Thursday, November 26, 2015

Germany - 83 Viewing

Last night, I sat and watched two episodes of the new German series on RTL (my commercial German network), entitled Germany - 83.  It's a short series....I think between eight and ten episodes.  I have to's fairly interesting and they ought to go forward and do another dozen at least.

It's historically based in the heart of the Cold War period.  A East Germany (DDR) kid has been drafted by his government to go and replace a West German military officer and become a spy.  The kid is not that thrilled about the job and he half-way bumbles his way around.

At one point, he's entered a grocery store, and there are all these aisles and aisles of food.....fresh fruit from across the globe, and he's standing there in shock.  Back in had meager offerings and had to accept what they offered.  For the typical German watching the show's a big reminder about the difference in reality for east and west.

They built the segments into 50-minute pieces, with I'd take a guess each segment is about 40 minutes at best.

I would highly recommend it if you have a chance to watch it (Germany - 83).

The Dutch Legal View

Germans have been looking over at the issue of failed or rejected asylum-seekers.....and what to do if they won't leave.  Opposition groups have even said it's not right to send someone out in the midst of winter.....or in the midst of a school-year.  Some failed individuals have said they refuse to leave....while others just quietly sneak out the gate and leave....with no idea where they went (obviously not back to the original country).

I noticed in European news today.....out of the Netherlands.....a Dutch court stood up and said it was totally legal for the Dutch government to withhold food and shelter to rejected asylum-seekers.

A tough reading?  Generally.....whenever anyone has failed the asylum process in Europe (no matter what country is involved).....opposition groups or rights foundations have stood up and challenged via the court system.....dragging out the process.  Currently, Germany has one American on an appeal process which has gone up to almost seven years where he want asylum and they just won't approve his documentation.

At some point in the next year.....because of increasing friction from the state elections in 2016....I expect Germans to edge toward this same tougher stance.  Oddly, I think in the German situation....the failed asylum crowd will simply walk out the gate and go off to relatives in the German countryside and just try to stay hid-out....taking jobs on the 'black' and trying to make it without a legit visa. It ought to be impossible and most Germans will say that they just don't run that type of third-world country where people can 'hide'.  Between the lines, if you listen to comments by the authorities....they are well past the point of admitting thousands have entered the country and skipped registration (they already know there's a problem brewing).

As for the accusation against the Dutch of cruel treatment?  At some point, you have to ask why 'no' doesn't mean 'no' like you'd expect and why there was no 'plan B' in the mix of things.

The Burqa Law

Ticino is a Swiss state or canton on the southern side of Switzerland.....siding with Italy.  It's a mountainous area known mostly for tourism and quiet peaceful farms.  This week....they got into the news.

Their canton maintains a Parliament for state business.  In a normal year.....they meet and pass a handful of laws affecting only this small region of 1,081 square miles.  They decided to pass a anti-burqa law.....where your face can't be covered.

Yeah, it probably is a shocker.

The way this is written.....if you were to test the local authorities and wear a facial-covering burqa in'd have to pay 10,000 Swiss Francs.  It's roughly $9,700 (American).  A fair chunk of money for the clothing item preferred by some Islamic women.

Some people were hoping that they'd write a waiver into the deal to cover tourists., there is no waiver, period.

The local press....Neue Zurcher Zeitung....hinted that this will bother hotel owners and people relying upon tourism.....saying that the only burqa-clad women that ever appear in the mountainous district are wealthy, spend a lot on expensive hotels, and throw money around left and right as they stay in the mountainous tourist area.  "Culturally unfriendly gesture" got mentioned in the article.

From the half-dozen accounts I've read of the law'll likely be challenged in a Swiss court because of the wording and the overreach by the community.

Oddly, some tourist experts note that there are so many of the burqa-clad women now showing up in the region.....that regular tourists (Italians, Germans, Austrians, French, etc).....are a bit disturbed by the trend.  The locals think there is some balance required to the situation.

What'll happen?  My guess is that a handful of Islam gals will show up....mostly not knowing of the new law....the hotel management will quickly inform them.  There will be some frustrated feelings....questions over why the Swiss are unfairly treating them....and they quietly but angrily pack up and head to the next canton or state.

A year or two down the road.....another canton or two will pass the law, and eventually it'll be on some nation-wide referendum.  Probably a quarter of all Swiss people will say they are open-minded and culturally-aware (some odd trend among intellectuals).  The problem is.....they probably aren't in the majority.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Captagon Gang

The German news folks at Focus put the update up this morning.   As the French cops have gone and done a fairly extensive investigation over the hours prior to the Paris attack....they've come to the hotel room where the 'boys' were staying.

There, they found syringes and needles.  The drug used?  Captagon.

I've bogged on this topic two or three times in the last ten days.  This is a German-developed drug out of the 1960s.....a amphetamine that will hype you up for hours and hours....feeling invincible and powerful.

Yeah, it's mostly illegal in western countries now because of the potential of abuse.  But the stuff is made to a great extent in garage-like labs (the Breaking Bad-like scenario) in Syria.

The one comment that I've noticed over and over by the French folks who survived the attack.....the attackers all acted like zombies....with a detached view of reality.

If you use enough don't suffer from hunger pains, fear, lack of courage, or any actual wounds or injuries that might occur.....well, until the high wears off.

What'll happen now?  Mostly nothing. A few people will ponder upon this usage and ask if most all jihadists use Captagon, and they will eventually realize that most all jihadists use it and it's been a problem throughout the Middle East for more than thirty years.  Even in Saudi Arabia, where some folks claim up to 50,000 individuals a year are pushed into rehab over the drug.....there's a problem.

Drugged up loser thugs on some combination amphetamine and religious high?  Man, who imagine that scenario?

The 991.55 Euro Guy

My regional press covered it.....Nassauische Neue Presse.

Once upon a time.....there were these bad Nazis.  Not the good Nazis, or the political Nazis, or the historically misinterpreted Nazis.....but just plain bad Nazis.

So, to be a first-rate and recognized needed a symbol.  It needed to represent something historic in nature and be something that was easily to graphically display.

Thus came the original symbol of the Nationalists Socialists Party.

After 1945, just about everybody and their brother made the swastika an illegal symbol.  Well....except in the United States.

Here in can use the Swastika for movie sets and a handful of things.....but otherwise, it's all illegal.

So there came this ethical guy.....a German....a local teacher.....pretty fired up with negative Nazi temperament, walking along the public streets of Limburg.

Limburg is about twenty kilometers away from my residence and is mostly known for a mental hospital that killed patients (pre-dating the Nazi period) and a major Catholic Church.  It's a sizable town.....33,000 people.  They have people today....of walks of life, from immigrants to Jehovah's Witnesses, to Neo-Nazi characters.

So our guy, the ethically fired up teacher....came up on this Nazi sticker or two on the street and tried to get some city interest or street department interest in clearing these off local light-poles.  No one says much over how many there were to start with, but our guy apparently met little success on this terrible eyesore affecting the poor youth of the city.

Plan B apparently went into effect with our guy.....with him carrying some paint around and just painting over the 'canker' of society.

One day....after he'd painted a number of these Swastikas around town.....the authorities came up.  No one has said much over the conversation or what was talked about on this initial episode......but they weren't exactly there to give the civic-minded guy a medal. fact.....he had used paint in some way and been noted  defacing fourteen total traffic signs, posts or garbage cans.....with black paint.

Why he chose black over blue, or not using the pleasing green color, or a weeply-yellow's beyond me.  Maybe it was on sale that day when he walked into the store.

They basically charged him with a crime.  Now I admit.....part of the bigger issue is that he didn't exactly spray a small black covering over the Swastika.  The authorities claim and I can't vouch for this comment.....that he made an awful big black-out of the offending symbol.  Yes, awful big.

So this all leads to charges, a crime, and a fine.

I think after this all got out in public comments.....the city took the 3,000 Euro (roughly $4,000) fine and lowered a good bit......down to 991 Euro and a few cents.  They figured.....maybe he'd just understand and just accept his punishment like a good German.  Note, yeah.....a good German would just fall on their sword and admit guilt when they've done something wrong.

But in this case.....our mortal enthusiast as he is.....won't admit guilt and told them to drag him into court.  In the last couple of days.....they reached their verdict in the district court.....guilty.  He's supposed to pay the jail-time involved.

Well....he, he'll take it all the way up and will refuse to pay.  He's dragging the city into a battle where no matter how they twist this or explain it in public.....they look stupid.

His claim is that he's a teacher and a role just allowing the Nazi symbol to is.....won't happen with him around.

Naturally, all of this brings out the suggestion that there must be a bunch of Nazis in Limburg. this date, no one has established this fact, and the symbols involved might just be a fad from some creative kids who want to get people to talking.

Legally, in the time this gets to the German Constitutional Court.....all sides probably will have spent at least 150,000 Euro....over a 991 Euro fine.  That's the silly thing about this whole story.

I would generally respect the guy because he's doing it for the right reasons.  As for the act?  It would not have taken a rocket-scientist to sit and think over this.....inventing a sticker of a different variety (gay-rights, a Halloween pumpkin, Batman, or some local soccer club) and just walk around at night to toss your own creation over the stupid swastika symbol.  You'd avoid identifying yourself.....avoid the hassle of the authorities.....and being dragged around in court.  But, that's just me speaking.

So, when you hear about the 991.55 Euro guy in know the basic story.

The Getting Defensive Story

Generally, any German can apply for a weapons permit.  There's a list of thing required to complete the application (the class itself being the last item).  Generally, because of the just don't have that many Germans who want to apply themselves for the paperwork, class, etc.

So, plan "B" tends to fall into place.

I noticed a comment in the news from the VDB (German Association of German Gunsmiths and Arms Dealers).  Over the past year, their chief spokesperson noted that pepper spray purchases have doubled.

The neat thing about pepper spray.....unlike about ninety-percent of the alternate that there is no permit, no application, and no classes required. Well, at least presently.

The other potential defensive measure that is legal and without paperwork?  Tasers.

So, in most significant German towns.....there's a knife or gun type shop, and you can find either the taser or pepper-spray device for sale.

Oddly, what the experts say is that presently.....there are two things in Germany which are drawing attention to defensive weapons.  One of course is the Paris attack and growing terrorism trend.  The second one is a curious increasing number of wolves noted in rural areas of Germany.  The public is told (almost weekly via regional news commentators) that wolves are not a threat to the human population.  It's believed to some degree.....but farmers and hunters debate the message and the safe angle to wolves being in a public area.

All of this is simply adding up to more interest and more willing nature to accept the paperwork and classes have a weapon, or go to the plan "B" measure.

The idea that Germans may give you in a public forum that they don't allow weapons into private hands or the public has accepted absolute control?

Well, here's the simplicity of this.  No one is denied a weapon, unless they apply and there's some crime history,  some mental health issue, or there's a physical or mental impairment which makes it all but impossible for you to handle the weapon.

A regular guy, with no arrests, no mental issues, and competent enough to take the class?  He gets to the end.....gets the permit.....and buys his first weapon.  This big threshold that Germans like to brag about in their public forums?  If you have an arrest or two, alcohol issues, or a mental stress condition with drug history?  You will be denied a weapon.

To be kinda honest.....if one were to take Mainz as an example and Memphis as a could walk around Mainz twenty-four hours a days a week....and never feel threatened within any neighborhood of the city (within city limits).  In Memphis, there are various areas of town where upon really ought not be walking around, period.  In some areas of's not safe to drive a car around after 10PM....unless you have a weapon in the car.

For me?  The wolf problem is probably a bigger issue....since I am one of those enthusiasts who walk the trails around Wiesbaden.  No one within two hundred kilometers of my village has reported seeing a I'm kinda feeling safe.  Maybe two or three years into the future.....things might change, and a wolf report or two....might convince me to carry a pepper-spray container as a minimum.  

Things changing on pepper-spray?  This is a curious thing.  I've noticed in the local news on a dozen occasions in the past year.....where some harsh discussion started up between two parties.....and one guy or gal used pepper-spray against the other.  It wasn't really a life or death situation.....just where someone got provoked and decided 'enough was enough'.  I expect the political folks to get all disturbed eventually, and make up some stupid permit for pepper-spray......along with a class....and try to educate people not to use the stuff unless absolutely necessary.

So, being defensive in Germany isn't least not yet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Another Fight

In regional news around Germany, cops got called out to old Spinelli Barracks (Mannehim)....which is now being used as a refugee center.

What was said via SWR (one of the regional TV networks) was that some fight started up between a hundred immigrants.  The chief weapon being used?  Broomsticks.

This was mostly a fight a fight between Afghans, Algerians and Moroccans on one side.....and Syrians and Kurds on the other side.

Around eight police cars were called upon and put down the riot.....using pepper spray.

Cause?  Mostly unknown.  The cops say one of the Algerians started this fight and he suffered a fair amount during the fight.

I noted at the bottom of the story.....the day this same former barracks.....doctors had gotten called out and fifty-odd people had a major attack of diarrhea.  Medical folks ended up treating at least fifteen with some healthy dosage of anti-diarrhea medication.

My humble guess is that there might be some tough talk going back and forth over sanitary habits and cleanliness.....which triggered a comment or two over diarrhea.....which typically gets people all frustrated and upset.

The thing this type of compound or center operation.....diseases get passed around rather quickly and you could have a dozen-odd characters with poor hygiene habits causing problems for everyone in the camp. It would not be hard to get people upset.....if all they do is sit around for hours and hours.....blaming each other for various problems or ailments.

Turkey's Next Thrill

At some point in the last couple of hours....either over Turkish airspace or Syrian airspace.....a Russian SU-24 Fencer got cornered by Turkish F-16s and shoot down.  At last report.....the pilots got out of the plane, and landed somewhere north of the Syrian city of Latika.....roughly 30 kilometers of space before you hit Turkish property.

There are several things which one might observe.  First, the Fencer has been around in various models since 1974, and it's there mostly to drop bombs.....not to evade superior aircraft (such as the F-16).

Second, some news sources say one aircrew member is dead already, and two helicopters from the Russians are in the area trying to recover the remaining pilot.

Third, on the stupidity level.....Turkey went to a '12' on a scale of one to ten.  The Russians will spend roughly twenty-four hours thinking about things, and one can easily imagine them looking for a chance to shoot down at least one Turkish plane and possibly even go after US fighters in the region as send a message.

Fourth, the Russians will probably move several of their surface warfare ships to the region and prepare to set up a air defense net, with serious potential of shooting down more Turkish planes.  The Turks will go and demand US assistance, and escalation will mount.

Fifth, a few years ago....the Syrians shoot down a Turkish plane and there's been this hard and fast rule about the borderline.  If you cross over into will be shoot down.  Maybe the Russians thought they weren't serious, but one might say that this little understanding has stood the test of time.

An affect on Germany?  Well.....only if the Turks are stupid enough to ask NATO for more assistance.  The Germans will sit there and ask a bunch of questions and it won't be a simple task.  If this were just sitting around and pretending to be like the Americans and do fake fighting against ISIS....fine.  But if there's serious warfare going on with the Russians?  Oh, my.....that's not what Germany signed up for in NATO operations.  (note my cynical commentary)