Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Asset Worth Money

Here in Europe....the isle of Malta....a EU member and regular country....is best described as the "poor kid on the block".

You see, there's just not that much of a upscale economy there.  They don't manufacture anything of great desire of other European countries.  They have a very limited agricultural situation.  And tourism just isn't drawing the numbers to make anyone substantially better off.

So the folks of Malta sat there and thought about what they had.....which might be sellable.  The solution?  As a member of the EU.....they were European, and thus.....citizenship was a marketable asset.

They've devised this scheme.  You got 650,000 Euro (roughly $850,000)?  You can buy citizenship from Malta.

Just forty idiots....would bring in roughly thirty million dollars a year.

You can kinda guess the attitude and view of the Germans or Dutch.  It just isn't going to be a positive thing.

What Malta says.....is that they will review the applications, and check folks out.  No criminals.  No murderers.  No crazy folks.

What this gives everyone accepted?  As part of the EU.....you'd naturally be able to cross borders, and spend not just days, but weeks and months at locations throughout Europe.  No stress on limits.  No hostile customs guys asking stupid questions.  No border-entry issues.

Tens of thousands of applications expected?  No.  What Malta hints....is that there will be less than a thousand....maybe even less than three hundred people....who would be legit, and have the money to make the deal work.  

It's an amazing thing.  A nation with almost nothing of value to sell....has finally come to realize that citizenship is worth something, and they just might make it a regular business.

Government Like a Soap Opera

It's like a soap opera of sorts.

It won't be page one news, and no network will really chat much on it.  The President has recommended his pick for the ambassador's job in Hungary.  It's not final....that would come up shortly.

The pick?  Collen Bradley Bell.

Yeah, you don't really know the name.

She's the producer of the Bold and Beautiful...the soap that comes on in the afternoon, for CBS.

What can be said.....is that Ms Bell helped to round up roughly two million (the higher of estimates by various news media sources....some rate it closer to half-a-million) for the re-election campaign of President Obama.

You can imagine the big names of Hungary....getting this news.  Soap opera producer.....arriving shortly.....new ambassador.

The talents here?  Well....it's best not to ponder upon things like this.

Course, most folks may not realize this.....but the Bold and the Beautiful is presented on forty-odd networks around the world....to include a network in Hungary.  Maybe it'll make sense to some Hungarians....who always enjoy the dramatic of operas.

Who knows....maybe fantastic new creative ideas suddenly pour in the mind of Ambassador Bell....she returns to Hollywood in three years, and adds a tall Hungarian stranger character to the soap opera.  Maybe she might even see the brilliance of adding a Russian dentist, a French hairdresser, an Italian pastry chef, and a Turkish mafia thug.

Some folks would ask stupid questions....like if we really need a soap opera producer for a US ambassador?  The truth is.....we could do worse, and that's pretty sad to admit.

The Plan "B" Crowd

If you have five minutes and a curious nature about American history, I would suggest this short read.  It's a short piece over the "agreement" (the compact) that the Pilgrims made, as they were on the bay and going to plan "B".

We Americans have a tendency to plan broadly, and arrive at some mess when at the final destination.  Don't ask why....it's probably because we don't think like Germans, or anticipate failure.

The Pilgrims had more or less left Europe in a slight hurry.  Various factions were against the religious group (some might go to refer to them as "cult-like").  At any moment....either the Catholic Church, the King, or some other authority with a stance against them....would react and cause chaos by arresting or apprehending them.  So this exodus to America....was a quickly planned thought, and not a lot of research went into "where" they might make a permanent stand.

To be honest....if you were going to settle in the new world and knew a bit about everything.....you'd likely have reached the conclusion that almost every bit of America along the coastal regions (by twenty miles) has a sandy soil.  It's simply not prime agricultural property.  A guy could be mildly happy, but it'd be best to run up some coastal river by two hundred miles and avoid the coast.

Few history professors ever talk about the original plan....going to the Hudson Bay around New York City.  If they had landed there...instead of Plymouth Rock?  History would have run a different course.  No friendly Indian tribe in the local area.  More chances of failure....than success.

So you had a bunch of unhappy folks on the ship....contemplating a forced plan "B", and this compact or agreement becomes the only method to force everyone to sign on and just plain accept plan "B" as OK.

Would something like this compact work today?  No.  You couldn't get forty-one out of forty-one guys....to sign such a document.  Most would ask questions.  They'd want a plan "C".  They'd ask who devised plan "B".  They'd debate this for days....maybe weeks.

Forty-one guys signed for what amounted to a mostly half-baked plan "B".  It was.....mostly a screwed up location and no alternate possibility existing.  This piece of paper that all had to sign....was the only thing to bind them.  Their word, their signature.....to a simple piece of paper.

Today, for better or worse....we are the same people.  We are guided by hopeless romantics with no idea of executive management, chaos in daily life, no real plan "B", determination that runs like a raging river, and pondering that deeply worries the minds of most people.

In four hundred years.....we are mostly the same crowd, and damn proud of it.