Financial, fiscal and fanatical fantasies: today’s haul is a biggie

Stand by as Italy bids to take over from Greece as Bad Boy to be Bullied by Berlin. I was particularly taken with Spiegel’s observation that the German media dismissed Italy’s ‘childlike refusal to acknowledge reality’….this from the main driver of a fiscal union based on universal faillite. Yesterday two German Ministers talked of “organising a eurozone without Italy if necessary”, and today Spiegel itself added that ‘The Italian election, in which more than half of voters backed two comedians in the form of Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, shows Italians are unable or unwilling to grasp the depth of their economic plight, argue German media commentators. The ungovernable nation poses a major risk to the euro zone….’

Indeed it does…along with Greece, Spain, Italy and France. And then Holland, probably Belgium, and all the other puffed-up clowns who took the barmy decision to have a single european currency – a form of deluded hubris they compounded by then achieving membership of it through graft and mendacity. For ‘childlike refusal’, it would be hard to beat Merkel’s ‘decision’ to drop nuclear as an energy option for Germany, or Schäuble’s threat to disallow Greek elections, or the Brussels option of giving Athens a repayment schedule guaranteed to leave it in debt forever. But top of the kiddy-tantrum yah-boo-sucks league has to be the German persistence with an austerity so Scrooge-like in its dysfunction, it negates any and all of the growth without which the problem cannot even be addressed in the first place.

I keep searching for the One-Eyed Man in Brussels-am-Berlin. I’ve decided reluctantly after five years of searching that he or she simply doesn’t exist. Only thinly-disguised blind panic remains.

Another cracker is the Telegraph’s assertion that, because Britain’s economy did not stagnate but grew by 0.2% last year (according to revised official figures) George Osborne now has ‘some respite in the build up to his Budget’. That’ll be the respite aided by the loss of TripleA, the dire trade figures, and the hammering Sterling is getting at the hands of the markets, then. The voters, it seems (according to an FT study) expect the Draper to maintain course. There we go again do you see, with more of that damned childlike inability to face reality. No wonder Britain is moving closer to Germany in EU jockeying politics.

Anyway, our poor beleaguered Chancellor finally received the Mafia kiss of imminent death this morning: Olli Rehn told EC delegates that Mr Osborne is on the right track. Despite the overall annual economic growth we recorded, Britain’s economy contracted by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2012. This must have been the figure that clinched Olli’s decision to side with George. Bless.

The biggest fantasy of all, however, is that you can reason with fanatics – and their motives aren’t really quite as bad as that 4600pt writing on the wall might suggest. If you haven’t been there yet, go the comment thread at this morning’s Slogpost on Iran and weep at the staggering naivety being displayed by all and sundry. Or better still, read what the catatonically dynamic Baroness Ashton has to say about the progress of recently resumed talks with the Tehran regime: “I hope the Iranian side is looking positively on the proposal we put forward, we have to see what happens next.”

Ashton led the talks on behalf of the six ‘Great’ powers, but continues to turn a blind eye (again, we’re talking both of them here) to such details as France, Germany, the United States, China, Russia and Britain having offered at the talks to lift some sanctions if Iran scaled back nuclear activity that the West fears could be used to build a bomb…..and the Iranians replying along the lines of f**k off. But serious as all this is, you have to laugh at the omnidirectional Orwellian inconsistency of the Mullahs, who refused to agree to stop bomb-associated nuclear development….because they deny seeking nuclear weapons. Fine, then if you’re not trying to build weapons, stick to the stuff that’s not involved in doing that, otherwise we have to worry about WhyTF you’re doing it. But we aren’t doing it, we just like screwing around and scaring the BeJaysus out of you hahahahaha.

So there we have it: the euro goes from strength to strength, Chancellor Osborne from success to success, and Mahmood Ahmadinnejhad from uranium to plutonium. All’s well that ends well. Or something.

“See yer later mad dictator/In denial crocodile”

Earlier at The Slog: Nigel Farage, the shrinking Violet

 

 

 

113 thoughts on “Financial, fiscal and fanatical fantasies: today’s haul is a biggie

  1. “I keep searching for the One-Eyed Man in Brussels-am-Berlin. I’ve decided reluctantly after five years of searching that he or she simply doesn’t exist. Only thinly-disguised blind panic remains.”

    He does exist, we kicked him out of number 10 a couple of years ago and got that moron Cameron instead.

  2. Well John,i know you fear the Mullah & maybe rightly so,but even if Iran got nuclear weapons,against the world they could be of little use for each one they fired 10 would come back in interest & many of their would be shot down before hitting their targets.however has oil supplies dwindle Iran could be free of oil dependency energy,therefore those exports you shout about that we need,Iran will only need to export oil,if only to actually produce components for green powered energy
    But making Iran one of the most powerful & influential nations on earth
    this is long term planning v short termism,many are determined that this will never happen
    rightly or wrongly

      • This is true but how many if any would get through, confiscated and be used against them,it is terrorist groups who could hide the containers better,but radiation checks are or should be made regularly,making anything other than a all out missile attack futile,And governments know that,remember the urgency of Iraq just before the Banking crises,watch the markets & were the blame falls

      • @the Ghost

        I reckon that 1 nuclear detonation (even if just using radioactive bits and bobs with conventional explosives) in the centre of (lets say) Warsaw – would be pretty devastating, especially for those living downwind.
        It is not beyond the realms of possibility to add a lead liner to the inside of a container – and road it across a continent to the destination of ones choice.
        Chances are that several would get through if say 10 were sent out on different routes at similar times. Lets face it – illegals get into the UK on lorries all the time. Something with the right documentation especially if there are a number traveling at the same time could be in the centre of London from the coast pretty rapidly.
        You have a lot more faith in the ability of border controls to discover these (and why not just let it go when in the port area as it would permanently shut down the port) on the off chance the shipment gets stopped for examination ?
        Do you not realise (or do you not think of them) Hamas etc el are capable of using terroist tactics ? Are you not aware that Iran supports these organisations financially and with military hardware ? Head & Blanket mode of thought I would suggest with the greatest respect.

    • So when the Greeks do get their act together and default … where are they going to borrow the money to pay for the things their government needs? Even with an outright default (long forgotten it seems) the real problem is one of having dreamed of a future that they are now having to wake up to.

      • They could start by getting by getting wealthy people to pay some taxes.
        Employing tax inspectors who don’t routinelly accept bribes, maybe?

      • Well, you can do some can-kicking, like pretending bad debts are really assets instead of writing them off………
        But when you actually don’t have enough oil, coal, gas, food, water, to keep things running like we are used to, then can-kicking gets more difficult.
        You can’t eat propaganda and soothing speeches won’t keep you warm at night.

    • @BillK. Population decline. Ah, that is the real, but unthinkable, answer. More people on the planet than the economics of the situation can sustain. No wish to enter a debate here, but look at a satellite picture of the earth at night and contemplate how much energy we’re using / wasting, and also how much land we take up and despoil.

  3. “….weep at the staggering naivety being displayed by all and sundry”

    Ooohh, I’ll have a go. The problem with Iran john, is it comes in the wake of a series of gross fabrications (aka outright lies) spouted by the US and the UK to justify meddling in the ME. Add in the fact that the neo-con movement (headed up by the Project for a New American Century) behind this meddling has been dominated by Jews seeking to use the US to make the ME safe for Israel, and you have a recipe for cynicism.

    Whether your readers are being naive, I just don’t know. My own take is that I am less worried about Iran having nukes than I am say, Pakistan, as the level of Muslim nuttery seems very much linked to the race of the Muslim. This may seem way out there, but how many jihadists flocking to slay the infidel in Afghanistan would be, say, Thai or Indonesian Muslims, versus sub-continental or Arab? Arabs with nukes definitely worries me, but Iranians are not Arabs.

    True, the mullahs in Iran do engage in a lot of sabre-rattling viz “The Great Satan”, but domestically, they also allow things like women going to University (which is more than you can say for our Wahabi-ist “allies” in Saudi Arabia), so how much of it is grand-standing, and how much fundamentalist zeal?

    I don’t know the answer. But I don’t think you do, either.

      • Very true, GNR. And I’m sure many of us here are aware of issues in Aceh, where those three schoolgirls were beheaded a few years ago. I think you’ve weakened my argument, but maybe not invalidated it: some Thai/Indo Muslims certainly cause trouble seeking to carve out independent homelands, but Arabs and Pakistanis are more aggressive still, seeking to wage jihad against the West, all around the world. Are some Muslims – including Persians – less virulent and aggressive than others?

        Thinking about it, there’s always the worry that Iran may pass on nuclear material to Hizbollah or someone, but I would think that horse has bolted, now that Pakistan has nukes. I just find it suspicious that Iran is regarded as more of a threat to “world peace” than Pakistan, where Christians get executed for blasphemy. The difference of course, is that one country has oil, and is in close proximity to Israel.

        Anyways, just thinking out loud.

    • ADB
      That all seems entirely fair to me. I don’t think anyone knows the answer.
      But I DO know that the block in that shot is designed to make Heavy Water, and I DO know that Iran has been hijacked by a mad regime.
      I also DO know that the US has a stranglehold over the Iranian economy and currency, that the West IS without doubt backing Syrian rebels who are every bit as appalling as Assad.
      If this sh*t was easy, we would’ve sorted it all out long ago.

      • JW

        “If this sh*t was easy, we would’ve sorted it all out long ago.”

        Are you really sure of that?

        After all, it seems to me that a simple solution could be messed up by any sensible, right thinking and right-doing government practically anywhere. In other words, in doing what they think of as “the right thing” they usually don’t.

      • Indeed, JW.

        @GNR: re “Suspicious or not, ask not why, ask only who is paying. Surely this has more meaning than anything that might appear sensible to grown adults.”

        That’s all a bit too Confucian for me, mate. Care to elaborate?

      • What you don’t KNOW, or refuse to believe, is all nuclear weapons, in the hands of the Dark, have been disabled by the Galactic Federation. Rest easy, my friend. There will never be a nuclear war. It is the will of God.

      • ADB
        I think the ‘paying’ bit is foxing you? Think US politician, think dollars. Where those dollars come from is the answer to my riddle. (And it isn’t the US taxpayer either).

        Grown adults are often able to form value judgements for themselves, deal with the facts as they see them. In many cases this means they don’t have to abrogate responsibility to Galactic Federations.

      • Except ‘we’ ain’t in charge, and the clowns that are can’t even manage ‘easy’ when its pointed out to them

    • You are correct to be concerned about Pak nukes, up to a point. I had a conversation with a senior Pakistani diplomat a few years ago. He claimed the US had the leading generals on their payroll and in the event of trouble they would facilitate the US takeover of their weapons for a price that would be paid on delivery.

      I also believe that Iran just wants the weapons as insurance. They live in a dangerous neighbourhood with some truly nutters around.

      Finally, it is not out of the questions that they may have a couple of the several hundred suitcase nukes unaccounted for after the breakup of the Soviet Union. A number of high profile sting ops were conducted in the 1990s but they involved the improbable smuggling of a weapon through Germany or other NATO member rather than through one of the Stans. Have they been maintained and are they deliverable? Who knows but there are plenty of Russian ‘advisers’ operating everywhere in the Middle East and other areas of potential instability.

      • “I also believe that Iran just wants the weapons as insurance.”

        Can you blame them? The Americans rattling sabres all over the place, wouldn’t you want some serious defence against that? As to the S.U. there is a large amount (tons) of radio-active stuff unaccounted for. Some just lying about unattended for sheep to graze next to.

        As to smuggling through Germany, it is not so hard to believe. After all, if the paperwork is correct, that’s it as far as the bureaucrat is concerned. Just make sure that any consignments (or groups of) do not constitute a nuclear weapon.

    • @ADB: Are there any easy answers on those issues?
      Good point on Pakistan. Much more unstable.
      Good point on Saudi Arabia. I can think of anything more sadly ironic, when the West is accusing N.Korea of being a totalitarian state, while at the same time our Governments make million dollar business with an equally totalitarian Saudi state :-(
      But what is the above have to do with wishing that more (nuclear) arms find their way to the hands of fanatics of any kind? Is it gonna solve the problems?
      Let’s have a look at what happened in Africa, when the former colonies started getting independent. Western countries started selling all kinds of armament to all sides. The result was civil wars, dictatorships, poverty, starvation…and it still goes on. From colonial exploitation to total chaos.
      Can’t choose any sides on this – it’s not right or wrong – it’s wrong and wrong!
      As much as i fear weapons of mass destruction in the hands of fanatical islam, i have the same fear for the US nuclear arsenal controlled by some lunatic american “madhawk”.
      What i would wish for Iran is more freedom, more open society. I do not wish them to discover hamburger and coke. I wish Iranians rediscover their 3000 year old history and civilisation (which has contributed many stuff to the Hellenic civilisation). And then 70 mln Iranians throw a shoe to all the vultures surrounding them, like this guy did:

    • Regarding US and western interest in the Middle East and Eurasia, Brzenski’s “The Grand Chessboard – American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives” is an eye opener.

      Either that or I was just plain daft and brainwashed prior to reading it.

      Brzinski dedicated his book to his students “to help them shape tomorrow’s world”.

      Which was thoughtful of him don’t you think.

      Only a few million people know that Brzinski was the power behind the throne for election of the ever smiley Barack Obama.

    • @ADB
      “Are some muslims – Iranians – less aggressive than others”
      In Iran, women are punishable by death for being raped. Ditto for homosexuals and apostates. I don’t think there’s much to choose between them,although Iran was well on the way to being westernised before the mullahs took over and sent them back into the dark ages.

      This is not meant to argue for the Saudis by any stretch of the imagination but if you check your info. you’lll find the following re. Saudi Arabia:-

      “According to a UNESCO report, the percentage of women graduating from universities is higher than in Western countries. Approx. 71% to 78% of females are literate, in comparison to 85% literacy rates in males. More women receive secondary- and tertiary-education than men. Fifty percent of working women have a college education, compared to 16 percent of working men. Saudi sharia law allows women to work, provided it does not lead to her neglecting her “essential duties of homemaking”. Women may also work if it is necessary for their support, such as a widow with children. Teaching and nursing are common professions for women. The number of women working in finance increased 280% between 2000 and 2008.”

      In my book, they’re all a bunch of patriarchal barbarians.

      • I stand corrected, Alexei. Maybe my thesis that Iran is less of a threat is invalid. I still can’t get away from the fact that an at least equally as nuts Pakistan developed nukes without any objections, and that a lot of the Western war-mongering in the ME has been at the behest of Israel.

  4. Pingback: John Ward – Financial, Fiscal And Fanactical Fantasies : Today’s Haul Is A Biggie – 27 February 2013 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  5. John, I nearly always 100% agree with you, and applaud your incisive posts, but from your remarks on the putative “childishness” of the German decision to exit nuclear, this is clearly an area of divergence, you ‘n’ me …I guess I’ve now joined the ranks of your “naive” commentariat

    • @ Chelim Yrneh

      The decision by the inhabitants of the Tollhaus am Spree to exit nuclear power was/is more than ‘childish’, it was imbecilic. Not only am I, personally, already feeling the effects in my energy bills (allegedly, Germany now has the highest domestic electricity costs in Europe), but they also made their choice before a half-way viable alternative was in position. To wit:

      1. Build a ginormous windmill park out in the North Sea. More or less nearing completion now, but there appears to be something of an almost unsolvable problem that has cropped up – how to bring the electricity that has been generated by the windmills onto dry land? Surely that one should have been sorted before the first windmill base was planted on the bed of the North Sea?

      2. To top that, the geniuses have now come up against a geographic problem. Assuming that all of these millions of ‘green’ kilowatts eventually do make it onto dry land, they will be arriving on the North German coast. But, the area that needs to be supplied with this power is actually Southern Germany, some 300 – 600 miles away. To much chagrin, they have now discovered that the existing grid network is not fit for this purpose. Accordingly, plans are being hatched to construct 3 ‘HT pylon highways’ down the North-South axis of Germany.

      And it would appear the geniuses are also having problems with neighbouring countries about regulating ‘power surges’ – apparently the neighbours don’t want to have their domestic grids being subject to potential damage.

      For myself, I’m waiting to read the first reports about the mass import of French nuclear energy – though I suspect that this is already happening. Apparently, a couple of years ago, to avoid a collapse of the grid, they were forced to import electricity from coal-fired power stations in Austria. That one really got the Greens going!

  6. From John Redwood’s diary today: ‘ Markets and commentators are shaking their heads in disbelief. They are telling the Italian people they just have to knuckle down and do as the EU and Euro authorities say.’
    Are they ‘shaking their heads in disbelief’ at the utter, ‘how dare the Italians deny us movers and shakers the opportunity to enrich ourselves even more at their expense’?

      • The majority of Italians have had enough, neither option would be pleasant or kind, we are way past ‘kind’ but, sooner or later all will have to face up to reality. The will of the people will have to be considered eventually.

      • KFC
        “sooner or later all will have to face up to reality. The will of the people will have to be considered eventually.” – So when the Italians haven’t got any money to pay for their railways and hospitals, where are they going to get it? Are they going to have to pay for it up front like they have to in the US?

        The problem for the Italians is that their government is in ‘receivership’ of a kind where competent authorities try to steer it to a safer course to avoid having to declare full bankruptcy.

        Of course “the will of the people” has to be considered. Does this mean that they are going to try and help steer their country away from the rocks – or on to them? Which is better – Scylla or Charybdis? Or is the middle path put out by the EU a better option, all things considered?

    • @KFC. maybe they are shaking their heads for one of these reasons. Either (a) they fear to make a huge financial loss or (b) their hubris is so large they cannot believe anyone would stick two fingers up to them.

  7. Must sau John that I have read of the Baroness and seen many descriptions of her, but “catatonically dynamic Baroness Ashton ” is probably about the best I have come across…………… nice one !

  8. I would imagine any country looking at the fantastic job EU “leaders” have done in Greece, Spain, etc… would be unenthusiastic at being told to follow the same course to “fix” their problems. If anything… at this point I would say Italy’s decision as a people to throw a wrench into the spanners driving the sausage grinder we call the EU right before the German elections (guaranteeing they will not be ignored like Greece) is damn smart (maybe a little wacky). Today on the radio, two commentators were commending the Italians for having the courage to vote their convictions regardless of outcome… one of them saying at least they aren’t like us (Greeks), so scared of losing their poverty level pensions that they are willing to enslave their own children to decades of finanicial serfdom… had to agree, at least they are not being bullied into making decisions that will slit their own throats.

    • Perhaps we need something a little wacky, the element of surprise, seeing as those who would cage us plan to cover the usual angles. Judging by the reaction it’s had an immediate effect, & what to do with all those p****d off Italians if they crush him.

      Early days yet, but interesting – Since yesterday his FB page has risen over 100,000 likes, now at 1.2 million.

  9. I read a lot of commentary on the above issues, but only John can manage to make me laugh out loud while contemplating doom.

    Olli Rehn loved that……..he should be partnered with another idiot named Stan.

  10. 9/11 is the biggest lie, and still is, in the history of our planet. WTC 7 collapesed 7 hrs later, without a plane crashing into it. Steel buildings can, and do, burn for days. This one collapsed in about 7 seconds. The scientific evidence proving this was an ‘inside’ job, could fill a small library. Yet our Prime Ministers, Presidents, et ilk, still uphold this lie, over a decade later. Why? Because their corrupt balls are in a vice that belongs to the Illuminati. The very same Illuminati who own our banks, print our money, then lend it to us! The issuance of their own currency by the mother nations would eradicate global debt, instantly. The Establishment, also owned by the Illuminati, are petrified. Petrified. The satanic paedophiles in their evil midst are soon to be exposed. Naturally, rather than face shame and public humiliation, they desperately cling to power. They do not want Full Disclosure and First Contact. This cannot be prevented, only delayed. The Illuminati also know their evil plan for a NWO has been crushed. Thanks be to God, and the wonderful Galactic Federation. Demand Full Disclosure. Demand First Contact. Peace and Abundance will soon be Ours.

    • Who are these Galactic Federations apart from a sleepless dream? As far as I am concerned, if we don’t sort ourselves out, we are to blame and nobody else.

      It’s called responsibility.

      Relying on organizations, foundations or other associations, galactic or not seems a little foolhardy to me. They haven’t announced their terms yet.

      • @GNR. Apparently Jedi is recognised as a religion in some States (I doubt whether the mullahs will allow it somehow) and as many people can speak Klingon as can speak Slovene. Be afraid – be very afraid.

      • Gnr, the Galactic Federation represents an astonishing array of wonderful, different civilisations, some from far away galaxies. They have announced themselves and have numerous websites; thegoldenageofgaia is but one. They are here to help, but constantly remind us, it is indeed Our responsibilty, as you so rightly point out, to do most of the work in saving Gaia (Earth) from the Dark, and cleansing the polution that very nearly killed our planet. The Illuminati really do control this planet, but there will never be a NWO. It is up to us, to spread the Light, the Love, the Word. The Law of Attraction has to be respected. Once enough people on our planet KNOW about the GF, and God, then absolutely nothing can stop Full Disclosure and First Contact. Once that happens, it truly will be a Golden Age. Peace. Abundance. Joy. And Love. Love. The GF talk constantly about the power of Love. Love truly conquers all. So start Loving bro; no bullets needed; and we will defeat the Dark. That is God’s promise to the wonderful Souls on this planet. God bless us All. Thank you.

      • Big B

        I think most people would like footprints rather than waffle about loving those who get on your nerves all the time.

        As to the “law of attraction” sure. Tell me in real words how it works, with a practical guide to its use. No waffle, no journeys into fairy land, no GF telling people it’ll be all right because GF says so.

  11. I would urge anyone to read up on “Socionomics” – A very young economic science although it’s been around and used by a minority for a few decades.

    It allows you to predict social mood/certain events based on stock market movements – obviously not the little swings that always happen. If you can time turning key turning points you can pretty much have a clear cut idea of the associated public/social mood that follows.
    The only down side with it is that it’s linked to Elliott Wave theory – which is hit and miss to use as an analytical study of the markets in my opinion. Ignore wave counts for the time being as by the end of 2016 Elliott Wave theory will either be proved to be highly accurate or non-workable – it’s [EWT] got to the stage where if it does not do as it should do within the next few years it will be blown apart as a viable stock market theory – although Socionomics will continue as it reflects human emotions on mass scales and that is trackable.

    What has happened since 2000 has been no surprise.

    This ain’t over for another 3-4 years and during that time I’d expect:

    – More EU/UK wide strikes and civil/social unrest
    – Public anger at the government for failing to solve the problem (As if any government can solve the problem!)
    – Some idiotic policy from the government in an attempt to appease public anger and get the economy motoring
    – There should be more radical overhauls of pensions within public services leading to unrest and action by their members
    – What else, this is the fun bit – a significant drop in Births and conceptions compared to pre-2000 years. 100+ years worth or charts with births & conceptions overlaid show a direct correlation to stock market price action = Increase as the markets rise and fall as the markets fall.

    The main one is that, should the stock market really fall (as I’m expecting 2013-2016) and it falls hard for a couple of years into 2015 – that’s the end to the coalition, they’ll be dumped out in a landslide, if the stock markets action is more subdued then it’ll be an open contest.

    Just another way of viewing the world.

  12. Not sure how this one was missed, but the published and update dates are certainly revealing:

    “Eurovision

    EU paper: national parliaments harm the EU and should be stripped of power.

    Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten | Published: 07.12.12, 01:20 | Updated: 26.02.13, 16:44 | 235 comments

    In his new position paper Herman Van Rompuy will now tackle the national parliaments. They do not act in the interest of the EU, and should therefore be significantly pushed back in their importance.”

    I won’t bother translating the rest of it, instead, this is the paper (in English) to which it refers:

    http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/134069.pdf

    Does anyone recall seeing anything in this vein in the MSM?

  13. Personally, I think that the photo depicted on the ‘Slogpost on Iran’ was taken by a member of the cabin crew out of the window of an Easyjet Airbus 319 flying over Ellesmere Port en route to Liverpool John Lennon airport.

  14. Been busy fighting a Public Inquiry but just got back to have a larf, and was not disappointed! (Badly needed.)
    The only really mad thing from this thread is that the MSM and the (D)Elite’s still seem to be followed, and quoted, if only to be ridiculed.
    Once we ignore ALL their rubbish, the bottom point is that the Worldly PTB are doing stuff, in all of our countries, against our will and ‘knowledge’.
    We know, they know we know, we know they know we know, blah blah…….

    So who gives a stuff what ‘anyone’ has said ?

    Monday night, after a full day of sh*t, the BBC were going on about Pistorious having appeared at a Police Station a propos his bail requirements….. yeah, and…..

    Not yet 50 and so cynical; please keep up the humour John!

  15. There is no hard evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme. Iran
    has a right to enrichment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The drive against Iran is being driven by Israel and the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

  16. has everyone forgotten colin powell pointing at the satellite photos that showed that saddam was building a death star? actually, iirc they were supposedly mobile biological weapons labs or something. doesn’t matter, cos it turned out to be complete bollocks.

    when iran invades another country, i’ll start to worry about them. hasn’t happened for a couple of hundred years.

  17. The Italians are not crazy. They know there is life after the Euro – they know it might even be better. If needed they will absorb the shock better than most other countries.
    Currency is not “holy” in Italy, nor inflation is considered evil and to be avoided at all costs, like in the German psyche.
    They voted for “clowns”, sending to their politicians the message “you are all incompetent useless clowns – and you better find solutions if you are to be taken seriously”.
    The ball now on the German side of the field.

  18. ‘German FinMin Warns “I Never Said The Euro Crisis Was Over”‘
    ‘The problem, as Reuters reports, appears to be not just Italy’s public dissension over Germany’s demands for austerity but his French counterpart’s comments that “austerity has gone far enough,” to which the German rebuked, “France must also do more here, Hollande knows this and so does Pierre Moscovici.” Tension is certainly rising in the depression-addled union, even as Draghi explains – it’s all ok, he promises.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-27/german-finmin-warns-i-never-said-euro-crisis-was-over

    • It warms my heart to know that they are now squirming. The Italians know extortion when they see it & as Ambrose put it they could dump the euro.

      *Yet Italy is big enough to bring down the eurozone if mishandled. It is also the one Club Med country with enough fundamental strengths to leave EMU and devalue, if it concludes that would be the least painful way to restore 35pc of lost competitiveness against Germany since the launch of the euro.

      It has low private debt and €9 trillion of private wealth. Its total debt level is 265pc of GDP, lower than in France, Holland, the UK, the US or Japan.

      Its budget is near primary balance, and so is its International Investment Position, in contrast to Spain and Portugal. It could in theory return to the lira without facing a funding crisis, and this may be the only way to avoid a crisis if the ECB withdraws support. Any attempt to force Italy to knuckle down risks backfiring disastrously for EMU creditors.”

      • Don’t forget the unreported ‘informal’ economy. It’s very significant in Italy and you can be sure it is doing well. Several EU countries are in fact much better off than they appear. That, in part, explains the insouciant attitude of the characters in Brussels.

  19. All I can say is that “It’s being so cheerful as keeps us going” – and, where I live, I’m not doubling our vegetable growing space, as previously planned, but tripling it. The potatoes are chitting nicely. Tomato seeds just going in.

    If anyone has forgotten, these wonderful people signed a Fiscal Pact in 2012 which commits them to cut their fiscal deficits over 20 years to get back to a government debt/GDP ratio of 60%. And fines for those who don’t do it. So the suicide pact exists, and someone is going to ask, sometime, why it is not being enforced. And presumably the ECJ will have to impose fines.

    • @ Mark “someone is going to ask, sometime, why it is not being enforced ?”. It hasn’t been enforced for at least two reasons:
      First and most obviously the fines would widen the deficit and aggravate the problem but more fundamentally how would ECOFIN react to fiscal transgressions by a number of european countries where the countries stubbornly refuse to take effective actions ?Expel them from the MU ?there are not mechanics of expulsion .And not just that ,the way it has happened the european countries with excessive deficits soon to be so many that can block a hostile vote from ecofin .They can outnumber low deficit countries and control ecofin .With such stupid Pacts you only encourage people to cheat and maximize deficits as has happened .I do not think the european politicians understand what they have done .

  20. “and weep at the staggering naivety being displayed by all and sundry”

    Not surprising seeing that most comments are coming from the land of Neville Chamberlain. I like how many of the Sloggers contrast and compare Iran with some other state that they think is worse. Forget looking at others John is talking about Iran not someone else………get It? The religious crazies BELIEVE that turmoil will bring about the return of the 12th Imam and this is something you should be worried about.

    • Agreed Bill. People should also know that the herald of this return is prophesised to be ‘A bright light over Jerusalem’………… visions of what spring to mind………
      By the way……….. for those who do not know…… the twelth immam (foretold to return) could not be found after he had been hiding out from his enemies…..in a well………….. I wonder what really went wrong with that plan eh ?

      It has to be said that many religious teachings have a Ben Eltonesque taint somehow built in………..though faith is ones own to consider and other peoples beliefs not for me to challenge or ridicule.

  21. My first impression was, good for the Italians.
    The tone I took from Spiegel and from Ezra Klein at MSNBC was that Italians have goofed and set themselves up for their collapse, which is too dangerous for the world economy.
    If that was the case, why have an honest election at all?
    Well, to some people’s surprise, the Italians didn’t bite when offered discounted cans of catfood if they voted for more austerity.
    Forgive them for showing a backbone and standing up for themselves. We could all learn from this.

      • Nick.
        “seems the Italians saw the horse in the room….“
        Indeed. It always disappointed me that the Greeks saw it too and at the end decided to suck it up and pauperize themselves to keep the ball rolling.
        It could be argued that there were many reasons for this and indeed why they were in this situation to start with. We could talk about a rock and a hard place…. but still just for once it would have been nice if they had determined their own destiny and not waited for outside events to do it for them.

      • Zeusgoose, different countries, different cases. You can’t imagine how much i’d love to see my country standing up and deciding on it’s own.
        But you cannot compare the Italy of G8 with Greece. Sizes are different and no matter what they tell you, size is important :-)
        The historic path of the two nations has been different for the (decicive) past 600 years. Italy was part of the Western evolution – renaissance, industrial revolution etc, etc…
        Greece was part of the Balkan experience. Ottoman Empire. Liberation in 1830 – played by the big powers – devastated in WW2, civil war (46-49)…
        Today’s Greece is a mix of 1/3 West, 1/3 former USSR, 1/3 Middle East culture. And that defines the nations reactions.

        I guess you have read about how promising the oil/gas discoveries are in Ionian and South Crete. You are probably also aware of the privatisation of our oil/gas networks. Have you read about the pressure exercised on Greece by US, Germany, France et all, on who will get control and who will have the biggest share?

        IMHO Greece needs to be brave but not suicidal. Smart but not ass-licking. Such an effort needs the right leaders, to unite the nation and form a cohesive society. The political leadership is so “small” – our leaders are the real clowns of Europe. Greece’s biggest problem at the moment is not financial, not social. It is political.

  22. This could seriously affect our relationship with the EU: ‘http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-27/european-and-us-banker-bonuses-capped-twice-base-salary
    Bankers with small bonuses, whatever next?

  23. Here is a true outrage.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/british-terror-suspects-quietly-stripped-of-citizenship-then-killed-by-drones-8513858.html

    So we give the Home Sec carte blanche to strip a native born citizen of their citizenship and allow them to be droned or rendered by the Americans. Yes, I know there are bad guys out there but the rule of law should still apply. We are sinking to the levels of the worst authoritarian states. Next the concentration camps and if you don’t protest who will when they come after you?

    John, I shall be disappointed if you don’t comment on this at some length.

    • I have not read your link yet but I dont think I need to. With the full blown police state, empty FEMA camps all over and appropriate legislation in place in the US , then its only a matter of time before that is exported over to the UK.

      • I would agree that we have been too promiscuous in handing out citizenship in the past but not now. It is tough and most native born could probably not get through the hurdles. Nevertheless, at least some of those droned were native born. We as a country should aspire to our principles and be something more than Uncle Sam’s willing bumboy.

    • In recent years a British passport and the conferring of UK citizenship for immigrants has simply become a case of easy come, easy go. I suspect most of these individuals should never have been given British nationality in the first place. If the Government doles out passports willy nilly to terrorists, the Government then finds itself in the rather awkward position of changing its mind and trying to quietly revoke them. This leaves Uncle Sam free to deal with them once and far all on a permanent basis and the British Government the cost and embarrassment of a trial. Its outrageous what they are doing but the answer would be to be a little more choosy in whom you make a citizen. Buy in haste repent at leisure.

      • @ oldasiahand – Actually I think we largely agree. Its the sheer hypocrisy and duplicity of what both the US and the supine UK are getting up to that’s so shocking. They both publicly back the UN and the rule of international law when its suits them and they are quick to condemn others who transgress. But both the UK and particularly the US simply ignore any laws that they don’t like or those that impede their will. Just imagine the outcry if China or Russia started a programme of drone attacks on the people it doesn’t sent like.

    • From the Link…….
      “They’re using executive powers and I think they’re using them quite wrongly,” he said. “It’s not open government; it’s closed, and it needs to be exposed.”

      Laws were passed in 2002 enabling the Home Secretary to remove the citizenship of any dual nationals who had done something “seriously prejudicial” to the UK, but the power had rarely been used before the current government took office.

      Which is exactly why these powers should NEVER be diverted away from the Justice system and open hearings…….. One would bet that the Blair Administration assured the house that these powers would only be used in the case of a ‘national emergency’ as they quietly and without much discussion and NO publicity eased them on to the statute book……….just waiting for a new home secretary………….

      • Anything that gets Gareth Pierce, the UK’s leading terrorist supporting lawyer, the immigration lawyers’ lobby group, and cageprisoners, a Jihadi apologist outfit, angry and furious, must, by definition, be a bloody good thing.

  24. Berlin will not be proposing to ‘do without’ Italy. Apart from the likely immediate unravelling of the EU, there is the little matter of Italy being a net contributor. Without the UK and Italy, the wings of the commission would be clipped rather short. No, Italy will stay in the EU and the fudge factory will just have to work 168 hours per week.

    • But events just might overtake circumstances rendering Berlin’s will irrelevant. I live in hope. And as Stevie Finn so succinctly puts, Italy could manage quite nicely without the Euro.

  25. In the meantime Volkswagen is to pay EVERY employee a bonus of 7,200 euros for their contribution to last years record profits.

    France 2, 20:00hrs news :27th Feb 20°13

    Those bloody germans! Long live Angie!

  26. In the meantime Volkswagen is to pay EVERY employee a bonus of 7,200 euros for their contribution to last years record profits. France 2, 20:00hrs news 27 02 13 Straight after item about schist gas. Those bloody germans! Long live Angie

    • The really big winners from the ill considered vehicle scrappage schemes were Volkswagen and Hyundai. Meanwhile Peugeot Citroen appear to be heading for the rocks.

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