Saturday, 6 August 2011

Russia steps up campaign of intimidation and dirty tricks against the US

Russia honours Obama with birthday stamps - and steps up campaign of dirty tricks and intimidation

It is now more than two years since President Obama launched his famous "reset" with Vladimir Putin´s Russia. Obama a few days ago Obama said that the "reset" is a "great achievement". Unfortunately there are not many outside of his administration who share his optimism.

This is the reality of the "reset":

In the past four years, Russia’s intelligence services have stepped up a campaign of intimidation and dirty tricks against U.S. officials and diplomats in Russia and the countries that used to form the Soviet Union.
U.S. diplomats and officials have found their homes broken into and vandalized, or altered in ways as trivial as bathroom use; faced anonymous or veiled threats; and in some cases found themselves set up in compromising photos or videos that are later leaked to the local press and presented as a sex scandal.
“The point was to show that ‘we can get to you where you sleep,’ ” one U.S. intelligence officer told The Washington Times. “It’s a psychological kind of attack.”
Despite a stated policy from President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev of warm U.S.-Russian ties, the campaign of intelligence intimidation - or what the CIA calls “direct action” - has persisted throughout what both sides have called a “reset” in the relations.
They have become worse in just the past year, some U.S. officials said. Also, their targets are broadening to include human rights workers and nongovernmental organizations as well as embassy staff.
“There are most certainly some in the Russian government - nationalists, hard-liners, KGB folks, etc. - who don’t like the reset and are doing whatever they can to derail it,” this official said.
The official compared the Russia situation to domestic U.S. political divisions.
“We also have our critics/skeptics here within the U.S. government who are also still busy fighting the Cold War. And in these matters, they have good justification since certain elements of the Russian establishment are also still fighting the Cold War,” the official said.
This official pointed to Russia’s willingness to help supply U.S. troops in Afghanistan and their support for U.N. sanctions against Iran, North Korea and Libya as evidence of the reset policy’s success.
“The Kremlin seems to be a willing partner, even if maybe some in that regime don’t like this new trend and are doing what they can to derail it,” he said.
However, on Tuesday, Mr. Putin, now Russia’s prime minister and widely seen as its real leader, made some belligerent comments about the U.S., calling it a “parasite” on the world economy.
At a conference of the Nashi and Young Guard youth associations, Mr. Putin also suggested that his country would invite the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia into the Russian Federation, effectively annexing land taken in a war three years ago.

Read the entire Washington Times article here

The naivity of the above mentioned Obama administration official is mindboggling. Does he not understand that the "some in the Russian government - nationalists, hard-liners, KGB folks, etc. - who don’t like the reset and are doing whatever they can to derail it”, are Russia´s ruler, former KGB spy Vladimir Putin and his fellow thugocrats?

The Heritage network´s Ariel Cohen and Michaela Bendikova have a more realistic - and truthful - grasp of Putin´s Russia:
The recent statements by Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian President’s Special Representative for Missile Defense Cooperation with NATO, raised hackles in Washington. Putin called the U.S. a “parasite” on the body of global economy, while Rogozin claimed that U.S. Senators told him U.S. missile defense is aimed at his country. Putin’s statements are baffling, as the global economy needs consumer consumption for growth—and the United States is by far the biggest consumer country. In fact, the U.S. trade deficit drives a lot of global growth.
Putin spoke at his United Russia Party youth camp on Lake Seliger, while Rogozin let his hair down on a visit to Washington after a meeting with two U.S. Senators. These are no longer words alone: Russia is also threatening to stop cooperating with the U.S. over Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, and North Korea, if Congress passes the Sergei Magnitsky sanctions. The toughening Russian negotiating positions and rhetoric—including Putin’s outburst and Rogozin’s calling two U.S. Senators “monsters of the Cold War”—suggest the Obama “reset” policy is failing and needs reassessment.
It has been over two years since the United States launched the “reset” policy. Where is it heading in view of Russian rhetoric and threats? President Obama called the “reset” his “great achievement” only days after Putin’s “parasite” outburst. Maybe he was encouraged by Russia’s issuing a series of postage stamps to commemorate his 50th birthday.
If history is any guide: The United States tried a policy of détente with the Soviet Union in the 1970s, culminating in the kiss between President Jimmy Carter and Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev at the SALT II Treaty signing in Vienna, Austria. The U.S. reward for its more “constructive” stance, however, was the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan.
U.S. policymakers should reassess the “reset” and develop strategies that counter Russia’s global anti-American agenda—not focus on phantom “advancements” in bilateral relations.

Read the entire article here

Christine Lagarde beats Baroness Ashton as world´s best paid female politician

Only the second best paid
There seems to be no end to the ever growing crisis within the European Union. Here is the latest proof of the serious state of affairs within the EU:

The British Baroness Catherine Ashton (unelected " EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy"), has lost her position as the world´s most highly paid female politician to former French minister of finance, Christine Lagarde, who now heads the IMF. With her annual salary of $550.000 Madame Lagarde easily beats Lady Catherine´s paltry $538,000 annual pay package.

This serious deterioration has not gone unnoticed by the top eurocrats. The EU Commission is now proposing a new long-term EU budget where the share of administration costs is set to rise from 5.7 to 6.1 percent. Surely a modest pay rise for the Baroness is included in that package.

In case the Commission´s proposals are not accepted by the member countries, there is still this hope that the EU bigwigs can cling to:

A French court has ordered an investigation into whether the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, abused her position when she was finance minister in allowing a huge state settlement to a businessman friend of the President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The best paid

If Mme Lagarde, as a consequence of the investigation, will exit the IMF the same way as her famous also French predecessor DSK, Lady Catherine could still end up retaining her position as the world´s best paid female politician/bureaucrat - even without a pay rise!

Even in a worst case scenario - with no pay rise at all - Baroness Ashton of Upholland can take some comfort in the fact that she still easily beats such ordinary politicians as German chancellor Angela Merkel, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - and even President Barack Obama - in the the pay league.


And we, the European tax payers, are of course extremely grateful for having such illustrious representatives as Lady Catherine and Mme Lagarde as our representatives in places of power, fighting for a bright future
(at least for themselves). We can also take comfort in the fact that there are at least 1000 unelected EU bureaucrats, who earn more than e.g. the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, all working hard in order to spend our money on projects like this one.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Time for James Hansen to retire? New Garlic study answer to his fantasies

The global warming doomsday scare is cancelled!

Finally there is great news for James Hansen, the Earth Save people and other global warming alarmists and doomsday prophets: New research by alarmist Aberystwyth University scientists shows that garlic fed to cows and other farm animals can save the world from (non-existent) dangerous global warming!

Flashback (from the time before the new study):

Unfortunately, the environmental community has focused its efforts almost exclusively on abating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Domestic legislative efforts concentrate on raising fuel economy standards, capping CO2 emissions from power plants, and investing in alternative energy sources. Recommendations to consumers also focus on CO2: buy fuel-efficient cars and appliances, and minimize their use. 
This is a serious miscalculation. Data published by Dr. James Hansen and others show that CO2 emissions are not the main cause of observed atmospheric warming
The focus solely on CO2 is fueled in part by misconceptions. It’s true that human activity produces vastly more CO2 than all other greenhouse gases put together. However, this does not mean it is responsible for most of the earth’s warming. Many other greenhouse gases trap heat far more powerfully than CO2, some of them tens of thousands of times more powerfully. When taking into account various gases’ global warming potential—defined as the amount of actual warming a gas will produce over the next one hundred years—it turns out that gases other than CO2 make up most of the global warming problem.
With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet’s human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority.
The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian (or, strictly speaking, vegan), , , we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.
Read the entire EarthSave article here

This is why James Hansen and his fellow doomsday prophets can forget about global warming and finally start doing something useful, or preferably retire, instead of continuing their stupid scaremongering:

An organosulphur compound obtained from garlic kills off methane-producing bacterium in the digestive system of cows, according to Professor Jamie Newbold, who heads up a €5 million-research programme at Aberystwyth University.
Cows eating  feed enriched with the garlic compound — called Allicin – release 40% less gas without interference to their normal digestive fermentation, according to the research.
Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and agricultural emissions constitute approximately 18% of global greenhouse gas production, Kenton Hart of Aberystwyth University told Euronews.
The scientists said cutting methane emissions by cows by 40% would substantially curtail global warming.
David Williams from Neem Biotech – which manufactures Allicin – said that supplying a quarter of the UK’s cattle herd would require five-and-a-half thousand tons of garlic a year, which he told the channel could be “very, very big business”.

Read the entire article here

The new research by the Aberystwyth University scientists is of course also great news for those friends of meat - and garlic - who might have had (unnecessary) doubts about eating their favourite food . Tonight, I intend to celebrate the new scientific breakthrough with a Welsh BBQ'ed Sirloin Steak (with lots of garlic added)!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Paleontologist Peter Ward: Somebody gave me the foresight to see what's coming, and I don't like it."

Flashback 1930´s:

Nobody is denying that there has been some extreme weather in the US and elsewhere, this year. And the fact that some people - so far maybe "a couple of dozen" in the US - probably have died of reasons related to the heat wave, is of course sad. But it is also very sad to seee that global warming alarmists, like e.g. the paleantologist Peter Ward, have totally lost their sense of proportions when describing recent weather events:  

Scientists have been predicting for years that global warming would produce record-breaking extremes on either side of the thermometer. This past winter, America survived its so-called snowpocalypse, and now that summer has arrived, we've got a heat dome.

If you're wondering what the hell that is -- it's just another obvious climate change assassin that we could see coming miles away, if some of us were paying better attention. If you're looking for a more technical definition, according to National Geographic a heat dome is a seasonal high-pressure system of dense hot air, albeit one with a highly unusual (for now) strength and size, stretching one million square miles from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast. It's already killed a couple dozen people, adding to a swelling death toll resulting from recent tornadoes and floods that bedeviled the nation this year.

Even the scientists are starting to crack under the pressure. University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward, who is continuing his study of planetary mass extinction this summer by studying the 500-million-year-old living fossil Nautilus in the remote Pacific, is severely pained by his ability to be right on the data but wrong on people actually caring enough about it to awake from their mediated, medicated stupor.

"I wrote a book in 1994 called The End of Evolution: A Journey in Search of Clues to the Third Mass Extinction Facing Earth that said, within in a decade or two, we'd be seeing these monumental destructions, and people laughed at it," he told AlterNet. "I wrote just last year about sea-level rise in The Flooded Earth saying that things look pretty desperate for the next 60 to 80 years, and got almost no reviews. Luckily, I'm not going to be alive to see the worst of it. But the sad thing is that it's horrible to be right, just horrible. Somebody gave me the foresight to see what's coming, and I don't like it."
We're headed toward a great extinction, McKibben told AlterNet. "The only question is how great. That still remains within our ability to influence. Job one is to stop pouring more carbon into the air."
The other job? Stop pouring more people onto the planet.

"The single driver going on here is the increase in human population," added Ward. "Everything goes back to that. It explains every one of these phenomena: Global warming, marine extinction, changes in living patterns and even in the economies of the world. Way too many people, way too fast. And it's running away."

And so here we sit in the barely new decade of our barely new century, quagmired in game theories above our head, governed by a global elite who have little care for our welfare or even our going-broke cities. To think they're not as invested, literally, in our ignorance of climate change's myriad massacres as they are in pulling the plug on our social safety net is suicide on a global scale. Drowning in debt, deceit, natural catastrophes -- what's the difference?

If we don't start seriously sweating the existential crisis of climate change and ignoring the small-time drama of terrorism and partisan sellouts, then we're finished.

Read the entire article here


The talk about "climate change´s myriad massacres" and "suicide on a global scale" is clearly a case for a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, these scaremongerers do not have the faintest idea about the possible damage they cause to e.g. young people, who happen to read - and, in the worst case, believe - this nonsense.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The party seems to be over for the German economy

                     The party could soon be over also for Mercedes in China

The party is probably over for the German economy, which has enjoyed a strong boom during the last few years. Weakening activity in China is perhaps the main reason for the worsening forecasts and indicators:

Germany staged an impressive recovery from the 2008/2009 global economic crisis, but there are increasing signs that the boom is now coming to an end.

After almost two years of strong growth, its economic outlook is starting to deteriorate, due to a slowdown in major emerging markets including China and fears of a possible United States recession caused by $2.4 trillion in spending cuts linked to the debt ceiling deal.

Various indicators released in recent weeks point to a deceleration of Europe's largest economy.
The Ifo business climate index for July fell sharply to its lowest level in nine months, and analysts say it is likely to keep dropping. The ZEW investor sentiment index showed the weakest level since January 2009.
The German recovery was led by surging exports to high-growth emerging economies, especially China, which has had a nearly unsatiable demand for the products in which Germany specializes -- high-performance cars and machinery.

Bad News for the Rest of Europe
The slowdown in the Chinese economy is beginning to bite, however. Faltering growth in Germany will have knock-on effects on the rest of the euro zone, which has relied on its core economies, Germany and France, for growth while the high-debt nations such as Greece, Portugal and Spain are weighed down by austerity programs aimed at overcoming their debt problems.

Read the entire Der Spiegel article here


As we pointed out a few days ago:

Add the euro crisis and the financial turmoil in the US and you have the ingredients of a "perfect storm".

What this means for the European Union is that Germany will be less and lesss willing to play its traditonal paymaster role. Chancellor Angela Merkel is also likely to face increasing criticism against her weak leadership from within her own party, the conservative CDU/CSU. There is still time until the next elections in September/October 2013, but conservative core voters are worried about the fact that greens together with the social democrats have a clear lead in all recent opinion polls.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

An American view on the euro: on "brink of a major financial crisis"

This American commentator is probably right:

Europe is a "train wreck" and on the "brink of a major financial crisis," Scott Minerd, CIO of the fixed-income firm Guggenheim Partners, told CNBC Tuesday

"The way Europe is operating right now, it's what I called recently 'cognitive dissonance,'" Minerd said, or "basically doing the same thing thinking they're going to get a different outcome."
"They keep throwing more and more liquidity at it thinking it's going to get better and it's not," he added. Europe fails to recognize that it has a "structural problem, not a liquidity problem."
People will "flee the euro" unless they find a way to bifurcate the euro in some way where strong countries are in the euro only and the weak countries are out, Minerd explained, adding, "To be honest with you, I don't see the mechanism to do that."
"As the capital is flooding out of Europe, which we're starting to see now, the first place it's going to go is to the safe havens—[U.S.] Treasurys, which [the market] perceives to be safe, and it'll chase gold," he added.

Read the entire article here

Minardi does not say how all this will end. However, things are not looking good for us here in  Europe, that´s for sure.

EU hands out € millions to help Pacific islanders "absorb" billions of climate change aid

 Ms Fiona Ramsey, Chargée d'Affaires a.i. of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific and SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers

While European Union taxpayers are faced with severe austerity measures in order to avoid financial breakdowns, the EU climate change/global warming bureaucracy is worried about other kinds of problems:

Pacific small island states most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change will benefit from a new climate resilience project (worth €11.4 million) funded by the European Union (EU) and to be implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) over the next four years.

The project was officially launched today by Ms Fiona Ramsey, Chargée d'Affaires a.i. of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific and SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers.

‘With the billions that have been pledged globally for climate change adaptation and mitigation, this project will position Pacific small island states to access these funds and use them to ensure outcomes that meet their people’s needs,’ said Dr Rodgers.

‘The project will help countries put in place climate change programmes and management arrangements that enable them to effectively absorb the increased flows of climate change finance that will be required to meet the future adaptation challenges they face.

Read the entire article here


First the European Union opens expensive, overstaffed "embassies" in some of the world´s most exotic places, like the Pacific islands in order to promote the "official" (and dubious) EU "climate change" agenda and brainwash the natives into believing that they are the "most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change".

When it turns out that the brainwashing is not enough, the next step is the ultimate EU climate change project: Handing out millions of taxpayers´ money to 9 small Pacific Islands just to teach them how to "absorb" the "billions that have been pledged globally for climate change adaptation and mitigation"!

There must be a way to stop this madness!

Monday, 1 August 2011

German energy policy: "Dumping billions into the least effective technology"

                       "Dumping billions into the least effective technology"

Hardly a week goes by in Germany without the foundation being laid somewhere for a new solar farm, another biogas plant or a huge wind turbine. Der Spiegel reports that a pioneering spirit has taken hold of the country, thanks to the government´s radical reworking of its energy policy. And all this will cost the taxpayers next to nothing, if one is to believe the government:

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government insists that electricity bills will only grow modestly as a result of the nuclear energy phase-out. Experts, however, disagree, with many pointing to Berlin's massive subsidies for solar power as the culprit.

The German government's plan calls for increasing the share of renewables in the country's energy mix to 35 percent by 2020. It is an ambitious goal in every respect. Not only will the current renewable energy share have to be doubled within a few years, the grid expanded and new power storage facilities installed. But Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is also somehow expecting the entire energy revolution to cost virtually nothing.
"According to our calculations, the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity will go up by only one cent," says Economics Minister Philipp Rösler, head of Merkel's junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP). For an average household, this would correspond to the price of only one latte a month, says Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, of Merkel's Christian Democrats. Germany is rapidly switching to green energy and at almost no additional cost to consumers. What conservative politician would have thought such a thing possible just a few months ago?

Systematically Overstated

In reality, though, the official calculations have little connection to reality. According to an assessment by the Rhenish-Westphalian Institute for Economic Research (RWI), the politicians' estimate of the costs of expanding renewable sources of energy is far too low, while the environmental benefits have been systematically overstated.
RWI experts estimate that the cost of electricity could increase by as much as five times the government's estimate of one cent per kilowatt hour. In an internal prognosis, the semi-governmental German Energy Agency anticipates an increase of four to five cents. According to the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, the additional cost could easily amount to "five cents or more per kilowatt hour."
An internal estimate making the rounds at the Economics Ministry also exceeds the official announcements. It concludes that an average three-person household will pay an additional 0.5 to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour, and up to five cents more in the mid-term. This would come to an additional cost of €175 ($250) a year. "Not exactly the price of a latte," says Manuel Frondel of the RWI.
The problem is the federal government's outlandish subsidies policy. Electricity customers are already paying more than €13 billion this year to subsidize renewable energy. The largest subsidies go to solar plants, which contribute relatively little to overall power generation, as well as offshore wind farms in the north, which are far away from the countries largest electricity consumers in Germany's deep south.

When Will the Sun Shine?

Photovoltaics, in particular, is now seen as an enormous waste of money. The technology receives almost half all renewable energy subsidies, even though it makes up less than one 10th of total green electricity production. And it is unreliable -- one never knows if and when the sun will be shining in Germany.
For economic and environmental reasons, therefore, it would be best to drastically reduce solar subsidies and spend the money elsewhere, such as for a subsidy system that is not tied to any given technology. For example, wind turbines built on land are significantly more effective than solar power. They receive about the same amount of subsidy money, and yet they are already feeding about five times as much electricity into the grid. In the case of hydroelectric power plants, the relationship between subsidies and electricity generation is six times better. Biomass provides a return on subsidies that is three times as high as solar.
"We are dumping billions into the least effective technology," says Fritz Vahrenholt, the former environment minister for the city-state of Hamburg and now the head of utility RWE's renewable electricity subsidy Innogy. In its most recent report, the expert council on environmental issues assembled by the federal government advocates sharply reducing subsidies for solar power.

Read the entire article here


The German economy has been booming lately, but there are already signs of a cooling down. When the tax payers begin to feel the effects of an economic slowdown, they will also realize how unrealistic - and downright stupid - the Merkel government´s energy decisions are.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

British taxpayers subsidise "green" IKEA - the world´s biggest home-furnishings retailer

Bloomberg reports that the IKEA Group, the world’s biggest home-furnishings retailer, has bought a wind farm in Scotland and plans to install 39,000 solar panels on its U.K. stores "as part of a goal to get all of its energy from renewable sources":

According to IKEA´s Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard ,the solar panels, totaling 2.1 megawatts, will be fitted on 10 stores, providing an average of 5 percent of each shop’s power.

By building up a renewables portfolio, Ikea is seeking to reduce its exposure to fluctuating energy prices, which cost the company 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to 1.5 billion euros a year, Howard said.
“The principle strategy is to match the direct energy consumption of the business with electricity production from renewable assets,” Howard said yesterday. “We can certainly see a point in time where renewables are likely to be the most cost-effective form of energy generation.”
The solar panels, which will cost “close to 4 million pounds” ($6.5 million) to fit, are made by China’s GS Solar Fujian Co., according to Howard.
“The direction of travel for us is 100 percent renewable,” Howard said, adding that no deadline has yet been set. “We’re likely to hit 70 to 80 percent by 2015. We’ve built up sufficient experience in the area to be more confident in the timeline, so we will set a timeline in the next few months.”

After all the beautiful talk about "100% renewable", Howard almost by a slip of the tongue discloses the real reason for IKEA´s great interest in going "green":

The company will also claim feed-in tariffs -- or guaranteed prices paid for electricity from renewables -- for the solar power it generates, Howard said.

Read the entire article here

The Guardian explains, why IKEA and other companies have been busy installing solar panels lately:

The government's new feed-in tariffs (Fits) have fuelled the boom, making photovoltaic panels an attractive investment as owners receive a steady income stream for the power they produce, as well as being able to use it to offset their energy bills.
However, the boom is in danger of faltering in the coming months as changes to the feed-in tariffs begin to bite. Larger solar farms or parks face sharp reductions in the subsidies available, after ministers decided to restrict most of the funding to smaller installations, such as households and small businesses.
The changes - coming into effect from 1 August - mean that large installations, of more than 50 kilowatt (kW) capacity - enough to cover a large field, around 20 houses or a typical school - will lose the higher rate of subsidy and be eligible only for a lower tariff that some developers say is not enough to make them economically viable. Projects completed before Monday will continue to qualify for the higher rate, at least until the next review, giving companies a massive incentive to build as quickly as possible.

Some companies have managed to gain a temporary reprieve, of sorts. A loophole in the regulations means that installations of more than 50kW connected before 1 August - which are eligible for the higher tariff - can be added to for up to a year afterwards, with the additional arrays also be eligible for the higher tariff, at least until the regulations can be amended. This has led to a rush of developers striving to complete as many 50kW projects as possible by next week, with a view to adding more panels at greater leisure after the Monday deadline.

Read the entire article here


IKEA´s Swedish founder Ingvar Kamprad is famous for finding the cheapest producers for everything he buys. That´s what he and his subordinates are doing also in the U.K. with regard to energy. What counts is the fact that IKEA is more than pleased to see British taxpayers financing a considerable slice of the company´s energy costs. The sweet greenie talk by the company´s Chief Sustainability Officers is intended to create a "green" image, nothing else. That´s what Chief Sustainability Officers basically are paid for to do.