Saturday, 1 March 2014

After his Olympic "peace project" is over, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is ready to send his "team" to Ukraine

"By living together under one roof in the Olympic village you send a powerful message from Sochi to the world, that of a society of peace, tolerance and respect. I appeal to everybody implicated in confrontation, oppression and violence to act on this Olympic message of dialogue and peace.

"Tonight we can say Russia delivered all that it promised. What took decades in other parts of the world was achieved here in Sochi in just seven years. All the people of Sochi and Russia deserve our deep gratitude."

Thomas Bach, IOC President

With his Olympic "peace project" delivered, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin moves on to his next project:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the upper house of parliament for approval to send Russian troops into Ukraine's Crimea region to normalize the political situation there, the Kremlin said Saturday.
Due to the "extraordinary situation in Ukraine," Putin said, there are threats to the lives of Russian citizens and Russian military personnel based in the southern Crimean region.
It comes on the same day that the new pro-Russian leader of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, asked Putin for help in maintaining peace in the Black Sea peninsula -- where Russia has a major naval base at Sevastopol.

Putin is not the least scared of what US president Obama says:

Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist and a Fox News contributor, said Russia will interpret Obama's remarks as complacency.
"He said, any violation of Ukrainian territory is destabilizing, and that's not in Russia's interest. He is instructing Putin on what's in Russia's interest?" Krauthammer said.  "I can assure you, Putin has calculated his calculated his own interests, and he's calculated that detaching Crimea from Ukraine and making it, essentially, a colony of Russia, is in Russia's interest - because he knows he has nothing to fear from the west, because it's not led by anybody. It used to be led by the United States."


Nigel Farage: Mass immigration has left Britain an "unrecognisable" country

The Swiss have voted for a sensible immigration policy. Will the same happen in the UK?:

Mass immigration has left Britain an "unrecognisable" country that many people would not want to leave to their children and grandchildren, Nigel Farage has said.
In one of his strongest attacks on immigration policy, he said the arrival of migrants has some British people feeling that parts of the country are now alien to them.
The UK Independence Party leader said parts of the country had been "taken over" by foreigners and told how he caught a recent commuter train from London to Kent and had to wait for several stops before he heard English being spoken.
Mr Farage's comments come after official figures published on Thursday showed a shock rise of more than 30 per cent or 58,000 over the past year in net migration to Britain to 212,000, mainly accounted by migrants from southern European countries.
In his keynote speech to Ukip's spring conference in Torquay on Friday, Mr Farage said: "It's ordinary folk, it's ordinary families that are paying the financial price. But what about the social price of this? --

"The fact that in scores of our cities and market towns, this country in a short space of time has frankly become unrecognisable.
"Whether it is the impact on local schools and hospitals, whether it is the fact in many parts of England you don't hear English spoken any more.
"This is not the kind of community we want to leave to our children and grandchildren." --

"What I am saying is we now have nearly 10 per cent of our schools in this country where English is not the primary language of the homes those children come from."
Mr Farage warned that immigration had done damage to "cohesion" in British society.
He said: "So the answer is, I don't feel very comfortable in that situation and I don't think the majority of British people do.
"It doesn't mean I'm against anybody of different backgrounds or different cultures - far from it. I want us to have a sensible, open-minded immigration policy.

Read the entire article here

Putin sends a nationalist bike gang to Crimea amid rumours of a Russian takeover

                                         Putin and his friend Aleksandr Zaldastonov at a bike
                                                 show in 2011. Putin was not capable of riding an ordinary
                                                 Harley Davidson, which is why he was riding a three wheeler ...

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has sent his friend Aleksandr Zaldostanov, the leader of Russia's nationalist biker gang " The Night Wolves" to Crimea amid rumors of a Russian takeover of this autonomous Ukrainian republic.

Zaldostanov, nicknamed "The Surgeon" for his skill with a knife in a fight, told Time magazine about his plans:

“We are here to defend our country, or at least the parts of it that remains ours. We will defend it from the fascists who have come to power. So let it be known to all of them. Wherever we are, wherever the Night Wolves are, that should be considered Russia.”
In his view, “Russia” would include a swathe of Ukraine reaching far beyond the Crimea. On Saturday morning, the Night Wolves are organizing a massive motorcycle column that will ride from the northeast of Ukraine all the way along its eastern edge, covering nearly all of the Russian-speaking regions of the country

Last April it was disclosed that the Finnish police hade placed Vladimir Putin on a list of wanted criminals in Finland for his ties with Zaldostanov and the "Night Wolves". Being placed on the list translates to automatic detention at the Finnish border as a criminal.

Finland's interior minister then extended Putin "sincere apologies for the incorrect registry". However, considering what "The Surgeon" is doing right now in Ukraine on behalf of Putin, it might be time to re-enter the former KGB agent on the list - and not only in Finland.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Obama's popularity dives

I do not find this surprising at all:

Amid continued pessimism about the economy and direction of the country, 59 percent of Americans say they are disappointed in Mr. Obama's presidency (including 37 percent who are very disappointed); 40 percent are satisfied. Much of this discontent comes from Republicans and independents, but a quarter of Democrats express at least some disappointment.
Disappointment with Barack Obama's presidency has grown since the summer of 2012, and much of that rise has been among independents. Forty percent of independents say they are very disappointed today, up from 27 percent in August 2012.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Roger Köppel on why Switzerland is a successful country

Roger Köppel, the editor-in-chief of the Swiss quality weekly Die Weltwoche has written an excellent editorial about why Switzerland is succesful - and the EU not. Here is an excerpt:

Switzerland is a succesful country, because it is independent. Many business leaders overlook that. Our independence is an economic success factor. It is the foundation of a free, business friendly state under the rule of law, in which the citizens and not the politicians are in charge. Switzerland is doing better because it is not in the EU. The EU is the opposite of Switzerland, because in the EU the citizens have no say.

You could not say it better!

A reminder: "Putin is a dictator"

What Masha Gessen wrote in the New York Times in 2012 is worth remembering:

Yes, I really mean to say that Putin is a dictator. The only reason this is still questioned after all that we have seen in Russia is that Western leaders and Western media refuse to call him one — while being perfectly content, for example, to brand Belorussia’s Alexandr G. Lukashenko this way. For this I see no good explanation.

Garri Kasparov about Putin's winter games and the new IOC President

Putin's Sochi games are over, but we should not forget what Garri Kasparov recently wrote about them and about the new IOC President:

New IOC President Thomas Bach’s strained protests about how foreign leaders protesting Sochi are “inserting politics into sport” ignore that fact that selling a huge platform for propaganda and corruption to a dictatorship is also “playing politics.” By Bach’s dubious rationale, the IOC would award the Games to North Korea as long as the venues were adequate and the fees were paid promptly. --

 .... Russians will be left with the environmental disaster, the corruption and the repression, the debts, and the same crooks and thugs who created them all. The future is not bright for Sochi, unless you believe that misery loves company. The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia and reports are already circulating about how behind schedule the venues are. It will be Sochi times ten.

Greenpeace fo-founder: "No scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming"

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore says it all:

A co-founder of Greenpeace told lawmakers there is no evidence man is contributing to climate change, and said he left the group when it became more interested in politics than the environment.
Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist and business consultant who was a member of Greenpeace from 1971-86, told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee environmental groups like the one he helped establish use faulty computer models and scare tactics in promoting claims man-made gases are heating up the planet.
“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” he said.
Even if the planet is warming up, Moore claimed it would not be calamitous for men, which he described as a “subtropical species.”

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tea for two: David Cameron's "most important partner" on EU in London

UK foreign secretary William Hague thinks that Angela Merkel is David Cameron's "most important partner in seeking a new relationship between EU member states":

William Hague has suggested that Angela Merkel is sympathetic to the UK's efforts at reforming the European Union, ahead of the German chancellor's visit to London later this week to discuss overhauling immigration rules.
Hague said Merkel understands David Cameron's position and is the most important partner in seeking a new relationship between EU member states.
Cameron appears to be making a special effort for Merkel, who makes a whirlwind trip to London on Thursday, as Downing Street believes she could use the trip to publicly back his efforts to bring about treaty changes.
During the visit Merkel will have tea with the Queen and become the first German chancellor to address both houses of parliament.
Hague said serious renegotiations about the UK's relationship with Brussels will not start until after the next election, but the talks with Merkel will mark the start of finding "common ground" for changes.

Hague is probably right, if this is what David Cameron wants:

"We need more Europe," Merkel said. "We do not only need a currency union, we also need a so-called fiscal union - that is, more joint budget policy."
Merkel said Europe needs first and foremost a stronger political union, with member states ceding more national responsibilities to Europe and allowing the EU more control.

Americans should celebrate the fact the Congress allowed the tax credit for wind energy to expire

Americans should celebrate the fact that Congress allowed a tax credit for wind energy to expire, even if the wind turbine industry is whining:

Justin Williams, a wind turbine technician for Vestas Wind Systems, says the failure to renew the Production Tax Credit was a major blow to the wind industry because developers relied heavily on this tax credit to help offset the expensive start-up costs of wind turbines.
“With the [tax credit] not getting extended for another year, it really hurt the wind industry,” Williams said. “A lot of projects got put on hold.  It was a big tax break for these guys. It’s kind of what helped them get the financing to build these sites.”
Williams says it takes at least four years to build a turbine from start to finish. “It’s a big investment, with all the money up front. You don’t start making money off a wind turbine until at least ten years later,” he adds.  "That’s why a lot of people relied on the [tax credit].”

What the Vestas representative "forgot" to mention is that the owners of wind turbines will not after those "at least ten years" be able to enjoy their profits for very long:

The analysis of almost 3,000 onshore wind turbines — the biggest study of its kind —warns that they will continue to generate electricity effectively for just 12 to 15 years. --
The report concludes that a wind turbine will typically generate more than twice as much electricity in its first year than when it is 15 years old.
The report’s author, Prof Gordon Hughes, an economist at Edinburgh University and a former energy adviser to the World Bank, discovered that the “load factor” — the efficiency rating of a turbine based on the percentage of electricity it actually produces compared with its theoretical maximum — is reduced from 24 per cent in the first 12 months of operation to just 11 per cent after 15 years.
The decline in the output of offshore wind farms, based on a study of Danish wind farms, appears even more dramatic. The load factor for turbines built on platforms in the sea is reduced from 39 per cent to 15 per cent after 10 years. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

On why the once highly regarded WWF has almost disappeared from the news

If you wonder why the WWF has almost disappeared from the news recently, this may be one reason:

Ahead of WWF’s annual Earth Hour on 29 March 2014, South Ayrshire Council is celebrating after once again being named as WWF’s Earth Hour Local Authority Champion for 2013.

Councillor John McDowall accepted the award after the Council was recognised for doing the most of all 32 local authorities in Scotland to support Earth Hour in 2013. The Council’s efforts included switching off feature lighting on 14 of the areas most iconic landmarks, a ghost walk around Ayr and golfing in the dark at Troon.
“This year, we’d like to see more people than ever before in South Ayrshire make their own champion effort to switch lights off for an hour between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on 29 March 2014.
“We will be supporting the campaign and have already been awarded a ‘Super Local Authority’ badge for our proposed plan involving switching off many of our landmark buildings feature lights, a night cycle, ghost walk and more golfing in the dark. --

Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that South Ayrshire Council has won our Earth Hour Local Authority Champion title for the second year in a row.

When the bosses of the once highly regarded World Wildlife Fund (now World Wide Fund for Nature) concentrate on awarding titles like "Super Local Authority" and "Earth Hour Local Authority Champion" to councils organizing "ghost walks" and "golfing in the dark", no wonder that even the most eager warmist media lose interest ...

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Sochi Games were no boost to dictator Putin's grand strategy

The most wasteful and corrupt Olympic Winter Games ever are now history. The godfather of the Sochi games, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, may think that the games were a boost to his grand strategy, but events in Kiev show that his rival "civilizational model" does not have much appeal.
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat's analysis is well worth reading:
... there is a vast difference between Putin’s grand strategy and both its Czarist and its Soviet antecedents.
The czars sought a “Holy Alliance” to defend a still-extant ancien régime — a rooted, hierarchical system that still governed many 19th-century European societies. But today’s Russia, brutalized by Communism and then taken over by oligarchs and grifters, is not a traditional society in any meaningful sense of the term, and the only thing it has in common with many of its potential developing-world allies is a contempt for democratic norms. In the Romanov era, the throne-and-altar idea still had a real claim to political legitimacy. But there is no comparable claim Putin can make for his own authority, and no similar mystique around his client dictators, be they Central Asian strongmen or Bashar al-Assad.
The Soviets’ claim to be in history’s vanguard, meanwhile, earned them allies and fellow travelers not only in Latin America, Asia and Africa, but among the best and brightest of the liberal West. No comparable Western fifth column seems likely to emerge to enable Putin’s goals. A few voices on the American right have praised his traditionalist rhetoric — but only a few. As beleaguered as America’s social conservatives sometimes feel, we’re a long distance from signing up as useful idiots for a thuggish, obviously opportunistic “family values” crusade.

Which is not to say that Putin’s geopolitical approach is all folly. On the contrary, he often plays the great game far more effectively than his European and American counterparts.
But the weakness of Russia, its government’s corruption and the unattractiveness of its alleged traditionalism all combine to foreclose his grandest ambitions.
This is basically what we’re watching happen in Ukraine. Despite the blunders of the European Union — which courted Kiev without seeming to realize that Russia might make a counteroffer — Putin is struggling to win a battle for influence in a country that both the Romanovs and the Soviets dominated with ease.
And the struggle is particularly telling given that the Great Recession exposed the E.U. as a spectacularly misgoverned institution, whose follies consigned many of its member states to economic disarray. Yet even that record hasn’t persuaded the majority of Ukrainians to warm to Moscow’s embrace instead. It takes much more than mere misgovernment to make the European project less attractive than Putin’s authoritarian alternative.