Saturday, 11 May 2013

Al Gore - "the most succesful loser in the world"

The Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente has written an interesting column about Al Gore, "the most successful loser in the world":

It’s good to be Al Gore. He must be the most successful loser in the world. Thirteen years after he ran for president of the United States, the guy who got the job is universally reviled. But the prophet of climate doom is more popular than ever. Important people seek him out. In Canada, his condemnations of our filthy, dirty, evil tar sands lucre are greeted with rapturous applause. Headline-writers immortalize his words. Preacher Al still wants us to repent, before we fry ourselves to a crisp in our self-made hell of global warming. --

Mr. Gore is no dummy. His climate-change crusade has captured – and to a large extent, created – the zeitgeist, and it has made him one of the most popular personalities on the planet. But his new-found fortune owes more to celebrity, luck and timing than to business acumen. As Steve Fishman writes in a newly published New York magazine profile: “Saving the world, it turns out, can be pretty lucrative.”
Actually, Mr. Gore’s green investments haven’t turned out all that well. A lot of them were bets on climate legislation that never passed and companies that bombed – despite hefty government subsidies. Mr. Gore has never come to terms with the fact that climate change is a very hard problem to solve, or that a decade’s worth of green policies have proved to be unsaleable and unworkable, or disastrous failures. To him, the laws of physics and the realities of politics and economics are irrelevant to climate change. Instead, it all comes down to morality. “When these kind of issues settle into a choice between right and wrong, then the moral clarity that eventually develops makes it possible to move quickly,” he said at a Globe and Mail event in Toronto the other night.
Yet despite his best efforts, the masses are reluctant to sacrifice their standard of living for climate virtue. And the moral failure of the masses means that Mr. Gore’s crusade is doomed. Fortunately, he can console himself with the acclaim of the celebrity elites. Many of them joined him on a 2012 cruise to Antarctica aboard a 370-foot luxury icebreaker, whose purpose was to introduce them firsthand to the brutal realities of climate change. Ted Turner, Tom Brokaw, James Cameron and Richard Branson were there. It’s not known how much money went for carbon offsets.
Yes, Mr. Gore's - and the others alarmists' - crusade is most certainly doomed. But it has been very costly for ordinary taxpayers in a number of countries. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson: The European Union has lost its legitimacy

This morning there are probably a number of Brussels eurocrats in need of a cure after celebrating Europe Day with too many glasses of champagne. Reading professor Niall Ferguson's excellent article should at least wake them up:

I’m absolutely certain that Lord Mandelson and Daniel Cohn-Bendit will tell you that the European experiment has succeeded because there has been peace in Europe since it began in the 1950s. Can we just knock that on the head? European integration has had absolutely nothing to do with peace in Europe since World War II; that has been the achievement of NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation]. The creation of the European Union was not about war and peace, otherwise there would have been a European Defence Community, and that was vetoed by the French National Assembly in 1954.
Europe has to be judged in economic terms, since its own terms have always been economic. And how did it do? In the 1950s the economy of integrated Europe grew at 4 per cent. In the 1960s, it was about the same. In the 1970s, growth was 2.8 per cent; in the 1980s, it slid to 2.1 per cent; in the 1990s, it was only 1.7 per cent: and so on, down to zero.
As European integration has proceeded, its growth has declined. The share of Europe in global GDP has fallen since 1980 from 31 per cent to just 19 per cent. Since 1980 the EU has grown faster than the United States in only nine out of 32 years. Never has its unemployment rate been lower than the US unemployment rate.
Are any of you investors? What were the worst equity markets of the last 10 years? They were Greece, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Belgium — the worst in the world. And on top of all of this, we have monetary union — the ultimate experiment gone wrong.
We warned them, ladies and gentlemen. We said, if you have a monetary union without labour market integration and without any fiscal federalism, it will blow up. I predicted that in 2000. It is happening in real time, in a chemistry lab, on the other side of the Atlantic.
But this was also a political experiment gone wrong. Do you know what that experiment was? The experiment was to see if Europeans could be forced into an even closer union — despite their wishes — by economic means because the political means failed.
And when the European peoples voted against further integration, their respective governments were told to try again. It happened to the Danes in 1992, and to the Irish twice: in 2001 and again in 2008. Their citizens gave the wrong answer in the referendum, so the governments just held another one. This tells you something about why this experiment has failed — it has failed because it has lost political legitimacy. And we see this not only in Greece but in government after government across Europe. Thirteen have fallen since this crisis began two years ago, and more will follow in the months to come.

Read the entire article here

Thursday, 9 May 2013

UN climate alarmists preparing their next trick: A "flexible" 2015 agreement, not "cast in stone"

The UN climate talks are - thank God - not of any interest to major international news media anymore. However, just in case somebody is interested, the latest round of this endless talkathon wrapped up in Bonn last week. 

The UN club of international climate alarmists has now realized that it will not be possible to reach a binding treaty in Paris 2015. Instead, they are now pushing for something that will appeal to political leaders - a "flexible" treaty, which includes all the beautiful words about "saving" the planet, but does not include any tough binding clauses. 

Christiana Figuereshead of the UN climate change secretariat, summarizes the plan: "the agreement of 2015 cannot be cast in stone, cannot be frozen in time".

The one significant news snippet to emerge from the week-long talks was that officials are broadly agreed that any new Treaty agreed in Paris in 2015 will have to be significantly more flexible than the oft-criticised Kyoto Protocol.
There is a consensus building that the new treaty will incorporate ambitious emissions targets and climate action plans, but it will also feature mechanisms that allow for these targets and strategies to be made more ambitious still as the science demands it or new emission-cutting technologies emerge. As such, new more ambitious climate targets could be agreed in the future without having to re-open the entire Treaty - a scenario that would inevitably lead to years of additional negotiations. Speaking to Reuters, Figueres signalled her support for the idea, arguing that "the agreement of 2015 cannot be cast in stone, cannot be frozen in time".
Such flexibility would significantly increase the likelihood of a deal being reached in 2015, but it will also raise concerns among green groups who will fear that the ability to change targets at a later date may give politicians the cover they need to sign up to a treaty in 2015 that is insufficiently ambitious, on the grounds they can always make it more demanding at a later date.
Of course, this talk about "these targets and strategies to be made more ambitious still" is just obfuscation. The intention is to get the politicians to agree a "flexible" deal, full of rhetorics, but empty of substance. 
Knowing the unwillingness of the current political leaders to concede that the entire global warming/climate change business is a a hoax, it would not be surprising if they actually would sign yet another meaningless piece of paper. 

A Europe Day message from the editor of Germany's most widely read weekly: "Who wants to be ruled from Brussels rather than from his or her own capital?"

On this Europe Day Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of Germany's most widely read weekly newspaper, Die Zeit, has a message
So is Europe history now? We don’t know yet. But we do know one thing: that the experiment has failed in one sense because that wonderful dream from the 1950s — of up, up, and away — has collided with the nasty reality of the nation-state that will not fade away. And if truth be told, how many Frenchmen, Italians, Germans, Poles, and so on, will want to part with 2,000 years of history? Who wants to be ruled from Brussels rather than from his or her own capital?
Let me conclude with a prayer. Let’s pray that the inevitable crash of the euro, the most ambitious part of the experiment, will not bury the rest of the union. 
(boldening by NNoN)
It is not difficult to agree with Joffe. The only thing I am not quite certain about is the wish "not to bury the rest of the union", because even after the crash of the euro, there remains a lot to be buried .....

Happy Europe Day! 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

"They called me Herman" Van Rompuy on the current EU crisis: "Weak growth or youth employment are not the monopoly of the South"!

"They called me Herman" Van Rompuy has met with students in Helsinki

The President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, and Finnish premier Jyrki Katainen held a one-hour public discussion session at the University of Helsinki to debate the future of Europe. After brief remarks, they responded to questions from a pre-vetted audience in the hall.
The event was briefly halted around 5pm Tuesday when demonstrators began shouting loudly before Katainen's speech. Soon afterwards, other protestors burst into the hall, waving a sheet bearing anti-austerity slogans.
Security guards ejected the demonstrators and the discussion event resumed.
Van Rompuy's speech at the "discussion" included one meaningful and true sentence, which is more than one is used to:
"For one thing, weak growth or youth unemployment are not the monopoly of the South…"
Keep on trying, Herman! Maybe your speechwriters will manage to make it two in your next speech! 

A Bloomberg editorial on corruption in Putin's Russia

"The editors" of Bloomberg have written an editorial about corruption in Putin's Russia:

Unfortunately, corruption is an integral part of the state- based economic system Putin has built since he took power in 2000. In the oil and gas sector, for example, the government controls 45 percent of production, compared with 10 percent in 1998-1999, according to research by BNP Paribas. Managers of state-owned oil and gas companies are usually former government officials, and their companies are routinely tapped to fund unrelated projects such as the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The natural- gas monopoly OAO Gazprom’s budget for such initiatives in 2011- 2014 is $14.3 billion, according to BNP.

Still, the "editors" appear to believe that the same Putin, who created the corrupt economic system, somehow would be willing and capable to reform it:

President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on corruption is vital to Russia’s future. It’s also certain to fail unless he recognizes the shortcomings of his methods.

How naive can you be? 

The importance of Lord Lawson's message

Nigel Lawson (now Lord Lawson of Blaby), Margaret Thatcher's longest-serving Chancellor yesterday showed why he is head and shoulders above the pygmy  politicians now in charge of the UK government: 

The British former chancellor of the exchequer, Lord Lawson, has urged the UK to leave the European Union, arguing that economic gains from an exit "would substantially outweigh the costs".
Writing in the Times, he describes the EU as "a bureaucratic monstrosity" and added that after an association with Brussels of 40 years "the case for exit is clear".
The peer - who was Margaret Thatcher's chancellor for six years - believes that leaving the EU would prove to be a wake-up call for business leaders.
He said that too many of them were content to be in "the warm embrace of the European single market" when the great export opportunities lay in the developing world, particularly Asia.
"The heart of the matter is that the relevant economic context nowadays is not Europe but globalisation. I strongly suspect that there would be a positive economic advantage to the UK in leaving the single market."
"The heart of the matter is that the very nature of the European Union, and of this country's relationship with it, has fundamentally changed after the coming into being of the European monetary union and the creation of the eurozone, of which - quite rightly - we are not a part."
For these reasons, Lord Lawson says, having voted to stay in the European Common Market, as the EU was known in 1975, "I shall be voting "out" in 2017".
"Not only do our interests increasingly differ from those of the eurozone members but, while never "at the heart of Europe" (as our political leaders have from time to time foolishly claimed), we are now becoming increasingly marginalised as we are doomed to being consistently outvoted by the eurozone bloc."
"You do not need to be within the single market to be able to export to the European Union, as we see from the wide range of goods on our shelves every day. The statistics are eloquent.
"Over the past decade, UK exports to the EU have risen in cash terms by some 40%. Over the same period, exports to the EU from those outside it have risen by 75%.
"The heart of the matter is that the relevant economic context nowadays is not Europe but globalisation, including global free trade, with the World Trade Organisation as its monitor."


Lord Lawson's message is an important milestone in the process of bringing the slow motion Titanic, called the European Union, to its final destination. It will inspire wise people also in the other present members countries, where opposition against the EU, and particularly the euro is fast growing.

Monday, 6 May 2013

The European Union's new propaganda video: "They called me Herman"


The European Union has published a new propaganda video, starring the SchuBarRom Trio (presidents Van Rompuy, Barroso and Schulz), each of them praising their own work. The completely useless video, which has been viewed a whopping 3500 times (probably mainly by EU staff) , at 6,43, includes one memorable moment, when Haiku Herman Van Rompuy describes his first European Council meeting:

"But I was surprised the first time I took part as Belgian Prime Minister that everyone was on first name terms. I suddenly had to say Nicolas, Angela, they called me Herman."

"It's quite a strange experience."

From a citizen's point of view, the really "strange experience" is watching the endless line of useless EU "summits", where "Herman" meets "Angela", "Nicolas", François and the rest.  

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Die Welt about the total failure of Germany's heavily subsidized solar and biofuel industries

The total failure of Angela Merkel's "green" energy policy is becoming more evident every day. The quality daily Die Welt now reports that the billions of subsidies to the solar and biofuel industries have been a total waste of German taxpayers' money. 

Only a few years ago the German government proudly let it be known that these two eco-industries soon would overtake the traditional machine engineering and car industries and provide jobs for hundreds of thousands Germans.

Now it's time for a reality check, die Welt writes:
 "The German solar industry is disappearing before our eyes. Within a year more than one third of all companies have gone out of business. Solar subsidies worth over 100 billion euros during twenty years created a flash in the pan on the labor market. 

According to official statistics the German solar cell and module industry now employs only 6000 people. 

Now it appears that the biofuel industry, another eco-energy branch is foundering, which means that another cornerstone of the German energy transition and climate change policies is disappearing." 

Germans are a hard working and law abiding people, who do not easily take to the streets in order to protest. But if this sad waste of ordinary taxpayers' money is allowed to continue, I would not be surprised if they would begin to react more forcefully. 

Placido Domingo as Putin's useful idiot

How sad it was to see Placido Domingo, perhaps the world's greatest living operatic singer, in the role of the useful idiot. That happened on Thursday, when Domingo joined Russia's corrupt dictator Vladimir Putin at a black-tie-gala to mark the opening of a $700 million stage for the Mariinsky Theatre. 

However, Marinsky's director, the much overrated Ossetian conductor Valery Gergiev, is no useful idiot - he is a close personal friend and active supporter of the criminal dictator, who, together with another of the stars of the opening gala, soprano Anna Netrebko, actively participated in Putin's "election" campaign.

It is not surprising that Putin only a few days ago bestowed on Gergiev a Hero of Labor award, restored from the Soviet era, for his contribution to the arts. 

When artists and intellectuals, both in and outside of Russia, have criticized the dictator for his repression of human rights, the maestro has been comparing him to Peter the Great and Prokofiev

Gergiev does not have a single critical word to say about the sad state of Putin's Russia:

Today, analysts say President Putin spent his first year methodically cracking down on Russia’s opposition. This crackdown goes beyond the symbolic restoration of street patrols by Cossacks, the whip wielding enforcers of Czarist days.

“The tactics are destroying the opposition, destroying the protest movement by persecuting, imprisoning, marginalizing, forcing to emigrate - whatever,” says Dmitry Suslov, international affairs professor at the Higher School of Economics.

The Kremlin sent a high profile signal with last summer’s trial of Pussy Riot, a female punk band that protested in Moscow’s main cathedral. Two of the women are serving two-year jail sentences.
Now it is the turn of Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most popular opposition leader. He is on trial in a provincial city, 1,000 kilometers from his power base here.
Opposition politician Vladimir Ryzhkov says the trials reflect a wider crackdown that President Putin started after returning to the Kremlin one year ago.
“Putin and his parliament enacted an entire series of laws aimed at prohibition: the prohibition of protests, the prohibition of the freedom of expression, the prohibition of criticizing the government and church,” said Ryzhkov, co-chairman of the Republican Party of Russia, a new group.


One can only hope that Domingo, who is known to be an honest and serious man, thinks twice next time when he is asked to join a celebration organized by friends and lackeys of a dictator.