Friday, October 20, 2017

Catalonia Update

For the past week, I've been watching the pace of things in Spain and Catalonia go back and forth. 

What appears likely now (happening tomorrow - Saturday)....is that Article 155 of the Constitution will be activated by the federal government of Spain.

They wil revoke the regional agreement of the state of Catalonia and Madrid, and begin the process of bringing them 'back in'.  How?

Well, it's suggested now that new elections will be forced onto Catalonia in January.  The Prime Minister (Rajoy) thinks this will lead Catalonia back to the right attitude. 

Problems?

Well....you can only run an election if you have candidates.  My guess is that most of the parties in the region will refuse to play along or nominate candidates.  Some might go to the extent of nominating insane members of the public to represent them in Madrid, or possibly electing criminals.

Then, you have the problem of polling places.  My guess is that half of the general public who are poll managers....will bluntly say 'no' and will refuse to run the polling station.  Those forced into managing the poll stations?  They will probably call in sick on election day in mass numbers (my guess is that 90-percent will fail to show up).

The military running this?  You'd have to come up with enough people to run roughly 2,300 polling sites in Catalonia (mostly at schools).  You'd be talking about at least 20,000 troops required, with another twenty-thousand cops in protection operations.

If you only had 7-percent of the registered public to vote in the election....would that make it even a valid election?  If you tried to suggest this to the news media....folks would laugh over the commentary.

You could have entire neighborhoods where no one shows up.  Or you could have teens showing up to intimidate the police or military into reacting as 'thugs'. 

As bad as it might be now....come January, I see this only getting worse. 

The Foreigner Survey Story

Focus went out and did a survey with foreigners in Europe and Germany, which had an interesting outcome. Of roughly a thousand people interviewed.....roughly a quarter of them were German resident foreigners.

What the survey found out was that most people came for economic advantages.  About one in three spoke to the idea of moving up the career ladder.

Almost a third of the group spoke up about training and financial advantages.

In the case of Spain.....some spoke of the pleasant weather.

Then you come to this odd question that was asked on foreigners who'd come to Germany and the question was....did you come because of the 'nice Germans'?   Only 8-percent said yes. 

It's an odd question and I would imagine that most Syrians and Iraqis were sitting there and asking themselves....what did they really mean?  "Nice" Germans?

In the intellectual discussion....Germans (at least the journalists and intellectuals) want this odd feeling at the end of the day over the open-door policy that everything done....was wonderfully appreciated.  The 'good German' suggestion should come....to turn around the 'Nazi German' theme that most feel shame over. 

I know....it's an odd discussion that you'd typically have after five shots of some German liquor, and a beer or two.

The thing is, if you'd posed the question with the theme of benefits and which country had the best deal for incoming migrants and refugees....well....Germany would have gotten a 95-percent positive out of that.  But that would have shamed the Germans too much because it suggests that money is the root of this whole discussion.  And you can't suggest that.

So the intellectual German is sitting there and a bit dazed.....he'd like to feel super-positive but this is all he can really squeeze out of this mess.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

German Public TV Story

Focus brought up an interesting story today from the online magazine DWDL.

The topic?  There is this discussion going on ARD (the German public TV network) to reform itself....in essence becoming a 'shop-window' for state networks (the sub-networks that exist now).

Even the discussion of this idea.....got the German Cultural Council all hyped up.  All of this comes up at the end of this week when state Prime Ministers are meeting in an annual conference, and the topic is being listed as a item to be talked about.

You can divide German TV into two chunks....public TV and private TV.  The commercial side has been around since the mid-1980s and met a lot of hostility by the public TV crowd.  Just about every single conceivable angle to halt them and their creation...was attempted. 

What you see today for public TV is one 'mother-hen' (ARD)....which takes the pot of money and distributes it into the 'sister-hen' (ZDF), the public radio network, and roughly twenty sub-networks (some state-related, some kid-related, some art-related young-people-related). 

The general commentary by the bulk of Germans under the age of thirty is that it's a growing number who aren't watching public TV.  My son (German in nature) will vouch that it's been now ten years since he last watched a single minute of German public-TV.  The bulk of what he watches is data-streaming from Netflix and Amazon, with an occasional hour or two per month from the commercial networks. 

If you do the numbers....in about a decade, you will have about fifty-percent of the general public who aren't interested in supporting state public-TV anymore.  It'll flip into a political topic and someone will convince the public to either dismantle the public TV system entirely, or downsize it in a dramatic way.  I think this discussion here with the German Cultural Council is simply the opening of this political topic.

The Swedish Book Story

At some point probably six months ago (more or less), some Swedish journalist by the name of Inti Chavez Perez, woke up and had this vision.  He's a young Swede, and it's unlikely that a older Swede would have come to this vision.  The idea?  He'd write a 'how-to book' on sex and relationships in Sweden....designed for immigrants.

No, it wouldn't be the 99 different positions, or a page-by-page description of bondage practices.  It would be about the flirtatious behavior....the chit-chat phase....the stages of a date and how you reach the 'important' conclusion, etc. 

The book?  "Me and You".

I read through the various stories on Perez and his study of the whole topic.  He actually went out and talked to young migrants, older Swedes, and regular people. 

In his work....he even had to go and ask questions that typically wouldn't concern a Swede, but would concern a third-world guy with no real background knowledge (example:  “Is masturbation dangerous?”)

I sat and pondered upon this whole process.  In the race by the intellectuals of Europe to demonstrate their great acceptance of multi-cultural people, there was no thinking to the idea that so many people coming through the doorway would not be at the same level of understanding as the intellectuals or the people of Europe.

If you go up to Germans and bring up the topic of nude-beaches....they will go over a 3x5 inch card of information and just say that some people do it in Germany, and that it's not a big deal.  Out of 82-million Germans, I would take a humble guess that less than 400,000 would be seen once a year at a nude-beach.  People accept the behavior but it's a national trend.

If you went up to a German pub and brought up flirting, you'd get a hundred different explanations of how Germans flirt.  The old guys would give you a pretty conservative view.....the young guys would give you a fairly liberal view.  Most German women over the age of thirty will list out at least twenty male behavioral trends which make a date possibility 'zero'. 

The added problem here is that you have a pretty fair number of the incoming migrants and immigrants who came out of ultra-conservative nations.  Just standing in the middle of a German swimming pool and noting the women in bathing suits.....that gets them all hyped-up and thinking it's almost a bordello-operation.

This Swedish guy....Perez?  Well, he's probably correct and doing something that has value.  But getting this information out in front of a bunch of young men, and insisting that behavioral modification is necessary?  That's going to be a rough one. 

Linke Party Story

I sat and watched a German public TV (ARD) news piece last night on the Linke Party.  There's been a meeting going on for the last couple of days with the VIP folks of the Linke Party.

The key thing you can take out of the meeting is that Bernd Riexinger and Katja Kipping, who were very near the top....wanted to carve-off some functions of Sahra Wagenknecht (the 'number one' of the party). 

Meetings were held privately and it's obvious that Wagenknecht had make some pretty harsh commentaries and convince people not to screw with the leadership function.

I sat watching the video (avoiding listening to the audio).....there's some serious negative body language by Wagenknecht, Kipping and Riexinger.  They are very unhappy with the results of the meeting....continue on with no changes.

If you ask me....at some point before the next election....Wagenknecht is going to be dumped by the party.  My humble guess is that she will retaliate and go out to create her own political party (a Macron-like device). 

If you went back twelve months ago, there was a hyped-up sense that the SPD would win, and the Greens and Linke Party would be the partners of the new coalition.  These people in the inner circle of the leadership of the Linke Party probably had these aspirations of stepping up and having more activities, and that simply didn't occur. 

Laws Changing in Germany

Today....a couple of new German traffic laws get changed, and it's a bit more costly on fines.

For example...if you get into a stau (taffic jam) on the autobahn, and fire department or cops come up from the rear....German law dictates that you move over and provide a 'onward-route' for the emergency crew.  The old fine was 20 Euro.  Now?  320 Euro and a one-month loss of your license.

Getting noticed by the cops while driving and using a cellphone in your hand?  That's now a 200 Euro fine and a one-month loss in driving.

Driving with your face covered?  Like a mask or burqa?  That will become a fine at this point.  Note, you  can wear the various masks that motorcyclists wear during the winter, while on your bike.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Survey Story

Focus brought this up today from Bild article from a survey (INSA did the survey).  If you remember last week, I brought up this comment by a CDU political figure (cabinet member) that it's time to have a national holiday for people of the Muslim religion in Germany.

The reaction by the general German public?  Seventy percent say....'no'.  Only roughly 8-percent were able to positively that it needs to be done.

Oddly, even from Green Party enthusiasts....only twenty-percent of their group supported the idea. What I thought was even more funny was that from the people identifying themselves as AfD members (against immigration)....they actually found 3.7-percent who would support the idea. 

After the coalition business is settled and people get to a quiet stage within the Bundestag....I expect this topic to come up and be discussed for one single day.  I expect the CSU and AfD membership to question the idea....with the Greens, SPD, FDP, Linke Party and CDU to support the idea.

The problem in discussing this....the Christian folks in Germany have six recognized national holidays in Germany.  In fairness, if you drag this topic out...you'd have to offer six to the Muslims as well.  Then if you get deeper into this....what if the Scientology crowd want a day, or perhaps the Satanists? 

As for the seventy percent saying 'no'?  It's just not that big of a shocker.  Most see the past two thousand years of Germany as being Christian in nature.  It's not going to be easy to convince the public to buy into this. 

What Really Occurred in the Austria Election?

The Austrian People's Party (OVP)....has been around for seventy-odd years.  In this election from Sunday, it is a remarkable win for the party.  Why the popularity?

This is a party which attracts a lot of white-collar/middle-management type workers.  Businessmen....from ultra small operations to major corporations like the view of the party on taxation and minimum regulations.  Farmers?  The party has always attracted them.  Then you look over a government employees....where the party has never suggested downsizing or making a huge impact upon them. 

Then you add this layer of commentary over immigrates and migrants.  The OVP has continually voiced criticism over the way that the EU is managing this master redistribution of refugees in Greece and Italy....to the rest of the EU. 

Just over one out of every three voters in Austria voted for this party.  It is a clear message in some ways.

Then you add the character of Sebastian Kurz who heads the party and is now Chancellor of Austria.  He's 31 years old.  Yes, just 31.  He's smart....he delivers four-star speeches, and he impresses younger audiences with his commentary and wit.  He finished up his year of military obligation back in 2004, and opted out of law school at some point to pursue politics.

So for the next couple of years, Kurz and the OVP have a chance to lead Austria, and likely confront the EU.  It might be worth watching Austria and the dramatic era ahead.