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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It's interesting.. the similarities between politics and religion..
Both require faith that those we put into power, will have it within their means to deliver on the promises made..
Makes one someone nervous, for it could well be that the reconstruction process' success or failure could follow the ultimate revelation facing a growing number of those who make a practice of doing their homework when it comes to the use of their franchise.
It's these growing numbers of voters David aimed at, with his announcement of tax reductions on equity held by pensioners. A good target..
The Tories have also announced as yet undefined plans to get Britons back to work.. also a good target, taking into account figures just released indicate 20%.. one in five British workers.. are not any more..
It's a bad summer for Gordon, with allegations made concerning the release of Ali al Magrafi.. the man who was convicted of the Lockerby bombing.. an undercurrent suggesting the authorities were under so much pressure to find a culprit that they dove on the first available viable suspect..
What is perhaps even more disturbing is the reaction of some in the pub.. a wry smile accompanied by 'well, the Bill does a good job on the whole, and he might indeed have been guilty..'
Indicates a deterioration, even on a minute scale, of the growing growing sense of 'what the hell can we do until those at the top figure it out for us..'
Fatalism is perhaps the most destructive elements to his a society.. and while not by far unique to Britain.. it is unsettling..

And yes.. Labour held it's Conference in Brighton last week..
There was nothing we hadn't heard before.. certainly nothing to record..
The most memorable moment was perhaps when the Vice Chairman of the Labour Party stood on the podium, and tore a copy of that days Sun newspaper in two..
The headline story front page was, to paraphrase..'Gordon you've blown it..'.
Never underestimate the power of a tabloid, especially as one with the circulation of Rupert Murdoch's British flagship..

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A word sadly misused these days, along with the phrase '..for the common good..'
We have Barack telling the UN General Assembly that while there were ' many nations who condemned the United States' unilateral action in.. say the Middle East.. did not preclude the obligations of those who would now see the US take on the cost of reconstruction alone..
Must admit there were a few raised eyebrows at that comment around the pub.. The unspoken question being what we, as a country, bear as a 'moral obligation' to putting the pieces back together, if any at all..
Isn't that the very point of having the hostilities taking place someplace other than home..?
At any rate.. Barack's thrust was that the US is going to expect at least the G8 countries to dig deep..

Ahh.. Yet another warning from the CBI that while we're 'creeping' out of the recession.. the public should not expect things to get easier..not yet..
It is baffling how stupid.. lethargic.. uninformed..incapable of extrapolation the average Briton is.
Where are the plans for the repayment of the £280 billion printed to preserve the British Banking system and thus, British manufacturing, and thus, jobs?
When will this injection of cash into the system begin to filter down to the small manufacturers.. the downstream of those larger concerns which are themselves, folding daily?
When will we see our transportation system is in dire straits.. that fuel costs are, while for the moment relatively static.. breaking the back of many trucking companies servicing off the track places, of which there are many, around this country.. That our rail systems are working with equipment verging on the obsolete on track that should, in some cases be restricted to cargo haulage..?
But, the price of steel.. of skilled workers.. the downtime..
When will any of our choices for Prime Minister say "I have a plan, and this is what is required of the government, and here is what will be demanded of the British public. Don't look for a quick fix, because there isn't one. But, I have a plan.."

But, it was morals we started on..
Morals we ended on, too..

Friday, September 11, 2009

It occurred during an impromptu discussion of 'moral responsibility.. the parameters of personal morality as opposed to legal responsibility.The question was posed,'when did we become such a pliant and complacent society..'
Many views we expressed, from the virtues of 'Objectivism' to the plausibility of a fulfilling life under pure Leninism..
We are in deep trouble here, and if this seem to be of late a pessimistic view of our immediate..well.. don't let it put you out.. it's mere reflection..
The consensus, by the way, was that no form of government has succeed so far.. Human nature has determined throughout history..continues to do so today.. our natural, perhaps genetic need for some to float to power.. others to trades.. and others who fall by the way..
But we are promulgating our basic inability to solve the problems facing us by an odd malaise.. Almost an indifference to 'bloody society on the whole..My plant's shutting in 9 months..'
Now had our various governments not splashed out so much saving the markets, and concentrated more intently on internal issues the likes of the NHS..agriculture.. industry.. we may have been looking at a shorter recovery and indeed, a better prognosis..
Perhaps fewer concerns about dropping final exams before entering high school is..besides being risible.. and more dedicated, both morally and financially towards the recruitment of new teaching staff..
MG Rover..
What comfort can those newly unemployed take when the High Street reported a point seven percent rise in retail sales last month..
One wonders what odds Ladbrokes would give on their be food kitchens on a large scale within.. say..three years..

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Allan Greenspan, speaking to the BBC, has said, to paraphrase, that there will be another recession, and that basically we're caught in a consumer crisis ccycle dependant on the man on the street's view, that 'it'll all work out in the end'..
The entire article.. which in itself is worthy of a bookmark if for no other reason than keeping a reference point, can be found at
Now.. don't forget to read what Allan doesn't say..

We've been warned.. al Q'aida will likely be considering using commercial aircraft at instruments of terror..
Jaysus wept..

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Summer Hol's appear to at and end..
Tomorrow might be interesting, when Barak's set to address Congress to try and sell his Health care for the nation..
Might be stating the obvious here.. but would seem he's soon going to be bailing the boat with a teaspoon.. Might be round one between Utopia vs the Lobby's and Vested Interest..
Worth a scan if nothing else.. might define this ambiguous 'public option'..

If one was forced to define the general mood on these islands.. surly would perhaps be the winner..
It's been a poor summer as far as the weather is concerned..and that does have an effect on the national mindset..
Unemployment is still growing, and that's led to some familiar faces disappearing from the pub..
The BBC.. our national dispensary for reliable news, is lying to us if not in fact, then by editorial content..
It doesn't help that while we're sure there will be a change in government coming, if we know the damage has already been done, and the face to the right of the Dispatch Box will have no option to tell us we're hip deep in offal, wearing an old pair of wellies..

Ahhh.. what a noise an economic and social collapse does make.. silence as the factories close, and an anguished outcry from those who're told they're redundant.
History tells us 'bread and circus' can only amuse for so long..

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It is undoubtedly true that at sometime during the demise of a great civilisation..perhaps 'transition' might be more apt, who has asked 'where did the ideals based on the benefit of the common man go?' At what point did the individual abrogate his status, to become a prole?
Perhaps it began in the sixties with the emergence of Guru's the likes of Leary and his ilk incited the bonfire of the vanities, but were we then too blind to see that while 'turn in, tune on, drop out' was a phenomena, and that the 'light at the end of the tunnel', as Hunter H Thompson ably expressed 'was simply not there..'
It became a lifestyle, spawning a generation with exceedingly few social barriers and precious little social skills, which in turn spawned an even more rebellious generation which has added to that list a lack of academic insomniacs..
More than 160 thousand British university candidates will be unable to find a seat this year. A result of overpopulation perhaps..? Last census has us at more than 61 million on these islands. Perhaps it's the result of 'dumbing down, lowering the learning curve, which has brought us here.
Regardless. There are literally those who have earned Masters Degrees who drive taxi in Glasgow. To what end a Degree these days?
Unemployment remains at record levels, and further redundancies and closures are expected in the very near future. Foreclosures have dipped, but was that not to be expected after the wheat was separated from the chaff. And it is questionable as to how long those smaller grains of wheat will last the waft of continuing diminishment of our manufacturing base..
And, lest it be forgotten, we have yet to feel even a zephyr from the Treasury on future plans to diminish the several hundred billion Pounds printed by the Mint, to bail out our floundered banking and loan system..Is indeed the 'black hole' the government is looking for, the average length of the collective memories of the British public..?
"Ahh look Margaret..tea's gone up 13p a box..Tsk tsk.. I'll put the kettle on..".
Petrol at £1.03 a litre..
Bread at £1.30 a loaf.
Gods alone know what a seasons ticket for ManFC goes for these days...
Now, this gloomy picture, which is undoubtedly equally applicable in any other country has been presented for one purpose, and one alone.
A recent series reports on the BBC, the other television outlets, the press and radio, have jumped on a .7% increase in our projected GNP for last month, and announcing 'there are signs the recession is easing'.
Now they're just blatantly lying to us.
Where have the billions of Pounds been spent by those facing imminent collapse? Why is it not in circulation?
It is a practical given the Labour Party will suffer an overwhelming defeat in the next election, but economic plans must be set in place by the new Conservative Government that tie us in..allow the man on the hear in plain English how long this debt is amortized over.. what it's cost is going to be to the individual.. what exigencies exist for restarting British export manufacturing.. and when, if ever, can they expect to see an expanding job market.
While it is of overwhelming importance to us how fares the United States inder Barak, but it is of immesurably of more importance to we know what we, individually, can expect.
One would expect the gnomes are cackling to themselves, quietly, somewhere.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It is curious, what brings one back to the need to record one's thoughts..
Financial matters are essentially irrelevant these days, with it all based on these astronomical cash injections which, by the way, have yet to filter down to the record numbers of those unemployed or disposessed..
The war.. or wars.. continue ceaselessly, as they always shall..
It's as though we're caught in a limbo of ambivalence these days.. Those suffering minor hardships not really having to tighten more than a notch or two, while those becoming acclimatised to being unemployed, are learning to use the system to maintain a standard of living, while definately lower than that they enjoyed before, still sufficient to pay for a week in the Maldives if the pennies are watched..
Britain is perhaps unique in it's social structure. The defined lines are traditional, and what's more, generally respected.
We're reknown for our expertise at cuing.
But how criminally negligent is it for a government sinking in debt..struggling to maintain essential services.. to even offer an idiotic 'ray of hope', as to announce 'the recession is ever in Britain'.
How stupid do they think we are?
I reference a BBC report :
A good laugh is always welcome.. and this is spin worthy of Peter Mandelson.

It is a source of constant surprise, that we have accepted the government as the arbiter of that which we can or cannot take, in the way of intoxicants. How we have been told there is one, and only one substance that we may use to alter our states of conciousness, and that is of course, alcohol
Man made legal highs the likes of GBL and BZP, synthetic cannabinoids in effect, have become the latest target of our Big Brother, and will, according to the authorities, be classed among the 'B' drugs.
One again must question the value of the organised crime lobby on government legislators.
And once again we must examine those who propagate anti-drug legislation and their standards of discernment versus ingrained ignorance.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

They say, 'a change is as good as a rest'..
They lie.
A rest is seven weeks in the sun, in Jamaica.
More, later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Five Labour MPs..count 'em..five have been banned by the party from standing at the next election as this newest chimera unleashed upon the British public..
Now these five have been tossed because they have admitted to 'questionable claims on their Parliamentary expenses..
A number of Tory MPs have been forced to stand down at the next election because of their conduct...
Is it possible that in this day and age we still expect our politicians to be pure as Caesars wife.. It is, as has long been tradition, for those in power to benefit, within reason, slightly in excess of what's paid them..
Considering the state of the world's economy.. one would think the media would be pressing Ministers on their plans for the next session, with the Summer Standing so near to hand, to reassure us things will simply float along while unemployment rises constantly..that there are as many shops closed along the High Street than there are open for business.. that our steel industry is teetering on the edge and BA has asked it's employees, including the CEO, work for a month for free..
The pandemic just wasn't enough.. too few people died..
How much longer can this financial tripe keep the tabloids busy..
the issue of whether Gordon shop step down.. how long can this political spin last..?
Until perhaps, the House stands down..?

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's been a while since there's been anything of real importance, vis a vis the Game..
But of couple of brief mentions are due to one or two developments..
Aside from the obvious and terminal problems facing Gordon and his Party in General
And dismissing the continued worldwide financial collapse..
Disregarding the insidious spread of swine flu..
There's been some financial sleight of hand in the EU..
Latvia's managed to stave off official bankruptcy with some draconian cuts in their budget.. reducing old age pensions by 10% and cutting public sector salaries by 20%.. but they decided against increasing income taxes...
Parliament will vote on the changes next week.
Latvia's currency is pegged to the euro, but the recession has hit Latvia so badly that many are of the mind it will have to devalue the lat..
Thus it begins. There are now 23 countries in the EU, not all tied to to the Euro though..and one has a distance feeling the 'til now relatively discrete voices in the 'old EU' will get louder over the next year or two..
Latvia's desperate measures were prompted by the absolute necessity of reducing it's deficit to qualify fr its next instalment of it's EU bail out funds, due in December.
Not the time to be a pensioner living it Latvia..
It gets cold there, even now, and heating oil or gas is certainly not cheap..
Ahhh.. the glory of an unified democratic Europe..

An interesting point made by the director general of the CBI.. Richard Lambert told the annual meeting of business leaders that the financial problems swamping the nation appear to have become less important in the eye of Parliamentarians than their current preoccupation with MP's expenses and structural reforms dealing with the manner Parliament deals with the finances of individual MP's..
While reforms are indeed needed, it is simply not the time for this tripe. There are far more pressing issues to be dealt with..

Now, is this how Barack's going to deal with his closest allies..
It's raises many an eyebrow down at the local, when it was discovered the American President.. in line with his promise to close Guantanamo Bay.. simply transferred 4 inmate to a compound In Bermuda..
Without informing number Ten or indeed, even the Foreign Office.
Bermuda is still officially a British Protectorate..
So what Barack has done, is effectively put those transferred detainees into British custody..
Not on the square, that..

Monday, May 11, 2009

Britain has a new Poet Lauriate, and many might respond with a '..and so..?' It must be ackowledged to be a post of some social importance in that it preserves the language in the context of current social standards..
An example is 'gay'. From it's 18th Century interpretation of somewhat vapid, through it's Romanic Period's connotation of wit, general happyness of disposition, to today's rather sordid sexual association..
The Poets Lauriate has written wothwhile works, exemplifying the evolution of this lanuage of hours..
For the first time in the Post's long history, the new Lauriate is a woman.. Carol Ann Duffy. It's worth reading, her stuff..

Must be recorded by a survey carried out for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development... that the outlook for those looking for work are going to have some very hard times ahead..
The Institute suggests jobs will continue to simply disappear for the next few months.. They've predicted a three month slowdown.. and what is more telling is that not only are redundancies going to hit the private sector, but those in the public service will be looking at pink slips.. figure show that some 7 thousand Social Workers, traditionally aspestos have gone in the last 90 days..
Ironic, that the one employer still advertising for people, and offering a liveable wage, is the military..
What an odd Civilisation we have built.
One applauds their optimism..

Also noteworthy is the European Bank dropping it's rate by a quarter..
1% now in the EU..
Worth watching..

Saturday, May 09, 2009

An interesting discussion this evening has left some lingering thought of the North American.. indeed, the worldwide future of the auto industry..
Leaving Ford out of the overall picture, for that company seems to have managed to weather this storm to date.. it would seem the drivers in the States and Canada will need to redefine what a 'family car' means.. while the other end of the demographic will have to accept that 'muscle cars' are an anachronism..
This is the knowledge that the new Camaro comes with three engine options.. the smallest of which is a 315cu/in displacement.. and that others in the market are offering up to 6 litres, the new Mustang Shelby as an example.
The US is unique in that it has never had war fought within it's boundaries other than that of it's own making, and it has always had success in expanding it's boundaries, and it's pre-eminence in world affairs..
The average American is, to varying degrees, well aware of this history, and has usually been adamant resisting change to what are now considered to be 'inalienable rights', one of which is to accept that at some time or another, their youth will want to own the 'biggest, fastest goddam car in town'. Those with parents solvent enough may well get one in a rite of passage, others may simply save, or use credit..
Regardless, the 'right' to own a car who's maximum speed, if reached in any populated area would cost the license of the driver, is shared by most Americans to be as inalienable as that to bear arms.
No doubt, had the Founding Fathers been aware of auto's having the horsepower of a small aircraft, they would have included them..
One has to wonder, with GM within days of declaring bankruptcy, and Chrysler seeming saved by some extent by Fiat, what the reaction will be to small, fuel efficient cars the likes of which we take as normal. Where a 2 litre engine is considered big.. It will be yet another challenge for the American man on the street..It was suggested that the outcome, in eventual terms for the industry, would be three companies left at the end.. all in foreign hands. That any hope in industry had, was to concentrate on European designs, maximizing fuel efficiency or compatibility with hybrid fuels, while leaving a niche market by leaving Cadillac..the Corvette,, the Mustang range for those who can afford to pay road tax reflecting the displacement of the engine alone..
But consensus was reached, to some extent, that the era of 4-wheel drive off road vehicles as a status symbol, was at an end..

Notably.. That Steven Harper should spend so much time in the US, talking with Barack on how to manage their economy according to a Canadian model..
Moot as to that which works with an economy as damaged as the American.. or how the Canadian model, based on a population of 55 million, would work on such an expanded scale in the States..
And besides the population issue, the American model requires the cooperation of all 50 States, and their own particular lobbies and vested interests..
How would the hospital insurance industry react if free health care the like of OHIP were brought into effect in say, New York States, or California..
And how on earth would the Federal and the States governments pay for such a magnanimous scheme..?

Worthwhile to keep an eye on the Taliban in Pakistan..
That country's military doesn't appear to be coping with the problem either with it's border with India, or Afghanistan..Mind you the Pakistani government is preparing for an expected half a million refugees from the Swat Vally, where the Taliban had a tacit agreement with the Government to restrict their activities in exchange for allowing Shari'a Law in the area..
Not an arrangement the British or Americans are happy with..
Pakistani soldiers are being deployed.. But their success rate, to date, has not been good..
It will be interesting to see Islamabad's reaction to an inevitable American strike to at least contain the problem..
It's difficult to envision as to what the next moveswill be in the 'War on Terror'..
If there is an end in sight, it certainly not within the perspective of this generations lifetimes..
We have determined to rid ourselves of fleas, while constantly playing with 'friendly dogs..

Ahh Hugo..
The Venezuelan President has tightened his grip on the country's oil industry to amounts to a strangehold by sending troops in to occupy industries in the immediate downstream of the oil refineries..
At the moment, Venezeula's the largest producer in the America's, and with falling oil prices, Huho's making premptive moves to ensure all the cash that can he wrung frpm the industry goes into the governments coffers..
One woders what would be done if, say, Gordon, or Barack, had such powers of arbitrary action..

Soon to be election time across these Isles, as we decide who to send to Brussels to represent us in the European Parliament..
Labour is in such dire straits at the moment it boggles the mind..
Google 'UKIP'.. the UK Independance Party.
They'll likely push Labour back to third place, or could indeed be sending a large number of MEP's to the Continent..perhaps a national majority..

Friday, May 01, 2009

It seems these days, that moments are stolen..
However..what's to prompt comment when little has been happening that hasn't been recorded before..
Until these past few days, anyway.
And what better to take peoples minds off the continuing economic collapse, than a good old pandemic to take center stage in the news..
It's still called swine flu over here.. a
Although we have had a case transferred to someone who hasn't recently been in or near people who have just returned from Mexico.. prompting a number of health reminder PSA's.. the attitude of the British man on the street is aware of, but not particularly concerned about the disease.. at this point it's as mentioned, a welcome break from unhealthy economic figures and the pall hanging over our collective heads..
No mention of the G20 recently held in London.. No use, and neither will there be much of any substance to come from the next..
Barack's first hundred days have come and gone.. little of substance either pro or con as yet but the new President has learned that all of his plans will not sail through the House and the Senate.. defeated in his fight to fill some of the houses left empty through repossessions throughout the country..
He may well be still the overwhelming favourite with the crowd, but it's a leap he's made. Just how much of a leap, and how he deals with the situation as it gets harder and harder..
There will be no dancing in the streets of Motown for quite a while.. Chrysler declaring a 'controlled bankruptcy'.. talks with Fiat.. The AFL.CIO will not be happy and Jimmy Hoffa will be turning in cement tomb under the I94.. no 'K-Car' to pull the company out of the hole this time..
But what a surprise this golden opportunity was missed by Barack and Co..
Had the government not refused a bailout for Chrysler but instead used it for taking the company over completely and dedicating it to supplying a better car..a better truck..
If an entire company was devoted to mass production of affordable alternative to a petrol powered car or truck.. A respected name.. one with a history.. Could just keep re-tooled assembly lines running.. while keeping a massive workforce on the job..
Consider.. when Chrysler starts shutting down it's lines.. all the downstream contractors will be forced to close.. but the effects of a major bankruptcy are too basic an economic principle for sermonising..

But we'll keep an eye on the progression of this 'flu.. and recall 1918..
And there are far too many of us at any rate..

And a brief closing note this evening.. concerning the recent rumblings throughout 'Old Europe', the core which spawned the EU hegemony..
It appears there is some regret on having been precipitous in expanding the Union.. and the burden imposed by some of the former members of the USSR who have wrangled their way into a far more lucrative club..
A case of Continental hubris perhaps..?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Not a good start for the banking sector in the market this week.. as of a quarter past 9 this morning, the FTSE is down some 42 points, mainly due to losses in bank shares..
It would seem that we're heading.. perhaps unwillingly.. towards more and more government ownership of 'private sector' concerns.. With this latest input of taxpayer funds, the government now owns some 77% of Lloyds/HBOS..
An utterly ridiculous situation.. there is simply no chance the Banks now supported by the public will be able to return the cash they've been given..
And is raises the question.. how much of this money will simply disappear into the financial 'black hole'.. leaving the taxpayer stilll wondering what, if any good, has been done?
Take Lloyds/HBOS.. If you happen to have an overdraft, and you exceed it by, lets say, £45 for a week. Bank charges will be leveed against you to the tune of £35 for the initial 'unplanned overdraft', plus £10 a day to a maximum of $100 per month..
Yet we own these institutions..
It's exceedingly doubtfull the man on the street would take such a whack out of his disposable income for a debt, which can be as little as £5..
Yet our banks feel no compunction..
It's daylight robbery, and it's a practice the banks should be brought to task for..
not to mention the Government regulators..
More to come..

Thursday, March 05, 2009

'Quantitative Easing' is what they're calling it..
It doesn't seem to have helped much, lowering interest rates to 0.5% should be the final drop posted by the Bank of England..
One hopes they warmed up the printing presses when we predicted they would some months ago.. they'll see a fair amount being rolled off as the government prepares to buy off some of the banks assets.. and while we're told the purchases will be Government Bonds held by the banks, it's a certainty some 'toxic assets' will find themselves being owned by the taxpayer..
And here is the financial 'black hole' discussed earlier..
The hope is that with a further injection of £75 billion or so into the banks, that it will increase lending, promote expansion, and bring us back to our old spending habits..
Quantitative Easing.
It's been tried once before, in Japan..
It showed initial success, but petered out when the extra cash did.
If any financial system is based on the fundamental principle of huge profits for those who initially finance any venture, with downstream remuneration for those who produce, there must be within that workforce a sense of equity.. a work ethic based on pride in the job..
The Unions have a fair bit of tearing down to own up to.. introducing the 'right' to a job, and a pay rate out of step with the skills required for the work involved..
Just as Management has had it's hand in enraging the workforce with it's unreasonable 'bonus' systems.. it's mishandling of the market to such an extent that plants are shutting left and right..
And our World Leaders expect to have a handle on this soon..?
From Barack's ridiculous claim of 6 months.. to Gordon's somewhat realistic 5 years.. we are in for an economic meltdown of amazing proportions..
When the Treasury resorts to printing more cash when all the indicators point to a worsening situation..
We're in deep water, indeed..

And poor Gordon..
His first visit to the US.. and no Gala Ball.. no meeting in the Rose Garden (mind you it was covered in deep snow and -12C at the time) pomp or circumstance one would associate with the British leader meeting his American counterpart..
And.. is Gordon wondering at the 'special partnership' being downgraded to 'a special relationship'..
While Gordon's reception in both the Senate and the House was good.. It seemed when Gordon was face to face with Barack..His views on 'Globalisation' were pushed to one side by Barack's plans to insulate the US.
Britain has been America's staunchest ally since WW2.. but there are signs this new American Administration would re-evaluate the situation..
We'll see what kind of reception Angela and Nicholas get, when they make their first official visits..

An interesting final note.. at least one pundit has called this economic situation 'the worst in a hundred years..
Who.. one wonders.. will be the first astute..and brave enough.. to use the 'Big D' word..

And one more thought.. why, if the plan is to inject more money to jump start lending, and eventually bail out businesses..
Perhaps some of that cash could be put to better use by say..eliminating personal debts.. eliminating personal overdrafts and matching savings at say..50p on the pound.. Help the man on the street on a level they can appreciate, and Gordon will be remembered as the man to at least 'tried' to do something for the British public.. rather than 'The Man Who Would Be King', who was Chancellor for ten years, effectively putting us here..
This would ensure the banks would be back in the lending on a level which would guarantee cashflow on the mainstreet.. stimulate employment.. do all that which the banks were already have meant to do with the unimaginable amounts of cash they've already been given..
Ahh.. if dreams only came true..

Saturday, February 28, 2009

That in this era of government bailouts.. of tossing cash to corporations in unheard of chunks.. It is now turning to the private sector to inject funds into the Royal Mail..
According to Gordon.. selling off 30% of the business to the competition.. is the only way to in any way safeguard the Posties pension fund..
One finds it curious, the manner in which our Exchequer prioritise their distribution of public funds..
The likes of the further £19billion pumped into the Royal Bank of Scotland while it flounders, trying to unload toxic investments..
The murmuring around the bar reflects a growing sense of bewilderment.. All these unimaginable sums being poured willy-nilly.. and still someones themselves.. are not seeing an expansion of the distribution of this money, and are about to lose their house..
And to make the picture just that tad brighter..Steve Bundred who heads the Audit Commission which regulates spending by the NHS and local councils.. has warned that even after the worst of this has passed.. we will be looking at a vastly trimmed program of public works..
Even the slowest among us is starting to realise that higher taxes will be a necessity sooner, if not later.. And that disposable income will shrink dramatically..
This is going to be an interesting scenario to watch unfold.. this re-alignment of the public mindset..
And with all of Gordon's rhetoric.. he's speaking to a group of Party faithful in Bristol.. with all his assurances of studies on the go to offer viable changes to the banking system so they once again work for the people.. he is well aware the vast majority of Britons.. even those with what were a matter of months ago comfortable incomes.. are today living hand-to-mouth.. with household budgets tighter than they have been since the 2dWW..
It's going to take more than talk to unravel this knot we've been tied in..

And Barack appears to be holding close to his promise that US troops will leave Iraq..soon..almost of all them anyway..
But one must ask.. is he committing the same mistake George Senior did in the 90's.. when he turned away from deposing Saddam, before the threat of imminent terrorist attacks was even the stuff of dreams..?
It's going to take some time and effort, even after the major fighting has come to an end, to put an effective homegrown infrastructure, and it may well be that Barack's leaving one job unfinished, while rushing into a conflict he, and all the other Western forces, will eventually lose. It may well be that the Taliban will regain power in that benighted country.. but this type of warfare..regardless of the lessons learned in VietNam.. is stacked well in favour of the home team..

Germany's offered Latvia a bit of change.. to help stimulate the latter's faltering economy.. And with Germany itself on the economic razor's edge.. it would seem to be the first signs of the devaluation of the Euro..
Y'know.. when Gordon was Chancellor under Tony.. he sold off a vast amount of British bullion.. to 'diversify' the country's portfolio.. It happened that gold was close to it's lowest point for years at the time of the sale..
And one of the items Gordon bought in this 'divestment'.. was a large block of Euro's..
While dumping them on the market now would certainly precipitate a crash.. one can only hope Alastair is shedding, bit by bit.. that EU currency..
One can only hope..

It will be interesting what the Bank of England has in store for us with it's next interest rate..
Could it be that we are heading towards a 0% mark..?

More, later..

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One must question at times, if those who really pull the strings know what they're doing these days..
Take an overview of what we're facing..
Far from 'globalisation'.. we're being forced into isolationism.. From a society that embraced foreign investment and investment, we're being moulded into individual financial policies which are primarily concerned with keeping our separate economies viable..
This will have a knock on effect right across the board. Conflicts around the world, especially in the Middle East, Asia Minor, and Africa.. will become essential to the economies of the US..Britain..Russia..and China.. who are the main arms suppliers for all sides in these wars..
Arms sales are exceedingly important.. they're the epitome of a 'throw away' culture.. and sales are guaranteed
It's ironic that this past weekends meetings in Rome of the G6 centered on methods to reduce the effects of isolationism.. when each and every representative knew this trend is bound to become the norm..
And we're fed lines concerning the length of this 'recession'.. from Barack's assertion that we'll see improvement within six months.. to some analysts predicting this collapse could last a decade or more..
One tends to lean towards the more pessimistic outlook..
The G8 meets in February, and one would love to be a fly on the wall at some of the private meetings that will be taking place..
Let's take the state that will be developed for Brazil as an example. That country has basically two mainstays for it's economy, those being oil, are automotive production. With the collapse of the oil market, and the incipient collapse of the automotive industry.. Brazil will once again find itself relegated to 'Third World' status..
Venezuela and Ecuador will follow suit in quick time..
Always a hotbed of political unrest, it might be safe to extrapolate a series of military juntas, each making promises they know they'll not deliver..
If indeed the overall idea is to reduce our economies to rubble.. then the master plan is on track..
But two questions arise..
One being who will ultimately benefit..
The second is who can the man on the street thank for the Machiavellian machinations which obviously took decades to put in place..
It really would be nice to know, for the gods know those we elect to office aren't smart enough to have engineered this degree of catastrophe..

More later, still with the effects of this debacle. This time dealing with the xeonophobia growing throughout the world..

Friday, February 13, 2009

It would seem that Barack's list of potential Cabinet members will soon leave him wondering just who will cause him the least embarrassment.. Republican Senator Judd Gregg is withdrawing as Barack's nominee for commerce secretary.citing irreconcilable
differences with the Democrats take on the economy, and what is needed to effect a change..
That's four so far, who, for various reasons, have called it quits.. and raises the question 'Are there the minds available for Barack to choose from who would embrace his recovery package wholeheartedly and without reservation..?'
Judd was tagged as the 2d Republican to serve a Cabinet post as Commerce Secretary..
And Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, is warning the downturn in global economy is bound to have a knock on effect in terrorist activities..
That while British and American forces have dealt severe blows to the al Q'aida leadership, funding, and infrastructure.. that group is still planning attacks on the British and American.. and now apparently the Indian public..
And with the dispatching of George Mitchell to the Middle East, it must be clear the Bush Administration's last attempt at a lasting cease fire between Israel and The Gaza Strip has failed..
Now, the Palistinians are looking at a right wing Israeli government which, if given a wish list, would wish Hammas and Fatah simply disappear..
With the Palistinians fighting among themselves, and with Israel.. there would appear to be a major problem quickly coming to a head in the area.. and while it's been said before, the West, while continuing to support the preservation of the state of Israel.. should disassociate itself with what is a regional, if not internal matter, for the Israeli's to deal with..
Food for thought.. for if Barack's internal financial plans are going to have an effect, American presence in international fields of conflict must be diminished.
And while there are cries of denial worldwide about economies becoming isolationist.. this will likely be the necessity in a year or two..
For there is a trend starting now, again worldwide in scope, for major employers the likes of Honda..Nissan..Toyota.. to slash their foreign workforce as far as contractural agreements will allow.. Other Japanese companies, the likes of Sony and Toshiba are closing Scottish plants at an alarming rate..
Odd that this journal published this scenario.. this trend.. four years ago.. Odd, that is, because none of the government think tanks didn't pick up on it..
All art of the Game.. all the pieces of the puzzle are in the box.. We've just become inept at handling bad news.. and unwilling to report discouraging trends for fear of being branded a 'scaremonger' or with thinking 'too far' out of the box..
One recalls, when working as the National Business Editor for CKO.. of being threatened with dismissal if ever the 'D' work was included in a story again..
One of the many dangers facing the public.. taking one or two sources for their reporting or anaysis, and forming a firm opinion on an issue from that limited viewpoint..
Can it all be put down to apathy, or laziness on the part of the public..? Or is it more a case of 'My father read the Guardian/Sun/Times/whatever, and that's good enough for me..'
Since reporting brought the horrors of VietNam into our livingrooms, it seems the public has been innured to the issues that face us now..
To quote 'Beyond the Fringe'..
"Oh. Bombs have fallen on Marley Street. Never you mind, we'll put on the kettle and have a nice cup of tea.."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's been the first real test of Baback's charisma and powers of persuasion this week.. His entire Presidential future depends upon his ability to show the American man in the street that he is capable of getting bi-partisan support for an unprecedented injection of government money to re-boot the structure of the US economy..
It's not the deal the president started with.. the Senate and the House have each had their turn at whittling away the actual figures for the final Bill..
The plan now seems to have satisfied both the Senate and the House.. A final vote will likely take place in the House a day after it's gone through the Senate.. The whole process should be done and dusted, as is sometimes said, by the end of the week..
Then we'll get to see the domestic economic skills Barack and his team..

A warning from the governor of the Bank of England.. Mervyn King was not particularly optimistic about the future, saying that the UK is in 'deep recession' and cutting interest rates may turn out to be insufficient to stimulate public investment and encourage foreign expansion to Britain..
The Bank now forecasts a 4% shrink in the British economy this year..
And the frightening thing is, that among the EU member countries, Britain is considered to be a relatively 'stable' country..
One wonders when the expression 'global depression' will become acceptable..

Ireland.. with a forecast of a 5% drop in GNP for this year.. has announced that they too have had to jump on the bandwagon.. and prop up two of the county's major banks.
From China to India.. from Britain to the United States.. governments are mortgaging their grand children's legacy with an amazing profligacy, with what appears to be a complete lack of concern..
And if the separate governments are saying, as in the US, that we can expect to see some improvement in the credit market by July.. they must think their respective electorates can be drawn into this Pollyanna world. It certainly speaks volumes as to what our legislators think of our collective intelligence..

Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has vowed to stabilise the country's shattered economy and end political violence as he was sworn in as that unfortunate country attempts to set a system of checks and balances in place..
Ironic.. that Morton was sworn into Office by his long-time enemy Robert Mugabe..
Mind you, it has yet to be seen how well this power sharing scheme will stand..
Mugabe is not going to go quietly into that good night.. He has managed to keep control of the Army.. and Morton's going to be living with his own sword of Damocles inches away from his skull..

And the Game unfolds..

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There are times these days.. when you simply have to shake your head..perhaps a rueful laugh.. at the folly we the world have indulged in..
Are still indulging in..
As a species.. it's a matter for some amazement that we still exist.
However.. here we are..
Figures to be released tomorrow will announce that over two million Britons are out of work. That does not take into account though, those who are not among the 'official' workforce.. those who have fallen through the cracks in our society, and who've been collecting the dole for literally generations. Now granted.. quite a few of this months addition to the government payroll are due to Woolies closing up shop, but there are a myriad of smaller businesses who have pared their employee list to a minimum. Restauants, for example, are looking at empty reservation books, with waiters merely waiting, and it's the high end of the scale feeling the pinch the hardest..
Simply one of a myriad of problems the High Street is facing.. and will face for quite a while yet..
Barack says 'give us a year..'. Gordon says 'give us 4 more..'.
But the stark reality is, that before things begin improving..they're going to get far far worse.. and the timeframe for a recovery, one would reasonably think, would be closer to eight to ten years minimum..
And things will never be as they were again. Basic changes in the thinking of the consumer will take years to effect, and changes are an absolute necessity if we have any chance of getting on our collective feet again..

Barklay's Bank announced a £6.4 billion profit for last year.. down 14% from last year. Now, for any bank to declare a profit would somewhat deflate the government's bailouts, starting with Northern Rock..
But Barklay's said 'no thanks' to any government money when it was being doled out a couple of months ago.. They managed to weather the storm without crying to the Exchequer. Now, should Lloyds/HBOS or any of the others who took from the public purse show anything in the black.. and if any bonusses are paid out.. one would have fears for the safety of bankers, and politicians..

It is a matter of constant amazement, how our governments make their decisions..
The recommendation from Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' has recommended that Ecstacy be downgraded to a Class B drug.. it's currently in Class A, along with others the likes of heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine, et al..
The Home Office has hastily affirmed that this recommendation will not be considered..
The medicinal qualities and relatively harmless of cannabis aside, the Home Office upgraded to Class B last month, against the wishes of the Council mentioned above..
For a country with such terrible problems with the misuse of, and rife with medical problems caused by, alcohol.. it would seem legislators are at best, confused when it comes to non-prescription drugs..
In being one of the many who suffer from degerative Multiple Sclerosis.. this issue has personal aspects..

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A busy day in Washington.. with the Senate rehashing Barack's economic recovery plan..
The key vote on the $Am820 billion recovery program is on Monday.. and while it's expected to pass the Senate.. Barack needs some Republican support. He does hold a majority in the Senate.. but because there is a proceedural wrinkle, he needs 60 votes from the Opposition..
And much to Barack's dismay, no doubt, his initial plans have been pared away in key areas..the likes of health care benefits for those now out of work.. and there have been pointed questions about plans the likes of a $Am500 tax cut across the board for the man on the street.. Comparisons with the six hundred dollar bonus handed out last year by the Bush administration. Just how far towards getting the public to return to the auto showrooms the proposed tax reduction on purchases is being looked at.. the 100 billion proposed to have been doled out to individual States to renew their infrastructures, has been scrapped..
Now these are programs Barack had counted on.. thinking that his vision of putting America would be embraced by a united Senate and House..
It's so much more complicated running a country..
Now.. on the international front.. Joe Biden's pitching concilliation around like confetti at
The new Vice-President's looking to push a 'reset button' in it's relations with several countries.. Russia and Iran in particular.. He's speaking this weekend in Munich at a conference of international leaders and security experts..
Watch Joe and Hillary over the next few months..
They'll no doubt soon be mediating between India and Pakistan.. with Joe insisting that there will be no real inroads towards wiping out terrorism without the full involvement of Pakistan, and India calling on the International Community to class Pakistan as a terrorist base..
This on the heels of an announcement from a Pakistani terrorist group.. saying they had killed a Polish geologist kidnapped some months ago..
Ahhh.. it's what keeps diplomats and politicians looking so young..
And..keep in mind.. that nothing takes place in the Middle East without the knowledge..and tacit approval of, or outright complicity with.. the Saudi's..
Should any progress be made.. it will be with the Saudi's pulling the strings..
And, the Foreign Relations team is going to have to keep a close eye on South America.. Ecuador's kicking an American diplomat out of the country for 'meddling with police and internal affairs'..
Raphael Correra's kept reasonably close ties with the US.. but that's certainly not the case with Ecuador's neighbours..
As said above.. it's a lot more complicated...
Where to begin this early morning..
It's been a hard start for Barack.. with some of the people picked for key posts found wanting..
But it would appear that the Senate will pass his economic recovery plan..slightly modified.. over the next few days. That will pump $Am780 billion into the economy and likely will bring down the frightening job losses reported not only this week, but for the past several months.
A rebuilding of the American infrastructure..roads..bridges..train tracks should be shiny and new within a few years, with the idea of a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage resussitated and the public crying for new versions of Leave It To Beaver and the Andy Griffith's Show..
Now, this does not take into account the wheels already in motion around the world..
But if it gets even a running start, it certainly going to be a boon for Canadian and Japanese steel industry..
Some of that money is going to trickle into other economies, at least for a while..
But just where this 780 billion is going to come from is, as yet, say the least..
A new 'Victory Bond' appeal, perhaps..?
Something has to be pulled from a hat, and quickly. Unemployment now over 7%.. jobs disappearing at unprecidented rates..
This new President had better get a settled Cabinet in place, before the baby completely disappears down the plughole..

Some disturbing thoughts about the Chinese economy..
While the official stance is 'we're all right, Jack'.. it would seem some of these 'official' figures disguise a drastic slowdown in the world's 3d largest economy..
Again.. the downstream will affect manufacturers globally.. and a diminishing Chinese market will do no good for either the British or the American recovery..
It's the way the Chinese define 'growth'.. Beijing uses a method that compares growth in one quarter with a full year earlier and says its economy expanded by a healthy 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2008.
But the pundits say that compared to the previous three months.. the system used by most other major countries.. China's growth fell to as low as 1 percent or possibly zero.
Again.. not good.

Now.. a glance at xenophobia as.. contrary to some forecasts.. migrant workers continue to flood in..everywhere..
Now we're not talking about the US/Mexican borders here.. but workers who, following EU agreements.. are working quite legally throughout Europe..
Britain had three days of strikes in the energy sector because of the numbers of British jobs being done by other folks from around the EU..
More direct in, say Rome, where an Indian worker was beaten to death then set alight.. or in Athens, where a Bulgarian migrant worker was doused with sulfuric acid..
That's what jobs are starting to mean.. that while the EU was dandy while we were in economic stability.. we're nearing the point of 'Italy for Italians' and 'Greece for Greeks'..
The system is starting to teeter a tad, and when the Euro finally drops like a stone.. and it will.. 'free market' will fly away..
Interesting times.

Friday, February 06, 2009

There is absolutely no doubt that there is a viable threat of terrorist action by any number of extremist groups, but the direction Western governments have gone in combating the problem even has the House of Lords questioning just how much personal freedom exists anymore..
In the US, the Homeland Security Act has given security services powers which one doubts was the goal of the Founding Fathers when they signed the Constitution..
One might say, these days, the Constitutional Rights of the man on the street have been bent and twisted into something utterly unrecognisable.. perhaps the same words on that old parchment, but certainly not the same intent..
The Lords are concerned. There are more than 4 million cameras watching us 24/7.. the UK's DNA database is the largest in the world on a relative per capita basis, with 7% of the population on file, compared with 0.5% in the States..
Taking liberties with Civil Liberties is not the purpose of a democracy, but more reminiscent of that which we we told took place in Stalinist Communist regimes, and should perhaps be of more concern to us than the protection we're blanketed with offers any sense of security..
Watch..look around you when next you stroll down the High Street..
Even in a small town such as Ayr, in relatively quiet Scotland, you picture will be recorded more than 250 times over a half-hour stroll..
It is now a case of 'quis custodes custodiets'..
It is a disturbing trend.. and one which the Lords is serving us well in examining..
More on this..
But in the meantime.. think on Gitmo, and the Gulags..
Perhaps it's time our security services follow the general rules of transparency which we demand of other departments within our government.. in spite of the certain cries of 'National Security'..

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Binyam Mohammad..
This one former British resident.. not a citizen though, has been held by the Americans for more than 4 years.. shifted from a 'secret' CIA compound in Morocco to another similar detention center in Afghanistan, before landing in Gitmo, is about to be released with no charges laid..
But..he has made allegations that while he was in custody he was subjected to torture.. shackled and hung..cut with razors.. by both American and British interrogators..
This has all come out in a High Court ruling.. and MP's are now demanding there be disclosure of secret documents presently in American hands, concerning the treatment of this one man..
More disturbingly is the inclusion in the High Court report, that the US is applying pressure against the release of information concerning the treatment of this man.. suggesting that if we continue in our demands.. we'll get no information at all, and the traditional cooperation between British and American security services..
This is not acceptable.
It, simply through omission of information, suggests both security services have something to hide.. some actions they have committed which would tarnish the squeaky clean image of American and British treatment of prisoners of war..
But most disturbing is that this rift between Britain and the US should happen at the very beginning of Barak's Presidency..
It does not bode well for the traditional British/US relations, with the ultimate losers being the British man on the street. The American Intelligence community is vastly larger than ours, far better funded, and apparently under less scrutiny than the British.
Mind you, it begs the question, what are our people doing out there, figuratively speaking, under the radar..?
Nick Clegg, the leader of the LibDems, went so far as to say the withholding evidence and the concomitent threats of intelligence sharing as "..nothing short of blackmail.."
Harsh words, for a President who's main focus is meant to be on repairing his own country's economy..

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Let's be realistic, and have a look at what's going on around us..
A third of those who were last year living in their own homes, are now living somewhere else.. perhaps reduced to the Dole from what two years ago appeared to be a stable carreer..
Now consider. This scenario is not merely confined to some third-world country.. but the very members of the G8..
Poverty's not confined to 'the other side of the tracks' in North American towns anymore.. It's fingers have stretched over the lower-middle class.. and is threatening the middle and upper levels, as large companies 'suspend' operations, the downstream effects will be hitting small business like a tsunami..
Barack's recovery funding plan goes to Congress, and odds are it'll be accepted, with some strategic abstentions and 'Nays'..
Can the man actually envision the reprecussions should this plan prove to be 'underfunded'..? That pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it is an endless job, unless there's a change in the bucket..a plug in the hole..
Or is Barack working towards replacing the bucket entirely.. After all, the one leaking like a sieve, has been the same one in use since 1776..
A 'New America'.. where 'Yes, we can..' means something again..
A lot's expected from the new American Administration..
Best of luck..

Friday, January 30, 2009

Where to begin.. it's been an eventful weekend..
Couple of International swipes at Barak.. somewhat simple problems to guage the new Team..
North Korea's cancelled everal agreements with South Korea.. a blow to the American efforts to reduce North Korea's nuclear debvelopment..
Pakitan has sent warnings to the US about incursions into Pakistani territory to root al Q'aeda out of their training camps.. They want it to stop, and has demanded an apology from Mumbai for suggesting Pakistan Intelligence might have ties to the recent bombings..
And, the economic forcasts for both are not what they should be.. taking the population figures.. the distribution of Western lifestyles will be miniscule.. with the vast majority still leading the same lifestyle their parents and grandparents lived..
A case of ..'Rome not being built in a day' having become a forgotten aphorism..
Ah honest day's work for an honest day's work being another'..
'You get what you pay for'.. 'There ain't no such thing as a feww lunch..' another couple of ethical standards neede replacing 'the government will take care of it..' while we watch, in high definition and cinema surroundsound.. the collapse of this very way of life for the majority of us..

We pin impossible hopes on a man, perhaps for the simple reason that he the first of his kind, a mixed race full-blooded American boy.. we're counting a man, untried but charismatic, to juggle the myriad reports of a myriad advisors, who conststently hitting Dilomatic and Economic home runs.. a Ken Griffey/Jose Canseco/Nolan Ryan combination..
And one wonders how long the American man on the street will allow for foreign triples/sagging stats/European pop-ups.. what we here would call 'common cock-ups'.. something, having a long-time relationshp with Europe, the protocol of which we are accustomed to..
But it has been a segregated economic comfort zone we've seemed to have adopted.. with some adapting the coming 'New World Order' it would seem we're being herded towards a grey world.. an elitist group will pull the strings, and we will accept that there are many shades of grey, with differing pay scales, and count ourselves lucky to be working..
For others it will mean the first discipline they've ever been forced into..
Others will find it demeaning, and while understanding the necessity of it all, will murmur..
And for others, it will be dropping off the grid..
Whatever course this takes..gods allowing.. that there is something left to pull from the rubble..
A worse case scenario perhaps..

and pauvre French..
A million in the streets around the country, protesting the Conservative government of Nicholas.. rising cost of living.. increasing unempoyment.. student unrest.. and unanimous coveting of his wife.. and his lifestyle..
France is suffering badly because of the inflation of the Euro.. as is Germany.. as will all the members of that hegemony..
And Gordon turned our Gold Reserve into Euro's in 1999.. Well done there..

It was David's turn..ahh, the British pm that is.. in Davos yesterday..
His emphasis seemed to be 'standing up to big business'.. which begs the question: how much pressure is applied by big business on important legislation..?'
Actually, that could be taken as rhetorical..
David said all the right things.. more capital for small and emerging for the somewhat larger employers to keep them in business.. morgage our children's future just a tad deeper while insisting we'll pay it all back, with interest, during the next boom..
But we've never heard that before..

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A touchy situation developing between India and Pakistan.. with Pakistani police announcing the arrests of the men.. all Pakistani nationals.. who had been working for the Indian intelligence agency. They're charged in connection with a bombing in 2006 in retaliation for the bombing in Mumbai last year that took more than 160 victim..
Tensions have been growing lately between the two countries..
And they're both nuclear powers..

It's not been a good week for the average working man or woman.. Seven days of wondering if their company would be the next to start handing out pink slips..
Record numbers in the US, with 4.78% of the workforce registering for the dole..
Highest since 1967, and with companies cutting corners and staff.. it would be reasonable to expect that we're not finished with this ride yet..
After having batted the problem out a few others, it would appear that we could be in for a 15 to 15 year struggle to what will be a somewhat different idea of what is considered 'normal'.. with some of those out of the box implying that we're looking at a chrysalytic 'New World Order'..
If, should that be the case, one can only hope it's not tiered to representation by population..
What was unanimous was the world we're living in today, is perhaps the most interesting of any so far in our brief history.. mind you that brought on some spontaneous laughter as well..

The French have a reputation of dealing harshly with those who they feel have governed badly..
A 'For What It's Worth' in Paris these past couple of days.. unions.. students.. the unemployed.. the disillusioned and the desperate all taking to the streets to vent..
It's a bootless occupation, with the French, along with the rest of the EU, are in official recession.. with a couple of the Member States forecasting a situation close to the 'Big D' next year..
Thank all the various gods that Britain isn't tied to the Euro.. but Gordon did let slip that one of the moves he made when he sold our gold reserves when the commodity was at one of it's dips, was to invest in Euro's..
When, one wonders, will Gordon start to dump those while they're still at an inflated rate of exchange..
Before the bottom falls out, one would hope..

All we can really do, on an individual basis, is ride the wave and have faith that this generation of Puppeteers has a workable plan in mind..
It's all part of the Game, after all..

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Even the venerable IMF has finally thrown in the towel.. predicting World Growth Figures of some half a percent or so. That, by the way, is the lowest since the 2dWW.
That global 'redundancies' could leave some 51 million unemployed..
Here at home, the IMF has revised it's British figures.. raising it's estimate of our own economy to reflect a 2.8% contraction.. a full point and a half higher..
And frankly, listening to the Commons.. to Prime Minister's Questions.. it is so very sadly obvious, that those in power are blowing in a gale on a lee shore..
And then there's Vlad..
Speaking at the annual Societe get-together in Davos, he held short of actually accusing the US of causing all this brouhaha.. but was quite firm on his stance of 'government bailout schemes' which leave the average man on the street with a somewhat large, and ever growing portfolio of useless stock. All, of course, held in escrow by these many respective governments.. He urged restraint, and seems to give the impression that somewhere in his heart he knows Russians can deal with a dip in their standard of living.. of the difficulties of diminishing disposable income.. Wasn't that long ago..
But there is no American voice at this 'summit'.. Barack's got his man at his desk..
It's ironic that Vlad spoke against 'protectionism'.. when the largest economy in the world is gearing up towards getting it's people to 'Buy American'.. even, one would suspect, at the cost of straining some diplomatic relations.
Protectionism..? The American Treasury owns most of the tangible assets in the country already, with Barack willing to be Chairman of the Board..
But he's going to need more than one term in office to even make a dent in this, assuming his plans have substance and he accomplishes the re-moulding of the American Dream..
It would seem likely that Joe and Hillary will be running their respective backsides around, as the States extricates itself from the Middle East.. dealing with global economic issues..
While Barack does his best to fix his country.
Almost a triumvirate, for the moment..
The World Economic Forum, an annual event held at Davos, a Swiss mountain resort, is a somewhat somber meeting this year..
There are few less bankers.. hedge-fund operators.. schmoozing with the usual crowd of Economic Ministers and advisers..
They've even gone back to wearing suits and ties.. a practice semi-formally discarded a few years ago..
This will be a meeting without American participation.. Barack's told his new Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, to stay home this year and get to work on something more productive..
We'll see who's really going to be willing to lay their hands on the table over the next few days. Something to keep an eye on..

Some bright news.. this time from a survey of business owners throughout the country..
The consensus appears to be that we're in this for the long, rather than the short, haul. A mere 21% of those polled felt their business had a chance of growing in the immediate future. That's down from 50% a year ago..
And, there is a growing sense of disquiet.. that the banks, having received so many billions of Pound from the Treasury, have yet to pass this money down to their customers..
One can imagine the public outcry when the end of year figures are released, if the Banking Sector declares anything near a profit..

Sri Lanka is in an uproar again, with the Government stepping up it's attack on Tamil Tigers..
This, if nothing else, is a prime example of how we, as a collective, are capable of taking a paradise, and turning it into hell on earth..
It must be in our genes.. but that's yet another topic for another time..

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ahhh.. the domino effect..
Corus is cutting 25 hundred jobs in Britain, due to a lack of market demand for steel.. car manufacturers, those who use the steel.. are laying off thousands themselves with the auto industry in the states asking for what amounts to the same deal as the banks.. large industrial expansion, also a great source of the steel industry, is grinding to a halt..
One is reminded somehow of Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged'.. but it not the great minds deserting us causing this downfall, but a combination of our own self-indulgence, and utterly appalling choices of those we vote into power..
But back to Corus..a company spokesman, while not denying massive layoffs were in the offing.. threw the crumb that the 'numbers might be somewhat inflated'..
The official announcement will come this morning..
But imagine what will happen when the American auto industry runs through the government cash they need to stay afloat now.. and the market for new products dribbles away to a thin stream..
And, odds are, those who will be in the market will be looking for smaller..hybrid cars.. something the American auto infrastructure is not tooled for..

I quote here directly from the BBC..

"Cannabis law change 'illogical'

The reclassification of cannabis as a Class B drug has come into effect in England and Wales amid complaints the new laws are "illogical".
Ministers went against their advisers to upgrade the drug because of worries about its impact on mental health.
Magistrates welcomed the reclassification but said planned fines for possessing small amounts undermined the more serious classification.
They said it sent the signal cannabis is not as bad as other Class B drugs.
Plans to introduce a "three strikes" system for cannabis possession start with a warning, then an £80 spot fine for a second offence.
Only when a third offence is committed, will the person be liable to arrest and prosecution."
End of quote.
One is amazed at the twistings and turnings of legislative and magisterial minds betimes..
But then again.. the Alcohol Lobby, not to mention Organised Crime, have almost unlimited funds..
And it's odd that while a picture of a premature baby..a massive cancerous tumour on someone's neck.. and all the other horrific pictures we now endure on cigarette packaging.. that the next logical step, the pasting of gory car accidents, of people hit by drunken drivers, of ruined livers, has yet to appear on bottles of alcohol..

An interesting move from Barack to be announced today.. That 'tail-pipe' emissions can now be set by the individual States.. a move George resisted strongly..
California's applied to this right and been turned down before.. but it appears Barack's momentum's keeping up as he deals with the smaller internal matters which frankly, should have been dealt with five years ago..

A predictable response from the Vatican on Barack's stance on pro-choice..
While the new President seeming tried to keep that particular executive order sub rosa, the Vatican jumped on it immediately..L'Osservatore Romano says Gregory's 'exceedingly disappointed..'
It might be expected that there's going to be some depth of feeling from the Bible Belt as well..

An interesting move by Indonesia's Islamic Clergy..
After a weekend of heated theological debate, they have decided that Muslim women should not take part in yoga.
The reason being the Hundu chants which accompany some of the positions in the Art, which might lead them away from their Islamic convictions.. weaken their faith..
Malasia banned yoga for Muslims last year.. Egypt back in 2004..
A minor Islamic 'Bonfire of the Vanities'.. perhaps a fear their faith is not self-generating, but one which must be whipped into a frenzy..

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Trillion dollar (that's 1,000,000,000,000, for those of us unable to picture such a sum..)recovery scheme announced by Barak this morning.
The bulk of the money will be split between the individual States to fund public works roads..
It's an FDR move.. another New Deal.. but one wonders if such a plan is feasible.
This is not a generation who, when faced with no work went on the road looking for whatever they could..This is a generation without the concept of being able to run even a normal household when a suddenly and drastic diminution comes knocking..
One thing about the Scots, mind..
It will have little effect on a society which already understands 'the pinch'.. Bargain hunting's a nationally revered occupation over here, and nothing ever seems to wear out or go out of style..
And we're known the world 'round for our patience in a queue
We'll ride it out in Britain.. and odds are the EU will manage to sustain itself as a coherent economic body and weather it, although there is a good possibility the Euro's going to be the next to crash.. Ireland predicting a 5% drop in GNP, and that's a classic Depression figure..
And as previously mentioned.. Latvia's predicting a drop of 7%..
That's going to be a juggling nightmare indeed..
Now Barak's also slid in a couple of somewhat contentious in this batch of legislation he's implemented by Executive Order..
The first deals with the exceedingly contentious issue of abortion.. George had allowed the funding of an American program which provided family planning and handed out birth control methods..but Barak's gone one step further and has approved funds for surgical teams to be provided through Aid Agencies, to actually perform abortions.. free of charge..
A bold step..
And he's increased the budget for embryonic stem cell research.. a project the Bush administration had kept on a tight budget..and leash..
What next.. perhaps the removal of cannabis from the FDA's 'don't allow' list..?
Stricter penalties for those involved in alcohol related incidents..?
The problem of recidivism..?
If Barak spends all this cash, and dedicates his time to working on rebuilding his country by re-instilling a sense of work ethic in the American workforce..and allows Joe and Hillary to carry the diplomatic least for the now while he learns something about the world and how the US maintains it pre-eminence among nations..
But then, it all depends on how much of the spirit that made America..not to be trite mind you.. still remains intact..and whether this man can inspire a revival..

Then it would be worth watching the Second Act.. He's going to rival Houdini..

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's finally official.. After months of waffling and faffing about, Britain has declared itself officially 'in recession'..
Considering that we've been watching unemployment rise exponentially.. house prices initially rising at a ridiculous rate only to be followed by record reposessions.. the collapse of the Pound Sterling.. the rising costs of basic foodstuffs at the grocery stores coupled with staggering fuel prices..
It takes a fair amount of credibility away from both the government, for it's spending policies and the lack of financial transparentcy.. from the banks, for what would outwardly appear as misuse of all the taxpayer money used to bail them out.. and for the financial analytical community itself for withholding what was blatently obvious, seemingly to toe the government line..
One third of the British workforce is idle.. on the dole..
Last quarter saw a 92% rise in house reposessions over the quarter before..
And we're still sliding..
We are stepping up on government borrowing.. extending the mortgage we'll pass along to our children..
And growing ever closer to a 'New World Order', so to speak.
'A global crisis..' says Gordon..
More later on the plans Barak has for his United States..

There is so much worldwide expectation on the magical powers of the first African American President.. that is frankly risible..
Barak's expected to haul a sinking boat through water deeper than he is tall, and one has to wonder how long it will be before the ecstacy of the honeymoon is replaced by the agony of a self-indulgent population..
His first moves maintained his image of being able to deal quickly with campaign promises.. Gitmo closing and a Directive against the treatment of those accused of terrorist links.. But that's easy.. a simple left-handed signature that brings toan end something which is fundamentally 'non-American' behavior..
But where is the Executive Order to compel those banks and multinationals who recieved what's getting close to a trillion dollars in bailouts..paid for out of the public pocket. being released to small business?
When will the financial infrastructure be bent back into shape?
To date, it appears the banks themselves have been shuffling those funds around within their own particular and peculiar Circle, which, at least on paper, keeps them in profit.. Not much has filtered down to small business and even less towards the individual..
Barak's not going to save the world. He's as bewildered as the next man on what pill will need to be taken by America that the public won't spit up. And, has been repeaed ad nausium by the media..'so goes America, so goes Britain.'
In fact, so goes the world..
We'll discuss Barak's foreign policy decisions.. or Joe Biden's..the next time perhaps..

%5 drop in GNP..c'mon, basic economics..what's it spell?
Latvia's projecting a %7 drop during '09, and is tied to the Euro..
The Euro's so vastly over valued it's amazing..
It's going to be interesting..

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

One really has to wonder what wheels have set in motion and what we're being prepared for in this, the beginning of some hard times..
It's as though we're teetering on the brink of a scenario that will be as influential on the world as a whole as was the Great Plague..
And that quite rightly.. some of the blame has to fall on the shoulders of the man on the street for succumbing to the ubiquitous ad campaigns and buying.. and buying..and buying..
On tick, as they say, for the most part. We have been shamelessly profligate..
But certainly the balance of the blame falls on those we have put in power..
As it stands now, we have Barak saying that the American economy is 'very sick', and we can expect the condition to exacerbate.. as though the situation isn't blatantly obvious to even the least informed of the public..
Back to Barack and his economic woes in a moment..
We must be aware the Vlad Putin's going the lead Russia again.. this time with a longer term to bring Mother Russia a tad back from it's swing towards the Right..
After all, it is still Communist..'from each according to their abilities and to each according to their need' and all.. And what a magnificent parade was prepared for the West just a while back..
Haven't seen that much military hardware grinding through Red Square in decades..
Somehow though.. it still evokes a faint shudder, all that goose-stepping..
And before we get back to Barack..
The situation vis a vis the Pound Sterling and the Euro would be risible, if it weren't so dangerous..We saw the $Canadian worth more than a greenback for a while earlier in this economic overture, but it settled down to a more sensible 84 cents to the dollar American in short order.. But the situation here is dire. British unemployment is soaring.. British brands associated with quality are calling in the receivers.. British shops the likes of Woolworths will have the last of their outlets locked and their people paid off by mid-week next..
With the Euro at near parity with the Pound.. Gordon's going to need a plan to get something, out of what is rapidly becoming nothing..
Which brings us back to Barack, who's going to try his utmost to be a Hoover or an FDR..
But frankly, the DWP clone couldn't be sustained throughout American society today. The logistics would simply be far to complex and an expensive..
Maybe in a couple of years time, when it becomes a serious concern about how this bill can be dodged for a couple of weeks, so food can be put on the table.. when inflation sets in..
Maybe then the idea of 'working for the government' will force those who have the sense to get with a program..
It will be an easier pill to swallow for Europeans.. who can easily equate with National Service..
Which..rather circuitously.. brings us back to the original thought..
Where is the state of mind we're meant to adopt..what part of the Game are we being led into..?
Are we heading into an era of re-building and about to endure a purging of the decades of our self-indulgence..?
Likely not.
Are we headed towards the formation of formal or informal 'blocs'..?
Might be..
But, for a while, the middle class will understand the existence led by the lower middle class, and so on down the social ladder until you reach the middle and lower lower class, who've understood how difficult it is to just 'get by' from time immemorial..
After all, to quote Tim Minchen.. "You could always be a taxi driver in Beirut."

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