Saturday, August 23, 2014

Answer to the ISIS dilemma

Western governments are in denial.

Right now they know that there is no appetite for any kind of 'boots on the ground' nor for any tie-up with the odious Assad regime. 

So what can they do to address this very significant threat? 

They are no doubt counting on ISIS' fifth columns within the USA, UK and France to commit bombing atrocities such that a groundswell of opinion for military intervention builds.  They must calculate how many bombings are needed.  Another Boston or maybe a spectacular like 9/11 or another Fusilier Lee Rigby or 7/7 in London?  Or maybe this time in Paris, which has a very special concern about its growing and self-alienated Muslim minority?

We should be alarmed because these atrocities will occur.  There is an inevitability about this that has escaped the media.

Islam is a religion of dominance.  Its adherents allow for no 'non-believers'.  You are either a Muslim and follower of Mohammed or you are an infidel.  Simply put, ones that doesn't follow Islam.  It will come as no comfort to Christians, Jews, Hindus, Taoists, Buddhists, Atheists or those that follow the Jedi tradition, that their long and  often deeply held beliefs, count for nothing.  They are infidels and they must either convert to Islam or be punished.

The punishment is now being meted out on a daily basis in Iraq, to Christians and to Yazidis.  Also now, we hear, to Shiite Muslims.  The punishment is death.  There is no concept of co-existence, no 'my way or the highway'.  It's the Muslim way or death! Nothing extreme about this Sunni Muslim religion!  Think about this when you next hear some liberal fool tell you that Islam is the religion of peace!   Look twice and listen thrice at the 'moderate' Islamist that says that these fanatics don't represent the true face of Islam.  Simply put, these fanatics do represent Islam.

Catholics and Protestants fought many wars and caused countless deaths in furtherance of the schism in Christianity but the numbers have the potential to fade into insignificance compared to the deaths that will flow from the conflict between the two strands of Islam.  The 8 year long Iraq/Iran war cost the lives of an estimated million souls but that can be viewed as an appetizer for the multi-course banquet of death that awaits.  The 200,000 deaths in the proxy war being fought in Syria is also barely a taste of things to come. 

Right now, Sunni Saudi Arabia, with its extreme (though that term is relative) Wahabi sect, is at war with Shiite Iran and, in Syria and Iraq, the Saudis are in the ascendancy.  I say this, not to seek support for Iran, who are as likely to be as murderous as are the Saudi and Qatari backed ISIS fanatics.   Rather, this is a statement of the current state of play, however, should as seems ever more likely, Iran complete its quest for nuclear weapons, then the whole dynamic changes. 

In this goal of achieving a nuclear capability,  the Iranians are being aided by the inept policies of the Obama administration and a resurgent Russia (also a beneficiary of Obama's failed policies) as well as a feeble European Union foreign affairs effort.

The civilised world faces an existential battle. 

Communist China is feeling the effects of this.  India has seen this in the recent past, so has , Argentina, France, Nigeria and the aforementioned USA and UK to name just some of the countries.  Even the peacefully neutral Swedes and Norwegians are experiencing the conflict between their open societies and those of their Islamic migrant communities.  Denmark too has seen the illiberal consequences of allowing a cartoonist to publish his works.  Indeed Russia too, has tragic experience of trying to co-exist with the 'religion of peace' but Putin, having, some in the West say 'brutally dealt' with Islamic dissidents and terrorists, is currently playing a different game to secure Russia's borders and to poke America and the EU, in the eye at every opportunity.

So the solution?

First some history. 

When the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait in 1990, Margaret Thatcher was reported as telling the American President, George H Bush, not to go 'wobbly' and to have 'stiffened his spine' on the issue of confronting Saddam.  She saw the threat posed by Saddam and so too did Bush #1 quickly come to this realisation.

With, ISIS, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the civilised world faces a similar choice - either we fight now, in the sands of Arabia and Persia or we fight soon on the streets of London, Paris, New York, Beijing and Dehli.

Make no mistake, this is a fight that isn't going to go away.  It takes a certain type of fanaticism to hack-off the heads of people that don't follow your brand of religion.  The same kind of fanaticism that causes people to fly planes into buildings or walk into a hotel and randomly shoot people or to strap on a suicide bomb vest and detonate the bomb in a crowded market place.  Does it sound like these are people that can be reasoned with?  The lure of the 72 virgins is just too great for these people.  So since death is what they most want, death should be visited upon them and their supporters.

The solutions are not pretty but there is nothing nice about the aftermath of a suicide bombing or the beheading of innocents.

The world needs to decide where it stands and then back-up their declared position.  Russia needs to say if they are with the West or against it.  There can be no fence-sitting or neutrality.  Why?  Well this is about all-out war.  And it will be bloody and terrible.  ISIS and similar intolerant organisations need to be destroyed, not neutered, annihilated completely. 

Similarly Saudi Arabia and Qatar need to be brought to heel.  They cannot enjoy the fruits of western civilisation and industry while at the same time seeking the destruction of those societies.  The leadership of these countries need to be changed to reflect the required new direction that these countries must take.

Iran must immediately cease funding its proxies in Lebanon and Palestine and completely destroy its nuclear programme.  Again, regime change is needed.

Pakistan must give-up its nuclear weapons.  At this time the state is too unstable to be trusted with such weapons.  Its security services operate as a 'state within a state' and must be brought under democratic control before they decide to pass on enriched uranium to Islamic terrorists.

In Iraq and Syria, the allies - those that are 'with us' - need to impose a very heavy and brutally ruthless, military solution.  Any opposition, any, must be crushed and crushed completely.  There can be no hand-wringing in the media or from liberals in the West.  The consequences of a softly-softly approach can already be seen on the streets of our cities where ISIS fellow-travelers become ever more bold in pushing their murderous ideologies.  Where Islamsists kill a British soldier , on the streets of the capital and try to hack-off his head.  Where Islamists explode bombs at the finish-line of a marathon race.  Unfeeling brutality and force must be met with the a multiplied version of the same.  Make no mistake though, this will mean bombs dropped by planes and so called civilian casualties but we will also require to put 'boots on the ground'.  We will also need to impose economic sanctions against these people - starve them of the goods and yes, foods,  that their people need.  Frankly faced with pictures of the victims of ISIS or the pictures of starving ISIS followers, I would always be moved by the former and never by the latter.

The approach to Iraq and Syria must also be applied in North Africa and Nigeria.

In the home countries, Islamists must also make a decision.  Are they with their home country, in the existential fight against radical Islam or are they with the enemy?  If the latter, then they must be imprisoned - yes whole families interred.  You, as an Islamist, cannot live in the USA, UK or France etc., and burn the flags of those countries or spit on its soldiers.  You cannot declare certain areas as alcohol-free or forbid people to have dogs or women to walk around without a hijab.  These home countries and their traditions existed ever before you did.

Immediately, the oxygen of publicity must be deprived to Islamic organisations, the Muslim Council in the UK and CAIR in the USA are at best, just apologists for their murderous co-religionists.  They place an equivalence on the actions of these barbarians with those of the West  They insist on applying the laws of the host countries when it suits them, while all the time trying to impose Sharia law.

Immediately, any of the ISIS fighters, from western countries, that return 'home', must be imprisoned.  They must be taken out of circulation.

Immediately, the 'hate' legislation that exists in so many countries must be applied against these people that would threaten our very existence.  They may not all be prepared to be front-line 'fighters' but they support, with their hate-filled words, the elimination of Western ways.    There is a 'hands-off' policy linked to the failed  multi-culturalist policies that the West has adopted, which exempts Muslims from the application of law.  This has to stop.

Immediately, the Palestinian boil needs to be lanced.  The Abbas regime in the West Bank must be issued with an ultimatum.  Either you accept the right of Israel to exist or we (the West) will immediately cease all aid and impose a blockade to starve you into submission and we will fund opposition to Fatah, that does want peace.

In respect of Gaza, a similar ultimatum.  Either give-up the ISIS like Hamas terrorists or face the brutal consequences of your continued intransigence.  You have to decide if you want war or peace but know that war will be total and Gaza flattened!

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has talked of a generational struggle against this poisonous ideology and other politicians are coming to realise the battles that must be fought.  As said earlier though, this isn't about the traditional 'West'  This struggle affects India, China, Latin America, Africa and indeed, all of the world.

Who are you with?

Friday, August 22, 2014

The good news from Ferguson

First, the bad news, I'll come to the good news in a moment. 

A black youth was killed by a police officer, in Ferguson.  That is an accepted fact.  And it is of course, very sad that yet another life has been violently ended.  It is not clear if the police officer will be charged for the death.

The youth, Michael Brown, certainly won't now be tried for the violence and intimidation that he inflicted upon a shopkeeper from whom he stole, immediately prior to the shooting event.  As we have seen in recent days, the almost cherubic image that is portrayed by the photograph displayed on British media, is now transitioning to a more complete picture.   This is a picture of a 6' 4" individual weighing 290 lbs (130Kg).  You get a good sense of what those bare statistics mean when one views the confrontation between Michael Brown and the diminutive shopkeeper.  Michael Brown was a powerful young man and seemingly was prepared to use that power in furtherance of criminal activity.

Indeed, the circumstances surrounding the shooting are in dispute but Darren Wilson, the police officer that shot and fatally wounded Michael Brown, was assaulted by Brown.  The degree of Wilson's injuries is disputed - some saying a swollen and bruised face and others saying a fractured eye-socket.  What isn't disputed is that Wilson did suffer injuries.  Also that prior to this, Wilson had a clean disciplinary history in his 4 years with the police department.

There is a clamour for Officer Wilson to be tried for the 'murder' of Michael Brown.  It will come as no surprise that the usual suspect, race-baiter (and sometimes FBI snitch) Al Sharpton is leading the charge for Wilson's arraignment.  Sharpton, you may recall, led the campaign related to the case of Tawana Brawley, in 1987.  This, then 15 year-old girl, made accusations that she was raped by 6  white men.  These allegations were found to be entirely without foundation though not before Sharpton whipped-up community anger and garnered much media attention by insisting that the alleged rape was racially motivated.

This time, Sharpton has a black president in the White House and a black Attorney General and these two now come onto the scene.  President Obama's comments have been reasonably moderate as he needs to be mindful of not prejudicing the ongoing inquiries (and also no doubt his plunging poll ratings).  Eric Holder has been somewhat cautious in his remarks but has shown by his visit to the family of Brown and comments about his experience as a black man, where his sympathies lie.

Eric Holder though, is the good news we have all been waiting for.

Eric Holder has discovered that he has jurisdiction over the FBI.  Indeed such power that he can order that the FBI sends 40 investigators to look into the shooting of Michael Brown and 'establish the truth'.

Now I think this is very encouraging.

I am heartened by Holder now finding out that he can order the FBI to conduct investigations.  Perhaps he can now move away from such issues as the Michael Brown case, which stir so many negative memories from his own youth, and move on to other matters which pre-date Michael Brown's death.

I am talking about, Holder setting the FBI loose on the IRS scandal or the deaths in Benghazi  of 4 American citizens.  Or investigating the scandal surrounding the porous southern US border or the flagrant disregard for human life shown by personnel within the Veterans Administration.  Other than the IRS scandal, these issues have all generated far more deaths than the single tragedy that was Michael Brown.

I know that most people would expect that any investigation of these scandals would bring hard times for the Obama administration but, when Holder isn't playing the race card -given the frequency that he does play this card, he must surely be using two decks - he insists that the integrity of his office requires that he act properly etc. and so we can surely expect that now that Holder knows he has an investigative arm, he will use this on these scandals?  Do you think??

I know that former IRS chief, Lois Lerner, keeps taking 'the fifth' but surely a concerted effort by the FBI can discover or recover some or all of those deleted e-mails?  In this digital age, our electronic 'prints' go far, deep and wide!

Similarly, the premier investigators at the FBI could uncover the conspiracy at the heart of the maladministration of the VA?  Shinseki fell on his sword and was replaced but the fundamentals - veterans being denied medical treatment for extended periods of time - continue.  The head has been changed but the cancer at the heart of the administration carries on eating away and causing the unnecessary deaths of former military personnel.

Maybe the investigators could also look into the activities of the race-baiter, Al Sharpton.  This man has made an industry out of his hatred of white people.  He loses no opportunity play the blame game - the one where all of the ills of society are the fault of the white man!  In a world where children get suspended from school, because they abuse another child by calling their actions 'gay', surely the hatred that spews from the maw of Sharpton is an actual crime, in addition to being an aural one?

Take heart though!  Holder now knows he can investigate!!




Friday, August 15, 2014

Robin Williams - perspective

I don't seek to offend but some will not like this post.

Robin Williams died this week.  It seems that he was suffering from 'depression' and may have been aware of the early onset of Parkinson's Disease as well as facing financial bankruptcy.  So he took his own life.

That is sad.  Forget all the stuff about his being a great comedy actor and comedian, his family have lost a father and a husband.  As said, earlier, that is truly sad and if they wanted them, the family would have my condolences.  I would offer them the same as I do for any death of which I hear.  These are heartfelt but some might say only cursory as in many cases I do not know the deceased, however, as a Christian I pray they and Robin Williams rest in peace and rise in glory.

That's almost it from me, as regards the suicide of Robin Williams, however, I do have something further to say about the reaction to his death.

This was out of all proportion.  Yes he was a funny man and as said, his passing is a loss for his family and perhaps the world is a little bit more of a sadder place, without his presence but a sense of proportion is called for.

On the days before his death, when he was maybe pondering the troubles that ailed him, people were dying in Iraq and in Syria.  Dying really doesn't do it justice.  They were being murdered.  In the case of Iraq, they really doesn't cut it either.  They were being butchered for their beliefs.

They may have had 'depression' like so many people claim to now know so much about, although I think that 'depression' is a 'western' concept.  In the Yezidi and Christian villages of Iraq, they might feel 'down' about their crops or the marriage prospects of their children or a thousand and one other mundane things but in those villages, they just had to get on with life.  $500 an hour shrinks (or however much these charlatans charge) aren't thick on the ground in rural Iraqi areas.

One of those thousand and one other things which might have caused mood swings was likely to be, will ISIS or the Islamic State (IS) as they now style themselves, come to our village.  If they come will my neighbors denounce me as a non-Muslim or rather as a non-Sunni Muslim, since even Shias are not safe.

The existential threat posed by IS, carries with it the ability to focus the mind.  Not on deep and dark inner worries and mis-givings.  No, but onto how do I survive?  How do I get my family to safety?  The introspection suggested by depression is a luxury that much of the world, and certainly those facing beheadings in Iraq, simply cannot enjoy.

So, to the reaction.  The media was immediately flooded with tributes from so called celebrities bemoaning the loss of a comic 'genius'.  Then these tributes were re-cycled and re-cycled.  None of these 'celebs' paused to mention the true tragedy that was occurring at the same time, on the other side  of the world.  None thought to question whether the drug abuse that Robin Williams had previously admitted to, might have messed-up his mind so much that suicide could seem like a reasonable way out of whatever was troubling him.  None thought to ponder, how many people, right there in the USA, might decide that the debt burden that they and their children have is just so great that they can't go on and so take their own lives?  That this debt or other troubles was such a 'downer' that they felt depressed enough to end it all?  I am sure that there were people hearing of Williams' death and thinking to themselves 'Williams should have tried to walk a mile in my shoes.  Williams should have had to worry about from the next meal was coming or how the hospital bills, for Grandma, could be paid.  Then Williams would know what depresses me!'

And if that person was on a mountainside in Northern Iraq and heard of Williams' death, whether that person knew of Williams or not, I believe that the thoughts from the depths of their depression, would not be ones of sympathy but would be ones of 'how do I save my family' .  They would have a sense of perspective.  They would understand that Williams chose to end his life.  They would understand that they and their fellow Christians or Yezidis have only two choices  - flee and maybe die, or stay and certainly die.

When people mourn Robin Williams, I trust that they will also remember the thousands of people that are being murdered in Iraq and Syria.  People that don't have a global fan-base.  People that were  content to live a 'simple' rural life, far away from the glamour and glitz and the psychiatrist's couches of Hollywood. 

Before I get accused of speaking ill of the dead, in respect of Williams and venting my anger and such against him, let me be clear.  I do feel angry about Williams' death but more so about the reaction to this death.  President Obama spoke eloquently about the death of this individual.  If only he had spoken so about the thousands that are dying elsewhere.  Dying not at their own hand but at the hands of fanatical butchers.  I feel angry that the media make such a spectacle of the death of someone like Williams, who chose to take his own life or of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who effectively did the same by overdosing on a cocktail of drugs and yet say so little and show even less of the horror being inflicted on others because of their beliefs.  Do we say that because these people have chosen their god, that their murder is somehow equated to a suicide? 

When did we get to the state that the death of a celebrity out ranks the genocide of a people?  

If you've read this far, you perhaps understand the lack of perspective that has been shown by the media and politicians.  If you agree with me, please pass this blog onto others and help raise awareness of the genocide of Christians (and Yezidis)  that is happening in Iraq.  Today there are no Christians in Mosul, the city that was recently overrun by IS, for the first time in 2,000 years!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Scotland's turmoil

The people of Scotland are around 40 days away from making a momentous decision - to remain part of the United Kingdom or to become an independent nation. The referendum question is straightforward enough but as with such things, the devil is in the detail.

In this case, there are more than a few unanswered questions and the recent TV debate between the leader of the pro-independence Scottish Nationalists, First Minister Alex Salmond and the leader of the Unionist Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, did nothing to resolve the key ones.

I will declare an interest at the outset. I sincerely hope that the Scottish people vote to remain within the United Kingdom.  So if my comments seem somewhat slanted you will perhaps understand.

I live overseas and didn't manage to view the debate but by most all accounts, Alastair Darling and the Vote No campaign, won the debate in terms of people's pre and post views on how they would vote.  Certainly amongst the 15% or so that are 'undecideds'.

The reason for the 'No' victory is, I believe, due to the lack of answers, from Alex Salmond, on key issues.

What currency will Scotland have after independence?  Alex Salmond is insistent that it will be the existing Pound Sterling.  The UK political parties, in a rare show of unanimity have said that this will not be possible.  That the UK will not enter into the required currency union, with a post-independent Scotland.  You might think that the UK is being petty and peevish by such actions.  Maybe even that they are a poor loser, however, this is the stated policy of all of the major UK parties.  We know that politicians usually have only a limited attachment to the promises that they make but I think that the very public and very united approach that they have taken to this one, would mean that reneging on it would be very difficult.  Critically though, as I posted here , the Scottish Nationalists have no Plan B.

Alex Salmond has pinned his colours to the mast and said that Scotland will use the Pound Sterling.  That's it.  All the ramifications of this?  Scotland will use the Pound Sterling.  What kind of independence is this, when economic policy is effectively decided by another country?  Scotland will use the Pound Sterling.  How will Scotland use the Pound Sterling - or as Salmond now likes to call it, the Scottish Pound! - when the rest of the UK says no? Scotland will use the Pound Sterling!!

Another unanswered question which, to my mind is inextricably linked to the currency question is membership of the European Union.  Comments from European Commission leaders and European political leaders have not endorsed, for one minute, the Independence campaign's assertion that a newly independent Scotland would automatically be a full member of the EU.  Some have gone further and indicated that Scotland would need to apply for membership and go through the lengthy process of candidacy.   What is clear though, is that any new member of the EU is expected to adopt the Euro currency so where would that leave Alex Salmond's   'Scotland will use the Pound Sterling' assertion?

The third unanswered question, also linked to currency, relates to debt.  As in how much debt would the newly independent take-on from the United Kingdom.  Most pundits expect that it would be somewhere in the region of 8-10% of the UK National Debt as these numbers represent the relative share of UK population and GDP.  When Czechoslovakia split-up in 1992, population was the basis used as the measure.  this doesn't seem unreasonable.  Speaking of Czechoslovakia, they too had the currency dilemma.  Their solution was to continue with the existing  currency - score one for Alex Salmond - however, within a matter of months, two currencies were developed and the initial equality of exchange rate, soon fell away.

Linked to debt is the question of future liabilities.  This mainly relates to state benefits such as state pension.  These are largely unfunded and so paid out of current national income.  Scotland has something of a demographic time-bomb with its population aging being a greater proportion of the overall population, than occurs in the rest of the United Kingdom.   Does this get taken into account?  It certainly doesn't seem to have been considered by the pro-Independence politicians, who promise ever greener pastures and higher pensions in the free Scotland utopia that will come to be!

These are critical questions that need to be answered.  I doubt that they will be, during the coming six weeks - Alex Salmond will continue to rely on the 'heart' ruling the 'head' and winning because of that.  I sense though that the consistency of the No vote, in polls - always more than 50% - is because people, while liking the idea of an independent Scotland, realise that the actual notion has just not been properly thought through.  I suspect this is because, on an economic basis, the arguments simply don't stack-up - that Scotland is better-off, financially speaking, as a member of the United Kingdom.

Three other things to think about, this morning.

You will notice, after Salmond's less than stellar performance in the TV debate, that people in the Yes campaign are starting to distance themselves and the campaign, from Salmond.  Things are being said such as 'Salmond isn't the leader of the Vote Yes campaign' and so on.  Complete hogwash!  Say what you like about Salmond but please don't try to kid people that he has been anything other than at the forefront of the campaign for an independent Scotland for the last 30+ years.  And, frankly, he has been resolute in pushing the independence agenda.  Alex Salmond and the Scottish Nationalist Party continue to lead the Vote Yes campaign and don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

One worrying thing that is now on the horizon is the suggestion that the UK Parliament will grant extra powers over taxation and some other matters, to the devolved parliament in Scotland, should Scotland vote to remain in the United Kingdom.  This is absolutely the wrong way to proceed.  It is wrong to seek to bribe the people of Scotland and it is wrong to continue to penalise the people of England.  Post the 2015 General Election, the so called Barnett Formula, which is used to apportion government spending, must be changed and Scotland cannot be 'ring-fenced' from the effects of such change.

I posted here  about the possibility that the Shetland Islands might seek independence from Scotland and take-away with it, all of that oil wealth that the mainland so desperately needs.  What then for an independent Scotland.

Scotland should vote No!



 




Friday, August 1, 2014

Green fracking nonsense

Those readers in Britain will likely be aware of the fire that occurred at Ferrybridge C power station, yesterday.  Thankfully, no injuries to persons were recorded.  Britain's energy policy did though take a hit as yet another power station comes off of the grid.

Back in June 2013, I posted here, http://bit.ly/18jFqAB, on the looming power crisis that was facing Britain.  The shutdown of Ferrybridge C, for the 9-12 months it will take to rebuild, will only make the problem worse and heighten the risk of power outages, during the coming winter.

Is shale gas the answer?  Yes, or at least partly.  Be under no illusion though.  Fracking technology has advanced tremendously in recent years and is proving very beneficial to an otherwise anemic American economy, however this won't solve the UK's energy crisis, overnight.

Nor will it be particularly scenic!  For these very extensive gas reserves to be exploited, we will need to put-up with significant numbers of drilling derricks despoiling our landscape.  Before all of the greenies jump up in protest at the ruination of beautiful views etc., please have a care!  Those monstrosities called wind turbines do exactly the same, on the visual harm front but do far less to actually address our energy needs.

The crisis that Britain faces is perhaps now even more acute.  Russia has been flexing its military muscle in Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe and also flexing or at least showing off its energy muscle.  Letting it be known that if Russia is pushed too far, it might have to suspend gas supplies to Western Europe.  Further, the situation with Qatar, the other major supplier of gas to Britain, is not good.  Qatar is 'neck-deep' in funding and supplying terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East and beyond.  As are their near-neighbors but bitter rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  It is easy to foresee a situation where these countries, particularly Qatar, feel the urge to use the gas weapon in furtherance of their extremist agenda.

So a crisis then. 

There are solutions.  They are short, medium and long term but they do require action and unfortunately, such action is not likely to be forthcoming before the outcome of the next UK General Election, in May 2015 (so too late for the coming winter!).  Even then, the solutions will only possibly be implemented if the Conservatives win outright power.  Possibly because pandering to minorities and ignoring the wishes of the majority is a trait that has been seen too often, from the Conservatives in the current coalition.  It is clear though, that Labour and the Lib Dems will not take the necessary actions, as they are so in thrall to the environmentalists within their own ranks and to the lunatics running the European Union asylum.

The solutions? 
Short term.  Cease the shut down programme that is being followed for power stations.  As said in my earlier piece, these shut downs are not driven by economy or utility.  The plants still have a long life of power generation, ahead of them.  The closures and dismantling is purely political and driven to meet idiotic goals set in the lalaland called the European Union.  Gesture politics at its worst!

Reconsider the closure programme for Britain's nuclear facilities.  I am not technically qualified enough to know if these really do have to be shut down or whether, without risk, they can have their lives extended but this does need to be reviewed and the last possible operating life squeezed out of them.

On the subject of nuclear and short term, accelerate the building process and most particularly the planning process.  We cannot allow Hinckley C and other future plants to be subjected to the same level of delay as was seen at Sizewell.

Start exploration drilling and move to development/exploitation drilling for shale gas on a large scale.  This is short to medium term in nature but we need to get going.  Britain's energy future, indeed energy security cannot be held in jeopardy by a minority that oppose drilling on the back of false science.  Just as people have been duped by the so called Global Warming (is that what they are calling it this week?  Or is it Climate Change or something else?) false science but are now seeing through this, so must we expect the government to ignore the nonsense about water table contamination (has only happened in the most extremely rare instance) and earthquakes (really!?) and look for the government to drive through planning applications - so get the Department of Energy and Climate Change to drop all of its drilling delaying tactics - and to support the exploration programmes.  The latter will involve a more robust police presence at these drilling sites.  These protestors simply cannot be allowed to hold-up progress and especially by unlawful acts.  Why is it that a natural resources company requires multiple permits to set-up a drilling location on private land but a bunch of eco-loonies can establish a protest camp on public land without any kind of permission?

Put in place now, long term solutions - that has to mean nuclear!  More power stations must be built and built nearer to urban population centres.  Given how long these take to actually build, once the over-lengthy planning process is passed, we need to start on these sooner rather than later. 

I know that this is 'pie in the sky' wishful thinking but politicians need to have a grown-up conversation with the British people.  The energy facts of life need to be spelled out.  If we don't continue to use existing power stations - conventional gas and coal-fired ones and nuclear - for longer, the lights will go out.  If we don't exploit the natural resources that lie under our soil - the lights will go out.  If we don't accept that 'not in my backyard' cannot continue to be used to oppose necessary energy developments, the lights will go out.  Oh, and it won't just be the lights!  Houses won't be heated, food won't be cooked, baby incubators won't work, air traffic control will shut down, production lines will cease to flow, no more internet, no more cell phones!  You get the picture. 

Going back to the TV pictures from the Ukraine, for a moment, you get a glimpse, when you see such pictures of parts of Eastern Europe, of what life would be like in the green heaven that the eco-loonies wish upon us.  You see people traveling around in horse carts and houses being heated by wood fires.  It might look like some kind of agrarian idyll but I bet that this is not something that most Britons would aspire to or for this to be a future that they would wish upon their children and grand-children.

The 2015 General Election campaign is likely to be dominated by the economy and Britain's relationship with Europe.  Of far greater importance though is the looming energy crisis.  If this isn't addressed, then we will have no economy, to speak of and Europe will be a place most people never get to travel to, anymore!


Friday, July 25, 2014

For Americans to ponder.

Here's a question for American readers (though others can chip-in with a response, if they want to)

President Obama has not let the recent downing of a passenger plane, with the loss of 298 innocent lives (see here http://bit.ly/1nFjCrj ) nor the crisis on America's southern border deter him from attending fund-raising events for the Democrat Party in the US. 

So,

Is it better for Obama to continue fund-raising or should he be focused on matters of foreign or domestic importance?

Is it preferable that he doesn't meddle with the border crisis but rather lets Texas Governor, Rick Perry, deploy the National Guard to restore the border?

Is it desirable that he lets the ineffectual fool, John Kerry, go off on jaunts to far-off overseas places, rather than the President 'work' the phones?

Where do your sympathies lie?

I think that maybe America is best served by just letting Obama attend these dinners and events or go off on yet another vacation (140 days this year, by some accounts!) rather than getting into actually policy or foreign affairs.  I mean, his first term was bad and his second is, unbelievably worse, so maybe the less 'presidenting' he does, the better.

 

Outrage!

Let me say that again - Outrage!

In truth I don't know what outrages me more.

The horrific slaughter of 298 innocents by Russia or its allies.  Or, the feeble response from Western governments.

Russia, throughout the 20th century displayed a gross disregard for the lives of innocents.  Much is made of the sacrifices made by the Russian military and civilians, during the Second World War, however, far more people died at the hands of Stalin and his communist successors, than ever died at the hands of the German Wehrmacht.  Estimates put the number in the 20 million range. 

So you can perhaps understand, that from the viewpoint of an old-style Russian leader like Vladimir Putin, the downing of a civilian jet, with the loss of the 298 people on board, is a mere blip on the radar.  Barely noticeable, in the 'noise' as some might say.  Remember Comrade, this is all in the cause of protecting Rodina - Mother Russia.

In fairness, you can see that it is not really out of character for a Russian leader to show such disregard for human life.  You might say, it's the Russian way.  In keeping with communist teachings, making omelets requires the breaking of eggs!  In order to protect Russia and to have friendly satellites around the mother-land, to act as buffer zones, some lives must be sacrificed for the greater good.  It's the Soviet way, it's the Communist way, it's the Russian way.

What though of the reaction from the West?

Other than 1 of the 193 Dutch victims, having dual US citizenship, the USA suffered no victims.  So Obama's administration can say that 'this isn't our fight' and can continue its 'pivot to Asia'.  The land of the 'city on the hill' simply turns its back on its European allies and allows the Russian Bear to kill innocents with impunity.   There is talk that Russia's recent belligerency is a reaction to American-led NATO placing advanced anti-missile systems in Poland.  It seems that President Obama has reworked President Roosevelt's 'speak softly and carry a big stick' quote to form the Obama Doctrine ' Speak often and vacuously, carry a big stick but leave it in someone else's back yard, for them to carry the can'

The European Union?

193 Dutch citizens, 10 British, 4 each from Germany and Belgium all perished and all that is spoken of are minor sanctions.  Russia will see its caviar exports plummet also sales of those Russian dolls but, in a conciliatory gesture and to show that the EU wants to avoid exacerbating the situation, Germany will continue to receive 40% of its energy needs from Russia.   The South East of Britain will continue to enjoy a high-end property boom, fueled by Russian oligarch money.

We have no leaders today worthy of the title.  None.  Spouting empty words about 'last chances' and 'enhanced sanctions' will not worry the Russians.  History shows that only strong action will bring Russia into the fold of civilised nations.  Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher didn't flinch from taking resolute action against Russia.  Reagan even imposed sanctions on American companies that had business with Russia.  The actions of Reagan and Thatcher brought about the downfall of the Soviet regime and freed the buffer-state slaves of Eastern Europe.  These victories are now in peril.  Someone said that democracy is a delicate plant that can always wither inside a generation, if it is not nurtured.  That is so true today, where Russia is expanding, westwards and it sees no opposition to such expansion.

What do I want?

Well, firstly I don't want war.  Though, as we have seen in the past, appeasement of bullies tends to lead to an inevitable war.  So current actions might be said to just be deferring rather than avoiding.

I want meaningful and penalising sanctions to be imposed.  I want Russia to hurt and to understand that they cannot kill people with impunity.  Be it 298 people on a passenger plane or a dissident like Alexander Litvinenko, brutally killed by the FGB, in London

Freeze Russia's overseas assets.  Do it overnight and without warning.  There were very strong stories/rumours that many Russian oligarchs and criminals managed to extricate much of their ill-gotten loot, out of Cyprus before the hammer dropped on bank depositors, and so they avoided the impact, having been tipped-off about the chance of this happening. 

Cease all flights to and from Russia.  Isolate them.  Cancel all cultural links and swaps of art etc..

Cut-off diplomatic ties.  Send their ambassadors home and recall ours.

Do not participate in any event where there are Russians.  A United Nations discussion?  Walk out.  UN Security Council?  Refuse to participate if there is a Russian there.  Indeed, seek the removal of Russia as a permanent member and refuse to fund UN institutions until the West gets its way!  It's not as if the UN likes the West, anyway.  So this is a time for the rest of the World to decide if they are with the West or with Russia - the middle ground is currently fully occupied by the bodies of 298 innocents!

Cite them for crimes against humanity at the International Court.  'Them' being Putin and his cabinet and military leaders and the Ukrainian separatist leaders.

Commit, now, to not participating in the 2018 football World Cup.  Let the corrupt officials at FIFA and the murderous Russian regime proceed with a tournament without the West.   No 'Socceroos' from Australia, who lost 27 of its citizens to state-sponsored murder.  No holders, Germany. No England or Belgium or Holland.  I have already said, here  http://bit.ly/TIXmPC that countries should leave the corrupt FIFA and so now there is an even higher moral reason to do so.

Germany needs to re-open its nuclear plants and all of Western Europe needs to start exploiting its energy resources to the full - drill, baby, drill, to coin a phrase - so that it can overcome its dangerous over-dependence on Russian energy sources.

So, economic war.

The alternative?  Get used to seeing more funeral corteges such as was recently seen in Holland.  Rows of hearses waiting to collect the bodies of the innocents.  298  this time.  How many next time or the time after that?

Here is a question for you.  If it takes the deaths of 298 people to go unanswered, so that Germany and British and Dutch and Belgium lights can be kept on, how many deaths does it take to switch them off?