Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Rest of the Story Over Population Decreases

Some folks over here in Mainz, with the Fraunhofer Institute have done a research project and come to a suggested conclusion.

They looked at the population expected by 2030....expected to drop to the range of roughly 5 to 10 million (probably in the range of 70-million instead of the present 82-million).

Here's the thing, less people equal less taxation collected and less sales tax.  You can do the math.  They figure....at the very minimum....it's one-percent to five-percent lost on what the government needs to function and carry out it's "services".

So, when you start sit back and ponder upon this.....there are some additional conclusions that one might reach.

1.  Less tax revenue means less money coming to individual states and cities.  So less roads are renovated or repaved.  At some point, a district might decide that such-and-such road that currently exists.....can't be maintained between village X and Y....or if the road is allowed to stay....it won't be in any shape for a car to drive fifty or sixty kilometers in speed.  Bridges?  This will become a major problem in how you schedule bridge replacement or renovation.....with less money available.

2.  Airport operations.  If you look around Germany, there's no doubt that Frankfurt, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Koln and Hamburg will continue.  The rest of the airports?  I would question how the states and airport companies make these function with fewer people.

3.  Fewer hospitals.  At some point, there will be a review and a consolidation of medical services.....probably starting by 2026.  In rural areas, fewer hospitals.  In urbanized areas, the number will stay the same.

4.  University operations.  Germany might keep all of its universities operating, but only by accepting a lot more students from outside of the country and making these students pay a decent tuition (figure 12,000 Euro a year).

5. State-run TV.  Fewer citizens?  Lesser TV taxes paid.  Less revenue to run the collection of networks existing now.  There's a cut coming one way or another to state-run TV, whether they realize it or not.

6.  Railway travel.  Less people.....less options.  Urbanized areas might be able to keep their number of trips at the same level.  Towns sitting fifty kilometers outside of the urban zones?  They might have 15 trains come through today, but by 2030....it'll probably be eight to ten at the most.

7.  Doctors and clinics in rural areas will generally decrease in number and you can expect a 30 to 60 minute drive in the future to find general services.

8.  Farming villages with a population of 500 people today?  They will see declines and probably just have around 200 people by 2030 (my humble guess).

9.  Beer production?  Less people.....less beer consumed.  It only makes sense.

10.  Farm production?  I would suggest that mega-sized operations will become the norm with most farmers farming twice as many acres as they do presently, but fewer farmers existing.

There's a bold new world coming to Germany in roughly twenty years unless something starts to occur with the population.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Effect of the 2016 US Election on the 2017 German Election

There are basically two scenarios.

1.  Trump wins.  In doing so, a giant window of opportunity has opened for the German SPD Party in making Trump the sole issue of the campaign, rather than facing the dozen-odd issues which most German voters are focused upon.  Utilizing the German state-run news media, this campaign would focus on US-Russian relations, US trade agreements within the EU, the likely downsizing of US forces in Europe (particularly Germany), non-intellectual behavior by President Trump (something that intellectual journalists and politicians can't stand), and a likely stronger relationship between the US and the UK (which won't go well with the anti-BREXIT-crowd).

2.  Clinton wins.  The SPD Party is basically screwed.  Their top vote mechanism is now lost and they have to focus upon the dozen-odd issues confronting the German public.  While doing so, the likelihood of increased friction between the US and Russia will continue.  The Merkel-led government in dealing with President Clinton?  Probably a welcome visit in February with a major party or function in Berlin for her.  President Clinton will let the news media know that she's all in for the SPD Party and their election chances in the fall of 2017.

To say there is zero effect.....is simply not true.  In either case, there is a direct effect and change expected for the 2017 German election.

Trump as enemy number one?  It's an amusing story-line which requires a lot of fictional writing and creative political analysts.

But you have to also add in this odd variant with a Trump Presidency.  By late spring, the French Presidential election will have come and gone, and a right-wing President in place (99.9-percent chance of this occurring now).  Add on several additional elections in Europe in 2017, and there's a fairly noticeable right-wing win statistic going up.  So how do you sell the anti-Trump theme with so many right-wing wins going on within the EU?  At some point, Germans would ask stupid questions and put the SPD-theme of anti-Trump into some tailspin.

You can basically put a 12-month calendar and settle back for a fairly rough German election with several curves and stumbles.  As much as it sounds crazy, the Germans are hand-cuffed to the outcome of the US election.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Post-Card in the Mail

This week in my German mailbox, I got a postcard advertisement from Scientology.  Basically, they wanted to let me know that I'm only using 10-percent of my full brain-power.  I could be doing so much more.....if I'd just contact them, discuss my options, and sign up with their religion.

It's a new method of trying to reach out into the German community and drum up more 'business'.

Scientology had a rough start in Germany.  For a number of years, they were 'branded' as a non-religion and that tax-free status was not available to them.  At some point a couple of years ago, they finally convinced the government to give them the tax-free religion status.  Some people suggest that various foreign government entities (pointing back at the US) got involved and put pressure on the topic.

Since that change, it's safe to say that they haven't advanced far in recruiting Germans.  Few news outlets figure the number but I'd take a rough guess that it's in the 4-digit range.

The issue of getting acceptance among Germans goes to three key factors about Germans.

First, there's a large segment of the population who are middle-class or working-class, and they really don't have cash to throw at some religion or enhancement-service.  If we were talking about 40 Euro a month, then maybe....but it's hard to find any Scientology service which rates at such level.  The intended target has to be the upper class.

Second, Germans are a bit skeptical about religions anyway.  It doesn't matter if we are talking about a dozen different religions....they would sit and ask questions....expecting some reasonable answers.  In a group of 50 Germans, with some Scientology guy doing his sales-pitch....I doubt if he'd find more than one or two people (with ample money to spend) who'd be willing to listen to more than 10 minutes of the pitch.

Third and final, there's the problem of state-run TV news.....which has done pieces on Scientology and questioned it as a religion.  Germans watch these and accept the pitch by the news people.  Convincing them to go against the news pitch?  It would be difficult.

As for this post-card influencing me?  I'm using all the brain-power I have and am fairly satisfied with my output.  Maybe if I were doing rocket-science calculations.....it might interest me but if I got so smart.....might I question this as a religion and ask more questions?

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Topics of the 2017 German Election?

This is my list of what the general public will say that they are concerned about and want political dialog.

1.  Immigration and integration.  As long as the 250,000 entry level continues.....the public will be happy and lessen this topic of immigration.  If Turkey decides to open the door and allow more refugees to make the crossing....with half-a-million hiking up in 2017, then it moves to the top of the list.  As for integration?  It's a cost factor mostly.  By the time you add up the shelter, the care, the language classes, and job-training....how much is it and is it worth the money?

2.  Crime.  Robbery and break-ins are up.  The public wants more cops.  More cops have been hired.  My guess is that by mid-summer of 2017.....the public will even MORE cops hired and the parties will have to address this problem.

3. Terrorism. It leads back to Jihadists and most parties would prefer not to discuss this.

4.  Pension reform.  Frankly, in about fifteen to twenty years.....it'll be a problem.  They need to restructure and make people pay more.  You can guess the reaction of the general public.

5.  The Solidarity Tax.  It's supposed to end in 2019.  Almost no political party wants it to end.  The general public.....I'm guessing.....over 90-percent want it ended.

6.  Affordable housing in urbanized areas.  If you go to Frankfurt or Stuttgart or Koln.....it's a major issue.  But it's generally not the government's job to build and lease apartments.  They could make it financially interesting by leasing gov't property for 100-year periods to developers or finding some method to build high-speed rail out to outlying rural areas.

7.  School renovation funds.  Lately, a fair amount of talk has occurred with the condition of schools across Germany.  Frankly, they need billions and the money just isn't there for the amount of work they are talking about.

8.  State-run TV.  Politicians have no desire to mess with the structure or the tax.  The general public?  If you sat at some bar and brought this up.....half of society would like to see changes (like consolidation of ZDF and ARD).

9.  Press on for BREXIT to occur.  German politicians may wake up to find that several neighbors aren't willing to give the Brits a one-star exit deal, and that all this tough talk is worthless.

10.  Job growth needs to stay on track.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reich Citizens?

For decades in Germany, this splinter oddball group....called "Reich citizens"....existed.  No one can say with any real evidence how many there are.  It might be dozens....it might be hundreds.....it might be thousands.

Out of the late 1930s....some individuals adapted to the Nazi-style behavior, and after the war ended....they didn't fall into line with the new German republic or accept the rules as most Germans did.

This week, a couple of cops were sent to a house in Georgensmund, a fairly rural town just south of Nuremberg.  They were supposed to evict a 49-year-old guy from the property.  Things didn't go well, and shots were fired (by both parties).  One cop is dead, and the other three wounded,

The shooter is a "Reich citizen".  He had a gun collection, and was prepared to meet any situation.

This "Reich citizen" thing then popped up big-time in mainstream German news (at least with the state-run TV crowd).  The political folks are all hyped up and noting that this has gone for long enough.  They want intelligence collection and arrests.

I've done a fair amount of research on the "Reich citizens".  They are an independent crowd.....or at least they claim that.  Generally, they will try to avoid paying taxes whenever possible.  For the most part, they state that German law simply doesn't apply to them.

 Neo-Nazis?  Yeah, in the basic sense of the term.....they want the standard laws that were in effect in the 1930s to be observed.

Oddly, if you think about it....the Nazis desperately wanted limited to marginal gun ownership.  With the Reich citizens.....most all of them are gun enthusiasts and all participate in the German gun license program, which means they have to obey the current German law....not the 1930s law.

The numbers?  In each region, there is a "club" or association in existence, and this is the connection of one group to another.  ARD says that for the Brandenburg region of Germany....there are roughly 200 members of the "Reich citizen" club.  But across all of Germany?  Only estimations exist and it's put at roughly a couple thousand.

Why any of this really matters?  The intellectuals and journalists have branded these "Reich citizens" as extremists and pressing for some police action.  As for arresting thousands?  No, that would look extremely foolish.  But they would go and invent a massive intelligence collection apparatus that would go and look upon private citizens.

So you sit there......pondering this massive intelligence collection apparatus and wonder.....who else might they then view, and might this broaden out?  Strangely enough....they would have gone and created the exact same intelligence collection apparatus that the Nazis of the 1930s would have created.  The obvious question is....who is the real Nazi?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Less Hours Story

I noticed in Yahoo Finance today that this got reported.  Americans (we aren't saying which variety)....are working more hours than Europeans.  The same study....conducted by economists at Arizona State University, Goethe University of Frankfurt, and McMaster University of Ontario....came to say that the average guy in Europe works 19-percent less than an American.

All of that equals 258 fewer hours a year.....per person.

The same study even indicated fewer vacation days taken by the Americans.

For years, I've observed this phenomenon and just scratched my head.

What do Germans do with the extra time?  That's another part of this story but left out by the university research team.

Germans can be divided up into three groups on this 'free' time deal:

1.  Sports.  I would take a guess that 10-percent of the people in my village....from age 30 to 65....have some sport deal built into their week (swimming, mountain-biking, workouts, tennis, soccer, etc).

2.  Gardening and landscaping.  I'd take a guess that a quarter of the population have some continuing project involving their garden or renovation for their house.

3.  Arts, culture, and 'clubs'.  A lot of Germans still dabble in painting, or language classes, or participate with their 'club'.

So, is there a negative to this?  A factory that has 3,000 employees in Germany....will take longer to build a product than in the US.  You can say it's unfair competition for the Germans because they can't produce the product at the same price.  But then you look at quality, and the German product will be better made than the US product in most cases.  Why the better quality?  The better lifestyle, less stress, less chaos, and happier prospective on life.

If you gave the American less hours and same pay?  I'm not sure it'd work.  Americans would probably go and find a second part-time job, or find something to get themselves into trouble (an affair, dangerous sport, etc).

Is it this way all over Europe?  The research team didn't really say that.  It might be interesting to compare the Germans against the Greeks, or the French against the Brits.  We might find some strange differences between the various cultures.

So the bottom line?  Huns, the German, is definitely working less than Larry, the American.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Terror", My Judgement

Last night on ARD (8:15) they ran "Terror, Your Judgement".  It was a 90-minute theater-like fictional piece where a Jihad-like character had taken over a German passenger plane, and was taking 160-odd passengers toward a soccer stadium with 70,000 fans sitting there.  A fighter jet was sent and had roughly a minute to assess things, and eventually the Captain on the fighter jet made the decision to shoot down the passenger jet.  A court hearing (which is what the whole 90 minutes took up) was to assess innocence or possible guilt of murder charges (160-plus dead).

I tuned in at the 9:00 point.....having spent three hours hanging wall-paper.

Bluntly, it would have taken me 3 seconds to make the same decision as the fighter-pilot.

So after this show ended, there is a vote opportunity.  You call in and vote.  Naturally my spend-thrift wife dictated in strong terms....that I couldn't vote (I think it would have been a 50-cent vote).  I would have voted 'not-guilty'.

But then came the second show.....Hart Aber Fair....where they discussed the matter with a political figure, a retired chief prosecutor, a theologian, and a retired fighter pilot.

Buried in the Basic Law, the German Constitution, is a statement that all people are entitled to life, period, no exception.

So the retired chief prosecutor went with the guilty view, and hyped that for the whole hour.  You can't get around this statement of all people entitled to life.  There is no waiver or by-pass.  Course, once they crashed into the stadium and killed the 70,000.....well....they were entitled to life to and how avoiding the take-down of the passenger jet is beyond me.

The vote?  Roughly 87-percent of Germans voted "not guilty".  Course, you have to factor in that probably few if any people under the age of 25 watched the movie or voted.  You also have to ask how many Germans watched this odd movie.  My humble guess is roughly 1 to 2 million, and then you have to ask how many actually voted, or how many were in spend-thrift homes (like me).  Maybe this entire vote is based on 80,000 people total.....you just don't know.

I should note this as well (which isn't much of a shock).....this morning, lots of people were noted in complaining that the call-in connection or vote-capability was over-whelmed and did NOT function perfectly.  So the vote?  Well....it might have gone higher or lower.....but again, you just don't know.

I came to three conclusions by the end.

1.  This was created as an intellectual tool to introduce the topic to the public and let them participate in the judgement call.  Maybe it's just me, but why not allow other topics to be used as well.....oh....well.....like integration, over-spending by governments, state-run television, taxation, etc.  But I guess I'd be opening up a Pandora's Box.

2.  The Jihad-guy who triggered this fantasy airline disaster?  Never for a single minute on trial.  It was very obvious that they didn't want to discuss much of him, or how he took the plane, or his beliefs.  He's the one that should have been in the hot-seat.

3.  The Spock Rule is the bottom line: "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few".  You can value the lives of the 160-odd people on the plane, but their situation is determined by a crazed-half-wit Jihadist with no appreciation of life, the Basic Law, or human dignity.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The DNA Story

Toward the end of the week.....the cops came out and noted a DNA analysis episode, where they connected the murder of a young girl to a Nazi-thug (he's dead from a suicide five years ago).  It is a bit of a shocker.

A number of folks are asking stupid questions over this DNA connection and if it's screwed up.  German cops have this remarkable 'phantom-killer-DNA' episode that sits there in the past which makes them question this story.

The 'phantom-killer'?   Back around eight years ago, the German cops had one of their folks killed in some parking-garage and the DNA results led to a special folder.....a person who had murdered at least a dozen individuals.  There were a number of cops assigned to this case and major analysis was involved.

There were probably forty separate episodes.....where a break-in occurred and DNA was collected....ID'ing the phantom-killer in each one of these.  So eventually, a map was created.  Based on one single observer having seen the remarkable killer.....they felt they were dealing with a young lady who was probably 18 by that point, but she might have been as young as 15 when this killing episode started up.

Finally, one detective sat there and put a blank DNA swab in for test.  It was straight out of the bag....new....never touching anything.

Oddly, it came back with the phantom-killer DNA.

Naturally, this would make people suspicious.

The lab swore up and down.....they went precisely by the rules and had a clean lab.

So, they looked at the box of DNA swabs and decided to visit the factory....down in Austria.   They walk in and the manager is all happy and positive.....giving them a tour.  What they come to notice is that at some point.....the swabs are taken in a big handful by some Austrian gal, with her arms touching the swabs.  They asked the manager if he knew these were being re-packaged as DNA swabs.  Well, no.....he wasn't aware of that.  He sold their swabs to various companies and they used them in different ways.

The cops sat there.....all these hours.....thousands of hours.....spent on the phantom-killer episode, which is totally bogus.  Every single murder in this group?  They had to be set aside and investigated purely as a one-time event by one single person.  It was probably the most embarrassing event that the cops in Germany have ever had to admit.

The story itself?  Up until the visit to the swab factory.....I think the phantom-killer story was probably a five-star story waiting for a writer to collect everything, and it'd make a great movie.  Murders all over the country, some in a vicious way.....done by a teenage killer girl....who remarkably got away each and every time.

So, back to the Nazi-guy who murdered this young girl.  If the test is correct.....it might suggest that his file needs to be reviewed in detail, and I'm going to take a guess that they might find more than just this one single young girl dead.  Who knows.....maybe in five years.....two or three more deaths might be attributed to this guy.  The supporters behind the Nazi-guy?  I would imagine they are shaking their heads because this really leads down a dark path and maybe they guessed wrong about this young guy.