European Union to put speed limiters on all cars?

September 2, 2013
I said, no fun allowed!

Nanny says “Slow down!”

The world’s biggest nanny-state has decided that too many people are dying on Europe’s highways. Rather than leave that problem up to the member nations, the Euro-mandarins in Brussels have proposed to put speed-limiters, some of them satellite-controlled, on all cars. Go too fast, and Nanny puts on the brakes:

Under the proposals new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when this is exceeded.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also mean existing cars are sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph.

The new measures have been announced by the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport Department as a measure to reduce the 30,000 people who die on the roads in Europe every year.

A Government source told the Mail on Sunday Mr McLoughlin had instructed officials to block the move because they ‘violated’ motorists’ freedom. They said: “This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people’s backs up about Brussels.

“The Commission wanted his views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.”

I’d like to think the minister illustrated his point with the traditional English two-finger salute. And this should be really popular in Germany, where the “need for speed” on the autobahns is a well-known national trait. So, what’s next? EU directives on how one shall cut one’s steak, with a minder showing up to measure each piece with calipers to make sure it isn’t too large?

This is another illustration of the control-freak nature of the Left (1): it’s not enough to set speed limits and levy fines for violating them, nor even to suspend driving privileges for repeat violations. Nope, they have to stand over you constantly lest you pass the bounds of what they determine to be proper. Go too fast, and Nanny will make you slow down.

Democrats in Washington and Sacramento must be green with envy.

Afterthought: Speaking of which, driverless cars are on the way. Who needs speed limiters when bureaucrats can control the whole vehicle? (2)

via David Burge

Footnotes:
(1) The whole European Union government is a statist paradise. The small-government, liberty-of-the-individual politician is a rare sight.
(2) Please. It’s only a matter of time before some progressive genius decides driverless vehicles should have Internet-based governors on them. For your own good, of course.

RELATED: Dan Mitchell make this part of his question of the week – “What’s More Worrisome, Big Brother Monitoring Where You Drive or Big Brother Controlling How You Drive?”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Canaries in the Coal Mine

March 27, 2013

Call this a follow up to my worries that Cyprus is a warning and this morning’s post about America being in danger of becoming Europe.

In this latest “Afterburner,” Bill Whittle warns us that, with the European Union lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, and with the US headed by an administration enamored of many of the same foolish policies as the Europeans, the members of the EU are serving as “canaries in the coal mine:”

Prediction is a fool’s game, so I won’t guess what’s going to happen, but I’d feel much more comfortable if this man were in charge.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Eurozone Chief: Cyprus was just the start

March 26, 2013
"Obama loan officer at work."

“EU bureaucrat at work.”

Hoo, boy. I just had a feeling that, once the the EUrocracy learned it could take depositors’ money at will without a total meltdown, the temptation to do it again (and again and again and again…) would be too great to  resist. Thus we read in the Telegraph:

Cyprus bail-out: savers will be raided to save euro in future crises, says eurozone chief

Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.

The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.

The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told the FT and Reuters that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.

“If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be ‘Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?’,” he said.

“If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders.”

Ditching a three-year-old policy of protecting senior bondholders and large depositors, over €100,000, in banks, Mr Dijsselbloem argued that the lack of market contagion surrounding Cyprus showed that private investors could now be hit to pay for bad banking debts.

Don’t you just love how Dijsselbloem puts it? “We’ll ask them to contribute.” As if Manuel the Madrid taxi driver, who’s put his life’s savings into a bank he thought he could trust, will get any chance to say no. If he’s lucky, he’ll wake one morning to discover that his masters in Brussels have left him anything at all.

This is just immoral. Depositors in Cyprus are being robbed to cover for the bad borrowing decisions of governments and the equally stupid lending decisions of bankers, and now Dijsselbloom and his fellow mandarins are casting their gaze across Europe and seeing a smorgasbord filled with tasty accounts waiting to have a bite taken out of them.

Let’s review an old principle of (real) liberalism that’s more and more forgotten these days: your bank account is your property, as it represents the fruits of your labor. Security in your right to property is essential to your liberty; if you do not have the first, then you lack the second. If some bureaucrat can come and take your property via a diktat dressed in legal finery, then you are not a free human being.

Desperate to save their precious Euro at all costs, the Eurocrats and the national governments are all but guaranteeing a future bank run and financial panic as frightened people take their money and try to put it beyond the reach of grasping, blundering officials and quite possibly creating the very crash they’re trying to avoid.

With establishment politicians like these, is it any wonder people turn in frustration and anger to radical politics?

PS: And I wish the EU would stop giving Obama ideas…

via Bryan Preston

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Greek soccer player banned for Nazi salute

March 17, 2013
Nah, not Fascist at all...

Nah, not Fascist at all…

His excuse? “I’m too ignorant to know what I’m doing!”

Greek soccer player Giorgos Katidis has been banned from his national team for life after giving a Nazi salute while celebrating a goal in the topflight league.

Greece’s soccer federation said Sunday in a statement that the AEK Athens midfielder’s gesture “is a deep insult to all victims of Nazi brutality.”

The 20-year-old Katidis gave a Nazi salute after scoring the go-ahead goal Saturday in AEK’s 2-1 victory over Veria in the Greek league. He pleaded ignorance of the meaning of his gesture — right arm extended and hand straightened. He claimed on his Twitter account that he detests fascism.

My first reaction is “yeah, right.” The Nazis rampaged over Europe less than 80 years ago, and Greece was one of many nations subjected to conquest and a brutal occupation. Film, television, books, the Internet — all these make clear what that salute stood for. And given the rise of the fascist Golden Dawn party, Mr. Katidis’ protests are those either of a liar, or a very, very ignorant person.

That fascism is at all on the rise in Europe (Golden Dawn has spread to Germany, by some reports) is a result of the failure of the European political classes to govern responsibly, instead bribing their publics with ever-more generous social safety nets that are now so frayed thanks to aging populations and reckless public borrowing, that many are turning to far leftist politics (1) out of frustration and anger.

While a suspension for life seems harsh, particularly if Katidis really is just historically illiterate,  it’s a measure of how worried Greek and European officials are by the threat of radical politics rising from the EU’s economic troubles. As more Mediterranean countries fail to deal with crushing debt and high unemployment, all made worse by the one-size-fits-all Euro, we may well see many more Europeans who find fascist gestures, and the politics behind them, increasingly attractive.

Footnote:
(1) Remember, Fascism is a derivative of Socialist politics developed by Mussolini, who added the hyper-nationalist element, among other things. No matter how the Left tries to deny it, totalitarian statism is just their thing.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


European Union or EUSSR? Brussels demands power to regulate press, fire journalists

January 25, 2013
"Under state control"

“Enemy of the State”

If anyone had any notion that the European Union was anything but a bureaucratic dictatorship, this should open their eyes:

A European Union report has urged tight press regulation and demanded that Brussels officials are given control of national media supervisors with new powers to enforce fines or the sacking of journalists.

The “high level” recommendations that will be used to draft future EU legislation also attack David Cameron for failing to automatically implement proposals by the Lord Justice Leveson inquiry for a state regulation of British press.

A “high level” EU panel, that includes Latvia’s former president and a former German justice minister, was ordered by Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president, last year to report on “media freedom and pluralism”. It has concluded that it is time to introduce new rules to rein in the press.

“All EU countries should have independent media councils,” the report concluded.

“Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

As well as setting up state regulators with draconian powers, the panel also recommended that the European Commission be placed in overall control in order to ensure that the new watchdogs do not breach EU laws.

(Emphases added)

I’m sure these new powers, if granted, will be used only for the common good, to ensure fair, sensitive journalism — as determined by a bunch of Eurocrats.

The danger of this is obvious: the power to fine or fire is the power to dictate, and the only reporters to retain their jobs will be those who say things pleasing to the mandarins in Brussels. It would be the death knell of free speech in Europe, for free speech is meaningless if it doesn’t include the right to say things that make the powerful uncomfortable, or even simply to offend. A free, unfettered press is essential to a democratic society, and if the press is fettered, so is the citizen, who becomes a subject. The society is no longer free.

The article points out that these proposed regulations are aimed largely at the British press, which has a large Euro-skeptic element and regularly ticks off the European Union elite.  Quite unsurprisingly, then, the Brussels initiative has set up howls of outrage in Britain, from whom we inherited our traditions of free speech and press freedom. With Prime Minister Cameron promising a referendum on a new arrangement, one can only hope the majority of Britons will see the danger of staying a part of this “brave new Euro-world” and vote to get the hell out.

Indeed, they may already ready be headed for the door.

PS: This article reminds me yet again how rare, fragile, and precious our traditions of free speech –the ability to speak one’s mind to the powerful without fear of reprisal– really are. In Europe, where on the Continent the governing tradition is top-down, the natural reaction of the government is to suppress annoying speech. (And in America, we see twitches of that from the Left.) Even in Australia, the people of which are our close political cousins, there is no recognized natural right of free speech. It is a right that we must not only assert and defend, but actively exercise, especially when it itself is under threat.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


As in Brussels, so in D.C.?

December 26, 2012

Call it the EU-USA:

What Mr. Hannan accuses the EU of –spending more to buy the votes of client groups regardless of the harm it does to the economy– is a charge that could be laid just as easily against the statists in Washington.

Or Sacramento, for that matter.


In the EU, you may not say water fights dehydration

December 9, 2012
satire water thirst

Caution. May not cure thirst.

Yes, you read that right:

Drinking water does not ease dehydration, the European Union has ruled – and anyone who disagrees faces two years in prison.

The decision – after three years of discussions – results from an attempt by two German academics to test EU advertising rules which set down when companies can claim their products reduce the risk of disease.

The academics asked for a ruling on a convoluted statement which, in short, claimed that water could reduce dehydration.

Dehydration is defined as a shortage of water in the body – but the European Food Standards Authority decided the statement could not be allowed.

The ruling, announced after a conference of 21 EU-appointed scientists in Parma and which means that bottled water companies cannot claim their product stops people’s bodies drying out, was given final approval this week by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Yesterday, Tory MEP Roger Helmer said: ‘This is stupidity writ large. The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are worrying about the obvious qualities of water. If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project, then this is it.’

As the trapped-within-the-EU friend who alerted me to this pointed out:

Just wait, in four or five years you have the same stupidity.

Hey, with our EPA and Obamacare now being implemented… less than a year, tops. Obama’s that good. smiley d'oh!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Nigel Farage on the EU: We’ve effectively been led by a group of ex-communists to a total disaster

June 21, 2012

Via The Right Scoop, the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is interviewed on the FOX morning show about the assertion by European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that the US is responsible for the financial crisis in Europe. Click the image to watch:

In one sense, Barroso is right: the poor decisions made under the Clinton administration (and then defended by Democrats under Bush) regarding the bundling of sub-prime mortgages and then selling them as federally backed investment instruments did infect the financial system and did cause major damage.

BUT… As Mr. Farage points out, the real problem in Europe is an artificial, unsustainable currency, the Euro, and the political union that foisted it upon nations not ready for such a project. That is the real, core problem of the EU and the debt crisis in Europe. That, and a failure of leadership from leftover lefties who think the answer is more cowbell.

Anyway, enjoy the interview. Farage is always a pleasure to listen to, especially when skewering the statist popinjays of the European Union in the EU parliament.

via Sissy Willis on Twitter


More European Union signs of Doom

May 30, 2012

We all know that Greece is a mess… No, wait. Scratch that. We all know that Greece is a hot, steaming, radioactive mess that threatens to mutate into a blob that eats the EU alive.

Everyone knows that.

But it’s even worse than you think when the tax system literally is run by the Mob:

“The basic question is that a German has to increase working from 65 to 67 and that is to pay for Greeks retiring at 50. The 17th of June is the perfect opportunity to say either ‘we’ll behave’ or ‘we’ll carry on cheating,’” he said.

Harsh words, but they are confirmed by many Greeks I know. A Greek member of parliament told me recently that tax reform was “almost impossible” to achieve because “our tax system is run by the Mafia.” I laughed and said that many countries had people who thought of their tax collectors that way. “No, no,” the parliamentarian insisted. “I mean that organized crime really runs the tax agencies for their benefit, taking a cut of the reduction in taxes they give out to citizens. Every person appointed to reform the system has been pushed out. Respect for authority is nil.”

Unless Greeks suddenly show a level of maturity and moral courage they haven’t shown since, well, Salamis, I don’t see how they avoid collapse, which could well take the Euro and the EU itself with them.

PS: Want something even scarier? While it may not sport a Mafia-run tax system, Spain looks like a far worse horror show ready to get underway.

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Commence Operation “EU crack up,” phase two!

May 8, 2012

Phase One was the unending financial crisis that began in 2008 and the Europeans’ unwillingness to anything that would really address the problem, instead choosing to keep feeding the beast of debt and taxation. Sickened by the failure of their political class (and made delirious by their own addiction to the teat of the State), European voters are responding by throwing the bums out and putting radical bums in their places: a hack Socialist demagogue in France, and communists and neo-Nazis in Greece.

Now comes word that Phase Two, the bailout of banks in Spain has begun:

It was only a matter of time before the next bank bailout began despite all those promises to the contrary. Sure enough, as math always wins over rhetoric and policy, earlier this morning the shot across the Spanish bow was fired after PM Rajoy did a 180 on “no bank bailout” promises as recent as last week. From Dow Jones: “Spain may pump public funds into its banking system to revive lending and its recessionary economy, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday, signalling a policy U-turn. The government had pledged to not give money to the banking industry that is struggling in the wake of a collapsed, decade-long, housing boom. “If it was necessary to reactivate credit, to save the Spanish financial system, I wouldn’t rule out injecting public funds, like all European countries have done,” Rajoy said in interview with Onda Cero radio stations.

Spain is Europe’s fifth-largest economy, and its economic problems are huge, but bailing out the banks won’t make much of a difference, if any; it will merely transfer the debt burden from Spanish banks to the Spanish government, which will have to borrow the money or seek its own bailout, further burdening both the already over-taxed Spanish public — as well as German patience. It’s robbing Pedro to pay Pablo, but the bill will still come due — and it will be enormous.

With the EU’s fragile unity already threatened by a likely clash between Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and France’s new President Hollande, will the added pressures of a potential Spanish financial collapse (which would make Greece look like a block party) push the European Union and the Eurozone to the breaking point?

My guess is for at least a partial breakup within the next year, as Greece and other fiscally profligate Latin states leave the Euro so they can devalue their currencies enough to restart growth, while Germany and the other “adult” states are glad to see them go.

But with the rise of political fantasists in Greece, France, and elsewhere, one wonders if that will be enough?

via American Power

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


April 13, 2012

Phineas Fahrquar:

Dan shows why we need to fight any VAT tooth and nail, unless the income tax is repealed altogether.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Why are taxes so much higher in Europe, consuming 46 percent of economic output compared to 32 percent of GDP in America? Is it because nations such as France, Greece, and Sweden have adopted the kind of class-warfare policies that Obama wants for the United States?

Surprisingly, the answer is no.

As explained by Veronique de Rugy, the United States actually has a more “progressive” tax code than European nations. The corporate tax rate is higher in the United States than in any European country, and the double taxation of dividends and capital gains also is far above the European average. Western European nations tend to impose higher tax rates on personal income, so the overall tax burden on the “rich” is roughly comparable on both sides of the Atlantic.

Since the United States and European nations impose somewhat similar tax burdens on upper-income taxpayers, what accounts…

View original 339 more words


Sweet! If the Euro collapses, US taxpayers could be on the hook for $1 trillion! Oh, yay!

December 15, 2011

You know what they say, don’t you? A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re taking about real money.

James Pethokoukis posts about the risks for the US taxpayer in the Euro crisis, pointing that, contra Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (1), the US bailout of Europe is on. I’ll refer you to Pethokoukis’ article for the details, but the gist is this: the International Monetary Fund, to which the United States is far and away the largest contributor, has already loaned Portugal, Greece, and Ireland (three of the five PIIGS countries) roughly $100 billion, of which our share is $20 billion. Petty cash these days, you say? Hah! We’re not done yet…

If the two biggest PIIGS, Italy and Spain, come to the IMF trough, their needs may exceed the IMF’s reserves, so the EU has agreed to loan hundreds of billions to the IMF, which the IMF could then re-loan to Spain and Italy (2) — loans totaling as much as $1.3 trillion. (They don’t call them “PIIGS” for nothing.) Since this is a loan to the IMF, the US taxpayer would be on the hook to European lenders for roughly 17% of that amount in the event Italy and Spain default, or as much as $220 billion.

Makes you wince, doesn’t it? But wait, it gets better!

The Fed is hedging their bets via currency swaps with the European Central Bank. Supposedly, in the event of a default by the borrowers, the ECB could limit US exposure by buying dollars, even if it meant devaluing the Euro through printing as much needed. But that assumes the Euro and the ECB even survive a real crisis. If they don’t, we’re on the hook for it all.

I’ll let James summarize:

U.S. taxpayer exposure is $220 billion via the IMF. That’s scary enough. But then you have the Fed. Lachman notes that the counterparty to the potential $600 billion in swaps is the ECB and that “one must suppose that the European Central Bank would be able to buy whatever quantity of US dollars that it might need to repay the Federal Reserve.” Unless there is a complete euro collapse and then there might not be a ECB to repay anybody. So in addition to a global depression and 20 percent U.S. unemployment, America ['s exposure] would be nearly $1 trillion.

The insanity of it all becomes clear when one realizes this is like nothing so much as giving an alcoholic another bottle of booze and trusting himself to go on the wagon later. Really. This time he’s serious.

European nations have loaned Greece billions time after time, and yet the Greeks continue their profligate social spending and never reform. And the problem is spreading, as Italian and Spanish finances near collapse. But, instead of recognizing the desperate need to find an orderly end to the Euro so that debtor nations can devalue national currencies as much as needed to grow their way out of debt via exports, they keep trying to save it by buying their way out of debt with more debt. This only delays and makes worse the inevitable end: massive defaults, bankruptcies at major banks, and social chaos.

Now we’re getting into the act in a potentially very big and very harmful (to us) way. And on top of our own horrendous debt.

There is no easy way out of the international debt crisis, but surely the way to start is to stop being stuck on stupid.

Footnotes:
(1) Sure, Ben, we won’t bail them out directly. We’ll just do it through our seat at the IMF. That makes all the difference in the world. And I bet you’ll respect us in the morning, too.
(2) Anyone else reminded of a shell game?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why America is exceptional, a graphic example

November 19, 2011

I wrote in the last post of how Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, captured the essence of American exceptionalism in the ideology of liberty that ties this nation together and makes it so different from almost any other place on Earth.

Well, coincidentally the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey examining the views of Americans and West Europeans on the role of the State and the individual. I think you’ll find the results interesting:

The difference is stark, wouldn’t you agree? Forget the Continent, where statism rather than liberty has been the rule and where the “Anglo-American system” (i.e., classical liberalism) is often held up as a bogeyman, but we’re almost polar opposites from our British cousins, from whom we inherited almost our whole political tradition.

And we’re seeing that play out in our national political drama, as time and again the majority of Americans have opposed the vast expansion of the federal government under Obama. When a truly large demonstrations took place here, it was against massive federal borrowing and the expansion of the state via ObamaCare. When people took to the streets in Europe, for example in France when the government proposed mild entitlement reforms, it was to demand an even bigger state and more “free stuff.”

The percentage preferring liberty to being coddled by the government is too low for my tastes, but it’s still a hopeful sign that we can largely avoid going down the same drain as the EU.

It also shows, in this case via social science rather than oratory, just how unusual we are.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Morning, Euro-panic edition

September 12, 2011

From Walter Russell Mead, on the creation of the Euro:

Creating a monetary union without a true federal government is looking more and more like the biggest European policy mistake since Britain and France let Hitler have the Sudetenland.

Visit his blog to find out why.

Looks to be a rocky Monday out there.


The view from Britain: comparing two constitutions, and our coming choice

September 5, 2011

While writing about the frightening proposal by former German Chancellor (1) Gerhard Schroeder for a fully-formed “United States of Europe,” the Telegraph’s James Delingpole made an astute observation about the differences between the United States Constitution and the European Union’s governing document:

In the US, they have a Constitution (one which the current administration would prefer to ignore, but still) which explicitly guarantees the constituent states in the Union the right to forge their own destiny. They can set their own local tax rates, their own speed limits, their position on social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and marijuana consumption, and so on. This Constitution is what has made America great and Americans so free: and the two things are very much connected. When, for example, one state falls prey to rampant big government (eg California), there will always be other states offering a different sociopolitical model (eg Texas) – thus enabling free citizens of the Republic to vote with their feet. They will gravitate towards the model which best serves their needs – thus endorsing it – while fleeing the model they find less attractive, thus discrediting it. In this way bad political ideas cannot so easily take root in the US. Not at least so long as the Constitution is respected.

In the European Union, however, the Constitution serves exactly the opposite purpose. It is designed to give the constituent states as little freedom as possible to decide their own destinies; all decisions are deferred upwards to the controlling central authority; and when member states make the “wrong” decision, the EU superpower simply goes ahead and does what it wants regardless.

To give an example of this top-down control, the Library of the House of Commons in the UK estimates that fully half of Britain’s laws come, not from the democratically elected Parliament in London, but as directives handed down by the unelected bureaucracy in Brussels. Schroeder’s proposal, rather than creating a “more perfect union,” would instead cement into place a dictatorship of the nomenklatura.

One can’t help but notice also, and as Delingpole obliquely does above, that the Obama administration would very much like to institute that same Continental Model here — witness the actions of the EPA, the NLRB, and the FCC, just to name a few.

Keep that in mind come November, 2012. We won’t just be choosing a president, but the character of our union.

Footnote:

(1) And also a Putin crony. That should tell us all we need to know.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pat Condell: Europe needs a revolution

August 26, 2011

British comic Pat Condell rips into the anti-democratic European political class and the “European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,” with an aside for some interesting observations about the nature of the American Revolution:

RELATED: At the Telegraph, Peter Osborne argues that the EU debt crisis will finally give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


In which I suggest a trade with the EU

May 12, 2011

Nigel Farage is the leader of UKIP, the UK Independence Party, which is a small-government, free-market party that advocates Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.  He is also, like the more well-known Daniel Hannan, a Member of the European Parliament. In the following clip, he addresses the President of the European Commission, Mr. Barroso, on matters of democracy, national sovereignty, and border control. I think you’ll find he expresses sentiments that many Americans would agree with:

(BTW, the “star-spangled banner” he mocks is the European flag, not Old Glory, before anyone gets in a lather…)

Now, I don’t know much more about Mr. Farage other than the few speeches I’ve seen and the general platform of his party, but, since he’s a thorn in the side of the statists of the EU and most Americans aren’t fond of our own statists, I’d like to suggest a trade to our friends in Europe: you send us Messrs. Farage and Hannan, and we’ll (gladly) give you President Obama, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and most of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus(1).

Deal? 

via Hot Air’s Green Room

(1) Granted, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the two. Oh, and we get to keep Allen West.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


European Union to ban cars by 2050?

March 29, 2011

In order to fight a problem that does not exist, the monster under the bed anthropogenic global warming, the European Union is pushing to ban automobiles by 2050:

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.

The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

“That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres,” he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.”

Not surprisingly, the Association of British Drivers has had a fit at the idea, calling it “economically disastrous” and “crazy.” While they’re right, that’s never stopped Green Statists in the past. I mean, what could be more desirable to their ethanol-fueled hearts than striking a blow against climate change (ignoring that it’s a natural process they cannot control) and at the same time constraining the individual liberty –in this case, the freedom of movement– of the citizen even more? I’m sure EUrocrats all over the Continent thrilled at the very idea.

And so did the buggy whip industry.

And thus we learn the Green Movement’s motto: Forward, into the past!!

via Pirate’s Cove

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’d like a 100-watt heat ball, please

January 4, 2011

Many of you know that the California legislature, in a valiant effort to save us from both a problem that does not exist* and a problem they helped create†, banned the evil 100-watt incandescent light bulb as of January 1st, 2011.  Those of us who’d rather not light our homes with mercury-filled, hard-to-dispose-of CFLs were beginning to fear we’d have to smuggle contraband light bulbs in from Mexico.

But, fear not, for human ingenuity and the desire to thumb one’s nose at the nanny state know no bounds! In Germany, an ingenious man has found an invention to circumvent the EU’s earlier ban on incandescents: the heat ball!

You gotta hand it to German businessman Siegfried Rotthaeuser, who came up with a brilliant run around the European Union ban on conventional incandescent light bulbs- he rebranded them as “Heat Balls” and is importing them for sale as a “small heating device”.

Rotthaeuser’s website is in German but Google does a passable job of translation. First, he’s very clear that the Heat Ball isn’t for lighting, stating (in German, the following is translated) “A HEAT BALL ® is not a lamp, but it fits in the same version!”

Further down: “The use of Heat Balls avoids the lack of heat. The intended use of heat Balls is the heating. “

The funny thing about this is that incandescent bulbs are fairly efficient when they are used as heaters, throwing off around 95% of the energy they draw as heat.

The article clucks its tongue in mild disapproval, but I like Herr Rotthaeuser’s style. Take that, Eurocrats!

Meanwhile, I need to look into getting the Heat Ball(tm) concession for California.

*Global warming, that is.

†Power shortages caused by doing everything humanly possible to block the construction of new power plants in this state.

via Moe Lane


You think the Greek and Irish crises were bad?

November 29, 2010

Wait until Spain’s economy goes into meltdown. That could be the blow that triggers the end of the Euro:

Economists say that given Spain’s large deficits and poor long-term growth prospects, any failure to achieve government targets for cutting the deficit, and/or any rise in Spanish bank risk, could cause a market panic and turn Spain into the next victim of market contagion.

A financial meltdown in Spain would have repercussions far beyond the Iberian Peninsula. For starters, many analysts believe a debt crisis in Spain would trigger a similar meltdown in Italy, which is the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone, and which suffers from many of the same financial woes that are plaguing Spain. What’s more, Italy has one of the world’s highest public debts, expected to reach a staggering 118 percent of GDP in 2010.

Given the relative size of the Spanish economy, financial turmoil in Spain would likely also doom the single European currency, and with that more than 60 years of European dreams of transforming the continent into a superpower-like United States of Europe capable of counter-balancing the United States of America on the global stage.

Germany, which arguably has more invested in (and also has benefited more from) the European Union than any other country in Europe, is alarmed by the potential unraveling of the euro. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the prospect of serial European bailouts is “exceptionally serious,” and that while she does not want to “paint a dramatic picture,” it would have been hard a year ago to “imagine the debate” now taking place in Europe.

I know about as much about government finances as I do Buddhist theology, but, Chancellor Merkel’s desire to save the Euro aside, it would not surprise me to see, in a crisis created first by a Spanish and then an Italian crash, Germany withdraw from the Euro in order to protect its own economy. Germans already hated the bailout given to the profligate Greeks, and I imagine there’s grumbling about the deal given the Irish. Just wait until they’re presented with a bill from Madrid and Rome. I could well imagine even the Chancellor throwing up her hands and shouting Wir haben genug!

In any event, do read the whole article. It’s a good overview of both the problems Spain faces and the limited options it has to address those problems, given its entitlement-addicted people, inflexible labor market, and the power ceded to the European Central Bank.

Question: If the Euro zone does collapse like the wet paper bag it is, does that kill the European Union, too? In the abstract, the death of that burgeoning bureaucratic dictatorship would seem to me a desirable thing. But it would be potentially very, very messy. As in “We’re angry, resentful, feeling hyper-nationalistic, and we don’t like you” messy.

 


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