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)


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