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Jobs - the European crisis

Gavin Hewitt | 15:26 UK time, Sunday, 3 January 2010

New EU President Herman Van Rompuy

A presidency, usually, is no small thing. It smacks of power, of ritual, of ceremony. Spain would have you agree. It has just taken over the rotating EU Presidency.

Next weekend, guests are invited to Madrid to celebrate the moment. European leaders like the presidency. They can revel in summitry, in receiving international figures, in appearing at the centre of events.

They hope, but it does not all always happen that way, that the flashing of the cameras will improve their ratings. The embattled Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be no different. He needs all the help he can with Spain mired in debt and unemployment. Its construction industry has collapsed leaving four million out of work.

So what will the Spanish do with this six-month bubble of power?

The Spanish foreign minister has laid out some priorities: implementing the Lisbon Treaty, finding a way out of the financial crisis and initiatives to develop the rights and freedoms of EU citizens. Oh, there is also the matter of a Palestinian state, "the sooner the better", according to the foreign minister. And perhaps new openings for Cuba.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero

All of these may be important or even desirable, but it's a fair bet that across Europe, if you were to tap opinion in the bars and brasseries, there would be surprising unanimity on what to do even with a sliver of power.

Jobs, growth, getting Europe moving again. The rest can go hang.

For out there, even as the recession recedes, it leaves in its wake a stunning crisis. Across large parts of Europe a young generation is without work. The stats speak for themselves. Youth unemployment in Spain is 42%. In Greece it's 25%. In Italy it's almost 27%. Ireland is around there too.

Such numbers, without hope, can have profound consequences for societies. This is not just a human crisis, however, it is a potential crisis for the single currency. This could be the biggest challenge for the euro. How do these countries stimulate their economies while having to reduce their deficits to comply with rules that govern belonging to the euro.

To be fair to the Spanish prime minister, he wants to make economic recovery a priority of his EU Presidency. The danger, for him, is that the EU appears too focused on its
internal structures, on making the Lisbon Treaty work. Already one survey suggests that two-thirds of the Spanish people have no interest in EU business.

Lithuanian protest over economy

The political risk for Prime Minister Zapatero is that he becomes the face of an institution that seems distracted by, for instance, setting up a new diplomatic service. There is another problem for Madrid: the wings of the rotating presidency have been clipped.

Under the Lisbon Treaty, which now governs how the EU functions, summits will be chaired not by Mr Zapatero, but by Herman Van Rompuy, the permanent President of the European Council. Mr Zapatero can't guarantee a seat at the final press conference.
Back home he could be judged an empty suit.

Mr Van Rompuy has already suggested an informal summit in February to discuss economic problems. There may well be arguments over whose power extends where and, if that happens, the risk is that the EU's leaders seem too focused on themselves and their institutions rather than on the needs of ordinary people.

Comments

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  • 1. At 01:26am on 04 Jan 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Gavin---

    So what will the Spanish do with this six-month bubble of power?

    1)Economic Issues
    2)Terror related issues
    3)Security issues
    4)Social Affairs
    5)New E.U. President
    6)International Affairs

    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 2. At 01:28am on 04 Jan 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Gavin:

    About February Summit

    That is going to be some interesting news, when the event occurs; Because, there will be some talking from all sides of the aisle...

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 3. At 01:31am on 04 Jan 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    I had to take a second glance at the photograph of Herman Van Rompuy, the permanent President of the European Council .... that looked very much like his middle finger to me at first glance!

    Or perhaps that was just me thinking that the EU Nation State Premiers and leading eurocrats all seem so absorbed with the aura of arrogant superiority that is a part of the machinations of how the EU is now managed on the political stage that they feel all feel they can now give such a gesture to everyone outside of their bubble of superciliousness.

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  • 4. At 01:42am on 04 Jan 2010, dave wrote:

    I am trying to grasp what this article is actually about. Can someone explain what is wrong with the priorities laid out by the Spanish Foreign minister? Is it that he didn't say crisis 5 times? Is it that he made a mention of the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people without affirming the EU's unflinching support for the Israel?

    Spain is trying to make a difference and is shot down before it even begins. Maybe Gavin Hewitt would like to see a European president that does not even attempt to engage in global affairs. A Palestinian State and normalised Cuba-US relations would go down pretty well in the 'bars and brasseries' that I frequent.

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  • 5. At 02:00am on 04 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Europe is dead. Killed by its arrogance that it can do no wrong. Anyone with a dime to his name would have to be insane to invest in Europe. Huge taxes, incredible regulations, a maze of bureaucracies, impossible conditions for employers to risk hiring anyone. Whatever money Western Europe makes now comes from somewhere else. The US had better watch out itself. If it tries to tax its way out of the massive debts it has recently accumulated, it will go down the same drain to the same sewer. The only jobs Europe will create are more government jobs and government funded make work jobs. Private enterprise which is the greatest engine of wealth creation ever invented has been killed off in Europe, sputtered to a halt, siezed up solid. Welcome to the socialist welfare state. As the number of productive workers who actually create something of value diminishes, they will each have to bear an increasing burden of supporting more and more those who do not produce anything of value. Europe is in an economic death spiral of its own creation and it would be political suicide for anyone to propose concrete measures to get out of it....like slashing the welfare state, regulations, taxes, and bureaucracy by 95%. RIP Europe.

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  • 6. At 02:28am on 04 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    "..even as the recession recedes..." Is a delightful term. For whom is the recession receding?

    The USA pundits are speaking now of a "jobless recovery" in the market. And the mainstream media, like the corporate servant it has striven to become, celebrates the recovery of the market.

    Because, as we all implicitly understand, the most important thing to our society is that those who speculate in the market place can make profits.

    Our society is heading towards a scenario wherein robots and chinese state slaves create the goods and services required by those who are born into shareholding families, and wherein those who are superfluous to these divine activities are merely a nuisance.

    I am fortunate enough to work in an industry that deals with high net worth individuals. These folks even have their own acronym: HNWI and UHNWF

    The "U" stands for "ultra". Nice, nuh?

    But at the same time, I am keenly aware of the huge number of folks who are desperate to know where their work is going to come from in the future.

    Meanwhile, the political class and the corporate sycophants in the media spew out their garbage to a population that is being driven to despair by inflation and the eradication of jobs.

    More and more these days, I am reminded of the textbook definition of fascism: The corporate control of government.

    Obama the magnificent calls it "the influence of corporate lobbyists in Washington", and then he appoints a rogues gallery of corporate lobbyists to his government. Change we can believe in?

    Sooner or later, the corporations are going to demand a society that conforms with the corporate way of distributing power and resources. That is to say, those who are not shareholders of corporations with ties to the national socialist party will be deemed superfluous to societies needs, and plans will be made to eradicate them. Or at least, to keep them from disturbing the wonderful efficiency of the market.

    When the nazi's in the 1930's published facts and figures detailing how much money could be saved by liquidating the feeble and the lame, they were cheered onwards by the owners of industry and the governments of the day. That is how the "end of the recession" is beginning to sound. The unemplyed are a burden on the society, not a legitimate part of it.

    The recession is receding if you are someone who has their hand out to the government of the national socialists. If you are the shareholder of a bank or auto corporation, life is getting better.

    And isn't "national socialist" a perfect way to describe both Obama and Brown? Both want to increase taxes for the nation state, and both have a vision of socialism for the rich, whereby the state steps in to protect those who provide jobs and services for the lucky poor. And both appeal to notions of nationalism for popular appeal, and promote war in foreign countries as a tonic for fears at home.

    And both, just like the fascists of nazi germany, are 100% in bed with the corporations who draft and promote the policy which is dutifully served up to the people as the answer to all problems.

    The corporate control of government IS fascism. That is precisely what the word means, and I do not know a single person who would make the argument that governments based on the westminster system of representation and private media are not controlled by corporations.

    The taxation system has become a weapon, the tool of thieves who take money from general circulation and gift it to those shareholders of corporations who sponsor the political parties who own a stranglehold on public power. And the media, both state and corporate, serves these interests like a willing slave. Of course. Those who work in the media are paid by the state and the corporations.

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  • 7. At 02:59am on 04 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt, you say you are a lawyer. Then you know corporations don't pay taxes they merely collect them and pass them along to the end user who pays them. The taxes are built into the structure of their prices. If they price themselves out of the market, the largest ones pull up stakes and move to where taxes are lower, those which can't go broke. China, India, Brazil, even the US is where they move to. In the past, corporations could stay in one place and have the government at least protect their domestic markets with high import tariffs to remain lower than the competition at least at home. America allowed Europe to do this and still export freely to the US during the cold war but no more. With globalization if you don't allow goods to be imported from other countries and remain competitive with your own then your goods will be barred from other markets with reciprical tariffs. There is nothing Europe knows how to do that others around the world don't know how to do as well or better and cheaper. All of Europe's chickens are coming home to roost at the same time.

    I could see fascism rearing its ugly head in Europe again. But this time it will be picking a war with the entire world if it does. For example Europe could replace America as militant Islam's number one target. You can see the beginnings of this already. The EU law making it a felony subject to imprisonment to be an illegal alien migrant worker has angered all of Latin America. I can't recall even one other event or incident that so united all of it.

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  • 8. At 04:31am on 04 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    Other posters have already described most items pertinent to the situation, but for some mysterious cause, they have outlined those contributing factors as if they were bad things, that are morally wrong, rather than simply pragmatic facts of life. Idealism is all well and good, but there are practical, physical limits to happy fairytale fantasy.

    The reality of the world is that we no longer require strong backs and weak minds. Approximately one-third of the human population is now superfluous and extraneous. They do not contribute to human culture; they are a burden, a millstone around our necks dragging us back from improving our civilization. In the present Knowledge Revolution changing the world, the dimwitted are useless and worthless. That may be too bad, but facts remain factual, whether we like them or not. Reality does not care about emotions.

    Thirty percent unemployment is now correct and proper. That is the real percentage of people who are so dumb that they are unemployable. Jobs for people with that low an intelligence plainly don't exist on this planet anymore. The only occupation for people that feeble-minded is farming, and all people so slow-witted can do is be bad, incompetent farmers. Today, there is too much competition around the globe from farmers who are very smart, and extremely competent. Stupid farmers are nothing but an obstruction in the way of civilization. Those families are a destructive drain on our society, not a benefit or a neutral influence. The huge majority of Latin Americans are a very good example of the fact.

    The world does not need more truck drivers and cleaning women. We need more scientists and engineers, and above all, we need more managers and executives, who can organize and govern ever-evolving complexity, at a level of intelligence 85 percent of the world's population can't even imagine. Shaking your fist at the weather will only get you a sore arm.

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  • 9. At 06:27am on 04 Jan 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    MarcusAuraliusII is quite right Europe is Dead !!!
    The statements that the Recession is over are misleading , simply a technicality , but not a true fact . It is appauling when so many people are unemployed , especially young people . In Italy even school teachers have been laid off in state schools . Industries across Europe are in dire straights and because of the Euro regulations will have the gravest difficulty in ever picking up again .
    It is ridiculous , that anyone can think that the Spanish Prime Minister as current EU President , should even think to Posture on the world stage in EU Presidential Guise , when his country , among many others , and its people need all his efforts to improve the economy and get people back to work .
    " Charity Begins at Home "! One's own Home Base comes before anywhere else !
    Lisbon Treaty or not , in my view Europe will only move downward .

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  • 10. At 08:32am on 04 Jan 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "Oh, there is also the matter of a Palestinian state, "the sooner the better", according to the foreign minister."

    I have to admire this chap's gumption. He likes a challenge it seems. The fact that the two sides could not agree on the colour of an orange not putting him off at all?

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  • 11. At 09:00am on 04 Jan 2010, Jay wrote:

    I agree that Europe has its problems, but it will make it through alright. Europe has always had it tough, from bieng the epicenter of world wars, Plague, Constant invasion from muslims, Harsh climate to the ultimate thorn in its side..... socialism. I believe socialism can be good, but its getting insane now. I am against the EU because of this. NOTHING ever gets done anymore as the system is bogged down by itself. Eventually, (hopefully), the EU will fall and Europe will be liberated.

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  • 12. At 09:03am on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    So two thirds of Spaniards aren't interested in EU things.

    45% turnout at EP elections seems like quite a lot then.

    (I'm not 100% serious)

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  • 13. At 09:09am on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Gavin,

    would the UK be part of the Eurozone, surely it would have to be mentioned in your list. These small countries are almost exclusively dependend on their larger neighbors and move in tandem with them. Thus the question you asked is not entirely justified. The Euro forces them to implement long-term policy rather than short-term policy. This is very positive in the long run as the (despicable) devaluation of one's currency isn't an option anymore.

    The most important thing is thus that Germany, France, Italy and the UK get moving again. Once this happens, all the others will follow by association.

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  • 14. At 09:29am on 04 Jan 2010, Meath_ wrote:

    #8 "The only occupation for people that feeble-minded is farming, and all people so slow-witted can do is be bad, incompetent farmers. Today, there is too much competition around the globe from farmers who are very smart, and extremely competent. Stupid farmers are nothing but an obstruction in the way of civilization. Those families are a destructive drain on our society, not a benefit or a neutral influence. The huge majority of Latin Americans are a very good example of the fact."

    Anybody who has any knowlege of farming will tell you its not a job for the incompetent. Ultimately nearly anything we eat is produced on a farm. One of the issues for farmers in Europe is the power of supermarkets and factories over the price farmers recieve. An example in Ireland last year Glanbia paid farmers 22c per litre of milk while that same litre of milk retailed at €1.15. Also farmers have to be intelligent enough to deal with a mountain of EU regulation that ensures any food produced meets health and safety standards and is traceable. This regulation adds cost which is one of the reasons for CAP.

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  • 15. At 09:46am on 04 Jan 2010, Freeman wrote:

    " The danger, for him, is that the EU appears too focused on its
    internal structures, on making the Lisbon Treaty work."

    Not quite sure why you put appears in this. It is focused on its dreams of Empire and the concerns of the peons are a sideshow at the very best.

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  • 16. At 11:44am on 04 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    Meath:

    Thank you for proving my premise on the average intelligence of farmers. The low price of milk is caused by the market force of vastly greater supply over demand, i.e., too many farmers producing too much milk. It has absolutely nothing to do with any laughably dullwitted, paranoid comicbook about the boogyman 'power' of any other group of people. Slow-witted people always try to blame other people for their own brainless mistakes and incompetence. Bureaucrats just sigh, and write another regulation to cope with the huge damage done by thoughtless actions of the developmently delayed. Such people think qualifying for a driver's license is unbearably complicated, and much too difficult.

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  • 17. At 12:10pm on 04 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    What Europe overlooks is that it gained most of its wealth throughout the centuries not from rewarding industry but from piracy of its imperial empires. After WWII was over and its empires disappeared, the US workers and taxpayers sacrificed trillions to rebuild it, teach it, protect it so that it wouldn't again fall prey to one of its incessant inhuman dogmas it has a penchant for creating disaster with. That ended with the end of the cold war. Likewise, Eastern Europe was built to a lesser degree by Soviet sacrifice, feeble and misguided as that effort was. Globalization was the pulling of that plug and the redirecting of American attention elsewhere, predominantly to east Asia. But the expensive social welfare state that three generations of Europeans had become accostomed to as a birth right and their centuries old tradition of massive heavy handed rule from the center with enormous government bureaucracy is a lead weight it will not relinquish even as it drowns. It will not face the facts of the new reality.

    In a place where there is a guarantee that nobody will fail, nobody can truly succeed either because success is taxed relentlessly to subsidize failure, taxed out of the incentive to even try to succeed because it is pointless. This is one enormous difference between Europe and the United States. Europe tries to be a place of guarantees, America strives to be a place of opportunity with few if any guarantees. In the recession that began around 2000, European eocnomists said they were sure that the slowdown of that time would not affect them, only the United States. Yet long after the US recovered, almost all of Europe with the exception of the UK was still in an economic quagmire. Oh how soon Europeans forgot that the American-Anglo model succeeded at least for a time while theirs failed. That's another thing about Europe, it never seems to learn from its mistakes. The lack of incentive for private capital to invest locally means that what jobs are created by large European private industry will be created overseas while what jobs are created locally will be government handouts, not real productive jobs. Why would anyone with $500,000 or $500,000,000 invest in Europe? One day it's a strike demanding 7 weeks a year vacation instead of five. The next it's a law that says you have to pay unemployment insurance if you lay someone off until they get another job which might be forever. Then they tell you you can't hire someone for more than 35 hours a week so you are forced to either cut production or hire more people you won't need later on but can't get rid of without huge added cost. And then there is the Euroracy that will tell you if the bananas you imported don't have the right curvature, you can't sell them. How will that compete with imported products made in places where none of that exists?

    The GDP numbets of the moment don't mean anything. They tell what has happened not what will happen and in very imprecise ways. Europe is racing against trains that are already 100 miles down the track and traveling 100 miles an hour. It's not about to catch sight of them let alone overtake any of them. IMO the outlook for Europe is grim.

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  • 18. At 12:27pm on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII

    You believe your own propaganda. Well done Hollywood.

    Fortunately, the rest of the world woke up to those dreams a while ago.

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  • 19. At 12:45pm on 04 Jan 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    Hmmm....

    "8. MarcusAureliusII wrote: (on previous entry)
    The truth is that nobody knows what the future holds and any resemblance between what anyone says will happen and what actually does is usually mere chance coincidence."

    "7. Marcus wrote:
    I could see fascism rearing its ugly head in Europe again. But this time it will be picking a war with the entire world if it does. For example Europe could replace America as militant Islam's number one target."

    Predictions of Fascism and war with the world, the world apparently meaning America. Absurd.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    "17. Marcus wrote:
    The GDP numbers of the moment don't mean anything. They tell what has happened not what will happen and in very imprecise ways. Europe is racing against trains that are already 100 miles down the track and traveling 100 miles an hour. It's not about to catch sight of them let alone overtake any of them. IMO the outlook for Europe is grim."

    Of course the numbers don't matter when they put Europe out in front. I should have realised.
    A better metaphor might be that Europe is 100 miles down the track but everyone else is travelling faster? Its a lot harder to go higher up the mountain from the top than it is from the bottom.

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  • 20. At 1:49pm on 04 Jan 2010, Meath_ wrote:

    #16
    The reason farmers get such low prices for their produce is that in many cases factories have a monopsony. For farmer to sell milk they must have it pasturised. A beef farmer must sell their cattle to a licenced factory to be killed. Due to EU regulations they cannot kill their own animals without facing a heavy fine. I should also point out the last 1980 was the last year a farmer fot 22c/litre and then the price of litre of milk was 39c in the shop not €1.15 as it did last year. Farming in Europe in its present form is clearly unviable if it was their would be no need for CAP. However farmers in the EU face much tougher regulations and standards. They have also had to fight to ensure that these same standards are applied to the same produce imported into the EU. This was a particular issue for the Irish Farmers Association who campaigned and achieved a ban on Brazilian beef that came from farms that didn't meet EU standards. However despite this issues farmers are not a drain on civilisation as you said in your earlier comment. The first civilisations that were considered great were also the first farmers. To live you must eat food which is supplied on farms.

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  • 21. At 2:06pm on 04 Jan 2010, Phil Taylor wrote:

    Let us hope that the Spanish government will start to look harder into the disgraceful attitudes of the Junta de Andalucia. They have issued yet more demolition notices to 8 couples in Albox, Almeria. The are British residents being treated disgracefully. These houses were built with full planning permission by the Junta back tracked a year after they were built and thought not to tell the owners.

    A demonstration march is happening in Almeria on the 11th January where a petition signed thousands of people will be handed in to the Local government leader.

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  • 22. At 2:09pm on 04 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    EU jobs?

    No problem if you are The Noble Baroness of Upholland and guided Lisbon Treaty legislation through the HoL.

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  • 23. At 2:32pm on 04 Jan 2010, researcherrizvi wrote:

    The very fact remains that the Lisbon Treaty's unanimous ratification in the European Union's club has positively charged the South European leadership of Spain to become instrumental in handling the confronted challenges the Brussels based headquarter of the European Union faces presently.

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  • 24. At 2:46pm on 04 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Marcus wrote:
    " In a place where there is a guarantee that nobody will fail, nobody can truly succeed either because success is taxed relentlessly to subsidize failure, taxed out of the incentive to even try to succeed because it is pointless. This is one enormous difference between Europe and the United States. Europe tries to be a place of guarantees, America strives to be a place of opportunity with few if any guarantees. "

    Huh?

    I could have sworn it was the glorious USA which recently gifted truly vast sums of taxpayers money to banks and auto companies precisely because they were "too big too fail".

    And I had thought that it was in America that the population must be taxed relentlessly to subsidize these failures.

    So I don't know where you get this idea that Europe is a corrupt system of socialism for the rich, whereas the mighty USA is the embodiment of the free market in action. I think your nationalistic propaganda is not keeping pace with reality, Marcus. I feel you must choose between your patriotism and your love of the market. Note, I am not attacking your criticisms of the EU. It is a government structure set up to control the market in order to prevent the abuses of market control by government structures.

    That is not a joke, by the way. The whole fundamental reason for the creation of the European Economic Area was to free the european market from government fetters. That plan has now resulted in the creation of a vast system of market controls.

    Your idea that corporations do not pay tax is curious, but I must disagree. They do. It is widely referred to as "income tax" for employees. It is the employees of corporations who do not pay tax directly.

    I'm not being clever here: it is a mere statement of fact. The money is paid, insofar as that verb denotes an actual action in the material world, by the corporations who collect it. The employees never get it. They never have it in order to then pay it. They are simply told about it by government and the corporation.

    A better way of thinking about payroll tax is to call it "worker rental tax" for corporations. When a corporate entity wishes to use the workers owned by the party (s), it pays the party (s) a rental tax for their services. Then the government and the corporation tell the worker this tax is the workers contribution to the state economy.

    But it is the corporation who pays the money, and indeed it is the corporation which needs to factor the tax into their business model costs. The employee does not. The employee just gets what they get.

    Now this discussion is only correct with regard to direct taxation. Everyone in the EU and USA pays truly vast amounts of tax indirectly. Every time you buy fuel, you pay most of that money to the party. Every time you buy food, most of that money goes to the party.

    Indeed, the tax on fuel is so incredibly high that every time you buy anything that has been moved in the transport system, you pay tax to the party because the transport costs are passed on to the consumer.

    And every time you buy something which crossed the national border you pay tax to the party, and every time some policeman hits you with a fine that is ridiculously high you pay taxes to the party. And every time you use your phone or internet, you are paying huge taxes to the party, as the bandwidth of the state is divided up amongst the telco's in return for huge fees to the party.

    Oh, I forgot: VAT. Every time someone agrees to do something to serve you, they are obliged to collect tax for the party. And, of course, you need to pay tax on the goods as well as the services.

    In short, the taxes come at you from every angle. Everybody pays, and everybody pays a truly staggering amount, all the time.

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  • 25. At 2:47pm on 04 Jan 2010, Tasony wrote:

    Quote from the above article

    ´They hope, but it does not all always happen that way, that the flashing of the cameras will improve their ratings. The embattled Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be no different. He needs all the help he can with Spain mired in debt and unemployment. Its construction industry has collapsed leaving four million out of work.´

    Is it any wonder Spains construction industry is in trouble when building licences correctly applied for and given, are then revoked by local government and demolition orders issued. All this occurs while the homeowners are kept in the dark, until they are told their house will be bulldozed within 3 months. This was the Christmas present given to 8 households in Albox, Almeria.

    Spain should not be allowed the Presidency until it gets its own house (apologies for the pun intended) in order.

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  • 26. At 2:48pm on 04 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    23. researcherrizvi

    "...The very fact remains that the Lisbon Treaty's unanimous ratification..."

    This was a problem solved; ratification at State level had to be unanimous or no treaty. How the political elite got there beggars belief in a self professed union of democracies.

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  • 27. At 3:16pm on 04 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    I note the french wise folks have passed a law making "psychological violence" a crime.

    This is a highly curious development. The woman who was interviewed claimed she was called "fat" by her partner. She wants him punished by the state. The state is obliging (this class of complainant) by passing laws to enforce women's rights not to be insulted. (One presumes the law also applies to men, but no doubt it will not be enforced that way.)

    Now going by the fundamental principle of the EU which says that the most stupid laws are the most widely copied, I expect this law to spread, and fast.

    Right now I can see millions and millions of piggy little eyes all over the UK glistening with joy at the idea that the state will assist in their campaign to police their domestic partner into complete submission.

    Make no mistake, this law has legs. It will go far.

    The fundamental premise is just far too attractive: the state is prepared to step into any argument where a person wishes to bring them. If any one person wants to bring in the state, the state stands ready to get involved.

    Not in a physical dispute, mind you. In a verbal dispute. In a debate. In an exchange of ideas where one party feels aggrieved.

    I note Ireland has recently passed laws making blasphemy a crime, and now the Brits are discussing policing the internet as the french already do, making sure that people are only accessing information that has been cleared as acceptable by the state and the corporate sponsors.

    The pattern here, if I may be so bold as to discern one, is that the state is marching into the bedrooms, the dining rooms and the living rooms of every family in Europe. It is not creeping in, but rather striding in to trumpet calls and fanfare. Flags waving.

    Everywhere Europe has become the land of the state employee "saving" the ordinary citizen. Everywhere laws are passed to police the people for their own good. Everywhere in Europe the terror of those who claim to be frightened is the government's invitation to make more law.

    Meanwhile, as a backdrop to this glorious growth in state activity, more and more ordinary people join the soup kitchen lines and watch daytime television from inside decaying buildings, hidden from the media's happy gaze.

    This is your Europe according to the political and corporate class. This is the vision of the state saving the masses from themselves with moral dictates issued from a priestly class of appointed leaders.

    Is it not time we acknowledged that democracy and civil liberty are dead, and that we now live inside a gross theocracy?

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  • 28. At 4:31pm on 04 Jan 2010, U4466131 wrote:

    #27 democracythreat

    Can you give a source for this please?

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  • 29. At 4:32pm on 04 Jan 2010, Johnny64 wrote:

    With nearly 20% unemployment now (40% youth unemployment), construction in crisis, tourism declining Spain again decides to shoot itself in both feet - with the Junta of Andalucia and by association the Spanish Government ignoring the basic human rights of yet more ex-pats, (who incidentely bring millions of euros into the economy), by ordering the demolition of 8 more homes. These people had no appeal in the courts. It is also the second anniversary of the demolition of Mr & Mrs Prior's home..they are still living in a garage with no water or electricity connected and as yet no compensation....Spain has been censored several times in the European Parliament for ignoring housing irregularities (The Auken Report). It's time for Spain to act responsibly and humanely.

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  • 30. At 4:52pm on 04 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Marcus, are you talking about the USA of Obama--you have nice things to say? about Obama?

    Or the historical USA--and democracythreat, do you know that he is baiting you????

    I mean, why bother, Europe is Europe, USA is USA, which is what? And dont answer someone's negative entry if you dont want to wallow in negativity. Or maybe you like it. If so, sorry, but at least Marcus has a sense of humor.

    Maybe you could add humor to your rant.

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  • 31. At 4:54pm on 04 Jan 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    @ 28 U4466131.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hkSilcVOF0O76KGFDUfBb7M248vA

    Doesn't seem that far reaching and pretty much impossible to prove. It's still not a great precedent and I don't see what it has to do with the EU, but for once democracythreat isn't making things up :-P .

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  • 32. At 5:00pm on 04 Jan 2010, Carsons wrote:

    Did I read correctly that the Spanish foreign minister wants initiatives to develop the rights and freedoms of EU citizens?

    Spain would do well to look to its own record on human rights. Thousands of British penioners living in Spain without mains serivices. A new wave of British occupied houses (with planning permissions) to be demolished in Albox, Almeria. The owners excluded from the legal cases and facing years of expensive court cases if they want compensation.

    Spasin needs to do something about the rights and freedoms of EU citizens in Spain. It needs to study the Auken report instead of dismissing it.

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  • 33. At 5:08pm on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    democracythreat - I saw that news. Terrible.

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  • 34. At 5:12pm on 04 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    Meath:

    We are being distracted by trivia, but I'll try to explain reality to you one more time on your own intellectual level. The facts that contradict your arguement and demonstrate your opinion to be false are the huge income and profits made by smart, competent farmers. There are many in Europe, but a far higher percentage of all farmers in North America. The reason for the difference is simple -- farm size.

    Intelligent, competent farmers have big farms. No one can make a profit on a farm of 50 acres. The idea is preposterous. That farm aize is far too small to provide any economies of scale. In North America, the minimum profitable farm size is considered to be 2,000 acres. Very few farms in Europe are anywhere near that large. That's why they don't make any money, because European farmers never buy other farms that are in trouble, and North American farmers have always done so, for more than 200 years.

    European farmers don't buy other farms because they are dumb. The huge majority of farming families are far below the average intelligence in all nations, and North America is no exception. You can count the number of family farms in Europe and the number of farms owned by corporations, and see at a glance that nearly all family farms make no profit at all, and virtually all corporate farms make huge profits, year after year after year without fail. As a general principle, the more generations a farm has been in one family, the lower the intelligence of the family.

    The only obstruction in farming around the planet is the extremely low average intelligence of family farmers. Intelligent, competent farmers make a fortune, with no effort at all, and they are the people who feed the world, not the overwhelming majority of family farmers. Family farms must be supported with subsidies, paid for by the taxpayers who truly do contribute to society with their productive labor. Family farmers are a drain and a burden on humanity, and nearly all of them are subsistence farmers who can barely feed themselves, because they are not smart and competent enough to manage a farm big enough to make a profit. It is cheaper for governments to give them subsidies than pay the same number of people welfare, that is the only reason they are allowed to keep their farms.

    I recommend www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/PRU/farm_size.pdf and www.ers.usda.gov.briefing/EuropeanUnion/basicinfo/html for a rapid overview of the facts you obviously don't know. There are, of course, thousands, if not millions of other websites on the Internet describing why and how your prejudices are so wrong and wrongheaded. You can do your own research to discover how badly you are mistaken and misinformed.

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  • 35. At 5:45pm on 04 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @ PaganBarbarian

    Can you also add bankers to your list of dumb people. They fit your criteria exactly (in fact even more than the farmers). A banker helps his/her child get a job as a banker the loose huge amounts of money and they can not make it without government help, they more dumb than farmers because they loose even more money than the farmers. In fact the only people that are smart are the Chinese every one else is dumb, by the way even the farmers in China arrear to be smart.

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  • 36. At 6:04pm on 04 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    David, i missed the humour in your own pathetic offering. Forgive me, I don't want to use the word "rant", because that would perhaps be seen as only slightly condescending.

    Who are you to come online and tell me that I should add humour to my writing? Seriously, who do you think you are? Some kind of benevolent psychiatrist?

    Aside from the cruel hypocrisy of neglecting to write with humour yourself, you might have noticed that your comments are precisely the sort of invasive mothering garbage against which I was writing. Do you do irony, David?

    Hence I ask you, in all seriousness, who do you think you are?

    Do you think you have the intellectual capital to advise me on how to write? Or do you think you have some kind of emotional mandate as a spiritual leader, and that your casual advice on how to live and write is welcome because you are the saviour of your peers?

    Get back in your box, David. State your opinions, and leave your motherly advice for yourself. Improve your own sorry condition, if you are in such a great hurry to save people.

    All I want from folks like you is that you start to pay your own bills, and stop asking the state to protect you from your fears and tax me into the ground to make it all happen.

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  • 37. At 6:23pm on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Poor David - however, I believe he's American, so HIS benefits are not funded by YOUR taxes Democracythreat.

    PaganBarbarian - How very politically incorrect :)

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  • 38. At 6:23pm on 04 Jan 2010, U4466131 wrote:

    #31 Benefactor
    I never thought for one moment that he was making this up just hadn't seen it on the TV or in the papers that I read. One point, however, he is talking about proposed legislation not enacted legislation and that's far from a done deed.

    #34 PaganBarbarian
    The only thought that comes to mind is the title of a song' Take my breath away' For sheer arrogance and sweeping generalisations I don't think I have seen a post to match this. Farmers are dumb possibly but you are most certainly dumb. I don't know about your religion but the barbarian bit is well chosen.

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  • 39. At 6:28pm on 04 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Meath, @14. Supermarket chains power also huge in Russia. Farmers het 8 roubles per litre of milk from buyers, and supermarkets here sell it at 35 roubles a 1-litre bottle of milk. I agree, being a farmer is tricky these days. Though, easier here in terms of regulations you've mentioned, to be able to sell. They simply sell raw milk here, whatever the fatness of their cows happens to be :o) and then it's up to large dairy companies here, what do they do later on with the whole milk (dissolve it largely with water, I think! to make of milk hell knows what! and - convert to milk powder, for winter times, when cows give less milk.)

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  • 40. At 6:43pm on 04 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mr Hewitt asks, "..How do these countries stimulate their economies whilst reducing their defecits to comply with rules that govern belonging to the Euro?"

    Now there's an interesting question to set before 16 of the 27 Member Nations of a pan-European Federal Union that has not had over 50% of the Electoral support of the Citizens in the last 3 Elections!
    2 of those Elections being held whilst the vaunted EUro was in-place and up for grabs by the member States.

    Here is my considered view on what the members should do during the Presidency of Spain (a Nation whose present PM Zapatero reduced Spain's 'illegal immigrant' population at a stroke some 5 years ago by making 4.6 'illegals' legal in one go):

    1) Whatever they do, do not consider the Spanish PM option (as exemplified by his 'immigration' policy) of simply making up a new set of rules so that things do not look so bad the following morning even though nothing in reality has changed at all.
    2) Whatever they do, do consider the option of announcing the rescinding of the Lisbon Treaty, a moritorium on all negotiations for further EU expansion, and plans for the present 27 member EU Nations Citizens (yes, including Eire, a 3rd Ref will do them no harm at all) to be consulted by Referendum on whether or not (a) Lisbon should be reinstated, and (b) the EUro should become each Nation's Currency or a return to National Currency.

    I know it's ridiculous isn't it!?
    Asking the EU Citizens what they want from their EU!?
    Oh come on! That's no way to run an organisation claiming to represent 490+ million people!

    Still, as less than 125 million took part in any of the last 3 EU Parliament Elections it might be good politics to ask the Citizens what they want: It is surely an effective way of dealing with the disillusion so fascinatingly summarised by Mr Hewitt's, "Jobs, growth, getting Europe moving again. The rest can go hang."

    The total collapse of 'employment' in the 'strength through unity' EU, the abysmal lack of 'economic development' in the 'one-size-fits-all' EU planned economy, and the 'stagnating European sector' despite the 'Eurozone-Open Borders-Free Market with Directives' EU method is something of a puzzle, isn't it?

    That Citizens were not consulted on Lisbon, Euro, Schengen, Expansion etc. may go some way to explaining why the Citizens of Europe don't care whether it is van Rompuy or Zapatero presiding over the debacle.
    Imagine what might occur if the EU actually took the bold step of asking the Citizens what should be the agenda for the 6 months Madrid is laughingly supposed to be holding the EU reins!?

    It cannot be any less of a realistic suggestion than Msr van Rompuy's "..informal summit in February": An idea which is patently all about his 'political' opportunity to make a mark as the new leader of Europe. A 'leadership' that brings forth even more cynical mirth among many of the Citizens whom Mr Hewitt rightly points out, "..such numbers (young unemployed), without hope, can have profound consequencies for societies..", for most assuredly neither van Rompuy or Zapatero have any inkling what to do about it.

    The consequences of unequivocally ignoring the EU Citizens will come home to roost on these politicians (and I most definitely include the UK/England): The EU has not had a MANDATE for any of its 'political' initiatives during the last decade and enters this one on the back of a Lisbon Treaty that had manifestly failed to win Public support. That Paris-Berlin-Brussels and National leadership persist in this dogmatic fashion against or at least without consulting the Citizens (honourable exception of Eire) will lead to discontent and in the young unemployed there is always the scope for the most dreadful political exploitation.

    I do not envy Madrid its crown of EU thorns over the next 6 months: Perhaps this is the mark Msr van Rmpuy will carry in history - - the first and the last 'president' of the Council! - - if the economies do not recover as presently expected and the tide of Public feeling turns enough against the EU then who knows where it may end.

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  • 41. At 6:50pm on 04 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    C'est triste mais c'est vrais (the only french I know)...

    Wow, ...moving on, Jobs, how to make them? Sounds like capitalism and promoting of capitalistic growth..somehow

    :)

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  • 42. At 6:52pm on 04 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Farmers ARE intelligent (and big). I remember my dad's family all coming from a farm life--which is not possible, today, unless one is rich or one works for a farm corporation.

    So, maybe That is a job possibility.

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  • 43. At 7:04pm on 04 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    I did not write anything inflammatory in referred remark (BLUSH)

    I just used a french quote, meaning sad, but true...one doesnt have to one up manship, for any previous comment or response as there is usually noe that lead anywhere constructive,

    But I wrote.."this is sad, but this is true" in French. then said ..moving on.., jobs ...how to get one ..not just a job, but a good one, that is the problem.

    I wish I could work as a travel agent if I had it all to do over again :)

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  • 44. At 7:05pm on 04 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Gheryando wrote:
    "Poor David - however, I believe he's American, so HIS benefits are not funded by YOUR taxes Democracythreat."

    True. Actually I live in Switzerland and don't pay tax to regimes which do not allow me to vote on issues. I am not subject to representation by corporate sponsored liars.

    So call me empathetic, at best. I empathize with anyone who lives in the EU, and who faces unemployment and crazy high taxation. It must be soul destroying if you actually want to work and be creative. Even if you can find work, the government come and take everything in tax, so they can afford to tell you how to live.

    I mean, that sort of nonsense was why I came here.

    Anyway, it is relief to know David is an American. If he were french the police would be on their way to arrest me for doing psychological damage to the poor dear.

    What I find most disturbing about that new law is idea that someone can become embroiled in an abusive relationship and then, at some arbitrary point, call the cops.

    I have worked enough in the criminal law and family law areas (in the distant past) to understand that people dance together, and abuse each other, in certain culturally sanctified relationships.

    The lady who was interviewed in the BBC piece, for example: what was her FULL story? She claims to be a victim, and yet what is her character? She is fully prepared to call the police and have them use the full force of the new law against the father of her child.

    OK. Just or not, that isn't what you call "conciliatory". it does not speak to a desire for detente. Instead, it suggest someone who enjoys a fight, someone who defines themselves by the conflicts they perpetually engage in.

    Seriously, who goes on television and says "He called me fat and that destroyed my life and so I want the police to come take him away."?

    Who does that? What sort of person does that?

    These people are the types who inhabit the EU parties, and who now make our laws. Call them social conflict junkies or whatever you want to call them. These are the types making our law because this "conflict junkie" personality is precisely the type of person who does well within the political party system.

    What is a political party except a never ending series of controlled conflicts for the sake of winning the contest?

    It is not an accident that Marx demanded his adherents accept the concept of history as class war. A revolution needs an enemy to fuel the demand for violence, just as a nation needs external enemies to legitimize its own violence against those who pose a threat to established power structures.

    Catholic marriage is not so removed from these models of power equilibrium, and I fear these new laws in France are just escalating the never ending religious war that rages between the sexes who subscribe to the myths of the christian flock.

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  • 45. At 7:09pm on 04 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And in Russia it's milk deficit predicted fot this half a year. We are not switched on into European milk producers, how to say, easy system, to quickly compensate for the lack at home, our only back-up supplier is Lukashenko(Belorussia). When we quarrel with him (and we just did :o)
    (Lukashenko threatened to cut off our electricity line going via him to Kaliningrad) (those transit countries!!!!!) (wants mor money for "electricity transit") - hop - there is no milk back up.

    And winter is the first serious winter in years and years, steady minus 10, 15, 20 - minus 50! beyond Urals - first serious winter. Poor cows are on strike :o) more interested in survival, than in being milked :o)

    Normally, in such winter-Lukashenko cases :o) Russian dairy companies run to the EU, buy powdered milk, and make up "restored milk".

    Now there is a new law making dairy companies write on the milk bottles "a milk product" instead of "milk". When it is restored, from ashes:o)

    They bought and wrote. We don't buy "milk product". Nobody does. Hell knows what, for the same price, or slightly lower - anyway - not natural , read "poison" :o)))))

    So Russian dairy companies are in baaad baad need now of whole milk. If anyone has excesses - I recommend to contact them. :o)

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  • 46. At 7:17pm on 04 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And may be farmers are silly, but they make real and edible things, unlike all managers (like I am) who make intangible hell knows what products.

    I agree with Barbarous :o), that small ones are at an ? verge? edge? of sub-existence, existence? barely making ends meet in their small and dilapidated farms, but the fact remains in Russia, as minimum , attention:

    60% of several key food categories on the counters - vegetables, pork, beef, milk - is made within Russia by small individual farmers. Incredible amount. Our private business, overall, contributes only 6 per cent to the GDP, country total.
    If not those small hungry-angry ineffective - we'd all die of hunger here :o)))

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  • 47. At 7:36pm on 04 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    democracythreat, :o) This inviting the state into family business :o) is an old known phenomena since USSR times :o)
    For that we had Communist party for ages, the only practical application of it was that any wife could corner her husband, go and complain to the local party committee office, type "drinks vodka" or "has a lover" or "plans to leave family" or "refused to buy me a winter coat" - any thing a spuse is un-happy with - straight route - to the local party office.

    :o)))
    Very effective. The used to channel it to his party unit at his place of employement, who'd have to call meetings of the organisation :o) and, what was called "to sound-dust him", like clean like old pans were cleaned, by scubby sand, to shining conditions. Now, as this was all post-work hours, his colleagues would hate the man immensely, for having to attend stupid meetings after work hours, and listen to the stories about his defects (all having the same:)))
    Also, various women-folk at the enterprises would gladly join in the meetings :o) eager to tell their own stories of family horrors :o) - and thus such meetings to discuss the behaviour of an infidel husband would last forever (shame on you how you ever plan to be a real communist, if you can't sort out matters within your family? your wife runs around complains? what an example you show to the younger generation:o)))) You can't become "a real man of the future" :o) in this style ever:o) -etc.

    In other words, communist party would just call a meeting (their duty, to "react") - and colleagues will finish it off! Men hating the man that they can't go and have a beer after work, but have to listen to this crap: women folk starting gossip about the man inside the company.

    Poor men got "reformed" :o))) very quickly.
    Any spouse in the USSR could threaten a husband with "communist party", as the last and very effective resource :o))))

    These days alas nowherte to complain :o)))) .. if only... I know of an acquaintance, who went to her priest, Russian Orthodox, to complain, about her husband about to leave her, with 3 boys-sons children on hands (his children, by the way). For a girl 20 yrs younger than she is. Her husband was also Russian Orthodocx, and very religious, and so went duly to the priest when was invited, and was "sanded over" as well :o))))

    But Russian Orthodox Church is not so powerful:o(, he'd listened to all he was told, agreed kind mea culpa - and still divorced and re-married!
    :o))))

    But yes, we had a saying in the USSR, all know, "Lenin third in bed"

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  • 48. At 7:38pm on 04 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    It's when a couple goes to buy a new bed, and ask for a "3-size", so the shop-assistant wonders what's the wonder. "It's two of you, I thought", and all :o)))

    And they say "and how about the Party? Where will Lenin sleep? He's the third, in bed."

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  • 49. At 8:10pm on 04 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    I think people should take care of themselves, WA, or have someone help them...but I do not think the govt. should insert itself unless a person is abusing children,

    I actually know a woman who had her children taken away temporarily while she had to clean her house (this was a daughter of a friend who had 2 kids--my friend was so embarrassed and angry at her daughter,

    But some who work cannot do much else (stress?)

    Watch out for social workers helping (cuz they will and do) :)

    I want to be a social worker and be hated -- not.

    I've heard it takes a degree in sociology to help poor people--who have very little or no money-- to fill out forms asking for assistance from the govt--disability or medicaid.

    So, maybe many degrees are good to have.

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  • 50. At 8:39pm on 04 Jan 2010, U4466131 wrote:

    #34 PaganBarbarian

    For some reason my original comment is still being inspected by their lordships. I take issue with your more than a little intemperate and, to my mind rude comments, for several reasons.

    Most small farms are, as you say family affairs but does that in itself mean they are stupid or dumb as you call them? I live in an area where the average farm is less than 50 hectares and those farmers I know are not dumb. They make a living by concentrating on high quality high value products, air dried hams, sheep's milk cheeses, quality wine, jams and honey.

    These farmers do not tend to use large amounts of chemicals on their land, nor do they resort to using GM products.

    Most of the large scale farms you so admire do just that. They pollute the land with chemicals both pesticides and high cost petroleum based fertilisers and use GM seed stock.

    In addition to which most of the agri-businesses that run these huge farms make a large amount of their so called profit by growing crops targeted at government subsidy. Their lobbying for these subsidies has caused massive damage to third world economies because the surpluses of various products are then sold world wide undermining prices to other producers. Another example of an unwanted product was the move towards corn crops grown for alcohol production which turned out not to be economically viable. This left a large surplus of corn resulting in the production of even larger amounts of an alternative product corn syrup which was already under scrutiny as a cause of obesity in many countries.

    Small farmers may be 'dumb' in your terms but they aren't the threat to the environment, or the taxpayer compared to your large so called 'profitable' farms. Take away the subsidy and how profitable are they?

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  • 51. At 8:40pm on 04 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @45

    Ask the Lithuanian's the Russian government took their licence to export milk to Russia away last summer so, they maybe happy to sell you milk again for some electricity to them. They complained to the EU about the milk issue with Rusia:)

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  • 52. At 8:45pm on 04 Jan 2010, U4466131 wrote:

    #44 democracythreat

    It is not yet a law, it is a proposal for a law and, I suspect, will soon be running into quite a storm. some of the proposed law makes sense, after all 157 women killed within marriages in 2008 does seem to need some attention, but the 'he called me fat' seems to be classic press behaviour on a slow news day.

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  • 53. At 8:45pm on 04 Jan 2010, MariaTee wrote:

    democracythreat:
    You got things so wrong, you have to be a farmer. On a charming, less than 50 acre, swiss farm.
    First of all, in the debacle we are in, farmers still have something to eat, even milk, at bottom price. Corporation owned farms are like soviet kolkhozes (sorry WebAlice), nobody cares if they work and nobody gets any advantage in them.
    The new law telling French husbands not to call their wife fat gives something to the journalists to discuss in the evening news. They can't just limit themselves to football (soccer for our American friends), or the weather. They need some political news to look serious.
    Actually, I think there is some kind of competition going on in the French government to invent new taxes. We just disposed of the "carbon tax" which was supposed to tax C02 emissions to fight global warming (it was deemed unfairly applied). Some months ago we nearly had a "picnic tax" which was supposed to tax plastic plates and glasses to reduce petroleum usage. Personnaly, I think fat people should be subject to a form of "carbon tax" as they pant heavily.


    WebAlice:
    I think French farmers have excess milk; you should contact some local cooperatives in Normandy. Just a few weeks ago they were so disgusted of the price they could sell it at that they were pouring it in the streets by the truckload as a protest.
    We also got some unused flu vaccines that we would like to unload at bargain price if you are interested.

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  • 54. At 8:48pm on 04 Jan 2010, U4466131 wrote:

    #44 Democracythreat

    "These people are the types who inhabit the EU parties, and who now make our laws."

    OUR LAWS? I thought you said you lived in Switzerland, or did I get that wrong. If I didn't then whilst I appreciate your concern surely it isn't really any of your business.

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  • 55. At 8:56pm on 04 Jan 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    Oh the joy it must be for the socialist who love the EU. Socialist love spending other people's money.

    The only problem that socialists is that they eventually run out of ideas on what to spend other people's money on, how to raise more of other people's money and ultimately, once they have impoverished everyone they run out of the money they enjoy spending so much.

    One can see that this is the root cause of why the EU politcians and nation state premiers are becoming so inward-looking despite the plethora of real issues that are more serious importance to every other person living within the EU and constituent nation states - personal debt and too high taxation, uncontrolled immigration and uneconomic social provisions that benefits the undeserving too well and the deserving too badly.

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  • 56. At 9:06pm on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    CBW

    Here we go again :D

    Do you remember my claim that the the low EP election turnout stems from voter apathy? Gavin even states so in the blog (Spanish voters couldn't care less..) So the 45% isn't actually that little if you compare it to the Spanish apathy.

    However, there is a different issue here: Elections are here for you to vote. If you don't vote, don't complain about the result. If you vote, then your cared enough to make your way to the polling station and as reward your opinion just became a little bit more important.

    I thus claim that its not the EPs fault because whoever wants to vote, can.

    In fact, the only elections I ever voted in, were European Elections.


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  • 57. At 9:19pm on 04 Jan 2010, Bruce Hobday wrote:

    Would the BBC be able to contact the Presidente of the EU and the Spanish government?, to ask what they are doing to comply with the EU Parliament resolutions and how these proposed demolitions would fit into this: ie demolitions without compensation, old age pensioners turfed out of their homes, people who bought properties in good faith in some cases already subject to "demolition" proceedings, a dispute between two branches of the state where it is only the citizen that suffers, a property with apparently all the legal paperwork which is then bulldozed, people having their homes bulldozed by Court order without having been notified of the proceedings and having the chance to defend themselves.

    For further information on the affecting homeowners in Almeria, could I steer you towards the following blog: http://corruptioninspain.blogspot.com/

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  • 58. At 9:28pm on 04 Jan 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    PaganBarbarian: I am not a farmer, but am descended from a 'farming family' that retains a small holding in a county adjacent to Meath which we rent out to relatives who farm our land together with their own. Perhaps my father was 'stupid' for never having broken a promise he made to his father that he would not sell the land he grew up on? Perhaps i am 'stupid' for wanting to respect this tradition and keep property in the family name that has been there for longer than anyone can remember? Is it not possible that there are things in this world whose value to those who own them transcends a business case, such that a decision to retain them which you consider 'stupid' is logical to them?

    Farming is not in any case the cause of Irish economic problems which are the result of an unprecedented borrowing binge fuelled by a decade of eurozone interest rates that were too low for Ireland, and which resulted in 25% of all male workers in Ireland being employed in construction sector at the peak of the property boom. Herman van Rumpoy's article in today's Guardian shows that he is psychologically incapable of conceiving of any problem to which he believes more European union is not the answer. He is therefore the last man on Earth to solve economic problems that are the consequence of past decisions to sacrifice Irish economic stability and jobs on the altar of European monetary union.

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  • 59. At 9:39pm on 04 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    U4466131:

    You precis several important items in your reasoning. I do generalize for the sake of brevity and exaggerate for effect. However, you haven't convinced me I'm incorrect in my overall assessment of the situation.

    The small farms you describe specialize in luxury products as cash crops. They don't actually produce food for the common market. Thus, the example you use is invalid and irrelevant to my theme of all family farms. You are describing the tiny number of exceptions to a general rule, and I am writing about the general, the total. You are writing about kumquats, and I am posting a comment about apples. You might as well post a comment about rocket scientists and claim that proves me wrong.

    The sad failure you cite in corn production is what happens when people innovate and experiment. Some daring innovations don't work out; that's right. However, without innovation, such as GM crops, we would still be running around in the forest wearing furs and skins and wielding stone axes. I know what world I prefer.

    Lastly, you are apparently and unluckily uneducated in commercial and public law, especially as it applies to agriculture. Governments assign subsidies to the farms in their tax jurisdiction whether farmers want them or not. In North America, at least, I know that small and medium size farm companies must accept farm subsidies, even when they demand their governments stop sending them the money. I am morally certain the situation is the same in Europe. My posts argue that income is only vital to small farms. For farming families, that money is the only difference between a profit and bankruptcy, and I believe in a free market where bad, incompetent businesses are allowed to go bankrupt without governments propping up the stupid and incompetent. Large farms don't need government subsidies to make huge profits, and many farmers in North America give all their subsidies to charity, very publicly, as a protest against the market-distorting policies of their governments.

    Again, I strongly support idealism. We would be a far worse civilization without it, and the idealistic. However, we must all temper our dreams with some practical, useful realism as well, or we will never get any work done. The world would be a far better place without such a huge majority of bad, incompetent farming families, and that is a cold, hard fact.

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  • 60. At 9:41pm on 04 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @U.....

    Swiss are like been in the EU without been in it so, he has good reasons to worry about the laws.

    @DT.
    Don't stress too much, I'm sure the Italians will block it, if it means no one can stress fat people to loose weight. Their beaches will be ruined:))

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  • 61. At 10:02pm on 04 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @59

    Pagan you wrote

    ²I believe in a free market where bad, incompetent businesses are allowed to go bankrupt without governments propping up the stupid and incompetent.²

    Do you have a problem only with farms or will all forms of government support? In the last year (without having any exact numbers in front of me) I'm sure the finance, car industry received far more government support that the farm industry received in the past half century. Are you ok with that or you just a problem when the government helps farmers? Also do you believe bankers are stupid for loosing money or simply only farmers?

    It would be good if you had some idea about facts before you try to convince us about your position, just calling a group of people stupid does not prove you right.

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  • 62. At 10:35pm on 04 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    ChrisArta:

    I understand your position. Yes, I vehemently oppose the US and European artifical support for their car industry and financial sector. Still, I'm forced to indicate that all the troubles of the auto sector can be placed on unionists extorting ludicrously inflated wages from their employers. Non-union auto factories in the US are doing just fine, thank you very much. Labor unionists, I would note, are not famous for their average high intelligence either. As a side-issue, please remember that extortion is a criminal act, in every nation of the world.

    In the case of the global collapse of our finance system, I again lay the blame on the heads and shoulders of common criminals. The collapse of the world's financial system was caused by American criminal mortgage brokers and American criminal mortgage loan applicants who colluded in tacit conspiracy to transact fraudulent mortgages the applicants didn't have a hope in Hades of every repaying. Subsequently, American criminal finance brokers and managers knowingly and deliberately sold fraudulent CDS paper based solely on those fraudulent mortgages.

    I am deeply angered that none of those criminals have been tried, convicted, and sentenced to decades in prison, where they belong. But I am not the president of the United States of America, and the Justice department doesn't listen to me.

    Character is a very different criterion from intelligence. Being dumb is one thing. Being criminal is something altogether different. Again, you are writing about kumquats, and I am posting about apples. Please, try and organize your thoughts before you send a post, if you want anyone to pay any attention to you.

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  • 63. At 10:37pm on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    ChrisArta,

    You wrote: "Do you have a problem only with farms or will all forms of government support? In the last year (without having any exact numbers in front of me) I'm sure the finance, car industry received far more government support that the farm industry received in the past half century."

    If you do the calculations, your clearly off. By a large amount. Almost half the EU budget goes into farming. Thats 50 odd billion a year. Times 50 vs help to the car industry in a worst crisis of a lifetime?

    Don't think so. Farm subsidies are being shelled out whatever economic situation. Last year was special. Not fair and right to compare the two.

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  • 64. At 10:38pm on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    ChrisArta,

    didn't read your last paragraph.

    Do you find any hypocrisy?

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  • 65. At 11:18pm on 04 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I would reccomend to everyone to also read the Economist's Charlemagne blog. The author is the Economists writer of EU issues and his comments are of the highest quality. Even reasonable anti-EU people like cool_brush_work will enjoy it I'm sure.

    Here is the link. Bookmark it and add it to your blog readings.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne

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  • 66. At 01:00am on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PaganBarbarian, are the people who don't make profit (of any substance :o) and worthy of noting :o) then dumb, in your view of the world? Because this seems to be what it boils down to; what other defects are there with small family farming?
    Russia of course is not a world LOL "average" place, to be compared with or anything. But any one who lived by a farming friends knows one such family can easily feed 4 families around, with whatever they are doing. You can't "farm" by definition and not have a surplus; it's alwyas more than one family can consume. That's why I think they are useful creatures :o) and in everyday life (like someone noted they don't spoil land and hardly ever buy GM modified seeds), to say nothing that's any country's security provision - come any war any troubles (of which you safely forgot in the USA post 1930-s) - where do you run to exchange clothes and family golden rings for sacks of potatoe and salted ham - I am asking you?
    To the supermarket? Three ha-ha. You take a train to villages, that's the only place where there is food and life.
    0
    vironment with chemicals and hardly ever buy GM seeds)come any war any troubles - where do you run for food out of cities - to villages, granted.

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  • 67. At 01:58am on 05 Jan 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    What are the options for a child born to poor farmer parents in poor countries. No education, no skills other than those taught by parents, maybe no parents, no proper shelter, no medical service, no chance to leave. Most likely trying to survive some kind of civil war he/she had nothing to do with. Regardless of the kid's IQ, what is he/she supposed to do??

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  • 68. At 01:58am on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    WebAlice:

    You can't be serious. Russian farms are notorious as the worst in the developed world. Rural communities in Russia are totally dependent on their old age pensions from Moscow. Without welfare from Moscow the farming sector in Russia would have all starved to death decades ago.

    Look at the facts. They are very plain and simple. For some unknown economic 'invisible hand' cause, every urban area in the world, from villages to megacities, always has a stored supply of about two months of food for its population.

    Now. Suppose for some reason that a nation loses its electricity supply. Some other country explodes nuclear bombs in the stratosphere over the seven time zones of Russia, for instance, creating an EMP blast that melts all the electrical circuits of all the power stations and machinery in the country. There is no more electricity, anywhere in Russia, and no possibility of making any more, for months, until all those stations and machinery is rebuilt. All right? No more oil and gas fuel, since all the pumps running on electricity are fried. No cars, trucks, trains or ships without electrical parts and fuel.

    The two months of food stored in every urban center runs out, and the surviving population, not killed in gang fights over food, pours out into the countryside, on foot. How many of those desperate, starving people could the farms of Russia feed? One hundred and forty-two million? LOL. What if the other nation attacked in December? Maybe all the farms of Russia together could feed one or two million people. Not 142 million. And in the middle of winter the total saved would be a few hundred thousand. What the world would witness is 142 million people starving to death. The entire planet couldn't feed that many people without electricity and fuel for transport inside the host nation.

    It isn't the 1930s anymore. Get a grip. If some people can't understand the damage and harm done to any country's economy by small family farms that can't survive without government subsidies, that's their hardship, not mine.

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  • 69. At 02:17am on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    ChrisArta @51 and MariaTee @53
    Thank you for the Lithuania and Normandy advice; I am afraid Normandy sounds more feasible as with immediate neighbours Russia quarrels traditionally, to be fair will add they also do with us; there is no business politics exclusively, while with far away places things go more relaxed simply because there isn't common past.

    Every second day either Ukraine leaves us without salt (though their businesses are less than happy ab it :o) (salt mines all stayed on Ukraine's side) or without beet-root sugar, and we address for sugar Belorussia (beet-root fields stayed there as well), and if Belorussia is in the mood :o) we get sugar LOL, or we cut Ukraine off gas like last year, in other words all governments nearby, ours included, interfere into businesses left and right.

    Yes Lithuania and all the 3 Baltics' normal business is dairy products for North-West Russia. Since we divorced and quarreled over non-citizenship rights and 2ndWWW monuments their market is taken by Finland and a bit from everywhere ww, New Zealand and who only not, but whole milk of course you can't :o), from New Zealand :o) it's not cheese and butter which you can :o)

    So we successfully ruin each other businesses :o), and by the way there is no view of the end of it :o), because couple of weeks ago a bankrupt-country Latvia :o) and a half--bankrupt Estonia :o) successfully torpedoed Italy's suggestion, supported by several of the "Old Europe" members, to look into mutual no-visa with Russia. Italy said now it's new rules, Lisbon, it cannot be as before, when 1 country EU member is enough to block the majority in the EU decision, but Latvia and Estonia corrected Italy, saying it is written somewhere that no, minority can't anymore, but cases of foreign policy of the EU are excluded from the clause. :o(

    So they still want to be important and able to block, and rest assured they will, however Russian relations improve with the "Old campus."
    Like dog on a hay-stack - myself won't eat but won't allow others either!

    Anyway, we are of course no charmer ourselves, just first New Year "without Father Frost from Gasprom-Naftogaz" :o)))) people wonder "did they all have finally enough money, or scary to think LOL - for the first time enough brains?" :o)))





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  • 70. At 02:46am on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    dear PaganBarbarian :o)))) (we are ourselves like that :o))))))

    the beauty of the situation is Kremlin does not support small farmers :o))), must be that's why LOL we still have something to eat :o))))

    Agriculture ministry though supports the big ones; they always demand increases in subsidies :o)))) and all vanishes hell knows where :o))))

    A farmer in your case and a Russian small farmer might be different, though, here it's not even called "a farmer", no word, but "things grown in pre-house land". That piece of land - read - kitchen-garden, that you have around your house - quite a big chunk if you are an ex-kolkhoz member (when kolkhozes collapsed land was divided btw the members in equal chunks) or in your dacha land plot - if you a a city person, who has a "summer holidays house"/a dacha - in the city's suburbs.

    From those small plots un-accounted anywhere as "businesses" - big companies collect their "crops" - potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers carrots - nothing tricky, basic stuff, and pigs and milk - at a smaller rate. Trucks go around and buy from small places. And this is 60%b of country's items as listed above.

    Rye and buckwheat and ? grain overall - of course only possible in huge agricultural holdings here, where there are fields and fields.
    Likewise eggs and chickens, and beef, and, at smaller degree, pigs.

    All are ex-peasants here, given in 1917 90% of the country were peasants.
    Even city dwellers cherish their dacha-s as food source.
    Absolutely all grow something in their dachas.
    I am lazy and useless and can't hold a spade for more than 15 minutes, but even I still have own apples and own black-currants jam put into jars for the winter. My neighbours who live in their dacha round the year - their "cold staircase" is lined in glass jars - pickled tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergine plus sweet peppers salted puree, apples in the cellar in wooden boxes lined with ? sowing wood chips/dust?, jams of all kinds (I am real jealous :o), certainly own garlic in ? those , hanging from the ceiling, in other words it is of course not a supermarket basket but a support and a back-up, saving money where possible, on all that can be grown in the northern climate during short summer.
    Sour, with vinegar and apples, pickled cabbage in? a barrel.

    Milk they never buy in the supermarket, they are subscribed LOL to a cow in the village - there are 3 houses (for 800 houses'village must say, only) who keep several cows each.

    In Russia this is called "feeding on the under-the foot feed" :o))))), and awful many people live like that, because our salaries are crap and our prices nearly LOL, like in Iceland :o))))

    I know it is not scientific but what to do, like David said "to fill forms for state help" LOL, nobopdy saw these forms here, die of hunger as much as you like, right in the street if you like - no body to address.

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  • 71. At 02:52am on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    My mum's first cousin , in middle Russia, keeps bees. We get honey in those? little cells, in wooden frames, by post, LOL, wrapped in plastic bags, in parcels :o)))))
    And he sells it, being a pensioner, not an offical business, nobody registers these family things as any thing, simply sells to neighbours and in the city apartment, to the neighbours in the staircase.
    Still a help, with crappy Russian pensions.

    It's we had a census, and 70% of Russian wrote they grow something eatable on their "by-the house land spot".
    I guess it's not a business at all, it's, how to say, to help yourself!v service :o)))) and sell a bit on the side.

    The most common view in Russian railway platforms - is you meet the ? the staff of the wagon, the "provodnik" - the man who works in that train, servicing the passangers. He carries boxes and jars, from relatives to relatives, as a side business, from one Russian city to another. For a private fee, a bribe. Delivering someone's peaches from the South to some relatives in the North! Or a bucket of strawberries in summer. On self-supply we are, up to 5% of course, mostly, but still.

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  • 72. At 03:13am on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    That's very interesting, and I even believe you. So I guess for Russia it really is the 1930s. I can see how you might not be familiar with the agricultural business in the Western world. You don't truly know what any of the rest of us are talking about. I wondered why some of your posts didn't honestly make any sense, or seem relevant to the topic. Now I understand. That's too bad, and I do feel sorry for you, but there's not much I can do about it, any more than I can solve the global farming bottlenecks all by myself.

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  • 73. At 03:47am on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PaganBarbarian, strict but oh so fair :o))))))))))))

    Do not despair either, I'm never on topic.
    Still, I think I described the Russian food-chain in very clear examples. In case someone would need to know what's the market nearby.
    No agricultural ministry will give you such a description :o)))

    Your chicken, btw is banned from Russia recently, for being chlorine desinfected, on which case a US delegation arrives to Moscow on Jan 17th, to re-convince, that it is a world practice to dip poor bodies in chlorine LOL and Russians got too spoiled on own chicken farms and are un-reasonably capricious now :o)))

    In case the above makes sense (not my intention :o), here is a bit of Russian poetry for you :o)))
    I'll translate an aghricultural :o) song extract.

    Comrades Scientists! BA-s and MA-s!
    You've got lost in figures, are confused by zero-s!
    You're sitting there, in laboratories, de-composing moleculas into atoms,
    Forgetting that, meanwhile - there decomopose potatoes in the fields!

    From rotten stuff and creepy stuff, you try to extract balsams,
    And you are extracting square roots, ten times in a day,
    Jesus Christ, you'll fool around up to troubles there!
    Oh feels my heart, you'll extract-ise to the limit -
    When there will rot and decompose our potatoes in the field!

    So, write it down: you take a bus to Skhodnya,
    And from the bus stop - in quick trot! And don't you dare to moan!
    I'd say science is nice, but fresh potatoes - all of us respect,
    When with salt and butter, you chew it up!

    ....
    So, come to the country-side, sweethearts, come with friends and acquaintance,
    (Though you're all sickly-weaklings there, must say, and there isn't even a cross on you)
    But, just to think, - you'll choke up there in the cities, behind your synchrophasatrons (andron colliders :o)
    And here - our places are airy. Excellent places they are!

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  • 74. At 04:29am on 05 Jan 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    WA
    I want you to know that I absolutely do not feel sorry for you. Your circumstances are much more interesting than any pagan's. As are you personally. You might say it's like the difference between good top soil and a hard rock.

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  • 75. At 05:29am on 05 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    I think the author of this blog should write a piece of investigative journalism that tries to nail down just how bad the state of the economy in the Eurozone really is.

    Greece is in dire straights. It may default, it may leave the eurozone, however most folks say it will be "bailed out", despite Euro law not allowing such a thing.

    And we know Spain is as broke as a gay cowboy.

    And the baltics! Well, if they weren't so small it would be a major humanitarian disaster. As it is, they are merely basket case economies: textbook examples of how to mismanage public funds and send your people into the toilet within a decade of starting from scratch.

    Ireland is regressing into a morbid theocracy, England is bleeding from multiple wounds, the French are refusing to work.....

    Are there any good economic stories in the Eurozone?

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  • 76. At 05:31am on 05 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "Youth unemployment in Spain is 42%. In Greece it's 25%. In Italy it's almost 27%. Ireland is around there too."

    EUpris: One of the excuses for the "EU" used to be that it created jobs. Haven't heard that one for a long while - with good reason!!

    Even when it was being used there was evidence that it wasn't true. But since when did the truth interest "EU"-lovers?

    The statistics I saw in "Die Zeit" in the late 70s showed EFTA countries, in general, having much lower unemployment rates than EEC countries. ,thus making any claim that the EEC created jobs seem ludicrous and giving support to the idea that the EEC actually destroyed jobs. Quite how the EEC/"EU" destroys jobs I do not know. My guess is that through its subsidies it creates a "Subsidise me!" mentality. If things are difficult, you don't do your best to sort it out. You demand a subsidy. Spain is in trouble despite the subsidies it receives. Or is it because of the subsidies?

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  • 77. At 05:51am on 05 Jan 2010, Slavko wrote:

    @ Gheryando
    thanks for the link
    you see I'm been paid in dollars, and would like to know whether to save uS currency or exchange when come home.
    also, I have a big question mark...should I return to Europe- Serbia with money I make on a cruise ship ( mu wife works here too) and do something on my own or try to stay in the US...articles and blogs help me to determine...
    thanks again

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  • 78. At 06:11am on 05 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Actually, because of their ability to engage in near economic disaster, in the future, these "small" countries on the periphery of Europe will probably grow faster than the other big 4 countries-France, Germany, the UK, Italy (tho its supposedly in trouble)

    When big 4 countries have troubles, they lose no more than 2 percent of their growth. When they spring back they grow at 3 or 4 percent and are called laggardly-but because they have low inflation its ok.

    So, watch for big comebacks for Greece, Ireland and Spain. And stories about economic miracles in these once on brink of disaster countries. Being 50 means seeing it again and again.

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  • 79. At 06:13am on 05 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    OK, I have a genuine scoop for the blog author.

    The German economy is headed for a MAJOR meltdown because of its exposure to the shipping bubble.

    German companies own more than a third of the worlds shipping, and just before the financial crisis and the crunch on world trade, german banks financed over 350 billion dollars worth of loans to expand capacity.

    Recent figures have shown that the large Euro shipping companies have gutted their cash reserves trying to pay back these loans so far, but that now they are in a position where they must either default or go begging Berlin for cash.

    If they default, 350 billion is a lot of money to lose.

    Word on the street (in Zurich) is that Germany is facing a serious crisis due to the global collapse of shipping.

    True or not?

    What are we paying you for, Hewitt?

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  • 80. At 06:13am on 05 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    And, no, I don't know it all and am not smug, just optomistic..tho age shows in my spelling lol

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  • 81. At 06:15am on 05 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    btw, going back to work on Wed. so no comments except on wkends as some will soon...note. Its been fun.-- being off, off, off-work, Web Alice :)

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  • 82. At 06:42am on 05 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    David wrote:

    "So, watch for big comebacks for Greece, Ireland and Spain. And stories about economic miracles in these once on brink of disaster countries."

    With respect, David, you have no idea how much trouble these countries are in, nor the nature of the problem.

    Latvia and Greece are virtually failed states. There is no way they can recover quickly from their conditions.

    Look, the problem in these states is that a huge percentage of their available tax revenue is now going simply to pay the interest on debt. OK? It isn't like the USA. The USA has a vast debt, to be sure, but it has a vast tax revenue to pay it as well. And so it has a lot of tax left over to pay teachers, police, build roads, fight wars and so on and so forth.

    Greece and Latvia do not have this vast tax revenue to draw upon. So much of their tax revenue is going to pay interest to creditors that they can't pay teachers, police, nor build roads.

    When a state is in so much debt that the interest eats away at its ability to maintain its critical infrastructure, it begins to slide into a torpid state of perpetual economic misery. We call it a failed state, but what we really mean is that it can't pay back the money it owes, but we are going to squeeze it for what it has anyway.

    Latvia's situation is so bad that even if their entire population were to work in ultra high paying jobs and pay 60% income tax, they still could not meet their obligations to foreign creditors. Hence they have had to slash the wages of police and teachers by 50%, not once but twice.

    And how does that affect the society, do you think? Everyone who can leave does, and the dregs remain. And all those teachers and police can't pay their mortgages either, giving foreign capital investors an excellent reason to flee and never come back.

    You might be 50, but you haven't even seen it once, let alone "again and again".

    All you have seen is a bubble created by crooked bankers, followed by the beginning of a soviet style economy whereby the state takes complete control of every aspect of social endeavor except the private lives of the ultra high worth elite.

    Failed states generally stay failed unless they can write off their debt, and if the sick Eurozone countries write off their debt then the healthy eurozone countries are going to face a banking crisis that will send them broke. So it ain't going to happen, and you haven't seen it before.

    The last time eastern europe owed this much of its tax revenue to western europe, the archduke ferdinand of austria said he would continue to pay it, someone shot him as a traitor, and world war one kicked off. then the october revolution nationalized the debt of the russian regime and we've been fighting variations on the cold war ever since.

    You haven't seen this much debt before, David. Nobody living has. It is debt piled on debt piled upon debt, and the taxpayer is being bled white as a ghost. Meanwhile the tax revenue of the states obliged to pay the interest on that debt has dropped to nothing because everyone is going broke .... because the tax burdens are making business activity by the middle class a virtual crime, punishable by robbery by the state.

    Have you any idea of the sums of money which were given to the bankers? Someone has to make a profit in order for the government to tax that profit and then pay the interest on that debt. And that banker payout debt is but a smallish part of the mountain of debt which already existed.

    In case you hadn't noticed, the political class and the bankers have been running a very crooked game for the past twenty years. That is why it all fell over last year. That is also, unfortunately, why we cannot expect it to get better any time soon. The same people are running the show: the party members.

    The same brand of clowns who drove the soviet union into a spiral of economic misery and decay.

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  • 83. At 06:44am on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    Responding to kooks is futile. Still, for the sake of others on the thread, German companies own approximately seven percent of the ocean-going ships in the world. The largest national ownership is Greece, at about 18 or 19 percent of all ocean-going vessels. Anyone who wants to confirm and verify these facts only needs to google 'world shipping ownership'.

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  • 84. At 07:02am on 05 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    pagan, my source is a specialist law firm whose research states:

    " With owners in Germany accounting for about a third of the world’s container ships, many Germany-based companies may soon resort to asking Berlin for their own version of a bailout. "

    However, in your google glow you are splendid and fine, and I would not wish to insult you by calling you a "kook". I don't even know what a kook is.

    Now my source could be wrong, or it could be that your google figures are not specific to container ships.

    For the record, my source is Sandra E. Mayerson at Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP.

    Please forgive me for not verifying this research with google. i am a bear of very little brain, and sometimes I forget that folks like you know everything there is to know in the world.

    By the way, what was your point?

    Something about futility, wasn't it?

    Come on, insult me again. You know it makes you smarter the more you do it.

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  • 85. At 07:09am on 05 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    PaganBarbarian wrote:
    " Anyone who wants to confirm and verify these facts only needs to google 'world shipping ownership'."

    Well, I did that. No dice.

    The only "facts" I found was some greek guy on and internet forum raving on about how awesome greeks were.

    Is that your source?

    Come on, pagan. Name your source. You dashing authority on stuff, you.

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  • 86. At 07:24am on 05 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Corrected I grant. But, if their debt is so huge and their economy so small, can not the EU bail them out or part of their interest payments so they don't default. Because that sounds like a possibility - impending default, correct?

    If they were an individual they would be in jail for fraud, yes?

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  • 87. At 07:28am on 05 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Well you know ,

    America isn't perfect (lol) surprise! But, the horrid part about America is our party in opposition...we HAVE to bounce back enough for Obama to be reelected, or else...Republicans yuk spit.

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  • 88. At 07:38am on 05 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Web Alice,

    Do not despair, oil has saved you for now (your country not you). And in the future, you will jump to best in class technology, because you are starting from scratch.

    Perhaps China will think like Japan and think of you as the new frontier to invest in (China is not that evil, truly..I hope..brr) and others will follow suit.

    Saving your dachas is most important...we have farmhouses and you should see them all falling in on themselves from no one living in them.

    They look like tornadoes came along.., but imploding with paint missing or receding.

    Bed and breakfast Australians will buy all your dachas, perhaps, saving them. :) (mean that in a good way)

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  • 89. At 07:45am on 05 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Gheryando

    So, according to your logic: By allowing EU Citizens a vote in Referendums on the 'Constitution' which the voting Citizens duly rejected the EU was agreeing 'voters' had a right to complain; however, if the EU Citizens are not allowed Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty where does your Citizens' right to complain stand?

    You cannot claim 45% Voter Turnout is a success for the EU at the elections in 2009: Nobody, even with the most ardent EU 'political' faith, could surely claim 55% not voting shows the EU being accepted!

    If only your 45% Voter participants in 2009 have the right to complain because they are the ones that bothered at what point does the reductible voter-turnout become the EU justifying NO Elections at all because the Citizens have no complaints!?

    Have to humbly point out to you that is not how Democracy is supposed to function. To be effective as a working democratic entity the EU needs Citizens that support it at the Ballot box: If, following last 4 election trends, enough Citizens fail to express that support over the next 2 Elections then as I have said elsewhere the EU is doomed. The EU will collapse if the sort of political con you propose continues for much longer.

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  • 90. At 07:46am on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @63, 64 Gheryando

    No I don't see it :))

    a) CAP doesn't cost 50bl a year, it costs less
    b) for sure it has not cost 50bl a year going back 50 years, just think the EU itself is only 52 years old, what you think on year one 50bl were allocated to CAP?
    c) I was said car & finance, those two together easily received in the EU 2 - 3tr Euro subsidy. In the UK alone the finance sector received 1tr Euro (and counting)

    So with the above in mind I still think that the farmers received less from the government in the last 50 years than the bankers/car makers did in a year.

    Anyhow my argument was that "pagan" was only complaining that stupid farms loose money. I was saying that bankers and car makers highly educated people are also stupid then as they too loose huge sums of money.

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  • 91. At 07:49am on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Slavko - stay in the US. If you can. Then keep dollars.

    If you decide to come back. Exchange for a basket of Euros, your own currency and if you can get a hold of it, Chinese Yuan (Actually, you won't be able to get a hold of it)

    The dollar is in decline. The lack of savings of both the US government and the population since 1981 has created an economy that grows by borrowing.

    Imagine you have 50 and borrow 50 from your friend. You then claim to "have" 100 and buy something worth 120 because its on credit and you will pay in monthly installments of 10 for one year. Of course, if you don't pay pack you will be disowned.


    So if you can and since you're from Serbia, stay in the US. (Even though you don't need visas now to come to the EU). If you're an entrepreneur, however, then come back to Serbia and use your skills in this emerging economy. Could pay off.

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  • 92. At 07:52am on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I'll say it again: Its not correct to use the most recent crisis against the EU. (or against anyone else who isn't really to blame for this credit-driven craziness)

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  • 93. At 08:02am on 05 Jan 2010, U4466131 wrote:

    #62 PaganBarbarian

    So the lazy overpaid workers of the US motor industry designed the large inefficient SUV's and other such? No I don't think so, they were just paid to make them. The management set up the strategy not the workers, and also the management went along with the high benefits payments, not only that the mangement paid themselves huge amounts of money. At one point Rick Wagoner was earning more than ten times that being earned by the boss of Toyota. The US car industry, GM and Chrysler, went broke because it was badly managed and producing cars nobody wanted, simple stuff.

    As for your criminals in the finance industry while I agree they were criminals I also think that the legislators in the US were complaisant to a degree that borders on, if not in fact, criminal. The practice of 'tranching' debt whereby some class 'C' debt was added to bonds with class 'A' rating was the basis of the credit crisis It should have been illegal and wasn't because of a woeful failure of oversight by the US authorities.

    You may see the lower echelons as the problem but in my experience they rarely are. They are the symptom the disease usually starts at the top.

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  • 94. At 08:11am on 05 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    I agree with you Gheryando that the EU most certainly cannot be blamed for the present Economic-Financial crisis.

    That said, the real 'world' is here and now and the EU is a part of that present day: It therefore has to shoulder its burden as the supposed 'responsible authority' for the debacle within its European framework.

    I find it amazing that for 40+ years every 'pr-EU' can go on ad infinitum about the strength, values, security of the 'unifying' European entity called the EU and the moment it is under serious pressure in those areas its supporters claimed as its stengths - - the Economy and Finance - - thoise same supporters start complaining it is all the fault of other places, other institutions and the EU is powerless.

    Well then, what was the purpose of the last 40+ years 'political' chicaneery eminating from PÅaris-Berlin-Brussels if not to ensure a stability to the average EU Citizen that has demonstrably and in some cases tragically not materialised?

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  • 95. At 08:19am on 05 Jan 2010, U4466131 wrote:

    #82 democracythreat

    Your comments are a little extreme I think. Firstly I wouldn't lump Spain in with Ireland and the Baltic States, it's much larger and has a problem with it's building industry specifically the other industries or not in as bad a state. In terms of debt again as far as I can see Spqain is in no terms as badly placed. Greece, which you don't mention has a bigger problem.

    In terms of solutions the EU might have to resort to some form of debt scheduling, breaking then rules yes, but there again the US and it's bankers broke the rules when they sold the rest of the world all that rubbish debt packaged as 'class A. I'm still waiting for someone to sue Moodys or Standard & Poor. They approved those bonds and got away free of any criticism and then start de-ranking places like Greece. Somewhat unfair perhaps

    Re the France legislation story that you were getting so wound up about earlier in the thread here is a link
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8440199.stm
    This clearly explains that this is legislation under consideration not legislation on the statute books. As a small and somewhat irrelevant point I note that the psychiatrist quoted is a Basque.

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  • 96. At 08:22am on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @DT,

    Mostly correct but also wrong. Latvia may be the exception? But Estonia is not in the same situation neither is its other neighbour Lithuania. In fact Estonia is on track to join the Euro around 2011, Lithuania around 2012 (still the case today, it may change later). In Greece the problem appears to be that the government there has not collected any taxes from the people for years. 20% - 30% of the economy is recorded and no taxes collected, they simply have to learn to collect taxes and yes also reduce the number of public servants. I see the Greece story as part of the media having no other major bad finance news to report on, so anything will do. I think even here in the UK the situation is getting better, so over all 2010 has to be better than 2009! Not that 2009 was that bad :)

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  • 97. At 08:35am on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    #62 PaganBarbarian

    My thoughts are very clear and very well organised :) if I'm writing about kumquats I compare them to kumquats. I was allocating stupidity to were it belongs farmers, bankers, car makers, me or you :))

    You believe in free markets and anyone that receives government subsidy is dumb, but only if that person is a farmer! if it is a banker then he is not dumb according you. Where is the clarity in thought in that? Sort out what you believe first then post us your thoughts and beliefs :))

    I'll still stick to my post that if you believe in free markets so much then anyone farmer, banker, car makers executives, tube makers executives, tyre manufacturers, etc. are all stupid.

    So as you can see I use apples (apples = stupid) for everyone not just the few.

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  • 98. At 09:09am on 05 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    U4466131

    Re #95

    I think I agree that Spain being such a large Nation in population, size and diversity of employment cannot really be placed alongside some of the other EU 'peripherals'.

    That said, I don't share your optimism on the Spanish Economy in general.
    It is true the Construction Industry is at the core of the unemployment problem, however the Motor, Accessories and Hardware Manufacturers are also struggling industries - - they too are not hiring 'young' new workforce - - and, when this is coupled to declining 'holiday-market share' and the bulging 'immigration' issues Spain looks a very sick Nation indeed.

    I am not saying it is any worse or better than the UK, only that Spain may be the really 'big' Economic factor for the EU: All EU Nations are important, but Spain's forthcoming Economic-Financial performance is vital to the credibility of the EU.

    If the UK slides further into economic difficulties then in a sense the EU can validate itself by stating that 'UK wasn't really one of us inner-EU': And rightly so, but the same cannot be said of Spain.

    Spain is in the EUrozone, member of Schengen, faultless in its contribution to the EU ideal and close follower of EU policies: If Spain does fold-up under ongoing recessionary pressure then all justification for membership of the EU itself is invalidated.

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  • 99. At 09:20am on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    democracythreat wrote:

    "German companies own more than a third of the worlds shipping, and just before the financial crisis and the crunch on world trade, german banks financed over 350 billion dollars worth of loans to expand capacity."

    This is not true. The rankings in shipping by owner's country are Greece, Japan, which are only then followed by Germany.

    This can be broken down into the three main categories: Tanker, Dry Bulk & Container.

    The Top 5 in the tanker market (by owner's domicile) are:

    1. Greece
    2. Japan
    3. USA
    4. Norway
    5. Hong Kong

    The Top 5 in the dry bulk market (by owner's domicile) are:

    1. Greece
    2. Japan
    3. China
    4. Hong Kong
    5. Korea

    The Top 5 in the container market (by owner's domicile) are:

    1. Germany (finally)
    2. Japan
    3. Denmark
    4. Taiwan
    5. Switzerland (lol)


    These three categories all have their own markets and dynamics. A tanker transports something entirely different to a container ship.

    Germany's investment stems from a tax break for investment in this market, so their costs are relatively low.

    Either way, you are wrong to say the shipping industry is in meltdown.

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  • 100. At 09:30am on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    CBW wrote:

    "So, according to your logic: By allowing EU Citizens a vote in Referendums on the 'Constitution' which the voting Citizens duly rejected the EU was agreeing 'voters' had a right to complain; however, if the EU Citizens are not allowed Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty where does your Citizens' right to complain stand?"

    The EU wasn't agreeing. Individual member states decided to put the question to test. Ireland had to. The documents weren't explained to the people by the politicians and they were (correctly) punished for their failing. The no-votes were aimed against the national politicians, not against the EU. If you remember, almost any Irish no-voter claimed to want to castigate their leaders for failing to explain the Lisbon Treaty properly to them while in France, they wanted to humilitate Chirac.


    "You cannot claim 45% Voter Turnout is a success for the EU at the elections in 2009: Nobody, even with the most ardent EU 'political' faith, could surely claim 55% not voting shows the EU being accepted!"

    I don't disagree that, ceteris paribus, its a low showing. Having said that can you name 3 major things the European Parliament has decided for you in the last year. (you probably can since you're interested in the issue). I can assure you that most citizens can't while they at least have some idea about their national parliaments. If you don't know what you're voting for, why bother?

    "If only your 45% Voter participants in 2009 have the right to complain because they are the ones that bothered at what point does the reductible voter-turnout become the EU justifying NO Elections at all because the Citizens have no complaints!?"

    When I will be crowned the new Holy Roman Emperor!!

    "Have to humbly point out to you that is not how Democracy is supposed to function. To be effective as a working democratic entity the EU needs Citizens that support it at the Ballot box: If, following last 4 election trends, enough Citizens fail to express that support over the next 2 Elections then as I have said elsewhere the EU is doomed. The EU will collapse if the sort of political con you propose continues for much longer."

    Lets wait and see how Lisbon will turn out to work.

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  • 101. At 09:39am on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    CBW wrote:

    "That said, the real 'world' is here and now and the EU is a part of that present day: It therefore has to shoulder its burden as the supposed 'responsible authority' for the debacle within its European framework.

    I find it amazing that for 40+ years every 'pr-EU' can go on ad infinitum about the strength, values, security of the 'unifying' European entity called the EU and the moment it is under serious pressure in those areas its supporters claimed as its stengths - - the Economy and Finance - - thoise same supporters start complaining it is all the fault of other places, other institutions and the EU is powerless."

    What I have noticed among (mostly British) Anti-Eu'ers is that they take a very absolutist view of the issue. They are more concerned with the principles in general rather than the reality at hand. The EU has become an abstract subject of philosophical discourse, in which arguments against it are searched for in terms of ideas, principles and concepts.

    Most Mainlanders are not to be bothered by this degree of sophisticated discourse and prefer a more pragmatic approach that involves seeing the added benefits in European cooperation. However, there are very few things they can directly link to the EU. The major ones being Schengen (which technically isn't an EU project but represents European integration nonetheless) and the Euro. Both of these things have been the most visible signs of European Union integration and people like it. Expect riots on the street if suddenly border checks would be reinstated. Obviously, since in the UK none of these things are visible, the discourse on the EU is still very abstract and people have created this virtual enemy in their minds, fueled by ridiculous allegations in ridiculous newspapers owned by ridiculous people.

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  • 102. At 09:47am on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    ChrisArta wrote:

    "a) CAP doesn't cost 50bl a year, it costs less
    b) for sure it has not cost 50bl a year going back 50 years, just think the EU itself is only 52 years old, what you think on year one 50bl were allocated to CAP?
    c) I was said car & finance, those two together easily received in the EU 2 - 3tr Euro subsidy. In the UK alone the finance sector received 1tr Euro (and counting)"

    x) CAP doesn't cost 50bl a year true. It cost 49.8 billion Euro. That was 2006.
    y) CAP was EUropeanized since individual subsidies were against common market principle. So subsidies were made EU power and suddenly they were acceptable..
    They have always been central to the EU's budget. Probably not costing 50 billion then - But in today's money, yes.
    z) What you mean by subsidy is that some of them were bailed out and taken over by the government. As in the US, some of this money will have to be paid back. Farmers don't pay back.

    Having said that, agricultural subsidies at least pay for something tangible, or I should say edible.

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  • 103. At 10:40am on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @102

    Yes true they do make something tangible food:))

    by subsidy I mean government help, government support not free market.

    But now lets stick to the point, the EU governments supported the banks and the car industries with something that comes close to 2tr Euro. They have not given the farmers that much money over the last 50 years.

    At least for the UK the government here supported the banks with 1tr of public money, they have not supported the farmers with the same amounts over the lasts 50 years for sure.

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  • 104. At 11:06am on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    @103

    Its an exceptional amount of money during exceptional circumstances.

    One needs to compare exceptional circumstances with exceptional circumstances.

    Its an outlier. The CAP subsidies are not.

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  • 105. At 11:12am on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    For those who care about reality, rather than wierdo political extremism, the number of ocean-going cargo vessels in the world is about 55,000. Of those, around five percent are container ships. (3w. marisec.org/shippingfacts/worldtrade/types-of-ship.php) Obviously, there is a very great difference between asserting German companies own one-third of all the ships in the world, and claiming German companies own one-third of all the container ships in the world. Such petty little details are clearly beneath the notice of the most superior among us, who seem to be the folk who also have the most trouble doing research, by some curious coincidence.

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  • 106. At 11:23am on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    ChrisArta:

    I'll try one more time. You are saying that all people who lose money are stupid, which I never claimed. I am saying that some groups of people are noticeably very low in average intelligence, and some groups of people of clearly criminals. On the one hand -- dumb. On the other hand -- criminal. Can you see the difference between your position and mine?

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  • 107. At 11:43am on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @106,

    I can see the difference, however it doesn't mean I agree with it :) if you want to claim that farmers are dumb because they can't make money and they need government help to survive that reason alone is good enough. Other people that are not farmers need government help to survive also, but you claim those are criminals not dumb. All I'm saying that farmers as a collection may as well be dumb, however needing government help alone to survive does not make them dumb.

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  • 108. At 11:57am on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @104

    The fact stays the same though regardles of the circumstances. In my argument I did not specify the reason behind it, I just pointed out an obvious discrepancy in attitudes.

    The circumstances for the car & finance help had been caused by stupid economists, bankers, car executives, rating agency analysts, etc.

    The circumstances for government help to farmers has been caused by stupid government wanting food security and an environmentaly friendly approach to food supply.

    Take your pick if you are looking for causes:))

    All I'm trying to say is that it is unfair to single out just one group of people and say they deserve nothing while someone else deserves something.

    There is no such thing as free markets. Every groups puts its party in power and then that party through government supports that group, simple realy.

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  • 109. At 12:44pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Regarding the question of the "Dumb Farmer".

    I know a lot of farmers. Some of them are dumb. Some aren't.

    What most of them lack is higher education. Notions such as economies of scale, marginal return to labour aren't in their vocabulary for obvious reasons: They consider themselves farmers and don't go to uni. They have been working the fields of their families for ages and want to continue to do so. Send a farmer to study economics/business and he will agree that bigger is better. (In general).

    I would thus argue that the farmer is not per se stupid. Rather, he is ignorant of economics and business dynamics and knows more about crops and beasts. He can still be a very intelligent person though.

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  • 110. At 1:39pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Well now that you all agree with me that Europe is dead, it seems the only real disagreement is what it died of. Two things that haven't been seen before in our lifetimes is that America isn't ready, willing, or able to bail it out and it couldn't even prop it up if it wanted to (it doesn't.) Just think of this as a realignment of the economic and political power structure in the world according to much more realistic paradigms than we've had in the period since WWII. A new reality. This is where America's inner strengths that doesn't show up in the GDP numbers or economic models will make a telling difference. This is where its inherent advantages such as social and political stability and reward for innovation and enterprise will attract anyone with ambitions who wants to escape the turmoil that will follow political chaos around the world. A new massive "brain drain" as it was called in the 1960s.

    How will Europe create jobs other than useless make work and government jobs if it taxes profits? How will it maintain its luxurious social safety net if it doesn't? Ah the horns of an insoluable dilemma Europe faces. One of so many it created all by itself whose chickens have now come home to roost.

    This is global capitalism at its finest. From each according to his ability to each according to his acheivement. I don't think the process will end until the US Treasury begins the big expansion of the money supply to pay down its own debt and coincidently that of its own citizens with a flood of much cheaper dollars. This won't happen until around 2011 to get the US economy propped up in time for the next presidential election. By then Europe may already be mostly in default and its own currency collapsed. When the dust settles, guess who will be on top again.

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  • 111. At 1:52pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    China

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  • 112. At 1:59pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Recently when I had a problem with my landscaper and my lawn went wild and competing landscapers wanted outrageous prices to cut my 3 acres of then 3 foot (one meter) high grass, I knocked on the door of a local farmer. As expected he was an absolute fountain of knowledge just like I think most American farmers are. He knew everything about my grass off the top of his head. He told me every variety from inspecting every blade. This one is red fescue. This one is Bermuda grass. etc. He said it would make good cattle feed for his herds because it was 20% proteien at that height, not the usual 6%. But he didn't have time, his schedule was too busy. Finally I found a landscaper who got it under control at a reasonable price.

    Many if not most American farmers are university educated, know a great deal about every aspect of agronomy, and have the continued advantage of close contacts with USDA and local farm cooperatives. We saw a few years ago that when local farmers in one region had a problem harvesting their crops, an army of them from around the country swarmed at their own expense and with their own equipment to the trouble spot to help bring it in. They are a close fraternity who don't need to be told to help each other. (We saw the same thing after 9-11 in NYC.)

    Despite farmers constituting only about 1% to 2% of the American work force, food is America's number one export. We like to think America has the most abundant, varigated, safest, and cheapest food supply in the world even if the French don't always think it is the tastiest. With every advantage of technology, soil, climate, as well as knowledge of how to run a business and being entirely practical people, American farmers whether running small farms or vast agrabusinesses are anything but stupid and uneducated. As a result, the bounty of their efforts feeds much of a world that would otherwise starve to death. They are also responsible for having developed new strains of crops that ended famines in the undeveloped world over decades past and teaching local farmers there the best ways to be most productive.

    This is why Americans can take their food supply for granted. We hardly ever think about it. We just go to the supermarket or stop off at local produce stands and buy whatever we want whenever we want it. So much food in fact it is quite literally killing us.

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  • 113. At 2:12pm on 05 Jan 2010, crash2 wrote:

    The EU is stumbling under its own weight,the European bureaucratic mass has to be supported by free enterprise and this cannot succeed under all the red tape of the EU.
    The sooner the EU disappears the better for Europe.

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  • 114. At 2:12pm on 05 Jan 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #110 - MarcusAureliusII

    "Well now that you all agree with me that Europe is dead . . "

    You forget those of us who were too busy enjoying New Year in Europe to be sitting at a computer trading self pity. Europe is not dead, it is resting. Who else can rescue their wayward children from their own folly?

    Don't hold your breath!

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  • 115. At 2:15pm on 05 Jan 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    ~110

    If Europe is dead, then the USA is (if you excuse my English) deader. See the attached chart of the rise of the Euro against the dollar. A strong currently is not always a good thing, but nobody's going to buy a dead one.

    http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/charts/chartdl.aspx?Symbol=%2Feurus

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  • 116. At 2:20pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Europe is not dead, it is resting."

    Threnodious II, you are even funnier than threnodious I. You call it resting, I call it comatose. Ever read the story of Rip Van Winkle?

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  • 117. At 2:25pm on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    No EU death as yet, as much as Europhobes and other fringe groups keep wishing it, unlikely to happen :)

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  • 118. At 2:27pm on 05 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    @98. At 09:09am on 05 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re "Spain is in the EUrozone, member of Schengen, faultless in its contribution to the EU ideal and close follower of EU policies: If Spain does fold-up under ongoing recessionary pressure then all justification for membership of the EU itself is invalidated."

    Very bold statement.

    Tell me, if Spain doesn't fold-up I guess that WOULD validate all justification for EU membership, no?

    Should do so, according to your simplistic logic ;)

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  • 119. At 2:34pm on 05 Jan 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Gheryando (65): Thanks for the link. While following through to a new book referenced by the Economist blog, i found the passage below which (a) supports my contention that Europe has only a civilisational identity far too weak to hold an EU federal state together and which has nothing to distinguish it from other civilisational identities such as "The West", etc. and (b) provides some psychological insight (from Sigmund Freud no less) as to what motivates some of the comments we see on here from European federalists like yourself or Jukka, and your American alter-egos MA2, PaganBarbarian, etc.

    -----------
    "First, Europe is not a coherent or unified continent. The spectrum of differences within even Western Europe is much broader than normally appreciated. Second, with a few exceptions, the United States fits into the span of most quantifiable measures that i have been able to find. We may therefore conclude either that there is no coherent European identity, or – if there is one – that the United States is as much a European country as the usual candidates. We might rephrase this by saying that both the United States and Europe are in fact, parts of a common, big-tent grouping – call it the West, the Atlantic community, the developed world, or what you will. America is not Sweden, for sure. But nor is Italy Sweden, nor France, nor even Germany. And who says that Sweden is Europe, any more than Vermont is America?

    Sigmund Freud coined the phrase "the narcissism of minor differences" to account for the intense energy invested in parsing divergences that, to an impartial observer, might seem trivial or inconsequential. The psychological wellspring of such behaviour, Freud reasons, is the hope of affirming internal group solidarities against an outsider who was perhaps not as "other" as his would-be enemies would have liked. His foreignness therefore had to be narcissisticlly elaborated in lavish detail." (Peter Baldwin 'The narcissism of minor differences; How America and Europe are alike')

    http://books.google.be/books?id=ds6fioa1W2YC&dq=narcissism+of+minor+differences+baldwin&hl=en&source=gbs_navlinks_s

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  • 120. At 2:39pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Wontmatter;

    In the 1920s the US had a balance of trade surplus, a strong currency and a surplus of money in its government coffers, everything conventional economists of the day thought made for a strong and sound economy. It didn't matter, the great depression happened in spite of that. Economists have learned a lot since then. In a recession or depression, a strong currency is a liability, not an asset. This is especially true for net exporting countries as it makes their prices higher than their competitors with weaker currencies. If you don't understand what this means, just look at what happened to EADS/Airbus and how Boeing is eating its lunch. Besides EADS/Airbus gross mismanagement and technical buffoonery, a strong Euro is making it far less competitive than it wants to be. As a result it has had to lay off the contract workers it needed (regular workers would have gone out on strike if they'd been laid off first) and considered moving some production off shore to China, even the US to cut labor costs. The strong Euro gives American car makers a big advantage in its domestic car market too.

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  • 121. At 2:43pm on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @118

    Jean Luc, sounds fair to me :)))) If Spain does fold-up, then I should hear any more arguments from Europhobes :)))

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  • 122. At 2:58pm on 05 Jan 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    #120

    Hmm. So this ten year decline in the US dollar is part of planned US economic policy. By your logic, the streets of Europe should be swamped by cheap US cars. Can't see any. Even our Fords are built over here. But since, as you say, 'Europe is dead', they must all have been built by zombies.

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  • 123. At 3:09pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Freeborn John

    You're welcome.

    Check this out as well.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,440335,00.html

    I would be very happy if this would be the case.

    In fact, as much as Europe needs to bond together in this world, it seems as if the West needs to so so as well in the face of India and China etc.

    This is logical and I agree with your statement.

    I would love for "The West" to create yet another Union. In fact, I'd love the World to create a Union. But its a step by step process. First tribes, then villages, then cities, then regions, then countries, then EUs then the World, then the galaxy, then the universe, then we'll see..

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  • 124. At 3:22pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    FbJ

    I am neither a European federalist nor a European antifederalist, just an outside observer here to enjoy the comedy. I don't think it matters one whit whether 27 people who can't swim struggle to stay afloat individually or hang on to each other for dear life, they will in the end all drown either way. However, it does seem to me that among the differences, those who are less capable of floating for awhile will pull the more capable ones down faster than if they remained separate. In other words, some who might have survived individually will go down as part of a group. The UK should not depend on its imagined special relation with the US to save it. America is much less Anglo oriented than it was fifty or seventy-five years ago. Even then it was in no real mood to save the UK as evidenced by the 80% majority in the polls who wanted to stay out of WWII in Europe before Pearl Harbor. As for the rest of Europe, while it might like to put its relentless anti-America rhetoric during the Bush Administration in a closet somewhere during this, the Obama era, America has not forgotten. It would be political suicide for any American politician to even suggest aligning its policies with the objective of helping Europe especially if any sacrifice is involved. Europe should have just shut up and abstained in the Security Council. That especially goes for France and Germany.

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  • 125. At 3:44pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I am going to say what everyone already thought: MAII is a REPUBLICAN

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  • 126. At 3:54pm on 05 Jan 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Questions to our EU masters:

    Whatever happened to AGW / MMGW / Global Warming aka Climate Change?

    Post Copenhagen have our masters woken up to the fact that they and the Climate Change Industry have been rumbled?

    Have they realised that people won't accept more 'green' taxes?

    Can we throw away those rubbish 'environmentally friendly' fluorescent lightbulbs and go back to incandescent ones that actually did the job? (Just joking, I've never ever used those fluorescent bulbs - and never will. I've stock-pilled enough 'real' bulbs to last a lifetime or two).

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  • 127. At 4:10pm on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    Anyhow back on the topic regarding EU & Euro and economic growth it looks as everything is back on track. The crisis with Greece appears to be last years news, it looks as if they are all good frieds again with the commission and the EU may look at ways to regulate the rating agencies as it looks like they rate as they feel like it and not as they should

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  • 128. At 4:18pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Funny place you got here Mr. Hewitt;

    Mr. G;

    "MAII is a REPUBLICAN"

    Is that why after the Republicans issued their contract on America around 1994, put the country through the ordeal of a sham impeachment, and stole the election in 2000 from Gore I made my house an RFZ (Republican Free Zone?) It just took longer for me to detest Democrats as much. Politicians are a disgusting lot but a necessary evil. It is best to treat them with disdain and suspicion.

    "West needs to so so as well in the face of India and China etc."

    Even funnier. This is where Americans moved their overseas investments to. A place where labor and lives are cheap, government regulations nearly non existant, you can do pretty much whatever you want so long as you bring jobs. Look at how little the disaster at Bopahl cost American industry. Can you imagine the impact of such and event if it had happened on American soil? America is a huge investor in China. How much of America's GNP (not GDP) every year is the result of profits repatriated from China? Compared to the profits Americans have raked in from investments in China over the years, the one or two trillion the American government owes the Chinese government is small change. India is next and is rapidly becoming a close ally of the US, much closer than most of Europe.

    China and India are part of America's global economic strategy. By developing their economies we give them a stake in the future of the world (both have the technology to build hydrogen bombs) while we profit enormously from it. Tough luck Europe. You're on the short end of the stick. You have nothing of value to offer American capitalists or to Americans in general. You're finally on your own now. Let's see how you fare.

    BTW Wontmatter;

    American car companies sold cars in Europe that were built in Europe. This decision was taken many years ago when Europe was allowed to be protectionist during the cold war. Now with the end of that advantage Amerioan car companies have been scaling back, pulling up stakes. Examples are Opel, Saab, Volvo. I'm sure there are others. America does not build cars in the US for export to Europe. It is just as well. It keeps two entirely different standards separate. Most cars built for Europeans would not be street legal in the same form in the US. At least that's how it was years ago. That is why Europeans had special export versions of their cars they sold in America. Different engines, different glass, almost different everything.

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  • 129. At 4:18pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MaxSceptic

    If those bulbs consume less energy, then we should use them. If not for environmental reasons than for hard economic ones.

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  • 130. At 4:20pm on 05 Jan 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Gheryando (123): There will not be a Western Union or a World Union for the same reason that European federalism has broken down; there is insufficient common identity among different nations who do not form the united 'demos' necessary for decision-making by majority to be acceptable at international level in political areas. Parliamentary institutions presuppose the unity of the people which does not exist across Europe or the West or the World. All forms of international federalism break on that rock. Quasi-parliamentary institutions at the world level, such as the UN General Assembly, must therefore be restricted to decision-making powers in minor non-contentious areas or they would undergo exactly the same breakdown in democratic legitimacy that is gradually overwhelming Brussels.

    Political relations between European nations should be conducted using inter-governmental methods (and not supra-national) just as they are successfully conducted between the UK and many other non-European nations from the USA to India to Japan. In this way we can all get along together just fine. And we can also avoid the disastrous consequence of international federalism, i.e. the one-way expansion of supranational law which steadily and inevitably shrinks the remaining areas where each national demos can elect a government that remains free to change the law & policy they live under towards vanishing point.

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  • 131. At 4:38pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 132. At 4:38pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    I am persuaded the central theme of my original post bears repeating, since the entire thread has apparently forgotten it, racing off on a side-track, over a hysterical, sensationalistic fuss and bother about one specific occupation. I admit I likely didn't help that consequence with my posts defending my statements.

    Even so, the weight of my post emphasized the idea that 20 to 35 percent unemployment is now normal in the developed world, since that is the percentage of the global population with an intelligence below 90, who are now unemployable. There are no more jobs for people with an IQ that low, and there never will be, from now on. In fact, as robotics replaces more and more common laborers, the unemployment in the developed world will only continue to grow worse.

    I honestly believe that social and economic reality is more important than maudlin, sentimental concerns over any one occupation or another.

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  • 133. At 4:47pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII - I wasn't really serious..

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  • 134. At 4:50pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MariaTee, thank you for the vaccine idea. I'm afraid we are in the same shoes, Russia makes two of our own (one sprinkler in the nose format, the other one is injections).

    The "pfff" one is supposed to be more effective as it lands in the nose where normal virus lands down :o), natural way of arriving to the body.
    But then it's live virus (American virus sample they kindly sent us) slightly choked up :o)))))

    The injections are artificial something, particles of dead virus? or whatever, to cause immune reaction similar to the natural body's response.

    They've vaccinated thousands so far with both, people so far are alive :o))) but from pfff you get red throat and can have light temperature.
    Still, we clearly made more for ourselves than the demand is, as individually nobody goes and says "give me the vaccine", only those poor folks grabatised at mass vaccinnations in companies and offices :o) (those who don't run away, that is :o)
    because all are suspicious, they only worked on it one summer-fall time, several months, it's not yet tried on millions people, hell knows what the effects will may be after. One is made by Pasteur institute here in St. Petersburg, they are normally good in catching infections or saving viruses whatever :o))))

    Anyway thanks for the offer, I am sure there is a market, lots of countries don't make their own and will gladly buy. One thing is to have it and not want it, the other thing is not to have it at all and get nervous about it because "all have". Just in case better to have. More peace of mind.

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  • 135. At 5:05pm on 05 Jan 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    #132

    '20 to 35 percent unemployment is now normal in the developed world, since that is the percentage of the global population with an intelligence below 90, who are now unemployable.'

    That's being harsh. They can at least take part in reality TV shows.

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  • 136. At 5:06pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And I'm sure, MariaTee, your vaccines must be good, you've got real Pasteur institute and we just "named after him". Still, a century since named or so, long traditions, and all. One hopes they are not into cooking sheer poison :o)))))

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  • 137. At 5:10pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Even funnier. This is where Americans moved their overseas investments to"

    Has nothing to do with who you're friendly with.

    Besides, here is something to appreciate:

    "In 2006 the EU and the US combined economies accounted for nearly 60% of global GDP, 33% of world trade in goods and 42% of world trade in services. The EU and the US are each other's main trading partners. Trade flows across the Atlantic amount to around €1.7 billion every day. The two economies are interdependent to a high degree. Close to a quarter of all EU-US trade consists of transactions within firms based on their investments on either side of the Atlantic.

    The transatlantic relationship also defines the shape of the global economy as a whole as either the EU or the US is also the largest trade and investment partner for almost all other countries in the global economy. Total FDI stocks held in each others countries reach approximately €1.89 trillion. The overall "transatlantic workforce" is estimated at 12 to 14 million people, of which roughly half are Americans who owe their jobs directly or indirectly to EU companies."

    from http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-opportunities/bilateral-relations/countries/united-states/index_en.htm

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  • 138. At 5:12pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    PaganBarbarian, I appreciate the the sophisticated rawness of your posts. Keep them flowing please.

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  • 139. At 5:14pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Freeborn John

    "Gheryando (123): There will not be a Western Union or a World Union for the same reason that European federalism has broken down; there is insufficient common identity among different nations who do not form the united 'demos' necessary for decision-making by majority to be acceptable at international level in political areas."

    There wasn't an "Italian" demos at the times of the Venetian Republic (and still isnt some would argue). There wasn't a "German" demos. There wasn't a "French" demos. But they exist now.

    What does that tell you?

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  • 140. At 5:21pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MaudDib, @74
    Thank you.
    And I think kitchen-gardens are good things, overall, and ww. It's fun to grow something yourself, just out of curiosity, what the monster will emerge :o)))) and in hard times (which seem always be Russian times, LOL :o)))) - they save you.

    Most things that look tricky aren't so (after you tried once).
    Here is an anti-crisis advice just in case for all.:o))))

    Do you know that you can grow potatoes (1 or 2 :o) from supermarket potatoes? You take one in the supermarket and leave it in the light, not in the dark corner of your kitchen. In a while, in spring times, that potato starts to look odd. It develops "eyes" :o))), little bulbs or holes, getts somewhat spotty or I don't know how to explain. Sure sign it wants to be planted and to multiply!
    Then you dig it in the garden, at a random depth, without any ceremonies, and remember the place.
    Then you do nothing. Skip the watering and digging the ground, and plucking out wrong weeds growth over it. Because you anyway don't know which weeds are your future potato which are "wrong ones" :o))))
    Well then in the autumn there must be a small bush somehow, or violet-white flowers, at the roots of it there are new potatoes.

    If you do something ab it - you get heaps of potatoes! Where there was supermarket one.
    If you skip it all - you'll anyway get whole 2-3! :o)))) And can impress your guest with "own home grown" :o))))

    The other useful thing I know (and I'm afraid that's about all) is how to get more black-currants, if you only have 1 bush of them.
    In spring you turn away one of the low to the ground branches, and dig it into the ground, the end of it, not separating the branch from the old bush. Simply, like, add some soil on top of it. That's all. Water the place.

    That branch when it is under-ground thinks it is a root :o)))) - it does!
    and starts shooting up vertical shoots, through the ground and up, making a new bush.
    Thus you get 2. Or three - of you turned away and bended down two branches, on different sides of your bush.

    That's how you multiply black-currants.
    May be you can do the same with the red ones, but I haven't tried yet.

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  • 141. At 5:26pm on 05 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    OP "Under the Lisbon Treaty, which now governs how the EU functions, summits will be chaired not by Mr Zapatero, but by Herman Van Rompuy, the permanent President of the European Council. Mr Zapatero can't guarantee a seat at the final press conference. Back home he could be judged an empty suit."

    Don't criticise the Lisbon Treaty, it was voted for unanimously. I'm sure Mr Zapatero will have explained about Van Rompuy and The Noble Baroness Ashton of Upholland.

    Hoping this isn't found 'off topic' in a couple of week's time.

    rg

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  • 142. At 5:27pm on 05 Jan 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Gheryando @129,

    The cost of electric lighting is a negligible proportion of our domestic budget. Besides, I'd happily pay a premium to annoy the enviro-fascists.

    Conversely, in addition to instant, attractive light levels, the simple and elegant glass and steel bulbs are actually more 'environmentally friendly' to dispose of safely and cheaply that 'compact fluorescent' monstrosities.

    WebAliceinwonderland @131, I do have a very good suggestion as to where you can put all those useless spiral shaped bulbs. Members of the EU Commission might be sitting quite uncomfortably if implemented.

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  • 143. At 5:28pm on 05 Jan 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Wonthillian @135

    Or be employed in the agricultural sector.

    As fertiliser.

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  • 144. At 5:34pm on 05 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    129. Gheryando

    "...If those bulbs consume less energy..."

    And what is the connection between light bulbs and "Jobs - the European crisis"? Not picking on Gheryando here, just wondering out loud where the "off topic" boundary is.

    Perhaps the answer is for the EU to appoint lots of community support officers to clamp down on illegal bulb imports so as to create JOBS.

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  • 145. At 5:45pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Mr. G;

    "MAII - I wasn't really serious.."

    It doesn't matter. I never take you seriously even when you are. Who could take anthing on an internet blog seriously?

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  • 146. At 5:56pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The spiral lamps are called "CFLs" for Compact Fluorescent Lamps. They were designed in the US and are built in China. They are designed to screw in (some may have European style bayonet mounts) where ordinary incandescent lamps go. I replaced a 90 watt flood light over my garage with a 28 watt CFL equivalent. I was surprised that it had a similar light output both in intensity and color. These lamps have several serious defects besides being expensive. They have a capacitor in them which will fail ending the usable life of the lamp. This failure is accelerated at high temperatures such as outdoors in very hot climates. They will not fire up at very cold temperatures such as outdoors in Alaska in Winter. They contain mercury and are toxic waste that should be disposed of as such (estimated $3 to $5 to dispose of each one in the US.) Most are not dimmable. Light quality is not as good as incandescent lamps.

    The hope for the future is LED lamps (light emitting diodes.) Recently it became possible to produce higher power versions of them than previously. They give excellent light quality, are dimmable, very efficient, and last a very long time. But so far they are very expensive. A 2' x 2' LED fixture for an office ceiling costs about $250-$300 while a comparable fluorescent fixture costs about $50 or $60. When the price comes down after mass production startup costs are amortized, they will become the standard for all lamps replacing both incandescent and fluorescent lamps. That is my prediction.

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  • 147. At 6:01pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    rg - There is no off topic boundary. We also enjoy talking about Russian Dachas here. Have u got one? They are lovely!

    MaxSceptic - Not sure about the disposal costs. Are u sure the costs are negligible? Have u calculated the aggregate costs savings for half a billion people? Do you know future energy prices movements? Are you a millionaire?

    P.s. Rg - pick on me as much as u want. Thats what I'm here for. :)

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  • 148. At 6:22pm on 05 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    147. Gheryando

    "...rg - There is no off topic boundary. We also enjoy talking about Russian Dachas here..."

    One piece of useless information is that I holidayed in a Dacha in the 1970s. Don't ask how I wangled it. I had four posts knocked off for being 'off topic' today, three of which were coincidentally linked to the relationship between an 'Accession Ten' EU member and Russia.

    Now I don't mind having 'off topic' stuff being deleted weeks after the event, just feel a bit persecuted with everyone else being allowed to describe what they'd do with spiral EU bulbs.

    Just to stay on topic: The Noble Lady Ashton of Upholland did really well in 2009.

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  • 149. At 6:22pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    Gheryando:

    Thank you very much. I also appreciate your practical, concise common sense, that makes the longwinded, philosophical theorists of the board look so feeble and wishy-washy.

    I also think it bears repeating that the original purpose of the European Union was the preventation of any more wars. That was especially applicable to France and Germany, and the justification for the charter imposing the greatest cost on the German people. Yes, it is too early to say that the effort was completely successful, but the past 60 years, two entire generations, have been peaceful, over nearly the entire continent. I don't consider that a small or trivial achievement, compared to previous 2,500 years.

    I regret to say that I haven't seen a single post here addressing the first purpose of the EU, or the value and benefit to the planet of preventing war in Europe. I'm saddened to see that some are so shallow and myopic that they think making a bigger profit is more important than preventing warfare.

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  • 150. At 6:30pm on 05 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    149. PaganBarbarian

    "...the original purpose of the European Union was the preventation of any more wars..."

    A bit of a leap from "there have been not wars between France and Germany since the Coal and Steel agreement" to "the EU has prevented war".

    Perhaps the answer is to employ more soldiers to cut unemployment in the EU. I wonder what The Noble Lady Ashton of Upholland thinks about this?

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  • 151. At 6:59pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    I don't recognize what you mean. Your comment appears irrelevant and disingeneous, mere rhetorical trickery. I can only conclude you know nothing about the primal inspiration for the creation of the EU, and its first charter, in which the prevention of war is explicitly described as the most vital intent of the union. Monetary union was developed as a policy in the expectation that it would aid in that effort. Perhaps I'm naive and gullible, but I think it's pretty hard to argue with two generations of success. Perhaps you have a more abstract, Olympian understanding of the scenario, more pertinent than practical reality.

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  • 152. At 7:08pm on 05 Jan 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Gheryando @147, Incandescent lightbulbs are 98% metal and glass. When thrown away (or crushed) they turn into sand and rust. The tiny bit of insulation (plastic) disintegrates within a few years.

    As for saving "half a billion people" - where did this figure come from, Al Gore?
    Allocating a small portion of the billions wasted on 'combating climate change' (as if!) on clean water and primary healthcare for the world's poor would save more lives than any amount of hysterical doom-mongering.

    rg @148 wrote: The Noble Lady Ashton of Upholland did really well in 2009"

    Yeah.... Any bright ideas she has this year may be as a result of the aformentioned spiral CFLs being correctly inserted.

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  • 153. At 7:10pm on 05 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    151. PaganBarbarian

    "...I don't recognize what you mean..."

    If I suggested that peace in Europe was just as much because of NATO as the EU/EEC/ECSC would that be credible?

    OP "it's a fair bet that across Europe, if you were to tap opinion in the bars and brasseries, there would be surprising unanimity on what to do even with a sliver of power"

    Fair enough.

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  • 154. At 7:15pm on 05 Jan 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Gheryando (139): Germany and Italy each had many of the attributes necessary for nation-hood well before the formation of their states in the 19th century. Martin Luther translated the bible into German in 1534 showing there to be a common German language centuries before Bismarck. The Italian Renaissance in the 15th century showed there to be a common culture on the Italian peninsula centuries before the formation of the Italian nation-state. The EU has no common language today; no common culture.

    However the concept of 'demos' is only of relevance when considering democracy and neither Germany nor Italy were democratic until the arrival of the Anglo-American armies after World War II. The point you are really making with your examples is as follows: In holding up German and Italian political integration as your model for European federalism, you are implying that you support the disappearance of the existing democracy in Europe for however long is necessary (many generations) until a European 'demos' might appear. You are saying you are willing to hold your EU federation together against the will of the peoples it governs not just to get Lisbon ratified, but for a century or more. Also the question of how you would get democracy back after suppressing it for so long must be asked. Does it not concern you that the two examples of the unification of Germany and Italy from which European federalists draw inspiration were never able to achieve democracy themselves? And indeed that they were precisely the two undemocratic states most responsible for starting the World Wars? It certainly concerns me that the chief reason that European federalists like you raise for an undemocratic European federation is your perceived desire to counter India and China (you in post 123) or the USA (Jukka and others).

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  • 155. At 7:34pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    PaganBarbrian;

    "I regret to say that I haven't seen a single post here addressing the first purpose of the EU, or the value and benefit to the planet of preventing war in Europe."

    What does it say about the basic mentality of Europeans that it takes an EU to prevent another war after so many people have died as the result of so many European wars already? Are you sure the EU will prevent another war in Europe and not cause one when it fails and they start pointing the finger at each other about whose fault it was?

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  • 156. At 7:40pm on 05 Jan 2010, Bob Preston wrote:

    With Spain already disregarding the comments and demands of the EU Auken report on town planning irregularities.
    Demolishing houses previously issued with building licences.
    Refusing to supply services to conveniently ‘illegal’ houses.
    Throwing ex-pat pensioners on to the streets.
    Having total disregard for the human rights of ‘EU foreigners’.

    How can Spain reconcile holding the Presidency of the EU and continuing to behave in such a way?

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  • 157. At 7:45pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    Sure, of course it would be credible. It would simply be a rhetorical diversion from the central fact, a red herring dragged across the trail to distract the hunting dogs from the scent. NATO and the EU function together today, thus your introduction of the subject of NATO is utterly pointless and meaningless. Possibly you fail to grasp this essential step into a bottomless mine shaft in your aimless reasoning.

    If you don't want to face the facts, I don't care. Go ahead and live in your isolated, insular fairyland. I still prefer the real world, even when I confess it isn't perfect.

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  • 158. At 7:58pm on 05 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    157. PaganBarbarian

    "...the central fact..."

    The fact of the ECSC motivation is acknowledged.

    The result isn't, there is a difference between fact and opinion.

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  • 159. At 7:58pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    What does it say about the US that they took decades to form a united country, and a civil war to cement the union? What does it say about China or India that they took many wars, over millennia, to accomplish the same goal? What does it say about any group of people who engage in warfare to achieve their ends?

    If you are seriously trying to suggest that the Europeans are somehow different or unique from all the other people in the world, that sieve won't hold water. I find it truly hard to believe that any sensible person could present such a preposterous argument, so flawed with neon-glaring fallacies. I think some posters are just playing with themselves here, and only trying to jerk other posters around with glib, empty, emotional manipulation.

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  • 160. At 8:15pm on 05 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Look how long the Arab Union lasted, so wonder how long this EU thingy will last :) (LOOKING AT WATCH)

    Does anyone remember or read about the Arab Union? (back when Nasser was Egypts leader?)

    Dachas are longer lasting than "nation unions," Gheryando, no offense (PLEASE DONT YELL AT ME lol)

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  • 161. At 8:25pm on 05 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Jean Luc

    Re my #98 and your #118

    Look, I realise you still haven't recovered from the humiliation of your comment at #9 several Blogs prior to Christmas and especially have an issue with my Comments, but you really ought to at least read the whole content properly before having a go at me!

    I wrote myself that the UK was as in deep economic crisis as Spain.
    I added the UK could be blamed for its situation.
    I also suggested Spain's economic strength as a member of the EU could be an indicator for whether or not the EU inner-16 (Eurozone etc.) are going about things in the right manner.

    At no point in my #98 did I have a go at the EU; I merely reflected on how Spain as a very 'big' member State could have an influence far beyond that of the less 'valuable' periphery Nations who are struggling including UK which is not a part of the inner-16.
    My point was Spain as a fully 'paid-up' member of the EU would have a hard time explaining its economic collapse (were it to occur - - of course, I don't wish that on the Spanish anymore than on my own Nation) when it has been such a loyal follower of the EU in all aspects. Afterall, what would have been the purpose of EU Membership if Spain still finds economy and finances not recovering - - hence, my suggestion, at such a critical point - - membership would seem to be invalidated.

    Next time you want to make "simplistic" comments try to have read the original comment accurately. It will make for less leaps to conclusions.

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  • 162. At 9:17pm on 05 Jan 2010, I am not a number wrote:

    #154. "Does it not concern you that the two examples of the unification of Germany and Italy from which European federalists draw inspiration were never able to achieve democracy themselves?"

    Heh if this statement was true then neither Hitler nor Mussolini would have ever managed to get into office...

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  • 163. At 9:19pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    PaganBarbarian;

    "What does it say about the US that they took decades to form a united country, and a civil war to cement the union?"

    The United States was formed very quickly. The revolution was declared in 1776. By around 1789 the US had gotten rid of Britain, gone through a government under the failed Articles of Confederation, had a constitiution that has stood the test of time, a government under it, and was for all practical intents and purposes one nation. This was in part because many of the people in one state (former colony) had close relatives in others. They were closely interlinked socially. Yes we had a horrific civil war that tore the country apart from 1860 to 1865 over slavery, the one issue the founding fathers couldn't resolve and the South was punished badly from about 1865 to 1890 during the period we call Reconstruction of the South but even so, except for that one terrible episode, America has always been a united country. Are Americans better, superior to Europeans? IMO they are, the answer is unquestionably yes and by a wide margin.

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  • 164. At 9:50pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    You're just going off on yet another rhetorical diversion. Americans committed genicide against millions of the native population to gain control of the territory, built the south of the country on the backs of slaves, fought a prolonged war with the Spanish on the basis of no other justification than sheer greed for more land, maintained utter anarchy over two-thirds of the continent in complete lawlessness for nearly a century, ran in hob-nailed boots over any law for generations of robber barons, went to war against other nations just for fun of killing people ever since, especially in Latin America -- the list of savagery, brute thuggery and atrocities goes on and on.

    Your opinion that Americans are superior to rats demonstrates all anyone needs to know about you.

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  • 165. At 9:58pm on 05 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @rg,

    I also had some posts removed as off topic, regarding chinese in climate debate blog? well they were but was post of the other posts:))

    by the way are the people taking part in the demonstration in this photo the young unemployed Spaniards? :)

    Can then we ask the EU parliament to produce a report on the national governments that shows what money the national governments spend on helping the real economy not just the financial industry? Maybe that's a job the new EU council president can do in his spare time in between chairing meetings.

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  • 166. At 10:00pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MaxSceptic

    The half a billion is our population.

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  • 167. At 10:04pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Freeborn John,


    your unthreading my comment and weaving it into something totally different.

    The simple point of my illustration is: There will be change. Just because something is not now, does not mean it will not be.

    Maybe in a 100 years they will say there was no European demos and now there is.

    We're merely at the start of yet another change in habits in the history of mankind. A good one may I add.

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  • 168. At 10:06pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII

    "What does it say about the basic mentality of Europeans that it takes an EU to prevent another war after so many people have died as the result of so many European wars already? Are you sure the EU will prevent another war in Europe and not cause one when it fails and they start pointing the finger at each other about whose fault it was?"

    So war without the EU and war with the EU. You really just bend every argument to fit your opinion. Not a bad quality in life to have.

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  • 169. At 10:09pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    haha..David...

    Yay, you're starting to pick a side from the initial observing position. Good for you.

    May I ask, have you been offended by "European Elitism" on this blog?

    It seems to me that many Americans get frustrated by such a thing and think just because the French are an arrogant lot, all of us are the same.

    We're not. Unity In Diversity (I prefer E pluribus unum but it was taken) :)

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  • 170. At 10:11pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    rg @148 - 4 posts kicked off today, you say? on the relation btw the ten newer members and us? What a damn pity I'd be glad to read those.

    And mine, @131, a very enlightning piece :o))), on spiral lamps, was swallowed I see.

    Posts don't get referred to by themselves (by moderators), as min not for "being off topic".
    Comrades, we've got a predator in our rows. :o(
    Someone, un-aware of the liberal traditions of the house.

    Possibly, a triple agent! :o))))))
    In censorship-policing mood. Self-imposed and un-paid for the job.

    Whoever you are - shoo!
    (Mavrelius, you might wish to supply me with an ancient anti-mole
    spell from Scotland. I am sure it requires that pan on a handle :o), will get ready, for starters.)

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  • 171. At 10:15pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    CBW

    "My point was Spain as a fully 'paid-up' member of the EU would have a hard time explaining its economic collapse "

    I agree with the idea that one ought to read your comments in its entirety. However, I think you might, for your own personal reasons, project a too simplistic picture onto the screen...

    Why do I think this is the case?

    Because I believe the EU is NOT a guarantee for everything. It is an assistance.

    "Its easier to kill the bear when you're not just a single man, but even if you're two, you can get killed."

    Saying that if Spain should fail the EU model failed is just a too easy.

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  • 172. At 10:19pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII

    "Are Americans better, superior to Europeans? IMO they are, the answer is unquestionably yes and by a wide margin. "

    You're getting very close to Euprisoner-talk.

    I remember that when you started on this blog, you had quite a radical view but would not descent to such low-levels as to suggest supremacy of one kind of people over the other.

    I think you can do better and continue to contribute positively to this discussion.

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  • 173. At 10:31pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Can anyone please explain me how is it that there is now a - what many outside call "a EU President" kind of forver? for 2 years and a half? and still there goes the rotating presidency which is now in the star sign of Spain?

    Is it that the "President" is presiding over one "chamber" of the EU, the Parliament, while the country's presidencies take care of everything in the EU at once, both "chambers" - the Commission I mean, and the Parliament? Or are the Commission and Parliament both still there each not losing in their powers, then what does the porr "presiding" country do? Is there a special zone of the country that comes up on top for half a year attention? interest? EU structure does plan to confuse everyone around :o)))))

    Mavrelius, LED bulbs as I understand can be either tiny or big, not in ordinary house lamp format yet?

    LED (Leningrad) for that matter, is lit up with LED bulbs this festive season, the street decorations and special light effects on Admiralty, bridges, buildings, that wintry-holiday festive garlands, things. Local electricians boasted this year light plays and festivities will come easier on municipal budget because of convertion to LED lightnings and ? various made of light figures. So huge they can definitely be.

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  • 174. At 10:41pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Reading over my contributions I find a lot of spelling/grammar mistakes. Apologies but at least most of it keeps its original meaning nonetheless.

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  • 175. At 10:50pm on 05 Jan 2010, MariaTee wrote:

    #140 WebAlice

    You don't have to bury the whole potato to get a potato plant to grow. Let it develop eyes, and cut it in pieces, an eye on each piece. Each piece will grow a new plant with many potatoes, and you can repeat the process the following year.
    You can pick the seeds of peppers, tomatoes, squash, melons, etc. and plant them. You can plant a little pea, a bean, a kernel of corn, and get a plant out of it. This is farming as it was practiced in the old days. Do not do that with genetically modified plants as the seeds are often made infertile by Monsanto; this is how they guarantee that farmers will be kept dependent on them.
    You can do the same with fruits, but of course it will take a long time before you get a tree, and many species need to be grafted to give good fruits. This is a complicated technique, and not for the occasional farmer.
    As for the trick with getting new black current bushes, you can do that with any bush and with most trees as well (the result is not good with fruit trees which have been grafted). Once the new bush is established you can separate it from the old one. You now have two bushes and you can give the new one to a friend for his or her birthday.
    Happy farming WebAlice.

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  • 176. At 10:55pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    PaganBarbarian;

    "fought a prolonged war with the Spanish"

    It really wasn't that long, hardly a year.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish%E2%80%93American_War

    Mr. G:

    "I remember that when you started on this blog, you had quite a radical view but would not descent to such low-levels as to suggest supremacy of one kind of people over the other."

    I think I have consistently said that American culture is far superior to European culture. That is why so many Europeans left Europe to migrate to America and left all ties behind them. As there is no such thing as an American "race" it boils down to the differences in how we see the world, see life, see each other, see ourselves. This is what and who we are. America's culture is just much better than Europe's. I know Europeans won't accept it, don't like hearing it, think themselves superior. But facts are just facts. Read all the postings above by Europeans and see what they have to say about each other if you don't believe it.

    WA:

    "Whoever you are - shoo!
    (Mavrelius, you might wish to supply me with an ancient anti-mole
    spell from Scotland. I am sure it requires that pan on a handle :o), will get ready, for starters.)"

    We luckily have red tailed hawks where I live. They soar with such grace hunting their prey. Keep the grass cut so they can see the moles and they do the rest.



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  • 177. At 11:03pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    David, you wrote you are going to be away, you'll be missed :o(
    Don't forget to come back on weekends.
    And cheer up it's good to have a job these days, even if that prevents blogging :o))))

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  • 178. At 11:03pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Webalice,

    It goes like this. There are always a lot of meetings. All EU ministers have EU meetings. The country who had the presidency chaired the meetings and thus dictated the agenda.

    The President of the Council is replacing the previously rotating chairmanship of the most important meeting group: the group of heads of government.

    He will be creating the agenda from now on as well as represent the EU on the international stage. Remember there always being the prime minister/president of the country of the presidency at any major international meeting involving the EU?

    This will now be done by Van Rompuy.

    The other meetings, however, will still be chaired by the rotating country's minister.

    Any summit involving the EU plus an external entity will, starting from July 2010 onwards, be held in Brussels.

    The president is supposed to create continuity in the agenda, thereby being able to get more done, while otherwise goals will be pursued for 6 months and then mostly forgotten.

    Its not perfect, I know...

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  • 179. At 11:10pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    MAII:

    So everything else I cited in my post was correct, right? You could only find one tiny detail to pick on, and all my other descriptions were bang on accurate and justified. Thank you for confirming my overview of the American character for the others on the thread.

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  • 180. At 11:11pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII

    What do you mean by culture? Culture is such a vague term. Do you talk about New Jersey BBQ culture? Political culture? Religious culture?

    what are you talking about? literally.

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  • 181. At 11:12pm on 05 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MariaTee, O!

    at 332 in "picks for 2010" there is a link to the photo of my experimental field :o)
    There are two pages of pictures there :o)
    Rest assured next spring I will be bending all bushes I've got left and right, and remembering you with a good kind word :o)

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  • 182. At 11:39pm on 05 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    WebAlice:

    I can't resist throwing in my two cents. When I was a boy, we cut the eyes out of potatoes and put the cut half in a glass of water, the potato held up by a toothpick across the mouth of the glass, half out of the water. We started doing this in the fall, after eyes had grown a few inches on what we kept over as seed crop from the previous backyard garden harvest. Over the winter, roots would grow down into the water from the cut side, and all the potatoes would be ready to plant by late April, getting a good start on the warm season. Some years, we could grow two crops of potatoes using the water glass method. For what it's worth to you, my small contribution to the farming side of the thread.

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  • 183. At 11:50pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I think only mashed potatoe made with milk and nutmeg is truly good mashed potatoe.

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  • 184. At 00:32am on 06 Jan 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    159. pagan
    "I find it truly hard to believe that any sensible person could present such a preposterous argument, so flawed with neon-glaring fallacies. I think some posters are just playing with themselves here, and only trying to jerk other posters around with glib, empty, emotional manipulation."
    Say what?

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  • 185. At 00:41am on 06 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Now; glass with water method!
    I was not sure "eyes" in potatoes are called "eyes" elsewhere and are universally understood :o))))))
    Never heard of "glassy" method here, and a start ahead, with all, is a good idea, given whole Russia rushes to dacha-s like mad on 1st of May holidays, to plant, plant and plant on that weekend.

    Communist party before despaired immensely, because all were supposed to march on various towns' central squares, under posters with the three beards (Lenin Marx and Engels), on the "Day of spring and labour and int'l solidarity of working people" . But only those cornered in their offices and factories did, who couldn't avoid, for career considerations, while all the rest traditionally have only one interest in life in the beg. of May - DACHA. A day missed in May in the garden, you know :o)))
    So all that can be made ready in advance is grown on city apartments' windows, tiny little somethings, of all kinds.
    1st of May, you know, it's - by the way - pagan traditions :o))) Long before there was any communist party :o))))

    Likewise we get a warning then, from the Russian Orthodox church, to not get extravagant on Ivan Cupala day/ Ivan Bathing day/midsummer, but Russian Orthodox Church is here also, only 10 centuries :o))) a new-comer :o)), while that you roll lighted ? rings? wreaths? down from the river bank into the river, and jump over small fires and take a swim in a river or a pond on that night if you can - goes for granted :o))))

    Will look up in dictionary what a nutmeg is. Suspect that a kind of a nut?

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  • 186. At 00:46am on 06 Jan 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    175. MariaTee
    Hybrids don't reproduce whether Monsanto wants them to or not. Just ask a mule.

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  • 187. At 00:50am on 06 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    Mauddib:

    Don't try to understand. This conversation is far above your neurological level; in orbit in comparison with your plodding pace on the ground. Just stick to trying to figure out the difference between a cauldron and a microwave. That's about your speed.

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  • 188. At 01:33am on 06 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Gheryando.

    No, I DO not take people very seriously but I do respect them. And I have not boticed elitism...

    Ive noticed very (overly) impassioned comments by some. But, try the N. American blog--whoaaa:) Its like well... crazies, tho not judging lol

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  • 189. At 01:55am on 06 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    Mr. G is telling you the truth when he says;

    "It goes like this. There are always a lot of meetings. All EU ministers have EU meetings. The country who had the presidency chaired the meetings and...." yada yada yada...

    When they're not busy killing each other, Europeans spend most of their time and energy talking. That's what they do best. Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk. When they're done with that...they talk some more. And here you thought global warming was due to GHGs. Baloney. Global warming is due to the endless supply of hot air coming out of the capital cities of Europe.

    PB;

    From the Wikipedia article;

    "The war lasted only four months. John Hay (the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom), writing from London to his friend Theodore Roosevelt declared that from start to finish it had been "a splendid little war."[52][53] The press showed Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites fighting against a common foe[citation needed], helping to ease the scars left from the American Civil War."

    I guess that about sums it up. 4 months is hardly prolonged. Well I guess some people will always find fault with America by finding fault with its history. They just can't accept the fact that they have been eclipsed by a far superior civilization that is advancing so far ahead of theirs that even the trail of dust behind it is vanishing out of sight. Europe never could take it, now it can't ignore it. Too bad, so sad.

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  • 190. At 01:56am on 06 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PaganBarbarian, how did you manage, in one thread, to offend so many people at once?

    It is a friendly blog, where people come like home.
    (correction: home without dear family members :o))))

    One can bite but the usual standard here you snatch one favourite and tear to pieces but surely not more than one at a go?

    While your talents seem to be versatile.

    You are simply rude, without a reason, and the only reason that you give is your self-percieved mental superiority. To all at once. Can be of course, but not proven yet, by the mass opinion.

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  • 191. At 02:00am on 06 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    But, it does look good on the surface, but its not realistic IMO foreign policy wise. The nations still have to group together to project power thru unity and who knows what that means per situation.

    That is maybe why Europe looks powerless. They have a big say but are ignored. IMO, They (EU) need to unite around France and Germany during crises. If those two can actually assert themselves (THEY DID DURING IRAQ WAR--AND IT WORKED)

    Bush lost that war -- in the economic mess afterwards and in the elections.

    Oh and that was so needlessly cruel and UNTRUE, Pagan Barbarian...are you a practicing Sexist? (to MaudDib)

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  • 192. At 02:24am on 06 Jan 2010, PaganBarbarian wrote:

    MAII:

    That's right, keep ignoring all the other accurate points I made in the same post. Keep playing with yourself. Feels good, huh?

    WA:

    Obviously, I disagree with you. I don't tell you to post my way, so don't try and tell me to post your way. If you don't like my posts, then don't read them.

    David:

    How on Earth does sexism relate to MaudDib? You've got me baffled with that innuendo. Do you actually not know the literary allusion source of the name MaudDib?

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  • 193. At 02:30am on 06 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    David;

    "That is maybe why Europe looks powerless. They have a big say but are ignored. IMO, They (EU) need to unite around France and Germany during crises. If those two can actually assert themselves (THEY DID DURING IRAQ WAR--AND IT WORKED)"

    What exactly did they do? What exactly do you mean that "it worked?" Is that like Janet Napolitano saying after the attack on the plane in Detroit that "the system worked?"

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  • 194. At 02:30am on 06 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Cheryando @178, thank you. Not ideal nevermind. Now I think I hope I see :o))) - you've got three presidents :o))) two permament and one for half-years.
    We've got two tsars can understand figures. :o))))

    While they are less than 10 - your neighbours will be able to figure it out and come to terms with the idea :o)))) While figures not numbers - things aren't so bad!
    ___________
    Pleasant to read your clarifications, Mavrelius.
    Now, in comparison (one thinks "all is relative") and I think there is one more good thing about you, that is your own perceived superiority in everyday blog life does not cross the line which is "The USA is better by definition".
    I'd add "For Americans" but nevermind.

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  • 195. At 02:42am on 06 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8442662.stm



    " A cross-party group of MPs and peers have called on the main parties to make a manifesto pledge not to allow the UK's population to exceed 70 million.

    Former minister Frank Field is among those arguing current immigration rates, unless restricted, will impact on public services and quality of life.

    The Balanced Migration Group said the BNP continued to exploit the issue. ..."


    EUpris: In my opinion 70 million is too high a number as the UK is overcrowded now. The present number should be the maximum. We should aim for a gentle decline in the size of population here and in the world as a whole. In as far as we need immigrants we should let more of them in on the basis that they stay for only six months or something like that. They would be able to return after another six months. They would not be able to bring their families with them although these would be allowed to come for a holiday.

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  • 196. At 02:55am on 06 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "I think there is one more good thing about you, that is your own perceived superiority in everyday blog life does not cross the line which is "The USA is better by definition"."

    Not better by definition WebAlice but better by evolution. Our society is simply far further evolved than theirs. They are stuck in a rut which they will not recognize and therefore will never climb out of. Perhaps that is the fate of their culture, to have reached a dead end and just keep hitting their heads against the wall with no hope of going further. We have a word for people who won't stop making the same mistakes over and over again because they will not admit that they ever make mistakes or learn from others' successes and failures. Test your English, see if you can guess it.

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  • 197. At 02:56am on 06 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    172. At 10:19pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "MAII

    "Are Americans better, superior to Europeans? IMO they are, the answer is unquestionably yes and by a wide margin. "

    You're getting very close to Euprisoner-talk. "


    EUpris: I resent that! I don not claim the British are generally superior. I clam that are are aspects of their character which are superior and some which are inferior to the continentals.

    As a British citizen do not want to be in a political union with the Italians. I suspect that I would prefer to be a Swiss citizen. If I was a Swiss citizen, I would not want to be in a political union with the Brits. I would not want British thugs entering Switzerland. My main concern is not to be so incredibly British. My main concern is my desire not to be in a political union with the countries that gave the world Marxism, Fascism, the Inquisition and the Mafia.

    I consider that MAII is an extreme nationalist and that I am not.

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  • 198. At 03:20am on 06 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8441312.stm



    "Iceland leader vetoes bank bill
    Iceland's president refuses to authorise the repayment of money lost in the country's banking crisis, demanding a referendum. "

    AND:

    'Olafur Ragnar Grimsson: "The participation of the nation in the final agreement is the only viable outcome." '


    EUpris: He is a great man. He is showing the real leadership of the sort which has been lacking in Europe south of Iceland and Norway. Representative democracy is not working. Give us referendums.

    If I had money, I would invest in Iceland if I knew it was going to stay outside of the "EU". I was there recently. It is great!! Everything works, unlike Italy and the UK. When there is a problem they talk to you nicely and do not scream at you like I have been screamed at in Sicily.

    However they might be about to become more prisoners of the megalomaniac "EU"-Dictatorship resulting in years of misery.

    The Queen and President Klaus should have taken a similar line on the Lisbon Treaty: Stick it until they get a referendum!

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  • 199. At 03:22am on 06 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    183. At 11:50pm on 05 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "I think only mashed potatoe made with milk and nutmeg is truly good mashed potatoe. "

    EUpris: Don't ever complain that I am off topic!!

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  • 200. At 03:24am on 06 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    EU Prisoner;

    "As a British citizen [I] do not want to be in a political union with the Italians."

    As a subject of her majesty's crown, you've had as much to say about that as you are going to get. That is to say nothing. If you are going to be happy, you will have to learn to pretend that your government, all the other governments, and the EU government are all democracies just like almost all of the other prisoners in your cell block do.

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  • 201. At 03:30am on 06 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PaganBarbarian if you are Doctor Eiffel I surrender.

    There used to be an intellectually demanding like you are personality in the European blogs, heavy-handed so to say :o))) with china, and with a liking of psychology. Irritated when a pure stream of logic is itterrupted by the imperfect personalities.
    I decided he is either mad or a German like in the books :o)))))
    Therefore impossible for a Russian to understand.

    In any other case I am sorry Russian Navy don't surrender. MaudDib was friendly to me and we hold friends in far higher status than family.
    I am going to stand by her. So hold on, morning is wiser than evening, I will figure out something :o))))))

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  • 202. At 03:30am on 06 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    124. At 3:22pm on 05 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "FbJ

    I am neither a European federalist nor a European antifederalist, just an outside observer here to enjoy the comedy. ... "

    EUpris: It must be bloody hilarious, if you are not a prisoner of this stinking dictatorship.

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  • 203. At 03:34am on 06 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    117. At 2:25pm on 05 Jan 2010, ChrisArta wrote:

    "No EU death as yet, as much as Europhobes and other fringe groups keep wishing it"

    EUprizs: My guess is that more people want it than you realise, but then you "EU"-Dictatorship won't give us the referendum we were promised so that they can to continue to fool themselves that their crock of nasty is in some way legitimate.

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  • 204. At 04:51am on 06 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    EUprisoner, you don't get it. They give you nothing. It is not theirs to give, it is yours to take. That's what those guys who spoke about inalienable rights were talking about. Europeans are prisoners because they allow themselves to be imprisoned. It's a state of mind. The French revolted against one tyrant and what did they get? Another tyrant. Same with Russia. What do you think Russia has now? Do you think they actually learned anything from 74 years of going nowhere? This is the mentality which runs throughout all of Europe down through its history. Brits can pretend that it's not them, it's the continentals. But it is as much them as it is any other European. It is a belief in central authority imposing order, uniformity, conformity to the greatest degree possible. It is the most suffocating thing one group of human beings can do to another. That 500 million slaves of the EU allow it to happen to them without so much as a whimper is as disgusting as it is unsurprising to me.

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  • 205. At 06:33am on 06 Jan 2010, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

    Gavin: Is it that immigrants to Spain have filled many of the jobs that might otherwise have gone to young Spaniards? Or that many Spanish youth would typically look for work in the construction sector? Has unemployment for young Spaniards traditionally been high, with recent economic conditions exacerbating the situation?

    PaganBarbarian: Regarding post 8, I certainly required strong backs when my family moved into our house. How exactly do the huge majority of the half-billion Latin Americans destructively drain your society? (Where is your society located?) If one-third of humanity be superfluous, extraneous, dimwitted, feeble-minded, burdenous millstones on the other two-thirds, what would you propose as a solution to such a dilemma?

    For post 16, the price paid for milk to farmers in the States (the so-called “mailbox price”) — whether high or low — is not determined by the market, but by the Federal government through the Milk Marketing Orders of the Department of Agriculture.

    Meath_: On post 20, is it illegal in Ireland to sell any unpasteurised milk? (There are cheeses made there from such milk, aren’t there?) Here, it varies by state; in my own state, farmers are allowed to sell a limited amount of such milk per day directly to consumers — no middlemen allowed.

    democracythreat: In post 24, one small exception here to your tax list is that we have sales taxes rather than VAT, so only the final purchaser here feeds the commacracy, as opposed to the entire production chain who would do so in places with VAT. Your other points remain equally applicable here.

    On post 84, I’m a kook; futilely respond at your peril. ;*)

    WebAliceinwonderland: For post 45, we typically have a surplus of milk, but bulk milk here is usually produced by cows that were given bovine growth hormone, so I don’t know if such milk would meet Russian legal requirements.

    Muskat = nutmeg in post 185. It sounds like Ivan Cupala = John the Baptist.

    Gheryando: Thanks for the link in post 65.

    For post 109, I don’t think that most farmers are ignorant of economies of scale, but they do generally know how much money would be needed to acquire an extra thousand hectares to do something about it, and they can work out what the risk v. reward trade-off would be in such a situation.

    On post 183, I heartily recommend adding 100 g of cream cheese to 1 kg of mashed potatoes. I haven’t tried them with nutmeg (yet).

    Slavko: In post 77, I suppose that the decision to hold dollars or euro or dinars would depend on what you and your wife decide to do after your stints on the cruise ship. Are you (plural) planning on starting your own business, or working in a particular profession, or …?

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  • 206. At 07:14am on 06 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    #203

    No need for a referendum, the system we use here is we vote for a party to form a government to govern. We are not Switzerland!

    Thanks to the LT now we have Van Roy to run EU meetings (to stay on topic, for the person that refered my previous, climate change chinese not been a market economy posts)

    Also on the BBC this morning, Greece is cuting their decifit to levels acceptable to the comission and Merkel "indicated" she would help if there was a need. So the Euro is safe, although personally I was hopping for a bit of uncertently and a weaker Euro and a stronger pound, this weak pound is really getting pathetic now. Why or why didn't we join the Euro when we had a chance. Now our economy is as good as Greece's they will never have us in the Euro.

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  • 207. At 08:11am on 06 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Webalice: Nutmeg in Russian is called мускатный орех, similarly in German its called Muskatnuss.

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  • 208. At 08:13am on 06 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    ChrisArta,

    It must hurt to know that you could have gotten an exchange rate of about 1.4 to the euro back in the days.

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  • 209. At 09:02am on 06 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    @161. At 8:25pm on 05 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work

    Re "At no point in my #98 did I have a go at the EU; I merely reflected on how Spain as a very 'big' member State could have an influence far beyond that of the less 'valuable' periphery Nations who are struggling including UK which is not a part of the inner-16.
    My point was Spain as a fully 'paid-up' member of the EU would have a hard time explaining its economic collapse (were it to occur - - of course, I don't wish that on the Spanish anymore than on my own Nation) when it has been such a loyal follower of the EU in all aspects. Afterall, what would have been the purpose of EU Membership if Spain still finds economy and finances not recovering - - hence, my suggestion, at such a critical point - - membership would seem to be invalidated."

    It appears you fail to see why your comment was simplistic.

    According to you Spains economic recovery will show if membership is a good thing or a bad thing for Spain.

    This is simplistic because you have no proper 'yardstick'. You can not compare Spains economic situation anno 2010 as an EU member with Spains economic situation anno 2010 as a non-EU member.

    You can not compare Spains situation to the UK, because their economic and regulatory situation are quite different.

    What's more, real economic policy, taxation, social policy etc is still organized at the national level. Polciies that are not unimportant in tackling the crisis. So how could the effects of these national policies affect the validity of EU membership?

    So yes, simplistic.

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  • 210. At 09:06am on 06 Jan 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt: Keep on eye on Iceland. The president has now rejected the bank bill and the land is facing a referendum, which is populism, when it is most dangerous.
    The scenario is: The population in Iceland runs from the bill and their own fantasy economy, and becomes a paria in international economy. The Netherlands and GB then block the membership of Iceland in the EU.
    What position will the politicians in Iceland take, and can they explain the population what it is all about?

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  • 211. At 09:25am on 06 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    No reason in blocking Iceland to join the EU. They will never after all of this.

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  • 212. At 09:51am on 06 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @210 & 211

    If icesave or iceonline whatever the name of that online bank was, was a company then I can't see why the Iceland government has to pay us for its failure. As bad as it is for our councils here in the UK and the people in the Netherlands. It is just like any other business that went out of business, too bad.

    I can see no reason why Iceland as a country should be allowed in the EU (if that's what they want) because some of its companies failed.

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  • 213. At 10:39am on 06 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "If icesave or iceonline whatever the name of that online bank was, was a company then I can't see why the Iceland government has to pay us for its failure. As bad as it is for our councils here in the UK and the people in the Netherlands. It is just like any other business that went out of business, too bad."

    The problem is that, as a country, Iceland should have made provisionary regulations that deal with such instances. These could perhaps be that no icelandic bank can lend more than XXXX to foreigners or whatever.

    The mouse choked on the cheese.

    Icelanders are indirectly to blame because as a society, they have let this happen. Companies from their collective failed because their rules were insufficient.


    IMO, 3 billion for the UK and Netherlands is nothing and they could possibly even gain by waving the money. That, however, is impossible to justify to the UK and Dutch electorates..

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  • 214. At 10:40am on 06 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    ChrisArta,

    I wasn't saying WE won't let them in.

    Its probably THEM who don't want to join us anymore after being bullied by the "EU".

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  • 215. At 10:44am on 06 Jan 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #211 and 212
    Great Britain and Holland have already once made it difficult for Iceland to get loans from the IMF, loans that should bring the country out of the crisis. In order to get these loans the government of Iceland accepted the bank agreement, which now has been postponed / overturned?

    Even by the voting the Icelandic parliament came under pressure from the British government through a paper from the from the firm of solicitors Mishcon de Reya. Great Britain is putting a lot a pressure on Iceland. Again.

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  • 216. At 10:57am on 06 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Rightly so

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  • 217. At 11:05am on 06 Jan 2010, MariaTee wrote:

    #181 WebAlice
    Nice dacha WebAlice. It must be buried in snow by now.
    Nutmeg is a spice used on desserts to add perfume, like vanilla. It's produced chiefly on Granada, a Caribean island.


    To all the people who speak of the original purpose of the EU, or the Common Market as it was called at first.
    It would be good to remember the origin of the past European wars. For a long time wars were fought by ambitious kings who wanted to grab land from the neighbor in order to be kings of larger kingdoms. They did not care about the ordinary people who lived there and saw their lives ruined. That went on until WW1.
    Since then we have had wars waged by people to get freedom of some oppression. WW2 started by the Germans to get out of the economic disaster following terrible armistice conditions after WW1, followed by the depression of the early 1930's. Yugoslavia where each state constituting the federation went its own way (and now they want to join the EU!), because they were fed up with Belgrade's rule, and could not put up with neighbors next door who practiced the wrong religion and spoke the wrong language.
    The Common Market was a bright idea. You can't see an enemy in the person who discusses with you on the phone the conditions of the shipment of a load of strawberries. It also put people on the same living standard. As for kings and queens, they are just fodder for the tabloids nowadays.

    Things have gone wrong when power hungry people, our so called leaders, have decided to tighten ties (it now feels like a noose). Furthermore, the extension of the Union to countries of Eastern Europe, who joined purely for the sake of subventions, has put us on the path of Yugoslavia. It has coincided with an excess of economic liberalism, brought by the tandem Reagan-Thatcher who followed mindlessly the School of Chicago (Milton Freedman); it is dangerously impoverishing the richer countries of the Union. Economically, conditions in Western Europe start resembling conditions in Germany in the 1930's.
    Meanwhile, our presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and what have you, are hand in hand with all the crooks of the planet. When banks started to fail, instead of bailing out depositors (by nationalizing the banks) to save the little people, they bailed out the banks. They did not even fire the incompetents. We are ruled by a group of people who consider themselves above the law (it became painfully obvious a little while ago when the French foreign minister spoke loudly in defense of Roman Polanski, rapist and pedophile, who belongs to his privileged elite when his known victim was just a common girl).
    Nobody in Europe is looking for a solution to the mounting problems. Elected people are on a freewheeling path, and serve us the same speeches, again and again. People are out of work, we just raise unemployment compensation to prevent them from revolting. There is no money left to do that, we just invent a new tax (carbon tax or picnic tax). We rejoice that this year few cars got set on fire in the streets by hoodlums than last year. Crime statistics are brought down artificially by instructing the police to refuse to lodge complaints for robbery or aggression.

    As for the new light bulbs, they are the latest dirty trick played on people. The claims that a new 15 W bulb is equivalent to an old 60 W incandescent bulb are shameless lies. It takes a good 6 of those bulbs to get the same amount of light as before (that is to be able to read or sew by that light), so you actually use more electricity than before. Furthermore, now you have to change all the light fixtures. I see that as harassment and a hidden tax.

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  • 218. At 11:06am on 06 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @213

    The UK & Dutch financial regulators are at fault also. They should not had allowed Icesave to operate if it didn't meet UK or Dutch rules.

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  • 219. At 11:18am on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    165. ChrisArta

    "...I also had some posts removed as off topic..."

    I'm sorry for this and only wish there was more consistency in the treatment off the various posters. Especially so, it seems mean to delete posts which are replying to others.

    "...report on the national governments that shows what money the national governments spend on helping the real economy not just the financial industry?.."

    Perhaps we will find out next time the accounts are signed off?

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  • 220. At 11:23am on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    170. WebAliceinwonderland

    "...Possibly, a triple agent!.."

    Whoever they are can they go and play somewhere else please.

    On topic I wonder if there are Spanish amongst us who have an opinion on current EU employment policy?

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  • 221. At 11:28am on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    187. PaganBarbarian

    "...Don't try to understand. This conversation is far above your neurological level..."

    Is this the EU attitude to the electorate? We don't understand. We don't have to. There are clever unelected people like Mr Van Rompuy who will do the thinking for us.

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  • 222. At 11:35am on 06 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @219

    ha ha ha ha about the accounts thing, you know it is not so much the EU but the various national government that mess up the accounts!

    @220

    Very good point regarding Spanish saying something about the reason why there is so much unemployment in Spain compared the rest of the EU?

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  • 223. At 11:37am on 06 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #209

    "Yardstick"?

    I did not compare Spain with the UK!

    Have you still not read my original comment properly!?

    By any yardstick of simplicity you are being obtuse on this matter: Nowhere do I actually say Spain must not be a member of the EU if it collapses economically; all over my comment, I do suggest that it will be hard/difficult for Spain (i.e. Government) to uphold 'EU membership' as worthwhile if such a terrible thing happened. I.e. my intention was to suggest some/many/few Spaniards might question membership.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    I used the UK as the example of a Nation that could NOT blame the EU.

    Why can you not understand?

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  • 224. At 11:45am on 06 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    WebAlice

    Re #173

    "...can anyone explain..?"

    If they could explain the mechanisms and functions of the EU that were useful it would take about 10 to 12 lines.

    To explain the full mechanisms, functions and systems of the European Union will take the entire BBC Blog for the rest of 2010 - - AND, you will still be none the wiser!

    Of course, those 'pro-EU' who have written on here how they read all the Lisbon Treaty and understood it all (including referencing the 300+ other EU Documents and previous Treaties that Lisbon alludes to) will I'm sure give you a very simple explanation for why there are 2 'presidents' (except one is actually a 'chairman' though he uses the official 'president' title and the other has always been a President of the Commission - - so, you see, it's easy really!).

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  • 225. At 11:56am on 06 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "I do suggest that it will be hard/difficult for Spain (i.e. Government) to uphold 'EU membership' as worthwhile if such a terrible thing happened. I.e. my intention was to suggest some/many/few Spaniards might question membership."

    And as I explained, this suggestion is difficult to uphold.

    For one, there is no yardstick:
    1.hard to compare Spain anno 2010 EU member with a hypothetical Spain anno 2010 non-Eu member
    2.hard to compare Spain with another country

    Secondly, the core of crisis policy is still situated at national level, therefore if the crisis persists, would this say something about the EU (and EU membership) or would it say something about national politics.

    Therefore a Spaniard would have a hard time analyzing the role of the EU in fighting the crisis: he has nothing to compare with and the EU doesn't have a crisis policy, crisis policy is situated at national level.

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  • 226. At 12:00pm on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    195. EUprisoner209456731

    "...We should aim for a gentle decline in the size of population here and in the world as a whole..."

    This is what we should do and instead the solution to all our woes is to increase taxation and force us to use expensively dim EU bulbs. The debate on population was at its strongest in the 1960s. Yet we, through our elected representatives, chose to do nothing. Instead we bleat about diminishing resources as if we had nothing to do with it.

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  • 227. At 12:05pm on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    204. MarcusAureliusII

    "...That's what those guys who spoke about inalienable rights were talking about..."

    We do have a knack of handing our power to a very narrow group of individuals to do with what they will every 4-5 years.

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  • 228. At 12:11pm on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    217. MariaTee

    "...The Common Market was a bright idea. You can't see an enemy in the person who discusses with you on the phone the conditions of the shipment of a load of strawberries..."

    Remember Yugoslavia? BTW The Common Market was founded as the ECSC.

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  • 229. At 12:13pm on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    218. ChrisArta

    "...UK & Dutch financial regulators are at fault also..."

    Careful now, as the architect of the UK financial regulatory regime, you'll be blaming Gordon Brown next. It is not allowed in an election year, this post will be deleted.

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  • 230. At 12:15pm on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    222. ChrisArta

    "...it is not so much the EU but the various national government that mess up the accounts..."

    Sorry I thought we were discussing the EU accounts.

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  • 231. At 12:27pm on 06 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #215

    Have to admit you've lost me!

    I think you are arguing for arguments sake about this and because it is me!

    I'm withdrawing as I cannot write more on something I have no more to say about.

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  • 232. At 12:36pm on 06 Jan 2010, I am not a number wrote:

    #224. "will I'm sure give you a very simple explanation for why there are 2 'presidents'"

    There are in fact three presidents, not two. The parliament also has its own president. ;-)

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  • 233. At 12:46pm on 06 Jan 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    PaganBarbarian #34 and Meath
    The argument about farms and farming is not so simple .
    Farmers are not stupid and ignorant ; so their farms are bound to fail .
    In southwest England and Ireland , it is possible to farm successfully 60 to 70 acres because of the mild climate and rich soil . With the aid of Nitram fertiliser one can grow lush grass tall for strip grazing of dairy cattle .
    Farmers in countries like the United States or Australia , often need to have a large acreage because the soil is poor . It does not always follow that big farms are more profitable , they too can lose money .
    Corporate farming is sometimes done as a secure land investment , but serving as a tax loss , against industrial interests .
    I believe , that in countries like Ireland and France , Farmers are obliged by law to leave their property equally divided among their children ; so farms become smaller and unable to support a family .
    The Eu CAP serves to support small farmers and keep them on their farms , to maintain rural life .
    Corporate farms will have a resident manager , machinery and employ very few people . Often the absent owners concentrate on one crop , like grain , or potatoes in Idaho . Hedges are done away with , with a loss of bird and wild life .

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  • 234. At 1:07pm on 06 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius @196 "We have a word for people who won't stop making the same mistakes over and over again because they will not admit that they ever make mistakes or learn from others' successes and failures. Test your English, see if you can guess it"

    In English no idea. In Russian, though, there is an expression "to step on the same rakes". Those? With a handle, for brushing up collecting autumn leaves, in the garden. You step on them, forgotten on the ground, when looking for them, and they lift up and bang knock you on your
    forehead :o)))))

    Therefore the common joke: "Russia! Come on! (until what times? Finally -Have a mercy on the rakes!"

    :o))))))

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  • 235. At 1:30pm on 06 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @230

    Correct the discrepancies are there because the national government that administer the funds the EU allocates to them do not return the correct accounts to the EU auditors. Simple really for example, you give 100 pounds to go and buy sugar, I spend 50 for sugar & 50 for coffee. then you get audited for 100 pounds for sugar, you ask me hey were are the receipts for the money I gave you to buy sugar, I return to you 50 pounds worth of receipts. Your auditors say "oh, rg sorry we can't sign your books", end of example. That's why the accounts are not signed.

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  • 236. At 1:52pm on 06 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re 231. At 12:27pm on 06 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work

    It's quite simple.

    You say a Spaniard might start doubting the benefits of EU membership if the crisis keeps hitting his country.

    I say that this would not be reasonable, because:

    1. It would be very hard for that Spaniard to compare his current situation with the hypothetical situation in which his country was not part of the EU.
    2. The biggest part of the anti-crisis policy is being decided at national level: how would the effects of spanish national policy affect the evaluation of EU membership?

    What that Spaniard can be sure of is that thanks to the EU and the IM Spanish products will face much less protectionism from other European countries than would have been the case if Spain wasn't member of the EU.

    He can also be sure of a stable currency (more stable than the peseta). Potential downside from this strong currency is a deteriorating export position vis a vis non eurozone countries.

    All in all: this is about economic effects which are impossible to quantify without extensive economic data gathering and analysis

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  • 237. At 2:54pm on 06 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #236

    Look, it does not matter whether you, I, Madrid or Brussels thinks "it is reasonable", it is upto the Spanish Citizen: And, being reasonably familiar with Human Nature all I am saying is that (if the worst happenes economicially - - I repeat, I hope not) some or maybe a lot of Spaniards will turn on their Government and their Government is beholden to the EU and therefore the EU could come unstuck in Spain.

    It is not the EU fault, but that is not how the mind of People work when there's no job, no home, no medicine etc.: They look around and ask who did they vote for because it has to be somebody's fault! It has to be the Spanish Government's fault for its policies to have led to this! What do those policies include? They include full allegiance to all the EU systems etc.

    "Hah!" Exclaims Juan, "My child has no new shoes because I have no money because I have no job!" And he concludes with that instinctive natural commonsense, "That's the Governemktns fault!" And who will the Madrid Government blame when there are many millions in Juan's situation?

    Ooh, that's a tough one, isn't it?

    No, I think even you can work that out for yourself.

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  • 238. At 3:05pm on 06 Jan 2010, rg wrote:

    235. ChrisArta

    "...you give 100 pounds to go and buy sugar, I spend 50 for sugar & 50 for coffee. then you get audited for 100 pounds for sugar, you ask me hey were are the receipts for the money I gave you to buy sugar, I return to you 50 pounds worth of receipts. Your auditors say "oh, rg sorry we can't sign your books", end of example..."

    I can understand this happening in year one, perhaps there is a solution; in year two the chancellery gives a grant of 100 for sugar and deducts 50 before handing out the cash in recognition of last year's money not spent?

    The EU needs to get a grip of its finances unless it wants to attract mockery and indignation.

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  • 239. At 3:20pm on 06 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "No, I think even you can work that out for yourself."

    For someone who goes hysterical because of the word 'dude', this is quite a belitteling statement.

    Luckily I have quite a thick skin and these things won't sidetrack me from the debate, neither would I use them as an excuse not to debate further ;-)

    On topic:

    I am quite baffled by the fact that you suggest the common citizen would accuse the EU for certain problems, although you admit the fault obviously does not lie with the EU.

    Do you mean to say that the EU citizen is too blind or too stupid to see the real processes/actors that are responsible? Do you imply that the Spanish people will blindly believe the words of their government, without critical reflection?

    Good thing I am always open to debate, even with people holding such undemocratic views and maintaining such an elitist attitude towards the common hard working man.

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  • 240. At 3:50pm on 06 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re "hysterical"

    I believe I wrote, 'WOW dude (what the heck is that?)'

    Erm, hysteria: A wild, uncontrollable emotion, an uncontrolled excitement (Oxford Dictionary).

    Think it is time to move on again.

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  • 241. At 4:45pm on 06 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    You really are marvelous at ignoring the 'on topic' parts of comments and instead focusing on anything that could derail the discussion.

    Great debater you.

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  • 242. At 5:14pm on 06 Jan 2010, MariaTee wrote:

    #181 WebAlice and 182 PaganBarbarian:
    If you start seeds indoors, use a thick wad of cotton for each type of seeds, and keep it well moist throughout. It's easier than glasses of water, and less messy than little pots with dirt in them.

    #186 MaudDib:
    Hybrids are generally, but not always, infertile. This is why you may have difficulties if you use seeds from store bought tomatoes or grapes.
    Genetically modified plants however, are only infertile because Monsanto decided early on to manufacture them that way. Their explanation is that it prevents them from spreading in the wild and displacing native crops. Once bugs have built up their arsenal to go after them, we will need something to fall back on, and we want the original plants to stay available for the next round of that arms race.


    WebAlice and others who would like to know how the EU government works: forget it. When we voted on the constitution in 2005, I read the document in its entirety. It was written against all common sense, and a school child would get much red ink for turning in an essay like that. The document defined institutions from other not yet defined institutions. It referred to paragraphs later in the document. It was obvious to me that the whole thing was a ploy to pull wool over the eyes of the voters. That's for the form. For the content, what I understood of it was simply not acceptable.
    The Lisbon treaty is worse, and I gave up trying to understand it.

    #169 Gheryando:
    The French are no more arrogant than the others. You are referring to cultural differences. In fact, I have many times felt outright insulted by comments from foreigners which I thought it was better to ignore. When I read blogs such as this one, I notice that most people deep down are convinced that their way is the only good way, whatever the topic may be.


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  • 243. At 5:17pm on 06 Jan 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    pagan
    The query to be contemplated by those with superior synaptic proclivity like yourself is the motivation involved in grabitization* of the Galus Galus from the eastern shoulder of the Appian Way to the western shoulder at approximately 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis.
    * in honor of Alice

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  • 244. At 6:24pm on 06 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #241

    "On topic"!

    Erm, nowhere do I suggest Spanish people are "blind" or "stupid".

    All over my Comments is the suggestion Spanish people will react to a full-blown economic crisis in Spain like People the World over and look for someone to blame!

    Your beloved EU will be in the frame along with the Spanish PM, Spanish Government, Spanish immigrants, Spanish Basques (?), Spanish coastal regions v Spanish hinterland, Spanish Barca FC v Spanish Real Madrid, the Portuguese, the French (and of course, the USA cos everything comes back to them) etc..

    It is called Humanity: There is very little part in it for your beloved EU Treaties and Directives or sub-sections, Clause 290, codecil 'c' excluding addendum 99ii, point 7.5 etc..

    I debate all the time: You postulate deeply important 'points of order' based on International Treaty as if the EU Citizen was even consulted on any of it!

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  • 245. At 7:03pm on 06 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    @238

    I have you say I like your solution, it makes sense. I wish they followed it.

    It is a sensible solution, I guess that's why you are not a politician, some of the things you say make some sense some times :))

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  • 246. At 7:33pm on 06 Jan 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    242. MarieTee
    Are you against all genetically engineered crops?

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  • 247. At 02:46am on 07 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MaudDib - Bravo! :o)))))))

    MariaTee, Salut :o).

    Now, finally, ladies in this blog. Not that I was feeling very lonely :o) but still. Not one human face around! :o))))))))

    Now, the blog is becoming complete to perfection. And the only thing missing, in my un-scientific view, up again on 6 in the morn. is oh a vet a specialist on cryotherapie (freezing off) tumours in cats' ears... :o( Awful bleeding ones. :o(

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  • 248. At 03:53am on 07 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    "MariaTee, Salut :o)."

    Whew, an omission of the letter "a" and you don't know what you would have said instead. Your postng would have been referred to the "immoderators."

    Very human face here. Once I was young and beautiful. Now I am old and ugly. I like it better this way. "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too." "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore Todo."

    You know what the problem with the British is Alice? They have no sense of humor, nope none at all. It's a cultural thing I think. The ability to laugh at yourself, at the world, at other people, what they do, what you do, and at life in general. And the ability to look and act foolish without being self conscious about it. Nope, the brits ain't got it. They say Brits have a "dry" sense of humor. So dry I think it shriveled up and disappeared altogether. Some people take life far too seriously. Now Russians had a sense of humor, at least back in the commie days. Americans always did, still do. I think Germans come closest to the American sense of humor in Europe. I wonder if Jerry Lewis is still the god of funny in France. Too bad they didn't know about another American icon of infantile comedy, "The Three Stooges." Now that's funny...if you are ten years old or less.

    "This posting is awaiting moderation." Well guess what, it isn't going to get any more moderate than it already is. "This posting has been referred to the moderators." And then what? I get a gold star next to my name if it gets published, a black star if it doesn't. Haven't had that happen since I was in the second grade.

    Isn't it funny how the trivial things in life are about 99.9% of what we do? This cheap Shiraz Cabernet is damned good. WS or WA rated it 90. Pour you another glass of it Alice :-)

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  • 249. At 04:48am on 07 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I'm ten years old again;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yJBhzMWJCc

    Sometimes Curly was replaced by Shemp;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfGWPpPy0uw

    There are many dozens of episodes,maybe hundreds.

    pie fights are always fun...if you're eight years old;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwirWWnzJKM

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  • 250. At 09:04am on 07 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "It is called Humanity: There is very little part in it for your beloved EU Treaties and Directives or sub-sections, Clause 290, codecil 'c' excluding addendum 99ii, point 7.5 etc.."

    If you want to make a parody, you might want to use the right terminology.

    There are no sub-sections in Treaties or directives, no clauses and articles are numbered using only natural numbers.

    On the other hand I suppose the Laws voted by your House of Commons are never made up of more than five articles, each article having no more than 5 sentencesn (for clarity's sake right?). :D

    Re "I debate all the time: You postulate deeply important 'points of order' based on International Treaty as if the EU Citizen was even consulted on any of it!"

    You don't really. Just in the other topic you didn't only spread blatant lies about EP's powers and the abdication of Santer, you also wilfully misread my contributions on the facts of the Santer abdication and the rights of UKIP MEP's. Then you happily used another excuse to have the debate derailed by focusing on the word 'crap' instead of focusing on the topic.

    Now on topic: If I recall correctly, the UK citizens voted for membership in the '70s. If I recall correctly art. 50 TEU provides the possibility to leave the Union. Meaning the will of the citizen is respected. What's more (and get it in your head this time): the decision whether or not to hold a referendum on an international treaty (be it EU or another treaty) is a national question. The EU doesn't have anything to say about this. If you want to complain about not getting a referendum, complain to YOUR OWN government. I'm guessing even you can understand this.

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  • 251. At 2:47pm on 07 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #250

    The really sad thing about #250 is that you probably are under the impression that the "...right terminology.." is actually all that is needed for everyone to find the EU a marvellous entity!

    Now, try to understand this: When Eire's Citizens voterd against the Lisbon Treaty the EU Commission President Msr Barroso on the same day as the result of that Referendum called for another Referendum to be held in Eire.
    That, by any yardstick, codecil, protocol, addendum, clause.... IS an EU Official intervening in the individual Nation's 'political' arena.
    Furthermore, it is the very same Official who intervened and suggested an MEP should be sued.
    Also, within days of the Eire first referendum Members of the EU Parliament and the Commission were calling for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

    Now, you may try to explain away the EU involvement in defining the need for a 2nd referendum, but there is one simplistic truth: The EU involves itself in the 'political' landscape of all EU27 and when it is thwarted as happened in Eire it takes any and every step to ensure it is ultimately successful.
    Thus, the EU most certainly will not anytime soon be pressing for a UK/England Referendum on membership or anything else involving British Citizens - - the chances of EU success being about likely as the Lisbon Treaty and the EU Parliament having any genuine EU Citizens' Mandate to exist! I.e. None at all!

    I'm guessing you have more to say, but frankly I don't: This topic is exhausted so far as I am concerned and what is the point of continuing to argue/debate with each other when there clearly is no meeting of minds at all?

    Said it before - - mean it this time - - enough!

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  • 252. At 3:22pm on 07 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "The really sad thing about #250 is that you probably are under the impression that the "...right terminology.." is actually all that is needed for everyone to find the EU a marvellous entity!"

    I don't need you to tell me under which impression I am, thank you very much :)

    Re "Now, try to understand this: When Eire's Citizens voterd against the Lisbon Treaty the EU Commission President Msr Barroso on the same day as the result of that Referendum called for another Referendum to be held in Eire."

    Source on this?

    Re "That, by any yardstick, codecil, protocol, addendum, clause.... IS an EU Official intervening in the individual Nation's 'political' arena."

    If he intervenes it will be according to the Treaties. The Treaties as ratified by all member states. Therefore the member states agreed to this intervention. If they don't want this intervention anymore they can always leave the union.

    Re "Furthermore, it is the very same Official who intervened and suggested an MEP should be sued."

    He didn't really, just your own way of interpreting things.

    Re "Also, within days of the Eire first referendum Members of the EU Parliament and the Commission were calling for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty."

    I see, UKIP MEP's can say whatever they want (and yes they can and they should be able to), but other MEP's may not call for a second referendum? Now who's trying to limit the rights of certain categories of MEP's? Not me, but you!

    Re "Now, you may try to explain away the EU involvement in defining the need for a 2nd referendum, but there is one simplistic truth: The EU involves itself in the 'political' landscape of all EU27 and when it is thwarted as happened in Eire it takes any and every step to ensure it is ultimately successful."

    Obviously the EU institutions and the 26 other member states and the Irish government wanted a second referendum. Still the Irish government was free not to hold a second referendum and the Irish citizens were free not to vote yes. However, the referendum was held and a majority of Irish citizens voted yes. I think it's time you accept the Irish people's will, because your undemocratic insinuations are an insult to the Irish people.

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  • 253. At 6:38pm on 07 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA :o).
    The Niagara Falls ???!!! :o)))))))))

    A return bottle of champaign to your table :o)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gGdjwWmYc0

    Ivan Grozny and Co.




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  • 254. At 6:44pm on 07 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Off topic, but its an old topic--new one posted "to be french"

    Web Alice, its so cold here, averaging 5 to 0 F. And we have had almost 2 ft of snow since Christmas eve. (24 dec). How is it there? I bets its unspeakable. But, good luck. :)

    Brrrrr, Davidpo9

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  • 255. At 8:02pm on 07 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Dave, un-speakable is only cat's ear. The weather is normal (though this pattern had been well forgotten over the past warmish decade).

    On the radio folks complain that "like in the siege of Leningrad", meaning St.Petersburg city council doesn't clean the streets, snow-piles grow, and people tip-toe paths between mountains to get to the bus stop or to the supermarket. As it began snowing here in pre Christmas-1 time -so it goes :o).

    I think we've got minuus 10 or so, OK for January, nothing extravagant.
    Though the snow amount is un-usual, meteo mum says highest for 130 years of observation meteo records' keeping in St. Petersburg. In their meteo papers, she means. Biggest snow fall in 128 yrs, to be more exact.
    But any day give me snow over un-usual frost numebrs :o))))
    Better a snow mountain than - 40 etc.
    I remember -35 here several years ago, and the couple of siege winters were madly below minus 40.

    So in temperatures Russia is within reason, only off the records in snowing tons. :o)

    If you are worried by your temp. I'll console you by the old proverb "Sun towards Summer, Winter towards Frost."

    After the day began to grow, on the 23rd of Dec I think was the borderline (day and night equal in length) - it simply has to turn "towards frost". All normal and sanctioned by centuries.

    The coldest will be Jan 18th - I'll tell you without any meteo :o)
    It's Christ' baptising by Russian old calendar date, and it is simply called "The Baptising Frosts" :o)))))
    Always peaks up (that is, down) on that day.
    Then after you survive that - things will be OK.


    Here is for your consolation :o)))))), though an old one, but at leastthere is no sound, you don't need translation :o)))) -
    can be titleed "What a bear would do not , in order to get to his pot of honey " :o)))))

    Or? Europe and Russia over Georgia :o))))))

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-7dNbcevnI&NR=1



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  • 256. At 04:27am on 08 Jan 2010, Slavko wrote:

    Jan_Keeskop
    You linked it excellent! You see I’m over 30 my wife is slightly older and she wants kids. I’m running battle with time here, because in order to get American papers it would take me few years ( my brother is American citizen already). I ‘m also tired of this cruise ship job, working long hours and hundreds of other reasons.
    Problem is with EU regulations…EU doesn’t help small businesses, I talked to so many Europeans who came to the US, they all said that regulations would kill them in the very beginning!
    As Serbia is still far away from the EU, I thought I still may have chance to do something back home and start a business. I see the way Americans are doing, how practical they are, how they dodge the situation and still manage to make profit. I learned a lot from them and want to use that knowledge back home. It is the mentality the mindset of the Americans that is the biggest driving force and want to use it in Serbia. I spoke to some Romanians, Hungarians, Polish, and they all had bad experience with EU, some of them owned small enterprises, but had to close them down due to tough EU regulations!
    There seem to me like there is a pattern of deliberately destroying manufacturing in those countries, I watch a documentary on that issue…sucks Jan, it really sucks!
    If stick to going home plan it would take me a year or a year and a half to start my business. Should I still pursue US papers or go home I don’t know?!

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  • 257. At 04:40am on 08 Jan 2010, Slavko wrote:

    MAII
    That Shiraz Cab is my wife’s favourite red, had it last night because it was Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve ))))
    Almost everything you said about Europe is true from my point of view, but that “superiority” thing is rubbish. It is like “geographical determinism” a study that Adolf Hitler used to claim superiority of German race…
    Las Vegas, can’t remember the name of the bar, half BBQ ribs with half of the chicken, two corn sticks, bean, rice, salad and a pint of beer - $21!!!!!
    You pay in Italy crazy price for the Mac, where it is 1$ in the US!!!! I can’t figure out why it is such a big difference in prices in Europe and US???? Even in Belgrade I paid 5 times more for the same Mac!!! Ridiculous!!!!

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  • 258. At 05:00am on 08 Jan 2010, Slavko wrote:

    MAII
    That Shiraz Cab is my wife’s favourite red, had it last night because it was Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve ))))
    Almost everything you said about Europe is true from my point of view, but that “superiority” thing is rubbish. It is like “geographical determinism” a study that Adolf Hitler used to claim superiority of German race…
    Las Vegas, can’t remember the name of the bar, half BBQ ribs with half of the chicken, two corn sticks, bean, rice, salad and a pint of beer - $21!!!!!
    You pay in Italy crazy price for the Mac, where it is 1$ in the US!!!! Ridiculous!!!!

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  • 259. At 05:31am on 08 Jan 2010, Slavko wrote:

    I appologise for double post, internet connection on the ship is terrible ((

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  • 260. At 06:21am on 08 Jan 2010, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

    Slavko: Many variables! Is your wife also Bosnian Serb? Would your current citizenship(s) automatically be gained by your child at birth, or would your child need to be born in your native country/-ies to do so? (Should your child be born in the States, he would gain US citizenship even if neither you nor your wife were citizens.) Would the pursuit of US residency be a joint plan for you and your wife, or would it only be for you? Does she also look forward to something different from the cruise ship? What other priorities are on her list?

    Are you thinking about a manufacturing business for yourself? (I know nothing about the small business climate in Serbia, so I can’t offer any useful advice there.) Is the 12-month to 18-month ramp-up time based on saving enough money to be able to start it at the end of that period, or is it based on spending money during that time to achieve other necessary prerequisites? If you took the US residency path, would it be as a stepping stone for starting/capitalising the Serbian business, or would it be a substitute for starting one there? Are your brother and uncle able to offer insights about the oddities of life in the States from Serbian perspectives?

    Hmmm, I’ve got nothing but more questions for you in this post — I guess that I’m just trying to better understand your current situation, to be able to offer some practical suggestions to you.

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  • 261. At 10:04pm on 08 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    "Meep Meep!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz65AOjabtM

    There must have ben hundreds of Roadrunner cartoons. This one appears to have been translated into German but knowing German isn't necessary. They were popular in the US in the 1960s. I'm sure you'd find lots of them on Youtube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwXrDtFZG58

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  • 262. At 4:07pm on 18 Jan 2010, Brendan Flannery wrote:

    We moved to the Almanzora Valley in Almeria Spain three years ago.
    We bought a property using all the correct proceedures - we had a solicitor and
    we went to a Notary to complete our Escritura.
    Now we have been made aware that none of the properties in this area are 'legal'.
    This is not a new problem in Spain - people have been fighting to receive jusice in this country now for many years.
    What do the E.U. do to support it's citizens?? Nothing - every time a committee comes to a conclusion that what the Junta of Andalucia is doing is against our human rights and the E.U. rights - the Spanish Government ignor them.
    They are in charge of the European Parliament at the moment - they have not earned the right to do this because they are abusing thousands of people's human rights
    WHEN IS SOMEONE IN POWER GOING TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP???

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  • 263. At 04:01am on 16 Jun 2010, david wrote:

    I might allow you the word "crisis" wrt some of the Eurozone problems, but surely not to describe the US labour market. It is not in a crisis' it is in a part of an economic cycle which is readily anticipated following a down turn. Perhaps there are some troubling characteristics in the US cycle but all economic cycles are different in detail [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] The US will probably show good labour productivity gains, if not job growth this year, which will lead to stronger job growth than might have been. It would be nice to see some economic driver in the US, or for that matter in Canada; but those sorts of phenomena, innovations, are hard to see when your amongst 'em.

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