The anti-immigrant fervour in Europe and Uber vs Tesla as transport models of the future

The continuing anti-immigrant fervour in Europe

Little is known about how or why the brawl started. Police have dismissed rumours circulating online that the man was defending a woman from sexual assault.

But within hours of his death in hospital, news that his killers were suspected to have been a Syrian and an Iraqi man triggered a furious and violent reaction.

For two nights running, hundreds and then thousands of right-wing extremists and sympathisers have taken to the streets.

That’s the scene in the eastern German city of Chemnitz – the former Karl-Marx-Stadt, as described by the BBC. On Monday, I said the refugee crisis was still having a seismic impact on Europe. This story in Germany shows that.

Here’s the thing: eastern Germany has gone through some very difficult times since reunification. At the same time, the east was never subjected to the ‘humility indoctrination’ that the west went through under allied occupation. And so, the break with Germany’s fascist past is not the taboo there that it is in the west. One outgrowth of that is the virulence of right wing ideology today.

Look at how well the AfD is doing

Saxony opinion poll.png

But notice how well the Left or Linke Party is doing too. Between them, these far right and far left parties have 43% of the votes. That’s unheard of in the west.


Dissatisfaction with the status quo. And Germany is supposed to be the model that others in the EU should follow. If 43% of voters are voting for so-called fringe parties, that tells you the discontent runs deep, even during an economic boom.

When the economy turns down, it will be worse.

Salvini and Orban against Macron

Meanwhile in Italy:

When Viktor Orbán and Matteo Salvini got together Tuesday, they had their sights set firmly on one man: Emmanuel Macron.

At a joint press conference in Milan, the Hungarian prime minister portrayed the French president as Europe’s main proponent of throwing open the doors to illegal migration. Standing next to him, the Italian interior minister accused Macron of hypocrisy for speaking about European cooperation but ignoring requests for help from Rome.

It’s going to be a fight that lasts at least until next year’s European election, for which Macron wants to put together a centrist coalition and the populists hope to present a united front.

“He leads the European force that backs migration, he’s the leader of those parties who back migration to Europe, and on the other side there’s us who want to stop illegal migration,” said Orbán.

If Germany is the model EU state, then Emmanuel Macron is the model EU statesman. And he’s under attack for the very same reasons we see the disorder in Chemnitz: illegal immigration.

My view here is clear: The flow of migrants into Europe is not going to stop. The draw is simply too great. And so, the likely outcome will be a rightward tilt in the electorate. Left-wing parties like the Linke party in Germany don’t stand a chance against their right wing populist upstart competitors because the right wing parties are the ones that are toughest on migration.

Next month, we get elections in Sweden. And the eurosceptic Swedish Democrats Party is expected to take more than 20% of the vote. This is just the beginning of a resurgence in right wing populism all across western Europe.

The Tesla saga

“We believe that the outcome of this investigation will be criminal charges, likely imprisonment of Mr. Musk, and his removal as an officer of Tesla.”

That’s the motivated reasoning of the short sellers of Tesla stock at Vilas Capital. Read more of it here if you like.

I think Musk did try to manipulate his stock with his go private, funding secured tweet. The whole affair was a travesty. But the Vilas Capital scenario seems far-fetched to me. Musk looks more and more like Travis Kalanick of Uber to me, someone who took the company far but creates distraction after distraction with unseemly behavior as the company tries to execute on its long term vision.

I can very well see the Tesla board forcing Musk out as CEO, especially if the SEC gives him a slap on the wrists. He no longer seems like the right person to take the company to the next step.

Reuters has a good graphic of the debt that Tesla has to contend with as it tries to ramp production. This is what Tesla has to worry about now. Everything else is secondary.

Tesla debt

Uber is going public

And since I mentioned Uber, it bears noting that they not only have a new CEO, they also have a new strategy as they go public to raise yet more money. They are focused on expanding rather than slowing the cash burn.

Uber valuation

This is in stark contrast to Tesla, which already is public and is saddled with a ton of debt, making the cash burn a more existential issue. The way Uber is pitching itself now is almost like the Anti-Tesla. Tesla is the environmentally friendly future of car ownership. Uber is touting itself as the company that makes car ownership obsolete. In my mind, these two companies are now in direct competition with each other regarding the future of transport. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.


I am going to leave it there for now. I have a bunch of other stuff on China that I will put out later today.



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