Saturday, 18. July 2020
Berlin cinemas + 4 thoughts (last month on some political reforms I'd like to C)

This is the June entry, a little Late (my secret middle name). I decided to unhumbly* make a few reform suggestions for countries, whose Corona handling has been in the news, recently.

KURBEL

Inzw. geschlossenes Berliner Kino DIE KURBEL in 2013
This old - and closed for some years now - cinema, was a favourite haunt of mine, built in, I guess, the Twenties or Thirties. This is what's great about Berlin - this city was one of the centres of international cinema a century ago, and you can still come upon remnants of that today. Unfortunately, people don't realise what a treasure old cinemas are, and several more downtown are threatened with closing due to the Corona phase... (One site where one may be able to help: www.startnext.com - yeah, it's in German.)

A) Reform South Africa

Let's start with the littlest case first: RSA has an exacerbated Corona crisis at the moment, despite stringent earlier precautions, IMO due to the "state capture" level gargantuan embezzling spree of the last president, Zuma, and his cronies (many of whom have by now left the country):

  • To help prevent abuse like this happening again, the special new office created by RSA's new constitution of just a quarter century's standing, the Public Protector, whose job it is to oversee government officials/institutions, in the name of the public (who can call on the P.P. directly to follow up larger infractions!) must IMO be appointed independently by non-governmental instances only - e.g. the justice system, or by popular vote, or a combination of the two. In addition, I feel, the office needs its own force of unarmed observers on general elections of all kinds, making sure that people are not influenced/harassed at polls on Election Days!

B) Reform the U.K.

I thought ol' Blabber-mouthed Boris had learnt a lesson from his own bout with Corona, but he's promising stacks again, while only putting low-funded fingers in Corona-reducing-dike breaks and at the same time driving straight for a hard Brexit. So...

  • The House of Lords needs special powers IMO to recommend far more strongly the Queen dissolve government if the prime minister is endangering the fundamental (e.g. economic) well-being of the country. If the House is too uppity in the eyes of the common man to have that kind of power, the country may generally need some kind of devil's advocate office, not derived from aristocracy or the government, to do that job. (Cf. Public Protector idea, above.)
  • In the middle term, how about finally getting a clear & powers-inhibiting constitution done, Brits? I.a. to constrain demagogic future p.m.s?
  • IMO the NHS needs to be put on a better financial footing in general to handle future crises like the current one - how about a light capital tax on stock exchange etc. transactions for expressly that purpose? (And with "capital" I mean London, and all that it contains. The tax could be sold as a humane incentive for share holders, that they can advertise; IMO this may help to keep them on the London stock exchange, as Brexit looms.)

C) Reform Germany

Yes, even my home country has some idiocies currently showing up:

  • Don't rain non-repayable gifts of money on any who apply (as was done in Berlin city state) during crises to save their assumed businesses. Set up a permanent disaster fund, and a clear set of conditions to apply for monies from that, perhaps via the stats the states' revenue system (each province's "Finanzamt") can supply; the applicant would have to allow the fund administrators to get that data once-off to make a decision whether a bonus/credit is given.
  • Start a Bundestag (i.e. parliamentary) commission to investigate the micro-dust ("Feinstaub", mainly from Diesel engines)/noise/CO2/whatever emission dips that have occurred during the Corona lock-downs, to find a way to make some of these permanent! Show some backbone IMO vs. the ever-complaining AfD & pseudo-liberal FDP folk, and you'll find a majority more strongly following you in future... (Same goes for micro-plastics, by the way! Let's go!)

D) Reform the U.S.

O, man, so much to suggest here; let's keep it really brief:

  • Take away presidential powers to turn the country into a Banana Republic - no judges appointed by him, no misappropriations of major funding, all open speeches/"edicts"/Tweeting to be okayed by 2 officers appointed by Congress & Senate!
  • Get Congress to wake up and take over on health & lobbyism reform - and actually running the country! The latter includes doing much more to expand the currently contracting middle class, as well as a major reform of the election process after the Primaries - no more Westminster winner-takes-all voting, allowing smaller parties to get representation, thereby immediately hollowing out gerrymandering.
  • Get the Senate to better represent population sizes of states; 2 senators per state is ludicrously out of date!
  • Set up a system of control of sheriffs and how they actually apply their powers, especially outside of major cities. Defund police unions to allow state control over what policemen are actually taught, how they are armed and how they then enact their duties (reviewing the latter regularly); once this catches, fund police better, so they have less motivation to become (at least financially) corrupt. Also fund social projects better, so police do not have to cover so much ground, keeping cities going.
(* IMO above means "in my opinion";
the "humble" before the last word left out for now...)

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