Saturday, 31 December 2011

Der Spiegel: The Delusions of the euro-zone

"The Lies that Europe's Politicians Tell Themselves" is the apt title of Armin Mahler´s Der Spiegel article about what Angela Merkel and the other leading European politicians have been doing in the wake of the euro-zone crisis.

Almost all the leading political figures in Europe, including e.g. former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, current chancellor Merkel, the head of the Euro Group Jean-Claude Juncker, have repeatedly stressed that there is no crisis of the euro, only a debt crisis in some of the euro-zone countries:

If it were only that simple. Unfortunately, it isn't. Simply put, without a common currency, Greece's problems wouldn't have spilled over into Spain and Italy. And, without this risk of contagion, politicians and central bankers wouldn't be staggering from one crisis summit to the next, ever driven by the fear that the currency union might break apart.
Without the euro, Greece could recover more easily. It could devalue its currency and thereby make its national economy competitive once again.
Indeed, without the euro, Greece wouldn't have ever gotten into this calamitous situation in the first place. The fact that it was a member of the currency union was the only thing that allowed the country to borrow money at such favorable rates and get itself up to the neck in debt.

Nevertheless, not one of the currency union's founding fathers will admit that it was poorly designed. The currency union brought together countries that weren't compatible economically simply because it was opportune politically. It replaced the currency exchange rate, the standard mechanism for balancing out differences between national economies, with the principle of hope. Now, the common currency was supposed to make the economies align themselves with each other, practically automatically.
In reality, however, the differences between the economies of the euro-zone countries became larger rather than smaller. The so-called "Club Med" countries benefited from the low common interest rate. They lived beyond their means and they consumed more than they could afford -- to the detriment of their already weak ability to compete.

The lies and delusions of the failed European leaders will according to Mahler in the end lead to this:

In the end, the currency union will shrink. Greece and possibly even other countries will have to abandon the euro in order to be able to get back on their feet with the help of their own, significantly devalued, currency.
The euro saviors and their citizens must finally face the uncomfortable truth. Under current conditions, the euro will fail economically because the differences between euro-zone countries are too great.
But new conditions that would give the euro a firm economic foundation are almost impossible to implement due to political factors. In any case, they can definitely not be put in place quickly enough to combat the current crisis.
Indeed, the would-be euro saviors are suffering from yet another delusion: that they are able to buy all the time they need, without any limits.

Read the entire article here


PS

Merkel, Sarkozy and the others are obviously hoping to be able to postpone the crucial decisions until after they have left the scene, but that hope may be another delusion.

Champagne: “The last 10 years have been excellent due to the global warming"



Whatever you think about global warming, there is a good reason to uncork a bottle of good champagne this New Year´s Eve:

Champagne is entering a third great phase of sales success according to Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger.

Pierre-Emmanuel also spoke of the positive benefits from climate change on Champagne production when addressing those at the masterclass, which was held in London’s Vintner’s Hall, and organised by the Institute of Masters of Wine.
“The last 10 years have been excellent due to the global warming,” he said, referring to the Champagne harvests.
In fact, such has been the quality of the grapes, he added that Champagne’s non-vintage category should be classed as multi-vintage.

Read the entire article here

Happy New Year 2012!

Friday, 30 December 2011

The US-led shale gas revolution ends Russia´s plans to dominate the European energy market

It is now become increasingly obvious what is behind Vladimir Putin´s recent outbursts against shale gas: The US-led shale gas revolution has already put the government controlled Gazprom on the defensive. Gone are the days when Putin and his henchmen thought that Russia would be able dominate the European, and indeed the global energy markets through Gazprom and Nord Stream.

The latest proof of the completely new situation is the fact that the development of Russia´s gigantic arctic Shtokman gas fields has again been delayed. Gazprom and its Norwegian and French backers had counted on exports from Shtokman to the United States, but the sharp increase in the U.S. shale gas production means that there is no market in the US for Russian gas. And when Poland and other countries get their shale gas production going, it will be not be profitable to pump expensive Shtokman gas to Europe either. In the long run even exports to China are questionable when China begins to seriously exploit its own shale gas resources.

Gazprom and its European partners are now hoping to get tax breaks for their expensive Shtokman project. However, not even subsidies and tax breaks will make drilling in the difficult arctic environment profitable, when there is more than enough unconventional gas on the world markets.

Here is just one example of what the shale gas revolution means for the US:

 The stats on domestic natural gas are also eye-opening. Recoverable natural gas in North America is estimated at 4.2 quadrillion — or 4,244 trillion — cubic feet. At the current rate of consumption, that’s enough natural gas to power North America for the next 175 years. And it means that our continent has more robust gas reserves than Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan — combined. Roughly 272.5 trillion cubic feet of that total are in the United States. … In the late 1990s, pundits were predicting a sharp uptick in natural gas prices due to a decline in reserves. Just a few years later, American production actually increased dramatically. The reason? Human imagination bred breakthrough technological innovation. Developers built new extraction tools, making it economical to tap into reserves buried in shale and other tight rock formations. (Forbes.com, Robert Bradley)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The reality of Durban: India will not sign any legally binding agreement

The celebrated Durban "agreement" is clearly a "road map" to nowhere. India is definitively not intent on signing any legally binding agreement to reduce its CO2 emissions:

India will not sign any legally binding global agreement for emissions reduction, as the country needs to eradicate poverty through economic growth, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said today.

"There is no question of signing a legally binding agreement at this point of our development. We need to make sure that our development does not suffer," Natarajan said in Rajya Sabha.

She was responding to clarifications on her December 21 statement in the House after she returned from the United Nations Climate Change Conference at Durban early this month.

Seeking clarification, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said if India was made legally bound to cut emissions, the country's economic growth would suffer.


Natarajan said, "Our emissions are bound to grow as we have to ensure our social and economic development and fulfil the imperative of poverty eradication."


Read the entire article here

Poverty eradication as an imperative is clearly the only sensible policy for India. And it should be supported by the rich industrialised countries.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Celebrating the New Year the Russian way


We are fast approaching the time for all the exciting head of state New Year´s speeches. Russia´s outgoing president Medvedev was the first to deliver his speech. The speech has been very well received in Russia, with almost 1 million hits within 24 hours of appearing on the Internet.

The big question is now, whether the tiny president will Join Roman Abramovich and his 300 guests for the traditional New Year´s party on the Caribbean island of St Barts. The background of Medvedev´s speech suggests that he may already be there.

This year Roman Abramovich, the billionaire Russian oligarch, plans to eclipse his previous New Year's Eve celebrations by spending more than £5 million on his 300 guests.
Rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers will play at the exclusive event, held at the Chelsea football club owner's £58 million estate on the Caribbean island of St Barts.
The estate near Gouverneur beach was previously owned by US banking tycoons the Rockefellers and has a number of swimming pools, pavilions and beach bungalows.
Guests have been told to wear "island chic" at the event, which will run from 10pm until 4am, with partygoers retiring to a fleet of super-yachts in the marina at the end of the evening.
Last year, Demi Moore, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Stephanie Seymour, Ellen DeGeneres and Star Wars creator George Lucas were among dozens of famous names on the invitation list.

Read the entire article here

PS

One would hope that Gerge Lucas is on Abramovich´s guest list also this new year´s eve, because it could be the last New Year´s Eve party for him:

"George Lucas sits down and seriously proceeds to talk for around 25 minutes about how he thinks the world is gonna end in the year 2012, like, for real. He thinks it.
 

The dramatic impact of the shale gas revolution in the US

A new IHS Global Insight study about the dramatic impacts of shale gas production in the United States should be compulsory reading for European decision makers:

 As recently as 2007, it was believed that the country would soon need to import large volumes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for domestic consumption. Instead, shale gas production has more than doubled the size of the discovered natural gas resource in North America--enough to satisfy more than 100 years of consumption at current rates.

A key reason for the shale gas industry's profound economic impact is its high "employment multiplier"--the indirect and induced jobs created to support an industry. For every direct job created in the shale gas sector, more than three indirect and induced jobs are created, a rate higher than the financial and construction industries, the report finds.

Here are some of the report´s key facts:
  • Shale gas had grown to 27 percent of U.S. natural gas production by 2010; it is currently 34 percent and will reach 43 percent in 2015 and more than double by 2035 to 60 percent
  • In 2010, the shale gas industry supported more than 600,000 jobs; by 2015 the total will likely grow to nearly 870,000 and to more than 1.6 million by 2035
  • The shale gas contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was more than $76.9 billion in 2010; in 2015 it will be $118.2 billion and will triple to $231.1 billion in 2035
  • Over the next 25 years, the shale gas industry will generate more than $933 billion in tax revenues for local, state and the federal governments
  • Savings from lower gas prices, as well as the associated lower prices for other consumer purchases, equate to an annual average addition of $926 in disposable income per household between 2012 and 2015, and increase to more than $2,000 per household in 2035 on an annual basis
Read the entire article here

Compare this with the truth about "green" jobs in the U.S. and Europe.

Monday, 26 December 2011

The New Year 2012 could finally bring a solution to the eurozone crisis

A look into the crystal ball finally offers some good news for the battered eurozone:

(picture provided by the EU photo service)


2012 could be the year when the leaders of the European Union find out the real reason behind the ongoing eurozone crisis:

It´s global warming, stupid!

The real PIGS of the Mediterranean

The troubled PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) are all in the warm southern part of the European empire (EU). It is common knowledge that people become lazy if it is too warm to work. That is exactly what has happened in the ever warming PIGS zone. However what is completely new, is that a new study by the Spanish International Environmental Studies Authority (SIESTA) now has found a clear correlation between laziness and spending. This confirms a vicious circle: The warmer it gets, the lazier people become, and the lazier you are, the more you are inclined to spend (particularly other peoples´ money).

Footnote: For some unknown reason, this correlation does not seem to apply to the Irish.

The important findings of the SIESTA study will finally enable the next EU summits to take decisive action in order to save the euro from the abyss. The SIESTA researchers have suggested one possible solution, which is said to be seriously considered in Brussels; to redirect the € billions of EU climate change "mitigation" aid to the PIGS zone, instead of, as is the case now, giving the money to dictators and corrupt governments in some of the worst countries in Africa.


               A mini documentary on the impact of global warming in Spain

EU climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard could not be reached for a comment. She is reported to be critical towards the policy change. However, it is rumoured that her boss José Barroso, a member of the PIGS zone, has already told her to shut up.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Bulgarian Barroso

The Bulgarian Barroso

During the last days of the Annus Horribilis 2011 for the eurozone, our thoughts go to the eurocrats in Brussels, who have had to forsake even their cherished Christmas parties in order to keep the dream of a succesful euro alive:

"We are in sort of eternal crisis mode, so there's no time for Christmas parties," said another EU official working on euro zone debt issues who said he had worked every weekend since mid-November. "Normally, it would be all over by this time of year. It would be very quiet, but everything's changed."

And the Commission never sleeps. Even on Christmas day there is one brave lady, hidden somewhere in the myriad of corridors of the Commission´s Berlaymont building, who is "working at full steam" in order to save Europe from the abyss:

Kristalina Georgieva will take up the office of President of the European Commission Jose Barroso during the Christmas season. “I will be Barroso for Christmas,” EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response said smiling. It turns out that instead of getting in the Christmas mood she will be working at full steam from the Christmas Eve till the first days of the New Year and will be Commissioner on duty for the entire European Commission.
“In any crisis there’s just one recipe for a way out – to stay united and to act with resolution,” the Bulgarian EU Commissioner said commenting the ranking of the major events in 2011 by Darik Radio where the economic crisis in Europe topped the list. “Looking ahead one can clearly see that the coming year will be tough, but we will see the light very soon,” she said assuredly.

How assuring it is to know that the Bulgarian Barroso is there, ready to "act with resolution" if needed!

The only thing that makes one a little bit worried is that there is no information on whether there is a holiday stand-in also for the President of Europe, haiku Herman van Rompuy. Is there perhaps a Romanian Rompuy?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The "launch tour" of the new Greenpeace luxury yacht continues in style

The "launch tour" of the Greenpeace luxury yacht Rainbow Warrior III continues in style. Having enjoyed the beautiful sights and sounds of the Swedish archipelago and Stockholm, the group of carefully selected activists on board a few days ago reached the shores of Spain, where they enjoyed a gourmet meal in Barcelona prepared by the famous Michelin star chef Diego Guerrero.

The five (or six?) course meal, with fish "caught the same morning by local artisanal fishermen" was "the best meal of my life", enthuses the activist Tracy:

The mess was transformed by staff and volunteers from our Spanish office under Diego’s direction into a fine dining lounge with linens, flower arrangements and a perplexing number of utensils. The setting inspired a transformation among the crew as well as, or was it Helena’s little black dress? Either way our best clothes came out of the bottom of the lockers and bags so we began to better fit the elegant scene.

We sat down with Ramon, musicians from the band Maez, el Pais blogger Mikel López Iturriaga and our Spanish colleagues to the first course called Mini Babybell which has won Diego national awards for pinchos and tapas. It’s a camembert and truffle creation that looked like, obviously, a mini babybell cheese.


The feast continued with other gourmet courses:

Next up Vieira – the scallops.

Then sukiyaki – a miso soup that looked like a cocktail, or a cappuccino?

Then an egg dish dumpling…

And the beautiful Gilthead bream - with orange and chocolate.

Breaking open the egg I discovered a gooey centre of mango surrounded by coconut cream the colour and consistency of a soft boiled egg. The shell was chocolate. Diego later told me the dish is called “This is not an egg”

After the exquisite dinner the evening continued in style:

The night was not over, three musicians from Maez performed on the deck of the Rainbow Warrior for the crew. Pablo has a beautiful voice, he sings in English and it’s worth listening to their new EP. A big thank you must go out to everyone who created such an amazing welcome to Barcelona for the ship and crew. You’re all stars.


As winter weather is making the Mediterranean chillier, we are looking forward to new and exciting reports from more exotic destinations on the continuing Rainbow Warrior III "launch tour". Could the next stop be somewhere in the Caribbean, where the cruise season now is at its best?

The Foie Gras and Vanilla Brulee, Quince-Pineapple Compote at Café Martinique on Paradise Island is worth waiting for!

It´s tough to be a Greenpeace activist these days!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

China and the US threaten trade war against EU´s stupid airline carbon tax

EU greenies are is still bullish about the European Court of Justice´s ruling that airlines based outside of the European Union must pay the controversial EU carbon tax. However, celebrations in Brussels are wildly premature. This is a fight - the EU against the rest of the world - that the European Union is bound to loose.


China has warned the European Union to abandon its controversial carbon tax on airlines or risk provoking a global trade war.
Adding weight to the warning, an industry insider told the Financial Times that the Chinese government was seriously considering measures to hit back at the EU if it insists on charging international airlines for their carbon emissions.

Read the entire article here


The threat of knock-on effects hung in the air, however, after a warning by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of possible reprisals some days ago.
The judgement “risks unleashing a trade war between Europe and the United States,” a high-ranking aviation source said.

Read the entire article here

A Christmas card from the Euro Rescue Fund

I cannot resist sharing with you this Christmas card, which I found in my mail today:



Merry Christmas!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Hollywood´s newest global warming propaganda film "Happy Feets Two" flops badly


Happy Feet Two is the flop of the season. Who would like to see a penguin urinating on the camera?


Hollywood seems to have been thinking  that global warming fairy tales are still great money makers during the Christmas season. However, things did not turn out that way. Happy Feet Two, the sequel that "tells how one little penguin rallies his colony trapped by shifting ice due to climate change", has turned out to be the major flop of this Christmas season, a real global warming disaster:

After its first 10 days, the Antarctic-set toon had grossed just $43.8 million -- a little more than the $42 million that the Oscar-winning Happy Feet tap-danced to during its first three days in 2006. Unless business picks up overseas, where it has yet to open in most territories, director George Miller's $135 million production -- Warners split the cost with Village Roadshow -- is headed for the big chill. 

Read the entire article here

And it not only Warners and Village Roadshow that will loose something on this failed production:

Due to the poor performance of "Happy Feet Two," 600 of the 700 employees at the digital production studio behind the animated movie have reportedly received their walking papers.
Employees at Dr. D Studios, which is based in Sydney, have been told they will be laid off in the coming weeks, according to IF.com.au.


Robin Williams, the Hollywood activist, who plays a fat penguin in Happy Feet Two,  has finally revealed why he believes in global warming. If you think it is because of the official IPCC scientific "consensus" or Al Gore, you are wrong:

Robin revealed that he was very impressed by his super hot co-star Sofia Vergara.

Robin told thehothits.com, "The moment she walks in the room, you believe in global warming. It's incredible. It's immediate."


It is of course a pity that audiences will not have a chance to share Mr. Williams´s experience, as Miss Vergara only appears as a voice in the film. Could that be one reason why the film has flopped?

These two reviews give some additional reasons:

Happy Feet Two continues the tradition of Antarctic penguins repetitively crying out horrific noises. Instead of shout-outs to Edgar Allan Poe, however, these penguins cry out dated pop songs. The horror, the horror.
---
One thing that continues to pop up in reviews of animated movies in recent years is how little new movies are relying on toilet humor. Apparently, the makers of Happy Feet Two have decided to rectify this situation. Within minutes, there is a scene involving a penguin urinating on the camera. The scene then cuts away to a reaction shot, then cuts right back to more urine! It is absolutely horrible. Admittedly, there is only one more scene involving toilet humor in the movie, but it involves a character’s head being defecated upon by skuas. It is also incredibly horrible.

Read the entire review here

The problem with that, of course, is that "Happy Feet" wasn't all that great in the first place. It was cute, sure, but despite its Best Animated Feature Oscar, it wasn't a huge step forward for the medium. Even worse, it was a self-contained film with no need for a sequel.
That's made exceedingly obvious to anyone seeing "Happy Feet Two," because it's boring, unnecessary and not exciting. What's worse, aside from the stellar animation, the film has absolutely nothing going for it, from its bland plot to its already-dated music.
--
"Happy Feet Two" won't be winning many awards; in a just world, it wouldn't win any.

Read the entire review here

Sunday, 18 December 2011

"The harsh reality is that the EU has already failed"



It is  not only right-wing tories who are turning against the European Union in the UK. Even the left-leaning Guardian´s columnist Deborah Orr, who "always believed in the European ideal", now concedes that the "harsh reality is that the EU has already failed":


The desperate assumption is that the eurozone is "too big to fail", as the banks were. Would it, like the banks, simply continue quite blatantly with its bad habits, its unsquarable contradictions, if the money to bail it out could be found? The harsh reality is that it has failed already, with only fear of disorderly and unpredictable collapse keeping alive the vestiges of its grand ambitions. The trouble is that Europe, politically as well as economically, was a fine idea, but, in practice, was always hopelessly compromised. Even its supposed democratic accountability is faked. The election of members of the European parliament is more like the election of civil servants than politicians. The only high-profile MEPs tend to be those who gained their seat in order to argue against the EU's very existence.

As for the heads of state who make the political decisions, there are already more unelected people at the top table than is right or acceptable. But the technocrats are accepted anyway. Cameron may have opted out of talks on the Cannes treaty. But, as it turns out, his "people" will still be there, still throwing in their tuppence-worth, in the search for a formula that will appease "the markets". The democratic deficit in Europe has always been problematic, and now is teetering on absurd. This is not what Europe was supposed to be. I have always believed in the European ideal. But it is a struggle to identify, in the current mess, where any true expression of that ideal resides.

Amid all the concern and worry over the enormity of the task of propping up Europe lies a nagging feeling that if this institution really is too big, too dominant, too all-encompassing to fail, then it is also too big, too unwieldy, too powerful to succeed. How can something so significant and untouchable be brought to heel? What other institution could have the power to rein in such a behemoth? The IMF? Who wants it to rule the world?

Read the entire article here

The Maldives government: "What's there to discuss about flogging women"?"

The U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has during a recent visit urged the Maldives to end the practice of flogging women found to have had sex outside marriage:

"This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women, and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country"

"I strongly believe that a public debate is needed in Maldives on this issue of major concern"


President Mohamed Nasheed, the darling of the western liberal and leftist media - probably busy planning the luxurious new floating Royal Indian Ocean golf club or taking part in the activities of the exclusive Legacy club, of which he is a member -  delegated the flogging to his foreign minister:

The government of Maldives has rejected UN calls for debating the practice of flogging women guilty of committing adultery in the island nation.
"What's there to discuss about flogging?" Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem told Haveeru newspaper.
"There is nothing to debate about in a matter clearly stated in the religion of Islam. No one can argue with God."

Under Maldives law, women found to have committed adultery are punished with 30 lashes.
There are no estimates of how many women are flogged in the Muslim nation, but the punishment is usually done in public.
The UN rights chief's call has sparked protests in the island nation, with some protestors calling for Pillary's arrest.
Protestors surrounded the UN Building, and demanded an apology from the UN and parliamentarians.
No Debate
The Maldives government said that it will not allow any debates about penalties against female adulterers.
"Our foreign ministry will not allow that to happen," said Nassem.

Read the entire article here

PS

A suggestion to Jon Shenk, who made Nasheed a hero in the documentary "The Island President": What about making a sequel, "The Island President II" about the president´s and his government´s policy of accepting flogging of women and the poor, exploitative conditions for migrant workers in the tiny island state?

If Nasheed does not want to discuss these subjects in public, maybe he is prepared to organise an underwater interview?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

UK professor thinks it is "completely legitimate" for the BBC to fake scenes in "Frozen Planet"

Professor Michael Hambrey, who recently received the Polar Medal from the Queen for his research on glaciers, thinks that it is "clompletely legitimate" for the BBC to have faked scenes in "Frozen Planet":

“Natural history programmes are there to tell a story, and that is what Frozen Planet has done, showing the viewer animal behaviour that we already know exists in the wild. It is perfectly logical to do that by filming the behaviour in a zoo so I think what the BBC have done is completely legitimate.”

The same professor also predicts that Wales can expect extreme winter conditions to become more common:

But he said the public should not confuse weather patterns with climate change.
“In this country, according to the Met Office at least, the long-term projections to climate are that we will see overall global warming,” he said.
“With that we are expected to see more extreme periods of weather within our seasons. That is the distinction that needs to be made between weather and climate, while the earth is warming our weather will create more extreme events like cold spells or heavy rain within the four seasons.
“So we could see more extreme winters becoming the norm but, having said that, our last two cold winters really came from weather atmospheres that simply happened to come our way.”


Read the entire article here


Professor Hambrey clearly belongs to the group of warmist scientists, who "are there to tell a story". The world will see global warming, "according to the Met Office at least", and that means that even a coming ice age would be clear proof for global warming. Medal winning science is that easy.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Furedi on the chattering classes´ hysterical reaction to Cameron´s veto

Another great piece of analytical writing from my favourite acedemic, professor Frank Furedi:

Exposed: the snobbery and intolerance of the EU elite
The chattering classes’ hysterical reaction to David Cameron’s veto of a revised Lisbon Treaty reveals the dark heart of pro-EU sentiment.
--

Outwardly, the anger of the cosmopolitan clerisy is directed at Cameron’s alleged appeasement of Tory Eurosceptics. The term Eurosceptic has a special meaning for the adherents to cosmopolitan policymaking. In their view, Euroscepticism is associated with values they abhor: upholding national sovereignty, Britishness and a traditional way of life. The moralistic devaluation of these values was vividly communicated by the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who this week characterised Tory Eurosceptics as the ‘pinstriped effluence of an ex-imperial nation’. He seeks to dehumanise these people by arguing that this ‘specimen’s ascendancy’ was reflected in Cameron’s behaviour during the treaty negotiations. Cohen’s moral devaluation of Eurosceptics, his dismissal of them from the ranks of humanity, is captured in his description of them as a ‘bunch of insular snobs who seem to have a hard time restraining their inner fascist’.

The intemperate language suggests that the venomous anger directed at Eurosceptics cannot simply be driven by the clerisy’s love affair with the European ideal. Rather, what is at issue here is the clerisy’s preference for the technocracy-dominated and cosmopolitan-influenced institutions of Brussels. From their standpoint, the main virtue of the EU is that its leaders and administrators speak the same language as the UK clerisy. They read from the same emotional and cultural script, which they believe to be superior to the script and values associated with national sovereignty. That is why it isn’t surprising that a BBC journalist can casually ask the Estonian prime minister to have a go at her own national leader. The UK-based communications clerisy has a greater affinity with the outlook of EU technocrats and political administrators than it does with the outlook of its own people.

Of course, Cameron may be isolated in the corridors of power in Brussels - but the clerisy is more than a little out of touch with popular sentiments in Britain. Indeed, their visceral castigation of Eurosceptics is actually a roundabout way of morally condemning what the old oligarchy used to call ‘the little people’. The main sin of Euroscepticism is that it has the potential for mobilising popular sentiment. And certainly, the anger of the cosmopolitan elite does not resonate with people getting on with their lives in Birmingham, Newcastle or Leeds. Those who want to expose the heinous Eurosceptic plot to undermine the EU should remember that opinion polls demonstrate that the majority of the UK electorate does not like the EU, and when the Mail on Sunday carried out a poll asking ‘was Cameron right to use the veto?’, 62 per cent of respondents said ‘yes’.

Read the entire article here

Putin and condoms



Vladimir Putin has made fun of the country´s democratic opposition´s sign of solidarity, a white ribbon:

“Frankly, when I looked at the television screen and saw something hanging from someone's chest, honestly, it's indecent, but I decided that it was propaganda to fight Aids – that they were wearing, pardon me, a condom,"

Frankly, when one looks at and listens to this thug masquerading as a statesman, another object, usually closely connected with condoms comes to ones mind.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

"China´s credit bubble has finally popped"

The Telegraph´s International business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard today reports about a development that will have serious repercussions on e.g. the booming German export industry:

China's credit bubble has finally popped. The property market is swinging wildly from boom to bust, the cautionary exhibit of a BRIC's dream that is at last coming down to earth with a thud.

... something is wrong when the country's Homelink property website can report that new home prices in Beijing fell 35pc in November from the month before. If this is remotely true, the calibrated soft-landing intended by Chinese authorities has gone badly wrong and risks spinning out of control.

Read the entire article here

Is Russia going to save the crisis-ridden eurozone?

For months now EU leaders have been begging China´s communist rulers to participate in the continuing "rescue" efforts of the crisis-ridden eurozone. As the Chinese have not been willing to take any serious action the increasingly desperate eurocrats are now turning to the Russian thugocracy for help.

The Russians clearly enjoy this opportunity to focus attention away from their own domestic problems. That is why the de facto dictator Vladimir Putin has ordered his puppet president to show a friendly face in Brussels:

Russia is open to suggestions from European leaders on how it can help tame the region’s debt crisis during a summit in Brussels attended by President Dmitry Medvedev, a Kremlin official said.

“We see ourselves as a responsible partner for the European Union,” Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev’s chief foreign policy aide, told reporters in Moscow. “We are ready to study most attentively what they are doing and hear if they have any proposals for the Russian side.”

Medvedev is set to hold an informal dinner tonight with European Commission President Jose Barroso and EU President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels, followed tomorrow by this year’s second Russia-EU summit. The meetings will address issues ranging from Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization to unrest in the Middle East, Prikhodko said.

Read the entire article here

Medvedev will make some friendly noises in Brussels. However, the supposed "assistance" comes with strings attached:

The EU must allow Russia (Gazprom) a much more dominant role in European energy markets
The EU must prevent the American-led shale gas revolution from reaching Europe
The EU must turn a blind eye to the repression of human and political rights in Russia
The EU must not criticize Russia´s support of Syria´s Assad and other thugocrats.

There is a risk that Putin´s political menu will spoil Van Rompuy´s and Barroso´s dinner tonight.



Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The truth about EU´s "fiscal union": Modern serfdom for the people of the EU

"Fiscal union" is a code-phrase for a highly profitable debt-serfdom: the banks profit, the EU bureaucracy flourishes and the people of the EU are imprisoned in a modern serfdom.
Charles Hugh Smith

Today Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the German parliament about last week´s EU "summit", which was supposed to - once again - "save" the euro. As we pointed out in an earlier post, Frau Merkel´s speech included a great number of meaningless words that will not convince markets and investors.

The novelist and economic commentator Charles Hugh Smith gives a much more honest description of what Europe´s leaders in reality have been doing:


"Fiscal union" is the code-phrase for the EU nation agreeing to automatic sanctions (penalties) should their borrowing exceed what is deemed prudent. In this sense, it's little different from the 3% deficit limit that the member states agreed to via the initial treaty but conveniently ignored.

The "teeth" of automatic sanctions is supposed to force nations to "tighten up" their fiscal and tax policies (including collection)--"austerity" at the fundamental economic and governmental levels.

In other words, "Oops, we borrowed too much, default looms, let's paper over the insolvency by really really really promising to borrow less from now on."

The mechanisms of the overborrowing--overleveraged, politically dominant banks and the euro--are left untouched. Why? For the "obvious" reasons the mechanisms of EU governance has been captured by the banks and their apparatchiks, and as a result of the quasi-religious devotion of the Eurocrats to the single currency, a catastrophically wrong-headed fantasy that they cannot give up without losing face.

In a functioning democracy, then those who reaped the gain (the banks) would actually be exposed to the risk that accompanied their gain. But sadly, the EU is not a democracy except as a simulacrum propped up for PR purposes. The risk and the gain have been neatly separated by the Eurocrats and the toady figurehead leadership (Merkozy et al.).

As a result the gain remains safely private with the banks while the risk and losses are shifted to the taxpayers and citizens of the EU, who must now make good on those stupendous losses while remaining exposed to the risk of future default.
The same is of course also true in the U.S., another facsimile democracy in which the government and its proxies guarantee banks' profits and leverage while transferring the risk and losses to the voiceless taxpayers. (Go try to cast a vote over Fed policy. Serf, meet your Overlord, Ben Bernanke).
The banks and their lackeys in government prefer to use unaccountable proxy agencies to do the heavy lifting--the European Central Bank (ECB), the Federal Reserve, and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which is soon to be joined with other alphabet-soup agencies of oppression and predation, all in the name of "rescue."
Rescuing who and what? The banks and bondholders, of course. This requires avoiding not just democracy but also capitalism, which would require the clearing of bad debt via the discovery of price of both debt and risk, and also socialism, which would require wiping out the wealth of the banks and bondholders via nationalization, a process that would at least return surviving assets and control to an elected government.

It's not democracy, capitalism or socialism--it's all opacity and artifice to mask the imposition of a new, improved debt-serfdom on Europe, all in the name of "fiscal unity."
The eurocrats and the toady leadership would be more honest were they to simply declare: "We had to destroy democracy to save the banks. You are now serfs in our financial fiefdoms."

Smith´s phrase about the"quasi-religious devotion of the Eurocrats to the single currency, a catastrophically wrong-headed fantasy that they cannot give up without losing face" is particularly to the point. Merkel, Sarkozy and the others may be able to postpone the day of reckoning, but in the end they will not be able to avoid a loss of face. However, the longer it takes, the more expensive it will be for the European taxpayers.

"The Island President" Nasheed - Après moi, le déluge?

Nasheed´s new club has a lot to offer: The Legacy club "is, first and foremost, a lifestyle club. And like all lifestyle clubs, members enjoy a range of privileges that include investment opportunities, luxury hotel suite stays and wellness retreats, priority booking for private jets and once-in-a-lifetime experiences"



Flashback September 2011:
President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, the darling of the leftist "progressive" media,  was the hero in Jon Shenk´s documentary film "The Islands President", first shown at the Toronto Film Festival in September. According to the producers the film tells story of "a man confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced—the literal survival of his country and everyone in it".

In the film a journalist asks Nasheed : If the conference doesn’t achieve its goals and sea levels rise, what options are there for the Maldives?
Nasheed is leaning on his elbow, his face in his palm. He looks the journalist square in the eye and says: “None. We will all die.”


It now appears that Nasheed is deeply influenced by another wellknown statesman, King Louis XV of France, who uttered these unforgettable words:

“Après moi, le déluge” (“After me, the deluge")

If Nasheed still thinks that "we will all die", he has at least decided to go in style by joining the brand new Legacy club:

Legacy Club was officially launched last month with the Latin motto pharus aliis lucis, or "a beacon of light for others". It is a club focused on networking at the highest levels, but with some altruism thrown in.

We're at the Royale Chulan Hotel in Kuala Lumpur for the grand launch of Legacy and the usually mild-mannered Yim is in high spirits. He informs me that the club has gotten off to a good start, with successful personalities like Mohamad Nasheed, president of the Maldives; Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL Corporation; Kevin Yeong, chairman of Unicef's Special Fundraising Committee; and Dr Keith Goh, neurosurgeon and chairman of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore agreeing to sign up as members.
--
"One of the reasons why we conceived Legacy Club was to create an opportunity for high net worth individuals to be in the same club as tycoons, billionaires, royalty, heads of state and individuals who have made an impact on society," he says, as well-dressed waiters circle around us, bearing flutes of champagne.
--
While charity is an important focus, it doesn't take away the fact that Legacy is, first and foremost, a lifestyle club. And like all lifestyle clubs, members enjoy a range of privileges that include investment opportunities, luxury hotel suite stays and wellness retreats, priority booking for private jets and once-in-a-lifetime experiences (the next members-only event involves an insider's visit to a certain presidential palace hosted by a certain dignitary). A Legacy Constellation Quest Smartphone, worth RM32,000, will also be given to all members as a welcome gift.
--
Yim is going all out to blow his guests away on that day. There will be flight and golf simulators, super cars, fashion shows and live entertainment. And, if all this isn't enough to tickle one's fancy, guests can always hop aboard any one of the small fleet of aircraft - yes, we're talking about private jets - for a joy ride around town.

Read the entire article here

PS

President Nasheed´s official website yesterday published this interesting piece of news:

The cabinet has today decided to set up a government entity to counteract the corruption allegations being charged against the government, by some members of the parliament, political parties, and individuals.

Merkel on Europe

While I write this Chanchellor Angela Merkel is speaking to the Bundestag about the Brave New World (after last week´s EU summit) of the European Union.  Lots of words - and nothing more. This will not convince investors.

The brutal suppression of human rights continues in China



The communist rulers of China should be held accountable for their brutal suppression of human rights. Western governments - including the Obama administration - more or less ignore this repression due to China´s purported economic importance.

The chairman of the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, representative Christopher H. Smith (republican) reminds us about the reality:

Despite China’s brutal suppression of human rights, Chinese authorities claim to uphold the values of the UDHR and other human rights instruments. The government announced several months ago that it would issue a National Human Rights Action Plan for the coming years, following on the heels of a similar action plan issued in 2009. The earlier plan showed the Chinese government has improved its rhetorical strategy for asserting compliance with human rights standards but has improved little else. In the end, the plan has done nothing to better human rights conditions in China, which actually have regressed.
If we are to give real substance to human rights, we must hold China accountable to its obligations to abide by the values enshrined in the UDHR and to guarantee fundamental human rights. By keeping a constant spotlight on China’s behavior, ensuring the Chinese government faces consequences for its actions and supporting Chinese citizens in their rights defense efforts, we can give real meaning to International Human Rights Day and the values of freedom and democracy championed by Liu Xiaobo.

Read the entire article here

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Greenpeace on Canada´s decision to pull out of Kyoto




The Canadian government´s wise and laudable decision to pull out of the uselesss and expensive Kyoto Protocol has, as was to be exptected, been criticized by sanctiomonious global warming cultists.

Here is a comment from the lunatic fringe - Greenpeace :

"The Harper government has imposed a death sentence on many of the world's most vulnerable populations by pulling out of Kyoto"

Mike Hudema
Greenpeace Canada

PS

This guy is in urgent need of some kind of professional care.

Monday, 12 December 2011

A British petition to Angela Merkel

We have been informed that a group of leading British europhiles, outraged at Prime Minister David Cameron´s behaviour at the recent summit in Brussels, are preparing a secret petition to Angela Merkel.

This is the leaked first version of the text:  


To Her Imperial Majesty
The Ruler of All Europeans
and
Chancellor of the Germans

May it please Your Majesty,

We the undersigned venture respectfully to approach Your Majesty as profound sympathisers with the noble and enlightened sentiments to which Your Majesty has given expression in the deliberations in Bruxelles recently. Having read and being deeply moved by the petition of the High Representatives of the Commission Européenne in which they make a solemn appeal to Your Majesty in support of the maintenance of the common currency l´euro, first confirmed by His most gracious and Imperial Majesty Helmut Josef Michael Kohl and subsequently re-affirmed in the most solemn manner by all his illustrious successors; we venture to express the hope that Your Imperial Majesty will take into consideration this petition and prayer of Your Majesty´s most humble British servants.


It would be a matter of great regret to us, as to all other admirers of Your Majesty´s enlightened views if events that transpired during the recent deliberations in Bruxelles should retard the cause of amity among your subjects in various parts of our common Empire.


Bruxelles and London .... December, 2011 A.D.

The Right Honourable the Lord Heseltine, CH, PC

The Right Honourable the Lord Kinnock, PC

The Right Honourable Kenneth Clarke, QC, MP

The Right Honourable Nicholas William Peter Clegg, MP



PS

We understand that a copy of the petition will separately be posted to the viceroy in Palais de l'Élysée


Free Cash, $100 billion each year by 2020 "to help mitigation and adaptation" activities of the "world´s poorest countries"

The Green Climate Fund (= free, almost unlimited cash for some of the world´s most corrupted dictators and regimes) was agreed already in Copenhagen in 2009,  but now it is said to have been "launched" at the COP 17 climate change jamboree in Durban.

Fortunately this "launch" is just as fake as everything else "agreed" in Durban:

In practice, however, Durban´s only concrete progress relating to the fund was the agreement that it would be overseen by the UN, as desired by developing countries, rather than the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which the European Union and United States wanted.

The only thing that seems certain is that there will be hundreds of new highly paid taxfree jobs for UN bureaucrats. The UN Green Climate Fond will of course also need a flashy new headquarters somewhere, paid for by taxpayers in the same "somewhere".

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Wind energy subsidies take away incentive to innovate

The federal tax credits for wind power in the US expire at the end of next year. The wind energy lobby is now ramping up its efferts to get an extension of the subsidies. But, as Nicolas Loris points out, it’s time to let this wasteful, unnecessary subsidy run out:

Twenty years of subsidies later, wind still only provides a paltry 2.3 percent of America’s electricity in 2010, and it still needs subsidies.
Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D, argues that government subsidies are obstructing innovation in the renewable-energy sector:
Operating subsidies, or installation subsidies, helps get clean energy sources installed but the problem is that current technology is not economically competitive. Everything we do needs to be done with a view toward global competitiveness. Unfortunately, because current technology is not economical relative to alternatives, it does not promote our competitiveness.
The problem is that subsidies promote technological malaise. They take away the incentive to innovate and lower cost by promoting business models geared more toward gaining favor with politicians than on technological innovation. The result is that subsidized industries quickly become dependent on government. At that point, long-term competitiveness becomes secondary to near-term survival, which is generally conditioned on more handouts.
Thus when the government support is threatened, the propped-up industry responds with pleas for more handouts. Recognizing that their survival depends more on securing subsidies than on technological innovation, subsidized industries reject such investments to the extent that they too are not subsidized by government. Hence, the vicious cycle of subsidies inevitably result in technological stagnation.

The same of course applies to wind energy subsidies in other countries as well. Why waste money on a technology that does not work properly, when there will be e.g. more than enough of cheap shale gas available for all sorts of future energy needs.

COP17 - Much Ado about Nothing?

What did the Durban COP 17 agree? A “historic deal to save the planet”?

Take your pick:

"Historic is the word.´The idea that we got everybody to agree to take some form of legal commitment is a major outcome.”

Dessima Williams, Grenadian ambassador


“This is a breakthrough decision. Efforts to fight climate change will be made by all countries, not only the EU. This won’t happen right now, but a process has been started.”

Tomasz Chruszczow, Polish envoy


“This weak compromise is a victory for the fossil industry, which is successfully controlling the U.S. government not agreeing to a legally binding protocol

Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace


“We all know this is a very bad agreement that will need more work. We need to stop this farce of lack of shame.”

Claudia Salerno, Venezuelan envoy


“The ambition of the package is extremely low. It says this is a critical problem that’s time urgent, so let’s do something about it in 10 years. You have low ambition, low urgency. We’re ignoring what’s happening before our eyes.”

Paul Oquist Kelley, Nicaraguan minister


(Read the entire article here)


I have not yet read the text, but judging from the comments made by representatives for Greenpeace, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the result appears to be rather satisfactory: Much Ado about Nothing.

However, the "breakthrough" will be expensive for the EU:

CFigueres: Listen up!We have Kyoto CP2, path toward future with legal force for all, Green Climate Fund full implementation of Cancun package! #COP17

But of course the leader of the new European "Great Power" is now - when the euro is "saved" - ready to save the world, with or without the UK.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

David Pryce-Jones: It is common knowledge that Putin has stolen an immense fortune



David Pryce-Jones´s take on Russia´s de facto dictator is worth reading:

The demonstrations in Moscow illuminate a dark sky like a flash of lightning. A storm might be on its way. Vladimir Putin has corrupted the country and thousands of outraged Russians are prepared to take to the streets in protest. More than just a reactionary, Putin is a throwback who in a process as inexorable as it is tragic has built what can only be called the post-modern version of Communism. In the manner of the old Soviet Central Committee, he and his cronies have made sure to monopolize power and wealth, those two engines of the Kremlin.
It is common knowledge that Putin has stolen an immense fortune, and has the state building him palaces and amassing collections of art for him. He has cut down freedom of speech to the point where it is virtually non-existent. It is taken for granted that he authorised the murder of anyone standing in his way, many of them journalists like Anna Politkovskaya or dissident exiles like Alexander Litvinenko. The way he bankrupted, imprisoned and arbitrarily extended the massive sentence of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky is perhaps the greatest running scandal anywhere on the continent. Press-ganged, the judiciary has no independence. Grigory Yavlinsky, a possible future democratic leader, comments bleakly about these demonstrations that in Russia, “There is no rule of law.”

Read the entire article here

The "Great Power" speaks

A German journalist, writing in Der Spiegel, spells it out:

The euro crisis has exposed a kind of creative momentum that is in the process of creating something new. A new Europe. It is an entity which Chancellor Angela Merkel calls a "fiscal union." But in reality, Europe is on the path toward becoming a federal country. Germany and France would lead, as became clear on Thursday night in Brussels.

What Herr Nellas really means, is that Germany will lead (France is mentioned as "co-leader" only to make it look that Germany is not the sole leader).

And looking at the world from the viewpoint of the new and mighty "great power", there is not much room for minor countries like the UK:

Europe, though, can work fine without the British. But what kind of future does Great Britain have without the Continent and without the euro? Will it, in the future, focus exclusively on its alliance with the United States? Will the Commonwealth become a greater priority? What is this small country's role in a world made up great powers such as China, Russia, Europe and the US?

Of course it would be nice if the peoples of the EU membes states would be given a chance to say whether they want to be part of this new "great power". But that is apparently not part of of the script.

It no surprise that Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow and Honorary Chair of the European Studies Centre at Oxford, welcomes a Europe led by Germany:

Welcome to a German Europe. In return, there are more funds for bailouts and at least a hint that the European Central Bank (ECB) will intervene more actively in the markets. Germany picks up the tab. On paper, that adds up to a big step towards a fiscal and transfer union for the current members of the eurozone, and eight others committed to join it in future. It's a step from the confederal towards the federal.

Consequently, the professor thinks that Cameron´s decision is bad for Britain:

Cameron's "no" is not just a fateful moment for these islands. It's a bad moment for Europe.

PS

Yes, another - more wellknown - German shared Herr Nellas´s view on small states:

"The day of small States is past. . .

The world according to EU´s Connie Hedegaard

The European Union is apparantly too small for its überwarmist, former Danish journalist Connie Hedegaard. Now she thinks that she speaks for the entire world:

China, the US and India are the three remaining major economies that have yet to make clear signals on the EU proposal, which is a roadmap to begin negotiations on a new legally binding treaty on global warming that would kick in from 2020.
Hedegaard told the conference: "We need to get them on board today – we don't have many hours left. The world is waiting for them."

Friday, 9 December 2011

A tribute to the High Representatives of the European Union

Today this blog pays tribute to the tireless High Representatives of the European Union, who - shoulder to shoulder with democratically elected political leaders - once again have saved the euro, and indeed the future of the entire Union.

There are many of you who should be thanked for your unselfish daily toil, sacrificing quality time with families and friends in order to bring all of us stability, success and peace of mind.

Today, may the President of the European Union, Mr. Herman van Rompuy symbolise all of you:




Durban COP 17: A fake "road map leading nowhere" in the making?

The warmists at the Durban COP 17 are desperately trying to agree some kind of a fake "road map" which is then branded a "great success":

The European Union said it was encouraged its "road map" to legally binding commitments by 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions was gaining traction at the talks, which are due to wrap up in the South African port of Durban on Friday.

However an "EU source, speaking on condition of anonymity" was prepared to tell the truth about the US negotiators:

"They can agree to a road map leading nowhere but not a road map leading to a legally binding deal, which is what the EU wants"

The EU source of course knows that the US Congress will oppose any kind of binding deal.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Former maoist Barroso again lectures democratically elected leaders

One of the European Union´s two - soon to be three - unelected "presidents", former Portuguese maoist José Barroso today once again showed his arrogance and utter contempt for democratically elected leaders:



PS

Barroso, who once called the EU an empire, appears to think that he is some kind of a mini-emperor with the right to rebuke democratically elected heads of state and government. It is hight time that somebody finally tells him to shut up.

Quote of the week

"Corporations don't exist without people and without the planet."

Beatriz Perez, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
 
(At COP 17 side event in Durban)