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Saturday, 28 February 2009

Beer bottle dominos


Some people have way too much time on their hands

Jose Arrogantio




Everyday normal guy



jonlajoi - "Everyday normal guy" - Great rap parody - but mind the language

Odd one out

Question: who is the odd man out? Lord Stevenson, former chairman, HBOS; Andy Hornby, former chief executive, HBOS; Sir Fred Goodwin, former chief executive, Royal Bank of Scotland; John McFall, MP, chairman of Treasury Select Committee; Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer; and Sir Terry Wogan, presenter of Radio 2 breakfast show.

Answer: Sir Terry Wogan. He is the only one with a banking qualification.




Thanks to Private Eye for the spot.

Obsession with fame!?



If only their fame was as fleeting as Andy Warhol predicted it would be. Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga competing for vacuousness.

Are reality shows setting unrealistic standards for skanks?



It's a fair question and The Onion give it their full treatment.

The consequences of making 'reckless decisions' (update)

Daily Mash has a great take on this matter:
"GORDON Brown last night dismissed calls to surrender his £123,000 a year pension when he is forced to stop being prime minister next June.

Mr Brown was defiant in the face of City outrage despite the UK government's annual operating loss of £100bn, rising to £1.5 trillion when the write-down of its banking assets is taken into account.

The prime minister said: "I've been building up this pension since I became an MP, it's all completely legal and now you want to take it away because I've been catastrophically bad at my job and you're looking for a scapegoat. What gives?"

He added: "Yes I've been in charge of financial regulation for 12 years, yes I encouraged the housing bubble, and yes I pissed billions up the wall giving pointless jobs to Labour voters, but I fail to see what any of this has to do with me being incredibly well off."

Brown's £3m pension pot is expected to cast the spotlight on the extravagant retirement packages of other failed politicians including Alistair Darling's inexplicable £1.7m and the £1.5m awarded to John Prescott for being a national scandal for 10 years."

Do read the whole article... Satire?

Friday, 27 February 2009

The consequences of making ‘reckless decisions’`

Martin Day a correspondent on Iain Dale's blog has made a rather interesting suggestion, which I reproduce below.


"The recession gives the public a chance to get some tax payer's money back if you follow my logic!

Gordon Brown has presided over Labour’s economic strategy for a decade and a half. The Labour party wilfully followed and implemented Gordon Brown’s Economic Plan.

We now see Gordon Brown and Labour trying to gain political capital through stripping Fred Goodwin of his Pension. Whilst in my opinion the Goodwin Pension should be partially stripped back to the time when he (Goodwin) made reckless decisions as CEO of RBS, supported by a compliant board of directors (I hope they are not ‘due’ bumper Pensions as well). I do think this opens up an interesting Political point!

If Brown is advocating a removal of Fred Goodwin’s pension for taking ‘reckless decisions’ and forcing the banking group into failure and the tax payer picking up the tab. Why does Brown not have his Pension removed for doing a ‘Fred Goodwin’ on the whole economy? It was Brown’s mismanagement of the economy, its regulatory structure and arrogantly implementing policy changes that has caused hardship and savage economic contraction.

Maybe Gordon Brown should have his Pension ‘Shredded’ as he seems to have equalled Fred in his Financial Management skills."


If as many of us bloggers as possible push this idea maybe we can create some momentum behind this and get it into the MSM - and then ... who knows?

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast the treatment by the BBC Today programme of Michael Fallon at 07:09 and John Prescott at 08:10. Slight difference on tone and respect shown wouldn't you agree?

"Is BBC reporter Robert Peston a government stooge?"

So asks a "Daily Mail Reporter", apparently:
"Fresh questions have been raised over whether BBC Business editor Robert Peston is being used as a Government stooge during the financial crisis.

On Wednesday's 10 O'Clock News, Mr Peston breathlessly reported that Sir Fred Goodwin was already drawing a pension of £650,000-a-year.

He said that his pension post was worth a 'handsome' £16million. It was revealed yesterday that Sir Fred can actually claim an annual pension of £693,000.

The announcement completely overshadowed yesterday's disclosure that RBS had made a record £24billion loss - the biggest-ever in UK corporate history - and that the taxpayer would be insuring the bank against future losses of £325billion."

What a vile, baseless accusation to make against a fine independent journalist.

The Mail's article continues:
"The timing of the story has once again sparked suspicions that the journalist is being used by the government to play down its own part in the current mess.

Rather than focus on the fact that the public were being asked to insure RBS against losses, the story of Goodwin diverted attention."

What nasty suspicious minds some people have...

Is anyone uncomfortable with the imposition of the "2 minute hate" this week?

"It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the RECORDS DEPARTMENT, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate....

The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with BIG BROTHER himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared."


Any parallels with the treatment of Fred Goodwin by a Labour Government desperate to keep public attention on an £8 million pension rather than the £300 billion+ "investment".


The BBC still running interference for the Labour Government

Yesterday I blogged about the way the BBC and especially Robert Peston were using the smokescreen of Sir Fred Goodwin's pension arrangements to obscure the real story which is the accusations made by Lord King and Lord Turner to the Treasury Select Committee.

Bow I read The Telegraph reporting that:
"Mervyn King told the Treasury Select Committee that in economic terms the banks were overwhelmingly under public control. The declaration shatters the Treasury's repeated insistence that the banks, which are majority-owned by the Government, should still be classified as private sector companies.

Mr King said: "The Government owns more than 50pc of the equity [in RBS and Lloyds] and can take its decisions accordingly.

"I don't see a significant difference between that and outright nationalisation – except in the sense that this system we have now has the merit of trying to make it clear to everybody that nobody thinks the Government should be running these banks indefinitely."

In his testimony, Mr King also acknowledged that the amount of public money needed to be put behind the banks was "deeply shocking". However, he said that while keeping the banks technically private-sector would help remind people that they would ultimately end up back in private hands, he added: "The economic substance is clear. The taxpayer has had to put in so much money to ensure the viability of these banks and is now contributing the majority of the equity capital, as well as a vast amount of public support in terms of lending to these banks." "


The BBC prefer to concentrate on a bit of banker bashing whilst the real story goes almost unreported.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The difference between banking and investment management with reference to Fred Goodwin and James Crosby

Alex Masterley has a great post on this subject, do go and read it. Here's an extract:
"Goodwin shares with James Crosby the distinction that both rose to the top of a large bank with very little experience of banking. And quite frankly it shows. Crosby came from investment management and operations whilst Goodwin came from accountancy and the BCCI workout, through Clydesdale banks operations. It may not be blindingly obvious bu the skills required for investment management and accounting are very different from those required for banking.

...

banking is very different from investment management. Investment managers hope that the very high returns from some of their positions will offset any of their losing positions. Bankers don’t have that luxury. There is very little upside in banking but a lot of downside. For every loan that goes unrepaid the bank needs the profit from 100 more to recover the loss. The decisions have to be very careful. The accountant can look at a company’s accounts and decide that a loan is likely to be repaid, but that view is a taken on the date the accounts are drawn up. If it goes bad ten days later based on some unexpected incident the auditor shrugs his shoulders. It wasn’t his job to consider. The banker on the other hand has to take a forward view and understand what lies behind the assets he holds, understanding the real probability of not being repaid and whether the earnings he makes from that asset justifies the risk."

"complicit with serious abuse"

The BBC report that:
"Ministers have admitted they handed over terror suspects in Iraq to US authorities, sparking claims of collusion in extraordinary rendition.

Defence secretary John Hutton said two men detained in 2004 were transferred to US custody and were then transported to Afghanistan, where they remain.

He said he was reassured they had been treated humanely but apologised for past incorrect answers given to MPs.

The Tories said the UK faced charges of being "complicit with serious abuse".

The Lib Dems said Mr Hutton's comments raised "as many questions as answers" and called for all relevant documents in the case to be published.

Mr Hutton said that contrary to previous statements he now knew UK officials were aware that the two men, understood to be Pakistani nationals, had been transferred to US custody in 2004 but that no action had been taken on the issue.

He said "brief references" to the case had been included in papers sent to then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Home Secretary Charles Clarke in April 2006 but its significance had not been highlighted at the time. "


Read the whole of the BBC article, have a think about it, bear in mind John Hutton's remark that
"I regret that it is now clear that inaccurate information has been given to the House by my department "
Then wonder if John Hutton or Jack Straw will feel they should resign and then realise that this the 21st century and a Labour government and that Ministers don't resign. You might also wonder what Tony Blair really knew when in 2005 he said:
"It is not something that I have ever actually come across until this whole thing has blown up (the row at the time about whether US extraordinary rendition planes had passed through the UK) and I don't know anything about it, and the reason why I am not going to start ordering inquiries is that I can't see a reason for doing it, I am afraid."


"Whiter than white", "ethical foreign policy", respect for human rights - don't make me laugh.

Who knew what?

The BBC and Robert Peston are frantically trying to spin that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling knew nothing about Sir Fred Goodwin's special pension arrangements. Now I don't know whether or not they did know, although I have my suspicions. However more to the point, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are paid a large amount of money, given lavish accommodation and a multitude of perks - not to mention a huge final salary pension - surely we should be able to expect them to know what is actually going on in the affairs of businesses they decide to take under full or partial state control. Instead it is claimed that they knew nothing of the impending financial crisis despite them being in charge of one of the three arms of the tripartite financial regulatory system. It is also claimed that they didn't know what RBS was planning to pay out by way of pensions and bonuses even after taking it over in our name. If Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and the team of Treasury hot-shots, not to mention Shriti Vadera didn't feel able to check senior management's employment contracts to see what benefits were compulsory and what were discretionary, could they not have found an employment lawyer to check the details before they went ahead with the takeover?

The smokescreen of Sir Fred Goodwin's pension arrangements is being used to obscure the real story which is the accusations made by Lord King and Lord Turner to the Treasury Select Committee. The BBC in general and Robert Peston in particular are doing their best to "run interference" for Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling; how can we stop them?

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign due to gross financial incompetence in running the British economy."

Number 10 have replied to the epetition that said
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign due to gross financial incompetence in running the British economy."

The reply is interesting, so I repeat it in full with my emphasis:
"The success of the Government’s macroeconomic framework, introduced in 1997, means that the UK is facing the international financial crisis and the recession it has caused around the world from a solid foundation. Credible medium term objectives and mechanisms for short-term flexibility mean that the Bank of England and the Government can deliver the necessary support to the economy without compromising their commitments to low inflation and sound public finances.

The Government’s priorities to get Britain through the recession fairly are to prevent the collapse of the banking system, so that people’s savings are secure and the banks can do their job; to get the financial system lending responsibly again so as to support businesses, jobs and growth; to support the economy and jobs through direct government action, including tax cuts and important investment projects; and to help people through these tough times, from homeowners with difficulties paying their mortgages, or people seeking employment or training, to small businesses with cashflow problems and larger businesses needing working capital.

Action has also been taken to boost our economy by putting money in people’s pockets and bringing investment plans forward. This includes:

· income tax cuts of £145 for every basic rate taxpayer;
· £60 extra for every pensioner in January 2009;
· a VAT cut worth on average over £200 to every family this year; and
· an extra £3 billion investment in projects that will protect and create jobs.

Further details of the measures the Government has put in place to provide real help now so that homeowners, families and businesses can get through the downturn fairly are available online at http://www.realhelpnow.gov.uk/

In addition to discretionary fiscal policy to support the economy through these difficult times the 2008 Pre-Budget Report announced a sustained fiscal consolidation from 2010-11 when the economy is expected to be recovering and able to support a reduction in borrowing:

· restricting the income tax personal allowance for those with incomes over £100,000 from April 2010, and introducing a new additional higher rate of income tax of 45 per cent for those with incomes above £150,000 from April 2011;

· increasing the employee, employer and self-employed rates of national insurance contributions by 0.5 per cent from April 2011;

· to offset the effects of the temporary reduction in VAT, increasing alcohol and tobacco duties, maintaining these increases after December 2009 to support fiscal consolidation; and following a fall in pump prices of over 20 pence per litre from their summer peaks, a two pence per litre increase in fuel duty from 1 December 2008; and

· an additional £5 billion value for money target for 2010-11 and setting assumptions for spending growth from 2011-12 onwards.

We will continue to do everything we can in the current difficult times to give real help now to families and businesses, and help our economy to come through this recession as quickly as possible, and we will take the tough decisions in the medium-term to maintain low inflation and sound public finances. This will ensure the UK is well-placed to prosper in the new global economy which will follow the current global recession."


Would anyone agree that such bold claims are somewhat of a hostage to fortune? I was going to "fisk" the reply but it such obvious tripe that I really cannot be bothered.

Why cancel PMQs (update)

Yesterday I blogged that:
"The death of a child is a tragedy for the family concerned but we are talking about the government of the country and holding the government to account. The Diana-effect has taken too much of a hold on the UK, In a time of economic crisis, you shouldn't stop the normal political affairs of the whole country because one involved individual has suffered a tragedy. What next, a national day of mourning when Jade Goody dies?"

Today I see that Matthew Parris agrees:
"I did not care for the House of Commons's impromptu memorial ceremony yesterday, which may now become a precedent for whenever a party leader suffers a close personal loss. The House is there to look outward to the nation as a whole, not inward. Parliament marks the deaths in action of British servicemen in Afghanistan with a simple one-line acknowledgement, and should do no more for sadnesses closer to home. I know many Members who have faced awful tragedies in their families and who have not asked (as I'm sure David Cameron did not ask) for this to be discussed in the Chamber. The case for full-blown statements from William Hague, the Prime Minister, Vince Cable and the Speaker was not evident to me; a single sentence from each would have been enough. And there was no case at all for suspending Prime Minister's Questions."

Lord King at the Treasury Select Committee

I see in The Times that Lord King,
"The Governor of the Bank of England said that the country was so deep in debt before the financial crisis that it is making recovery more difficult.

Speaking this morning in front of an influential panel of MPs, Mr King took a side-swipe at the Government, saying debt levels had meant the UK fiscal stimulus had to be smaller than in other countries.

“I do think public debt matters. We get to this crisis with levels of public borrowing that were too high and that made it difficult," he said. But he dismissed the suggestion that UK plc was going bust as “wild exaggeration” . "


The BBC however prefer to report Lord King's words criticising the system of remuneration for UK bankers which offered a "reward for gamblers" during the boom years.


Now why would the BBC spin their article that way? Could it because the agreed Labour/BBC "narrative" is that the economic crisis is the fault of America and the bankers and not the glorious leader?

Lord Turner at the Treasury Select Committee

I blogged yesterday that the BBC seemed somewhat shy of laying all the blame on Gordon Brown. The Mail, formerly big fans of the Great Clunking Idiot, are less circumspect:
" Gordon Brown helped fuel Britain's banking crisis by pressuring City watchdogs into 'light-touch regulation', MPs were told today.

In damning evidence to the Treasury select committee, Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner said there was clear 'political' pressure not to question the business models of banks such as Northern Rock, HBOS and Bradford and Bingley.

The phrase 'light-touch regulation' was one often used by Mr Brown when chancellor and his then City minister Ed Balls. "


When the day of reckoning arrives I trust Gordon Brown will be made to pay for the almighty mess he has made of this Country.

Stop the presses: Global warming doesn't exist

Not a huge shock to regular readers of this blog but still worth reporting. The Register reports that:
"Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN's IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan's native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.

...

Three of the five leading scientists contend that recent climate change is driven by natural cycles, not human industrial activity, as political activists argue.

Kanya Kusano is Program Director and Group Leader for the Earth Simulator at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology (JAMSTEC). He focuses on the immaturity of simulation work cited in support of the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Using undiplomatic language, Kusano compares them to ancient astrology. After listing many faults, and the IPCC's own conclusion that natural causes of climate are poorly understood, Kusano concludes:

"[The IPCC's] conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are likely to show a continuous, monotonic increase, should be perceived as an unprovable hypothesis," he writes.

Shunichi Akasofu, head of the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska, has expressed criticism of the theory before. Akasofu uses historical data to challenge the claim that very recent temperatures represent an anomaly:

"We should be cautious, IPCC's theory that atmospheric temperature has risen since 2000 in correspondence with CO2 is nothing but a hypothesis. "

Akasofu calls the post-2000 warming trend hypothetical. His harshest words are reserved for advocates who give conjecture the authority of fact.

"Before anyone noticed, this hypothesis has been substituted for truth... The opinion that great disaster will really happen must be broken.""

Do read the rest of the article and spread the word, not that most people will believe the truth; hell most of them "just believe".

Gordon Brown and the suspension of normal politics

I just didn't buy it yesterday, Gordon Brown is not a nice person and he hates "Tory toffs". He may be able to hide it for a week or two but it seems too apparent that he viscerally hates the Conservatives and sees it as his role to keep them out of power for ever. Underneath his expressions of sympathy he and his team will be judging how best to benefit from the situation. Gordon Brown is not above using the death of David Cameron’s child for political advantage, he runs an unpopular government that is presiding over the economic collapse of the Country, he will not shirk from finagling any small political advantage out of this situation that he can.

Lest we forget - Gordon Brown screwed our pensions

"Gordon Brown was warned explicitly that he would cause the death of the final salary pension scheme and cost companies and individuals billions of pounds when he took the knife to the pension system in his first Budget.

Confidential documents sent to the Chancellor before he axed the dividend tax credit in 1997 also warned that the worst-hit victims would be the poorest members of society.

The internal Treasury forecasts, released last night under the Freedom of Information Act, state that the changes would "cause a shortfall in existing assets of up to £75 billion" and that "employers would have to contribute about an extra £10 billion a year for the next 10 to 15 years to get pension scheme funding back on track".

The abolition of the credit system has become notorious as the biggest and perhaps most damaging tax grab of Mr Brown's chancellorship. It became known as the ultimate stealth tax since it only became clear in the following years how serious a dent it was to leave in pension funds.

Actuaries have claimed the move cost schemes £5 billion a year and plunged the pension system into crisis. They allege that Britain has gone from having one of the best pension systems in the world to one of the worst.

The papers released last night reveal that the Chancellor took his decision in the full knowledge that the costs to pension funds could be double £5 billion a year.

They also show that in 1997 "90 per cent of employees in occupational pension schemes have defined benefit" - schemes that pay out a portion of final salary. Now, less than half do, according to actuaries. The Treasury only published the papers last night after losing a lengthy battle to suppress them."

From The Telegraph April 2008.


Gordon Brown has been a disaster as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister and the sooner the snot-gobbling liar is gone the better.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Shh don't mention "his" name

The BBC report Lord Turner's appearance before the Treasury Committee and his remarks. The BBC quote him saying that a "light touch" approach at the City watchdog had been seen as politically preferred and that he said that the regulatory approach that encouraged a light touch at institutions such as Northern Rock, HBOS, and RBS had been affected by "a political assumptions". "There was a philosophy routed in political assumptions which suggested the key priority was to keep it light rather than to ask more questions"

Buried further down the report is a reference to the man with the "Clunking Fist" who liked a "light touch" when it came to regulation, Mr Gordon Brown, but that is quickly followed up with a spreading of the blame to all parties:
"The comments may be seen as laying blame on Gordon Brown, who was responsible for setting up the regulatory system while chancellor.

But he adding that the preference for light touch regulation "existed in speeches on both sides of the House". "


Lord Turner wants to keep his job and the BBC a=want to keep Gordon Brown in power so Gordon Brown is allowed to play McCavity the Mystery Cat again.

Benjamin Netanyahu

"The scene: a BBC TV studio during the 2006 war with Hezbollah.

Indignant BBC interviewer: “How come so many more Lebanese have been killed in this conflict than Israelis?”

Bibi: “Are you sure that you want to start asking in that direction?”

Indignant BBC interviewer: “Why not?”

Bibi: “Because in World War II more Germans were killed than British and Americans combined, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the war was caused by Germany’s aggression. And in response to the German blitz on London, the British wiped out the entire city of Dresden, burning to death more German civilians than the number of people killed in Hiroshima.

“Moreover, I could remind you that in 1944, when the RAF tried to bomb the Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen, some of the bombs missed their target and fell on a Danish children’s hospital, killing 83 little children.

“Perhaps you have another question?”

Perhaps indeed!"





Thanks to Oy Vay a Goy for the spot.



I see at Snopes that the above might not be an exact quote but it is still rather good...

Just leave the keys under the driver's seat

Those are the instructions of many a Caribbean car hire firm and one that scares me a little coming from London. The economic problems in Dubai are creating an even scarier scenario (my emphasis):
"Local police have found at least 3,000 automobiles -- sedans, SUVs, regulars -- abandoned outside Dubai International Airport in the last four months. Police say most of the vehicles had keys in the ignition, a clear sign they were left behind by owners in a hurry to take flight.

...

On the night of December 31, 2008 alone more than 80 vehicles were found at the airport. "Sixty cars were seized on the first day of this year," director general of Airport Security, Mohammed Bin Thani, told DNA over the phone. On the same day, deputy director of traffic, colonel Saif Mohair Al Mazroui, said they seized 22 cars abandoned at a prohibited area in the airport.

Faced with a cash crunch and a bleak future ahead, there were no goodbyes for the migrants -- overwhelmingly South Asians, mostly Indians - just a quiet abandoning of the family car at the airport and other places."


The Dubai dream may be over...

Where are the protests?

Why does Israel's actions attract the comments, the protests and the opprobrium? David Aaronovitch in The Times writes
"Last week the Pakistani authorities reached a ceasefire with the insurgents, part of which is to agree that girls will no longer have the right to go to school in Swat. Where are the student occupiers and the calls for sanctions?"


And here's
Baroness Deech in the House of Lords this week: "No one can accuse this House of not focusing on the distressing situation in Gaza. In the past 12 months, there have been 161 Questions and Statements about Israel, Gaza and the Palestinians compared with, for example, 33 on Sri Lanka and 24 on Tibet. I mention Sri Lanka in particular because noble Lords will be aware that recently there was a
well attended protest in Parliament Square about the terrible attacks on the Tamils, the hospitals under siege, the killing of 70,000 people and the many more thousands who are trapped and displaced from their homes. This has attracted little opprobrium and no calls for the obliteration of Sri Lanka or talk of its brutalisation."


What is so peculiar and specific about Israel and the Palestinians that it dominates our news and attracts so much attention. Is it as simple as anti-Semitism?

A piercing too far

News that
"Elaine Davidson, the world's most pierced woman, has added yet more metal adornments to her body, bringing the grand total to 6,005. "
Struck a chord with me as I met this extraordinary woman a while back and she certainly stands out in a crowd.

Why must Muslim children only eat Halal food?

Many schools are looking at Halal options for their menus of serving all students with Halal meat but I discovered something today. Whereas Jews are meant only to eat Kosher food, it seems that the laws of Halal are somewhat less prescriptive:
"Food must be slaughtered by slitting the veins of the neck without severing the spinal cord. and the Name of God must be mentioned. Animals slaughtered for food by "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians) is also lawful (provided it's not otherwise prohibited such as pork or alcohol added)."
Is this true?

Lord Ahmed update

Lord Ahmed the texting Labour peer has not received the maximum sentence for driving dangerously -
"The court had heard how Lord Ahmed sent and received a series of five text messages while driving in the dark at speeds of, and above, 60mph along a 17-mile stretch of the motorway."

The headline sentence is a paltry 12 weeks in prison, but in fact apparently he will serve just half of his sentence in jail and the other half on licence. He was also banned from driving for a year.


Maybe the BBC will now refer to Lord Ahmed as the "convicted criminal" Lord Ahmed rather as they do with Jeffrey Archer. Maybe they would also like to mention in their article about Lord Ahmed's conviction that he allegedly threatened to "to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr Wilders from entering the House".

How Obama got elected

Take a look at this maybe read some of my old post and then watch this video...
Democracy? When people that ill-informed have the vote and the media is that biased, it's not democracy, it's a fix.

Why cancel PMQs?

David Cameron's son Ivan died early this morning and understandably David Cameron was therefore not going to take part in PMQs at noon today. However I understand that Gordon Brown has decided to cancel PMQs, why?

William Hague would normally stand in if David Cameron is absent and if Gordon Brown followed protocol and withdrew himself then Harriet Harman would normally stand in for him. Ah, hold on, I think I have just worked out a possible reason why Gordon Brown cancelled PMQs, he doesn't want to boost Harriet Harman in her campaign to be the next Labour leader.

The death of a child is a tragedy for the family concerned but we are talking about the government of the country and holding the government to account. The Diana-effect has taken too much of a hold on the UK, In a time of economic crisis, you shouldn't stop the normal political affairs of the whole country because one involved individual has suffered a tragedy. What next, a national day of mourning when Jade Goody dies?


I hear a rumour that Nick Robinson made a supremely tasteless comment this morning about the political implications of Ivan Cameron's death but I will not repeat it here until I have independent confirmation that it was said.

Is there a motive here that the BBC are trying not to ascribe?

The BBC report that:
"A shopper saw a man squirt a foul-smelling brown liquid over frozen chips in a Tesco store in Gloucestershire, Bristol Crown Court has been told.

Sahnoun Daifallah, 42, of Bibury Road, Gloucester, denies squirting a mixture of urine and faeces at four businesses last May."


Something struck me as I read the article and saw where Sahnoun Daifallah did his "squirting"? In Tescos it was on "frozen food" and the "wine section". In Morrisons it was again the "wine section". Previously he had squirted his substance in the Air Balloon Pub, in Birdlip, and then to a Waterstones bookstore where he is accused of spraying the brown liquid over the toilet in the coffee shop, although The Sun says it was over children's books.

Does anyone else wonder if Sahnoun Daifallah was attacking items that were "haram"?

Jarndyce and Jarnyce transplanted to Italy

The Telegraph reports that:
"A 102-year-old Italian woman has won a 12-year legal battle – only to be told that under the country's appeals process it could take another decade or more for the case to be properly settled."

It reminds me of Charles Dickens' Bleak House -
"Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable old people have died out of it. Scores of persons have deliriously found themselves made parties in Jarndyce and Jarndyce without knowing how or why; whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit. The little plaintiff or defendant who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out; the legion of bills in the suit have been transformed into mere bills of mortality; there are not three Jarndyces left upon the earth perhaps since old Tom Jarndyce in despair blew his brains out at a coffee-house in Chancery Lane; but Jarndyce and Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless."

Surveillance Britain

I read some unsurprising news this morning, apparently:
"The Home Office has suggested that the remote-controlled drones could be used to help police gather evidence and track criminals without putting officers at risk.

The miniature aircraft could be fitted with cameras and heat-seeking equipment, allowing police to carry out aerial reconnaissance from a control room.

They also have the benefit of being quieter than conventional helicopters or spotter planes and are much cheaper to run due to their fuel economy."

The key word here is "criminals", as the public here one thing but the government mean something much wider in definition. Also bear in mind "mission creep" and these devices will be used to monitor heat escaping from houses - Climate Change criminals, rubbish bins put out too early - environmental criminals; I am sure you can think of more examples of the type of "criminals" that these devices will be used against.

EU trying to acquire more powers

The BBC report that:
"The City of London and other financial institutions should be supervised by a new pan-European watchdog, a European Commission report will recommend.

Its proposals, written by ex-Bank of France Governor Jacques de Larosiere, will include an EU-wide supervisory scheme for banks and financial bodies. "

The EU trying to acquire more power, what a shock. This is what the EU is for to gather power, to centralise it and to control Europe.

I liked this line in the BBC report:
"The independent group was set up by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in November to look at ways of improving supervision of the financial sector. "

"Independent"? Independent of what or who?

I also had a jolly good laugh at this line from the BBC report:
"BBC Europe Editor Mark Mardell said supporters of the scheme would like to see national bodies like the UK's Financial Services Authority made subordinate to the new institution. "

Well of course they do, that's because they want everything "National" to be subservient to everything EU.


Just one final thought, why would the UK even consider making its financial regulation subservient to regulation by an organisation that hasn't managed to get its own accounts approved by its own auditors for 14 years?

Crime and punishment in Labour Britain

I read this in The Mail about the "Pensioner who gave teenager 'clip round the ear' with church papers found guilty of assault" and was as annoyed as I expected to be by the way that as Mrs Harding's lawyer put it:
"The message sent out to young people in our society is that you are able to commit such actions freely knowing that the moment they complain to the police it will be taken seriously and anyone trying to do anything about it will end up in the dock."


Then I found something on David Copperfield:
"In the UK, there was a belief that crime could be beaten simply by accurately categorising incidents as crimes and then by detecting those crimes. In practical terms that meant police officers spending less time on serious offences and doing such things as arresting people by post (hey ho!) so that they could close cases and get detections. Over here (Canada), there's a belief that the more time you spend proactively patrolling, then the less crime there will be; the more visible you are, the more you deter. Consequently, that's what we get measured on: how much time is spent on proactive patrol versus how much time is spent reactively dealing with incidents versus how much time is spent eating.

I can't see that there's a direct correlation (for example, a 10% increase in patrolling equals a 20% reduction in crime) sufficient to satisfy an accountant, but I can see the sense in it. So, I look at the crime maps that are emailed to my patrol car and target those areas that need it, knowing that I've got the time to do it and the powers that be want me to do it.

I always thought detections for the sake of it were mostly nonsense, and I couldn't see how staying in the police station, sending out letters to people, then arresting them without much evidence was helping anyone, but for a long time my fears were allayed with the belief that someone with more intelligence than be had the whole thing worked out. Sadly, they didn't (they had more intelligence than me, they just didn't have this particular thing worked out)."

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Rock 'n Roll



Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino supported by Paul Shaffer, Ronnie Wood and others.

Now that's Rock n' Roll keyboard playing of the highest order.




Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

Freedom of Information?

Not if it might embarrass our political masters there isn't. The BBC reports that:
"Justice Secretary Jack Straw has vetoed the publication of minutes of key Cabinet meetings held in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003.

He said he would use a clause in the Freedom of Information Act to block the release of details of meetings in which the war's legality was discussed.

Releasing the papers would do "serious damage" to Cabinet government, he said, and outweighed public interest needs.

The Information Tribunal ruled last month that they should be published."


Isn't this Labour government wonderful, all bright eyed and full of good intentions in 1997 and now as shady a bunch as you could wish(?) to meet. In fact some of us realised that they were shady shysters in 1997 but who wanted to listen then?

"It's not about religion, it's about politics" - Really?

The problem is Israel not Judaism, it's a political problem not a religious one - so the useful idiots in the West proclaim as they protest at the latest "Israeli atrocity", however the facts are somewhat different.

Here are the words of Egyptian cleric Zaghloul Al-Naggar, from an interview which aired on Al-Rahma TV on January 6, 2009 - "my emphasis":
"Zaghloul Al-Naggar: I have written about the conspiracy against the Palestinian people, and about how this abominable conspiracy was hatched by Britain and France, in collaboration with several Western countries. In our days, this conspiracy has been adopted by the U.S. This conspiracy has many causes. The West wanted to avenge its defeat in the Crusades, so it gathered these dispersed [Jewish] communities – the scum of the earth and garbage of the nations – and planted them in the heart of the Arab world, thus saying to us: "We've returned, after you drove us out of this blessed land."

The Jews used to live a life of squalor and humiliation, and were fought and persecuted in Europe and the whole world. I lived in Britain from the early 1960s, and many stores and restaurants still had a "no dogs, no Jews" sign. The Jews wanted to escape the humiliation imposed on them by the West, and to shift it to the Arab nation. In this case, two goals coincided: The Jews' goal was to have a state, which would protect them from their humiliation all over the world, and the goal of the West was to avenge its defeat in the Crusades, by returning to the region.

...


The Jews have never been faithful to agreements.

Interviewer: Right.

Zaghloul Al-Naggar: That is how they are described in the Koran. They are not faithful to treaties or agreements. They depend upon American and Western aid. We – the Arab states, governments, and officials – made a huge mistake in dealing with this as a political issue, when it is, in fact, a religious issue.

Interviewer: An issue of faith.

Zaghloul Al-Naggar: The Prophet Muhammad said: "If [the enemy] treads upon even an inch of Muslim land, Jihad becomes a duty, and a child should set out on Jihad even without his parents' permission, a wife without her husband's permission, and a slave without his master's permission."

Interviewer: So are you calling to wage Jihad?

Zaghloul Al-Naggar: Absolutely. There is no solution...

Interviewer: But who has the right to declare Jihad?

Zaghloul Al-Naggar: Let me be clear. Jihad is the only way to resolve this issue. With the Jews, one cannot achieve anything by means of peace, or a settlement, or open borders, or diplomatic and commercial ties. They are devils in human form. Many people think that Judaism is a religion, but today's Jews are not really Jews, and have nothing to do with Moses and the Torah. They are a gang of evil thieves who stole this land. By nature, a thief who knows he has no right to the land imposes his presence by means of force, by bloodshed, by excessive massacres, by excessive killings, and by destruction, in order to prove that he has rights in this region.

Interviewer: True.

Zaghloul Al-Naggar: This is the nature of thieves.

Interviewer: Right.

Zaghloul Al-Naggar: It is inconceivable that we deal with this band of thieves as a state. We made a big mistake by treating them as a state. This is not a state. These are gangs of evil thieves and murderers...

[...]

By occupying the Arab and Islamic countries, the Western world has managed to exclude Islam completely from the decision-making. All kinds of impure scoundrels seized power. The Arab world is ruled by the scum of the earth and the garbage of all nations. We pray that Allah will guide them. Either that, or that He would relieve us of them all.

Interviewer: Yes.

Zaghloul Al-Naggar: There is not a single Arab leader who understands or implements Islam.

[...]

I blame the Islamic countries as well, not just the Arab countries. I say to Iran: Where are your missiles? You raise the banner of Islam, but where are your missiles? Where are all the soldiers you parade in military marches? I say to Hizbullah: Where are your missiles? When will you use them, if not now? I say to Syria, part of whose land has been occupied for over 30 years: Where is your army? Where are your missiles?"


Did you get that?
"We... made a huge mistake in dealing with this as a political issue, when it is, in fact, a religious issue."


Any comments, oh useful idiots and anti-Semites?




Thanks to MEMRI TV for the transcript.

A nuclear Iran and Syria?

Following this post, this one and this one about Syria's nuclear ambitions, I read that:
"The UN nuclear agency says it has found additional particles of uranium in samples taken from the site of an alleged nuclear facility in Syria.

Syria denied the site was a nuclear reactor and alleged the uranium traces found there came from Israeli missiles fired on it in September 2007.

But the International Atomic Energy Agency said the probability of the uranium coming from missiles was low.

The IAEA called on Syria to co-operate more with its inquiry.

It said Syria had not answered many of the agency's questions about the destroyed facility.

Israeli warplanes flattened the facility in the Syrian desert in 2007 on suspicion that it was part of a covert nuclear weapons programme.

The report for the IAEA board members has been seen by news agencies ahead of a meeting to discuss Syria next week.

It said IAEA inspectors had been blocked from making follow-up visits to the site.

The latest report comes after a November report said the site had features resembling those of a nuclear reactor site, but it did not exclude the possibility that it was being used for purposes unrelated to nuclear activity.

In that first report on its findings, the IAEA said "significant" traces of uranium were also found.

Syria has always maintained the site was a disused military building. "


Oh those Syrians...

Monday, 23 February 2009

Trimble came good

University Challenge Final and after the recent publicity regarding Gail Trimble I was quite disappointed until her final burst of question answering. It is a shame that more people in this Country will know who Jade Goody is than will know who Gail Trimble is. The former thought "East Angular [sic] ... was abroad", "didn't realise Aberdeen was in Scotland" and that "Portugal was in Spain" and who made some rather nasty racist comments on TV; the latter seems a polite, intelligent and cultured young lady. In Labour Britain is it any surprise that Jade Goody is a household name and a heroine for many of the Country's youth, whilst Gail Trimble is called by some "a hateful know-it-all" and an "annoying bitch"?

What is the dividing line between party and Country?

A tricky question that has become even trickier with this Labour government who have governed as if they really were "the political wing of the British people". Take a look at the Real Help Now website which proudly proclaims as fact Gordon Brown's very controversial claim that:
"Many people are asking how we found ourselves in this economic crisis, how we are going to get out of it and what the future is going to hold. I want to explain to people how this crisis, which started in America, has developed - and reassure people that Britain can come out of this stronger and fairer than before."

Party propaganda or Government information?

Will we ever be able to rid ourselves of this Labour government? Why do I have the nasty feeling that we may not be allowed a general election? Why do I fear that any civil unrest will lead to this Labour government implementing the Civil Contingency Act so as to "postpone" elections, initially for a short time and then for the duration of the disturbances, disturbances that may last for a very very long time indeed?

A summer of hate rather than love

On Saturday I blogged that:
"If we have a hot summer this year are you ready for the riots that will ensue on the streets of London, Liverpool and Manchester? Many people are angry and they will want to vent this anger. "

Today I read in The Mail that:
"Police are bracing themselves for a 'summer of rage' against the economic crisis, a senior officer warned today.

Superintendent David Hartshorn, who heads the Metropolitan Police's public order branch, said he feared there could be 'mass protest' at rising unemployment, failing financial institutions and the downturn in the economy.

The officer told The Guardian that 'known activists' were planning returns to the streets, and intelligence revealed that they may be able to call on more protesters than normal due to the unprecedented conditions.

He said: 'Those people would be good at motivating people, but they haven't had the "footsoldiers" to actually carry out (protests).

'Obviously the downturn in the economy, unemployment, repossessions, changes that. Suddenly there is the opportunity for people to mass protest.'

Mr Hartshorn, who is regularly briefed on potential causes of civil unrest, singled out April's G20 summit of the leading developed nations in London as one of the events that could kick start a series of protests.

'We've got G20 coming and I think that is being advertised on some of the sites as the highlight of what they see as a "summer of rage",' he said."


Of course there will be trouble, there are people in this Country who enjoy causing trouble and chaos. I expect banks and their staff to be targeted and the BBC to excuse the attacks by referring to excessive bonuses etc. The fact that most of the people who will be targeted will not have received a large bonus or any bonus at all will not matter to the professional agitators who infest this Country or their supporters in the BBC.


What one has to ask oneself is; how bad will the protesting have to get before the Labour government feel justified in implementing the Civil Contingency Act. As I blogged in January
"My advice is to get out of the UK whilst you still can. If you decide to stay then: buy a generator, lay in stocks of fuel, food and water and secure your house against what may be coming. 2009 may go down in history as the year the Labour government reaped the harvest of what it had sown over 12 years. Don't expect the police and the government to help you; you and I are expendable, only the government and its friends will be protected. And don't expect to be able to vote this Labour mob out at a general election, any civil unrest will lead to the Civil Contingency Act being used to "postpone" elections, initially for a short time and then for the duration of the disturbances, disturbances that may last for a very very long time indeed.

That all means that Gordon Brown might very well be the last UK Prime Minister that you and I ever know; now isn't that a depressing thought? "

What "they" talk about

On MEMRI TV I found this of excerpts from a speech made by Kuwaiti Professor Abdallah Al-Nafisi, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 2, 2009. Here's some extracts, I presume he was arrested by the pro-Western Kuwaiti government for incitement after this programme was aired...

"Abdallah Al-Nafisi: Four pounds of anthrax – in a suitcase this big – carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the US, are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour, if it is properly spread in population centers there. What a horrifying idea. 9/11 will be small change in comparison. Am I right? There is no need for airplanes, conspiracies, timings, and so on. One person, with the courage to carry four pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this "confetti" all over them, and then will do these cries of joy. It will turn into a real "celebration."


...


In the US, there are more than 300,000 white militia members, who are calling to attack the federal government in Washington, and to banish the Arabs, the Jews, and the negroes [sic] from the US. These are racist people. They are called "rednecks." The Ku Klux Klan. They are racists.
[...]
These militias even think about bombing nuclear plants within the US. May Allah grant them success, even though we are not white, or even close to it, right? They have plans to bomb the nuclear plant at Lake Michigan. This plant is very important. It supplies electricity to all of North Africa [sic]. May Allah grant success to one of these militia leaders, who is thinking about bombing this plant. I believe that we should devote part of our prayers to him. We should pray that Allah grants him success, so he can complete this mission, and we will be able to visit him and congratulate him, Allah willing.


...


Allah states in the Koran that the hostility between us and [the Jews] is eternal. So whoever talks about dialogue – cut off his tongue! What dialogue are they talking about?! There is no room for dialogue. Allah said that our hostility towards the Jews is eternal, and then along comes someone and talks about brotherhood and so on... This contradicts the Koran. Anyone who contradicts the Koran is an infidel. Accusing people of heresy? Yes, I'm all for it. Yes, I support accusing people of heresy."


Hold on though, is that really incitement? Let's see what Professor Abdallah Al-Nafisi has to say in the same speech:
"I, Abdallah Fahd Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Nafisi, am inciting you to confront, using any means possible, anyone who speaks out against the resistance. "Any means possible" – get it?"

Could he be any clearer? Any action pending against this professor by the Kuwaiti government?

Re Lord Ashcroft

To the Labour supporters at the BBC rubbing their hands with glee over the possibility of investigating Lord Ashcroft again, I say fine but do also investigate Lakshmi Mittal, Ronnie Cohen and Swaraj Paul. After all what's sauce for the goose...

Of course in the eyes of the left these are entirely different cases. Whilst Lakshmi Mittal, Ronnie Cohen and Swaraj Paul support and contribute to the Labour party - a legitimate political party, Lord Ashcroft supports and contributes to the Conservative party - an unnecessary political party in these times when the Labour party is more than ever "the political wing of the British people".

I would also like an investigation into whether government modernisation grants to the Trade Unions are funnelled to the Labour party via Union donations.

Who are UNRWA?



UNRWA - "Lords of Misery"

"The UN is a political organisation... the Arab League needs the refugee problem to maintain its cohesion against Israel"

Richard Crossman - Le Monde 1951

Gold

The news from India recently was that:
"With the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the third largest official holder of gold, all set to sell around 400 tonnes of gold to fund changes to its financing base, the bullion market is set to witness a flurry of activities in the coming months.

Even though there were speculations about IMF’s going ahead with the plan, this week the fund clarified that it does not intend to alter plans to sell over 400 tonnes of gold.

According to IMF, a recent surge in IMF lending to countries facing balance of payments crises related to the global economic slowdown and financial turmoil has led analysts to question whether the Washington-based institution will proceed with the plan.

The sale is expected to hit the gold price, which is at the peak now. Following the recession, gold prices have soared to new heights as safe haven buyings increased."


Meanwhile GATA reported that:
"A report from a research organization in London, VM Group, today raised speculation that the International Monetary Fund may no longer need to sell its gold reserves to raise money, what with the IMF making loans again to bankrupt countries and hoping to earn interest from those loans."

Although
"But anything about IMF gold sales is likely to be disinformation, insofar as the evidence is that the IMF has no gold at all, only the most tenuous claim on the gold reserves of some of its member nations, and insofar as China, to diversify its foreign exchange reserves, probably would buy, in an off-market transaction, any and all IMF gold offered for sale. Indeed, given the secrecy that envelops official gold reserves, any gold that is really under the IMF's control or influence well may have been transferred or irrecoverably leased already.

In any case, gold investors should worry about IMF gold no more than they worry about rogue asteroids and the expiration of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012. Whatever the IMF does, GATA plans to continue using the Gregorian calendar, and the financial press being what it is, we manage to cope with plenty of asteroids every day. "


You can read VM's report here.


So what does this all mean for the price of gold? Has it peaked? Is it set for an upcoming fall? I don't know about the next few months but I can only see gold being more expensive in 2 years than it is now.

LDV surprising news

The news that :
"Struggling van-maker LDV has asked the government for millions of pounds in loans to help secure its future.

It wants access to bridging loans to tide it over while it presses ahead with plans for a management buy-out. "
is widely reported on the BBC this morning. However, so far as I am aware, it is only the website that informs us that
"The management buy-out of the firm, currently owned by Russian company Gaz, aims to make it into the first big producer of electric vans in the UK.

Gaz is controlled by oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a friend of Business Secretary Lord Mandelson. "


I am pretty sure that the Peter Mandelson link was not mentioned on the BBC radio reports this morning. Am I right?

EU breaking up?

De Spiegel reports that:
"Germany's Finance Ministry is currently looking into ways to help struggling euro zone member states. Its ultimate aim is to save Europe's common currency from collapse. Will Germany have to bail out other EU states the way it is rescuing its banks and industry?

The Germany finance minister chose a stage far away from the political hustle and bustle of the German capital Berlin to speak about the unspeakable. "We have a few countries in the euro zone who are getting into difficulties with their payments," Peer Steinbrück told a crowd in Düsseldorf on Monday.

...

From Steinbrück's perspective, the coming decade may well be a gloomy one -- at least for some members of the euro zone, the countries that have adopted Europe's common currency. Ireland, especially, is currently in a "very difficult situation," Steinbrück said, confirming what until then only currency market speculators or independent researchers had dared to say. Then the minister went a whole lot further: "If one euro zone gets into trouble, then collectively we will have to be helpful."

The concession was tantamount to a complete reversal. Until Monday, not a single representative of the euro zone had been willing to discuss the possibility of aid measures for countries in dire financial straits. Instead they have pointed to the Maastricht Treaty, which provides the foundations for the common currency. The treaty prohibits the community of states from providing financial aid to individual euro zone members. Each government is required to keep its own finances in order so that no country becomes dependent on another.

But now Steinmeier is creating the impression that some euro zone members may ultimately require the same kind of bailout already seen in the banking industry and manufacturing. It could come at the cost of billions to taxpayers. "The euro-region treaties don't foresee any help for insolvent countries, but in reality the other states would have to rescue those running into difficulty," Steinbrück said.

For German taxpayers, this would be no small sum. If Germany were to pay into a bailout based on its size relative to other euro zone countries, it would be forced to cover one-fourth of the entire tab. "


The countries within the Euro-zone that are closest to financial collapse are: Greece, Ireland and Italy. Switzerland and the UK are also at risk but they are not in the Euro, or in Switzerland's case the EU.

De Spiegel continues:
"Compared to German government bonds, which are considered the most secure investments in the euro zone, the three countries are being forced to pay investors a significant risk premium. In Greece that premium is 3 percent, 2.5 percent in Ireland and 1.4 percent in Italy.

Only a short time ago, the costs of floating bonds were largely unified across the euro zone. In light of interest rates that are drifting apart, media in some places, particularly in Britain and the United States, have begun speculating about the possible collapse of Europe's common currency. "Once a blessing, now a burden," the New York Times recently wrote in an article detailing the turbulence. "


The EUSSR may be about to experience an economic collapse which would be terrible to experience but it may have the upside of destroying the political unification train. Alternatively the Irish people may be "encouraged" to vote yes in the re-run referendum so as to get EU help. If the latter happens then I see the final move to political unification being hurried along so as to tie us all together for the future.

What's the speed limit? (update)

Back in October I blogged about the ridiculous speed controls on the A40 between Gypsy Corner and Savoy Circus. I note this weekend that the speed limit is still being advertised over the 400 or so yards of the average speed check as both 20mph and 30mph. A mixture of signs means that some motorists are sticking to 30mph, some to 20mph and some to somewhere in-between, with obvious resulting problems.

Is it too much to ask for some sense in the signing of speed limits, or is this another way of deliberately raising money through driver confusion? Either way the current situation is dangerous as drivers drive through the roadworks with one eye on their speedometer.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

A date missed

On February 13 at 23:31:30 UTC, the Unix time number read 1234567890 seconds.

Ponzi schemes

I have blogged about Ponzi schemes before and noted the similarities between illegal Ponzi schemes and the way national Insurance works in the UK. Back in October 2008 I blogged
"What interests me is that the UK is as a whole part of an enormous ponzi scheme. How else can you describe the public sector state pension scheme that operates in the UK? This scheme does not work by people paying their "stamps" into a fund, as many still believe, it works by paying current retirees out of current workers' contributions. As the numerical balance between retired and working changes over the next 10 years I expect to see more resistance to this method of funding, maybe that is what the stock of Tasers will be used to sort out.... "

A year earlier I had blogged when snap-election fever was at its height :
"The best the Conservatives can hope for is to leave Gordon Brown with a very small overall majority and so to limp on as a damaged Prime Minister for a few years as his Ponzi Scheme economy crashes around him, utterly destroying his reputation for competence. As I have blogged before, just like 1992, this is the General Election to lose."


In December I blogged about City Unslicker's scary remarks that:
"Mr Brown is still at large and it is feared the last part of his scheme may still be to come. Allegedly, Brown is unhappy that some money still remains outside of the scheme. He plans a final assault on the Pound Sterling. This paper currency has been in circulation for hundreds of years and is an unsuspecting victim of the Scheme. Interest rates will again be dropped, a 'run on the pound' will lead to hyper-inflation and the remaining money outside of The Scheme will have become worthless. Everything and everyone will be subservient to Mr Brown."


Anyone still willing to argue that Gordon Brown has no such plan, subconscious or otherwise?


Today I read in The Times that Dominic lawson has caught up with us:
"I’m sorry to ruin your weekend but I believe you are the victim of a gigantic financial fraud. This does not mean that you are a holder of one of Antigua-based Sir Allen Stanford’s certificates of deposit, which the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleges were sold on an entirely false prospectus. Nor am I referring to the victims of Bernard Madoff. The British public has been unaffected by that gargantuan Ponzi scheme, which was marketed almost entirely in North America. Yet here in the UK we have our own fraudulent scheme, on a scale dwarfing even Madoff’s operations - and it is run by the British government.

This racket is divided into two distinct operations: one is called the National Insurance scheme and the other is usually referred to as the public sector pension scheme. The National Insurance scheme has remarkable affinities with the Ponzi mechanism. That is to say, the participants seem on the surface to be investing money that will ultimately pay for their future (state) pension. In fact, however, you will not be receiving a return on your investment during 40 years of dutiful contributions while in employment. Instead you will get money - at the rate, currently, of a measly £90 a week - that is simply what the government is prepared to release out of the inflow from newer contributors to the scheme.

In two particular ways National Insurance corresponds to the classic elements of the Ponzi scheme: it involves, first, a transfer from new participants to older ones and, second, a deliberate obscuring of the true nature of the transaction. “Investors” are sent a record of their contributions, with the false implication that your future benefits are related to how much you have paid in taxes. In other words, like the Madoff scheme, it looks as though you are an investor, when in fact you are just a donor to earlier contributors. Unlike in the Madoff Ponzi, however, your “investments” are not solicited; they are compulsory. Or, to put it another way, this is a tax masquerading as an insurance scheme. "

Do read the rest of Dominic Lawson's article and wonder at how long it takes the "dead tree press" to catch up with the "blogosphere".

Is Gordon Brown a hypocrite?

The BBC report that:
"Gordon Brown has called for a more responsible banking system, in which banks are the "servants of the economy and society and never its master".

The prime minister said the Financial Services Authority was looking at how new mortgages of more than 100% should be controlled in the future.

Writing in The Observer, he called for a return of "prudent", old-fashioned high street banks.

He also said banks should have a focus on making loans to UK businesses. "


If Gordon Brown's comments weren't so delusional and misleading it'd be funny. Gordon Brown stoked up the house-price bubble as a way of keeping people voting Labour. He supported light-touch bank regulation, was openly critical of other European banking systems for their strict regulation and inflexibility.

Tilt shift video

Last year I blogged about tilt shift photography, the technique which involves adjusting the focus and depth of field to make the image of a real location or object look like a photograph of a scale model miniature. I supplied a few pictures as examples, here's one as a reminder

Today I see that Theo Spark has found a piece of video on Snotr.com that uses time lapse tilt-shift photography to make a video and here it is


Incredible and beautiful isn't it?

It is a pop music video by Washington for a track called Clementine.

“Gordon is obsessive, paranoid, secretive and lacking in personal skills. I’d probably pack it in if Gordon became leader.”

Read more in The Mail's serialisation of Chris Mullin's diaries. Here's another couple of extracts from the Mail's article:
"Gordon Brown is described variously as ‘mirthless’, ‘obsessive’, ‘paranoid’ and ‘megalomaniac’ but ‘if it all goes wrong he’ll be nowhere to be seen’.

John Prescott is ‘hopelessly insecure’ and ‘afraid of being shown up by his underlings’ and, Mr Mullin reveals, came to work one day wearing shoes that did not match.

Peter Mandelson ‘doesn’t keep his trap shut and can’t bear not being the centre of attention’, Yvette Cooper is ‘bright and pleasant but a swot rather than a natural talent’ and Keith Vaz ‘an utter lightweight’."



"Over time, Mr Mullin grows to like and admire Prescott, but his first impression is not good. Fellow Minister Hilary Armstrong warns him: ‘He is hopelessly insecure, ever afraid of being shown up by one of his underlings, constantly interfering in matters best left to junior

Ministers.’ On another occasion Ms Armstrong told him that Mr Brown was ‘paranoid [as if we didn’t know, inserts Mr Mullin] about losing the succession, and ruthless about disposing of rivals’.

She said: ‘He is convinced Alan [Milburn] is being set up to succeed Tony and once said to me, “I’ve sorted David [Blunkett] and I’ll sort Alan.”’"


And these fools and knaves are still in positions of power?!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

And the protests reach Dublin

Even the BBC have to report that:
"Up to 100,000 people have gathered in Dublin city centre to protest at the Irish government's handling of the country's recession.

Many are angry at plans to impose a pension levy on public sector workers. "

The BBC article manages not to mention the "fact" that the problem started in AMerica and ends thus:
"Ireland, which was once one of Europe's fastest-growing economies, has fallen into recession faster than many other members of the European Union.

The country officially fell into recession in September 2008, and unemployment has risen sharply in the following months.

The numbers of people claiming unemployment benefit in the Irish Republic rose to 326,000 in January, the highest monthly level since records began in 1967. "

I wonder how the BBC will report the first London protest march, it can't be far off. Although of course we are banned from marching on the Houses of Parliament, the UK no longer being a free country.

And the rioting starts (update)

Not just in Guadeloupe but also 34 people have died in Madagascar after violent protests in the Madagascar capital against the president.

This is spreading...

The changing British political map

Take a look at this animation, absolutely fascinating.

Too much to post, not enough time (week 2)

It looks as though this sort of post may become a regular item. There is so much of interest that I want to post but I do, contrary to popular opinion, have a life.

So for today:

1) Peter Oborne writes that "This is a Government in collapse" and notes that "Ms Smith has still not sued me after I accused her last week of thievery: does her failure to do so amount to an admission of guilt?)"

2) The Mail reports that the BNP have just had a Councillor elected in a district council by-election in Sevenoaks, Kent. It is important to note that whilst the town is a Tory stronghold at Westminster it is a formerly strong Labour seat that the BNP have taken. The BNP are more likely to take votes in white Labour voting working class areas than elsewhere and Labour know it; hence the occasional dog-whistle policies on race issues being proposed by Labour at the moment. Labour don't mean it and the public know it, and they will continue to suffer at the polls.

3) Trouble on the streets on London as a child gang carry out a daylight robbery on a smart watch shop in London. Read more here; Labour London, what a great place to live in - thanks Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw, etc. etc. etc.

4) Trouble on the streets of London as Somails and Afghans head towards a "race war on the streets of London. Read more here; Labour London, what a great place to live in - thanks Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw, etc. etc. etc.

5) The sisterhood of the traveling (sic) shirt. Please note that the misspelling is theirs not mine.

Ther newspaper of record?

The Times on Thursday ran an article entitled "Queues and panic in rush to withdraw money", the article commenced
"At one end of High Street in St John's, the capital of Antigua, thousands of American tourists disembarked from two cruise ships. Many browsed the duty-free shops, others visited the casino and the rest piled into mini-buses that would take them to one of the island's 365 beaches.

At the other end, England cricket fans watched their team take control of the third Test against West Indies in the Recreation Ground.

In between, at the junction of High Street and Thames Street, hundreds of locals queued outside the Bank of Antigua to withdraw their money. "

The Times illustrated the article with this picture of the aforementioned bank...

There is just one problem, that picture is of the bank just outside of the airport complex not the bank in St Johns.

And the rioting starts...

Trouble in Guadeloupe as the Mail reports that:
"Britons are among thousands of tourists fleeing Guadeloupe after full scale urban warfare erupted on the French Caribbean island.

Trouble broke out on the island earlier last month after protesters began rioting over high prices and low wages.

But the situation escalated this week after protesters began turning on rich white families as they demanded an end to colonial control of the economy.

The troubles come at the height of the holiday season, with thousands of mainly British, French and American tourists on the paradise tropical island."

As I have been predicting for a long time, when the economy is doing well most people keep their frustrations, prejudices and anger to themselves but when they start to feel the pain of unemployment and maybe even hunger some may turn to violence. Before you write this story off as just what happens in the "third world", think on; what happens in Guadeloupe could just as easily happen in Antigua and that's a "British island". There have been riots in Greece and much of Eastern Europe, not that you would know from the BBC's lack of coverage. If we have a hot summer this year are you ready for the riots that will ensue on the streets of London, Liverpool and Manchester? Many people are angry and they will want to vent this anger.

Gordon Brown may be about to face censure, not that you would know from the BBC

Once again the BBC/NuLab alliance is keeping news from the UK public. The Mail reports that (my emphasis):
"Gordon Brown could be officially censured by MPs for apparently breaching Commons rules over his expenses on a technicality.

The Standards Commissioner, John Lyon, has spent more than a year investigating a complaint that the Prime Minister failed properly to declare £1,600 in rent from subletting his constituency office to Labour Party colleagues.

Mr Lyon's report has been sent to the Commons' powerful Standards and Privileges Committee, which could discuss the findings - and possible punishments - as early as this Tuesday, the Mail can reveal.

A source close to the committee said: 'This is embarrassing for the Prime Minister. The commissioner would not have referred the matter to the committee if he had not found some breach of the rules.

'The implication is clearly that they have been broken, however significantly. I would expect Gordon to get a stern ticking-off at the least.'

At the time the complaint was lodged, sources close to Mr Brown denied he had done anything wrong, saying he did not declare the rental income because he had subtracted it from his Commons claim and did not profit from it.

They also said the Commons Fees Office told him there was no need to declare the payment, which suggested Mr Brown had only inadvertently breached the rules.

He subsequently altered the agreement in December 2007 after the issue was raised again by the Fees Office.

...

It is thought Mr Brown would be the first MP to have breached a ban on subletting their constituency offices since it was introduced seven years ago.
"

Now why would the BBC not report this story? Do you think it would rank as news if it had been about David Cameron or indeed any Conservative MP? The BBC's pro-Labour bias has gone beyond the need for pointing out and now requires action.

We are well and truly screwed

Alex Masterley reports that:
"The ONS has announced that both RBS and Lloyds Banking Group will be reclassified as public sector from October 13 2008, when Government recapitalisation was agreed. Public sector finance statistics for January 2009 show that public debt currently stands at £703billion, which includes £50 billion from the bailout of Bradford and Bingley last year. According to some press reports, when the impact of Lloyds Banking Group and RBS are taken into account, the ONS predicts that the impact to public sector net debt could be between £1 trillion and £1.5trillion, which could bring the UK's total debt to more than £2 trillion.

This isn’t half of the story. The £700 billion of national debt excludes PFI, say £100 billion and about the same again in various other off-balance sheet wheezes such as Network Rail's debt and private sector pension protection. There are also about £1 trillion of public sector pension liabilities which are shown as liabilities elsewhere. For example in America, the government issues notional securities to a Federal pension fund, so that pensions are fully funded (albeit by a claim on the government), but the net effect is that the liability ends up being properly recorded as part of the National Debt. In the UK, the government hides its head in the sand.

Add to that that IAS accounting changes to RBS which means that their liabilities are no longer the trillion or so in RBS's 2007 accounts that the ONS probably considered but probably closer to £1.9 trillion.

So instead of the £2.2 trillion or so that the ONS is talking about, the real scale of true liabilities is actually around £4.3 trillion, or 300% of GDP."


This really is it, isn't it? The UK economy is about to collapse and it is not going to be pretty. Have you bought your generators? Are you stockpiling your fuel, your food, your bottled water? Have you taken your money out of the bank?

Friday, 20 February 2009

Hmm now why would that be?

The excellent Political Betting mused today:
"The headline shares from those who are 100% certain to vote had the Tories 20 points ahead on 48%. Yet amongst the public sector workers polled Labour was in the lead. And If the “payroll” vote had been excluded then the Tory share would have been 50% with Labour down at 27%."

Public sector workers vote Labour, hmm why would that be? Could it be that that is why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown expanded the public sector, so as to have a larger reservoir of Labour voters? After all Turkeys don't vote for Christmas...

Money is debt!

Watch these four videos it may set you thinking about banking, debt and government...















Thanks to Daily Referendum for the spot.

"With respect"

Take a trip here and listen to Hilary Ben just about keep his cool as he is interviewed rather well by a student about Guanatnamo Bay and the British government's attitude to torture. I think Hillary Benn would prefer to be interviewed by the more respectful and less persistent BBC interviewers.