Saturday, 18 December 2010

Weather Report

White hell: Drivers spend night sleeping in their cars as coldest December on record shuts roads and airports
(The Daily Mail)

A blast of harsh winter weather socked Europe Saturday morning, causing travel chaos and sending temperatures into a deep-freeze.
From Northern Ireland to Bulgaria, blizzard conditions left airports with heavy delays or shut them entirely on Friday, and many delays and cancellations continued into Saturday.


Snow, snow and more snow: Germany, along with much of the rest of Europe, continues to struggle under heavy snowfalls in what appears to be the early onset of deepest winter.

(Der Spiegel)

And it looks like the cold weather is going to prevail this winter also in the US, Russia and China. This is not good news for the global warming alarmists:

And the warmists just don't get it. Or perhaps they do, which could explain the vicious edge to their attacks. Their mantras are not going to survive this winter, and the politicians who continue to promote this lunacy are going to be howled down, ridiculed and rejected. They haven't realised it yet, but this while stuff falling from the skies is a powerful game-changer, a political event of considerable magnitude.

(Richard North, EU Referendum)

Friday, 17 December 2010

California dreamin

If Belgium is a failed country, then what should one think of Californa? Victor Davis Hanson has visited less wellknown areas of this once proud state:

Two Californias
Abandoned farms, Third World living conditions, pervasive public assistance -- welcome to the once-thriving Central Valley.

The last three weeks I have traveled about, taking the pulse of the more forgotten areas of central California. I wanted to witness, even if superficially, what is happening to a state that has the highest sales and income taxes, the most lavish entitlements, the near-worst public schools (based on federal test scores), and the largest number of illegal aliens in the nation, along with an overregulated private sector, a stagnant and shrinking manufacturing base, and an elite environmental ethos that restricts commerce and productivity without curbing consumption.

Read the whole piece here.

I just noted an interesting comment on the article.

Diplomacy in action

Just for a change - watch this ambassador.
(This recording is not included in the WikiLeaks material).

Belgium - a failed nation

Over six months have passed since the general election, but Belgium is still without a functioning government. Flemish nationalist, Bert De Wever, leader of the country´s largest party wants to split the nation into two:

Belgium has sunk into political chaos. Following the parliamentary elections six months ago, all attempts to build a new government have failed. The country is divided into two camps that oppose each other, apparently irreconcilably: the socialists, who won the most votes in Wallonia, the French-speaking southern region of the country, and the nationalist conservatives in Flanders, the wealthier Dutch-speaking northern region.

The New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) obtained the most parliamentary seats in June's elections. Its leader Bart De Wever wants to split Belgium into two. In an interview with SPIEGEL that was published in German on Monday, De Wever described how Begium is the "sick man" of Europe and has "no future in the long run."
SPIEGEL: Mr. De Wever, how much longer do you think Belgium will last?
De Wever: I'm not a revolutionary, and I'm not working toward the immediate end of Belgium. And I don't have to do that, either, because Belgium will eventually evaporate of its own accord. What we Flemish want is to be able to control our own judiciary, as well as our fiscal and social policy. We feel that foreign policy is in better hands with the European Union. But the nation of Belgium has no future in the long run. It is too small for greater political ambitions, and it's too heterogeneous for smaller things like taxes and social issues.

Read more here.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

One more post about the Cancún meeting

This comment on the "historic" Cancún meeting is worth reading:

To justify the two-week waste of time and money, agreement was reached to establish a Green Climate Fund, projected to rise to $100 billion annually by 2020, for countries threatened by altered weather patterns. It's unclear who will contribute to the fund, how it will be administered or who (other than Third World tyrants) would be the beneficiaries. It looks like a classic shell game in which affluent countries will pledge funds but actually make no significant contributions. If money really does end up in the pot, what a carnival of graft, corruption and international conflict over the spoils that will be!

The Cancun meetings, from their inception, had less to do with saving the Earth than with the redistribution of wealth from industrialized countries to the Third World, on a much larger scale than has ever been accomplished through conventional foreign aid. Third World delegates were exemplified by Bolivian President Eva Morales who, for years, has been campaigning for international compensation for poor countries that agree to protect their own forests. The final declaration from Cancun indicates that this campaign was successful but, again, honeyed words don't necessarily produce hard cash. Ironically, Bolivia refused to sign the final agreement because it didn't contain mandatory (and crippling) emission caps for wealthy countries.

Read the whole article here.

The Case for the START Treaty

It now seems probable that there will be enough support in the US Senate to ratify the new START treaty. This would be a victory to the Obama administration. However, according to analyst Robert Kagan, the treaty would also be beneficial to republicans:

New START, whatever its flaws, is not a threat to U.S. security. The three previous arms-control treaties, all negotiated by Republican presidents, cut deployed nuclear weapons from near 12,000 to around 2,000. New START reduces the totals to 1,550. Passing it will neither produce a nuclear-free utopia nor disarm the United States.

But blocking the treaty will produce three unfortunate results: It will strengthen Vladimir Putin, let the Obama administration off the hook when Russia misbehaves and set up Republicans as the fall guy if and when U.S.-Russian relations go south.

And if relations with Russia do sour, as I expect, it will be important that the record be clear as to why.

Read more here.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Mentally ill slave workers in China

Next time you buy something cheap made in China, remember that it might be assembled e.g. by mentally ill slaves working without pay ....

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Global Warming - important information

This Global Warming video by Armstrong and Miller is worth watching!

Germany: Payoff time in the UN Security Council

Germany campaigned hard - and succesfully - for a seat in the UN Security Council. In these kind of campaigns deals of all sorts are part of the game. And it looks like the Germans would have promised to support the demands of some small island states that climate change should be on the SC agenda. Otherwise it is difficult to to understand the statement made by the German UN ambassador Peter Wittig:

BERLIN — Germany, which will join the UN Security Council in January, believes the body should start dealing with climate change as a potential global threat, its UN ambassador said on Monday.
Peter Wittig told an audience at a think tank in Berlin that Germany shared the view of the more than 40 island states represented at the United Nations that global warming was an urgent security issue.
"We are of the opinion that it would be worth the effort to consider strategically -- in the Security Council as well -- which effects climate change could have on the security situation in the broadest sense including defence assistance, resource assistance, the disappearance of entire island states, the rising of sea levels," he said.
"In New York this is a current, and for some countries, existential problem and we would like to take up these issues and bring them before the Security Council."
He said however that the drive to have the Security Council tackle potential disasters caused by global warming would be a "challenge" because some of the permanent members did not see it as part of the body's remit.

Read the whole piece here.

The last sentence (in bold) also indicates that the Germans actually are not going to be very active on this matter. They know that "some of the permanent members" (wisely) are not going along.

Merkel is accused of "uneuropean behaviour"

Der Spiegel thinks that the euro crisis "leaves Germany increasingly isolated" in the EU:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is coming under growing criticism ahead of this week's EU summit. Her preferred approach to fighting the euro crisis has failed to receive support in Europe. She is also at odds with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, whose loyalty to France has become a subject of ridicule in Berlin. By SPIEGEL Staff
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is always good for a little variety whenever European leaders pose for their traditional group photo at summits. Sometimes she wears a blue blazer. At other times she is in beige. Sometimes the chancellor stands next to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, while at other times she positions herself next to Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.

But one thing has consistently been the same recently: Merkel stands in the middle. To some extent, the protocol reflects German national policy and the chancellor's favorite position, namely that the Germans should not be standing on the sidelines in Europe.

Merkel will position herself in the middle again at this week's summit of EU leaders in Brussels, but this time image and reality are hardly compatible. A deep divide runs through Europe, and Merkel is more isolated than ever within the circle of the EU's 27 heads of state and government.
The chancellor sees herself confronted with the charge that she has focused exclusively on national interests in the euro crisis. Last week, in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Juncker accused Merkel of "un-European behavior" and "simplistic thinking."
The premier of the Grand Duchy is not alone in his criticism. Many European leaders resent Merkel for the fact that Germany has recently been less flexible and not as enthusiastic about the EU as it used to be. Germany's understandable desire to not become Europe's paymaster doesn't give it the right to be its taskmaster, say critics from Lisbon to Helsinki.

Read the rest of the arcticle here.

To be lectured by Juncker on Europe will probably only add to Merkel´s popularity at home. Of course the Chancellor looks after her country´s national interests in the EU - like all the other EU leaders do. And it is most welcome that the leader of the most powerful EU country has began to speak more realistically about the Union.

Monday, 13 December 2010

"Gulag lite"

The New Yorker has an interesting article by David Remnick on the Khodorkovsky trial. Remnick asks whether president Medvedev would be able to pardon Khodorkovsky. Here is the last paragraph:

The Khodorkovsky affair long ago erased any notion in Russia of an independent judiciary; it made plain that the courts do the bidding of a corrupt hierarchy that will stop at little to enrich itself. Khodorkovsky and his lawyers call themselves “realists.” They understand that, although President Obama has raised the issue with Putin, the United States has other pressing business with Russia: nuclear-arms control, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran. But Russia undermines its pretense to modern statehood with such an appalling abuse of state power. Putin’s ruthlessness is apparent. President Dmitry Medvedev ostensibly has the power to pardon, and he has shown some small measure of independence from his patron, speaking of the “legal nihilism” that prevails in Russia today. Does he have the capacity, much less the courage, to release Mikhail Khodorkovsky?

Short answer: Medvedev does not have tha capacity to release Khodorkovsky if Putin is against it - and he is.

Printing Money

Some lighter stuff for a change:
The other night the Daily Show took on thee Fed´s Ben Bernanke:

Sunday, 12 December 2010

From Copenhagen to Cancún: The Emperor´s New Clothes


The Cancún "agreement" has been hailed a "historic" success by the warmists. But in reality nothing binding was agreed, as Australian columnist Jo Nova writes:

After the awful post-Climategate-and-Copenhagen year, more than anything else, the Big Scare Campaign needed a PR win. And in that sense Cancun was a major victory. Nobody agreed to anything legally binding, Kyoto was not extended, and all they achieved amounted to nothing more than an extension of the yearly junkets, and the promise that the gravy train is not dead yet. But the headlines will warm the hearts of all on Team-Scare-Us. The most important thing for the side that’s losing friends, faith and face, was to regain momentum. They’re trying to stop the death spiral.

No one has actually agreed to anything enforceable, but you’d have to read the subtext to know that.

And the $100 billion promised to a Climate aid fund is not at all in the bag, despite empty promises made in Cancún. As I noted in a previous post, it is e.g. quite clear that the new US Congress is not going to put tax payer money into this.