February 12, 2011

The Truth Will Out

... eventually.

I remember writing a post back in 2009 which listed the number of times the IMF had given warnings to the UK about the state of the finances since 2003 - warnings which had been ignored. It's also worth remembering that the Conservatives in Opposition didn't look too deeply into the economy either - until campaigning for the GE 2010 began they were quite happy to say they'd follow Labour's spending plans so it doesn't suit them to start gloating now.
The report will make uncomfortable reading for Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who was a powerful figure at the Treasury at the time. It will also be a blow to Labour leader Ed Miliband, who was an economic adviser to then Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2004 and 2005.
Full article HERE.

This is a poll taken last month for the Independent which shows that people still seem to be blinkered to anything other than the two main Parties.   I despair.

Still, it gives a fair excuse to see this one more time:

Calling England

February 11, 2011

Thomas Sowell: The “Dubious Achievements” of the American Intelligentsia

“Intellectuals give people who have the handicap of poverty the further handicap of a sense of victimhood.”
Thomas Sowell for RightNetwork
Intellectuals encourage people who contribute nothing to the world to complain and even organize protests, because others are not doing enough for them.

They have rationalized the breaking of laws by those who choose to picture themselves as underdogs fighting an oppressive “system,” even when these are college students from affluent homes.

They have, both in America and in France, verbally turned military heroes who put their lives on the line for their country into victims of war, people whom one might pity but never want to emulate.

In schools and colleges, the intelligentsia have changed the role of education from equipping students with the knowledge and intellectual skills to weigh issues and make up their own minds into a process of indoctrination with the conclusions already reached by the anointed.

They have put the people whose work creates the goods and services that sustain a rising standard of living on the same plane as people who refuse to work, but who are depicted as nevertheless entitled to their “fair share” of what others have created – this entitlement being regardless of whether they observe even common decency on the streets or in the parks.

The intelligentsia have treated the conclusions of their vision as axioms to be followed, rather than hypotheses to be tested.

Some among the intelligentsia have treated reality itself as subjective or illusory, thereby putting current intellectual fashions and fads on the same plane as verified knowledge and the cultural wisdom distilled from generations of experience.

Intellectuals give people who have the handicap of poverty the further handicap of a sense of victimhood.

They have acted as if they are anointed to decide which segments of society to favor, who should be allowed to pick their own associates and who should not, which small risks people should be forbidden to take and which larger risks are all right.



Click to enlarge Monnet's pearls of wisdom

Because it's that sort of day and these b@st@rds never seem to sleep - they must work 24/7 shifts.

'Outcry' over EU politicisation of aid. But this is what our own Coalition did last year when it merged the Dept for International Development (formerly the Dept of Overseas Aid) under the auspices of the Foreign & Commonwealth office. I think the best thing to do when the Westminster govt adopts a policy is to question it and ask how it furthers the aims of the EU (much the same with the Big Society and localism - smells of Acorn and Agenda 21).

Stop it right now! ex-Maoist Barroso stamps his feet and says there's too much inter-governmental agreement and that everything should go via the EC. The European Commission is "much more political and much more powerful than any national government".   "The Commission is a system that doesn't get blocked," said the supportive EU Trade Commissioner whose name I can't be bothered to go back and retrieve.

I wonder if this is the sort of agreement Barroso had in mind? Weimar Triangle invite Russia to tea.

Spain eyes up Western Sahara fishing grounds Having contributed to the rising price of our national dish of cod & chips by encroaching on what were once the UK's territorial waters, the Spanish Environment Minister has found more plentiful supplies.

Austria/Germany lobby for Croatia entry This is despite the fact that Croatia is described as having 'rampant political corruption' and an 'unreformed' judiciary. I don't know enough, or anything at all actually, about Croatia's judiciary to say whether it needs reform or not. I suppose a lot would depend on what our progressive modernisers in the EU consider to be 'reform'.

Q. When is a paper not a paper yet still retains the properties of a paper?
A. When it's a 'non-paper'. "This is not a non-paper of the Council," said van Rompuy.  I think he should stick to his haikus.

Put out the flags - sorry, flag - because it's 112 Day. "Enforce the Accessibility" reads the sub-heading.
The Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Committee (IMCO) is about to prepare an initiative report on the Universal service and 112 emergency number and yesterday (10 February) held its first exchange of views on the subject. The report will be drafted by Greek Socialist Sylvana Rapti and will assess the current state of play and challenges, namely the financing, call handling (response time, calls in foreign languages, caller location, etc) and quality of access for vulnerable people and disabled consumers.

The Brussels-Strasbourg Study shows that up to 91% of MEPs want a single seat in Brussels and think that a different use should be found for the Strasbourg complex.  From the Executive Summary -
Hotel availability and profiteering in Strasbourg is considered a serious and growing problem. Anecdotal evidence and spotchecks suggest that Strasbourg hotels routinely as much as double their prices during plenary sessions.
Open Europe spells out the differences between the Charter of Fundamental Rights, The European Act of Human Rights, the ECHR, and the ECJ.  Good reading.

A survey has found that the European Commission "must do better". Apparently there were "412 participants, including MEPs, national and European officials, members of NGOs and corporations, consultants and EU affairs students and other interested parties." No mention of 'people' unless we were grouped in with 'other interested parties', which is unlikely.  Lots of mentions of stakeholders, actors, players and so on but rarely does the word 'people' get a look in.

I had to do a double-take at the first sentence of this article:  The newly-formed EEAS... The poor dears are being hampered by a lack of money - who'dathunkit?  It's actually a lie anyway - the structures for the EEAS were laid long before the Lisbon Treaty came into force on Dec 01 2009.  For example, there were already roughly 23 EU 'embassies' in existence around the world at that time, just begging for Cathy Ashton to formalise the appointments of Ambassadors.  Ever wonder why the FCO is scaling back some of our own British embassies?

Accepting freebies from dictators There are too many planes and too many holidays to mention in this French farce.

EU-related issues that made it into the msm:

Stop consuming so much, you nasty little oiks
Axel Weber persona non grata with Merkel
30% CO2 cuts will lead to faster European de-industrialisation
2 days training for foreign NHS nurses & English optional
Portugal in the euro-zone economic mire

Finally, this article, which, strictly speaking, isn't about the EU but it is about Sarkozy:  Sarkozy prompts judiciary strike

Let's give due deference to the EU:

Calling England


It wasn't too bad when I first woke up - lashings of rain of course but it's only weather after all. The trouble began when I read THIS, the first page I turned to in the Telegraph.

As if that wasn't depressing enough I then had the idiotic idea to go to Google Search and YouTube to see what else might be available on DSK as he's affectionately known. From there I rashly followed a trail through David Lang, James Warburg, the World Conservation Bank, Michael Sweatman, The Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, David Hunt, David Spangler, the Findhorn Trust, and an assortment of kooky esoteric practices.

Suitably hacked-off I then had to go and deal with authori-teh on a local level (my bank) so here I am, back home and in need of a little hope and a nice cup of tea. Right on cue, here's Nigel:

Don't mess with the U.S.

Don't mess with the U.S.
by John R. Bolton

On liberty & the geopolitical landscape.

The end of the Cold War produced a lot of jubilation, reflecting what some would call a vindication of the Whig theory of history—the theory we’re always moving forward. It’s a temptation to which we all fall prey, but it was particularly evident after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. People were writing about the end of history because, obviously, democracy and the free market triumphed and there wasn’t anything else left. It was all over. The West had won, and there were no further threats or concerns. In fact, this attitude even became embodied in what was referred to as the Washington Consensus during the Clinton administration. Democracy and free markets were the answer to pretty much everything. There was some quibbling about what exactly was meant by democracy and even more quibbling about what was meant by free markets, but the quibbling basically reinforced the idea that there wasn’t really anything that much to debate. It turns out, not surprisingly, that this assumption was false.

Whatever the views of Americans, there are a lot of people in the rest of the world who don’t share the Washington Consensus and aren’t wild about representative government and the free market. That leads us into a debate about how we’re going to respond to those other governments and their supporters. And it’s critical that we don’t take the utilitarian arguments in favor of individual freedom as the only important arguments. Important though they are, the utilitarian argument for markets—in particular, that they best maximize national wealth, liberty, and all things bright and beautiful—don’t always capture what’s going on at least in the short term (several generations of human life). I think it’s important to remember the moral argument for individual liberty as well, even if, in any given period of history, it doesn’t seem to be working out quite as well as it should.

February 10, 2011

Resistance is futile at Wal-Mart

4 Walmart employees fired
after disarming gunman
caught shoplifting

"The four believe their quick actions to disarm and secure the man helped prevent what could have been a tragic event. They held the man until a police officer arrived, who wrote in his report that the gunman was taken to the ground in his and citizens' "best interest and safety."

"I was thinking, 'Whose house am I going to tonight to tell their family their loved one was shot?'" Poulsen said. "You have to make a decision: Do I ight for my life or do I stand here and watch?""
(LAYTON-Utah) -- The shoplifter smashed Gabriel Stewart up against a wall. It didn't take him long to realize that pressure against his lower back was from a loaded gun held by a desperate man who didn't want to go to jail.

The gunman had a firm grip on Stewart's shoulder, telling him and three of his Walmart co-workers, "Don't make me do this."

"Absolutely, time stopped," Stewart told KSL News. "I didn't know what to do."

Instantly, Shawn Ray and Justin Richins kicked into gear, spinning the gunman around. Lori Poulsen ripped the gun away and secured it. They all held onto the man until police arrived minutes later.

The four Layton Walmart employees felt it was mission accomplished. Police officers told them they had done everything right.

But a week later, all four were fired from their jobs. Walmart said their actions had violated company policy and put their fellow workers and shoppers at risk.

Letter from England

A really eggy cat

So much to do, so little time - I apologise for another round-up. Looking on the bright side I hope to be awake next week when Cathy Ashton goes to Tahrir Square in Egypt (it was this week but now it's next, so let's hope that our Cathy demonstrates cultural inclusivity and succumbs to a damned good beating by the pro-Mubarak supporters - that's if she isn't too late to voice the EU's solidarity with democracy and unity through diversity).

The MoD police have been called to investigate 'irregularities' in a £6bn procurement programme . It seems an ex-MoD employee went through the revolving door to the bidding company and spilled insider beans. The company itself raised the alarm - not the MoD who were probably too busy admiring their splendidly refurbished offices to notice it.

The ECHR in the tabloids: There are seven new cases against Britain each day at a cost to the taxpayer of roughly £2bn pa. Open Europe explains why the ECHR is intrinsically tied to the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights despite what europhile trolls keep posting in online comments sections of certain newspapers (Telegraph).

The President of the Supreme Court, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, has used his speech at UCL to draw attention to the way the Supreme Court is funded by 'government'.
"We are, in reality, dependent each year upon what we can persuade the Ministry of Justice of England and Wales to give us by way of 'contribution'.

"This is not a satisfactory situation for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. It is already leading to a tendency on the part of the Ministry of Justice to try to gain the Supreme Court as an outlying part of its empire."
One way of looking at it would be to see that government money is taxpayer money. Another way would be to have an elected judiciary.

The BBC is at it again. This time Radio4 listeners are too old, too southern and too white . Yes, I suppose that, overall, this country is still 'hideously white'; what a terrible shock that must be for the BBC staff when they step outside their taxpayer-funded studios. A good many of us are getting on a bit and, since England (note: not the UK) is now the most densely-populated country in 'Europe', it isn't surprising that the majority of listeners hail from 'the South'. England is also the only country within the Union without its own devolved Assembly/Parliament/Government - call it what you will (and I'm sure the SNPers will).

"You. who are on the road. must have a code that you can live by ..." Teach your children well. One camera for every ten pupils is probably in line with the national average by now. By the way, how's that fingerprinting for access to school dining halls and libraries coming along?

I almost forgot this one: Mama, mama, mama, we're all crazee now and, after living with the morally bankrupt and illiterate economic policies of the past thirteen years, there's little wonder.

Two bits of good news:
Muslim anti-terrorist adviser to leave Home Office advisory role
Man killed by cock

Sweet dreams or have a good day depending on which coast you reside.

February 9, 2011

Look! A talking turd. He doesn't make any sense but it's still amazing that a turd can talk at all.

THE Prince of Wales warned yesterday against the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the environment — and condemned climate change sceptics for their "corrosive" impact on public opinion.

The Irish Examiner

Prince Charles used a speech at a European Parliament climate change conference in Brussels to challenge politicians to break the link between growth and the production of high-carbon goods.

And he challenged environmentalists to start selling the benefits of sustainable living, instead of focusing on what people should give up. He said a "business as usual" approach to increasing national wealth was just a short-term remedy.

"We have to see that there is a direct relationship between the resilience of Nature’s ecosystems and the resilience of our national economies.

"If the fabric of the Earth’s life-support system fragments, as it appears it may be starting to do; if those systems become weak or even collapse — essentially, if Nature’s capital loses its innate resilience — then how long does it take for our economic capital and economic systems to lose their resilience too?"

(More of this crap...)

Just In Case...

... Obama et al are thinking that we Brits will once more stand 'shoulder to shoulder' with the US if push comes to Iranian shove, I think they should be aware of our current predicament before they ask.

The sheer incompetence of it all beggars belief. The MoD has 'discovered' a £1.6bn shortfall in next year's budget and is planning further cuts on top of those already announced last October. We're reduced to a surface fleet of only nineteen ships and on the table for further discussion are:

70 Tornado GR4s
12 Chinooks
Reaper and Predator UAVs
FRES Scout project
Type 23 Frigate or RFA tanker/supply ship
Further reduction in Army personnel

The rest of this sorry tale is HERE

Just to remind us all who's primarily responsible for this pigs' mess of a financial fiasco, here's a pic of the man who was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997-2007 and PM for three years, Gordon 'Pass me the Tramadol' Brown:

and a pic of the man who was PM from 1997-2007, Tony 'Ker-ching' Blair:

PFI deals like THESE don't help.

• RAF Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft: The largest private finance project. The taxpayer will be paying around £10.5 billion for 14 Airbus A330 troop transport/tanker jets with a capital value of only about £1 billion, though the deal also includes maintenance. The aircraft will not be able to fly into any war zone

• Army – Colchester Garrison: This £540 million PFI deal, to provide new military accommodation for the Parachute Regiment and others, lasts until 2039. But ownership of the land and buildings has been transferred to the Robert McAlpine-led PFI consortium until 2154, bringing allegations that the MoD has “sold off the family silver”.

Is there any wonder the current government is busy tying us into 'co-operation' agreements with France and Germany? Bloody traitors (please excuse my French) the lot of them.

They've sold the country's infrastructure (particularly in energy) to state-owned foreign companies; they've f/cked up our state education system so we're languishing in the league tables of Europe and have what can only be described as a semi-illiterate & feral underclass leeching off taxpayers; they've turned one half of our once world-renowned and respected Police Force into para-militaries and the other half into politically-correct social workers; the public sector, for the whole of the UK, takes more than 50% of the jobs - and anyone can tell you that that isn't good. Our Armed Forces are used and abused by feckless governments who must think they're moving pieces on a chessboard when they catapult troops to Afghanistan and then forget to equip them and fund them. By lack of proper regulation they encouraged your feckless bankers to join forces with our feckless bankers in the City of London and now look...! And don't even get me started on immigration and (shhh!) izla-mifi-ca-shun - that can wait for another time.

Sorry for the rant but... Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

PS I don't need to remind you that we're an unarmed nation but be careful - the UN has had you in its own sights since at least last year. I know you'll fight it.

Spreading It Around

Come and visit us - we need all the tourist dollars we can get!

Dew on train tracks blamed for delays

After the wrong kind of snow and leaves on the line, train users have now been given a new reason for delays – dew on the tracks.

London-bound commuters on services run by Southern train company were surprised to hear that their journeys were being delayed by "poor railhead conditions" – despite the mildness of the weather.

A Southern spokeswoman said: "This is a railhead phenomenon that happens at this time of the year. Dew gets on the tracks and makes conditions difficult."

February 8, 2011

Fly Me To The Moon

Remember the movie "Space Cowboys" with Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and James Garner? How old fashioned ingenuity, improvisation and guts triumphed over bureaucratic grandstanding and civil service entitlement mentality? Granted it was a work of fiction, but on April 4, 2010, NASA terminated the space shuttle flight programs and all satellite launches have been contracted out to private corporations.

Let's not stop there. It is time to tell NASA and it's bloated, bumbling bureaucracy that the gravy train has been derailed. They are incapable of responding to 21st century technology initiatives without robbing the treasury. Let private industry have a go at this. If there's a buck to be made, someone will develop the needed technology at a fraction of the cost.

NASA says its pockets not deep enough for new rocket (CNN) -- The marching orders from Congress and the White House to NASA were pretty straightforward. Go out and build a new big rocket to replace the retiring space shuttle fleet.

Unlike the shuttle, the new rocket has to be powerful enough to get out of low Earth orbit and carry humans to an asteroid and eventually Mars, perhaps even the moon.

There must also be a test flight by 2016. But at this point, NASA officials are warning of a potentially devastating setback to future space exploration.

Its first new rocket in 40 years may not happen because the agency doesn't think the $8 billion budgeted over the next three years is enough.

First things first, NASA may have rockets but it doesn't have pockets. We, the tax payers, have the pockets and NASA wants to boldly go where so many other government agencies have gone before them - into the vastly diminished reaches of our finite wallets.

"We have done calculations with current models and approaches to doing this type of development and it doesn't work with funding constraints combined with schedules that were laid out in the Authorization Act," Doug Cooke, NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems, told CNN.

Unfortunately NASA's calculations do not always swell one's breast with confidence. Let's visit a few NASA blunders that cost the American people tens of billions in blown projects.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) Satellite
The Mission: NASA intended the OCO to provide an orbiting platform from which scientists would be able to look at how carbon dioxide moved through the atmosphere. Hyped as a space-down look at global warming, the OCO was supposed to help researchers figure out climate change.

The Problem: Sadly, the OCO never made it into orbit, as the case containing the satellite failed to separate from the rocket during launch, leading the whole assembly to crash into the ocean 17 minutes after lift off.

Demonstration for Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) Spacecraft
The Mission: Upset with the expense and risk of launching the shuttle every time a satellite needed maintenance, NASA created the DART to show that a robotic satellite could dock with other satellites. DART was supposed to autonomously navigate towards, and then rendezvous with, an existing communications satellite.

The Problem: And did it ever rendezvous! The computer controlling DART incorrectly estimated the distance between the two satellites, causing DART to bump right into the other satellite! DART then used up all of its fuel, eventually crashing into the ocean.

The Hubble Space Telescope
The Mission: The first in a series of space telescopes, the Hubble would allow astronomers to look at the stars without atmospheric interference. This would, and eventually did, provide the most detailed images of the distant universe ever produced.

The Problem: Much like the nerds who designed the telescope, Hubble had a vision problem. When grinding the original camera lens, engineers failed to compensate for the minute shape change the lens would undergo when moved into a zero gravity environment. The solution? Glasses. Once a corrective lens was added, the Hubble was able to look deep into the universe.

Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS)
The Mission: A series of classified surveillance satellites, SBIRS was supposed to answer the Air Force’s need for tracking ballistic missile launches. Consisting of high and low orbit satellites, SBIRS is scheduled to go on line next year.

The Problem: Ignoring the $10 billion cost overrun for the project, and the possibility that it won’t work at all, one of the first SBIRS satellites shutdown only seven seconds after reaching Earth Orbit. The satellite’s safety mechanism malfunctioned, putting the satellite into safe mode, and reducing it to what the then Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force called a “useless ice cube.”

The Mars Polar Lander (MPL)
The Mission: The Mars Polar Lander was part of an extensive 1998 push to study the red planet. The program consisted of a soil probe, a lander, and a satellite. As the lander, the MPL was supposed to study the climate and surface of Mars.

The Problem: No one really knows what happened to the MPL. The spacecraft successfully reached Mars, but NASA never made contact with the MPL. Anything from a faulty transmitter to a complete crash to interference from Marvin could have caused the failure. NASA still hopes to one day find the MPL and figure out what went wrong.

Deep Space 2
The Mission: Sent to Mars on the same spacecraft as the Mars Polar Lander, the Deep Space 2 was a penetrator, designed to burrow into the Martian soil and collect data on water and chemical composition.

The Problem: Much like the MPL, the fate of the Deep Space 2 remains a mystery. Both probes were built under the “faster, better, cheaper” rubric that dominated NASA in the 1990s. Eventually judged as a failure, the ethos tasked NASA with generating a greater number of less expensive projects rather than the small number of large projects that dominated most of the agency’s history. While NASA produced probes that were plenty cheap, many of them weren’t as fast or better as hoped.

The Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) The Mission: The brains of the 1998 Mars Missions, NASA intended the MCO to serve the dual function of studying the Martian atmosphere and relaying radio signals from the two surface probes.

The Problem: In one of the all time great engineering gaffs, NASA subcontractor Lockheed Martin created thruster software that used Imperial units, not the metric units used by NASA. NASA did not know this, never converted from pounds to newtons, and the probe eventually hit the atmosphere at the wrong angle and burned up.

The Mission: NOAA-19 was the last in a series of weather satellites that monitor atmospheric conditions, follow volcanic eruptions and conduct climate research.

The Problem: There have been satellites lost in space, those that have exploded on the runway, and then there’s this. During final servicing at a Lockheed-Martin facility in California, engineers failed to check if the satellite was bolted down before moving it, and accidentally knocked the multi-million dollar piece of equipment onto the ground, breaking a number of components. Whoops!

I think I'd rather have Frank take me there.

Seven Dollars = The Best Christmas EVER

"I jammed the roscoe in his button and said, 'Close your yap, bo, or I squirt metal.'" The flim-flammer jumped in the flivver and faded.

I yelled, "You dumb mug, get your mitts off the marbles before I stuff that mud-pipe down your mush--and tell your moll to hand over the mazuma." Then the sucker with the schnozzle poured a slug but before he could scram out two shamuses showed him the shiv.

Iranium: The Movie

This is the 60-minute film that prompted the threats and subsequent closure of the Canadian theatre where the first screening was due to take place last month.

I watched it last night and it's a well-made film drawing on Iran's history and the rise to power of Ahmadinejad.  It has lots of talking heads and concentrates on the potential capabilities of a nuclear Iran with a short segment towards the end about the repression of the people and the 2009 protests.

I don't know who's behind the making of the film but it's another stage of the softening-up process for confrontation with Iran - and remember, that's something Tony Blair was advocating at the Chilcot Inquiry.  I really recommend you watch this and judge for yourselves:

Calling England

February 7, 2011

Yet another one for the Gipper

Mark, over at Wannabe Anglican shared this personal story. It is to-the-point, truthful and touching, just as a story ought to be told by a Texas Conservative.

A Boy Named Reagan

The moment I realized how much I missed Ronald Reagan came at Denton Bible Church shortly after his death. The morning service had just ended when I noticed a Russian teenage boy I knew. A family or two at Denton Bible had adopted Russian children, and they added a lot to the life of our church.

The boy’s name was Reagan.

We were chatting, and loving to teach as I do, I said with a smile, “Let me tell you about who you are named after.” And I told him of Ronald Reagan and of how helped wear down the old Soviet Union. And because of that, Russia and the United States were now on good terms . . . and that was a big reason he got adopted and was with us.

The thing is, I had a lot of trouble getting all that out. I broke down crying before him before I could finish. The boy was a great kid and, with a calm smile, was patient with me.

And, to be honest, I am crying now as I type this.

That boy named Reagan, and us all, owe Ronald Reagan so much.

And I miss him.

Happy 100th birthday, Mr. President. And thank you.

What Has Europe Done For Us?

Thank you to Nickie for inviting me to be a part of this new development in the US/UK 'special relationship' and for the welcome. I'm afraid this first one is rather longer than usual but I hope you'll soon become used to my English tone and English humour. I also swear occasionally but given we're talking politics that's hardly surprising. Here goes.

I've got such a backlog of bookmarks for What has Europe done for us? (WHEDFU) that it puts me to shame. I'm going to bring things up-to-date and do this in two parts - right here, right now! - so you can't say I haven't warned you.

Let's begin with the unelected friend to everyone and no-one, Cathy Ashton. It's been argued that Cameron should put forward a stronger replacement because she's such a pathetic waste of space but I doubt that would help - it would only prompt accusations of the UK strengthening ties. At least she's so ineffective she's not actively doing any harm.. Ashton avoids the word 'Christian' in EU communique condemning treatment of Christians in Egypt & Iraq

I'm including the next link because just a few days ago I spotted a headline in the British press in which Miliband & the Labour Party accused the coalition of exactly the same thing without a reference to Europe or the European Union. Anders: EU faces jobless recovery

I didn't realise that the EU was the driving force that brought down the Berlin Wall and put an end to communism in Eastern Europe. I bet you didn't, either! I despise the way these unelected, unaccountable megolomaniacs re-write history with a word here, a phrase there. Van Rompuy: The EU is the Fatherland of Peace

Another europrat with delusions of grandeur is EP President Jerzy Buzek. He's been arguing for increasing the EU's budget and against cutting back some departments. They're all working very hard behind the scenes to come up with a workable plan for direct EU taxation. He says there is a lack of communication between the EU and the people but blames that on the media although I'm sure he's thrilled by the efforts of the BBC. "...we need a good messenger to deliver it and that rests in your hands. The cost of non-Europe is far greater than the cost of Europe."

One eurocrat to another: "I know, let's not call it direct taxation, let's call it 'innovative financing'." The cross-border financial transaction tax is one step closer. The report suggests revenue potential of a low-rate FTT with its large tax base, of nearly €200 billion a year at EU level and $650 billion at global level.

Liberals - the most mis-named political party anywhere, ever - hold the balance of power in the European Parliament (EP). Not too different from Westminster then and we can all see what's happening there. "Indeed, in roll-call votes it would be political suicide for MEPs who harbour hopes of building a career in the Parliament and holding key positions in committees to rebel against the group whip, explained Trzaskowski, who is vice-chair of the EU assembly's constitutional affairs committee."

When a ceiling collapsed at Strasbourg in 2008 all the poor pen-pushers had to stay in Brussels rather than do the usual commute (mentioned above by Buzek). Having only one seat for Parliament saved the EU taxpayer £2m in travel and accommodation costs.

Same old, same old. With the EU everything it touches turns to function creep and now there are legal problems with the European Securities and Markets Authority. Role of EU Supervisor exceeds EU powers.

Trading in pollution permits was halted after hackers targeted Greece's national registry for carbon trading rights. Cap and trade: that's another fine mess eu've gotten us into.

On the same subject, fraud in the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme has cost taxpayers an estimated €5bn. "There have been warnings after warnings that regulation of the system is lackadaisical and inept…You expect it to be properly regulated but Europe seems to run it more like a church raffle than a professional commodities market."

EU tells Albania to sort out its own riots. Albania is a prospective member state of the EU - can't wait for all those visas and work permits to be issued though judging by the sounds on my High Street a good proportion of them are already here.

I don't have a problem with this one - foreign criminals should all be deported. The only problems arise when it's British nationals who are arrested for minor offences, eg traffic violations, and then extradited to, eg, Greek hell-holes.The European Arrest Warrant was meant to target terrorists

International air travellers are facing US type data collection - plans are being debated this Wednesday (9th). Britain is at the forefront of the proposals. "Under the proposal, all passengers flying for instance from Brussels to Istanbul will have their "Passenger Name Record" (PNR) data – including home address, mobile phone number, credit card information and email address – checked by a special unit of the Belgian police. Any suspected links with terrorism or serious crime – such as drug trafficking or people smuggling – will be shared with other member states and the suspects may be prevented from flying or even arrested."

Q. When is freedom of information not transparent?
A. When the EU sets the rules.

And I think that's just about enough for one session. I'm going for a cup of tea to steady my nerve for the next bout. I hardly seem to have made a dent in the bookmarks so it could run to three* - but I need to keep a record of what they're up to so it must be done. I have to write it, but you don't have to read it :-)

* I won't clutter up Nickie's blog with them but you can catch them at Calling England if you're interested.

Goodnight Vienna

Goomba News Network is overjoyed to announce an addition to its writing team. Goodnight Vienna is a snarky, opinionated, conservative blogger from the UK. She'll be offering a passionate voice on global, European, national and local British issues.

I am convinced that we will quickly learn that not all of our cousins across the pond are about to roll over to the forces of tyranny, political correctness, and brutal Islam.

Here's a quote from Goodnight Vienna's CALLING ENGLAND blog...
"The blog began life as a pressure valve for me to release some steam and information about the EU and our own Parliamentary processes so you'll find lots of links to European directives, the nwo, Agenda 21 and .pdfs, if you want them.

I began life pro-Conservative, pro-Police, pro-Christianity and pro-Armed Forces. I'll leave it to you to decide what has fallen by the wayside.

Westminster politics shouldn't be ignored because it's important to show another piece of the jigsaw being put in place in front of our eyes.

I have to say that the idea of the blog being a pressure valve isn't working - I've bitten innumerable fingernails, I still throw cats at the tv and, sadly, I still foresee conflict in our 'sceptr'd isle'. It's been a long time in the making."

February 6, 2011