Saturday, 7 May 2016

Spare a thought for the EU civil servants toiling for the taxpayer day in day out!

The total EU27 toilet stock is estimated at around 392 million units. And it is growing
faster than the EU in general ...

(Image: Tiia Monto, CC BY-SA 3.0,

We should all spare a thought for the thousands of European Union civil servants (disparagingly sometimes called "EU bureaurats") who tirelessly toil for us taxpayers, day in day out. The range of work done by these often unnamed heroes is amazing.

Only the other day, I e.g. found out that, as part of their work aiding the EU Commission finally to regulate our toilets and urinals, civil servants in the EU General Directorate Environment have after several years of diligent work published a comprehensive 60-page study with hitherto unknown facts about toilet "user behaviour" and "best practices". As a "stakeholder", I was e.g. most excited to learn that "domestic flash toilets are used 7.75 times a day" and that the "lifetime of a domestic toilet is 12.5 years". And who would have thought that there are 155 thousand prison toilets in our Union? The EU Commission, working for us all, has of course realized that there is an urgent need to regulate the use of the 392 million toilet "units" within the Union!

Here are some key findings from the EU report:

In 2011, the total EU27 toilet stock is estimated at around 392 million units, including 277 million domestic toilets (70.7 %) and 115 million nondomestic toilets (29.3 %), mainly in office buildings (87 million, or 22.2 %) and tourist accommodations (23 million, or 5.8 %). In addition, it is estimated that about 18 million (4.7 %) units are potentially under the scope of public procurement. From Table 1 and Table 2, we can note that the number of prison toilets (EU total of 155 thousand units, 0.04 %) are insignificant compared to the other categories. --

From Table 3, we can see that the EU27 toilet stock of main contributing categories (domestic, offices and tourism) is expected to rise slowly by 2030 (range of 0.3-0.4 %/year), while for less contributing categories the toilet stock is foreseen to remain about stable (education) or even to decrease slightly (hospitals). All in all, the total EU27 toilet stock is expected to increase annually by about 0.3 %, with around 417 million units installed in 2030 (6.3 % increase over the two decades). --

 In 2011, the estimated total EU27 stock of urinals is about 44.3 million units, mainly in office buildings (42.8 million or 96.6 %). In addition, it is estimated that about 8.3 million (18.7 %) units are potentially under the scope of public procurement. From Table 4, we can note that the number of urinals in hospitals and prisons, and to a certain extent in tourist accommodations, is insignificant compared to the other categories. --

From Table 6, we can see that the EU27 urinal stock of the major contributing category (offices) is expected to rise slowly by 2030 (0.3 %/year), while the other significant category (education) is foreseen to remain about stable. All in all, the total EU27 urinal stock is expected to increase annually by about 0.3 %, with around 46.8 million units installed in 2030 (5.7 % increase over the two decades). --

 The typical lifetime of a domestic toilet is 12.5 years, 17.5 years for a nondomestic toilet, and 22.5 years for urinals. In general, this is limited not by the product durability but by the drive to refurbish facilities periodically; --

domestic flushing toilets are used 7.75 times a day, non-domestic flushing toilets 25 times a day and flushing urinals 40 times a day. For dual flush toilets, they are assumed to be used one full flush for every three reduced flushes. --

Friday, 6 May 2016

On why Niall Ferguson is wrong in opposing Brexit

The now New Zealand based Dr Oliver Hartwich - one of my favourite pundits - shows why Niall Ferguson is wrong in his opposition against Brexit:

Prof Ferguson quotes research from the London School of Economics that estimates Brexit could reduce foreign direct investment in the UK by 22% and real income by 3.4%. He also mentions a Nomura study, which predicts a rapid decline of sterling.
The problem with these forecasts is that they are entirely speculative. In practice, nobody knows how a British withdrawal would play out. An event like this has never happened before. There is no historic precedent for Brexit.
Thus it is entirely possible that EU members realise that it would not be in their best interests to cut off Europe’s second-largest economy from its market. In which case Britain would retain access to the Common Market and gain the freedom to run its own affairs. Who knows, if Brexit works in Britain’s favour, we might then in the future start talking about Frexit, Gerxit or Denxit, too.
Crucially, a British withdrawal from the emerging EU superstate would be a strong move toward a more competitive Europe. It would be a Europe returning to the strengths of its diversity.
As long as this Europe still kept its borders open to movements of goods, services, capital and people, this would not be the worst outcome. This would be a free-trading Europe without any of the EU superstructures.

Read the entire article here

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Merkel´s memory loss: She does not remember that she was an agitation and propaganda officer in DDR!

Not enough people know about German Chancellor´s past in the service of DDR. That´s why it is important to remind people of her background, as told in the book "The First Life of Angela M.":

The book explores Merkel's life growing up in German Democratic Republic (GDR), where her father Horst Kasner was a Protestant pastor and a committed socialist. He moved to East Germany from West Germany in 1954.
Merkel has said in the past that her FDJ role at the academy was more that of a cultural secretary and that her duties included buying theater tickets and organizing book readings.
'Closeness to the System'
But former German Transport Minister Günther Krause -- an eastern German politician who worked with her in the final months of the GDR and as a fellow minister in the government ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl in the early 1990s -- contradicts her in the book and says she propagated Marxism-Leninism.
"With Agitation and Propaganda you're responsible for brainwashing in the sense of Marxism," he said. "That was her task and that wasn't cultural work. Agitation and Propaganda, that was the group that was meant to fill people's brains with everything you were supposed to believe in the GDR, with all the ideological tricks. And what annoys me about this woman is simply the fact that she doesn't admit to a closeness to the system in the GDR. From a scientific standpoint she wasn't indispensable at the Academy of Sciences. But she was useful as a pastor's daughter in terms of Marxism-Leninism. And she's denying that. But it's the truth."

Merkel reacted to these facts in this way:

On Sunday evening, Merkel said she hadn't covered up anything about her past. "I can only rely on my memory," she said at a public screening of her favorite movie, a popular love film made in East Germany, on Sunday night. "If something turns out to be different, I can live with that."

Frau Merkel apparently suffers from a serious loss of memory. That would not matter if she were a private citizen, but it is deeply disconcerting when we are talking about the person in charge of Germany, and in reality the European Union.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Former editor of Die Welt: Turkey has sent 1000 state-paid preachers to Germany

Former editor of the German quality daily Die Welt, Wolfram Weimer:

"Turkey has sent 1000 state-paid preachers to Germany and builds serially mosques. Edogan invests in the open Islamization of Germany."

"Erdogan had martially announced: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers." The Turkish President has long pursued a missionary grand strategy for Islamic expansion - first within Turkey, increasingly also abroad. Therefore, Turkey is investing systematically in the evangelization of Germany. Islamization is to be master-organized by state religious authority Diyanet and its offshoot Germany DITIB. In addition to the comprehensive construction of mosques and prayer rooms - financed through State resources - Ankara now officially sends around 1,000 imams to German mosques. They act in many German communities as preachers and pastors, but also as Erdogan´s political agitators. They usually stay only a few years in Germany, speak German poorly and spread an orthodox Sunni, Ottoman repressive conception of religion and occasionally stir anti-Semitism."

Read the entire article (in German) here.

And soon Erdogan´s "soldiers" do not even need a visa in order to reach the "battle field"!:

The European Commission is set to recommend granting visa-free travel for Turkish citizens inside Europe's passport-free Schengen area, despite unease among some EU lawmakers.

Stephen Blank: Obama administration in "congenital stance of confusion over Putin´s objectives"

Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, is spot on in his description of the weak western response to the Russian threat:

As of this writing, the “cessation of hostilities” in Syria has all but collapsed, and thousands of Russian forces are aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to retake Aleppo. At the same time, the Minsk II agreement between Russia and Ukraine remains, as it always has been, an agreement more honored in the breach than in the observance thereof.

In both cases, it is clear that Moscow never meant to implement the provisions to which it signed on. The cessation of hostilities in Syria never was a true cessation, war continued against Assad’s opponents, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is now revealed to have told Assad, “
We won’t let you lose.”

Meanwhile, more European elites are saying that we should relieve the sanctions burden on Russia because, after all, Putin is cooperating with the West against terrorism in Syria. But those who wish to ease or remove sanctions on the grounds of Putin’s alleged cooperation in Syria against terrorists have the burden of proof upon them to demonstrate how this cooperation actually manifests itself and why we should begin a process of dialogue. Putin has made clear that Russia, under his rule, will not and cannot make credible commitments.

At the NATO-Russia Council meeting, Russia’s Ambassador Alexander Grushko delivered an ultimatum to NATO, saying that any move by NATO to enhance its self-defense will be regarded by Russia as a threat that precludes negotiations and will impel Moscow to take its habitual “appropriate responses.” Grushko revealed not only that Moscow sees NATO as a threat, but also that it insists NATO not defend itself, since such moves are inherently provocative.

Here at home, the Obama administration is once again in what appears to be its congenital stance of confusion over Putin’s objectives. US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said that
further NATO expansion is off the table because it will provoke Russia, and that is something the United States does not want to do.

Other than rhetoric, there is no real response to Russia’s ever-escalating provocative behavior and threats to NATO. Putin, it seems, can provoke NATO all he likes; the only effective response is NATO’s enforcement of increasingly self-denying ordinances upon itself and its preemptive surrender to Putin’s agenda. Pressure from France, Germany, and Italy to end or reduce sanctions is mounting. The Europeans aren’t pressing Russia nearly as much to fulfill the ceasefire agreement as they are Ukraine. The Minsk II agreement does not bind Russia to anything or even accept that Russia has been at war in Ukraine since 2014. It puts the Ukrainian government and the “separatists,” in reality Russian irregulars or regulars dressed up to look like irregulars, as equals and entails Ukraine’s self-declared negation of its own sovereignty over the Donbas.

Human rights advocate Harry Wu dies

The great human rights advocate Harry Wu sadly has passed away. Here is how Wu is commemorated by the Washington based Laogai Research Foundation, which he founded:

It is with great sadness that the Laogai Research Foundation announces the passing of its founder, Harry Wu, who died in Honduras this morning at the age of 79. Mr. Wu was vacationing with friends when he passed away.
Harry Wu was a Catholic and a well-known presence on Capitol Hill for his defense of people who suffered in China’s brutal Laogai camps. The Laogai are China’s forced prison labor camps that began under Mao and continue in China today.
While a college student, Mr. Wu was sentenced to 19 years in China’s Laogai after being labeled a counter-revolutionary for speaking out against the former Soviet Union’s invasion of Hungary.
Harry Wu was released in 1979 and came to the United States in 1985 with just $40 in his pocket. Since then, he traveled back to China multiple times to further investigate Laogai camps and promote human rights developments in China. Mr. Wu founded the Laogai Research Foundation in 1992 to gather information and raise public awareness of the Chinese Laogai.
In 1995, Chinese authorities arrested and charged Mr. Wu, then a US citizen, with "stealing state secrets" in retaliation for his efforts to expose human rights abuses in China, among them his participation in a CBS 60 Minutes segment documenting China's vast labor camp system. A Chinese court subsequently sentenced him to another 15 years in prison. Due to the tireless efforts of US politicians, human rights activists, and diplomats, Chinese authorities deported Wu just prior to the beginning of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which Hillary Clinton attended in 1995.
Harry Wu was the author of many books including “The Chinese Gulag”, “Bitter Winds”, and “Troublemaker.” He dedicated his book “Troublemaker” “To the Chinese people who have suffered, who have left, who have stayed; someday soon, no more Laogai.”
Harry Wu spoke out for international labor rights and religious freedom, and against the death penalty, forced organ harvesting, and China’s brutal one-child policy. Harry Wu was a great supporter of the Dalai Lama, a Free Tibet, and 2010 Nobel Prize Honoree Liu Xiaobo.
In 2008, Harry Wu opened the first Laogai Museum in Washington, DC. Mr. Wu was the recipient of many international awards and honors.
Harry Wu is survived by his son, Harrison, and his former wife, Ching Lee. He was beloved by many.