Saturday, 15 September 2012

In praise of the Iron Lady

Daniel Hannan reminds us about the greatness of the Iron Lady, who still is hated by so many Lefties: 

Now and again, we are reminded of the sheer nastiness of a certain kind of Leftie. Not, let me stress, all Lefties: I have Labour friends who are motivated by a more or less uncomplicated desire to help the disadvantaged. 
But they march alongside some committed haters who define their politics not by what they like, but by what they loathe. They also define opponents not as human beings with whom they disagree, but as legitimate targets. 
A lack of empathy, bordering almost on sociopathy sits behind their talk of caring and sharing.
On sale at the TUC Conference, before a storm of protest forced their withdrawal, were T-shirts glorying in the eventual death of Margaret Thatcher. 
‘A generation of trade unionists will dance on Thatcher’s grave,’ says one, emblazoned with the image of her tombstone.

And one cannot but agree with Hannan´s praise for Margaret Thatcher. Without her strong leadership the UK would have been facing a cathastrophe, and without her close co-operation with Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, the world would be a lot less safer place: 

Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1979 was like a thaw after the cruellest of winters. Inflation fell, strikes stopped, the latent enterprise of a free people was awakened. 
Having lagged behind for a generation, we outgrew every European country in the Eighties except Spain (which was bouncing back from an even lower place). As revenues flowed in, taxes were cut and debt was repaid, while public spending — contrary to almost universal belief — rose. 
In the Falklands, Margaret Thatcher showed the world that a great country doesn’t retreat forever.

And by ending the wretched policy of one-sided detente that had allowed the Soviets to march into Europe, Korea and Afghanistan, she set in train the events that would free hundreds of millions of people from what, in crude mathematical terms, must be reckoned the most murderous ideology humanity has known.
Why, then, do Lefties loathe her so much? 
You always get the same answer: ‘She closed down the old industries.’ 
She didn’t, of course: she simply stopped obliging everyone else to subsidise them. 
But let’s leave that objection to one side. Ask yourselves this, my Leftie friends: in what other developed country are the heavy industries still going as they were in the Seventies? 
The world was changing and every nation had to adapt. All over Europe and North America, steel mills, coal mines and dockyards were closing, unable to compete with the developing world. 
And unable to compete for a happy reason: a relatively high standard of living

Read the entire article here

Friday, 14 September 2012

Nigel Farage takes on Barroso

UKIP´s Nigel Farage is once again worth listening to. Barroso´s "European democracy", which requires "absolute loyalty", is nothing but a call for even more Soviet style centralism:

Gazprom - Myth and Reality

Schröder and the "flawless democrat"
"Gazprom is not a business, but rather a large department of the Kremlin."
Konstantin von Eggert 

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder has today announced the date for the inauguration of the second Nord Stream gas pipeline: 

The second line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany will become operational in early October, the chairman of the shareholders' committee and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Thursday.
"It (the second line) will be running from the seventh or eight of October and the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) will be present," said Schroeder, speaking through a translator at an energy conference in Berne, Switzerland.
No doubt Schröder will be there hugging his benefactor, the "flawless democrat" Vladimir Putin.  Among the huggers we will also see Putin´s other German protégé, former Stasi man Matthias Warnig, who got to know Putin when he was a second rate KGB agent in Germany. Putin has rewarded his former German colleague by making him the boss of Nord Stream. 
No matter how Schröder and Putin try to hype their pipeline, they will not be able to ignore the reality of this Kremlin-led gas company: 
For the last two decades Gazprom´s gas production has been stagnant, but this year its output is collapsing. In May, it plummeted by 15 percent in annual terms, while the leading independent company, Novatek increased its gas output by 19 percent.
Even though Gazprom enjoys all the official state privileges, it still cannot produce. Natural gas is going through a global renaissance, but Gazprom has no part in that story. It ignores liquefied natural gas and shale gas, preferring its old paradigm of pumping gas from onshore giant fields through pipelines to a stagnant European gas market.
Nor can it sell. During the first four months this year, Gazprom's exports to Europe plunged 12 percent. Its sales to Ukraine collapsed by 40 percent in the first half of 2012. Gazprom continues to insist on its old long-term contracts with gas prices linked to the oil price, whereas the spot-market gas price long ago delinked from the oil price. In Europe, Gazprom is gradually being disciplined by market forces, but it charges Ukraine and Moldova 40 to 50 percent higher prices than its European customers.
Nor can it cooperate. For years, Gazprom has been preparing to tap the Barents Sea's giant Shtokman field, which was discovered in 1988. In 2007, Gazprom selected Norway's Statoil and France's Total for cooperation in this field, while keeping 51 percent for itself. After years of negotiations, however, Gazprom has not come up with an investment agreement for the first stage of this project. Last month, Statoil withdrew from the Shtokman project, forfeiting the $336 million it had already invested and its 24 percent of the project. In effect, Shtokman has been abandoned for years to come, and Gazprom's poor reputation has gotten even worse. (The Shtokman project has now officially been buried, NNoN). 

Although 49 percent of Gazprom is officially held by private shareholders and 51 percent by the Russian government, Gazprom managers and top Kremlin officials decide everything. People and institutions that own shares in Gazprom have no sense of ownership. Instead, they focus exclusively on the dividend yield, which is quite high, 5.9 percent, because shareholders know that is all they will get.
The real objective of Gazprom's management could be to siphon off the company's money, as opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have analyzed so well in their study "Putin and Gazprom." The main means of extracting funds from the company is capital expenditures, which Gazprom management boost whenever it can. Originally, Gazprom planned for capital expenditures of $27 billion last year, but as oil prices and thus gas prices rose, management threw an additional $25 billion into capital expenditures, for a total of $52 billion. Read any broker report and you'll see that analysts consider 70 percent of the capital expenditures "value detraction," their euphemism for corruption.
Gazprom seems interested in little but building export pipelines to Europe, although its exports to European countries have been declining for the past few years. Ukraine has an eminent transit capacity of no less than 120 billion cubic meters a year, which could easily be expanded to 160 bcm for $3.5 billion. But Gazprom appears to be determined to divert all gas to Europe to newly built gas pipelines. The two first Nord Stream pipes have already been built. They have a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters and a cost of at least $15 billion. Now Gazprom wants to double the Nord Stream capacity for a similar amount, clearly to avoid any transit through Ukraine.
Even so, Gazprom also plans to initiate an even more wasteful pipeline project, South Stream, with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters, at a cost of at least $30 billion. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said the construction of South Stream will start in December.
Meticulously, Gazprom is preparing itself for the dustbin of history. It performs a valuable role as a litmus test of the government's real policy aims. As long as the current Gazprom management stays in place, it is clear that the government has no interest in limiting corruption.

Read the entire article here

German farmers welcome climate change: Harvests to increase by 40%

German farmers can look forward to record harvests in a warmer climate
(image by wikipedia)

The German chancellor Angela Merkel and her government have been - and still officially are - firm believers in the global warming religion: 

"Climate change, with its far-reaching effects, has become one of the greatest challenges facing humankind today: an increase in weather extremes, floods and rising sea levels as a result of melting glaciers, long periods of drought and the accelerating extinction of species are just some   of the immediate results of climate change."

However, in the real world things are looking somewhat different: 

Germany's National Meteorological Service (DWD) and the
German Farmers´Association (DBV) have just published new research which shows that a warmer climate could increase harvests by up to 40%. An earlier start of the growth season makes it possible to enjoy a second harvest. In addition, it will be possible to introduce new varieties of plants. The DBV is particularly looking forward to an increase in the maize production. Also soya, millet and sugar beet harvests will benefit from a warmer climate.

DWD and DBV press release (in German) here.

Kudos to the German National Meteoroligical Service and the German 
Farmers´Association for daring to publish research, which flies in the face of the official liturgy of the doomsday prophets! 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Barroso´s "European democracy"

EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso again yesterday showed why he is an extremely dangerous man. In his megalomaniac "State of the Union" speech, the former maoist once again confirmed his deeply held admiration for empires (disguised in his speech as "federation of nation states") and his disdain for parliamentary democracy: 

Yes, globalisation demands more European unity. More unity demands more integration. More integration demands more democracy, European democracy. In Europe, this means first and foremost accepting that we are all in the same boat. It means recognising the commonality of our European interests.
It means embracing the interdependence of our destinies. And it means demanding a true sense of common responsibility and solidarity. Because when you are on a boat in the middle of the storm, absolute loyalty is the minimum you demand from your fellow crew members.
The key words here are "European democracy". During his maoist years Barroso must have been an admirer of the "peoples´ democracies" in countries like China and the Soviet Union. His talk about "European democracy" is nothing but a new version of this, apparently deeply held admiration for authoritarian regimes. In communist China and Stalin´s Soviet Union "absolute loyalty" to the "great leaders" was the key to success. That is also the essence of Barroso´s "European democracy". 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Germany´s spineless constitutional court

This bird does not bite

The German Constitutional Court has rejected the complaints lodged by several individuals and groups about the constitutionality of Germany´s participation in the ESM and the Fiscal Union. That is of course no surprise to anybody; it has for long been obvious that the Karlsruhe judges are nothing but a bunch of weaklings, who do not have the courage to rock the government´s sinking euro boat.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Shale gas exploration in the UK - The hypocrisy of enviro-fundamentalist NGOs

A letter by RSPB, Friends of the Earth and WWF to UK Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey urging "caution" with regard to British shale gas exploration is another proof of the enormous hypocrisy of the enviro-fundamenalist NGOs. These people are complaining about shale gas exploitation "at the expense of nature" and "unacceptable impacts on UK wildlife", while at the same time shutting their eyes to the killing of thousands of birds and bats by ineffective wind turbines, which destroy the beauty (and value) of large areas of the the British countryside: 
 "shale gas exploitation must not be at the expense of nature. This means that Government and the industry need to prove that shale gas can be delivered without unacceptable impacts on UK wildlife and water resources, and that the laws in place are fit for purpose. If the UK's shale gas resources were fully exploited, it would mean thousands of drilling sites across the country. Each site is estimated to be at least a hectare in size - equivalent to eight Olympic-sized swimming pools - and as this is a new industry, there is insufficient scientific evidence on the risks shale gas production will pose to the natural environment and how to minimise them."
In addition, the three alarmist NGOs are spreading lies about the impact of shale gas: 
"shale gas must not endanger the UK's ability to deliver on its climate change commitments. Evidence suggests that the overall climate impact of shale is greater than conventional gas and could be as high as that of coal, and that exploiting the world's resources of unconventional gas will do nothing to prevent dangerous levels of climate change." 
Read the entire article here
The RSPB, Friends of the Earth and WWF are so busy spreading their propaganda that they have not noticed - or rather chose to ignore - the fact that US carbon emissions have dropped back to 1990 levels, thanks to the shale gas revolution.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Peer review is a new version of the old Vatican truth councils

The way climate alarmists use peer review as a stamp of approval is according the Brendan O´Neill reminiscent of the old Vatican Councils, which determined the official Truth:

Not long ago, the only people who knew or cared what peer review involved were academic researchers, men of medicine and white-coat wearers in the sphere of science, who were understandably keen to have their papers OK'd by a handful of their peers so that they might be published and discussed by others. Outside of the ivory towers, peer review meant little, if anything, to Joe Public.
Now, thanks largely to climate-change activists who treat peer-reviewed documents about the environment in the same way early Christians treated the gospels, peer review is all the rage.
More and more campaigners and commentators now insist that only ideas that have been peer-reviewed should be taken seriously. Everything else is bunkum, or possibly charlatanism.
Last week in The Guardian newspaper, a green campaigner described peer review as a "kitemark of quality assurance", implying that any claims about the climate or mankind's future that haven't been peer-reviewed have no quality.
She suggested that even newspapers articles written by everyday journalists should be subjected to something akin to peer review.
There should be a "system of certification", she said, where "teams of academics" would award an approving kitemark to articles that are "accurate (and that) use reliable sources and peer-reviewed studies".
Funnily enough, a few hundred years ago we had just that kind of system in the British media. It was called the licensing of the press, where only those writers whose ideas met with the approval of the king or queen and their tyrannical court would be permitted to publish, while all the rest would be branded heretics.
Fittingly, The Guardian article calling for peer review to be used in a similar way today, as a way of branding certain published ideas Good and others Bad, was headlined "Don't give climate change heretics an easy ride".
In Australia, public intellectual Robert Manne says that when it comes to climate change, only "leading peer-reviewed scientific journals" should be treated seriously. A "rational citizen has little alternative but to accept the consensual core position of climate scientists", he says.
"Discussion of this point should long ago have ended."
Here we can clearly see the cultural snobbery and intellectual protectionism of the cheerleaders of peer review. Manne is effectively telling the little people to shut up and accept the Truth as revealed by their betters in academe.
What these modern-day licensers of acceptable thought refuse to recognise is that climate change, in terms of how it is framed by the green lobby, is not simply a scientific issue. It is a profoundly political one, touching on everything from economic growth to development in the Third World, from how we travel to what kind of expectations we have for our children.
Under the guise of promoting "correct science" and slamming "bad science", the priestly peer-review lobby is actually enforcing an ideological world view, using the tags "peer reviewed" and "non peer-reviewed" to distinguish between those who are politically on side and those who remain stubbornly heretical.
The extraordinary thing about the liberal intelligentsia's wide-eyed faith in peer review is that this academic process is actually massively open to corruption.
Much peer review involves little more than well-connected academics getting people they know or mates who owe them a favour to sign off on their latest bit of work. That is why the peer-reviewed reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have included so many factual inaccuracies and so much eco-claptrap.
In essence, huge swaths of the cultural elite are using peer review as a kind of intellectual licence, with those lucky enough to receive this stamp being treated seriously and everyone else being branded a dangerous outsider. For all the scientific pretensions of this process, it is most reminiscent of those old Vatican Councils that would get together every few years to determine what the Truth is and how it might be communicated to the pig-ignorant public.
 Read the entire article here