Top Leaderboard, Site wide
September 15, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts
Can Congress Be Responsible?




On the Run


Truthdig Bazaar

Peace Be Upon You

By Zachary Karabell
17.79

more items

 
A/V Booth

And Now, a Giggly Swiss Minister’s Take on Cured Meats (Update: Explained)

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Sep 27, 2010
youtube.com

Here we see the now-viral footage of Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz, 67, who is on the brink of retirement and quite able to appreciate the lighter side of some of his bureaucratic duties, such as discussing the apparently amusing matter of cured meat imports, as he does here before dissolving into a fit of laughter. Translation, anyone?  —KA

Update: We asked our friend and contributor Ivo Mijnssen of Zurich to explain this to us. Here’s what he said:

Hans-Rudolf Merz, a federal councilman about to retire, is answering a question from a member of the Swiss Parliament on the distinction in import taxes between meat on which the seasoning is visible and meat on which it is invisible. He is a bit of a weirdo, but the people in the hall are laughing because the distinction is so bureaucratic.

These federal councilmen—members of the executive branch of government—have to answer personally to even the most random questions from Parliament. They cannot send some subordinate but have to be there personally. This makes no sense because the Swiss government could spend its time in a more meaningful manner. But I guess that is what you get in a direct democracy.

AP via YouTube:

Advertisement

Square, Site wide


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By par4, September 29, 2010 at 4:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Better to have direct democracy than the total corruption of representative democracy. Even with my low opinion of the intelligence of the American electorate I don’t think we would have many Commodity Futures Modernization Acts. If you think the Swiss government wastes it’s time you must not be paying ANY attention to government here in the United States.

Report this

By azythos, September 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

There’s more to explain. The example given in the import regulation is Buendnerfleisch, a jerky that can be called that only if produced in a state of the Swiss federation. Like, say, importing an article from Pennsylvania into the USA.

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.