Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Congratulations EU!: The man who led Finland to economic catastrophe, will now be in charge of jobs and growth!

The fact that former Finnish PM Jyrki Katainen will be in charge of jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness in Juncker´s new European Commission illustrates what is wrong with the European Union.

Judge yourselves whether the new Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness is the right man for his job after reading what Björn Wahlroos, former economics professor and probably the most influential Finnish business executive and investor right now, has to say about the government Katainen led:

Finland is in a “catastrophic” and “murderous” economic situation, facing a challenge greater than in the doldrums of 1991, estimates Björn Wahlroos.
The outspoken tycoon refers to a recent interview in which Anders Borg, the Swedish Minister of Finance, suggested that Finland is a cautionary example of how a country can destroy its competitiveness.
“We messed up a couple of labour market agreements and tried to rectify that with measures that further increased labour market rigidity. Costs crept up. The results are evident: jobs keep on disappearing,” states Wahlroos.

A traditional measure of the competitiveness of an economy is to examine its terms of trade – the value of its exports relative to that of its imports. “In Finland, it has deteriorated by 30 per cent, which is unusual. In the meantime, wages have increased by 40 per cent,” lists Wahlroos.
“Wages have crept up by 20 per cent over the past six years alone – during a period when the gross domestic product has failed to grow one bit. In fact, it has dropped. If you're asking whether this is a problem, the answer would be yes!”
Industries, in turn, have refrained from making major investments after the financial crisis swept over Finland in 2008. “A substantial amount of jobs has disappeared. And here's the regrettable part: more will disappear,” predicts Wahlroos. --

In effect, the Government of Stubb continues to carry out the government programme hammered out by the Government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (NCP) in 2011. “It's founded on as bad a premise as possible. What's regrettable in terms of political history is that it was founded on a bad premise partly knowingly,” Wahlroos states.

PS

Katainen resigned as captain of the sinking Finnish ship in June in the knowledge that he would be rewarded for his failure with one of the exorbitantly well-paid EU top jobs. You´ll never walk alone, if you belong to the "club" ....

Nigel Farage again defends Russia´s dictator Vladimir Putin

UKIP´s Nigel Farage has again defended Russian dictator Vladimir Putin´s aggression in Ukraine:

The West must stop opposing Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine and join forces with the Russian leader in the fight against Islamic extremists, Nigel Farage has said,
The Ukip leader said that Western countries must stop "playing war games in Ukraine and poking the “Russian bear with a stick” because Mr Putin is “on our side” in the war against Islamic extremism.
Mr Farage courted controversy earlier this year when he said that Mr Putin, the former KGB officer, is the statesman he most admires.
In a debate this morning at the European Parliament Mr Farage a sympathetic interpretation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said European states had “directly encouraged” the uprising that “led in turn to Vladimir Putin reacting”.
Mr Putin has been blamed by the West for prolonging the bloodshed in Syria and propping up the regime by supplying arms including helicopter gunships to President Assad, and repeatedly blocking moves to censure or sanction him at the United Nations.

Read the entire article here

Mr. Farage is totally wrong on this. I have a lot of sympathy for his criticism of the present European Union, but to defend the criminal and corrupted dictator Putin is unacceptable.

 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Former UK Defense Secretary: Putin has the potential to be as dangerous as Stalin


Former UK Defense Secretary Bob Ainsworth argues that Vladimir Putin has the potential to be as dangerous as Stalin:

As President Obama steels himself to do what he has tried to avoid, namely increase US military involvement in the Middle East, we should try to keep in perspective that he and the rest of us face a more significant threat.
The extremists of the Islamic State are an affront to our sense of humanity but they are non-state actors who could be dealt with if the politics and governance of the states in the region can be improved.
However, the situation in the Ukraine is of a different magnitude.
President Putin, having previously dismembered Georgia, is now involved in the same activity in Ukraine. Crimea has already been annexed to Russia and now the full ambitions of the Russian puppets in eastern Ukraine are becoming clear.
They plan the creation of  “New Russia” a state that would take in the eastern and the whole of the southern part of the country all the way to the Romanian border.
No leader of a major power has behaved as overtly aggressively since Stalin in the post war period, and sadly Putin would be very pleased with the comparison.
He has said the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the 20th century and he claims the right to act on behalf of Russian minorities in other states.
As there are Russian minorities throughout the old Soviet Union and far wider he is in principle claiming the right to interfere in the affairs of all of the independent sovereign states of Eastern Europe.
Stalin’s policies pushed the world into the Cold War; Putin has the potential to be equally as dangerous.
No sensible person wants, in the face of the many other challenges, to be forced to find money for increased spending on arms. No one wants the economic consequences that extensive sanctions against Russia will have on our own economies, but Putin will not be deterred by resolutions passed at Nato or EU summits.
So unless we want to gamble that this systematic aggression will fizzle out in the face of inactivity, and history tells us that doesn’t happen, we must find effective ways to deter him.
Both Nato and the EU have made a start but the small and reluctant steps taken so far sadly are not likely to be nearly enough.
All Nato countries should commit to reverse the recent decline in defence spending.
At the European level there is an urgent need to develop a strategy to decrease our heavy dependence on Russian energy.

Ainsworth is of course right, but the question is whether the present western leaders are prepared to act before it is too late.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Daniel Payne: "We should be entirely skeptical of the ceaseless predictions of climate catastrophe"

Daniel Payne´s article "The United Nations Is A Parody Of A Doomsday Prophet" in the Federalist is well worth reading. Here are a couple of excerpts:

the UN World Meteorological Organization recently came out with a series of “imagined weather forecasts” predicting the state of climate in the year 2050. “Miami South Beach is underwater,” announced one forecast; another predicted a mega-fatal “mega-drought in Arizona.” Never mind that the average weatherman can barely predict whether or not it’s going to rain tomorrow: instead, think about the fact that the United Nations is so hard-up for climate-change material that they’ve looked 36 years into the future to create fictional accounts of what the weather may be like. The tsunamis, the blistering drought, the Beginning of the End—all this stuff was supposed to be here years ago. The global climate chaos has never materialized, so the “experts” have set their sights on the future, doing some educated guessing on what the weather’s going to be like four decades hence.
Maybe we should just ignore them.
In a sense it’s not difficult to understand where the “climate experts” are coming from when they start moving the goalposts nearly half a century into the future. As Anthony Watts pointed out recently, climate science predicted in 2009 that the world would “warm faster than predicted in [the] next five years,” a process that would doubtlessly “silence global warming sceptics.” Well, the world did not “warm faster”; as a matter of fact, it didn’t warm at all, and the “skeptics” have been anything but “silenced,” if only because we’re able to observe the difference between the climate lobby’s grandiose disaster predictions and the unremarkable reality of the climate itself. Climate science is the only field in which you’re derisively considered a “skeptic” or a “denier” by forming your judgment based upon the facts. The solution is to move the “facts” as far into the future as possible in order to delay the inevitable judgment. --

The average global temperature has been effectively flat for 19 years—not simply rising more slowly than predicted, mind you, but flat. Paused. Nobody predicted this; the climate models failed to even consider it. Climate science should be a subject marked by humility, skepticism, and cautiousness. Instead, it’s a topic overpopulated by blowhards, self-aggrandizing megalomaniacs, and environmentalists more interested in authoritarianism than anything else. We should be entirely skeptical of the ceaseless predictions of climate catastrophe–and we should be completely wary of the senseless alarmists and the little tyrants that peddle them.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Econonomist: "The euro may yet be doomed"

The Economist is spot on about the euro:

"If Germany, France and Italy cannot find a way to refloat Europe’s economy, the euro may yet be doomed." --

 "In recent weeks the countries of the euro zone have begun to take in water once again. Their collective GDP stagnated in the second quarter: Italy fell back into outright recession, French GDP was flat and even mighty Germany saw an unexpectedly large fall in output (see article). The third quarter looks pretty unhealthy, partly because the euro zone will suffer an extra drag from Western sanctions on Russia. Meanwhile, inflation has fallen perilously low, to around 0.4%, far below the near-2% target of the European Central Bank, raising fears that the zone as a whole could fall prey to entrenched deflation. German bond yields are hovering below 1%, another harbinger of falling prices. The euro zone stands (or wobbles) in stark contrast with America and Britain, whose economies are enjoying sustained growth."--

"(But) without a new push from the continent’s leaders, growth will not revive and deflation could take hold. Japan suffered a decade of lost growth in the 1990s, and is still struggling. But, unlike Japan, Europe is not a single cohesive country. If the currency union brings nothing but stagnation, joblessness and deflation, then some people will eventually vote to leave the euro. Thanks to Mr Draghi’s promise to put a floor under government debt, the market risk that financial pressures could trigger a break-up has receded. But the political risk that one or more countries decide to storm out of the single currency is rising all the time. The euro crisis has not gone away; it is just waiting over the horizon."

The euro in its present form is bound to fail. The sooner it happens, the better. Unfortunately the present European politicians will do their utmost in order to deny the failure, thus seriously delaying the much needed economic revival in Europe.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The truth about wind and solar power: "Their output is entirely unable to respond to electricity demand as and when needed"

It is good to be reminded of the fact that wind and solar power are not even close to solving the energy problems of highly industrialized countries:
there is a major problem with these renewable energy sources. Their electrical output is not dispatchable. Their output is entirely unable respond to electricity demand as and when needed. Energy is contributed to the grid in a haphazard manner dependent on the weather, and certainly not necessarily when it is required.
For example solar power inevitably varies according to the time of day, the state of the weather and also of course radically with the seasons. Essentially solar power might only work effectively in Southern latitudes and it certainly does not do well in Northern Europe. In Germany the massive commitment to solar energy might well provide up to ~20% of country wide demand for a few hours on some fine summer days either side of noon, but at the time of maximum power demand on winter evenings solar energy input is necessarily nil.
Electricity generation from wind turbines is equally fickle, as for example in a week in July this year shown above. Similarly an established high pressure zone with little wind over the whole of Northern Europe is a common occurrence in winter months, that is when electricity demand is likely to be at its highest.
Conversely on occasions renewable energy output may be in excess of demand and this has to dumped unproductively. There is still no solution to electrical energy storage on a sufficiently large industrial scale. That is the reason that the word “nominally” is used here in relation to the measured outputs from renewable energy sources.

Finnish PM Stubb: "Russia´s repeated incursions into Finnish airspace are deliberate and designed to create tension"

The behaviour of Putin´s Russia is beginning to seriously irritate also the Finns:

Russia’s repeated incursions into Finnish airspace are deliberate and designed to create tension, Prime Minister Stubb claimed on Saturday.
Speaking on Yle’s Ykkösaamu politics show, the prime minister said the three alleged violations by Russian aircraft within the space of one week were “not a question of an accident”, and said the behaviour gave a “bad message”.
Stubb said Russia's foreign policy is based on "power politics" and the philosophy that "if I'm winning, you're losing". He said it was not uncommon for the superpower to forment instability on its borders, such as in Ukraine and in Georgia in 2008.
He described the situation as “serious” but said there is no cause for alarm. “You can’t compare what’s happening in Ukraine to the situation in Finland,” he said.
On Friday Finland’s defence forces announced its Hornet fighter jets were on standby to see off any further attempted airspace breaches.