Saturday, June 25, 2016

The BREXIT Tango

Election schedule for the five potential countries who might do the anti-EU referendum:

Finland: Parliament (Spring 2019), President (Jan 2018)

France: Parliament (Summer 2017), President (Spring 2017)

Germany: Bundestag and Chancellor (fall 2017)

Austria: Under debate by the court if the Presidential election must be redone, Parliament (fall 2018)

Netherlands; Parliament (spring 2017)

Hungary: Premier and Parliament (Spring 2018)

EU Parliament: Spring 2019

If the UK treaty to leave the EU were to take 12-to-18 months....it would easily affect three of these countries as a minimum.  Just having another 10-percent of voters go right-wing and anti-EU in France would shift the Presidential election around a good bit.  The same could be said in Austria....if the court deems the May election as a screw-up.

Having Scotland push for a leave-the-UK referendum and get results by October (my best guess on how quick this could occur)....would mean that they would try to come in and apply for EU membership by the end of 2016.  Would Scotland be automatically accepted into the EU?  That's the puzzling part of the situation....any number of the present members could raise concerns and delay this application (not just a year, but for several years).  So you could envision the Scots standing there in the spring of 2017.....having gained independence and then finding the door not fully open and a three-year period of waiting for members to review their application and agree to allowing them to join.

The Gibraltar crowd, the Northern Ireland crowd, the Wales crowd, the London-City State crowd?  Yes, all the same.  In fact, there's zero chance that the Gibraltar folks will ever be accepted as a member of the EU as long as Spain as a chance to deny them.  In the case of both Wales and Northern Ireland....the question will be if they have sufficient funds to run a government, and opening of their financial books.....which might not be a pleasant situation.  In the case of London.....the EU members would be questioning the idea of city-states into their organization, and if this were inviting future trouble (what if Vienna wanted to be an independent nation, or perhaps Amsterdam).

If you were looking for a rather comical mess where some people felt they would get preferential treatment to join the EU.....well.....this isn't it.  And I can imagine some Scots sitting there in a powerful fit of anger and frustration....that they weren't given a front-door welcome as they anticipate.

The Xenophobia Word

It is an odd thing to observe German intellectuals at work, and on occasion when immigration comes up.....to cast a negative light upon the opposing individual....the term Xenophobia will be used.  Naturally, it's meaning is that you have a phobia and are irrationally against foreigners....to the extent that your mental health is displaying a disorder.

So, you go back and examine....where the heck did the word Xenophobia first get created?

Well...in 1903 with W E B du Bois....an essayist, civil rights activist, writer, and sociologist.

It's a distinguished career for du Bois.....but at no point was he ever a doctor or a mental disorder physician.  So, he coined a catch-phrase to fit for one of his essays.....but it appears that no actual doctor ever aligned the phrase to an actual health disorder.

A fake word?  Well....it fits well into literature and essays, but as an actual disorder?  No.....it doesn't work.

It has been added into the phobia disorder handbook, but if you asked any of these guys to show the remarkable study that brought this into the modern study of phobias.....well....there is no such study.

I myself....have calor caeli phobia.....the fear of hot air.  Oddly, they've yet to around in the phobia book to add this particular phobia.

The EU Dominos Game

This odd topic came up yesterday from three or four college professors that I watched as they discussed BREXIT.

So, it's obvious that Scotland will discuss and likely hold a referendum to exit the UK, become it's own 'land' and enter the EU.

It's strongly suggested that Northern Ireland will discuss and likely hold a referendum to exit the UK, to become it's own 'land' and enter the EU.

Two major districts of Wales voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.  The two districts make up the state of Wales.  It is conceivable that they might ask for a referendum, vote, and exit the UK, to enter the EU.

Then, we come to London. It started as a joke, but by late last night.....some people were talking of a London referendum.....allowing the people of London to vote, possibly leave the UK, become an independent land, and enter the EU.  I know.....it does sound pretty silly.....but everyone has freaked out.

One could take this entire discussion over to Gibraltar....which voted 95-percent to stay in the EU, and they'd view all of this.....to suggest that they want a exit-the-UK referendum to become an independent state.

Things would start to get hazy at this point.

Spain isn't happy over Gibraltar existing, but stood by the game of the UK owning it.  But becoming independent?  A single little nation?  One that fell under the EU?  Spain would seek to quickly stop this and force the chunk of land to be back within Spanish territory, and the Gibraltar folks would seek help from the UK to defend their cause.....not finding that there's really not anyone charged up or happy about this business.

The Falklands?  I'm guessing that they'd want some independence deal and get back into the EU.....but Argentina would suddenly realize how powerless the island was and start up discussion to establish itself as the authority over the island.

By this point, the EU's chief, Jean-Claude Junker.....would be a bit amazed at how the mess developed into a bigger mess.

With these five or six little pieces broken off from the UK....you'd think that we were done.  But no.....there are various issues.

Does London itself leave the UK?  Or does Greater-London leave?  Few realize the actual size of London itself (all north of the river) is actually about the size of DC. But Greater-London?  It's around 50 kilometers by 50 kilometers and includes the national airport.  Greater-London has the Parliament building and Buckingham Palace.

Without Scotland, Falklands, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Greater-London.....why bother even running a massive Parliament complex?  England would have to move it's Parliament out to some lesser city.

But then you start to find the EU in a difficult position.  Perhaps some district of Austria is fed up with the EU.  Maybe the region around Kitzbuhel is frustrated and wants a referendum to exit the Austria and exit the EU?  Perhaps the whole region around Reims, France has a referendum vote and says they want to be free of the EU, and become a separate independent country.

None of this....really fits into the EU game-plan.  If you had a bunch of little small countries trying fit into some country-device and then fit into the EU.....well....the system wasn't designed for that atmosphere.

What defense mechanisms does Wales or Greater-London offer?  Would they be part of NATO?  Very unlikely.  Scotland has strongly hinted that if they ever left the UK, they'd not be a part of NATO.

In one sense, the opposition to the EU was right about one key factor......people have lost their identification as a nation.  They have subjected themselves as being part of the EU.....over being part of the UK.  Intellectuals might argue over this, but comments and actions yesterday set this whole discussion into a concreted position.  There are probably 16-million people who speak English, and live on the isle, but they aren't part of British culture or identification.

In some ways, I think the EU elite are now realizing the monster that they've created, and that this talk of more referendums and exits from the UK.....proves the case that EU has replaced various nation-states.

Oddly, there are two German cities.....which are states unto themselves.  Throughout the last thousand years.....Hamburg and Berlin are referred to as Stadtstaaten (city-states) and Bremen is referred to as the free Hanseatic City of Bremen (which include Bremerhaven as well).

Their history in a way is similar.  They held massive identification to themselves up to the mid-1800s as their own states.  Even when pulled into Prussia.....they still held a special status.  After WW II, the three still held a special city status, and are considered states today (making up three of the 16 German states).

And this urgent talk by the EU to quickly get the UK out?  I would speculate that you really don't want to enter summer of 2017, with negotiations and exit treaties being discussed, with hostile feelings, and the German election period coming up in the fall of 2017.  It's bad enough now that the AfD represents the anti-immigration position of Germany.....but they have always said that they are also anti-EU, and you might find a fair number of Germans who would vote for AfD.....just as their anti-EU frustration vote.

Added to the mess is the May 2017 national election....in France.  And I would take a guess that a quarter of the French population is anti-EU.

It is.....a royal mess.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Odd Aspects of the BREXIT Event

There are two things I noticed today from several hours of viewing action from BBC, Sky, RT, France24, and the German news.

First, one of the Brit professors who is keen on the treaty business....says that it could very well take two years to actually exit out, and possibly on up to ten years (remote possibility).

The exit treaty has to be passed and agreed upon by Parliament first.  Then the 751 MP's of the EU have a go, and a majority must agree to the treaty of the exit.  Then it goes to the 27 remaining members, and at least 20 of them must agree to the form of the treaty.

As the professor points out.....the trade deal of the treaty could be very neatly worded and threaten all kinds of negatives.....only to find that twelve of the EU members refuse to screw over the British.  From his opinion, all this rough talk....really will get anti-EU enthusiasts in Europe hyped up to quit, and it would really be helpful for the EU to screw over Britain to the maximum extent possible as they exit.  But which countries would sign up to make twenty to accomplish this?

Then we come to issue number two.....there are fair number of Brits as one analyst points out.....that are now very negative about staying in the UK.

If Merkel and the German crew were to open some door and hint that British refugees (certainly a lousy word to use) suddenly asked to enter Germany.....Merkel and crew would gladly have no problem in accepting a hundred-thousand Brits into Germany.

If you look at start-up company operations in London.....there's probably 500 British ready to leave over the next month and get their operation settled into Berlin or Hamburg.

You can imagine Nigel and Tiffany showing up at the Auslander office.....asking for asylum, and just saying they are "British" and in need of a new homeland.  The German bureaucrat sits there amazed and asks why.  Well.....as Nigel says.....all heck has broke out in England and they just can't stay.

A day will pass and some former BBC journalist shows up at German state-run TV and says he can't stay in the UK.....wondering if some job might be invented for him to come and stay in Germany.

For some idiots who think this might be the end of the world.....they might actually be serious enough to do the immigration game.  It just opens up a bucket of worms.

If I Were to Manage the German Immigration Program

Naturally, the Germans are not likely to hire me....as an American....to run one of their prime sources of political intrigue and chaos.  Most would want to immediately asses me as right-wing or conservative, or just dump the xenophobic label on me to end the argument.  But perhaps they might want to look at what I'd do:

1.  Stand up and admit in public that the population problem is serious and immigration has no choice but to exist.  Based on best numbers.....the 81-million German population by 2036 (20 years down the line) will be around 65-to-68 million residents....if NOTHING occurs to change the pace of things.  The public needs to be brought into the circle and told the simple truth.

2.  Start the thinking process toward 'smart-immigration'.  There has to be a doorway, and people fill out the paperwork, get an evaluation before ever leaving their homeland, and told yes or no.  I don't want anyone to waste walking 1,500 miles to reach Germany and be told they just won't pass the immigration test.  End the process of accepting people who just walked across the border of getting immigration or asylum papers.  If you want to claim refugee status, you go to a different form, and apply for a totally different status.

3.  Refugees will be treated different from asylum or immigration folks.  Various camps or center will be set up to handle just plain refugees who might be here for a year or two, then agreeably go back to their homeland when the war or issue ends.  A refugee could also be flown out of the affected region and not have to walk all the way to Germany.  But I'd have some Einstein-character sit down and come up with the number of refugees that Germany can handle.  If it's 400,000....sitting in the camps and waiting to return.....then we don't go past 400,000.  We decline to take anymore than the 400,000.  Somewhere out there, there is such a smart guy who can assess what space Germany has and the reasonable cost of what they can handle.

4.  Once you go into the immigration path on my program.....you agree to hold the citizenship of your country and agree to return to it....if you misbehave in a big way.  A six-year probation period will be assigned to you.  If you get arrested for violent assault or stealing cars.....your application is revoked, and you leave.  If you act in a proper way for six years and show good citizenship traits......then you get the German citizenship.

5.  The entry for immigration and asylum will be tied to your craft or education.  If you have nothing in your background but flipping burgers in Burma.....we've got plenty of burger flippers in Germany and don't need to add more.  I'd set aside 100,000 slots per year for people who might be young and fit into some language program and their craft or education fills a need into German society.

6.  For any intellectual who wants to say things are unlimited....I'd remind them that everything cost money.  If you bring in 300,000 people who can't find work or fit.....they end up on some stupid government welfare program, that costs money.  That's money that you'd rob from bridge replacement or road repair.  Anyone claiming it's all free and good.....well...no, it's not all free or good.

7.  Put the information up front and say with some emphasis.....if you have a fairly conservative lifestyle and trying to immigrate into Germany.....and you got issues with certain people or being around women, than there would be a test of some sort....to let you know that you won't be able to adjust and fit into German society.  It's not anything to weep over or get hostile about.....there are better countries which fit your conservative lifestyle, and make you happy.

8.  Where ever you get settled into....for your initial six-year period of probation.....you stay in that state for the whole six years.  If you pack up and move to another German state.....your application restarts from day one.

9.  Establish that somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 people probably can immigrate into Germany each year without causing a lot of chaos, confusion, or frustration.  On this number, I'm only talking immigration and asylum....NOT refugees.

10.  Finally, openly ID the funding and the cost levels for immigration....so that the public understands, and that intellectual journalists might grasp that nothing is free.  When you reach the limit for incoming for the year.....you close the door and tell people to go elsewhere in Europe to find an open door.

My EU-ESC Solution

After viewing the BREXIT results and the looking over the long future ahead (a year ahead at least)....there is one key issue left on the table.  It isn't just the fact that 52-odd percent of Brits hated the EU....it's the fact that across Europe....there's a fair sum of people who want the EU modified and changed but realize such change will likely not occur.

In Germany, I'd take a guess that roughly one-third of the working-class German population see the EU as a problem in need of fixing.  These are generally the people who are told by the Berlin leadership crowd that they just don't realize how lucky they are.....to have the EU working as it is.  So fixing the EU probably isn't possible unless you exit the program.

Well.....after much pondering....I've come to a rational fix for the EU....so you don't have to exit the Union or get all tangled up into frustrating situations like the Brits got themselves into.

I call my solution.....the EU-ECS (European Song Competition) fix.

For those who aren't familiar with the European Song Competition....it's a singing contest held yearly.....with forty-odd competitors from across Europe, Russia, and this year Australia (yeah, they actually them into the European scheme of things).  Back in the 1960s....the ECS was a big deal and people took it serious.

But after years and years of never getting high in the ratings for the winner status.....the Germans woke up in the 1998 period....and decided if you can't win....it's best to be cynical and send a big-joke to the competition.  Guido Horn went and it was sent more as a joke than anything else.  In 2000, Stefan Raab did another cynical slam at the competition.

Some Germans are furious at the cynical attempts to play the ECS, but most who watch it.....realize that the voting population in Europe simply won't vote for a German.

So, I want to take the ECS gimmick of a fraud singer being sent to compete, and I want to use the 2019 EU election to reset the deck.

Out there in the political community of European is a political party called "The Party".  It's an Icelandic invention.....mostly some sarcastic and cynical people who think that democracy has become a fake device and it's time to put comedians into the mix of things.

I'm suggesting that across the future EU community (27 countries)....that everyone who is fed up with the EU and lack of change....form up behind "The Party" and send some characters to Brussels to reset the whole mechanism.  I figure....you need roughly forty-percent of the general public in Europe to vote this way, and turn roughly 350 of the 751 seats into "The Party" ministers, and make the next five years (2019 to 2024) a fairly big joke.  If the EU won't transform.....let them enjoy the daily humor of the comedians.  Maybe the comedians will talk up the need for regulation on beach towels, regulate toilet paper down to one thin sheet, or identify each other as "Supreme Leader" when addressing in public forums.

Yes, ECS the whole EU thing into a joke, and make them sit there and suffer this for five years.  At the end of that.....either the intellectual crowd will agree for modification, or they get another round of comedians at the head of the EU.

In case this method is used.....while I do want to claim credit for the idea.....I will decline any Nobel Peace Prize....if offered.....mostly because I'd have to dress up with a fancy suit for this type of ceremony and I'm just not going to do that.

On the Topic of Affordable Housing

Last night (Thursday), I watched German state-run ARD's Panorama show.  It's a news documentary piece....maybe five items....each between six and eight minutes each....designed to give some 'slant' upon ongoing events.  One of last night's pieces....surrounded affordable housing.

So the state-run TV crew went out to various big-name cities in Germany, and asked the question.....is there anything that the city government (the mayor and council) are really doing to help this....or is the emphasis settled upon high development projects?  Their answer? High revenue pay-back real estate is being pushed by most cities in Germany.  It's rare to find any company which sees a market for affordable housing at present.  

Yesterday, I spent a fair amount of the day in Frankfurt....walking around.  In particular, I went to the old part of the city where the US Army BX was located (north part of the city.....along the Miquel Strasse area).  The whole city block that the US Army occupied....up until the early 1990s....has been wiped out, and all new buildings put into place.

What you notice.....after a bit of walking around....are mostly all new apartment or condo developments.....which go hand-in-hand with the news report.  These are all upscale places either standing presently, or in the process of being built.  They aren't what you'd call affordable....they are high-end projects.

If you look at the neighborhood....it's in a area which has easy access to the subway system and quick access to the autobahn system leading out of the city.

Most developers look at the cost of real estate.....square meter to Euro rate....and shake their heads when someone says affordable housing.....because real estate prices in the urban zone of Frankfurt (like the other cities).....have gone to the point where affordable housing is a humorous topic to discuss.  It makes no sense to build cheaper housing in these types of neighborhoods.

So, what is occurring....is that more subway and rapid-rail links are having to be developed.....allowing people to move ten to twenty kilometers out of town.....to neighborhoods that area still affordable there.  Eventually, maybe twenty years down the line.....even those affordable neighborhoods....will become unaffordable, and people will have to study the idea of living forty to sixty kilometers out of town.....to make their budgets work.

If you were looking for a German topic which has no real solution and just continually gets chatted about....to no real conclusion.....this is topic number one.

One of the Hidden Gems of Frankfurt

 Down off Hasengasse Strasse in Frankfurt, about 5 minutes walking from the river....there is the Kleinmarkthalle of Frankfurt.  It's a fairly large hall for various small businessmen to sell meat, fish, pork, vegetables, bread, fruit, etc.

It's not widely advertised or noted in any tourist booklet.

If you were looking for a large sampling of food, ranging from bread to chocolate, to wines or regional mustards.....this would be one of the better places to stop and spend a half-day walking around.

I should note, around the corner on the other side of the building.....is the Cafe Liebfrauenberg....which is a fine coffee and cake establishment, and a good place to take a break.  Pricing might be slightly above the norm, but it's one of the better establishments within ten minutes of the river front of Frankfurt.

I will note.....pricing at the Markthalle might be above the average, but most everything is from the Hessen region, and the customer base revolves around people from the center of Frankfurt, who are willing to pay more....for higher quality.

I will also point out that this is no more than eight minutes walking from the Biebergasse area where the main shopping district sits.

Parking?  Forget about that.....you'd best be on a Metro situation and riding the subway.  Use the Dom/Romer exit point to get off or enter for the subway.

My general advice is to make this an entire morning, and spend some time around the Dom as well.  It's all part of the charm and character of Frankfurt.

Bring an empty stomach and have a decent day.