for 5 years and don’t even have to show a valid driving license, in Zurich the license even lasts for life without renewal.) I am more than willing to pay the annual administration fee since 2010 and to show proof of my knowledge, which I have spent last year almost three months refreshing it, yet I can´t go through the whole process of renewing. So let me please explain my personal situation to make this plausible to you why I can´t do this anymore, why a refusal of my request could at the worst result in me not coming back to Brighton ever again. The whole process of coming to England and getting the license ended up costing me about 15000 Euros, which I had to put up myself, there was no support such as grants from any side, Germany or England, I wasn´t entitled to any benefits so I had to borrow the full amount from a close friend of mine (who is no friend anymore, in fact he doesn´t talk to me anymore because I was completely unable to pay him any money back due to the recession mainly). When I came over to Brighton I still could see passengers queuing for taxis in the station, by the time I finished the license it was the other way round, due to the recession there were now just queues of taxis, no passengers anymore. So, due to the high costs of living and low income I was completely unable to put any money aside for all of the 9 months I was working there, I was even unable to pay the aprox £900 tax, I had no other choice than to leave England without paying them, I had no money left at all except what I had to use for moving back and to support myself for the first month back in Germany. As it stands I am still 30000 Euros in debts and I am not able to finance another licensing procedure again this time. I may not be able to do this at all, like I said. So, practically I am begging you to make an exception for me. I would be really, really glad if I could go back to Brighton for another time, I still remember perfectly well what we were being told back then that we should be ambassadors of Brighton and what better ambassador can you think of than me blogging about it! If you´d have a look on my blog you´d see that I wasn´t in a really cheerful mood when I left in early 2009, but that was mainly because of the recession and the really gloomy atmosphere at that time, also because I had serious problems at the place I stayed and furthermore I had high expectations in some private matter, about someone, which didn´t turn out the way I was hoping, which resulted in me regretting I had left England right from that moment on. Of course there are big cultural differences between our two countries and I am sometimes amused or tend to look at England in a satirical way, but that´s because I am a writer and it certainly helped to put this all into a much better perspective when I left chaotic England and came to well organised Switzerland, where everything is perfect but somehow lifeless, so I really began to miss the English and the way they always manage to stay on top of chaos. Though I think even more exchange of thoughts and ideas would do Brighton good as it would to England, which is about to become more isolated than ever. Not only as a writer but in general I´m a very considerate, responsible and caring person and I had a lot of thoughts about problems I could observe in Brighton, for example I very much miss in the city with the oldest tram in the world a tram, actually, in Freiburg (Germany), where I spent most of my life or in Zurich, where I drove a cab for 16 months, public transport rely mostly on trams and it´s just perfect. So, for example I was speaking in favor of running a tram along the sea-front, as many people in Brighton would like, and it would keep the buses away from the main taxis, which should be pedestrianised as in Worthing (where I lived for half a year), I have written a huge article about day-to-day problems in Brighton and how they could be solved (you´d find the whole article on my blog) and sent letters to officials (but they were ignored.) I´d also very much like to do my part to make some kind of an impact on the cab-trade in general, according to my plans all throughout Europe, to help wherever I can with my knowledge and experience to improve this job, I am I enlisted in cab-forums in four countries at the moment and I hope I can do a lot more constructive work within the next decade. In general, I am very much a supporter of the strict licensing procedure in Brighton, it sets the standards of how it generally should be anywhere and I am willing to point that out to everybody, yes, all over the world. So by helping me and making an exception to the strict rules in licensing you might actually add to make Brighton influence the cab-world a tiny bit and make rules more strict. A contradiction, but then again, no rule without exception, isn´t it? Last but not least, of course, I´d like to point out my literature work not only in the field of cab-driving (to which I have dedicated four novels so far), but also Douglas Adams, too, the Hitch-Hiker´s Guide to the Galaxy, where I have done another translation of all the five books and even written a sixth volume in both German and English, of course all of it was not authorised yet it made quite an impression, I´ve even had personal contact to the deceased author´s own brother about it. Obviously I am not giving up on it to be another official version along the one of Eoin Colfer, which is surely more suitable for young readers. I’d like to end now, apologise for having written a lot of stuff which is not really relevant for the licensing, I hope you don´t mind, I just wanted to give you a short impression of me and what I am doing that perhaps could influence you to think that I would be worthy to make an exception. According to what Mr. … said, there had never been someone else in my situation and I don´t think that this would do any harm to anything, yet would help me and my project tremendously. All the best, yours truly, Jochen Lembke, Europe´s cab-driving writer PS: I had a lot of English passengers in Zurich, by the way, as obviously for tax reasons entire head offices transfer from England to Switzerland, two even were from Brighton.

Like I said, only B&H HCO between me and coming back to Brighton! I mean, it´s just a fact that a bunch of clowns are ruling England now and I´d never go back there if I would have to do the license again, I mean am I crazy or what? Unemployment is as bad as it wasn´t in the last 16 years. England has said no to EU-treaties therefore isolating herself even more. Cameron seriously amidst all these set- and cutbacks wants to give the second richest women in the country a new yacht for 60 million Pounds – I mean is this f…er crazy or what? Never would I go back unless they give me the license for free! Germany is doing just fine now, I could lead a much better living on benefits here than I could as a full-time cabby in Brighton, I would have a much better place and the same money left to live. This whole license-thing took me one year of my time, 15000 Euros and all I could achieve by doing it another time would be another round of full-time work to barely keep me alive, living in a rat-hole, getting abuse for free. I´d be out of my frickin mind to do this another time!

About other news: So, obviously someone up there thought, oh, wait a minute, this year is the centenary of the Titanic´s sinking, isn´t it, right, how can I be so distracted, didn´t I just let the ship founder in 1912 just to make a point how decadent and ungodly the world has become, all that luxury and believe in technology and marveling of speed and perfection? So, erm, what we can do, thought the one up there, now, that the world has again become decadent and ungodly in 2012, all that luxury and believe in technology and marveling of speed and perfection and deadliness of weapons, all this worshiping the golden calf, oh, right! Let´s pick another glamorous luxury-liner to go down for a celebration, why don´t we! So, no sooner said than done, the ship went down, due to another ungodly and disrespectful challenging of fate, for the captain just wanted to make an impression on the people on the coast (and oh dear, quite an impression did he make, didn´t he) and, oh, what have we here? Two people on board who had a granduncle who died when the Titanic sank, oops! And, now what have we there! That ship was just the ship that served Jean-Luc Godard in 2010 as a setting for his movie “Film Socialiste” where he portrayed doom as a result of our world being so decadent? Crikey! Holy shit! I mean… holy cow, dear God, do want us all to become cynics, I mean, remain cynics for the rest of our lives? Just a question. So, there´s only one thing missing still! Right, a sixty-million-yacht for her Majesty paid by cuts in education, so that people stay stupid and always vote for jerks like Cameron, now let this sink. In.

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About Jochen Lembke

Europe's cab-driving writer
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4 Responses to New entries, Germany

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