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Sarkozy's return

Gavin Hewitt | 08:57 UK time, Wednesday, 25 August 2010

bregancon_afp.jpgFor the French president "la rentree" has arrived; he returns from vacation today and holds his first cabinet meeting. This is also the start of two months that will define his presidency and his chances of re-election.

Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reforms, which are at the heart of his claims to modernise France, will be tested on the streets. The retirement age is due to go up from 60 to 62. Workers will have to work longer and pay more towards their older age.

On 7 September the unions are planning a day of strikes and protests. There is likely to be widespread disruption. They want this to be the biggest day of action so far. It will be a critical battle of wills. The French government wants the pension reform approved by parliament by October. Everyone knows, however, that many previous reforms have been defeated by street protests.

At the same time, the government has to announce how it will cut the budget. France is committed to reducing the budget deficit from 8% to 3% by 2013. Mr Sarkozy
resisted the moves towards austerity announced by other countries. His ministers were told not to mention "la rigueur" - austerity.

But times have changed. The ratings agency Moody's hinted that France was edging closer to losing its AAA status. If that were to happen it would be a disaster for France. Not only would the cost of borrowing increase but the country and its president would lose serious face.

So last week Mr Sarkozy interrupted his vacation and summoned his finance and budget ministers to the Fort of Bregancon. Projections of growth for next year, which were widely disbelieved, were scaled back from 2.5% to 2.00%. There are still plenty of observers who doubt these new figures. But all of this was intended to signal to the markets that France was serious about reducing its deficit.

So an austerity package will have to be unveiled. To reduce the deficit to just 3% by 2013, 100bn euros (£82bn) of spending cuts or tax increases have to be found. The government has already ruled out increases in VAT, income tax and corporation tax. It is looking to eliminate 10bn euros in tax loopholes. Greater pain cannot be avoided. Civil servants' pay is likely to be frozen. There will be no increases in state spending.

Cuts are difficult for any government; they will be particularly difficult in France. The country had an easier path through the recession than most other European economies. It will now have to be explained why the public sector has to be reduced.

For the president, facing re-election in 2012, he already sees his poll ratings hovering around 34%. Moves against illegal Roma camps have not given him an autumn "bounce" that some expected.

"Nicolas Sarkozy gives the impression his hands are tied, "said Francois Miquet-Marty, an analyst at Viavoice. "Ultimately the impression is that he is at the mercy of the economic climate rather than in control of it."

The next few weeks will be a formidable challenge for the French president.

Comments

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  • 1. At 10:31am on 25 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    "The retirement age is due to go up from 60 to 62."


    I am not sure to what extent France has been a net recipient from the "EU".

    I am confident that the UK has been a net contributor. BILLIONS!!!

    This French early retirement age is similar to retirement ages in countries which are net recipients.

    So British people who cannot retire until they are 65 have been paying for people in other countries to retire earlier.

    British people are victims of the parasitic "EU".

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  • 2. At 10:36am on 25 Aug 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "Projections of growth for next year, which were widely disbelieved, were scaled back from 2.5% to 2.00%."

    How naughty....having doubts about the the French government's analysis of the French economy.

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  • 3. At 10:37am on 25 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "The ratings agency Moody's hinted that France was edging closer to losing its AAA status. If that were to happen it would be a disaster for France. Not only would the cost of borrowing increase but the country and its president would lose serious face."

    EUpris: Property taxes! Get money from those people who have loads of property but do not or, strangely, have never paid much income tax.

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  • 4. At 10:38am on 25 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:



    "The ratings agency Moody's hinted that France was edging closer to losing its AAA status. If that were to happen it would be a disaster for France. Not only would the cost of borrowing increase but the country and its president would lose serious face."

    EUpris: Property taxes! Get money from those people who have loads of property but do not or, strangely, have never paid much income tax.

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  • 5. At 10:38am on 25 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 6. At 10:39am on 25 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    Having problems posting!

    "The ratings agency Moody's hinted that France was edging closer to losing its AAA status. If that were to happen it would be a disaster for France. Not only would the cost of borrowing increase but the country and its president would lose serious face."

    EUpris: Property taxes! Get money from those people who have loads of property but do not or, strangely, have never paid much income tax.

    xyz

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  • 7. At 11:04am on 25 Aug 2010, Plazidus wrote:

    It is the intention of the German government to raise the retirement age to 67, I believe. Bearing in mind the discrepancy between France’s GDP and that of Germany, such a lack of ambition as evinced by retirement at 62 for the French suggests a dangerously tentative style of government... and one ill-befitting a (self-anointed) leading light of Project Europe.

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  • 8. At 11:13am on 25 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    To the moderators!

    Sorry I posted that stuff three times. What was coming up on my screen was very confusing.

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  • 9. At 12:06pm on 25 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    In France a hard worker is anyone who cuts his "grandes vaccances" short by returning to work before the end of August. Let's not forget that less than a decade ago, the best selling book in France was "Bonjour Paresse," Hellow Laziness.

    In BBC's program Business Daily, they have repeated what I've said for years;

    "Is Europe's social model dead? 24 Aug 10
    Tue, 24 Aug 10

    Duration:
    19 mins
    In this age of public sector cuts, is Europe's precious social welfare model increasingly unaffordable? We hear a cross-atlantic debate on how it might survive with Irwin Stelzer, economist at the freemarket Hudson Institute and Olivier Ferrand who is president of the Paris based Terra Nova think tank."

    However the discussion timidly skirted the real issue. The participants admitted that Europe's unique lavish social welfare state was made possible by growth and expansion from the 1950s to the 1970s. What they left out was that expansion was only made possible by what I have called the American economic hothouse built to get Europe to recover from WWII quickly enough to keep it from falling into the Soviet sphere. The ability to sustain the welfare state was extended after so called globalization leveled the playing field by maintaining it on loans made by foolish banks some of whom will never be paid back. The participants in the debate like Sarkozy and what I presume is European mainstream thinking deludes itself by insisting that this failed model can be salvaged by making marginal adjustments at the edges such as increasing retirement age. I say it is no longer viable, the unique advantages America conferred are gone and so is the bank credit. It will end one way or another. Europe will learn to live within its means based on what it can produce in competition with the rest of the world, an economic world in which it has very few advantages and many liabilities.

    The US has a similar problem to a lesser degree but is burdened by having taken on nearly the entire cost of military defense of what we call Western Civilization. This will also have to be pared back.

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  • 10. At 12:08pm on 25 Aug 2010, Freeman wrote:

    #8 Someone is trying to put in a duplicate comment filter by the look of it...and not doing it very well. Hence you get a warning message saying your post is the same as the one before it (Even if that comment is not yours). Very slack Mr Programmer. Just add comment, acknowledge the error and refresh the page to see your comment awaiting approval.

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  • 11. At 12:10pm on 25 Aug 2010, Freeman wrote:

    Ah...it appears it always says Comment 1. My fault for giving the programmer even the slightest bit of credit ^^

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  • 12. At 12:10pm on 25 Aug 2010, qmaqdk wrote:

    Has Mr. Hewitt ever reported anything positive on the EU? Or would that be counter to this blog's purpose?

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  • 13. At 12:49pm on 25 Aug 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    12. At 12:10pm on 25 Aug 2010, qmaqdk wrote:

    "Has Mr. Hewitt ever reported anything positive on the EU? Or would that be counter to this blog's purpose?"

    If people where to read something that undermines there opinion on the EU or might require them to re-think there stance on something what do you think would happen?
    A: They would re-evaluate there opinions, read multiple sources and engage in some logical thinking and critical analysis to come to a more reliable conclusion, or, B: read something else instead?

    Be honest, everyone is guilty of it.

    N.B. I don't think this blog is all that negative though, it seems rather neutral to be fair. Maybe a slight negative tone when the going is bad but that is to be expected.

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  • 14. At 12:50pm on 25 Aug 2010, Francesca Jones wrote:

    Welcome back from your break Gavin. I notice that in your article you mention that a ratings downgrade for France would be a "disaster" which would lead to higher government bond yields. However to be fair you should also make the point that I have been reading about on the notayesmanseconomics web blog that many government bond yields including France's have been falling recently.

    Also Ireland has been downgraded by Standard and Poors overnight so you might wish to turn your thoughts to an actual downgrade rather than a proposed one.Indeed they appear to be suggesting that Ireland's fiscal deficit including bailing out her banks could hit could "increase to 35% of GDP" in 2010 which is a frightening number.http://notayesmanseconomics.wordpress.com

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  • 15. At 1:49pm on 25 Aug 2010, Nik wrote:

    Well if anything, France is just yet another country in the long list of countries to be downgraded and the list does not excempt the likes of Germany inside the EU or US outside the EU (linearly, the most fragile economy on earth right now). Downgrading is not particularly bad if one can find other sources of lending that do not involve the same and same and over again same international bankers that regard themselves above states and above laws. The question is of course for whom Mr. Sarko would work and the answer is quite obvious: Sarko is the banker's man.

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  • 16. At 4:57pm on 25 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    12. At 12:10pm on 25 Aug 2010, qmaqdk wrote:
    "Has Mr. Hewitt ever reported anything positive on the EU? Or would that be counter to this blog's purpose?"

    The beauty of this blog is that if you have something positive to say about the "EU" then you can. This blog is a "broader church" than the German blogs I have read.

    There is lots of lovely anti-"EU" stuff posted on some Austrian blogs.

    We British opponents of the "EU"-Dictatorship are not alone.

    So Qmaqdk, post your "correction".

    Is it he worn out untrue old rubbish about how the "EU" has been bringing peace to Europe for forty or fifty or sixty years?

    Is it the claim that the "EU" brought peace to Europe before it even existed and is therefore capable of time-travel??

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  • 17. At 5:33pm on 25 Aug 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    qmaqdk @#12

    I am sure Gavin would write something good about the EU if the oppurtunity arose.

    Sadly there is rarely anything good to be written about the EU, never has been and I very much doubt there ever will be until the day he reports that the United Kingdom will be holding a referendum on continued membership of the EU - I suspect that momentous event will be good news to do with the future prospects of the EU.

    In the meantime, the role Gavin holds for the BBC is that of "Europe Editor" not "European Union Editor" so, thankfully, his Blog is more often than not about European affairs than European Union affairs per se.

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  • 18. At 6:02pm on 25 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    According to the BBC today.

    The removal of Gypsies from France has brought Britain again into the prejudiced picture.

    The Gypsies were advised to buy their own land buy -- which they did !

    A group bought Dale Farm in Essex.

    400 families are now facing eviction from the land they bought. The new British government ( and local governments) and local populations, are not only showing indifference but hostility towards them.

    Mr. Hewitt should have known and mentioned those facts !

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  • 19. At 6:49pm on 25 Aug 2010, SleepyDormouse wrote:

    From memory, protests in France of this type often succeed. The future for the scale of the cuts of £82bn will mean similar measures to those being enacted now in UK [but a lot will depend on the individual choices the French government might make]. Will France's population behave as we in the UK have done? I doubt it and I doubt they will succeed in enacting the cuts to anywhere near the level proposed in the article.

    If France cannot do it, why should any of the other nations, like Spain, Greece etc. The eurozone will become even more unequal/unbalanced, particularly from a German perspective, and therein lies trouble. It will be interesting to see the results of this skirmish; it could be a portent of much more trouble to come. Trouble in the eurozone will affect the UK, given the level of exports we have to europe. There would then be a depressing effect. It would be interesting to see an equivalent and perhaps more speculative article in the economic blogs. Let us hope that the tensions now being built up in Europe stay economic and do not expand into other areas.

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  • 20. At 6:51pm on 25 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:



    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul/27/dale-farm-essex-travellers-eviction

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  • 21. At 7:35pm on 25 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #18,20 quietoaktree

    [British Travellers/Gypsies]

    You seem to be posting to the wrong blog article comments, despite quite a number of posts by yourself to the correct one.

    The difference apparent to the casual reader is that the Dale Farm case has been through due process of law up to the House of Lords. France is forcibly expelling under existing EU residency laws, Germany is bribing some as a cheaper alternative.

    What struck me (from the BBC article) is that only a fifth of the UK-traveller sites are regarded as illegal.

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  • 22. At 7:51pm on 25 Aug 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    qmaqdk @12 asks:

    "Has Mr. Hewitt ever reported anything positive on the EU? Or would that be counter to this blog's purpose?"

    From my point of view, any negative news about the EU is positive.

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  • 23. At 8:53pm on 25 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @12 qmaqdk wrote:

    "Has Mr. Hewitt ever reported anything positive on the EU? Or would that be counter to this blog's purpose?"

    As I read it GH's report was about France (not the EU). Have we been reading the same report?

    To write much positive about a situation in which a country is faced with a need to cut 100 billion eur from its spending plans would be pretty difficult I imagine (unless your name were Dr. Pangloss - although wasn't he French, come to think of it...?).

    Or are you suggesting that GH ought to be hunting around for "happy" stories to write about? But they'd be pretty thin on the ground right now, I suspect - in Europe or anywhere else.

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  • 24. At 9:16pm on 25 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #21 britboy 10

    Mr. Hewitt AGAIN mentioned the ´travellers´

    The House of Lords may be YOUR judge of British righteousness --but not everyones´.

    The House of Lords decision will be FORCED removal -- What is the difference?

    ( apart from being British)

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  • 25. At 9:24pm on 25 Aug 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    I think the primary problem in France right now is the lack of policy detail; this is compounded by a pending presidential elections in 2012.
    It’s rather pathetic to rely on economic growth (even 2.5% 2011-2013) because that has not happened in more than a few years where France is concerned.
    Try to put your fingers on THE SARKOSY PLAN to cut spending and raise tax by the 100B euros as required to lower the deficit from 8% of GDP in 2010 to 3% in 2013, and you will come up Ifs – if this happens, if that happens…
    Even Deutsche Bank's senior economist Gilles Moec is saying: "As it stands, France’s growth forecasts for 2011-2013 appear too optimistic and undermine their credibility." (What credibility? France has not honoured its EU deficit-reduction programs in the last decade.)
    Researchers at the Bank for International Settlements have said France's public finances are in “potentially” worse shape than countries like Spain and Portugal. While Greece, Spain, and Portugal and even far stronger economies such as Germany have announced upfront plans for cutbacks, Paris has remained hesitant and vague.
    With a diversified economy and well-capitalised banks, France has weathered the economic crisis better than many eurozone countries. It shrunk just 2.5 percent last year, compared to a drop of 4.1 percent in the overall eurozone. Is this why the French Government now seems rather “laissez-faire”. I hope not because France has only twice in the past 30 years achieved 3 years of GDP growth of 2.5% or more, and those splendid years occurred in the mid 1980s and at the end of the 1990s. France's own national audit office has warned the government that the "multiplier" it uses to predict tax-income rise is set too high and that such the assumption is overly optimistic coming out of recession.
    How will Sarkozy cut-back government spending in France. French voters are habituated to some of Europe's best public services: at more than 50% of GDP (highest in the eurozone). The pension reform will ease budget strains, but it will not balance the system until 2018. As for those tax loopholes, estimated to raise 8.5B euros over two years…well…those I’ve got to see…
    You know what? Having said all of this, something tells me Sarkosy is up to the formidible challenge of the next few weeks.

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  • 26. At 9:41pm on 25 Aug 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 9:51pm on 25 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    EUP@#1 raises an interesting point.
    Can anyone provide a definitive list of the retirement age in each of the 27 member nations of the EEC and the value of the state pension in Euros/month in order that we can make a valid comparison.
    I'm less than happy to think that I might be subsidising anybody else whilst looking forward to my paltry £98/month, in a year or so, after paying into the system for 40 years plus.

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  • 28. At 9:53pm on 25 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #24 quietoaktree

    "Mr. Hewitt AGAIN mentioned the ´travellers´"

    Okay, but only in passing as in popularity "bounce" or no "bounce".

    "The House of Lords may be YOUR judge of British righteousness --but not everyones´."

    Here we go again with your blatantly anti-British sentiment. Are you disagreeing that the due process of law has been acted upon? Or do you discount the (validity of the) House of Lords' final decision on the matter?

    "The House of Lords decision will be FORCED removal -- What is the difference?
    ( apart from being British)"

    Put simply: to somewhere else in the same country as opposed to deportation to a different country. To my (limited) understanding the continued occupantion of the Dale Farm site will now be regarded as trespassing, clearly different from illegal immigration as regards the situation in France.

    If I wanted to start an argument I'd suggest doing some research on council-house waiting-list times for the Basildon locality, and then balancing rights and wrongs of continued "occupation" of Dale Farm against that, but since I'm not, I won't. :-)

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  • 29. At 10:20pm on 25 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #18. At 6:02pm on 25 Aug 2010, quietoaktree,

    Can you ever change, there are such things as Greenfield sites, planning permission, you, I or anybody else is subject to those laws, so don't bleat on about a group that for some mind bending reason to you should be excluded from the laws and ordinances of the country they are living in. I'm currently wondering who is worse, MAII or you, don't forget, close the coffin lid when you retire.

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  • 30. At 10:24pm on 25 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #12. At 12:10pm on 25 Aug 2010, qmaqdk wrote:

    "Has Mr. Hewitt ever reported anything positive on the EU? Or would that be counter to this blog's purpose?"

    Please, please let us know when there is something positive, such as the demission of the commission, the resignation of the council of Europe, that the auditors sign off an annual account, that MEP's publish their expenses, that freedom of movement actually is just that, etc etc etc.

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  • 31. At 10:24pm on 25 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 10:26pm on 25 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #27 EBAHGUM

    "Can anyone provide a definitive list of the retirement age"

    It would be interesting to see such a comparison. I have a little further than you to wait (see moniker) but it's good to plan ahead... Two key points to remember are that:

    1) with the arguable exception of Norway and its Sovereign Wealth Fund, state pensions are not funded in any way other than (this year's) general taxation

    2) pensions are paid for solely out of national budgets, not by the EU (refuting claims of #1)

    I have apocryphal knowledge of Italy's retirement age being 55 at 80% of final salary (!) not so long ago, and also of years worked in other EU countries being valid for pension calculations.

    Back to that list, I'll try to start you off with UK figures for state pension in (monthly Euros):

    Retirement ages:
    Men (65) Women (60 - rising to 65 by 2020)
    Men and Women (rising slowly from 65 to 68 between 2024 and 2046)
    (NB. discussions of bringing forward the 65 to 68 rise to this Parliament)

    Amount (higher Pension Credit rate) using £1.00 = €1.25:
    Single: €718.25 pcm (£132.60pw)
    Couple: €1096.33 pcm (£202.40pw)

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  • 33. At 11:17pm on 25 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    It is very interesting to note the desire for some British contributors ( eg.Britboy 10, Buzet23) to have two sets of blog participation rules.

    They feel free to criticize all countries (and EU) -- but protest bitterly when their beloved country is on the receiving end of similar justified critique.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Farm

    If you give -- then be prepared to accept !

    -- and don´t let Mr. Hewitt sell you any wooden nickels on British superiority over others !

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  • 34. At 11:29pm on 25 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #29 Buzet 22.9

    Can you never keep to the point ?

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  • 35. At 08:15am on 26 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #33 and #34. At 11:29pm on 25 Aug 2010, quietoaktree,

    Stick to the point, pot kettle and black spring to mind.

    Your so called point is the attitude of an anarchist in that you think all local laws should be ignored and flouted, because in this case the inhabitants of Dale farm are gypsies. I don't care which country they live in, the point is that they are expecting to have the right to flout the laws we abide by, and whether that be the UK, France, Germany, Belgium or all other 23 EU member states my view is the same, they don't have that right.

    Now QOT just explain why their anarchy should be tolerated bearing in mind your beloved EU states that all EU citizens are equal and that this means equal rights and equal responsibilities.

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  • 36. At 09:01am on 26 Aug 2010, Nik wrote:

    Correct Buzet. And it is always admirable how all these hippy-treehugging afficcionados are willing to fanatically shout for such horrible ediscrimination which permits particular social (and racial) groups to do illegal acts with impunity while punishing (often severely) other social (and racial) groups - then have the nerve to shout also for injustices and such. Talking about paranoia.

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  • 37. At 09:55am on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    TECHNICAL ISSUE?????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Query?

    Why have my last 3 attempts to comment on the previous 'Roma' topic been halted by the Web-page stating, "You have already said that Comment 1"?

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  • 38. At 09:57am on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    TECHNICAL ISSUE???????????????????????????????????????????????

    Why has EUPris Comment 1 on this topic NOW APPEARED at No 37?????????????

    HELLO!!!!!???? Anyone at the BBC awake????????????????????????????????

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  • 39. At 10:57am on 26 Aug 2010, Freeman wrote:

    #37/38 Someone is doing a poor job of adding a "check for duplicate comment" query. Admirable intent but bad execution.

    Submit your comment, acknowledge (and ignore) the error message, refresh the page to see your comment awaiting approval.

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  • 40. At 10:58am on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    BBC................?????????????????????????????????????????????

    IF BBC hasn't got the idea yet..............

    THERE IS A FAULT, THERE IS A FAULT, THERE IS A FAULT, THERE IS A FAULT................................ THERE IS A FAULT, THERE IS A FAULT..............................................THERE IS A FAULT.....

    The previous Blog page on the 'Roma' is showing Comment 1 at the bottom of the page & IS NOT POSTING OTHER COMMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS A FAULT, THERE IS A FAULT, THERE IS A FAULT............................................... and just for once it isn't ME........... At least I don't think so!!!!!!!!!!!???????????

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  • 41. At 11:17am on 26 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    cbw, BBC's web sites have a long consistent track record of technical problems and deficiencies. In addition the site it taken down in part or in full for repair or even routine maintenance without warning or prior notice, sometimes without even a posting that the web site is down. I know 8 year olds in America who could operate a web site more reliably than BBC's IT department. But what do you expect, this is a government agency in a society of people who accurately describe themselves as "muddlers." I don't expect it will ever get better.

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  • 42. At 11:34am on 26 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    BB;

    "Even Deutsche Bank's senior economist Gilles Moec is saying: "As it stands, France’s growth forecasts for 2011-2013 appear too optimistic and undermine their credibility." (What credibility? France has not honoured its EU deficit-reduction programs in the last decade.)"

    You'd have to have been born yesterday to believe anything the French say. Lying even when it isn't necessary seems to be endemic in their culture.

    France and Germany wanted to rule all of Europe at any and all costs. As things are working out, it appears their wish came true.

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  • 43. At 12:32pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAscaridII

    Re #41

    Yes, & talking of "...government agency..", the UK & BBC could all learn from the splendid efforts of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans...

    and, then there's...

    the Oil 'clean-up' in the Gulf led by the US Government (that took over control from BP) for the last 10 weeks... how is that going!?

    meanwhile...

    apparently some lucky Iraqis have Electricity supplies for upto 6 hours a day... and only 7 years after the invasion... obviously no 'muddlers' there...

    Thank goodness for US efficiency: Such an example to us all... NOT!

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  • 44. At 12:40pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    EHBAHGUM

    Re #27

    "..98 Pound a month... paying in 40 years.."

    Are You sure of that sum?

    My wife, who only worked from 1975 onward in the UK & not all of that Full Time, retired 3 years ago & receives approx Per Week (monthly divide by 4) just under that Amount from the UK Works & Pensions. She does pay Tax as she has another Income that exceeds the threshold now we are resident overseas.

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  • 45. At 12:43pm on 26 Aug 2010, PickledPete wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII @ 41:

    "I know 8 year olds in America who could operate a web site more reliably than BBC's IT department. But what do you expect, this is a government agency in a society of people who accurately describe themselves as "muddlers." I don't expect it will ever get better".

    ================================

    Wasn't it a US government agency that mixed up metric and non-metric units and were thus responsible for a failed space mission?

    Such a basic mistake in a country where, unless I have misread your many tiresome posts, everybody and everything is infallible. Maybe NASA should employ some 8 year olds.

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  • 46. At 1:08pm on 26 Aug 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    45 PickledPete
    It's worse than that Pete. Apparently the authorities in America were going to go metric nationwide but had to give it up as the natives were considered too thick to learn to switch.

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  • 47. At 1:22pm on 26 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    @44 CBW

    Sorry, should have been per week, not month.
    Cheers

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  • 48. At 1:32pm on 26 Aug 2010, frenchtommy wrote:

    It must be clear to all observers that the French government will not be able to reduce its budget deficit as promised. Brussels knows that it’s impossible and, in particular, so does the German government. They know it’s the same old blah, blah, promises, promises.

    But this time, President Sarkozy must know it’s the last chance. The German government is watching closely. They have been misled too many times, yet now they know all the tricks. All those who believe that Berlin and Paris work hand in hand are deluding themselves.

    Of course, the French government is hoping that if it reduces its public spending by a few notches and reduces a few tax breaks ( of which there are approximately 150 thousand, millions worth, according to ‘Le Point’ Magazine ) then perhaps the problem will somehow blow over.

    But this time, I doubt it. Brussels is already threatening to reduce or stop, Common Agricultural Spending to any country which fails to meet its promises ( a scenario that makes all French politicians quake in their shoes).

    As I’ve said on this blog before, the biggest danger to Europe is not Ireland, Greece, Spain or Portugal, it’s France. France has never been able to reduce significantly its budget deficit. Public handouts (government gifts in many forms to all classes and trades) sustain consummation in France and consummation is the only motor which drives the economy. The French government knows that if it reduces public spending and thus public handouts, it will destroy its economy.

    So the only choice the French government has is to do exactly as Berlin demands. At least when France begins to suffer, they can blame it on the Germans.

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  • 49. At 1:37pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    32. At 10:26pm on 25 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    " ... pensions are paid for solely out of national budgets, not by the EU (refuting claims of #1)"

    EUpris: That may appear to be the case, but any money paid through the "EU" to e.g. Greece for any project will allow them to use money for other matters e.g. very early retirement. I therefore feel entitled to claim that Brits have been subsidising others who/to retire earlier than they do.

    LOVE EUROPE! HATE THE "EU"!


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  • 50. At 1:46pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    bbc! yOU ARE OUT TO GET ME! wHY DOES MY STUFF NOT POST?

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  • 51. At 1:56pm on 26 Aug 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    We must all pay for the sins of the bankers, who have not paid at all but were rewarded for their greed and theft. It is interesting that all the arguments are about the working person and should they have a life other than and after work. The concept of retirement is being challenged by the wealthy and big business. The ruling class is again attacking the worker to achieve more profits. The bankers have stolen the present and now wish to steal the future. Everyone is being asked to work longer to pay for the money given to the bankers and their investors. This is not about budgets, it is about power and wealth.

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  • 52. At 2:55pm on 26 Aug 2010, nevercouldchooseagoodname wrote:

    France and Italy are NOT net recipient from the EU but net contributors. This thing arises every now and then from the same people, why can't you just check your figures instead of going ahead with your prejudices?

    #32 britboy10: I could only find this chart (in italian) regarding retirement ages and I don't know what you are refering too; please take also into account that it is a 2008 article and ages have risen throught EU since then.

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  • 53. At 2:58pm on 26 Aug 2010, SleepyDormouse wrote:


    A few do see an alternative to the current austerity and hair shirt brigade; but it seems no-one is listening. Professor James Galbraith gave this testimony in USA:-

    http://www.angrybearblog.com/2010/07/professor-jamie-galbraiths-testimony-to.html

    You need to read it all to appreciate the fully the importance of what he said. It lambastes the current economic policies being pursued. But it has been little reported. Why? The media are controlled effectively by those with vested interests and those who are unable [perhaps for professional reasons] to admit that current mainstream economic theory isn't able to do its job. The sooner the world is using a realistic, workable economic paradigm, the sooner we will be out of this mess.

    The ideas he expresses are for countries like USA, AUS, and UK which have proper fiat currencies. The Euro-zone does not have the same freedoms, tying all those countries together in what I think will be a doomed experiment. Separate currencies for each nation has inefficiencies and introduces unknowns into trading across borders, but this would be a small price to pay instead of the possible future turbulence to come in Europe. It will be interesting to see how the French government demands cuts and to what extent, and then how the people react. It will then be the German reaction that will determine the outcome for the Euro-zone.

    Economic Peace in our time ….... I do hope so.

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  • 54. At 3:24pm on 26 Aug 2010, nevercouldchooseagoodname wrote:

    Ooops, forgot the link: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 55. At 4:00pm on 26 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @48 frenchtommy wrote:
    "But this time, I doubt it. Brussels is already threatening to reduce or stop, Common Agricultural Spending to any country which fails to meet its promises ( a scenario that makes all French politicians quake in their shoes)".

    That'll be the day! I'll believe it only when it happens - unless of course the country concerned happens to be small enough but never, ever, la belle France; that would be lèse majesté and heads would roll.

    "So the only choice the French government has is to do exactly as Berlin demands. At least when France begins to suffer, they can blame it on the Germans".

    Despite all the EU-bashing that goes on on this blog I think it will be a sad day for all of us (and that includes UK) if ever the concordat between Germany and France were to dissolve permanently into mutual recrimination and enmity. After the futility and bloodletting of the "thirty years' war" (1914-45, with an armistice between 1918 and 1939) it was that concordat on which all hopes for a brighter future for Europe were built, during the '50's and since. If we Brits think we'd be better-off if it broke down irreparably, we'd do well to think again. We are all interdependent, whether we like it or not.

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  • 56. At 4:12pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    nevercouldchooseagoodname

    Re #52

    I'll check & believe the statistics on 'Net' contributors to the EU when You can show the EU Statisticians who all claimed 15 Nations were Economically-Fiscally fit to join the EUro-zone got their sums right!?

    PS. Great monicker!

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  • 57. At 4:23pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    frenchtommy

    Re #48

    Quote, "..it must be clear to all observors the French Government will not be able reduce its Budget-deficit as promised.." plus, "..Public handouts sustain consummation in France.." and, "..if it (Sarkozy) reduces Public spending.. it will destroy its (France) economy.."

    Try convincing Isenhorn etc. and others who only see the unending miracle of France Economy that has defied all laws of nature, logic & mathematics for several decades.

    According to them if You question France's totally unsustainable in real-terms Economic growth & prosperity then it is an "..irrational hatred.." of France.
    Try pointing out the 'irrationality' of believing any figures produced by the Elysee Palace when no other Nation in the EUropean community has ever adopted or even tried to balance such unbalanced 'spending' over 'income' and You get compared to nut-jobs running Fundamentalist Iran!

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  • 58. At 5:13pm on 26 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #56. At 4:12pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work,

    You have a good point about the reliability of a system where the auditors are sacked if they spill the beans and therefore say nothing and just refuse to sign the accounts off.

    I would say though for those interested and able to play with a spreadsheet that it is curious to see the effects of the abolition of the UK's rebate and the abolition of the CAP, and it is very clear why the French would like to see the rebate abolished in order to fund their broken economy some more. The French, were the CAP abolished would probably revolt, but then as a poster said earlier, trying to manage France is like trying to herd cats, they will go in every direction but the logical one.

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  • 59. At 5:17pm on 26 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    Re the problems experienced with this BBC blog Yesterday, could Gavin comment on where the coding for their new web site was performed, was it in France or in India for example, and was it a cost cutting measure to outsource so that the senior management could carry on in their luxurious lifestyle. Either that or did they ask for advice from the EU commission?

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  • 60. At 5:20pm on 26 Aug 2010, raoulbitenbois wrote:

    England will lose its AAA status before France does.


    By the way when is the referendum David "cast-iron" Cameron promised due ?

    ...

    Meanwhile stop whining and moaning about the EU.

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  • 61. At 5:30pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Distinguished German Economist Wilhelm Hankel is quoted in an open letter to Chancellor Merkel, "..Greek bail-out.. is a case of breaking the law in a most severe way.." and goes on, "..Germany and the few other Economically stable countries in the EUro-zone are sinking money into a barrel without a bottom.."

    Professor Hankel & 4 other Professors are co-sponsoring a Legal challenge to the so-called Greek 'bail-out' in the German Constitutional Court.

    With almost no knowledge of the German Constitutional Court's mechanisms I make only 2 observations:

    1) It is refreshing to find opposition that cannot be blamed on 'little englanders' etc. to the EU-Brussels' high-handed & utterly unconsulted use of EU Tax-payers Monies.

    2) It is my sad suspicion pragmatic-politicking will see Germany's guardians of Constitutional proprieties deny Prof Hankel's 'challenge', i.e. there is so much Money already wrapped up in this massive face-saving EUro-zone 'bail-out' scheme that to find in favour of the German Professors' objections would bring down the EUro-zone...
    And we can't have that because without it the wretched EU entity also collapses.

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  • 62. At 5:34pm on 26 Aug 2010, PickledPete wrote:

    raoulbitenbois @60:

    ""England will lose its AAA status before France does".

    ==============================

    England doesn't have any fiscal status, the UK does. If you can't tell the difference then your views on such matters don't carry too much weight. France is like a dead hand on EU economics because it will never accept the need for belt-tightening if it threatens the way of life to which the man in the street thinks he is entitled. If the government tries to introduce it, the streets will be filled with rioters before the ink is dry on the paper. Thank goodness we are not in the Euro.

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  • 63. At 5:38pm on 26 Aug 2010, frenchtommy wrote:

    torpare @ 55

    It amazes me that as soon as anyone tries to point out the realities of any Euro zone country’s debt problem or any other problem, come to that, they are accused of Euro bashing.

    If more bloggers read the German & French press and listened to their radio media, they would soon realise that for many years the German/Franco alliance has just been a façade. The Germans have, over the last six years carried out painful reforms to put their country on an even footing and are now demanding that other countries within the Euro zone ( especially the Mediterranean countries including France) do the same. Which, in my opinion is about time and in the medium term can only strengthen Europe.

    And the idea that any disaccord between Germany & France would end in another armed conflict is just plain ridiculous.

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  • 64. At 5:50pm on 26 Aug 2010, SleepyDormouse wrote:


    #60 and 62

    Re UK's debt

    Unless the UK's politicians want to declare the UK broke, we cannot go broke. We can always pay our debt. Our exchange rate might suffer, but we can always pay. We do not have to borrow to do this; the government has the option to just pay the money back! This is because we are a true fiat currency.

    It is also worth noting that the vast majority of the debt is funded from within the UK and we continue to fund the bond issues in this way. We owe the money to ourselves, so why should we declare the UK broke?

    To quote from Professor James Galbraith testimony in USA (It applies to the UK also)
    See http://www.angrybearblog.com/2010/07/professor-jamie-galbraiths-testimony-to.html for the full testimony

    “Markets are not calling for Deficit Reduction; now or later
    Let me turn next to a larger economic question. Do deficit projections matter? Are they important? Was the President well-advised to frame the mandate of the Commission as he did?
    What, in short, are the economic consequences of a high public deficit and a rising debt-to-GDP ratio, and what (if any) benefits are to be expected from creating an expectation that deficits will come down and that the debt-to-GDP ratio will fall?
    The idea that US economic policy should aim for a path of reduced deficits in the future, is shared by liberals and conservatives, and it is, from a political standpoint, a very powerful idea. The Commission’s charter takes for granted that this goal is desirable. It specifies that your objective is to achieve a balanced “primary budget” — net of interest payments, by 2015.
    Yet your charter does not say why this is an appropriate goal. It cites no study to which one might refer. It does not explain why 2015 is the right target date, as opposed to (say) 2025 or even 2050. It does not spell out the economic consequences — if any — of failing to meet the stated objective.
    Does the requirement make economic sense? I shall tackle that question in two parts. The first accepts the view most people hold of the fiscal and financial world. The second reflects, from an operational standpoint, how that world actually works in practice.
    Most informed laymen believe that the Federal government must borrow in order to spend. They believe that the interest rate on Treasury securities is set in a market for government bonds. The markets impose discipline on the government. Thus their idea is that “fiscal responsibility” will produce low long-term interest rates and tolerable borrowing conditions for the federal government, while “irresponsibility” will be punished by higher, and eventually intolerable, debt service costs.
    Accepting this view for the moment, what does the present level of long-term interest rates tell us? As I write, thirty year Treasury bonds are yielding just over four percent — or just a little more than half their yield a decade back. On the argument just given,this must be an extraordinary success of virtuous policy. It seems that Wall Street has made a strong vote of confidence in the fiscal probity of our current policies. This vote is unqualified, backed by money, contingent on nothing. It therefore represents a categorical rejection, by Wall Street itself, of the CBO’s doomsday scenarios and all other deficit-scare stories.
    On this theory, it follows that the mandate to reduce the primary deficit to zero by 2015 is unnecessary. Such an action can hardly reduce interest rates — neither short nor long-term — which are already historically low.
    But wait a minute, some may say. Yes interest rates are low at the moment. But bond markets are fickle, they can turn on a dime. And what then?
    Yes, it is possible that interest rates could rise. But the problem with this argument is that it takes us away from the premise of rationality. If bond markets are fickle and arbitrary, who is to say what they will do in response to any particular policy? In the face of irrational markets, the sensible policy is to borrow heavily for so long as they are offering a good deal. One may say that all good things end, and perhaps they will. But if markets are irrational, then by construction you cannot prevent this by “good behavior.”
    The conclusion from this section is that one cannot logically argue that markets insist on deficit reduction. Either the markets are rationally unworried about deficits, or they are acting irrationally right now, in which case they can hardly “insist” on anything.
    In Reality, the US Government Spends First & Borrows Later; Public Spending Creates a Demand for Treasuries in the Private Sector.
    As noted, the above argument is based on the common belief that the government must borrow in order to spend, and thus that the government faces “funding risks” in private markets. Such risks exist, of course, for private individuals, for companies, for state and local governments, and for national governments such as Greece that have ceded monetary sovereignty to a central bank. But the situation of the United States government is quite different.
    The U.S. government spends (and the Federal Reserve lends) in a very simple way. It does so by writing checks — in fact simply by marking up numbers in a computer. Those numbers then appear in the bank accounts of the payees, who may be government employees, private contractors, or the recipients of federal transfer programs.
    The effect of government check-writing is to create a deposit in the banking system. This is a “free reserve.” Banks of course prefer to earn interest on their reserves. Thus they demand a US Treasury bond, which pays more interest without incurring any form of credit or default risk. (This is like moving a deposit from a checking to a savings account.) The Treasury can meet that demand, or not, at its option — it can permit, or not permit, the stock of US Treasury bonds in circulation to increase.
    So long as U.S. banks are required to accept U.S. government checks — which is to say so long as the Republic exists — then the government can and does spend without borrowing, if it chooses to do so. And if it chooses to issue Treasuries to meet the demand, it can do that as well. There is never a shortfall of demand for Treasury bonds; Treasury auctions do not fail.
    In the real world, the government creates demand for bonds by spending above the level drained by taxation from the system. The extent to which those bonds are held locally, or abroad (another common source of worry) depends on the US current account deficit. This also has nothing to do with approval or disapproval by foreign bankers, central bankers, or their governments of American deficit policy. A foreign country cannot acquire a US Treasury bond unless someone outside the United States has acquired dollars to pay for them, which is generally done by running a trade surplus with the United States. And when foreigners do acquire those dollars, then like domestic banks they prefer to earn interest, which is why they buy Treasury bonds.
    Insolvency, bankruptcy, or even higher real interest rates are not among the actual risks to this system. The actual risks in this system are (to a minor degree) inflation, and to a larger degree, depreciation of the dollar. However at the moment there is wide agreement that a lower dollar would be a good thing — against the Chinese RMB and now also the euro. So it is difficult to believe that the goal of deficit reduction per se serves any coherent, or presently desirable, economic objective.
    We can conclude that there is actually no economic justification for the target of reducing the primary deficit to zero by 2015 or any other date. The right economic objectives are to meet real problems, not those conjured from thin air by economists. Bringing about a rapid end to unemployment, caring properly for an aging population, cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico, coping with our energy insecurity and with climate change are all far more important objectives than reducing a projection of future budget deficits.”

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  • 65. At 5:57pm on 26 Aug 2010, frenchderek wrote:

    Welcome back, Gavin. Couple of points:

    1 Sarkozy's government has taken the line that "it's the French way" of saying they're upset, by taking to the streets. They haven't really been too impressed by these "manifs" (demonstrations) so far, and have pushed ahead with their reforms. (There are so many manifs nowadays that they pass as an irritating part of "the scenery").

    2 I'm sceptical about Sarko' promises like everyone else. But we should give credit for two years of tighter control over civil service staffing (only one i two retirements being replaced), and other reforms (one example only: selling off excess government properties). The results are starting to tell.

    I'd like France to succeed (it's my home) but I've been disappointed too often to think this will happen.

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  • 66. At 5:58pm on 26 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #60. At 5:20pm on 26 Aug 2010, raoulbitenbois,

    Would you like to elucidate just where you found that piece of information about the AAA status, as it certainly does not fit either the soundings of the rating agencies or the strength of the pound against the euro.

    Even if it is true it will not stop criticising the undemocratic, corrupt, expensive current EU until such time as it actually starts doing the job it was created to do.
    P.S. I'm not talking about funding the French economy either.

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  • 67. At 6:05pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    PART ONE: The unparalleled joys of 'ever closer integration'.

    Slovakia's PM Radicova is to demand an apology from EU-Brussels Finance Commissioner, Olli Rehn for his critical comments of Slovakian Parliament's decision not to assist with the Greek 'bail-out' package.

    Radicova is quoted as saying, "..the way in which he (Rehn), a non-elected official from Brussels, spoke about the freely elected members of the Slovakian Parliament was insulting. I will demand an official apology for this from Brussels.." she went on, "...when Democratically elected politicians raise criticisms they have the right to do so. But EUropean administrators do not have this right, not at any time..."


    All that 'ever closer unity' just getting warmer & more obvious by each episode, isn't it!?

    PART TWO of 'ever closer integration' bringing home the positives of a centralised supra-National entity:

    France, Germany & the UK are opposing the proposed 5.9% EU-Brussels' Budget INCREASE for 2011-12. The 3 alleged largest contributors & several others all prefer a 2.9% increase over this year's EU Budget. Seems okay until we recall those big '3' meanwhile have announced various heavy 'cuts' to their Budgets & most notably affecting their poorest, weakest, least able to manage Citizens - - apparently their 'cuts' do not merit telling the EU-Brussels to do the same & 'cut' its poor, weak & least able to manage - - i.e. roughly half the EU's departments could go and no one would be any the wiser by their demise.
    This is indirectly a reflection of the Trade Unions' position within the EU; they are calling for an EU-wide 'Day of Protest' for 29th September, to demonstrate opposition to various Government's 'austerity measures'.

    It seems at supra & national level the 'ever closer union' of cuts, more cuts & then some additional cuts is not appealing to Citizens' rationale, especially when there is a great, big, ugly EU-Brussels entity proposing it escapes all cuts and increases its Budget by 5.9%!!!

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  • 68. At 6:22pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #50 EUpris

    -- because they read it first !

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  • 69. At 6:23pm on 26 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @53 SleepyDormouse wrote:
    "A few do see an alternative to the current austerity and hair shirt brigade; but it seems no-one is listening. Professor James Galbraith gave this testimony in USA"

    To me as a non-economist (=ignoramus) and proud of it, Galbraith does a devaststing hatchet-job on today's conventional wisdom.

    Nevertheless he - in common with the vast majority of economists - fails to tackle - or knowingly skirts around - what I've become persuaded is the nub of the problem. It is:- (drumroll) fractional reserve banking.

    F.r.b. is (both in the literal and metaphorical sense) a licence to print money. Don't believe me, just read this - for starters: http://www.bendyson.com/ - or this: http://www.scottishmonetaryreform.org.uk/
    I guarantee that if you've never previously given this any thought (and most people haven't) you will be AMAZED.

    I don't doubt that Galbraith is too clever not to be alive to this issue. However for some reason he cold-shoulders it, even though in many ways his goals are the same. I suspect it's because he fears that the moguls who run the world have succceeded all too well in isolating and stigmatizing as a weirdo anyone who threatens their interests, and boy! would outlawing f.r.b. do that! Because it appears (only appears) so far removed from reality and because we've all brainwahed ourselves into thinking that being pillaged every day of our lives by brigands is "normal", and have forgotten that any other system of banking has ever existed than the one we have now, the moguls have had an easy ride.

    It's time to fight back, by totally changing the entire banking system. Very little that hasn't been done before, and been shown to work perfectly, would be needed, in principle. The innovation would primarily be in the application of IT to processes which - when they were last in common use - were mainly carried out through ledger entries written with quill pens.

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  • 70. At 6:32pm on 26 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @63 frenchtommy

    You're over-reacting. You seem to be under the impression that I was accusing you of euro-bashing. Why so thin-skinned? - I wasn't doing anything of the kind. In fact I thought your analysis of the French attitude spot-on (which is to say, it accorded with my own prejudices). If that didn't come across, may I repeat it now?

    Neither was I prophesying armed conflict. I merely want to remind people that the so-called Franco-German axis is not all bad, and that the prosperity of the rest of us may be affected if those two fall out in a big way.

    And - however irritated I get by the French sometimes - I still think they're great people. Doesn't their attitude boil down to "rules are made for men and not men for rules", and is that necessarily such a bad precept?

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  • 71. At 6:52pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #35 Buzet 22.8

    --Anarchists tend to organize !

    By moving the goal posts you make all your prejudices legal.

    But of course you will claim all others do the same (or worse) -- Some Brits have principles and prove you wrong.

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  • 72. At 7:19pm on 26 Aug 2010, SleepyDormouse wrote:

    69. At 6:23pm on 26 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    Fractional reserve banking

    Please may I suggest that you look at: 'Money multiplier – missing feared dead' to be found at
    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=10733

    You will find many references throughout this website to the topic. It is written by Professor Bill Mitchell of Newcastle University Australia. Many of his comments apply to UK and US and all countries that have a fiat currency like us. The Euro is NOT a fiat currency and therefore you will find pieces highlighting their problems separately.

    Some is not an easy read, you will need to spend time, but I've found it worthwhile. He makes a lot of sense. Start at the one page archive tab and read 'Deficits 101' in the series '101' near the top and then follow where you will. Unsurprisingly the two professors are in the same economic camp.

    Happy reading. Let us all know how you get on and what you think.

    His message is that mainstream economic theory is wrong and we, the general public are being subjected to needless pain. In another BBC blog I have written about this and some other contributors believe him to be wrong. Whilst I believe some of his ideas to be off-beam, generally I have to agree with most of he writings.

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  • 73. At 7:24pm on 26 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #71. At 6:52pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree,

    Just what is that post supposed to mean,

    "--Anarchists tend to organize !" - An anarchist dislikes authority and laws, rules etc, therefore you will get organised chaos

    "By moving the goal posts you make all your prejudices legal." - how has the law of greenfield sites changed, the goal posts are still in the same place i.e. when you buy agricultural land you cannot build on it, concrete it, is that clear enough for even you.

    "But of course you will claim all others do the same (or worse) -- Some Brits have principles and prove you wrong." - where are your principles in promoting civil disobedience, and anarchy, hello is there somebody in there.

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  • 74. At 8:08pm on 26 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #46 margaret howard

    "Apparently the authorities in America were going to go metric"

    I think the mistake made was to try to do it "all in one go", like switching from driving on the left to on the right, for example.

    Here we changed the non-fatal things first (temperature, rainfall) followed by fuel, then much more recently food-by-weight, and we're still using miles for road signs (speed, distances). Also, currency - wasn't that 1971, same epoch as abortive US changeover?

    I have to say I hope to always be able to buy a pint of beer or milk. (Note to US readers, that's 20fl oz over here, not 16.)

    In theory we had both systems in parallel for some time, maybe that's another difference.

    Questions of intellect aside, each change was hated by the general populous as some invasive Continental/French scam (the EU had of course not begun to exist yet). I think UKIP advocates a return to the British Imperial system.

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  • 75. At 8:20pm on 26 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    re #70
    - oops, freudian slip!

    I ought to have written "rules are made for *MAN* not *MAN* for rules".

    Isn't life complicated these days!

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  • 76. At 8:22pm on 26 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #49 EUprisoner209456731

    "any money paid through the "EU" to e.g. Greece for any project will allow them to use money for other matters"

    I'd disagree with that statement too, I'm afraid. While I would view UK National Insurance as "just another tax" (not ringfenced for pensions/NHS in any way), monies received from the EU sources (eg. Objective 1 funding) is not available in any way for UK Govt appropriation as it is strictly regionally allocated.

    Also, I think you'll find that in the (currently exceptional) case of Greece's Government receiving loan monies from EU/IMF, each "tranche" comes with strict rules of ongoing reform even though it arguably goes "into the pot" with Greek general taxation.

    Back to #1 again, I agree we are a net contributor, and as I understand it get around two-thirds of that amount back in the "rebate". Conversely, this /is/ straight back "into the pot" with general taxation.

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  • 77. At 8:29pm on 26 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @74 britboy10 wrote:

    "In theory we had both systems in parallel for some time, maybe that's another difference".

    Yes I still remember nostalgically going once to buy timber with all my measurements done in feet/inches. The shop-assistant explained patiently that "it's all metric now, guv" and together we did all the conversions, and then he cut the timber to the converted lengths. Then I asked him "how much?" and he said: "sixpence a foot".

    "I think UKIP advocates a return to the British Imperial system".

    -and to the British Empire, I presume?

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  • 78. At 8:47pm on 26 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #44, 47, 52, 32

    Doing a bit of research for the first time into this I found a figure of slightly over €1000 pcm for an "average" German pension following 45 years of work. I assume this is the mean, not median, since it came with the qualification that most pensionners received less. This compared to 70% of average lifetime net earnings (their words).

    The same 70% figure in another place combined with €50000 pa over 40 years work gave an example income of just over €800 pcm. This is comparable with the figures for single UK former-worker I gave in #32.

    However contributions over 40 years from €50000(=£40000 from same exchange rate as used before) in the UK would almost certainly mean a SERPS/S2P amount larger than the difference between Basic State Pension and Pension Credit rate, hence a higher overall UK state pension for this lifetime income.

    My impression is that the Pension Credit rate as a minimum pension is quite high for the EU, and the Winter Fuel payment is also worthy of note, but the BSP on its own is maybe not so generous meaning those with modest SERPS/S2P contributions or (contracted-out) private schemes don't do so well in comparison.

    So to conclude it's difficult to compare like-with-like unless one can provide exact earnings every year for last "n" years with a projected retirement date. And even then it's currently very fluid.

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  • 79. At 9:00pm on 26 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #77 torpare

    "-and to the British Empire, I presume?"

    Well, we'd have to try to trade with somewhere else to make up for the (lost) 50% currently with Eurozone!!

    Seriously, my understanding is that the US Weights and Measures system is otherwise known as US Imperial, and didn't want to imply the British system was/is identical.

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  • 80. At 9:06pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    BritBoy10

    Re #74

    So far as I recall I think You are right that a slight majority of Britons objected to the gradual switch-overs to 'metrication'/'decimalisation'.

    However, it is worth remembering (literally & figuratively) that without metric-money the UK Governments would now have to be explaining why a 'Litre' of petrol currently averaging 115.6p would be approx. £6.4s.9d (allowing for inflation & conversion rates)!

    For those not in-the-loop:

    12d (Pennies) = 1 Shilling

    20 shillings = £1 (Pound)

    For explanation of 'Farthing', 'Thruppence', 'Sixpence', 'Half-Crown' etc. see your Google or Wiki!

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  • 81. At 9:23pm on 26 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #80 cool_brush_work

    "That's tuppence ha'penny" [say: tupp-ENCE-HAYP-knee]
    (Blank foreign stare)

    The whole thing was clearly just a centuries-old plot to deter would-be invaders...

    I think you forgot guinea (still used by bookmakers?) and the Scots/English exchange rate (Scots guinea to English pound??).

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  • 82. At 9:26pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    77. At 8:29pm on 26 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:


    "I think UKIP advocates a return to the British Imperial system".

    -and to the British Empire, I presume?

    EUprisoner:

    I doubt it. This UKIP voter certainly does not. Having said that, many countries would have been better off if they had continued to be part of the Empire despite its faults.

    The quip about the Empire is a standard one for "EU"-lovers. I believe it is part of their excuse-system. They have created a sick, arrogant monstrosity which many of us hate and despise. Admitting to their mistakes and rectifying them is too difficult for "EU"-lovers so they try the technique of projection. They claim that their opponents are the problem and that they are xenophobic, stupid, dinosaurs or that their problem is the "loss of empire" or some other thing which gives them the excuse to refuse to look at the offence they have caused to millions.

    The Empire-quip is, I believe, particularly interesting since it particularly illustrates the technique that I believe Freud called projection.

    "EU"-lovers want an empire. Their heroes are the Romans, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and possibly Hitler.

    Remember what happened to Julius Caesar!

    Watch Star Wars!

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  • 83. At 9:29pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #73 Buzet22.7

    1. http://www.afed.org.uk/

    2.Caravan Sites Act 1968 ----- Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 are the moveable goal posts

    3. A scrap metal yard and surroundings declared ´green´ --- how convenient !

    4. As I said, legal prejudices !


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  • 84. At 9:29pm on 26 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    margaret Howard (46): "Apparently the authorities in America were going to go metric nationwide but had to give it up as the natives were considered too thick to learn to switch."

    No, Americans are an independent and practical lot, for the most part. We don't like "the authorities" ramming something down our throat when there is no particular point to it.

    We use units appropriate to the application, which are often English for ordinary commerce, but sometimes metric, and generally metric for scientific matters.

    It was refreshing to read some time ago that British pubs were resisting when the EU tried to outlaw selling pints of beer. In the US, you can sell beer in any size you like. Here's to liberty! (lifting glass of ale)

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  • 85. At 9:40pm on 26 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "12d (Pennies) = 1 Shilling" (from cool_brush_work at 80)

    In the US, "d" is still in use to denote the size of common nails.

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  • 86. At 9:45pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11096512


    "Greece paid pensions to the dead
    Greece has discovered that it has been paying pensions to people who have passed away - in one case, more than a decade ago.

    As part of efforts to cut spending and tackle waste, Greece discovered that 321 of the people over 100 years old to whom it pays pensions had died."

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  • 87. At 9:54pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    76. At 8:22pm on 26 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    '...
    Also, I think you'll find that in the (currently exceptional) case of Greece's Government receiving loan monies from EU/IMF, each "tranche" comes with strict rules of ongoing reform even though it arguably goes "into the pot" with Greek general taxation. ...'

    EUpris: I'm sure it comes with strict rules. I just doubt if they will stick to them. There are certainly plenty of reports indicating that many "EU" countries do not stick to the rules and therefore I continue to believe that British citizens who cannot retire until they are 65 have been funding the much earlier retirement of others.


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  • 88. At 10:05pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #58 Buzet 22.6

    If the CAP subsidies were stopped --- That would only mean higher British taxes on the poor.

    Do you believe that the Her Majesties Parliament would vote for 400,000 pounds less for Sandringham ?

    You are in the EU -- until death do you part --so get used to it !


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  • 89. At 10:10pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #86 EUpris

    ´Greece paid pensions to the dead´

    Do members of the upper house get government pensions ?

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  • 90. At 10:15pm on 26 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #83. At 9:29pm on 26 Aug 2010, quaintoaktree,

    Quotes :- Travellers first settled at Dale Farm in the 1960s with the then Labour-run council granted planning permission for 40 families.
    Since then, though, many more have settled.
    Most have no planning permission to be on the land which forms part of the Green Belt.
    The council launched a probe in January after the Echo revealed links between travellers fighting to stay on illegally-built homes at Dale Farm and several homes, worth around 250,000 euros each, in Rathkeale, County Limerick.
    "The travellers say they developed illegally as they have nowhere else to live. If they already have homes to go to in Ireland their argument crumbles, it is far from irrelevant."


    As for your moving goal posts it is typical of you to claim the evolution of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 and Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 are somehow sinister. Your beloved EU has caused a fair proportion of the 4000 new laws Nu-Labour brought in and natural evolution and Nu-Labours obsession with control the rest. Nothing is cast in stone and laws get changed, superseded, merged, repealed etc.

    As for "A scrap metal yard and surroundings declared ´green´ --- how convenient ! ", why did you not tell the whole story here, it was built on a FORMER scrap yard for 40 families. Whether it was that before the AREA was declared a green belt I don't know but the 40 were there legally, for some strange reason you seem to believe it is just Dale farm that is a green belt. The green belt rules are the same for everyone and any proposals must be in accord with the rules and the councils plans for the area.

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  • 91. At 10:17pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    BritBoy10

    Re #81

    Well, afterall, forgetting the Scottish Pound is easily done!

    The value of coinage of Scotland & England were equal until circa 1355, but from then on the Scots' money steadily depreciated.
    When King James VI of Scotland became James I of England the Scottish Pound had declined to just 1s.8d in English value (a Pound Scots was divided into 20 Scots shillings each worth an English Penny).

    Unsurprisingly the Scottish Mint closed in 1709 as the 'Union' got to grips with 'ever closer integration'... Hang on, where've I heard that recently...!!!

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  • 92. At 10:21pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    CBW

    You too !

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  • 93. At 10:21pm on 26 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #88. At 10:05pm on 26 Aug 2010, quaintoaktree,

    Here we go again, numbers pulled from the air. Would you kindly look up the amount the UK pays into CAP and compare it to the rebate which will be abolished once the CAP has gone. After you have done that you can quote the figures and restate the claim you made, if indeed the UK is worse off.

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  • 94. At 10:29pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    79. At 9:00pm on 26 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    " ...
    Well, we'd have to try to trade with somewhere else to make up for the (lost) 50% currently with Eurozone!! ... "

    EUpris: I believe that we will still be able to trade with "EU"/Eurozone countries once we leave the "EU". Germany will not want to lose its massive trade surplus with us. I am hoping we will soon have a lot of oil from the Falklands. The Eurozone countries are unlikely to refuse to buy that.

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  • 95. At 10:51pm on 26 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #92

    Yes, 'U2', they were in concert in Helsinki last week: It was a very good performance considering their ages.

    I gather in Russia this week things haven't gone so well for them.

    Lady GaGa is due here in the Autumn. That should be a worthwhile display of... well, some sort...

    Meanwhile, QOT, You carry on making absolutely no sense at all & some on here will continue to humour You.

    Me? I'll just ask again: How come UK Land ownership can so vividly come to Your mind and yet Your touching concern for the 'Roma' doesn't find time or relevance in the 'law abiding' afforts of the Einzatsgruppen's dealings with this unfortunate minority?

    Could it be like Your nil response to the StasiLand issue, the new Neo-Nazi issue, the Hamburg exploitation of trafficked women & children issue etc. concerning Your modern Germany: The thing You lack is precisely what You are so fond of accusing us of, You haven't got the bottle to face Your own Nation's malpractises!?

    I know the German for 'contempt' and it is sincerely, deeply what I hold for You, but I suspect the Mods would censor it, so I shall stick to my English.

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  • 96. At 11:04pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #90 Buzet 22.5

    Your arguments are ONLY anti-gypsy. The laws have been changed to suit prejudices --rather than to solve problems. Now you want to deport.

    The Romanian government receives 80 million Euros (per year?) specifically to improve Gypsy life - which has not occurred --so they moved. Only a few months ago MOBS forced them to leave Ireland.

    OK, no Brit with a house in Britain should be allowed on mainland Europe ?

    What is this racist logic ?

    #93 Buzet 22.4

    I thought you wanted out of the EU -- you have decided to stay ?

    I did not say the UK would be worse off -- the taxpayers will not benefit, as a new farm subsidy WILL replace it !



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  • 97. At 11:20pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    88. At 10:05pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    " ...

    You are in the EU -- until death do you part --so get used to it !"

    EUpris:

    No way Jose!

    No way Hose B!

    No way "Quiet"* Oak Tree!

    "Quiet"!!! My acorn!!

    When the Argentinians had invaded the Falklands, they thought it was all over.

    It will never be too late to resist the "EU".

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  • 98. At 11:35pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #95 CBW

    More cheap attacks with no idea of my nationality but accepting that WW11 fighting comments will win you British appreciation ?

    Maybe I´m a Lord Haw Haw or a Pimpernel or a U2 ?

    If you have not realized by now that YOU will only leave the EU feet first, you have in no way understood the double-talk of ALL British governments.

    Complain to your MP or Prime Minister -and let them laugh at your naivety, but it is out of place when you expect others to accept your ignorance and naive view of the world -- at your age !

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  • 99. At 11:46pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #97

    Soiled again ?

    -- Maybe CBW can assist ?

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  • 100. At 11:48pm on 26 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Peg;

    "45 PickledPete
    It's worse than that Pete. Apparently the authorities in America were going to go metric nationwide but had to give it up as the natives were considered too thick to learn to switch."

    In the early 1970s the US government tried to promote a switch from English units that were used almost universally in the US to the metric system but the people revolted against it. As a result, we use both and it can get confusing.

    PP;

    "Wasn't it a US government agency that mixed up metric and non-metric units and were thus responsible for a failed space mission?"

    No, I think it was two private subcontractors who worked on the two failed Mars mission vehicles that crashed into mars around the year 2000. One was working in metric units, the other in English units but they didn't convey which units they were working in to each other. There was a breakdown in communications between them and NASA oversight didn't pick it up. But hey that's the government for you.

    BTW, what ever became of the Beagle II? I think the two Mars rovers the US landed on the red planet around the time of Beagle II are still sending back pictures long after they were expected to have died. I haven't seen any photos or data sent back by Beagle II. Got a link to a website where I can see it? You remember Beagle II don't you. That was were British scientists were going to show Americans how to fly to Mars and land at one eighth the price it cost NASA.

    "Such a basic mistake in a country where, unless I have misread your many tiresome posts, everybody and everything is infallible. Maybe NASA should employ some 8 year olds."

    They can't afford it. Most 8 year olds in America are busy making more money designing web sites that work reliably or hacking European computers. I'll bet they're pretty good at it. It wouldn't surprise me if one of them was the one who stole a third of all the personal data about UK citizens around five or six years ago. I'll bet by the time they're 12 one of them will figure out to get most of the money out of the BOE and into a private numbered Swiss bank account in their own name. If George Soros can hit the BOE for a billion so can they. Very clever these cyberkinder.

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  • 101. At 00:21am on 27 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    CBW

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1028266/bnp-website-popular

    More of your naivety ?


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  • 102. At 09:58am on 27 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #98

    Quote, "..WWII fighting comments.."

    Admitted on the 'Einzatsgruppen', but when all is said & done by You NOTHING in modern UK or continental Europe does compare to the 1939-45 deliberate & calamitous land-grab, viciously genocidal social-cultural onslaught, and horrendous sufferings of millions of 'roma'/'displaced' persons by Your ancestors!

    Afterall, isn't all that catastrophic injury to the Peoples of Europe the very primary reason for 'ever closer union' according to defenders of the EU-Brussels entity?
    Try as hard You do, duck & dive as much as You feel inclined, You cannot get away from it - - You are SILENT on such matters because Your EU owes its breath to ALL those unfortunates whose breathing was stifled circa '39-45 - - now You may consider that irrelevant, but some of us see it as a very pertinent aspect of this whole debate on the modern supra-National entity's ultimate objectives.

    Meanwhile, some more ducking on much more recent issues by QOT as he stumbles from one trivialisation to another in attempt to besmirch the UK/England and pretend all is resplendent with fresh political-social-judicial air in die Heimat!

    'Stasiland': What's the matter QOT, don't like Your method of enquiry dished out to You & Your Nation?

    True enough, 'Stasiland' ended with the falling Wall in 1989 which puts the post-Wall re-unified Germany in the spotlight for about the same period as Your post-Maastricht EUropean Union.
    So, let us ask You again: How is it the East Germany regime's massive Human Rights abuses upto & including kidnapping, torture & murder have been almost entirely ignored by the 'new' Germany? How come former Prison Guards complicit in activities far worse than anything seen at Abu Ghraib are collecting Germany's Pension today? Exactly how many of the current crop of very senior Politicians, Judges, Civil Servants etc. daren't have their past 'Eastern' existence reviewed too closely? How come 10 Billion went missing from 'East' Germany's bank vaults in 1989 never to be recovered?

    Come on now, QOT, let us not be shy about these matters: You are the one whose constant refrain is that You want the British/English to 'know' more, 'understand' more about themselves... Well, doesn't that also apply to all those fine post-1989 German Citizens & their 'new' Germany!?

    "Hamburg, exploiting trafficked women & children": Come on QOT, You must have read, seen, heard some of the stuff that went on & goes on post-'89 as 'new' Germany more than any other Nation moved into 'Eastern' Europe - - it wasn't only the big-Business/big-Government, but their fellow-travellers, 'big-Crime' syndicates went there too!
    Thousands of vulnerable, destitute women & childrens' lives wrecked by exploitation in brothels etc. (afterall, You've reminded us all several times of the British contributions to that corruption via former empire), sweat-factories, pornography (CIA Factbook noted at one stage in the mid-'90s 1 in 3 paedophile pornography films were of German origin)... and so it goes on...

    Why so silent QOT? Something caught Your tongue?

    I'll wager it is the stench of hypocrisy - - in Your sad & unpleasant desparation to condemn all things British/English - - You daren't, You cannot look over Your shoulder!

    Yes, Britain/England has a history that is terrible in parts and of course we could all do with recognising more of the 'terrible' bits and not be so tied to the better aspects.

    However, for You to only make contributions about how bad, sad, mad Britain/England was/is just reveals what a very poor, one-sided education You must have received: For You to be unwilling to acknowledge anything but sleaze, corruption etc. in the British Isles is a travesty of reality.

    Especially, whilst all the time pretending continental Europe in general & specifically Your Germany has no such issues of its own in the past or in more modern times: It is the contemptuous debating tactic of the duplicitous scoundrel.

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  • 103. At 10:08am on 27 Aug 2010, Nik wrote:

    86. At 9:45pm on 26 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:
    """http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11096512
    "Greece paid pensions to the dead
    Greece has discovered that it has been paying pensions to people who have passed away - in one case, more than a decade ago.
    As part of efforts to cut spending and tackle waste, Greece discovered that 321 of the people over 100 years old to whom it pays pensions had died.""""

    ... and it is not even the fault of people benefeting it since all of the family members would had already declared in the public services the death of their loved ones so as to proceed with inheriting the family property. The wrongdoing is in the pension services that could not co-ordinate themselves correctly and continued to put in the pensions. Of course, the family members that saw this would not rush to declare the error, why would they? 320 people on the 150,000 that die each year in Greece are not really a huge number (though I guess there are maybe other unditected errors and even illegal acts there too such as the "paraplegic pensions" like till 20 years ago the war-veteran aid-pensions of people who were 5 and 6 years old in WWII...). It reveals however the bad management of the pensions in the presence of about 110 different insurance institutions representing practically each profession which is an absurd and downright unconstitutional thingie, the result of populist, syndicalist, pseudo-socialist agendas. If instead there was a single pension organism providing a standard low cost for value pension and from there one whoever wanted more going private (and profession-based pensions have to be private and not state endorsed) such phenomena could be much more easily detected by the more centralised, more comprehensive handling of pensions.

    ... of course the idea was never that by the way. The disastrous pension plans were always well into the plan in the sense of promising something that could be never delivered in the long run just like the borrowing of money that would be wasted in non-productive activities while exactly the existing productive activities were consciously kicked one by one out of the country. You have to know much much in detail on what the PASOK socialist governemtn and its right wing counterpart did (but then it has been mainly PASOK as ND party never really laid any real measures being unable to work against the PASOK americanosocialist-fascist establishment inside the Greek state and society) to understand why such news about those dead mens' pensions are not at all surprising and practically leave indifferent the Greek citizens who know very well that these are petty thingies in front of what money has been stolen and wasted behind the scenes (but so evidently!!!). All those Porche Cayennes you see circulating in Athens (the city of most Cayennes per population in the world) were not bought with dead mens' pensions evidently!

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  • 104. At 10:14am on 27 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @82 EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "The quip about the Empire is a standard one for "EU"-lovers. I believe it is part of their excuse-system".

    That would of course automatically be be your belief, but I think your analysis is not just laboured but flawed - resting heavily as it does upon Freud's theories which seem to me (and I'm by no means alone) to be largely claptrap, and are anyway based on pseudo-science.

    A (pretty feeble, admittedly) quip doesn't merit being "psychoanalysed" to death: it CAN be nothing more than flippancy. You're solemnly making a meal out of it.

    I suggest if you leave Freud out of it you will strengthen rather than weaken your overall case. The psychobabble is entirely unconvincing, I'm afraid. In your demonology, I'm an "EU"-lover. Whatever you may purport to believe, I don't want an empire and never did, British or otherwise. But neither do I want an undemocratic european super-state. So far as I'm concerned the EC (as it used to be) took the wrong turning with the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty whereby it embraced "economic and monetary union" as a step on the road to "ever-closer union" - a covert means adopted by a small group of oligarchs to bounce everybody else into an unwanted political unification of Europe.

    But this ground has been visited all too many times before in this blog, hasn't it?

    "Remember what happened to Julius Caesar!" - I do, but don't find it relevant.

    "Watch Star Wars!" - I haven't, and don't propose to.

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  • 105. At 10:19am on 27 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @84 GH1618

    Very well said!

    "Here's to liberty! (lifting glass of ale)"

    I'll drink to that!

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  • 106. At 11:44am on 27 Aug 2010, Freeman wrote:

    #104 "A (pretty feeble, admittedly) quip doesn't merit being "psychoanalysed" to death: it CAN be nothing more than flippancy. You're solemnly making a meal out of it."

    To be fair to EU Prisoner, I have heard that 'quip' from more EU lovers than I care to remember. It is a natural assumption to drop you in the same category from looking at your post.

    For reference, UKIP has no desire to:
    - Bring back the Empire
    - Issue pounds, shilling and pence
    - Issue red uniforms for combat operations
    - Insist on everyone singing God Save The Queen before breakfast

    ..or any other idiotic idea based around our apparent desire for the days of Empire.

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  • 107. At 1:00pm on 27 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11099394


    'EU rebukes Israel for convicting Palestinian protester

    Israel has called Lady Ashton's "interference" highly improper
    The European Union has criticised Israel for convicting an organiser of weekly Palestinian protests against the West Bank separation barrier.

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was "deeply concerned" about Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, who now faces several years in prison.'


    So the "EU" has felt entitled to intervene in Israeli/Palestinian affairs.

    BUT

    "EU"-lovers have stated repeatedly that the "EU" could not have intervened when we in the UK were denied the referendum we were promised.

    This claim by "EU"-lovers is just manipulative claptrap.

    Ashton may be right or she may be wrong on this matter but she does not represent the people of Britain or Europe. or the non-British "EU".


    She represents an anti-democratic clique who have grabbed power.

    Hitler's word was "Machtergreifung."

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  • 108. At 2:10pm on 27 Aug 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    From a historical perspective, the British Empire was pretty damn awesome though.

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  • 109. At 2:53pm on 27 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    EUPris

    Re #107

    Of equal concern to my mind is the EU Foreign Minister spouting more of the increasingly obvious anti-Israeli, near anti-Semitic rhetoric: An attitude prevalent in certain EU Capitals & regrettably with this intervention by the EU's High Representative taking on the appearance of a 'Party' line among far too many senior EU-Brussels officials.

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  • 110. At 3:00pm on 27 Aug 2010, Freeman wrote:

    #107 I think everyone should give Israel a hard time for convicting that Palestinian protest leader. Peaceful protests should be encouraged, especially in that area of the world. My sympathy for Isreal just dropped a notch.

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  • 111. At 5:20pm on 27 Aug 2010, Ellinas wrote:

    #86 EUprisoner209456731

    Here are some other similar cases of this global technique:

    Italy: false invalids, 40 000 canceled checks

    Japan: Missing centenarians cause angst in aging Japan

    Britain: Pensions 'paid to dead officers'

    Britain: The NFI (National Fraud Initiative) also helped track £84 million in pension fraud.

    [All the world's a stage...]

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  • 112. At 5:29pm on 27 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @109 cool_brush_work wrote:
    "Of equal concern to my mind is the EU Foreign Minister spouting more of the increasingly obvious anti-Israeli, near anti-Semitic rhetoric"

    I think you should be deeply ashamed of yourself for falling for one of the most transparently deceitful (and that's saying something!) offensive and hoary of all the Israeli government's smear-tactics directed at critics of its indefensible behaviour. If you've failed to discern, after all these years of its being regularly deployed, that the tactic of chanting "anti-semitism" whenever anyone voices any criticism (however merited) of Israel is just that, a tactic, then you're simply making yopurself (in the oh-so-revealing words of Lenin, in a slightly different context) a "useful idiot" from the Israeli government's point of view. A willing tool, in other words.

    Many Israelis (and Jews living in other countries) who profoundly disagree with that government's policies have been saying (and in some cases writing, eg Norman Finkelstein in "Beyond Chutzpah") the same as this for years. Wake up! You're being used.

    That doesn't mean that everyone has to have the same opinion about the merits or otherwise of the two sides' cases. We're all entitled to our own opinions. What I'm saying is: please don't allow yourself to be manipulated by people who cynically use smear-tactics to try to disarm even legitimate criticism.

    Could we please get back on topic? This blog was supposed to be about Sarko's problems not about the EU's shortcomings. All we're doing now is swallowing EUpris's bait. I bet he's laughing like a drain.

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  • 113. At 7:20pm on 27 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @106 Freeman

    Message received and understood.

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  • 114. At 7:21pm on 27 Aug 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    108 Benefator wrote:

    "From a historical perspective, the British Empire was pretty damn awesome though."
    And what or whose perspective would that be?

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  • 115. At 7:52pm on 27 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #94 EUprisoner209456731

    "I am hoping we will soon have a lot of oil from the XXXX."

    ssshhh!! not t.o.o. loud.

    Yes, and ditto Irish Sea. I'm not very much up on the facts but there seems to be some exploratory drilling taking place here as well.

    I hope we can get a mutually satisfactory agreement on UK-Irish Governments' taxation share from such a venture, and we all know both could do with the cash from eg. an auction sale of prospecting areas, as is currently happening off Greenland's coast.

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  • 116. At 8:05pm on 27 Aug 2010, britboy10 wrote:

    #108, 114

    "..the British Empire was pretty damn awesome.."

    I vote Benefactor to draw up the new UK-schools history syllabus. That is exactly the kind of language to make Secondary School age kids sit up and pay attention.

    Individual emails of recommendation from HYS contributors to (new Education Secretary) Mr Gove, methinks?

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  • 117. At 8:07pm on 27 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #'96. At 11:04pm on 26 Aug 2010, quietoaktree-99,

    You still cannot bite the bullet, just look up the figures as I asked, after all you claim to be an expert in treasury and accountancy, surely you can answer my question.

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  • 118. At 8:13pm on 27 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #100. At 11:48pm on 26 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "In the early 1970s the US government tried to promote a switch from English units that were used almost universally in the US to the metric system but the people revolted against it. As a result, we use both and it can get confusing."

    Have you still not understood the difference between English measures and American measure and I'm not referring to metric.

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  • 119. At 8:19pm on 27 Aug 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    114. At 7:21pm on 27 Aug 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    ""From a historical perspective, the British Empire was pretty damn awesome though."

    And what or whose perspective would that be?"

    Mine, obviously.
    sheesh.

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  • 120. At 8:20pm on 27 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #102. At 09:58am on 27 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work,

    Quite so but if veryquiteoaktree gives an honest answer I'll be surprised.

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  • 121. At 8:52pm on 27 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #107. At 1:00pm on 27 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731.

    Anybody know who Baroness Ashton actually is, she was never elected to squat and is just a Socialist party hack so why should anybody be surprised by her words. Does anybody actually think there is something between her ears?

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  • 122. At 9:10pm on 27 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    A little question for all those attacking Israel and defending the Palestinians. Should for instance the EU designate a region of the EU for the habitation of the Roma/travellers to stop the current problems how would you feel about the displaced former residents of that region, and how would you feel about the Roma/travellers attacking anybody who enters their territory as they do now with regard to camping sites.

    Common now lets hear your views!

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  • 123. At 9:13pm on 27 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #112. At 5:29pm on 27 Aug 2010, torpare,

    Your last but one sentence is very much the way the current EU works

    I.E. "What I'm saying is: please don't allow yourself to be manipulated by people who cynically use smear-tactics to try to disarm even legitimate criticism. "

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  • 124. At 9:44pm on 27 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #122 Buzet 22

    Not bad for sarcasm ---or did you mean ´defending Israel´ and ´attacking the Palestinians´?

    Please clarify !

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  • 125. At 10:08pm on 27 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    Can anyone identify the white haired bloke on the right of the photograph, the one in the shiny suite, and why he isn't wearing a tie.
    Have the French lost all their standards?

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  • 126. At 10:36pm on 27 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 127. At 10:45pm on 27 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #117 Buzet 20

    You are getting on my nerves-- but here is more than you asked for !

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fat-cats-benefit-from-eu-farming-subsidies-780192.html

    Now translate that into British EU politics by Her Majesties Government !

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  • 128. At 11:11pm on 27 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #124. At 9:44pm on 27 Aug 2010, quintessentiallyboringoaktree,

    My words were just what I meant, do you have trouble understanding plain English, maybe CBW is right and you struggle with the English language.

    #127

    I take that as the highest compliment, as once again you are reduced to the sublime, the ridiculous and the tired old rhetoric. Incidentally I am neither a Royalist nor an Anti-Royalist, but what I would hate more than anything else is a greedy wannabe corrupt incompetent Socialist as a president of anything more important than a hole on the other side of the planet, or come to that any politician of any colour.

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  • 129. At 11:15pm on 27 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #102 CBW

    I have previously mentioned living in North America, Germany and Britain for a minimum of 12 years each.

    Prove that I am German .-- Or my accusations against you are true (removed by mods)

    All the web-links posted are from Britain --so what is your problem when they show Britain in a different light from the ´paradise for all Brits´and superiority you incessantly spout.

    Recent history is not only German -- however they do not deny it.

    http://en.internationalism.org/wr/290_torture.html

    --Unlike many other nations and contributors.

    Maybe I am more of a British Nationalist than you are ?

    Signed Lord Haw Haw (google it !)

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  • 130. At 11:28pm on 27 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #128 Buzet 21.9

    Yes I agree, the convoluted logic of both CBW and yourself with the aim of saying nothing does work !

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  • 131. At 11:44pm on 27 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    buzzard #118;

    Anyone who studies physics starts off by learning standards of measurement, the units quntities are described in. All measurement systems used in physics are based ultimately on three parameters; length, mass, and time. The English system is the FPS system. There are two metric systems, the MKS system and CGS system. The units are interconvertable from one system to another just like currencies only they remain fixed ratios. What about it don't you understand.

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  • 132. At 11:47pm on 27 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    QUOT, it seems to me you have been anything but quiet since you started posting on BBC blog sites. If an oak tree fell in the forest and nobody was around to cut it into firewood, would the termites eat it?

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  • 133. At 00:02am on 28 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #132 MarcusAurellius

    Are you offering that I nibble you ?

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  • 134. At 01:21am on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    QOT, you are truely offensive. If you must know I'm strictly AC. What you are is your own personal business so please don't tell me about it, I've heard more than I care to already.

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  • 135. At 01:46am on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Malefactor;

    "From a historical perspective, the British Empire was pretty damn awesome though."

    It was a crime against humanity on which the sun never set for centuries. At least that's how some of us see it today and how its victims saw it at the time it was occurring. One quarter of the earth imprisoned by military conquest as slaves of what actually amounted to only a handful of people who ruled Britain, its own citizens also largely slaves of the same rulers of the empire. It was the United States of America that began the process of dismantling that empire in the late 18th century but it was still quite impressive at the end of the 19th century. Equally impressive was the speed at which it eventually collapsed. In a mere three or four generations it virtually disappeared, all but the last whisps and traces of it nothing but ghosts of its sordid past.

    Those in Britain who feel Americans should have a special kinship towards them should recognize that although American civilization and Britain's society have a common ancestry, they diverged sharply over two centuries ago. The American Declaration of Independence is a manifesto expressing revulsion and outrage against the crimes the rulers of the empire perpetrated against their former citizens and colonists in America. They should also understand that the process of divergence has continued at an accelerated pace, the influences that America has experienced being very different from those of Britain. So much so that the two societies are now only superficially similar, America having much more in common with Canada, still an alien society to it than it has with the UK. Americans would not and could not live under anything like the rules which govern British society.

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  • 136. At 02:40am on 28 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    From Open Europe:

    'Support for the EU has dropped to its lowest levels in nine years, according to a survey published yesterday. The so-called Eurobarometer poll, conducted on behalf of the European Commission, showed that only 49 percent of respondents from across Europe considered their countries' EU membership a "good thing" - four percentage points down from last year. The level of trust in the EU institutions also shrank to 42 percent - six percentage points down from a year ago.

    Meanwhile, 18 percent of respondents considered EU membership to be a "bad thing" - up from last year's 15 percent. (EUobserver, 26 August) The poll also showed that support for EU membership in Germany has dropped by 10 points in only one year, down to 50 percent, in the wake of the eurozone crisis and the unpopular bailout of Greece . In the UK , only 29 percent of people considered EU membership "a good thing", while 33 percent considered it "a bad thing".

    Despite the damaging findings, the European Commission still tried to present the poll results as an endorsement for concentrating more powers in Brussels . The Commission claimed that 75 percent of citizens in the EU said they were in favour of "stronger European economic governance". EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding - who is also in charge of Communication - said that "the clear majority for enhanced European economic governance shows that people see the EU as a decisive part of the solution to the crisis". (European Commission press release, 26 August)

    However, extraordinarily, the question asked in the poll didn't even include the term "European economic governance", nor did it make any reference to the EU's role in overseeing national economies. It only included a vague reference to "stronger coordination of economic and financial policies among all EU member states". (Eurobarometer EurActiv, 27 August)

    This was a blatant and dishonest (taxpayer-funded) attempt by the Commission to spin clearly unfavorable poll results.'


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  • 137. At 07:48am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #136. At 02:40am on 28 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731,

    It really doesn't matter what the questions were, the answers are always going to be the same, ever closer union, harmonisation of taxes and a federal Europe with nation states reduced to small regions subservient to the all powerful EU.

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  • 138. At 07:55am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #130. At 11:28pm on 27 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    "#128 Buzet 21.9

    Yes I agree, the convoluted logic of both CBW and yourself with the aim of saying nothing does work !"

    Your problem is that you are deluded enough to believe you are one hundred percent correct and every other viewpoint is valueless and saying nothing. Instead you continually refer to tired old references to the economic affairs of the Royal family in the UK. The last one being from that paragon of Socialism, The Independent, and written two years ago. No doubt you also know and can quote the incomes from the estates of all the landed Nu-Labour gentry, and how much they received from the EU CAP funds. You could even make a start with that hero called Tony Benn who renounced his title years back but not his wealth.

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  • 139. At 07:58am on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    EUP, what difference does it make if you are a prisoner in a continental empire run for the benefit of royalty and aristocrats out of Germany and Paris or of a global empire run out of Westminster. The only difference I can see is that the instructions on how to run your life were given directly to you in English in the past but may now have to be translated from French, German, or Esperanto.

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  • 140. At 08:10am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #131. At 11:44pm on 27 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII,

    Just take a look at these [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] and [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] as these explain that for instance a gallon is different between the US customary system and the old UK imperial system.

    With this information it should be possible for you to not repeat mistakes that you have made in the past. E.G. The British ton (the long ton), is 2240 pounds, which is very close to a metric tonne, whereas the ton generally used in the United States is the "short ton" of 2000 pounds (907.18474 kg).

    Have fun MAII.

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  • 141. At 08:45am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    MAII,

    It would seem that enclosing a web address in square brackets no longer works so just look up imperial units and United States customary units on wikipedia.

    I wonder what else has been removed/broken in the latest software revision from the BBC.

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  • 142. At 08:51am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    Can someone give me the address of the article that explained how to embed a link in this blog, as my paper on this is somewhere in a packing case.

    Thanks

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  • 143. At 09:04am on 28 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @72, SleepyDormouse wrote:
    "Happy reading. Let us all know how you get on and what you think".

    SleepyDormouse

    I found Bill Mitchell's site disappointing - from the perspective of fundamental monetary reform I mean (I'm not qualified to judge its merits as economics). Insofar as I can follow B.M's argument (which isn't very far), he is saying that governments/central banks don't control the money-supply (as taught to economics students) but that in the real world its fluctuations are mainly driven by demand for credit, which is supplied by the commercial banks. Monetary reformers start too from the position that more than 95% of our money is issued not by governments or central banks but by the private banks, as interest-bearing debt which (in aggregate) can never be paid off. But B.M's mission in life seems to be above all to debunk mainstream economics theory and teaching, and he seems entirely uninterested in changing the system itself in any fundamental way, such as displacing fractional reserve banking itself would do. Like Galbraith, what he wants is for the existing system to be run according to the theories to which he subscribes, which he holds alone to to have real validity (whilst the mainstream ones now in vogue are condemned as fallacious).

    Both of them may well be correct in that assessment but I'm not qualified to judge. What monetary reformers want to see is something entirely different:- a reversion to the system which prededed the present one (but retaining a fiat currency) and the confining to governments exclusively of the power to issue money.

    I have bookmarked B.M's site though because it does seem to contain stuff of general interest - so thanks anyway.

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  • 144. At 09:40am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    "So an austerity package will have to be unveiled. To reduce the deficit to just 3% by 2013, 100bn euros (£82bn) of spending cuts or tax increases have to be found. The government has already ruled out increases in VAT, income tax and corporation tax. It is looking to eliminate 10bn euros in tax loopholes. Greater pain cannot be avoided. Civil servants' pay is likely to be frozen. There will be no increases in state spending."

    If we can leave the self serving nostalgic fantasies of the Brits to one side and come back to the blog topic for a moment, it is worth considering what these numbers mean. They describe debt, increasing debt, but the meaning of that debt seems to me to be lost in the way the numbers are reported. These numbers are reported as a problem FOR the government. I would venture that if the true meaning of the numbers were conveyed, they would be seen as a problem OF government.

    Because what these numbers really mean is that the membership of the various political parties in Europe have been recklessly spending the money generated by those who work in the private sector to such an extent that they threaten to bring ruin onto the entire society.

    The irony, that exactly the same folks who spent others folks money with such reckless abandon are now the folks we watch tell us how it will all be made better, is acute. For me, the sensation is that of listening to a thief who has been caught red handed explaining what ought to be done to improve security. I don't think that counts as an analogy, either. It is arguably an accurate description of the facts.

    In the soviet union, it was commonly understood that the party members were living well by stealing from the workers, and at the same time smothering them with dogma and eroding their remaining liberties in the name of improving society. When will Europe wake up?

    For myself, I can no longer look at a party member of any variety without feeling revulsion and anger. To be a party member is to be a thief. To be a party member is to be a liar, and a parasite.

    That is what this ever increasing debt means, howsoever it is reported by party members.

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  • 145. At 09:53am on 28 Aug 2010, Cracklite wrote:

    " I am not sure to what extent France has been a net recipient from the "EU".

    I am confident that the UK has been a net contributor. BILLIONS!!!"

    EU prisoner, you are obviously a prisoner of your own ignorance, because France has always been a net contributor, in fact, it contributes significantly more than the UK! Only Germany contributes more than France, but that's only fair since their country is more populated and richer.

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  • 146. At 09:59am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #144. At 09:40am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat,

    One of the corner planks of the EU is that every EU citizen is equal and to be treated equally, but as I've always said, everybody is equal but party members are more equal than others, it applied to the USSR, it applies to all communist or fascist run countries and it most certainly applies to the current EU where the unelected commission, council of Europe and their hangers-on are the 'Party'.

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  • 147. At 10:16am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    I find it curious to examine the detail of the photo in this blog entry. Several things strike me as evidence of the problems Europe faces.

    Firstly, all these people are smiling broadly, perhaps laughing. Why? What have they to be happy about or amused by? Do they comprehend the task they are undertaking? These people are setting down the details of a plan to take money and services away from working people so that their fellow party members can continue in the manner to which they have become accustomed. And yet they laugh and smile together as if they were attendees at a christening. So I think it is fair to say that these people inhabit a sheltered world. I seriously doubt they understand how they are perceived by the wider community. That is curious, for a system described as representative democracy.

    Another thing I noticed is that each person has before them a bottle of water, a glass of orange juice, and a coffee. Not one person has touched one drink. So what does this mean? Well, firstly it means that these people are content to be served far more than they need, or even desire, at the public expense. The waste they are individually responsible for does not concern them. They simply accept it. It may seem a petty point, but have any of us seen people who act more carefully in the name of others than they do in their own name? I have not, and so I am underwhelmed by this uniform display of careless and systematic waste of resources and public funds.

    The last thing I noticed in the picture was that Sarkozy has one, possibly two, highlighting pens before him, amongst other items of office inventory.

    Do we believe Sarkozy ever uses highlighting pens? Can we believe such a thing? Is it sensible to imagine that the president of France looks down at any document and takes the time to make an administrative reference so that later, when returns to his desk, he is able to focus once more on individual pieces of text?

    I'd venture that highlighting pens are the tools of receptionists and secretaries, rather than presidents. So why are these "office tools" place within camera shot? Is this a carefully prepared photograph, whose setting has been designed to create the impression of diligent work by tireless public servants? I think it must be.

    And so, in summary, the detail of the imagevtells us three things about these party leaders.

    They are cunning in deceit.

    They waste public money without a care.

    They are having a great time.

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  • 148. At 10:33am on 28 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Cracklite

    Re #145

    Sorry, but if You are trying to claim the EU-Brussels' figures for 'contributions' should be the last word on this 'France' issue then I cannot agree.

    The same 'Auditors'/'Financial' experts who declared 15 EU Member Nations had Economies 'fit for pupose' to join the EUro-zone are the same ones that make the Statistical Reports on 'Net' contributions.

    France is the largest 'recipient' of every resource within the EU27: The idea France's Economic 'social economy' is sustained other than by huge subsidisation from the EU & prinicpally its partner in 'EU-ill-intent' Germany, is simply not borne out by any rational examination of France's Economic-Fiscal situation for the last 3+ decades.

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  • 149. At 10:34am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #145. At 09:53am on 28 Aug 2010, Cracklite

    You are probably right that France has been a net contributor but you are wrong about it's position compared to the UK. Taking the figures from the EU publication Fin_Report_08_EN, some time ago I put the years 2006 to 2008 into a spreadsheet to play with the positions both with and without the rebate. In 2006 and 2007 the UK paid more into the pot that France and in those two years France was the fourth largest net contributor, in 2008 the picture changed and France stayed fourth but the UK moved to fifth with 2804 million Euro. The actual order of significance for 2008 was De - 11021.5 million Euro, IT - 4838.1 million Euro, NL 4319.8 million Euro, FR 2580.7 million Euro and UK - with 2804 million Euro.

    The reason for the change in 2008 is probably because of the disasters Gordon Brown created in the UK economy. You can of course do what I did for all the preceding years if you wish to verify your claim that France was the second largest net contributor but for certain it was not in 2006, 2007 and 2008, it was fourth.

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  • 150. At 10:58am on 28 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #127, #129 & #130

    Yet more gibberish dressed up as attempting a form of 'balance' of views when there is no such thing in reality in Your contributions on this Blog.

    Yet more trivial allegations of not facing UK/England deficiencies when these matters are aired all the time by almost every contributor on this Blog (except usually with a good deal more accuracy & logic than You have ever managed).

    Pathetically dull, out-dated allusions to momentary characters & episodes in British history-culture-politics etc. bearing almost no resonance to whichever Blog article is presented.

    Sudden, curiously nervous defensiveness on this Blog about origin in contradiction to past assertions of national superiority coupled with the very revealing inability/unwillingness to debate an issue outside the boundary of the UK/England!

    Something nasty to hide: Perhaps more than one black sheep/skeleton in the home-cupboard troubling the prickly, suppressed 'id'!?

    QOT: We've found You out.
    Buzet23 constructively undermines every one of Your unfocussed, niggardly points. I hold a mirror up to Your motives.
    QOT doesn't like it.

    GOOD!

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  • 151. At 11:09am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #148. At 10:33am on 28 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work,

    From the same EU document I pulled the following statement :-

    In absolute terms, France is in 2008 as in 2007 the largest recipient of EU expenditure ahead of Spain, which was first in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Germany is in third position as in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Italy is in fourth position, followed by Greece. Poland, which now receives substantial EU cohesion and agricultural expenditure, is in sixth position as in 2007 (up from the eighth position in 2005 and 2006), ahead of the United Kingdom and Belgium (when including administrative expenditure).

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  • 152. At 11:25am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Cracklite wrote:
    "" I am not sure to what extent France has been a net recipient from the "EU".
    I am confident that the UK has been a net contributor. BILLIONS!!!"
    EU prisoner, you are obviously a prisoner of your own ignorance, because France has always been a net contributor, in fact, it contributes significantly more than the UK! Only Germany contributes more than France, but that's only fair since their country is more populated and richer."

    This comment is unfortunate. It makes an accusation of ignorance from a position of bewilderment.

    I do not think the finances of the EU are well understood, however I do have sympathy for those who misunderstand, because the way the matter is reported to the public verges on pathological dishonesty.

    Firstly, when we speak of "contributing" to the EU, and "receiving" from the EU, we must be very clear that we are speaking only of public institutions. Thus we are speaking of only one half of each of the transactions under discussion.

    This is important. We do not live in a society where public institutions and private interests are isolated from each other, and we should naturally want to know the full nature of the transactions undertaken with our taxes.

    I do not mean that we should want to know esoteric and philosophical things about government spending and borrowing. I am being rather more boring and precise. I mean that we want to see both entries in the books when we audit any enterprise, or we risk being sold a pup.

    So when a transaction takes place, we record two entries in our books. One entry is a credit, the other a debit. Money goes from one place to another. One book is credited, another debited. In this way we can follow the money, and perceive what has transpired in the enterprise.

    So when we speak of nations contributing or receiving money as part of the EU, one might get the impression that we are therefore discussing the movement of the funds. That would be wrong, completely wrong. You see, when we speak of governments contributing or receiving money from the EU, we are speaking of transactions that have nothing to do with each other. Indeed, we are speaking of only one half of each transaction, and these transactions are not related.

    The proof that these transactions are unrelated is because, in fact, every nation contributes to the EU. In addition, every nation receives from the EU. Yes, it is true that some nations contribute more than they receive, and are therefore net contributors. And yes, it is true that some nations receive more than they contribute, and arectherefore net recipients. But it does not follow that some nations contribute and some receive. That is a falisy. All nations contribute, all nations receive. That is the reality.

    Why is this crucially important? Because it is what happens to the money in between being contributed and received that is the entire business of the EU. If we start to speak about some nations contributing and others receiving, we have neatly hidden the entire operation of ALL EU institutions. As soon as we see the contributions and receipts of money being two sides of one transaction, rather than as only half of completely unrelated transactions, it is very easy to suppose that the EU doesn't do anything at all. That is either hugely desirable or hugely distressing, depending on your agenda. If you want to learn what is going on, it is distressing.

    And what is "going on" is the interplay between public institutions and the private sector. And here we begin to see the absurdity and childish simplicity of a nationalist world view, when discussing EU affairs. An example should suffice to show how the lines between nations become impossibly blurred when public institutions and private interests mix. This example is real. I know how it works because i watched it happen.

    Country X contributes a great deal of money to the EU, and so is able to nominate it's folks to the EU committee which distributes the money. Country Y is to receive the money, but the committee will only give out funds if the proposal for how they will be spent is detailed in the extreme. And the committee blocks the funds. The folks from country Y's government are perplexed. They want the funds, and the results of the project. A small bird suggests to the folks from country Y that perhaps the project might be cleared by the committee if the private companies who will build the thing come from country X. The proposal is changed, and the funds clear. Country Y gets the results of the project, and country X gets the economic benefit of the spending.

    That is what happens in between contributing and receiving in the EU. This is what the EU does. This is what the EU is for. This is why it exists.

    Perhaps now you may understand why germany is able to contribute twice what it receives and still have the best economic figures in the club.

    This is NOT corruption. It is merely the intersection of public institutions and private interests within the European political economy. It is done at the EU level (i submit as my personal theory) because in this way there can be no scrutiny of the intersection by the public, and those who interact can establish long lasting relationships which will not be disrupted by elections, or other instances of popularism.

    Now Hewitt can conform the lack of scrutiny, and indeed he has done so in the past. He is always reporting on things going on behind closed doors.

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  • 153. At 11:38am on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    QOT,

    As you don't seem to be coming forth and looking up the details of what would happen if the CAP or rather the "Preservation and management of natural resources" fund as it is grandly referred to in the EU 2008 financial report, so I have looked it up.

    France received in 2008 19.2% of the EU agricultural budget which came to the princely sum of 10.01 billion Euro. The UK received in 2008 7.3% which came to 3.8 billion Euro. Now since the UK rebate in 2008 was 6.252 billion Euro, by abolishing the CAP the UK would have lost its rebate and its CAP payment, but the EU would have saved 43.3% of its 2008 budget, namely 56767.9 million Euro.

    What does this mean in hard money, with no rebate the UK would have paid 9056 million Euro in 2008, if the CAP did not exist then 43.3% of the money paid into the EU by the UK would be saved which is 3921 million Euro. This means if the CAP was abolished the UK would gain the difference between what it receives from the CAP 3800 million Euro, and what would be saved by abolishing the CAP 3921 million Euro, I.E. 121 million Euro gained.

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  • 154. At 11:40am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Buzet23 wrote:
    "#144. At 09:40am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat,
    One of the corner planks of the EU is that every EU citizen is equal and to be treated equally, but as I've always said, everybody is equal but party members are more equal than others, it applied to the USSR, it applies to all communist or fascist run countries and it most certainly applies to the current EU where the unelected commission, council of Europe and their hangers-on are the 'Party'."

    There is no need to have an epiphany and call these folks defacto party members by suggesting they are the 'Party'. They happen to be party members. In fact, I mean. Not figuratively, but in point of actual fact.

    We are discussing the nature of party based representation, and i would submit that the discussion is best advanced by dissecting the actual nature of these actual things.

    The only way we can hope to be free from the injustice and poverty of party based rule is to have constitutional mechanisms which curb the concentrated power of all parties, whether communist, fascist, environmental or gender based. This is why I advocate for direct democracy, and people voting on laws. We like to believe that under the Westminster system it is the parliament who makes our laws, and perhaps once it was, but it is becoming increasingly clear to sane adults that it is only the party who makes our laws, and which party matters not at all because they all have the same sponsors.

    So we are faced with party rule, which is the proxy rule of sponsors. The sponsors are those who can afford to sponsor, which in our happy paradigm means large corporations. Which means the owners of those corporations.

    I see no way of changing that system unless the power to make law is given to the common people.

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  • 155. At 11:48am on 28 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    torpare

    Re #112

    WOW!

    "...useful idiot..", "...willing tool..", "..Wake up, you're being used.."

    followed almost uniquely by,

    "...that doesn't mean everyone has to have the same opinion.."

    Quite right!

    Remind me: Which solitary Nation is surrounded by no less than 9 Terrorist Groups with 7 of them following the Fundamentalist Islam line that Islam must prevail over the Holy Land? Which is the solitary State that is besieged every day & night by a group of Mid-East Nations whose entire Military forces 24hrs, 365 days a year face their border? Which solitary Nation faces 3 Mid-East nations whose Leadership have declared Israel cannot be allowed to exist? Which solitary Nation was founded as a Homeland for Jews, has a 95+% Jewish settlement?

    So, just to make it 'transparently' clear to people (especially to those who quote Lenin whilst forgetting among Vladimir Ilyich's first acts was the suppression of all 'faiths' from the moment he attained power) who have climbed on the anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish bandwagon:

    "Of equal concern to my mind is the EU Foreign Minister (Ashton) spouting more of the increasingly obvious anti-Israeli, near anti-Semitic rhetoric.."

    Yes, there are real concerns about Israeli policy especially the continued illegal construction of settlements, the inhumane & infamous dividing 'wall', the massive over-use in the last decade of military presence.
    These are Israeli contraventions of internationally agreed policies - - the present Government is not actually anymore extreme that its recent predecessors who initiated much of present Israeli 'aggressor' tactics - - it is an area that must be dealt with at the highest level, but that too requires equal recognition at international level the more rabid Mid-East Leadership has to be neutralised.

    Sorry, but IMO, if the EU Foreign Rep is going to make such statements then she is putting Brussels' policy at odds with what is required to bring these issues to the negotiating table: Why would any Israeli Government confronted by "shove Israel into the sea" Iran, Hamas & Hezbollah "no Israel state", plus an at best ambivalent EU consider any recourse but total resistance?

    Of course, the same rightly can be claimed by the more responsible Palestinian Leadership: Why should they accept total immersion under Israeli policies backed by a blinkered Jewish-lobby dominating the USA State Dept? If Israel thinks it can go on flouting international deals/laws & build more Settlements on Palestinian lands then why would any self-respecting Palestinian come to a negotiating table with any genuine intentions of an olive branch raft of fresh proposals/ideas, anymore than the Israeli side would be expected to do?

    STATESMANSHIP! Where is it? Answer. Since the death of Rabin in November 1995 there has been virtually none on the Israeli side; similarly, since Pres. Clinton a lack of vision in the Oval Office (for sure this is Obama's weakest foreign policy), and quite simply Palestinians have been cursed by a corrupt & venal Leadership from the inception of the PLO and Hamas, Hezbollah are just more organised, vicious versions of the same!

    There is a power vacuum: They are all competing to fill it, however, unfortunately none of the last decade's emerging faction Leaders inc. Tel Aviv have shown the slightest ability to get out from the ever deepening hole they have collectively dug assisted in the past by super-powers USA-USSR, and more recently by regional super-interested USA, Iran, Saudi etc.

    However, the idea now publicly promoted by Brussels' Baroness Ashton & joining overtly with various Foreign Ministries of supposedly neutral EU Nations etc. that Israel has become a pariah State whilst its 5.7 Jewish million face 300,000,000 non-jews is a transparent case of over-simplification, not to say the politics of prejudice is once more becoming fashionable across EUrope.

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  • 156. At 12:03pm on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Should every religion have it's own homeland?

    It seems to me to be an excellent way of acquiring property, if so.

    I hereby declare my belief in The Celestial Purple Pig, all praise unto it.

    Where's me land????

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  • 157. At 12:13pm on 28 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #156

    No idea.

    The geo-political 'homeland' is there hence the grief - - what to do about it is another thing entirely.

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  • 158. At 12:22pm on 28 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @135. MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "It was a crime against humanity on which the sun never set for centuries"

    Here we go again! (dogmatizing, ranting, you name it...).

    To apply the entirely modern term "crime against humanity" to events which took place in a non-modern context is a blatant anachronism, being employed here for an ideological purpose - an unpleasant one at that.

    Anyone, if so inclined, can play that game with no less applicability to American history. "The march of empire" (across the plains, already populated by "indians")...the calculated eradication of the bison herds (to the point of virtual extinction) with the aim removing the nomadic native people's principal source of sustenance (ie of starving them), the massacre at Wounded Knee,... need I go on? It's all been well-documented by American historians, if you care to educate yourself.

    But this kind of cheap point-scoring is childish. "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there" (L.P.Hartley). Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest THAT.

    "The American Declaration of Independence is a manifesto expressing revulsion and outrage against the crimes the rulers of the empire". In fact it expresses nothing of the kind; that's just the construction you choose anachronistically to put upon what you call "a manifesto", proclaimed by men most of whom were themselves either slave-owners or had expressed no public condemnation of the slave-trade or of slave-owning (having been quite untroubled to derive economic benefit from slavery). Ant-slavery campaigning was left mainly to Englishmen of a slightly later generation, like Wilberforce.

    Your version of history, Homer, is one long travesty of the historical record and is motivated, evidently, by nothing more uplifting than juvenile triumphalism on behalf of your own "tribe" requiring denigration of all the other "tribes". I don't know your age but I'd guess 12, 13 maybe... From some of your earlier posts I'd begun to think you'd grown up but I see I was mistaken in that belief - should've known better!

    And can't you even spot a legpull (Benefactor's in this case) even when it's made completely obvious?

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  • 159. At 12:38pm on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Topchap wrote:
    "To apply the entirely modern term "crime against humanity" to events which took place in a non-modern context is a blatant anachronism, being employed here for an ideological purpose - an unpleasant one at that."

    I see you are employing the popular theory which holds that the extensive use of large words eventually brings about an understanding of what they mean.

    Good luck with that.

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  • 160. At 12:40pm on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    My reading of the case is that the true homeland of the Jewish tribe in egypt. I gather they wus run oft from thar by the fairoh.

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  • 161. At 12:52pm on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #152. At 11:25am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat,

    Your illustration of how the EU world and private organisations interact has already come to the fore with the Greek crisis, it was clear from the outset that the funds put into Greece were often spent on German products which was the main reason Germany was so concerned and funded the bail-out since its industries were so greatly exposed. How incestuous this is has always been a closely kept secret by the EU mandarins to whom such suggestions have always been venomously denied under the false democracy they operate under. They must be turning in their figurative graves now that such incestuous behaviour has been highlighted.

    #154. At 11:40am on 28 Aug 2010, democracythreat,

    Re party rule, on top of what you've said there is also the effect that as the various parties have moved closer together in terms of policy, and stronger view parties are criticised, ostracised, ridiculed etc, the risk of sponsorship has become even greater than before since when most parties are virtually the same there is little marketing risk of sponsoring all of them to some degree.

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  • 162. At 1:05pm on 28 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Hmm, I fear returning the tribe of Moses & Abraham to Egypt seems unlikely to improve the atmosphere in the Mid-East.
    Can't see Mubarak & Netanyahu sharing the Pyramids & Scrolls on an even basis!

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  • 163. At 1:41pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    torpor;

    "To apply the entirely modern term "crime against humanity" to events which took place in a non-modern context is a blatant anachronism, being employed here for an ideological purpose - an unpleasant one at that."

    Americans in the late 18th century saw it that way too. I'm sure victims in places all over the world where Britannia ruled the seas and the land saw it that way. They just didn't use those definitions or terminology. Not that Britain's competitors of the time France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, were any better, Britain was just more efficient at it. Nor were their ancient counterparts like Rome or Persia. Empire was empire. It existed to exploit the people and riches of the earth for its own betterment at the cost of any and all freedom to resist or escape its power. The slaves who lived in those countries to serve their kings were just as badly off. The difference is that America did something about it, the first but not the last. It made "the world turn(ed) upside down."

    The expansion of the American colonists into the west in which they invaded and replaced hunter gatherer stone age tribes with towns, villages, and farms that characterize modern civilization can hardly be called comparable to the global empire the British created. There were atrocities on both sides as for many of the native American tribes the mere crossing of the land on which they hunted was a crime punishable by a cruel and brutal death. That land was in fact largely empty and if you cross it today, you will see that once you get past the Mississippi River, until you reach the west coast it still largely is.

    Interesting talk on a book about the life of Andrew Mellon by David Cannadine last night. Mellon is one of the most important figures in the transformation of America into a modern industrial society yet we know very little about him. Part of a grouping of books about American Moguls of the late 19th and early 20th century last night including one about Henry Ford, the inventor of modern industry.

    "David Cannadine is the author of numerous books, including "The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy," "The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain," and "Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire." He has taught at Cambridge University (England) and Columbia University (New York)."

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/195041-1

    [Mellon was among a select group of] "The creators and beneficiaries of a process of economic transformation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries whereby the American economy became the greatest wealth generating machine that any nation has ever produced, a position which it still holds to this day."

    The facts of history may bother you because they put your cherished England in a less than favorable light but the facts are the facts.

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  • 164. At 1:57pm on 28 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @155. cool_brush_work wrote

    "whilst forgetting among Vladimir Ilyich's first acts was the suppression of all 'faiths' from the moment he attained power".
    Your evidence for my having "forgotten" that? No, don't bother - my having characterised Lenin's phrase as "revealing" was evidently too subtle for you.

    "who have climbed on the anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish bandwagon". That's a scurrilous imputation; "bandwagon" carries the implication of personal gain. You ought to know better than to resort to mud-slinging (that last refuge of the intellectually-bereft), especially as part of what purports to be a defence of having naively acted as a conduit for the Israeli government's own mud-slinging. But you're evidently still wearing your blindfold and imbibing the drip-feed from Tel Aviv because I note that you're still parroting the selfsame Israeli government propaganda-line of equating "anti-Israel" and "anti-semitic" (except for the transparent evasion of substituting "anti-Jewish" for "anti-semitic"). As a matter of plain fact, what you insultingly describe as "the anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish bandwagon" happens to have on board a significant number of Israelis and Jews.

    I'm not going to get sidetracked into an interminable debate about the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Arab conflict, not only because life's too short but because that wasn't in fact what I posted about. What I was attacking was not the Israeli government's actions per se but their constantly-deployed, deeply cynical, tactic of trying to neutralize any and all criticism of their actions - from any direction - by labelling it as motivated by "anti-semitism". They've been doing that for years - in fact decades - and anyone who falls for it is being taken-in. Anti-semitism (even when or if actually present) is a total red herring: the issue is people's rights.

    If you're willing - which sadly I doubt - to open your mind I suggest you visit http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/. You might also find subscribing - free - to H'aaretz on line for a few weeks educative too (I certainly did - though it made me pretty depressed).

    "Sorry, but IMO, if the EU Foreign Rep is going to make such statements then she is putting Brussels' policy at odds with what is required to bring these issues to the negotiating table".

    For the reasons already given, I flatly disagree. That's just code for saying "never criticise Israel", which is exactly the position always taken up by - you've guessed it! - Israel. They've been getting away with that for far too long and it's time to call their bluff.

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  • 165. At 2:00pm on 28 Aug 2010, Cracklite wrote:

    Oops, my bad Buzet, you're right, we don't contribute more than the UK, 40bm for the UK and 30 for France in all between 1986-2005, but it's definitely in the same ball park, our situation is pretty close, and as I was saying and you agreed with, we are indeed net contributors and have always been.

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  • 166. At 2:31pm on 28 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @159.democracythreat wrote:
    "Good luck with that".

    Thanks.

    And good luck with your campaign, too. I think you're going to need it.

    (Were those words short enough for you, or should I use baby-talk?)

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  • 167. At 2:36pm on 28 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @163. MarcusAureliusII

    Homer

    The needle's stuck.

    Better yet, change the record - puleeeeeze.

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  • 168. At 3:04pm on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #165. At 2:00pm on 28 Aug 2010, Cracklite,

    Thanks for correcting your position on France's status, it's not often posters do that. What is interesting if you have found the document I mentioned, is to play with the rebate and CAP part of the EU budget, and as I mentioned in a recent post the CAP amounts to 43.3% of the EU budget and France gets 19.2% of that. Were the CAP to go or largely go the impact on the money France receives (EU expenditure) will be large as up to 10.01 billion Euro that France currently receives would be lost.

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  • 169. At 4:14pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    torpor, I think most Europeans mistake the civility and politeness most Americans habitually display in their engagement with them for us agreeing with and liking them. It must come as a surprise therefore to encounter an American who is willing to be just as uncivil and impolite as many Europeans are and to tell them to their faces what we say about them behind their backs. If you don't believe me, just go back to the debate about health care in the US and see what many Americans had to say about European health care systems in general and the UK's NIH in particular. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Most Americans have written Europe off a long time ago.

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  • 170. At 4:16pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "So last week Mr Sarkozy interrupted his vacation and summoned his finance and budget ministers to the Fort of Bregancon. Projections of growth for next year, which were widely disbelieved, were scaled back from 2.5% to 2.00%."

    I never realized France produced that much cheese.

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  • 171. At 4:24pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Torpor to understand what the world is really all about, look at this;

    http://www.nationmaster.com/red/pie/eco_gro_nat_inc-economy-gross-national-income

    The US is one third of the entire world. Add in Japan and that is half the world. The rest are also rans, Lilliputians that are only of any importance collectively but not individually. That's the rationale behind the EU too.

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  • 172. At 5:55pm on 28 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #170. At 4:24pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII,

    As Charles De Gaulle once said "How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?"

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  • 173. At 5:59pm on 28 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    torpare

    Re #164

    "..scurrilous.."

    No worse than You in #112 trying tell me I "..should be deeply ashamed..".

    You don't like 'scurrilous' then don't attempt to describe me as some sort of village idiot even if You dress it up as a perceptive Leninist tid-bit.

    It may be Your opinion that the Israeli Government uses 'anti-Semitism' 'cynically' etc., but then You may well be one of those taken in by the crocodile tears of the Mid-East Arab Leadership about the fate of the unfortunate Palestinians - - You know those same States' Governments who constantly deploy, deeply cynical tactic of trying to neutralize any and all criticism of their actions (to say nothing of their Governance) - - from any direction - - by labelling it as motivated by anti-Arab/anti-Muslim/anti-Palestinian (take Your pick).

    It seems to me that 60 years without a Homeland for the Palestinians is a tad too long to be putting the blame so partially at Tel Aviv's door. What have the Mid-East Leadership done for decade after decade if not exploit their desparate & displaced Palestinian kinfolk to wage wars against Israel, wars on each other & force the diaspora on Palestinians to suit their unstable internal 'politics'.

    Don't try to lecture me on the "wearing of blindfold" & "..drip-feed.." propaganda where the Mid-East is concerned unless You are prepared to take a very long and considered approach to which Nations' Leadership have blood, misery & shame on their hands in a 60 year perverted turf-war.

    You can "..flatly disagree" as much as You like, but that doesn't make it any less obvious that You have taken the side of anti-Israel: You've done it despite a welter of evidence that Israel and all the many other sides are equally, utterly at fault in this grotesque, running sore (establishing a Palestinian Homeland) on the World's conscience.
    For You to defend the EU Foreign Rep is fine by me - - I just wish You and Ashton/Brussels could raise their game a bit - - there's an entire Peoples without a Homeland, another Peoples threatened on all sides, and a bunch of unimaginative, faith-based nutcases in-charge of each!

    Ever considered that what is needed is NOT to take sides at all about what is a 'good' or 'bad' decision?
    Because, let's face it, it's all about extremely bad 'Politics' as none of their Leadership really want a solution.

    Just what would the USA's 'Arms' Manufacturer & 'pro-Jewish' Business lobby do without a Palestinian v Israeli conflict?
    When Israel doesn't have a warring neighbourhood how long will the extremist Orthodox Jewish communities be able to sustain their clap-trap 'promised from God' excuses for land-grab settlements etc.?
    Where does Iran's President find the next enemy to justify his violence against his own People, funding terrorism and hostility to nearest neighbours if the Palestinians have a Nation of their own?
    Which Al Qaeda-Fundamentalist Islamic terror group gets to recruit the gullible with the Jihad slogan, 'Palestinians have a Homeland!'?
    How long do Saudi, Egypt & the rest of the Un-Democratic Mid-East regimes get to last once they can't peddle 'faith'-based crowd control of the masses in their ghettoes because the Palestinians have attained what those millions of ordinary Arabs aspire to - - a decent, civilised life in their Homelands?

    If you're willing - - which I always think a possibility with anyone - - to open Your mind You might like to take several steps back and consider normanfinkelstein, Haaretz etc. are all available to us all for interpretation: Only those who have taken a simple view could imagine for one moment that they are bringing new ideas forward when this issue is 60 years old and shows no sign of slowing down.

    To quote from lenin, "Bread, Peace, Land!"

    Very prescient, but then also about as obvious as the nose on each of our faces.

    I reckon as a glib, recruiting slogan it fairly much encapsulates the basic wishes of the masses in endangered Israel, the huddled, impoverished Palestinian Camps, and the unrepresented, downtrodden Arab States.

    So, why hasn't 'Bread, Peace, Land' emerged after 60 years?
    Well, it wouldn't be the fault of those 'masses'. That leaves the Leadership. The lot You seem to have overlooked in Your finely tuned, gesturing, right-on solidarity with the dispossessed.

    IMO amongst those Leaders who have failed and are failing is an EU Leadership that leaps to pronounce judgement one way or the other: Ashton should keep its Foreign Policy opinions on the Mid-East well under wraps because nothing said on behalf of Brussels resonates as being in any way useful & productive for even 'Bread', much less 'Peace' and for sure not 'Land'.

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  • 174. At 6:04pm on 28 Aug 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    169. At 4:14pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "torpor, I think most Europeans mistake the civility and politeness most Americans habitually display in their engagement with them for us agreeing with and liking them. It must come as a surprise therefore to encounter an American who is willing to be just as uncivil and impolite as many Europeans are and to tell them to their faces what we say about them behind their backs. "

    It comes as a surprise that an old man can be so immature.
    Wah wah, the nasty Europeans dun called me names when I was in France, so now I'm going to call them names back.

    Go buy some tissues and come back when your done crying about it.

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  • 175. At 7:30pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Malefactor;

    "Wah wah, the nasty Europeans dun called me names when I was in France"

    At least get it right huh? I along with the others in my group were denied service in a place of public accomodation. That is a violation of the law here in the US. The reason was blatant anti-semitism. The perpetrators were German, those who stood around indifferent to it were French. It made me realize that nothing ever really changes in Europe. It's in the same place mentally that it was a hundred years ago and probabably will be a hundred years from now. The best thing America can do is write Europe off and move on, the world is a much bigger place and Europe has become unimportant to it.

    BTW, if you look at the chart carefully and understand it, you will see that China is far less important to the world's economy right now than the media portrays it and Japan is far more important. When you look at per capita GNI that fact becomes even more obvious. China is still a very impovrished place. That may be Europe's future.

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  • 176. At 8:20pm on 28 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #175

    I seem to recall this pathetic excuse being bandied around 6 months ago by you and countless times since. Your ability to regurgigate your bait betters any seagull i've ever seen. Will you ever move on? I'm guessing only when they are carrying you away from your laptop feet first. Lets hope theres a Dell factory in Hell...i'm certain there will be.

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  • 177. At 9:02pm on 28 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nonsense offramp;

    "I seem to recall this pathetic excuse being bandied around 6 months ago by you and countless times since."

    I went to Europe to get an education in ways that weren't possible in the US. That incident was one of my most instructive lessons. What brings it to mind was that it was so novel for me. But I guess for you it is nothing suprising, you probably see it every day where you live and exist. Judging from the postings on BBC in general and on the thread about the Roma that shouldn't come as a surprise.

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  • 178. At 9:52pm on 28 Aug 2010, SleepyDormouse wrote:

    #143. At 09:04am on 28 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    - - - - - - - -
    Sorry, I've been out today. Thanks for looking at the website I suggested. I appreciate it.

    Yes, BM wants reform and believes MMT reflects the reality of monetary and fiscal transactions etc and it should be used as the basis for monetary and fiscal decisions. Not sure I agree with absolutely everything, but I do agree about most of what he says. In particular, he shows throughout his blog that mainstream theory is full of inaccuracy. I don't see how good decisions can be made in these circumstances by our politicians and the central bank; certainly not the correct decisions to guide us all out of our present economic mess.

    Sorry you didn't like the site that much, but it took a while for me to get into it and understand what his ideas were and what he wanted to do. Keep reading if and when you can, it maybe that you will be converted to his way of thinking.

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  • 179. At 00:10am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #175 MarcusAurellius

    You are a bit vague about the discrimination you experienced -could you expand on it ?

    If it happened in the 60´s discrimination was the rule rather than the exception in the South and in the 70´s it had in no way disappeared ---Laws or no Laws.

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  • 180. At 01:01am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #153 Buzet and CBW

    I told you what would happen if the subsidies stopped- and even linked some recipients names for you. Yet you are still harking on Billions and Millions ?

    CBW -- I am still not impressed by your undeserved pride --nor can I (and obviously many Brits), understand it.

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  • 181. At 03:10am on 29 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    QOT, I've been over this road a thousand times. Look it up in my old postings.

    "If it happened in the 60´s discrimination was the rule rather than the exception in the South and in the 70´s it had in no way disappeared ---Laws or no Laws."

    It happened in the 70s....in the south....of France. I have no doubt under the same circumstances it would happen again today exactly as it happened then. Nothing in Europe ever really changes...except for the worse.

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  • 182. At 08:32am on 29 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #180. At 01:01am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    "#153 Buzet and CBW

    I told you what would happen if the subsidies stopped- and even linked some recipients names for you. Yet you are still harking on Billions and Millions ?

    CBW -- I am still not impressed by your undeserved pride --nor can I (and obviously many Brits), understand it."

    It would seem hard figures go way above your head, but then I'm not surprised from your comments and the fixations you espouse. No doubt you think only recipients linked to the Royal family or conservatives would rebel and that the many landed Liberals and Labour gentry would not, as they all receive funds, as does most if not all farmers. Then again you as always ignore the numbers in Europe who are Royal, right of centre, centre, left of centre who also would lose their subsidies, why no mention of them, since of the EU CAP budget 92.7% goes elsewhere than the UK. You should be more concerned with who receives the 19.2% of the CAP budget for France or could it be that it's your friends the Socialists.

    As for "I told you what would happen if the subsidies stopped", what crass arrogance, at best it's just your theory, at worst it is a reflection of your fixation with Royalty and the UK and has no more value than a damp squid.

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  • 183. At 10:12am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #181 MarcusAurellius

    With your thousands of postings it is no easy matter and if I remembered a full description of the events, I would not have asked you.

    I do not take any discrimination lightly and French collaboration in deportations is well known --How did the perpetrators know you (or others in your group ) were Jewish ?





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  • 184. At 11:11am on 29 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #183

    God no, please spare us another recanting of the Great Event by marcusadnauseous. There are long-lost Amazonian tribes who've heard this story.

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  • 185. At 11:38am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #182 Buzet

    I have given sufficient British web- links to more than suggest the social organization and politics of Britain and the future direction with respect to the EU it could (or does) take --independently from the apparent will of the voters.

    The perpetual class struggle which both yourself and other contributors adhere to - is Britains main restriction to ever achieving some semblance of Social justice for the majority of the population -and is no positive addition either to the EU or Britain itself.

    Other European and Scandinavian countries (within and without) the EU have much more developed socio-politics than the 19th Century and Colonial mentalities still dominating discussions both within Britain and on this blog.

    When Cameron took office, CBW bitterly complained that the British government did an about-turn on the EU -- naivety rules.

    The only way for Brits to leave the EU -- is feet first -and it will be over your dead bodies.

    ALL British governments HAVE and WILL see to that --Look for the reasons within Britain and not elsewhere.



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  • 186. At 11:58am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #184 Commonsense_expressway

    Sorry, but I really don´t know -- and it is important for me --so please do not discourage Marcus from posting.

    I experienced discrimination in Germany once in a small village pub (refusal to serve). Upon retuning to a German friends apartment, I told him of the incident and he replied the same happened to him at the same pub a few weeks before ---They just didn´t like strangers in town.

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  • 187. At 12:02pm on 29 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #185. At 11:38am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    "#182 Buzet

    I have given sufficient British web- links to more than suggest the social organization and politics of Britain and the future direction with respect to the EU it could (or does) take --independently from the apparent will of the voters."

    So far your links are either from far left activists, The Independent or other obvious left wing sources, in that sense you are no better than a Daily Mail reader as you only read what you want to hear. As for the EU countries having better Socio-Politics, you really are wearing rose tinted spectacles. The EU member states are riddled with vested interests covering all aspects of life. I'll give you a pertinent example, investigate how easy it is for an ordinary person to become a notary, you'll find this very important role in many countries is a closed family shop.

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  • 188. At 12:12pm on 29 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nonsense offramp;

    "There are long-lost Amazonian tribes who've heard this story."

    You've been keeping in touch with home I see.

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  • 189. At 12:18pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #187 Buzet

    I have lived in Britain and know the many closed family shops !

    Would you please stop proving my arguments and then deny you did!

    Perhaps we should discuss something neutral like density ?

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  • 190. At 12:24pm on 29 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #189

    "I have lived in Britain and know the many closed family shops !"

    Like what?

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  • 191. At 12:55pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #190 CE

    Work places and many possibilities either opened, closed or assisted by Freemasonary, school-ties and presumed ´social status´ by accent.

    The ´jobs for the boys´accusation is still prevalent. The recent MP expenses scandal and attitudes brought the social problems and class rivalry again into focus.

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  • 192. At 12:58pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #188 Marcus

    --at least give me a link to the full story ?

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  • 193. At 1:31pm on 29 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #185

    "..Cameron... reversal of policy on EU...cbw bitterly complained.."

    Total & utter poppycock by QOT. Not to put too fine a point on it, QOT is making up things (there's a far more succinct Englsh word to describe this attempted deception, but unsure I can use it).

    Contrary to QOT's false claim I wrote expressing satisfaction that Cameron & Hague's opening ventures into EUroLand had been clear warning shots that no more Treaties without a Referendum on them in UK/England.
    My exact words in 4 contribution from that early Con-LibDem Coalition days concerning relations with the EU were as follows:

    12 May - PM Cameron & EUrope - 10.40pm, I wrote, "..If a Treaty is required then a Referendum will be required in the UK/England by the new Con-Lib coalition: The Conservatives are unlikely in any circumstance to back any 'closer union' measures.."

    3 June - Britain's New Policy On EUrope - 7.45pm, In a lengthy piece I comment to QOT as part of a Learning & Developing exercise in how to present a viewpoint I included this line, "..Basically: The Brussels duck is plucked and flightless..".

    10 June - Clegg & Hague Do EUrope - 07.58a.m. - I wrote in reply to Mathiasen, "..the newspaper picked up on the stark fact is: Any changess to the Lisbon Treaty or attempt to introduce new Treaty applicable to the EU27 will require a Referendum among Britons.."

    16 June - Cameron Comes To EUrope - 12.23pm - commented, "..In other words Mr Cameron is just about sticking to his word to the electorate: In the meantime he & his Cabinet is displaying a pragmatic negotiating ploy in an attempt to foster better relations with the EU.."

    18 June - Cameron's First EUropean Summit - I noted, "Mr Hewitt reports PM Cameron 3 times said, '..red line.. no EUro for UK..' Excellent."

    Naturally enough not everything the Con-LibDem Coalition has done concerning the EU is to my complete satisfaction, but then there is a wider public and the interests of UK/England to be served. However, as I did not vote for that Coalition and never would do so, I can also confirm its policies with regard to the EU are very much along the lines envisaged by those of us who see UK/England withdrawal as the ultimate game-plan.

    Thus, the sad demise of QOT continues unabated:

    It is one thing for QOT to come up with spurious drivel concerning UK/England Governance.
    It is quite another for QOT to come up with totally unfounded & deliberate misuse of conmments by others on this Blog in a desparate hope to back his already outlandish trivia on important issues for all Europe.

    QOT: Whatever paltry credibility You did have just got shredded beyond ressurrection - - there is no satisfaction in the knowledge I need never again consider Your contribution stem from any integrity.

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  • 194. At 2:58pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #193 CBW

    Sorry can´t find my welcoming you into the EU club contribution after Cameron´s double-talk.

    #68 Brown, Cameron, Clegg etc. 9.13pm 24 April 2010 is the closest I can presently find to your bitter naive complaining at that time.


    I am presently occupied with Marcus´ discrimination story- also difficult to find --any shortcuts anyone ???

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  • 195. At 5:12pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #193 CBW

    Your stated belief that a discussion on how 60 million EU members are governed is trivia, hardly puts less populous members of the union in an enviable position.

    Nor does it pay compliments to your oft demonstrated Nationalistic pseudo integrity.

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  • 196. At 5:54pm on 29 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #191

    "Work places and many possibilities either opened, closed or assisted by Freemasonary, school-ties and presumed ´social status´ by accent."

    Is that what you've experienced personally? A specific example or two from your time in the UK would help me understand.

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  • 197. At 6:56pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #196 CE

    Nothing will make you understand --if you ´Don´t know by now´

    -- as you feign(?) proper ignorance ?

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  • 198. At 7:20pm on 29 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    OK QOT, Because and only because it will bore everyone else here, one more time.

    In the spring of 1973 while I was a student in Bordeaux France a group of us, Americans and Canadians went to an industrial trade fair in a place called Le Lac on the outskirts of Bordeaux. When we worked up an appetite after a few hours we went to a Rathskellar there which was run by Germans. We waited our turn to be seated but we were not, in fact many people arrived after us and were seated, served, ate and left. After awhile it was clear we would not be served. I could only surmise that it was because some of the group was Jewish but how the Germans knew is beyond me, none of them were wearing any religious clothing. (I considered maybe they just didn't like people who spoke English but I dismissed that idea as unlikely.) I became outraged and made a little speech in French to the French patrons about how if you eat with pigs, you will become a pig but nobody seemed to care. We left. I wondered at the time that even though WWII had been over for 28 years whether or not there wasn't still time to bomb them. To this day I don't understand why we defended any of them against the USSR at great cost and risk to ourselves or why we made so much sacrifice to rebuild them. In my view we should just have walked away when Hitler was defeated and let them deal with the aftermath among themselves just the way we did after WWI.

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  • 199. At 7:39pm on 29 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #197

    "-- as you feign(?) proper ignorance "

    No need for abuse.I simply want to understand what experiences you have had in Britain that brought you to the conclusions you draw. In #190 you were the one who said you "know" this by being in Britain. Just tell us what you "know", its a pretty simple question.

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  • 200. At 7:47pm on 29 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #191. At 12:55pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree,

    (and #196. At 5:54pm on 29 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway,)

    There is a Freemasonry link in many EU member states but what QOT has not yet realised is that it is the Grand Orient, this was a Socialist inspired breakaway a long time ago and notes many French, Belgian, Dutch etc left of centre politicians as members. One of the first things I noted when arriving on the mainland was how important it was to know the right people and guess what, most were members of the Grand Orient or similar. In all the years I worked in the UK I never encountered any form of pecuniary advantage gained by members of the regular Freemasons and I knew quite a few, but the irregular Socialist equivalent, that's another story. If you think I'm joking just look at the innocent Scouts, your Socialist friends call them a military organisation and make life very difficult in a number of ways, but the Socialist woodfolk, who are the same, well they're perfect. Your beloved Socialists have a habit of criticising the non-Socialist organisations and creating their own which are of course perfect (to benefit of the party and its members of course).

    You QOT are truly a case, and personify at best the expression there are none so blind who can see, at worst well the mods would refer this.

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  • 201. At 7:59pm on 29 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    QOT,

    You may also be interested, if you can bear it, to take a look at a history of Freemasonry on the Continent that I found a year or two ago whilst researching the influence of Socialist Freemasonry on the Continent [http://www.rglb-glrb.org/documents/historiek/vrijmetselarij-op-het-continent.xml?lang=en]

    You may then verify what was said and comment on the extent of Social-Political justice on the continent when so much is controlled and organised behind the scenes.

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  • 202. At 8:01pm on 29 Aug 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    198. Mockus de Sade

    It is obvious to me that since (according to you) there were no indications of religious inclinations. The likely trouble was that the Maitre d' looked into your eyes to that cold dark soul and told his associates to "leave this one alone, he's bad to the bone".

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  • 203. At 8:06pm on 29 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #198

    (I considered maybe they just didn't like people who spoke English but I dismissed that idea as unlikely.)

    You dismissed this ^^ and yet "surmised" that it must be anti-semitism, despite your self-admission that there was no evidence to support it? I hate to tell you this but I think you've just lived a 40 year lie.

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  • 204. At 9:27pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #198 MarcusAurellius

    Thanks for the re-telling.

    I had problems bringing Ratskeller and South of France together.

    In Britain I was verbally thrown out of a restaurant once, as my group overstayed the 2 hour maximum time allotted --it lowered my estimation of those who accepted it quite a bit.

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  • 205. At 9:44pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #199 CE

    I was expected to participate -- more at present I will not say.

    At a flea-market I found a booklet with a few of the Freemasons secrets --how to shake hands etc.--- the combination was fun but also in a way depressing.

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  • 206. At 9:48pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Buzet

    Help ! help ! Help !

    My Tomatoes are Communist-- Yesterday they were Green !!!!!


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  • 207. At 10:00pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Buzet

    I wonder how many contributors are Freemasons who with one trouser-leg rolled up promised to cut the tongue out of secret divulgers ?

    You have such friends ?

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  • 208. At 10:20pm on 29 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #206. At 9:48pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree,

    Indeed you do need help as you do seem to be as green as grass as to what actually goes on, you being so preoccupied with only one side of the coin. Being so fixated you ignore the faults that lie within your own pattern of beliefs and throw accusations about things you have little knowledge. Your comment in #191 was a good example of that, as it's clear you knew little or nothing about how strong the Socialist irregular masonry is on the continent, and by the way there is little that is secret about them as it's easy to find all variations on the web.

    #185 "Other European and Scandinavian countries (within and without) the EU have much more developed socio-politics than the 19th Century and Colonial mentalities still dominating discussions both within Britain and on this blog." Now just where is that developed socio-politics you mention?

    P.S, when you actually meet someone in the UK that still believes in the colonial era and has a colonial mentality let us know which psychiatric hospital they were in and how you came to meet them.

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  • 209. At 10:40pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    buzet

    1. no web in those days.

    2. ´more developed´ --see #185

    3. Gavin Hewitt´s Geriatric.

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  • 210. At 10:48pm on 29 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #207. At 10:00pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree,

    Once again your lack of knowledge shines through as in 1986 The Grand Lodge of England removed the candidate's speaking out of the traditional physical penalties. This and the ceremony of initiation are in so many web articles you are spoilt for choice, there was even a BBC documentary about it a couple of years ago and the ceremony was shown.

    Yes I do know a number of Freemasons, both regular and irregular plus a number who are freethinkers (laicite) which is a similar sort of thing. On top of that you may wish to look at the numerous craft guilds that exist or have existed throughout Europe as they are very similar indeed in terms of ceremonies, symbolism etc. Now today you have learnt something.

    As to how many on this blog are in one of the many forms of masonry how would any of us know.

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  • 211. At 10:50pm on 29 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    At last the mystery is solved for we recent posters. Thanks to MA2 for his posting @198.

    What puzzles me is that as this entirely unpleasant and unwarrented incident occurred 28 years after the end of WW11 why MA2 thinks the Yanks should have walked in 1945? I'm having difficulty linking the time scales. Maybe I'm thick.

    On the scale of things it does seem to be an event with a degree of significance that is out of all proportion to some of MA2's more vitriolic comments about Europe and Europeans in general.

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  • 212. At 11:18pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Buzet

    -- Are the handshakes, foot positions, bowing and `jobs for the boys´also banned ?

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  • 213. At 11:42pm on 29 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    (Open question to other posters)

    #204#205#206#207#209#212

    Does anybody have a clue what this guy is going on about?

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  • 214. At 11:51pm on 29 Aug 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    198 Homer Simpson
    No, I don't buy the story that you weren't served because of being Jewish. If you wore no distinguishing clothing, how were they supposed to know just by looking at you? Maybe they were put off by your loud and overbearing manner which often typified Americans of the period visiting Europe and caused a lot of resentment.
    However, your consequent loathing of all things European because of this one incident is laughable in a grown man. So is, if I may say so, your remark that you thought bombing them , or in other words killing them, might be an appropriate retaliation for being refused service in a restaurant. It is depressing to note that you and many of your countrymen still think that bombing people across the globe who don't share your world view is a justifiable response.

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  • 215. At 00:06am on 30 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    @213 commonsense_expressway

    I think he/she,(you musn't make assumptions you naughty boy/girl),is a quasi-intellectual with underlying doubts about his/her own sanity who is seeking solice in the blog to calm his/her insecurity about the influence of masonic culture in a post modern society as to how it may affect someone with a tendancy to roll up their trouser legs and dance on the table top to a morris dancing tune.

    Otherwise - no!

    Have a good bank holiday.

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  • 216. At 00:25am on 30 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #211 EBAHGUM

    I do not know how much knowledge you have of WW11, but few European countries were not involved in some way with assisting the Holocaust on Jews and Gypsies. Some were active and some passive. The trauma of such inhumanity will continue into future generations. France has not really come to grips even today with its role in this dark period of European history and I must admit I have also little patience with those who down-play, deny it -- or claim superiority in any way. Simple discrimination is often not that simple.

    The de-nazification was effective in West Germany, but as we see today, it would not do some other countries any harm to have it introduced in some form.

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  • 217. At 00:38am on 30 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    @214 margaret howard

    I'm not sure that using your intellect to argue with this pleb is worth your time.
    I suspect he'd say up is down if it kept a debate going.
    He's already achieved his unique "moniker".
    You do not need to honour him with an additional one.

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  • 218. At 01:02am on 30 Aug 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    @216 QOT
    I'm not sure how to interpret your response to my posting at 211.

    If I caused you any offence, I apologise. None was intended.

    If I have the time I will go back through some of MA2s earlier postings to try and gain a fuller perspective of his opinions.

    I am not a "scholar" of WW11 but as a member of the baby boomer generation I am well aware that the impact of the holocaust was brought to the attention of the allied powers long before any effective action was taken against the Nazi regime.



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  • 219. At 01:26am on 30 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Peggy?

    How did the Germans in the Rathskellar know who is and who isn't Jewish. How did French people know that a young scruffy looking guy with a beard and mustasche as deliberately dissheveled as they were was an American and would for example walk up to me if I was looking at a can in a supermarket and ask in broken English if I wanted them to explain it to me, I not having said a word? An eerie experience. They just seemed to know. Facial features, clothing, body language, who knows? But in the Rathskellar there was no doubt and no amount of second guessing by others will convince me otherwise. I know what happened, I know what I saw, I was there, they didn't have to explain it to me.

    How did I know that at a fancy country club restaurant the group I was with from my company wasn't served because one of our number was black? (It wasn't because some of the group were Jewish becuase one of the people we were with who was Jewish and had eaten there just a few days earlier.) After you sit around for two hours and they don't take your order while other people walk in, are seated, served and leave it suddenly dawns on you why. If it ever happens to you, you will know and understand. I told you I learned a lot in Europe. I learned the meaning of hatred and discrimination for reasons of race, religion, and ethnicity first hand. It was no longer an abstraction.

    I also learned that Europeans are incourageable. The previous thread about the Roma and all the things Europeans wrote not just about them but about their pet prejudices is just one of countless pieces of evidence for it I've witnessed throughout my life. That is reason alone why Americans should not have gotten involved with them after WWII.

    IMO Europeans are by and large pompous asses who think they are smarter and better educated than everyone else, certainly smarter and better educated than Americans. History and experience however leads to exactly the oppposite conclusion. Even when Europeans are smart, innovative, and clever, they often have to come to America to contribute to society by going to a place where they are allowed to exploit their talents for their own betterment. Their best and brightest usually wind up here, often permanently.

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  • 220. At 02:39am on 30 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    EGUM;

    "I am not a "scholar" of WW11"

    While it is not necessary to be a scholar of WWII, if you want to understand the world as it is today, studying WWII including its underlying causes, the events that led up to it, and how it played out is indespensible. It was the most important and influential event in the 20th century. It has affected every life since including how America developed. I really don't see how anyone could escape it considering how many books, movies, TV programs and other material have been produced and widely disseminated about it.

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  • 221. At 03:55am on 30 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    186. At 11:58am on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    " ...
    I experienced discrimination in Germany once in a small village pub (refusal to serve). Upon retuning to a German friends apartment, I told him of the incident and he replied the same happened to him at the same pub a few weeks before ---They just didn´t like strangers in town."

    EUpris: I lived in Germany for ten years and travelled widely. I have never experienced anything like that. I have been back recently a number of times and have still not experienced anything like that. In particular, I have found people in Berlin to be very friendly and helpful. I do have some negative things to say about some Germans - a minority. I also have some negative things to say about the Brits.

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  • 222. At 07:51am on 30 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #212. At 11:18pm on 29 Aug 2010, quietoaktree,

    Ask your Socialist paymasters who specialise in such things as jobs for the boys, and I've yet to find a country that doesn't suffer from this with politicians who reward their mates. Look at Bliar and McClown and the number of jobs and honours they awarded during their reign.

    PS. Golf clubs, which are non-masonic, are very interesting as to getting advantages I've heard, were you black balled by one, or maybe you've received the ultimate accolade and been black balled by a Socialist masonic lodge.

    #221. At 03:55am on 30 Aug 2010, EUprisoner209456731,

    Likewise my experience in one area of Germany where I worked for a year, my only comment is that it took a long time before I became a 'local', but when that happened, during carnival BTW, it became no different to anywhere. The Germans just seem to be very reserved, that's all.

    #198 MAII,

    I guess being American and arrogant you've never heard of the need to book in advance especially if you are a large party as you seem to have been part of in 1973. You probably expected to be able to walk into a busy resto and if there were not enough seats to have the customers ejected so that you could eat, such is the arrogance of you and many of your compatriots.

    Incidentally, the brain drain to the USA ended with the sacking of the Labour government in the 70's and their disastrous 'soak the rich' taxation policy. Since then its usually been specialists like IT consultants who have gone there, for them it was the money, for the USA it was because their home grown staff were of poor quality as I know only too well having worked for several US companies and dealt with their US based staff.

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  • 223. At 10:12am on 30 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #194 & #195 in reply to my #193

    I take QOT's 2 comments as a clear admission by QOT that he was at best in total error about me in his very misleading #185 contribution.

    This is symptomatic of at least portions of many of QOT's comments: Inventions & allegations bearing little or no contact/relation with the reality of the modern UK & EU.

    Not that it has stopped QOT from immediastely attempting another gross deception:
    E.g. From QOT at #195, "...your stated belief that a discussion on how 60 million EU members are governed is trivia, hardly puts less populous members of the union in an enviable position.."

    Whereas the actual words from my #193 were, "..It is one thing for QOT to come up with spurious drivel concerning UK/England Governance.."

    For assuredly, as with his previous contributions, QOT's recent allegations resemble the paucity of fact/reality at core of his unrealistic offerings.
    E.g. with the lies about my '..bitterly complaining..(#185)' so, nowhere at any time was anything of the sort written by me as proven at #193.

    By such duplicity, culpable misconception & deliberate antagonism on important issues QOT as a professed EU supporter & defender makes a substantial job of at best reducing trust in and/or reasons for the EU.
    QOT's continued failure to address issues raised by myself & others concerning matters in other EU Nations further reduces his impact. Providing copious 'links' allegedly as expose of UK deficiencies without substantive commentary or validation does not stand as a method of proof on any topic.

    Combining all the above completes an impression of QOT incapable of sustaining any viewpoint by reason & logic. I repeat my #193 closing remarks, 'I need never again consider any QOT contribution stem from integrity'.

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  • 224. At 10:55am on 30 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    EUPris

    Re #221 & 'ngeative' things to say about nationalities.

    This is one of my points throughout all these Blogs: It is why I pick up on such grossly over-simplified & plainly absurd carte blanche labelling of entire Nations (e.g. from Nik, MAII, QOT..).

    In a 40 year work experience across 5 continents (admitted Europe & Asia a lot more) in 3 careers I found good, bad, & indifferent amongst them all as doubtless those folk found with me personally and those Brits/English with me.

    It just astonishes me when the Greek can attempt to label & tar every Albanian, Turkish with a gross slander, or a supposed 'class' of English on the strength of anecdotal stories, hyperbolic hearsay & the odd, adverse personal experience!?
    It utterly perplexes me MAscaridII can be so contemptuous of all 600,000,000 Europeans when daily some of the same emigrate to the USA... do they suddenly get American-feel-good factor, never his inability to recognise 'humanity' starts in your own backyard!?

    My personal belief is that the Governments of France & Germany have as a deliberate and concerted axis-of-ill-intent policy since the Treaty of Rome been attempting a bloodless longterm 'political' take-over of all continental Europe & the British Isles.
    This hegemony is very much to France & Germany's political-economic benefit. To accomplish it the nations must ensure 2 key things coincide with their advance:
    1) portions of their achievement can be fed down in sufficient amounts to the Citizens, and,
    2) whilst their elected Governments/Leaderships fall for the blandishments of 'authority', 'power' & 'wealth' a centralised entity offers.

    None of that personal political-perspective/belief gives me cause or reason to dislike the average French or German Citizen anymore than any other nationality. I've visited both regularly over decades as with much of 'west' Europe (occasionally 'east' though more Russia) Certainly, no more reason to think anything other than fair & reasonably of French & Germans I do not even know and who surely are in among my good, bad, indifferent experiences in any Nation.

    E.g. Dumb: 1970s I met US Soldiers who berated UK for being in Ireland and who were unable to distinguish there were 2 Irelands, or that approx 1 million 'protestant' Irish were so-called 'loyalist', and could not believe as 'protestants' Americans they had at times donated to a 'catholic' based IRA!
    E.g. Superior: 1980s I met a chap in Hong Kong who could do Rubic's Cube in under 11 seconds - - well, it impressed me (10mins & still only 1 side) - - I also met an Egyptian female doctor who related she was from a family of 12, self-educated & had broke her parents' heart refusing 3 'very good' offers from prominent, wealthy men!
    E.g. Average: 1999 - - I met a mixed bunch of Australians on Manly Beach who invited me to their 'barbie' that lasted 3 days & nights - - during the course of some extreme drinking, eating, dancing etc. we volubly & vehemently discussed everything from 'ants' to 'zulus', but no one laid a finger on another - - in Aussieland - - amazing!?

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  • 225. At 11:10am on 30 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @198. MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "...or why we made so much sacrifice to rebuild them".
    You didn't make ANY sacrifice, let alone "so much". I wish you could get the most elementary facts right for once! However, you would have been absolutely correct had you referred us instead to the sacrifice America most certainly did make in Europe - REAL sacrifice, of her young soldiers' blood, as opposed to money - during WWII. Then I could've heartily agreed with you.

    But, as usual, you picked the wrong target because your vision is clouded by all the preconceptions you carry in your head.

    This for instance:
    "How did French people know that a young scruffy looking guy with a beard and mustasche as deliberately dissheveled as they were was an American and would for example walk up to me if I was looking at a can in a supermarket and ask in broken English if I wanted them to explain it to me, I not having said a word? An eerie experience".
    So, in your warped perspective, an attempt to help a foreigner assumed to be in need of help is "eerie". To anyone more normal it would be perceived as kind.

    and:
    "in the Rathskellar there was no doubt and no amount of second guessing by others will convince me otherwise. I know what happened, I know what I saw, I was there, they didn't have to explain it to me".
    That says it all really. Nothing will shake your boneheaded conviction that the whole group of you were excluded because "some of the group was Jewish" in spite of the fact that that theory is contradicted in the next breath by your own statement that they were physically indistinguishable from their companions. I'd call that paranoia: you might just as "reasonably" have jumped to the conclusion that it was because some of the group were Canadians, or that (not being able to tell the difference and assuming you were all Americans) the owner didn't like Americans for some reason, or chose to seat his "regulars" first - or even that the customers seated before you had booked a table whereas your group hadn't. It could even have been that he was assuming you would want to be seated as a group and for that to be possible at a busy time meant your having to wait - if so, high-handed I would agree but scarcely warranting paranoia.

    Still, people here would say that whatever the reason the treatment you describe was indefensible and that you were quite right to feel affronted. But did you have to become a crashing bore ever after, as a consequence of an unpleasant incident three decades ago? Instead of deft thrusts, clever tactics, impregnable defence, which even an opponent might admire, you flail about with a worm-eaten wooden sword that even a mouse would laugh at, endlessly belabouring the same target - which you haven't realized is beside the point - in the same fashion.

    You kid yourself you're puncturing illusions - illusions we don't have. Nobody is quite so stupid as to believe that European society has no faults, and I don't believe that you're so stupid either as to think so - although you pretend to because that's your "justification" for having appointed yourself critic-in-chief.

    "I became outraged and made a little speech..." - so, no change there then - ",,,in French to the French patrons about how if you eat with pigs, you will become a pig but nobody seemed to care" - or there either.

    No, you're just on a never-ending ego-trip of your very own. All that achieves is to put everybody else off but you still haven't got that message.

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  • 226. At 12:08pm on 30 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    torpor, in addition to the blood and treasure spent by Americans to defeat the Nazis and the Marshall plan to prevent mass starvation and death from exposure after the war, what I was referring to was a drastic change in American tax laws which allowed one way favorable trade and investment by American companies in Western Europe. This encouraged these huge wealth generating engines to invest in Europe and gave Europe free access to the largest market in the world, the US while Europe was allowed to keep high protectionist barriers against American and other imports. This was a major sacrifice by American workers and taxpayers. Something similar was done for Japan although I think most Japanese companies were home grown. For example, when I lived in France a 13" Sony TV set cost about $350 in the US, over $700 in France. It was justified under the rationale that it was in America's security interest to rebuild Europe and Japan to keep them from falling prey to the USSR and avoiding yet another Eruopean and Asian bloodbath. This for example is why the UK was given a huge loan at 2% with something like a 50 year payback because it wasn't known how long the process would take. (This was like giving away money because by the time it was paid off, inflation had eroded all of its value, it became a mere token payback.)

    Europeans actually believe they recovered on their own when that could hardly be further from the truth. America now needs the jobs, industries, tax revenues, and technologies it so freely allowed to flow outward from the US back home. This is the policy the US should pursue, one of protectionism and taxation of corporate taxes for any and all wealth they acquire outside the US even if it means leaving the WTO. I think the Obama administration is headed in that direction. It just isn't far enough or fast enough so far. We should also jetison all other trade and defense treaties like NAFTA, the UN, and NATO. They are unnecessary and espensive luxuries that work against the interest of Americans.

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  • 227. At 12:19pm on 30 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @224. cool_brush_work wrote:
    "My personal belief is that the Governments of France & Germany have as a deliberate and concerted axis-of-ill-intent policy since the Treaty of Rome been attempting a bloodless longterm 'political' take-over of all continental Europe & the British Isles.
    This hegemony is very much to France & Germany's political-economic benefit".

    Well, it's a point of view, and one undoubtedly shared by many.

    However I'd suggest that one thing wrong with it is your inclusion of the British Isles within the scope of the presumed hegemonic design. Isn't it the case rather that that's about the last thing your so-called "axis-of-ill-intent" would wish for (crediting the parties concerned with a modicum of sense)? I suggest that mostly they're completely uninterested in the UK except as a significant market (trade of course being unaffected one way or the other, it being trade - rather than love - that actually makes the world go round).

    But ascribing malevolence where there's only self-interest doesn't imo make for a convincing analysis. It's too tinged with conspiracy-theory for my liking.

    And it's belied by the fact that Britain could have had the moral and political leadership of Europe on a plate, with France's, Germany's, Italy's and Benelux's blessings, but Britain chose to walk away, thinking it beneath her, as a "great power", to tie herself to "the Continong".

    A laughable delusion, if it weren't tragic. After missing the boat - and especially after Suez - Britain tried to scramble on board but by the time she made it it had changed course, in a radically different direction, steered by your "axis-of-ill-intent". The rest, as they say, is history.

    That, at any rate, is the way I see it. But I didn't think that up all by myself - I based it on what I've read, written by people a lot better-informed than me. But of course there are always a myriad of different angles on such a complex subject, and no one, definitive, answer. "You pays your money..." etc.

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  • 228. At 12:46pm on 30 Aug 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    > what I was referring to was a drastic change in American tax laws which
    > allowed one way favorable trade and investment by American companies in
    > Western Europe.

    This does not make any sense at all. The laws of capitalism dictate that subsidies of this kind eventually work to the detriment of the subsidised party. For instance, the German coal industry, one of the most heavily subsidised industries in that country, would not be able to exist in its current shape and form without the subsidies. It would have to slim down in order to be competitive. There are reasons for doing things like this. Some industries are kept "ineffective" like that and deliberately work to a deficit, for instance, in order to provide other industries with cheap coal or metal.

    By the same token, the European car industry would not have become more successful than the American car industry if it had been dependent on American tax payers' money. Incidentally, the European car industry is largely "home grown".

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  • 229. At 1:49pm on 30 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @226.MarcusAureliusII

    Phew!

    I understood all of that, and disgreed with every word, but most especially: "Europeans actually believe they recovered on their own...". I've no doubt that, in a population the size of Europe's, many people ignorant of their own history are to be found - just as in every other part of the planet. But to generalize so sweepingly in the way you so constantly do is absurd.

    Anyone who knows anything knows full well that the Marshall Plan kick-started - as it was so far-sightedly designed to - Western Europe's economic and social recovery from the devastation left by the war. No question. Equally there's no question that its motivation was the purest self-interest - and quite right too! - and that it was explicitly on that basis that it was sold to Congress.

    At least you make your overall political orientation perfectly clear, and for once without ranting (for which much thanks). As already said, I think that you and those who think like you - of whom there are quite a few lurking in the backwoods, yearning for an arcadia they believe once existed but which of course never did and never will - are utterly mistaken both in your analysis and your prescription.

    That being my view you and I can obviously never agree, about anything probably. But we can still have a civilised discussion - as we are having now. I suggest - provided we observe certain "rules of engagement".

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  • 230. At 2:11pm on 30 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    torpare

    Re #227

    I find it fascinating, not to say more than a little worrying: The ability of the 'pro-EU' at the drop of a hat to recite where UK/England supposedly went 'wrong' in the 'past' and in the next breath so many of them condemn 'anti-EU' as nothing more than 'little englanders' who live in that 'past'!

    Strange mentality that finds fault with UK/England post-1918, post-1945 etc. and then complains about Britons/English who do not aspire to the post-1992/Maastricht EUropean Union.

    Apparently You can quote 'suez' & 'missed boats', but Britons/English mustn't have the temerity to take issue with Nice, Lisbon etc. or the wholly unrepresentative EU Parliament!?
    A 'laughable delusion' if ever there was one! That continental EUrope needs G.B. tied to its Brussels' political-economic apron-strings, anymore than UK/England needs the EU in order to survive politically & economically in the 21st Century.

    Of course 'self-interests' are at the heart of the matter at hand: They'd had 3 cataclysmic set-to's in less than 80 years that had finally led to the utter despoilation, bankruptcy and division of all Europe inc. Britain.
    Why shouldn't France have a re-think and finally grasp the fact, 'if France can't beat Germany then they had better join with them'.
    Joining on the most favourable terms imaginable was only possible circa mid-1950s; after that any politician with half-a-brain would know even as 'west' Germany the emerging economic power would be in Bonn & not Paris - - so, for France linking itself politically-economically to west Germany's coat-tails in order to be a prevailing National force in EUrope made absolute pragmatic sense.
    And, why & how could 'west' Germany have restored its tarnished image but in concert with its former greatest protagonist, France?
    Tack on the former battleground BeNeLux for good measure who would accept anything just so long as their Peoples didn't have to suffer anymore and there's a bright new future ahead for everyone.

    Truly a match made-in-Schumann's highest flight of political aspiration!

    The whole 'capitalist' World stood back & applauded this landmark in the affairs of mankind. For sure the USA saw the EC/EEC as a rational capitalist & military bulwark against the spread of communism from the occupied 'east' Europe.
    The stand-offish UK circa 1945-60ish had those delusions if 'imperial' might gradually diminish and by the early '70s it was in a political & economic place where membership of a fully regularised economic union (unlike EFTA) made a good deal of sense. Afterall, GB was in a military one, NATO, and the attractions of longterm, secure deals on Tariffs-Trade-Communication with Continental Europe were increasingly obvious.

    Thus the wider EEC came into being: What I find interesting is the way 'pro-EU' like to pretend some 15 years later nothing really altered after the fall of the Wall and collapse of communism.
    'Ever closer union' & its 'political-construct-child' the 'Maastricht' deal was always intended they proclaim. It is as though the Treaty of Rome 1957 had a road map of forthcoming events bringing everyone together in a mutual huddle of admiration post-1992.
    Except of course it was nothing of the sort: The European Economic Community was the legitimate torch-bearing result of the Treaty of Rome - - a very remarkable and thriving economic association - - one that I and millions more in Britain & elsewhere had voted for in the 1970s. No one had voted for a Maastricht much less a EUropean Union; indeed 2 founding Nations, France & Netherlands when given an opportunity to vote on this entirely new core-power immediately turned down its Constitution - - a fact EU-Brussels duly noted and made sure there were no more opportunities given to EUropean Citizens for such a show of defiance & support for individuality.

    The political-construct EU is a response to one Germany: It was France's only way to maintain the 'laughable delusional' fig-leaf that it was on a par with unified Germany and of course that too suits Germany who learnt from History Berlin has to be much less overt in its power-plays. The bit-players (and I inc. UK/England) were already up against making their views, needs known and acted on within the EEC, but within the EU they have almost no chance at all: Typical of the double-speak within the EU-Brussels entity is the trick of Lisbon making more areas open to Qualified Majority Voting - - this is supposed to increase democratic voice at the centre - - nothing of the sort is of course intended, for as QMV becomes more entrenched so the squeeze on smaller, vulnerable Nations becomes easier for the 'dual-axis-of-ill-intent' to have votes cast to suit their purpose.
    This is not to say France-Germany want to ride roughshod over every other member nation: Nothing of the sort - - they genuinely wish to take the others along with them - - they have a vision of an almighty EUrope the equal of the other great Economic-Political-Military power-regions. Where this all falls down is in the concept & construct of the present EU. The 'dual-axis' via Brussels will not allow for any policy other than ones they see it as fit-for purpose & in order to get their way have aggragated to the core Brussels's institutions an immensity of authority & power that Paris-Berlin need to further their ambition. To accomodate this 'political' change the 3 work in tandem as they see only continuing with the centralisation process will their views prevail. Their way is stifling of alternative political-economic thought, hostile to opposing viewpoint, and most definitely not condusive to Democracy prevailing at the Ballot box. Thus, post-Recession, Brussels now proclaims it must oversee National Budgets - - there is not one shred of evidence the Citizens called for this policy, not a hint any National Government was elected with this in its Manifesto, and yet... and yet... that is now the Policy the EU-Brussels has determined is the course of action for all EU27! It is only in the proposals stage, but the lesson of the last 20 years is that in the longterm centralisation is Paris-Brussels-Berlin only reaction to any and every issue.

    One point I do agree on, *..you pays your money..*, and then I part with You again, for I predict 2 years from now no one will be able to point to a single QMV result that does not follow the directly expressed views of Paris & Berlin: Naturally, there will be a fig-leaf of sorts to save every duplicitous Politicians' face... France & Germany will take it in turns to announce how the QM should VOTE & the really clever bit will be when they get a 3rd 'party' i.e. tiny Finland, or impressionable Spain, or even hard-up Greece to do the lobbying for them...

    As You so rightly said, 'Well, it's a point of view and no doubt shared by many,' only I assume You were meaning in UK/England whereas I believe that it is a view shared right across the EUropean Union by at least a good number of those 57% of Citizens who refused to Vote in the 2009 EU PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS.

    I suspect, like me, many of them know an anti-Democratic pig-in-a-poke when it looks, sounds, smells & acts like one, no matter whose perspective of 'history' is chosen as the starting point for what is here & now.

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  • 231. At 4:54pm on 30 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @230. cool_brush_work wrote:

    "Re #227

    I find it fascinating, not to say more than a little worrying: The ability of the 'pro-EU' at the drop of a hat to recite where UK/England supposedly went 'wrong' in the 'past' and in the next breath so many of them condemn 'anti-EU' as nothing more than 'little englanders' who live in that 'past'!

    Strange mentality that finds fault with UK/England post-1918, post-1945 etc. and then complains about Britons/English who do not aspire to the post-1992/Maastricht EUropean Union.

    Apparently You can quote 'suez' & 'missed boats', but Britons/English mustn't have the temerity to take issue with Nice, Lisbon etc. or the wholly unrepresentative EU Parliament!?
    A 'laughable delusion' if ever there was one! That continental EUrope needs G.B. tied to its Brussels' political-economic apron-strings, anymore than UK/England needs the EU in order to survive politically & economically in the 21st Century."

    Sorry cbw but you've got me completely baffled.

    I can't tell whether this purports to represent my views or is intended as a generalised portrait of what you see as the archetypal 'pro-EU' position. But I hope not the former because if so it's a totally inaccurate caricature and bears very little if any relation to what I've actually written. You advanced your "personal belief" in #224, with which I happen to disagree at least partly; I advanced a contrary opinion with which you're equally welcome to disagree.

    I do believe it was a mistake for Britain to cold-shoulder Europe in the '50's; but you too write:- "Joining on the most favourable terms imaginable was only possible circa mid-1950s", and that was my point precisely. A little further on you say:- "The whole 'capitalist' World stood back & applauded this landmark in the affairs of mankind. For sure the USA saw the EC/EEC as a rational capitalist & military bulwark against the spread of communism from the occupied 'east' Europe.
    The stand-offish UK circa 1945-60ish had those delusions if 'imperial' might gradually diminish and by the early '70s it was in a political & economic place where membership of a fully regularised economic union (unlike EFTA) made a good deal of sense. Afterall, GB was in a military one, NATO, and the attractions of longterm, secure deals on Tariffs-Trade-Communication with Continental Europe were increasingly obvious". I agree with pretty much all of that.

    So it seems we may not be so far apart after all in regard to what we would have wished had happened but didn't. And we appear to be in agreement that that was at least partly because Britain declined the opportunity to lead when it was offered.

    Whether or not your ultra-gloomy view about the future will be borne out we shall have to wait until the future to discover. If it is, I imagine that Britain will leave.

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  • 232. At 5:25pm on 30 Aug 2010, Mickalus wrote:

    231. At 4:54pm on 30 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    I entirely agree. I lament the fact that - for whatever reasons - the UK didn't and doesn't lead much more in the EU, choosing to instead to simly respond to the initiatives of others or to simply withdraw from a process - Schengen, the Euro. I can understand that the UK has had historical imperatives for many of these measures.

    Unfortunately, I believe in the current state of international affairs, and looking forward from them, that UK can no longer afford the luxury of ambivalence about the EU.

    I would most dearly hope that this is a policy which the Cameron/Clegg coalition will abrogate and engage the UK more fully with her partners, and I believe her future. I don't mean by this that UK join an already established love-in, but will establish her own with her Union partners and actively engage on all matters of EU policy, and seek to both persuade the greater consensus of people of the Union, and in turn be persuaded by it, in the necessary evolution of Europe. Much current policy is determined I believe because no-one sees past the group-think and presents progressive and palatable alternatives.

    I would at least hope that this coalition would mean the end of EU policy in the UK being determined by knee-jerk tabloid fears and diktats.

    Failing either, I also imagine the UK should and will leave.



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  • 233. At 5:50pm on 30 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    torpare

    Re 3231

    No, no intention to suggest it was Your 'views' though I used your own '..laughable delusion..' as a part of my riposte because as I pointed out at the start and indeed on the previous issue of Mid-East, one person's labelling can be applied in equal measure in return.

    I do indeed hold that many 'pro-EU' do repeatedly find fault with those of us who are 'anti-EU' on allegation grounds of harking after 'past' glories etc. Frankly, it is a tiresome side-track, but one we 'anti' are all familiar with as our debating points are ignored or dismissed so we can be more easily labelled 'little englanders', 'imperialists', 'ww2-fanatics' etc.

    So, if You are one who does not take that wholly unprincipled and unfounded view then all well & good for us both.

    It may be we share similar perspectives on much in the evolution of the EU: I imagine where I differ is that I truly believe it is the very best interests of at least England and preferably the entire UK (moribund though it is) withdraw from the Anti-Democratic, Un-Representative, Un-Accountable EU at the earliest possible moment.
    I would prefer all 4 Union Nations be given their independent Referendum on this issue: It seems to me the Democratic deficit is so great within the UK & the EU that only open, transparent consultation via the Ballot box on the wishes of all Citizen Electorate is the way to restore a belief in Democratic traditions that Citizens of Britain & Europe over the centuries have struggled so long and so hard to attain.

    Hence my gloom: There is no way this side of the universe the EU-Brussels' fanatics with so many venal, corrupt interests in maintaining the anti-Democratic status quo will ever again permit any form of legitimate Citizen Participation in any 'political-economic-judicial' policy-making.
    It could reform from within as some on these Blogs argue it will: It could realise it is headed into a political-economic cul de sac and that only by opening-up its access will the EU ebsure progression & advancement for all: Afterall, what is Brussels going to say or do about the next EP Voter Turnout if it drops even lower than 43% - - surely even the EU cannot claim Democratic legitimacy if only 1 in 5 Vote for its one suppossedly (YAWN!!!!) Democratic institution!?

    Then again, I sadly fear, it will only emerge in a new, democratc framework after very serious Civil disorder as the Citizens take 'reform' into their own hands!

    Time will tell.

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  • 234. At 6:44pm on 30 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re #220

    No, it was not WW2.

    The most 'important' and 'influential' event of the 20th Century was 1914-18 & WW1.

    From it: the 'old' Empires in Europe were crushed; aspiring new European nations originated; trans-continent Imperialism floundered, never to recover; the USA emerged as the supreme economic-industrial power with a military potential exercised in WW2; the USSR was founded in its wake & its Communism acquired one-third of the World by 1950; the political origins of 'Self-Determination'/'Nationalist' movements as far apart as China, India & parts of Africa & the Middle East began to form; Females became enfranchised across all advanced nations; Medicine, Technology, Science made advances that otherwise may have taken 25 to 50yrs; Oil & its products replaced coal as the staple of modernism; and most regrettably even the miserable wretch, Herr Hitler owed his emergence to WW1 which of course, was the primary causation of WW2!

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  • 235. At 8:22pm on 30 Aug 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    It seems to me that there are a number of commentators on this site in need of the services of a consultant taxidermist and at least one who urgently requires the good offices of a lumberjack. The rest of you should know better than to sink to this level. Wake me up when you have grown up.

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  • 236. At 9:08pm on 30 Aug 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #234 - cool_brush_work

    I completely agree with your view of WWI as 'the most 'important' and 'influential' event of the 20th Century' subject to the condition that, as a collective act of insanity and inhumanity, it has no parallel in modern history. Begun in the shadow of a stupid but relatively unimportant terrorist incident, brought to a head by nothing more than the survival instinct of a dying empire, conducted in conditions of unspeakable horror involving casualties of almost unimaginable proportions mostly driven by strategic planning of the most misguided kind and culminating in a complete dog's dinner of a negotiating process in which the victors carved up the vanquished with a total disregard and insensitivity for either the social or political or economic consequences of their actions, it is truly a horror story of epic proportions. If justice could have been properly served, those responsible for the initiation, conduct and conclusion of that war are those who should have met their Armageddon at Nuremberg because they were the authors of the evil that subsequently consumed this continent and most of the civilised world.

    What the second war achieved was a being a pivotal moment in turning around the damage that had been done in the previous conflict. There is no avoiding or denying the horrendous brutality that occurred during that period but it was avoidable and unnecessary. Since the second war, we have survived mutually assured destruction and moved gradually towards mutual respect and tolerance but the evil that was inflicted on this continent and planet in the second decade of the last century is something that we should neither forget nor forgive.

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  • 237. At 9:34pm on 30 Aug 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #236. At 9:08pm on 30 Aug 2010, threnodio_II,

    I have only two comments about your words other than they are accurate, firstly a small point that it was finished by an armistice and secondly that it was amazing how incompetent and uncaring were the officers on both sides. To them it seems that it was no better than a modern war game played on a PC, the futility of their actions and campaigns is unbelievable, they were appointed not by ability but by who could buy them a commission. Yes, in today's climate they would have been considered war criminals, and rightly so bearing in mind the gassing etc, but often those officers were incapable of running a piss up in a brewery, unless they were taking part of course.

    One other very regrettable and disgraceful fact is the number of soldiers who were shell shocked and then executed for cowardice when they refused to go over the trench wall again, whilst the senior officers sipped their gin and said jolly bad show today eh!

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  • 238. At 10:00pm on 30 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    #234 #236

    Hear, hear!

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  • 239. At 01:16am on 31 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "MAII

    Re #220

    No, it was not WW2.

    The most 'important' and 'influential' event of the 20th Century was 1914-18 & WW1.

    From it: the 'old' Empires in Europe were crushed; aspiring new European nations originated; trans-continent Imperialism floundered, never to recover; the USA emerged as the supreme economic-industrial power with a military potential exercised in WW2;"

    Perhaps from a European point of view WWI was the most important event but from this American's perspective, WWII was far more important. After WWI the US suffered the era of Prohibition which brought the Mafia into power, the roaring 20s followed by the great depression. The US was a major economic power but hardly the supreme military power. Many believed that Nazi Germany would outpace America and Germany as well as Japan were formidable military challengers to it. All of that changed with WWII. What was left of Europe was destroyed. The US became what was by far the number one economic, military, industrial, and cultural power in the world. Its technological leadership also became supreme. Were it not for nuclear weapons, no other power in the world could possibly challenge it militarily, one good reason to get rid of them for all nations. After WWII the gap between the US and the rest of the world widened enormously. There have been cynics and doubters along the way who predicted America's eventual demise. First they said it would be the USSR that would surpass America, then Japan, now China. But all of these countries have at least one major Achilles heel that prevent them from surpassing the US, most have several. WWII also made the US aware that two oceans could not isoloate and protect it from foreign threats. This was a stern lesson for the US about why it has to remain the dominant military power in the world. Had WWII never happened, all of this might not have happened either or it would have taken much more time. The net result of WWII was that the US became a civilization apart from all others, its divergent path veering much more sharply away from the rest of the pack. America exists on a plane by itself, largely the result of WWII.

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  • 240. At 08:33am on 31 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Gavin wrote: " The ratings agency Moody's hinted that France was edging closer to losing its AAA status."


    But not before other welfare EUSSR states (Portugal and Spain prominently among them) gain their bankrupt status.

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  • 241. At 08:54am on 31 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The de-nazification was effective in West Germany, but as we see today, it would not do some other countries any harm to have it introduced in some form."


    Former East Germany (DDR) where neonazis flourish?

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  • 242. At 09:24am on 31 Aug 2010, Lord_P wrote:

    So Marcus you now make yourself as bad as those nasty Europeans in the Rathskellar by demonising an entire continent's worth of humanity and dismissing all of them because of the actions of a few? Unless ofcourse being American makes even blatant racism and small mindedness desireable and holier than thou?

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  • 243. At 09:25am on 31 Aug 2010, Nik wrote:

    241. At 08:54am on 31 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    """"The de-nazification was effective in West Germany,"""""

    Nice joke.


    """...but as we see today, it would not do some other countries any harm to have it introduced in some form."""

    Hunting those you would call a Nazi is not the main problem of European countries. It is other people on the priority list that should be hunted first.

    """Former East Germany (DDR) where neonazis flourish?"""

    Even if so, why do you care? It is other peoples' garden, other peoples' trees, other peoples' apples. Stick to your own.

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  • 244. At 10:18am on 31 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Lord_Pain-in-the-...

    No, I dismiss all of Europe because of a lifetime of experience with Europeans both metting them here and seeing them in their own native habitat. First hand, second hand, in the news, watching them, listening to what they say, and having a mountain of data to see a consistent tapestry, a pattern to them. It's a pattern I truly detest and that is disapppointly consistent and persistent. The thread about the Roma was just one more example.

    How much human capital do you think an entire continent can throw away, how much fruits of enterprise, ingenuity, and labor do you think governments can steal to subsidize laziness, unproductivity, and failure, how much irrationality do you think pompous self agrandizing cultures can indulge in and still remain economically viable in the context of the rest of the world as it exists today? IMO far less than Europe habitually exhibits. That is why I think it is in a downward spiral from which there is no escape. It is a trap that exists in 500 million + minds. The forces that rescued it in the past from its ultimate fate are no longer there for it this time. Left to itself, I do believe this time it will implode completely, irreversibly, and irretriveably. I will watch from a safe distance. If the French and Europe want to pretend they still have viable economies, so be it. The truth will emerge before much longer I think.

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  • 245. At 10:38am on 31 Aug 2010, Lord_P wrote:

    Oh well, I apoligise that you've therefore had to spend so much of your human capital wasting your time on us. Au revoir dear sir.

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  • 246. At 10:38am on 31 Aug 2010, torpare wrote:

    @239. MarcusAureliusII

    OK, with apologies to @235 threnodio_II, I'll rise stoically to the bait!

    Homer,

    Apart from "The US became what was by far the number one...cultural power..." (US - "number one CULTURAL power"???? - but you are pulling our legs, of course I realize that), I can with an extreme effort relate to your particular perpective on the world, warped though it seems to me to be. So I think I can (for once) follow the argument which you cogently advance in #239 even if I disagree with most of it.

    I suggest it may largely be an academic exercise to try, as we're now doing, to "rank" the relative awfulness or ultimate significance of the two world wars, because I think the well-respected (despite his political views) historian Eric Hobsbawm hit the nail on the head when he dubbed the two of them together "the thirty-years' war". Exactly as Marshall Joffre and General Pershing in 1918 both (independently) prophesied would happen, they were really one war split by a 21-year-long armistice into two separate bouts. In the process the world got changed.

    What you're purporting to describe is imo the cumulative effect of both bouts, seen through your eyes from a distance of 65 years after the second one ended.

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  • 247. At 12:16pm on 31 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAscaridII

    Re #220, #239 & #244

    See, where You go wrong in so much of Your opinion is that You almost inevitably fail to take that extra step-back and gain the full range of what is actual as opposed to what You glibly think is the situation.

    The USA had become a 'great power' post-WW1 and WW2 as I pointed out was the pre-eminent moment for the US 'Militarily' which the following clearly demonstrates.

    As most regular users of this Blog are aware I'm a great believer & supporter of the Trans-Atlantic alliance as seen in NATO.
    I genuinely believe the axis-of-ill-intent, France-Brussels-Germany are gravely mistaken to be undertaking a deceptive Foreign-Military Policy of gradually breaking with the USA and build-up a EUropean Defence Force.

    All that said, I realise the deficiencies of too much reliance on the USA in military terms (& for sure place no reliance on the blathering 'grand poseur' MAII).

    Where I think MAII goes wrong in his analysis of WW2 and the impact on the USA is that post-1945 it was fairly much a record of strikingly limited 'military' achievement.

    The overwhelming key factor 1945-89 of the USA's Foreign-Military policywas its total commitment to stem the spread of USSR backed Communism: The USA managed this quite well with the help of Allies in NATO & SEATO, plus grossly unscrupulous backing of some of the worst regimes in the modern World (e.g. Menghistu in Congo, Chile dictatorship etc.).

    However, this success has blinded many Americans like MAII to some very harsh military realities of the last 60 or so years:

    The USA Armed Forces have failed to win Wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan - - at the very best they could be called 'draws' - - though, in hindsight that is being a very generous assessment of the overall results in each case.
    Even in small-scale ventures the US Military has hardly basked in glory - - it got so scared at the Bay of Pigs, Cuba, they never even turned up! Somalia they deserted the moment US took casualties on the ground!
    As for Nicaragua & Grenada - - well, let's not pretend the US Forces were up against any sort of genune military opponent.

    In fact post-1945 the US Government's Foreign-Military policy & its Armed Forces have fared much better in 'wars-by-proxy': Notably using Israel which to date has won 4 multi-national conflicts, and last 2 occasions fought a draw in Lebanon (have to disallow the infamous invasion of Gaza as anything other than a gross Human Rights violation).

    Of course, the UK as the USA's staunchest ally bears some respinsibility with all these campaigns - - doubtless the UK could have done more in some (e.g. Korea) & did too much in others (e.g. Iraq) - - however, it is only an ally and it is for the USA as the 'great power' MAII asserts it is post-1945 to have made the best of its vast Military might.

    Only trouble for poor old MAscaridII's vision of an omnipotent USA is according to the evidence of Military History post-1945 the USA never won a genuine shooting match anywhere!

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  • 248. At 12:42pm on 31 Aug 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #244

    "It's a pattern I truly detest and that is disapppointly consistent and persistent. The thread about the Roma was just one more example."

    And from the US blogs....

    "Meanwhile we in America can rejoice in our victory in Iraq. As for the Iraqis themselves, framkly I don't give a ......"

    That is the type of creature we are dealing with. A morally bankrupt, two faced hypocrite.

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  • 249. At 12:50pm on 31 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    CORRECTION to my #247

    Getting my 'Nicaragua' & 'Noriega' mixed up!

    Sentence: 'As for **Nicaragua** & Grenada..', should have read, 'As for Noriega's Panama & Grenada..'

    Apology.

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  • 250. At 1:04pm on 31 Aug 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    So... let me get this straight Marcus, the Nazis located Jews back in WWII using there super secret psychic jewdar and apparently most Europeans can just magically divine peoples ethnicity and race.

    My fellow Europeans we must swear, here and now, to never repeat the mistakes of the past, to unite and to only use our powers for annoying American tourists...

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  • 251. At 1:09pm on 31 Aug 2010, Nik wrote:

    Did not know where to comment this but whenever I see my friend CBW's comments I instantly have the will to remind to people how great I am in telling the future: how all the things I have commented in the last 6 months now here are getting verified again and again....

    Let me bring yet another example:

    Today is 31st of August and we can do the summury of the summer 2010:

    Let me see... 7 major fires scaterred randomnlyu around the (remaining) forested areas of the country and about an equal number of fire spots. No dead of course.


    Summer 2010 has been a quite dry summer compared to 2009, 2008 and 2007. However, despite being particularly dry and thus more prone to fires we saw much less fire activity compared to the previous years and especially the summer 2007 fires where the country was burning under more than 50 major fires and when about new 170 spots of fire would be inflamed to maintain an almost symmetrical pattern as seen by satellites, 90% of theat happening in night hours creating a colossal circle of fire which of course caused the death of more than 40 people (something rare in Greece despite the yearly occurence of forest fires...).

    The difference?

    In 2007 we had ND government and we were 2 months before elections (still PASOK lost, people were not really convinced and had back thoughts about the incident...).

    In 2008 we had also double fires as in 2010 (but attention was drawn to the """social""" unrest as the fire experiment had onbviously failed).

    In 2009 we also had double fires as in 2010 but ND government had already lost its power to govern effectively and had already called in for elections.

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

    In 2010 the summer fires went back to their "average".

    It seems that Greek summer fires follow directly the political evolutions of the country. Now with PASOK and the IMF, everything works well in the country, nothing wrong!

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

    To whoever believes all that is circomstantial, all he has to do is to go back to March, April and May's issues to see my comments on PASOK where I mentioned repeatedly and in the most explicit manner that in summer 2010 no matter what weather we will have, we will see dramatically less fire activity in Greek forests compared not only to the weird 2007 but also to 2008 and 2009...

    One can only imagine what else we will see to get convinced to apply our freedom to comply?

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  • 252. At 1:10pm on 31 Aug 2010, Nik wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 253. At 1:16pm on 31 Aug 2010, Lord_P wrote:

    @248

    I have now taken the view that you can't reason an unreasonable person out of such a position. Especially one with such life long experience of seeing the worst in people. As such I should suggest ignoring him or assuming an air of superiority as he expects so as not to challenge his entrenched world view. With his wealth of experience he must number some decades older than average, probably greatly extended by centuries due to the ligght of self righteousness he carries, let us not push him over the edge eh?

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  • 254. At 1:56pm on 31 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #251

    Absolutely barking!

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  • 255. At 02:43am on 01 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    torpor;

    ""The US became what was by far the number one...cultural power..." (US - "number one CULTURAL power"???? - but you are pulling our legs, of course I realize that), I can with an extreme effort relate to your particular perpective on the world, warped though it seems to me to be."

    Can you think of a single significant aspect of your life that was not invented in America or at least very strongly influenced by it. Can you think of a place on earth that has not been strongly influenced by American culture (even North Korea's lunatic leader in his nation which is part mental asylum part prisonhouse fancies himself Elvis Presley.) The French know it instinctively which is why they are so jealous and angry about it. Every aspect of your life from shopping malls to much of the food you eat. In Japan baseball is practically their national sport as Sumo wrestling dies (the number one Sumo wrestler is an American by conincidence.) In Saudi Arabia women are watching Oprah Winfrey. American television programs, movies, and music dominates the world which tries to copy it.

    "I suggest it may largely be an academic exercise to try, as we're now doing, to "rank" the relative awfulness or ultimate significance of the two world wars, because I think the well-respected (despite his political views) historian Eric Hobsbawm hit the nail on the head when he dubbed the two of them together "the thirty-years' war"."

    Not the point at all. Had Europe been as totally crushed after WWI as you imply it would never have had the wherewithall to even fight WWII. The two wars were different and separate forught for entirely different reasons. Britain and France invented WWII at Versailles, it didn't have to happen. But that wasn't the point either. After WWI America was an important country but it did not assume the dominance it had as the result of WWII and has enjoyed ever since. America's industrial might and its ingenuity and innovation were as much responsible for America making the telling difference between defeat and victory as America's direct fighting. For example before WWII it took many months to build an 8000 ton freighter. By the time the war was in full gear the US was turning out four a day. It wasn't just American money and blood that won the war, it was the power of America's industry. That dominance still exists as practically everything in the modernj world was invented in America. Everything about the computer you are typing on this very second was invented in America even if it was built in China and that is just one example.

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  • 256. At 02:50am on 01 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    CBW;

    "The USA had become a 'great power' post-WW1 and WW2 as I pointed out was the pre-eminent moment for the US 'Militarily' which the following clearly demonstrates."

    I've got a news flash for you CBW, when American troops first engaged the Nazis in North Africa where their active combat started...they were losing badly. They were not a first rate military force by any means.

    The outcome of the war in the Pacific was not decided until the battle of Midway and then later the battle of the Coral sea.

    Nazi Germany's ultimate defeat was not certain until the Battle of the Bulge.

    See, I told you Brits don't know much about history.

    As for the UK, it is nothing more than a pimple on America's derriere. A junior partner that tags along at most.

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  • 257. At 07:36am on 01 Sep 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #256

    "See, I told you Brits don't know much about history."

    Want to remind us of what you said about Dresden, or shall I do it? :)

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  • 258. At 09:24am on 01 Sep 2010, Nik wrote:

    254. At 1:56pm on 31 Aug 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:
    """Re #251
    Absolutely barking!"""

    Hehe CBW, yes indeed it barks out loud that I am predicting the one thing after the other. I am seriously considering becoming a medium.

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  • 259. At 09:38am on 01 Sep 2010, Nik wrote:

    256. At 02:50am on 01 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    """Nazi Germany's ultimate defeat was not certain until the Battle of the Bulge."""

    Well western Nazis' ultimate defeat. But by that time western Nazis were less than the 10% of the army that Nazis had so far presented, mostly being comprised of 16 and 50 years old or maimed and tired veterans. Nazis ultimate defeat came in Stalingrad, in USSR where was the 80% of the Nazi army including its best parts and best equiped. You may argue that those Soviets managed to do the task aided by the US & British supplies (mostly transport-related material like train wagons, cars, tins, tools etc.) coming from Asia but at the end of the day it is them that won the war, not anyone else. By the time the Americans and British were planning to land in Normandy the question was not anymore to beat the Nazis but to stop the communists from taking over all of Germany and perhaps taking over France too effectively controlling all of Europe.

    """See, I told you Brits don't know much about history."""

    I do not think Americans fare better either.

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  • 260. At 11:58am on 01 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re 3256

    "..UK.. .pimple on the derrier (USA).." may well be true.

    That does not alter the fact that post-1945 the US Military have history of foul-ups & drawn campaigns that has no equal.
    In fact looking back at the 'history' I know so little of I cannot find another Nation (not even the Italian) whose Military have gone through so many consecutive wars without a single victory!?

    And, let us not forget the USA Military success in W2 was only with the assistance of the USSR, UK, China, Free French, Commonwealth of Nations.. Infact, now I come to look again at that History of Military Warfare I can't find a campaign post-Theo Roosevelt's dashing Spanish-American efforts where the US did anything on its own of any note!

    I guess I will have to revise my #234 & #247 and remove all mention of USA Military might from the changes brought on by WW1 - - I admit it, I was wrong - - the USA never was that greast a military power at any time except when killin 600,000 of its own on its own land and approx 1.5 to 2.2 million Native American Indians!

    Needless to say, but thankfully, thus UK, the "..junior partner.." didn't 'tag along' with either of those near genocidal campaigns against fellow Americans.

    Gee, it's tough when You get is dished out to You aint it, MAscaridII!?

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  • 261. At 12:09pm on 01 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nik, you missed the entire point of my postings. Unless and until the US entered the war, Nazi Germany was on target to win. When the US entered, it was far from clear that its role would prove decisive. It was not a powerful well trained well equipped fighting force and its economy was not on a war footing. Stalin complained bitterly for years that the West wasn't sending him the military material he needed to fight. That wasn't because it didn't want to, it's becuase it didn't have any to send him.

    Interestng that the photo shows the French government sitting at a table not with glasses of French wine but with orange jucie, probably Tropicana Florida orange juice, by far the most popular brand in France when I lived there. I've come to prefer it too.

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  • 262. At 12:25pm on 01 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    cbw, as I have pointed out time and again, the US has not won a military engagement since the end of WWII not because it lacked the strength of arms to easly win every one of them but because it lacked the poltical will. It is also clear that on many occasions the strategies and tactics which exploited that overwhelming strength was badly misused because of poor judgement on the part of our military leaders. For example, Vietnam could have been won in weeks by use of conventional arms...had the US been willing to flatten the entire infrastructure of North Vietnam's major cities Hanoi and Haiphong. By eliminating its electrical power systems, fuel depots, roads, bridges, railways, port facilities, the entire country could have been paralyzed and its ability to prosecute the war in the south supporting the Vietcong all but eliminated entirely. It simply did not have the will and it always tries to fight on the cheap without raising taxes at home and calling for sacrifice. It wants to conduct business as usual.

    The US refused to defeat North Korea because it was afraid that China would enter the war...in 1950. What if it had? That foolish move would have spelled doom for Mao's entire nation and his government.

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  • 263. At 1:38pm on 01 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #259

    A little knowledge is so deceptively misleading!

    "..80%.." of Nazi Germany's Armed Forces were on the Eastern Front by Summer 1944 facing the increasingly effective and victorious advancing USSR Red Armed Forces.
    The 'Eastern Front' being from Northern Finland (Arctic) down through the Baltic States, Ukraine-Russia, and onto the Crimea.

    Whereas, at the Battle for Stalingrad circa September 1941 to February 1942:

    The German Wehrmacht Army Commanded by General (last day 'Marshal') von Paulus was approx 195,000 German-Austrian, Hiwis approx 25,000, Romainians approx 12,000 & various hundreds amounting to 4 to 5,000 of Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Belge etc.
    The official Soviet figures for 'German' POWs between Nov.'41 & Jan.42 is 120,000 inc. those hospitalised.

    The official Red Army numbers participating in the climactic battle are as follows:

    Red Army Staff Commander, Army General Zhukov had set-up the 62nd Army Battle Group, Commanded by General Chuikov, which in November 1941 had amassed approximately 1,017,000 men & women into its various parts along 3 sectors.
    These were the Stalingrad Front, the Don Front and the South-West Front.
    Each played a significant and brave part in the months of fighting for control of Stalingrad. The USSR Forces can justly be proud of an immense achievement.

    It should also be remembered that over 50% of the above numbers were 'non-Russians' serving in the Red Army: There were vast numbers from Central Asia (the so-called 'levee en masse') who neither spoke Russian nor knew anything of Stalin and had to be trained to use modern technology, e.g. machine gun, tank, artillery etc. In their midst were many who were indeed 'volunteers' and many others were 'prisoner battalions', 'forced conscripts' & even 'deserters' from the German Forces.

    Red Army Forces by 1942 numbered 7,000,000 along the entire Eastern Front-line from North to South with another 7,000,000 in 'Reserve' areas & facing the Chinese-Japanese occupied 'east' border regions.

    At no time and in no way were '80%' of any Soviet forces concentrated at Stalingrad: If they had been then neither Leningrad, Moscow or any other key-point could have been defended against Nazi German offensives.

    Meanwhile the often repeated & wholly spurious description of the condition of German Armed Forces in the 'west' can also be dealt with: It is certainly the case that at Normandy in June 1944 the Wehrmacht Forces were not upto strength and in basic terms 50,000 defenders against 130,000 Allied invaders looks one-sided. However, the Allied Forces did not all land at once and they came from the sea - - the largest Seaborne military operation of its kind. The Allied Command had done their homework: Further North at and close to the Pas de Calais where the Germans (Rommel) had expected the Allied invasion there were 150,000+ considerably better trained, equipped German forces. After the Allies' initial successes in the first few days Hitler woke up to the 'Second Front' reality and took steps to counter his original carelessness. By September 1944 some 500,000 German Armed forces were mustered along the widening 'west' frontline with an additonal half million in 'reserve areas'.

    Inevitably Germany could not divide its Forces equally and the vast preponderance were in the 'East' because it was the 'First Front' & it was by far the largest continuous Land Front.
    In the 'West' numbers on both sides were never so high as in the 'East', but then the USSR was not also fighting in the Pacific and Mediterranean.

    Ultimately, the 'numbers' issue is not that important: Fascism with all its tenets of militarism, racism, genocide, barbarity & denial of Humanity was defeated by the notable efforts, sacrifice & bravery of many Peoples.

    The World never stands still and as everyone knows from WW2 emerged all sorts of issues, but for Humanity to prevail in the long-term those extremely costly Victory at Stalingrad, at Normandy etc. were without challenge all required.

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  • 264. At 3:26pm on 01 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re #262

    No MAscaridII: You have often been obliged to admit under pressure the USA Armed Forces cannot hack it without assistance. They would have had to resort to MacArthur's 'nuclear' answer in every campaign in order to attain any sort of pyrrhic victory!

    It is tough, isn't it? Having factual reality bite You back!

    PS: Are you still working on a response to my comment about USA' s organisational ability... or, have You decided to let that one slip by.. You know, a bit like 'victory' in Korea etc.?

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  • 265. At 3:41pm on 01 Sep 2010, Lord_P wrote:

    Surely refusing to defeat your enemy is the same as being defeated yourself?

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  • 266. At 4:21pm on 01 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The USA Armed Forces have failed to win Wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan"



    Nonsence.


    US MILITARY was simply not ALLOWED to win decisively in Korea, Vietnam, etc. by US civilian leaderships.

    If McArthur, and not Truman, Westmorland and not LBJ, Schwartzkopf and not GHWB had been in charge at the time, the outcome would have been distictly different.



    P.S. BTW. Had Patton not Eisehower been in charge half of Europe would not have been sold down the river to the USSR.

    And enslaved for half a century.

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  • 267. At 5:35pm on 01 Sep 2010, stirling222 wrote:

    #266

    "US MILITARY was simply not ALLOWED to win decisively in Korea, Vietnam, etc. by US civilian leaderships.

    If McArthur, and not Truman, Westmorland and not LBJ, Schwartzkopf and not GHWB had been in charge at the time, the outcome would have been distictly different."

    So if you had had soldiers running the show whose only objective was to win at all costs and destroy, not only the enemy, but all civilisation in the respective countries, and they were given the freedom to ignore the Geneva convention you would have won, eh? Who needs morals? Obviously not you, Powermeerkat, I salute you!

    I wonder why Britain didn't just nuke Argentina in 1982? If we'd had Queen Boadicea in charge we'd have done it. Damn those liberals!!

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  • 268. At 5:41pm on 01 Sep 2010, stirling222 wrote:

    #264

    MAII has a habit of going AWOL when he's caught out.

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  • 269. At 6:17pm on 01 Sep 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    RE 263. At 1:38pm on 01 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ++++++
    Your figures are all wrong.

    It wasn't just the Germans that the Soviet Union fought against, basically it was a united Europe under Germany that was making war on Russia -- true many countries were unwilling, semi-willing and never totally willing participants in the conflict on the side of Nazi Germany but by and large -- as long as Germany appeared to have an upper hand -- the whole of Europe (minus only Britain) supported the Nazis in their fight against the Soviet Union more or less openly -- they made weapons and munitions for it, worked for it allowing Germany to conscript more of their own people into the Army, contributed their troops and Waffen SS volunteers. 19 million Germans were called up to serve in the army during WWII. Over 12 million of them were disposed of on the eastern front.

    The Soviet Union just never had a numerical advantage over Germany and its allies, in fact, the typical ratio of Nazi & allied soldiers to Soviet soldiers was 3 to 1 more or less throughout the war.

    Even the Polish who were themselves occupied by Germany were in large numbers in Waffen SS -- over 50 thousand Polish Waffen SS troops were killed during the war on the Eastern front.

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  • 270. At 7:52pm on 01 Sep 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    266 powermeerkat writes:

    "If McArthur, and not Truman, Westmorland and not LBJ, Schwartzkopf and not GHWB had been in charge at the time, the outcome would have been distictly different."
    If,if, if.
    There is a very apt German saying which roughly translated means:
    "If the dog hadn't stopped to s**t, it would have caught the rabbit."

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  • 271. At 03:11am on 02 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    peggy, was that your way of saying you had a salad for dinner tonight?

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  • 272. At 03:22am on 02 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    string-a-ling;

    "MAII has a habit of going AWOL when he's caught out."

    Or out working. Yes some of us do actually work for a living. Or just when I find you people so boring or inane you aren't worth responding to.

    cbw;

    you want a response, here it is;

    "No MAscaridII: You have often been obliged to admit under pressure the USA Armed Forces cannot hack it without assistance"

    That's not what I said at all. I said the US had the men, training, and equipment to win, its leaders didn't have the political will to win and sometimes our military leaders were downright foolish in their strategies and tactics.

    As for needing assistance I don't think so. The US always does all of the heavy lifting when it fights in a war even with allies. The UK usually needs bailing out. For example its forces screwed up in Basra. They had to leave Helmund Province and be replaced by Americans because they couldn't hack it. They barely won in the Malvinas in the last war against a fifth rate military power Argentina, who knows how they'll wind up if there is a next time. And there is a long history of British military disasters. Gallipoli and Dunkirk are just two names that come immediately to mind. I'm not surprised. After all how much can you expect from muddlers?

    In a way the British military is lucky it has the French around to make it look good by comparison.

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  • 273. At 07:46am on 02 Sep 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #272

    "They had to leave Helmund Province"

    Oh dear...are you quite sure about that sparky?


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  • 274. At 09:13am on 02 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #272

    Altogether now, "Oh yes You did!"

    Follow on, "Oh no I didn't!"

    "Oh yes You...."

    To wildly flattering applause ALL:

    exaunt...Stage Left...

    Ah Pantomime Season: Would that I were in England! For men shall think themselves accursed who were not there on Pantomime Opening Night!

    Apologies, but I just get tired, really tired of Your inanity, MAII.

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  • 275. At 09:14am on 02 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MargaretH

    Re #270

    Splendid!

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  • 276. At 09:26am on 02 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Norman Conquest

    Re #269

    No, don't agree.

    Though admit, my figures are all approximations based on the available USSR and the Wehrmacht files I have accessed on-line in past years.

    Suggest You also realise I was pointing out the 'Greek ' had yet again used a very little knowledge & even less understanding to make the claim "..80%.." of Red Army Forces were at Stalingrad - - total, utter nonsense.

    Plus, I'm really sorry, but nothing like 19,000,000 German manhood were called up to serve in WW2 Nazi Armed Forces, not even if figures are taken for those reservists, Hitler Youth brigades & even the concentration camp guards etc.
    Now, if You are meaning the 'workforce' of Nazi Germany-Austria which in late 1941 was co-opted as a part of the 'War Effort' with compulsory shifts etc. then You may well be onto a reasonable number (especially as the Nazi doctrine disallowed females from almost all non-housebound actvity) by extrapolating that across circa 1939-45.

    Other than that, apologies, I don't want to get into a debate on this as I've been there before. I will say I wrote hastily & from memory in #263 and having looked briefly this a.m. find Beevor's Stalingrad more-or-less substantiates my figures on the issue.

    Cheers.

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  • 277. At 09:33am on 02 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Powermerkat

    Re #266

    Had that remarkable Military tactician, eminent 'political' minded & incredibly patient (who else could have put up with Montgomery, De Gaulle and Patton!?) Dwight Eisenhower not been in Command and that 'pearl-handled' buffoon show-off Patton had been then the 'war' he would have started with the USSR would still be underway (subject to a 'nuclear' MacArthur-MAscaridII response to any little spat the USA Forces get into)!

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  • 278. At 09:41am on 02 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAscaridII

    Re #272

    I just had a quick look on-line at the pyyrhic victory declared by Obama as the US Forces 'had to leave' Iraq to itself & tuck themselves away in their base-camps.

    The most recent pictures were shocking: Whole streets still unrepaired, crumbling infrastructure, people unable to access basic utilities...

    Then I realise I'd clicked the wrong page...


    I was looking at photos of downtown New Orleans taken a month ago!

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  • 279. At 12:08pm on 02 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    cbw, had American not fought World War II or the cold war we would have had plenty of money to repave downtown New Orleans. We should definitely be far more selecive picking which wars to fight supporting only our real allies and attacking only our real enemies. If the UK had fallen into Nazi Germany or Soviet hands I don't see what difference that would have made to America.

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  • 280. At 12:53pm on 02 Sep 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #279

    Quite possibly the dumbest post I have ever seen.

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  • 281. At 1:15pm on 02 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re #279

    Read, Seen & Heard it all now!

    Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans circa 2010 is unrestored because of the cost to the USA of World War Two!

    Thanks MAscaridII, that is the belly laugh excuse to beat all laughable excuses for US 'muddlers' making another pig's ear of a relatively straightforward re-build project!

    Guffaw? I nearly wet myself twice over, but no matter the giggles just keep coming...

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  • 282. At 1:27pm on 02 Sep 2010, Nik wrote:

    # 277. At 09:33am on 02 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:
    """MAscaridII
    Re #272
    I just had a quick look on-line at the pyyrhic victory declared by Obama as the US Forces 'had to leave' Iraq to itself & tuck themselves away in their base-camps.

    But then CBW you have to take into account that just like Vietnam, the idea about presence in Iraq and Afganistan has nothing to do with the country. They are about to present this picture of "tucking them away" but the pyrrhic victory term does not apply directly; at least partially they have avoided the autonomisation of the world's traderouting.

    """The most recent pictures were shocking: Whole streets still unrepaired, crumbling infrastructure, people unable to access basic utilities...
    Then I realise I'd clicked the wrong page...
    I was looking at photos of downtown New Orleans taken a month ago!"""

    CBW you can make me laugh for the correct reasons also! I do petty these US people. While not having suffered like poor Iraqis and not comparing levels, there are some good people out in the US too whose lifes and those of their kids are destroyed for the long term out of the complete lack of will of US oligarchies to do something about them.

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  • 283. At 1:36pm on 02 Sep 2010, Nik wrote:

    279. At 12:08pm on 02 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    """cbw, had American not fought World War II or the cold war we would have had plenty of money to repave downtown New Orleans."""

    Come on, you (and I mean "you", not you) can have as much money as your printers can print, what is the problem? No need to run back 60 years back. You made too much out of WWI and WWII.

    """We should definitely be far more selecive picking which wars to fight supporting only our real allies and attacking only our real enemies."""

    You should attack only your real enemies. And who are these horribly bad guys that are your enemies? I am curious to know.

    """If the UK had fallen into Nazi Germany or Soviet hands I don't see what difference that would have made to America."""

    That would never happen since the establishment of communism in the east had its roots in the west and the game was really complex. Any more elnargment of communists and it would bring their downfall from the inside. But seen it linearly, say communists would do it, how do you claim "no difference for US"? Fact that not a single ship or airplane of yours would fly more west than the Atlantic ridge would not be any difference for America? Fact that world would learn Russian, not English would be the same for you? Do you think that America would just do as fine yiedling power over not more than the 10% of the earths surface and occupying less than the 10% of the world's main ressources? It is simple mathematics MA. 1+1=2.

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  • 284. At 3:18pm on 02 Sep 2010, Lord_P wrote:

    I thought that the loans paid to Britain during WWII were worthless when paid back so therefore any money that you could have saved would have been similiarly worthless. Unless America knows no inflation or devaluation within its own borders? Have you maybe been backed into a corner Marky old boy? Never fear, retreat and fight another day if I were you.

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  • 285. At 00:02am on 03 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It's bad enough I have to teach you Europeans history, do I have to teach you accounting, finance, and economics too? A few billion in the forties, fifties, even the sixties and seventies is worth many tens and even hundreds of billions today. Don't they teach you people anything besides ancient Greek Runes in those universitatums over there? How about the time value of money? No I don't suppose they do.

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  • 286. At 1:18pm on 03 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "So if you had had soldiers running the show whose only objective was to win at all costs and destroy, not only the enemy, but all civilisation in the respective countries, and they were given the freedom to ignore the Geneva convention you would have won, eh? Who needs morals? Obviously not you."






    If you're talking about Nazi civilization and Imperial Japan's civilization we destroyed those two quite thorughly and forcefully replaced it with something quite different.

    [It may surprise you but both present day Germans and Japanese seem to be grafeful for that]

    As for what 'civilization' might have gotten destroyed in Stalist N. Korea or Communist N. Vietnam, please give me any examples of their 'accomplishments'.


    BTW. I don't see much of civilisation worth preserving even in the present day N. Korea and Vietnam.



    " Powermeerkat" I salute you!"


    At ease!







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  • 287. At 2:41pm on 03 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "By the same token, the European car industry would not have become more successful than the American car industry if it had been dependent on American tax payers' money. Incidentally, the European car industry is largely "home grown"."






    BTW. Airbus would not have gotten in trouble had it not been heavily subsidized by EUSSR taxpayers.

    Since it was, its M400 and A-380 are both way above the budget and A-350 is still nowhere to be seen.


    The same applies to the Galileo pproject which would have been abandoned, or - if feasible - finished on time and within budget had it not been for EUSSR's masssive subsidies.

    [I'll skip an issue of repeated failures of supercollider near Geneva and many other examples of similar fiascos]

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  • 288. At 2:55pm on 03 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Even the Polish who were themselves occupied by Germany were in large numbers in Waffen SS -- over 50 thousand Polish Waffen SS troops were killed during the war on the Eastern front."











    Any evidence of that - specifically?


    Although it's true that even Poles, who were themselves earlier occupied by the Nazi ally -Soviet Union - fought along Red Army against Wermacht troops once they were released from Russian GULAG's forced labor camps when Stalin desperately needed more cannon fodder.

    [minus of course those 26 000 Polish officers murdered by Soviet NKVD at Katyn, Kharkov, Mednoye etc., and dozens of thousands of Poles who died of cold and starvation in above mentioned camps.]

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  • 289. At 3:14pm on 03 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Powermerkat

    Re #266

    CBW: Had that remarkable Military tactician, eminent 'political' minded & incredibly patient (who else could have put up with Montgomery, De Gaulle and Patton!?) Dwight Eisenhower not been in Command and that 'pearl-handled' buffoon show-off Patton had been then the 'war' he would have started with the USSR would still be underway (subject to a 'nuclear' MacArthur-MAscaridII response to any little spat the USA Forces get into)!





    No it would not, for the reasons you've mentioned in parenthesis.


    [Soviets managed to build an atomic bomb based on plans stolen from Los Alamos Lab only in 1949 and they had no nuclear arsenal during the Korean War]


    And for the same reasons, had McArthur (another buffoon I guess) had his way at least one hundred millions of Chinese (who perished during the Great Leap and, later, Cultural Revolution - would have been alive today)

    Just as quite a few millions of North Koreans who were starved to death during implementations of Kim Il-sung's suicidal ju-je policies.

    [And I'm not counting victims of an ONGOING famine in North Korean Gulag]

    P.S. And of course millions of Cambodians would have not perished in massacres organized by Pol Pot's communist regime supported by Beijing.
    [forget a small issue of Maoist massacres in Tibet and Nepal]

    For there would not have been any Commies in China's capital.

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  • 290. At 3:38pm on 03 Sep 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    288. At 2:55pm on 03 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:



    Any evidence of that - specifically?


    Although it's true that even Poles, who were themselves earlier occupied by the Nazi ally -Soviet Union - fought along Red Army against Wermacht troops once they were released from Russian GULAG's forced labor camps when Stalin desperately needed more cannon fodder.

    +++++

    Powermeerkat, if you google "Polish Waffen SS" you will find at least some evidence, even pictures of their ID's.

    However, I made a typo in my original post, I meant to write 15 thousand not 50.

    But many more Poles fought on the side of the Soviet Union that's also true. Just before the end of the war the Ludowe Wojsko Polskie numbered well over half a million troops and was the largest Polish formation during WWII.

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  • 291. At 4:32pm on 03 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    " Powermeerkat, if you google "Polish Waffen SS" you will find at least some evidence, even pictures of their ID's."



    I did, but couldn't find anything of a kind except an info that some Ukrainians - before Soviet attack on Poland on Sept. 17, 1939) Polish citizens - joined SS Galizien and participated (under gen. Kaminski) in a massacre/rapes of Polish participants in Warsaw Uprising of Sept. 1944.


    Which Soviet troops (under Marshal Konstantin Rokossovski) refused to help, acting on specific orders of Joe Stalin to let it be drawned in blood by the Nazis, since those partisans were loyal to the Polish government in London.


    [As a reward, Rokossovski was made by Stalin a commander-in-chief of Polish forces and a a first defense minister of the Soviet-occupied Polish Peoples' Republic, despite a fact that that he was not even a Polish citizen]

    Perhaps you can offer a more specific link to an info corroborating your claim?

    Thnak you,

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  • 292. At 5:42pm on 03 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Powermeerkat

    Re #289

    ".. no commies... China's capital.."

    Hmm, maybe You think that would have been the better scenario: I can't imagine how radiation sickness etc. would have any other result on the numbers of 'dead', and, I cannot imagine what would make You think the USA would have any claim at all to being a Humanitarian nation had such a course of action taken place.

    Personally, whilst MacArthur had a very good (& very adroitly publicised WW2 in the Pacific - - e.g. filming his 'return' to the Phillipines 3 times for the media) war upto 1945 the man was off his trolley to propose 'nuclear' intervention along the Yellow River! So, 'buffoon' would fit too, as it does for that other super-energised ego in uniform, Patton who slapped the faces of US soldiers suffering battle fatigue & shell-shock among a number of things that exposed his credo... George Patton.

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  • 293. At 10:48pm on 03 Sep 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    291. At 4:32pm on 03 Sep 2010, powermeerkat wrote:


    I did, but couldn't find anything...

    ...

    Perhaps you can offer a more specific link to an info corroborating your claim?

    Thnak you,

    ++++++

    Your wish is my command, Kamerad.

    What about the link below?

    http://newsaxon.org/blog/view/id_17161/title_Waffen-SS-Polen-The-forgotten-history/

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  • 294. At 11:46pm on 03 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nik;

    Here are some tourist tips about visiting Athens;

    http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Greece/Prefecture_of_Attica/Athens-426812/Warnings_or_Dangers-Athens-Areas_to_avoid-BR-1.html

    I could give you links for many hundreds more that are similar about all of Athens, Greece, and all over Europe. But I'll bet those streets are paved.

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  • 295. At 08:36am on 04 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Norman Conquest

    Re #243

    That 'link' You provided to the nut-jobs web-pages of the Far Right: Just out of interest do You use for information purposes or do You actually go for that 'defence of the 'white race' etc. garbage that some of its 'Home' pages are propagating?

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  • 296. At 11:11am on 04 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re #294

    Very interesting & informative link on Athens: It does link to equally dubious sights.

    Mind You, I didn't believe a word of it.

    On these Blogs we have the 'greek' word that tourists, students, indeed any foreigner only gets sworn at, cheated & bashed in England, Albania etc.

    Nothing of the sort could possibly happen in that paradise of humble Greek folk. If there is an incident or 2, or 3 or more... well, any generalised conclusion it is unsafe or an entire class of greek citizens cannot be trusted is unacceptable.
    No, that sort of measure of society only applies to English, Albanians, Roma: We know this because the 'greek' tells us it is so - - and that must be right - - afterall, the 'greek' has knowledge we poor souls don't possess.
    Even now I'm sure he's summoning his delphic powers that allow a percipient understanding which marks out his contributions.

    Thanks MAII, a well made point and so deserved by the super-Id!

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  • 297. At 2:39pm on 04 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    296;

    I googled "photos of bad areas of greece" and picked the second link of "about 4,080,000" (the first was about the weather.) Had I worded my search differently I probably would have gotten many more. I could have done the same for anywhere in the world and probably gotten lots of results. The US may not be nearly as dangerous as popular wisdom in some places has it. Maybe that's because we tend to put our criminals in prison and keep them there. It's both a deterrent and a way to get them off the streets.

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  • 298. At 9:11pm on 04 Sep 2010, generalissimo62 wrote:

    @ 236 Threnodio_II
    I would add to this excellent comment that old Europe lost to a great extend its leading role of a civilised and attractive politicla/economic partner and still suffers the consequences of its own uncuccessful experiences to reconstruct the world according to its own measures. I would consider the EU as the next challenge to all of us because it remains dangerously unballanced btw the evident lack of an agreed common foreign policy & defense and its de facto successful existence as a large economic entity.

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  • 299. At 00:16am on 05 Sep 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    286 powermeerkat says:
    "If you're talking about Nazi civilization and Imperial Japan's civilization we destroyed those two quite thorughly and forcefully replaced it with something quite different."

    You want to be careful about how many more civilisations you plan to destroy because you know that famous quote by Oscar Wilde:

    “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”




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  • 300. At 02:50am on 06 Sep 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    TPT, you mean like if they say were to clear out an entire trailer park to buld a bypass road? All those people displaced, their community such as it was gone forever. Lifetime friendships and animosities swept away as the occupants are blown by the winds of fate in their separate directions. What a pity. Isn't that what the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy was about, building a bypass where earth was in the way. Just hope that never happens to you. Emminent domain and all that stuff you probably slept through in one of those boring lectures.

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  • 301. At 2:27pm on 06 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    generalissimo62

    Re #298

    "...EU... de facto economic success.."

    You have got to be kidding!

    Of 27 EU Nations 17 have introduced policies of cutting Public Spending; all 27 went into Recession over the last 2 years and at least 6 have yet to emerge; unemployment is averaging above 10% across the EU.
    The 15 EUro-zone Nations have had to create a record sized Emergency Bail-out Fund due to 4 at least of its members facing imminent fiscal meltdown.

    If that is 'economic success' then what the heck is failure!?

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  • 302. At 8:11pm on 06 Sep 2010, generalissimo62 wrote:

    @ 301 CBW
    How about the rest of the (free) world? The US (which initiated the recession) & Japan (which was near the collapse of its fiscal system two years ago) have gone through the same, even worst experience.
    I do not yet take China as an excellent exemple of a successful economy for obvious reasons, nor Russia which is far behind the EU by all standards.
    Can you name another country or an economic entity which successfully avoided the world recession and kept on encreasing steadilly, say, its GDP without applying any austerity measures?
    Iceland? No! Maybe some member countries of the former Common wealth?
    I shall revert soon in order to comment your previous discussion with Nik.

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  • 303. At 8:57pm on 06 Sep 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    300 Homer Simpson
    What are you talking about?

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  • 304. At 9:45pm on 07 Sep 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    generalissimo62

    Re #302

    Yes, the World went through the Economic Depression: So, where is the 'de facto' success of the EU which according to all its proponents was supposed by 'ever closer union' to have protected its member States?

    Well, it didn't and it won't next time either: There is nothing to commend the EU s being any advance/better than individual States. Even the 'peace' it claims to have achieved was at least 50% the result of NATO to the present day & to USA Marshall funding upto the 1950s!

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  • 305. At 09:39am on 09 Sep 2010, generalissimo62 wrote:

    @ 304 CBW
    "...Even the 'peace' it claims to have achieved was at least 50% the result of NATO to the present day & to USA Marshall funding upto the 1950s!"
    I agree. We are unable, for the time being, to organize our own defence.
    However, note that the economic integration is something very important which can virtually change the whole continent. Let's hope the positive impact will prevail...

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