Thursday, August 21, 2014

Putin vs the EU - stunning quote

"His wealth and position are built on the wealth of his people: socialism’s power by contrast is derived from wealth destruction, which explains much of the political divide."

Read Alasdair Macleod's five-star essay on Ukraine here.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Beneath the social construction

Beneath the social construction, that complicated marvel of a structure, there are excavations of all sorts. There is the religious mine, the philosophical mine, the economic mine, the revolutionary mine. 

Such and such a pick-axe with the idea, such a pick with ciphers. Such another with wrath. People hail and answer each other from one catacomb to another. Utopias travel about underground, in the pipes. There they branch out in every direction. They sometimes meet, and fraternize there. 

Jean-Jacques lends his pick to Diogenes, who lends him his lantern. Sometimes they enter into combat there. Calvin seizes Socinius by the hair. But nothing arrests nor interrupts the tension of all these energies toward the goal, and the vast, simultaneous activity, which goes and comes, mounts, descends, and mounts again in these obscurities, and which immense unknown swarming slowly transforms the top and the bottom and the inside and the outside. 

Society hardly even suspects this digging which leaves its surface intact and changes its bowels. There are as many different subterranean stages as there are varying works, as there are extractions. What emerges from these deep excavations? The future.

Victor Hugo - Les Misérables (1862)

I like this quote. Social change is the result of a kind of disjointed undermining. Even the miners have little idea of consequences, however fanatically they dig away down there.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The power game

Source

Clean Technica reports on the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm.

The United Kingdom celebrated the installation of its first 6 MW wind turbine over the weekend, having erected the first of 35 Siemens 6 MW turbines at the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

The Westermost Rough offshore wind farm is a joint venture between DONG Energy and its partners Marubeni Corporation and the UK Green Investment Bank.


Is that this Marubeni Corporation?

Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading company involved in the handling of products and provision of services in a broad range of sectors around the world, including power generation, entered a plea of guilty today for its participation in a scheme to pay bribes to high-ranking government officials in Indonesia to secure a lucrative power project.


And this Marubeni Corporation?

In January 2012, Marubeni Corporation agreed to pay a US$54.6 million criminal penalty to settle multiple US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) charges relating to its work as an agent for the TSKJ joint venture. The TSKJ joint venture comprising Technip, Snamprogetti Netherlands, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and JGC Corporation hired Marubeni to bribe lower-level Nigerian government officials to help it obtain and retain contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island in Nigeria. TSKJ paid Marubeni US$51 million which was intended, in part, to be used to bribe Nigerian government officials.

Of course I am not implying or suggesting that there is anything questionable about Marubeni Corporation or the Westermost Rough project.

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It's the lawlessness plus the militarization of police - together

First, two pics from the link below:

  missouri-looting-APboston_police

Then the link: http://armstrongeconomics.com/2014/08/11/protests-turn-to-free-for-all/

Additional material, via Barry Ritholtz:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/08/turning-policemen-into-soldiers-the-culmination-of-a-long-trend/376052/

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/08/americas-weaponized-police-force-could-benefit-from-one-more-weapon-cameras/376063/

Then you might look at this link on police exceeding their legitimate authority:

Rogue policeman who tried to get DNA sample from young girl to prove she was daughter of kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch is sentenced to prison

 ... which might tie in with this:

The missing children ... which is getting a little tangential to the main theme of this article.

Sackerson asks us to look at the second pic above, more so than the first.  Sorry, methinks both must be viewed in conjunction in order to make sense of what's going on.

Whilst I'm with him on the second and will write on it below, the issue of the top pic and the lawlessness the society has fallen into due to corrupt politicians, left-captured judiciary which condones criminals but incarcerates the minor, especially non-PC, offender and the overall weakening of the institutions of society, actually ties in with the increasing militarization of the police.

In old left-right terms, there's one of each issue in this tale, which raises the question, if both left and right are concerned, then what are we concerned about and the answer to that is the State.

And as has been shown in posts passim, almost ad infinitum, the State is not only encroaching but the hidden group behind it - I hesitate to call it a ruling class - is going down the same path as near the end of the Weimar Republic.

Whilst the left, through its organs Scientific American, MSNBC, the Cato Institute, the Atlantic and others zeroes in on the militarization, the right's American Thinker zeroes in on something different:
  http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/08/obamas_call_to_calm_in_ferguson.html#ixzz3AoT6K1QF
The president’s interest is, or should be, the health of our nation, and the totality of its people, to include the people of Ferguson inclusively, but not exclusively. He should adamantly reinforce his support for the “rule of law”, for either we have justice (true justice, premised on findings, not emotion), or we have chaos and anarchy.
National Review Online makes a good point:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/385656/grossly-exaggerated-militarization-police-critique-ferguson-rich-lowry
It was ridiculous and wrong for police snipers to train their weapons on peaceful protestors in Ferguson. But, when you get right down to it, the militarization of police has had basically nothing to do with events there, even though the Left and parts of the Right have wanted to make that the main issue.
It's too convenient that this over-militarization, as opposed to its bobby on the beat function, should coincide with all this rank lawlessness.  It's almost an invitation to FEMA and the days of the new heavy-handed police reaction.  Well maybe not new - you'll recall the miners' strikes. NRO again:
So now Governor Nixon is calling in the National Guard, or in other words, “militarizing” the response. What Ferguson needs is the restoration of basic order, and the absence of it has never been the fault of the police, but of a small, lawless fringe of protestors bent on mayhem.
See, we swing left, we swing right and never really look at BOTH sides of the issue together.

We don't focus on the real culprits who even condone the lawlessness, whilst militarizing the police. And as that article says, Ferguson is only one small part of the issue which has been going on for quite some time.

But the point is, all these new threats are conveniently arising, in order for the stormtrooper reaction.  ISIS for a start is a faux-Islamist group - see Operation Cyclone for background.

Let's not go too left-field but there still is the little matter of the Patriot Act quickly following the "convenient" 911. We've also seen the innocuous FEMA holding camps with the inturned barbed wire tops of fences which are explained away as training barracks and whatever.

Trouble is, the left will bring that up and the right poo-poohs it, then the right will bring up the failure of police to act on the lawless and feckless in Ferguson and the left will say no, no, it's all the police's fault, ignoring how this lawlessness is spreading and threatening ordinary people.

Thus both sides fail to agree - we can't even agree on which photo is more important - and thus we fail to combine to stop the whole phenomenon of the game of these people I call Them, for want of a better term.

In other words, the power behind the politicians who both appoint the pollies and run them from behind the scenes.  In the case of Cameron, one of them can be named immediately - Barosso.  If you need another name - Sutherland.

This is where the issue is.  If you go through those links, the pattern is not only clear, it's worldwide.  Australia is also doing these things, and Canada.


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Monday, August 18, 2014

How to be overweight

After a recent visit to a Little Chef, I've been wondering just how easy or difficult it is to be grossly overweight. I'm sure keen weight watchers know the answer to this already, but how many extra calories do you need to put on the pounds and keep them there?

exercise.com has a calculator which I'll assume is reliable, so I began with a BBC report taken from the ONS which says the average English male in 2010 was 38 years old, 5ft 9in tall and weighed 13.16 stone.

Okay, so the calculator says he should consume from 2090 to 2700 calories per day to maintain that weight depending on how sedentary he is. Let's take to 2400 calories for someone who is mostly standing.


Next I doubled the average guy's weight from 13.16 stone to 26.32 stone. That sounds pretty hefty to me. Going back to the calculator our not so average Englishman should consume from 3100 to 4000 calories per day to maintain his new weight, again depending on how sedentary he is. Let's take to 3550 calories for someone who is mostly standing - although that may have become less probable.


So to maintain double the average weight, our average Englishman needs an extra 1150 calories. That's not much more than a Medium Italian pizza from Pizza Hut

From the same source, the average woman in England weighed 11 stone and was 5ft 3in tall. Let's assume she's also 38 years old. So to maintain double her average weight, our average Englishwoman needs an extra 960 calories. 

To my considerable surprise, maintaining a such a huge weight as 26 stone possibly isn't that difficult. It only seems to be a pizza a day. Doesn't seem enough to me but I'm not an expert on these matters. I've never had a weight problem but I do enjoy pizza.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

[Insert name of hottie] for PM!

Now that Jan Moir has established the sexual basis for choosing political leaders and policies, we have to turn from "turnip" Salmond to the question of who will lead our country from 2015. Even though they're still a minority in the Commons, surely we're ready for a woman again.

Clearly the pressure to increase the squad of Cameron Cuties has anticipated this important development in public attitudes, but selection solely on gender lines is inadequate. Looks are what counts:

Homage and apologies to The Sun newspaper

Of course, not everyone can become a Prime Minister, but the runners-up could be given seats in the House of Phwoards as consolation prizes (unless Peter Hitchens succeeds in getting it abolished). How about Tracey Ermine for Lord Speaker?

Image: Saatchi Gallery

I'm looking forward to next year's General Erection.


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Has a celebrity moved into YOUR area?

Not the Mail on Sunday

Our FREE detector will tell you how many kilometres to the nearest entertainer. Then simply log on to celebwitchhunt.co.uk, enter the details and we'll tell the police, tip-off the media for the raid and write letters of complaint about the subsequent coverage to the BBC's governors.


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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vote with your gonads!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2726381/JAN-MOIR-Salmond-s-fatal-flaw-We-women-think-s-got-charm-turnip.html

Write the rest of the article yourselves.


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is your money safe in the bank? - revisited

John Ward reports that some South African bank savers are now having their accounts raided to shore up a different bank, African Bank Investments Ltd. Even more disturbingly, the example he quotes is of a customer whose SA bank is part of the international Barclays group, so the link stretches back to the UK itself.

Almost exactly seven years ago, and over a year before the global banking crisis of 2008/9 hit us, I warned British readers that protection for their savings was limited. At that time (August 2007), you were guaranteed 100% of the first 2,000 in your account, and only 90% of the next £33,000. So the maximum compensation in the case of a bank wipeout, even if you had millions, was £31,700.

Now, and as a result of the crisis (and more importantly, to prevent a system-destroying general run on the banks) the "guarantee" has been increased to 100% of the first £85,000 per person (see FSCS here). That's per bank group, so if you have more than one bank account make sure they're not part of the same group.

But why is a guarantee needed in the first place? Surely the money you have deposited is yours, same as if you'd asked them to look after your house deeds.

Not at all. Here is the law as explained by Toby Baxendale on The Cobden Centre website in 2010:

The Current State of the Law


The key case is Carr v Carr 1811 (reported in Merivale (541 n) 1815 – 17). A testator in making his bequest said “whatever debts might be due to him…at the time of his death”, the key question in this case being whether “a cash balance due to him on his banker’s account” passed by this bequest. The Master of the Rolls, Sir William Grant held that it did. He reasoned that it was not a depositum; a sealed bag of money could be, but this generally deposited money could not possibly have an ‘earmark’. Grant concluded on this point, “when money is paid into a banker’s, he always opens a debtor and creditor account with the payor. The banker employs the money himself, and is liable merely to answer the drafts of his customers to that amount.” For the legal scholars among you, Vaisey v Reynolds 1828 and Parker v Merchant 1843 both affirmed this position.

In Davaynes v Noble 1816 it was argued in front of Grant that a banker is a bailee rather than a debtor. Rejecting that argument, Grant said “money paid into a banker’s becomes immediately a part of his general assets; and he is merely a debtor for the amount.”

In Sims v Bond 1833 the Chief Justice of the Queens Bench Division affirmed in judgement “sums which are paid to the credit of a customer with a banker, though usually called deposits, are, in truth, loans by the customer to the banker.”

The House of Lords, then the highest court in the land, had its say on the matter in Foley v Hill and Others 1848, duly reported in the Clerk’s Reports, House of Lords 1847-66 (pages 28 and 36-7). In summary, the appellant in 1829 opened a bank account with the respondent bankers. Two further deposits we added in 1830 and in 1831 interest was still added. In 1838 the appellant brought proceedings against the respondent bankers seeking recovery of both the principle and interest. The counsel cleverly tried to argue that it was the duty of the respondent bankers to keep all the accounts up to date at all times and thus there was more to this relationship than that of debtor and creditor.

The Lord Chancellor Cottenham said the following in judgement

Money, when paid into a bank, ceases altogether to be the money of the principal; it is by then the money of the banker, who is bound to return an equivalent by paying a similar sum to that deposited with him when he is asked for it. The money paid into a banker’s is money known by the principal to be placed there for the purpose of being under the control of the banker; it is then the banker’s money; he is known to deal with it as his own; he makes what profit of it he can, which profit he retains to himself, paying back only the principal, according to the custom of bankers in some places, or the principal and a small rate of interest, according to the custom of bankers in other places. The money placed in custody of a banker is, to all intents and purposes, the money of the banker, to do with it as he pleases; he is guilty of no breach of trust in employing it; he is not answerable to the principal if he puts it into jeopardy, if he engages in a hazardous speculation; he is not bound to keep it or deal with it as the property of his principal; but he is, of course, answerable for the amount, because he has contracted, having received that money, to repay to the principal, when demanded, a sum equivalent to that paid into his hands.
That has been the subject of discussion in various cases, and that has been established to be the relative situation of banker and customer. That being established to be the relative situations of banker and customer, the banker is not an agent or factor, but he is a debtor.

Thus the settled position of the law is that when you deposit, the bank becomes the owner of the money deposited and you become a creditor to the bank.

We have now established that you shouldn't have more than £85,000 in any group of banks.

Strictly speaking, it's not the government's guarantee, it's the FSCS's: "The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is backed by government" (my italics). The FSCS runs a fund and pays claims out of money it levies on UK financial institutions. In a bad - not the worst possible - situation it can borrow from the Treasury, and has done so, as this official attempt to reassure us says:

What if a giant goes bust? Is there enough cash?

The FSCS has paid out more than £26bn and helped more than 4.5m people since 2001. We are funded by the industry, but the FSCS can borrow money from the Treasury if the compensation costs of a major failure are more than the industry can meet. That is what happened when banks failed in 2008.

So consumers can be reassured the FSCS will always have the money to pay compensation. No-one has ever lost a penny of protected deposits and no-one ever will.

What about "bail-ins", like the case referred to by John Ward above?

For example, in the event of a building society's insolvency, depositors' claims used to rank below other unsecured creditors and so were more likely than the latter to be required to accept something other than their money back. This is now changing:

"...the BRRD has been agreed and will require us to introduce a slightly different form of depositor preference. It will require a two tier preference, where:
  • eligible deposits from natural persons and SMEs have a higher priority ranking in insolvency than the claims of ordinary unsecured creditors
  • covered deposits have a higher priority ranking in insolvency than the part of eligible deposits from natural persons and SMEs that exceed the coverage limit
Covered deposits are defined as those that are protected by the FSCS, up to its limit of £85,000. Eligible deposits are defined as those which qualify for FSCS protection, without any limit on the amount (and deposits from such natural persons and SMEs that are made through foreign branches of EU institutions). Following these changes, if an individual had £100,000 deposited at a building society that is a member of the FSCS, £85,000 would be a “covered deposit” and have a higher priority ranking than the remaining £15,000 which in turn would have a higher ranking than ordinary unsecured creditors.

We anticipate that the Directive will come into force by May 2014. The transposition deadline is 1 January 2015."

The Government's general guiding principle is to reassure depositors that they won't be fleeced in a crisis:

"Section 60B [of the Banking Act] requires the Treasury, when making these regulations, to have regard to the desirability of “ensuring that pre-resolution shareholders and creditors of a bank do not receive less favourable treatment than they would have received had the bank entered insolvency immediately before the coming into effect of the initial instrument” (the first instrument made by the Bank in the resolution)."

Why are they doing this? Well, here's Oz comedy pair Clarke and Dawe on the effect of the Cyprus bank bail-in:




Still:

(a) I don't see anything that limits the power of the FSCS and others to alter or suspend their guarantees, if they feel they have to;
(b) a leading barrister has given his views (in 2011 on CityWire) on the potential case against the FSCS's fund-raising powers;
(c) the Emergency Powers Act of 1920 allows the Privy Council to do pretty much whatever it likes in the short run, if it determines that there is an emergency*;
(d) anything can happen, and in a very bad situation some of those things could be beyond the Government's power to control;
(e) theft by inflation is always a threat, and despite a long campaign by me my MP has so far refused to stand up at Prime Minister's Question Time and ask when the Government is going to restore National Savings Index-Linked Certificates.

Where does the Cabinet hold their own families' cash? Be useful to keep that under observation, maybe. It might not just be the Russians or tax-dodgers who want to shift money out of the UK, and Europe in general. And why is the Chinese government encouraging its citizens to hold gold?

_________________________
UPDATE: *I'm a bit behind the curve here - we now have what seems a much further-reaching and potentially sinister provision: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Contingencies_Act_2004

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