Lars Seier Christensen, co-founder & CEO of Denmark’s Saxo Bank A/S, looks on at the destruction of Cyprus’s economy by the Euro Zone bailout and begins sounding like Tocqueville.
There are very few limits to what you can do to people in the modern interpretation of democracy. A version where only majority rule is required, but where there is no longer a respect for personal negative rights – as we know them from the American Constitution.
The easiest target will always be wealthy people, or even just working people and savers who did the right thing all their lives. As the bloated welfare states begin to collapse under their irresponsible promises, their crumbling value systems and their unsustainable demographics, it will be easy to convince more than 50 percent of voters that confiscating and stealing other people’s money is OK for the greater good. Boston Consulting Group calculated that 28 percent of ALL private wealth is needed to meet just existing debts – not future obligations , mind you – and the money can only come from one place… Your pockets. Beware.
A lot of things have gone wrong over the past few years, but the seeds were planted many years ago. In the form of pressure for more people having the “right” to own their properties, even if they did not fulfill the traditional mortgage criteria – hence subprime. In the form of enormous “entitlements” to not just poor, but also middle-class people in the welfare states – hence ballooning deficits and debt. In the form of a Euro, a grand, political project with no practical foundation – hence crisis after crisis, with the dominoes stretching far into the distance.
The United States has precisely the Liberal political tradition of well-established and legally-recognized Natural Rights protecting property, but we also have Barack Obama and a radical democrat majority in the US Senate sharing views identical to those of European Union socialists and caring absolutely nothing for the American Liberal political tradition, which they neither respect nor understand.
After strong objections by the Catholic Church which were taken up in the national parliament of Slovakia by the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and some representatives of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) caucus to the elimination of halos from the heads of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and the removal of the image of the cross from the saints’ vestments, the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Slovakia has announced that the halos and crosses will be restored on the 2-Euro coins scheduled to be released in 2013 to commemorate the 1150th Anniversary of the Mission of Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs.
Slovak Spectator reported, however, that restoring those halos might preclude the Slovakian €2 coin being released throughout the European Union.
The NBS [National Bank of Slovakia, country’s central bank – ed. note] Bank Council approved the original proposal of the design, even though it realises that the new approval process may lead to frustrating the original goal of releasing the commemorative coin throughout the 17-nation eurozone,” said spokesperson for the bank Petra Pauerová, as quoted by TASR.
The European Commission earlier stated that the commemorative coin cannot contain crosses and halos in order to observe the principle of religious neutrality in the European Union. Later it was revealed that it was not the EC as such, but certain eurozone members that objected to releasing the coin with religious symbols.
The same paper separately identified the countries who had a problem with Christian saints being depicted with such particularist Christian symbols as halos and crosses/
It was certain eurozone member states that expressed disagreement with the original artistic proposal for a Slovak commemorative coin depicting Saints Cyril and Methodius with crosses and halos set to be released in 2013, Andrej Králik from the Representation of the EU Commission in Slovakia said on Thursday, November 22.
The commission subsequently asked Slovakia to submit a modified proposal, which was later approved by the EU Council, Králik told the TASR newswire. He rejected statements by certain Slovak politicians who said that the case involved a ‘dictate of Brussels’ and ‘high-handedness of officials from the EU Commission’, describing these assertions as untrue and deceptive.
The commission stated that the removal of the religious symbols was due to the need to observe religious neutrality, as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. German MEP Martin Kastler earlier on Thursday revealed that the countries that had raised objections to the original Slovak proposal were France and Greece
Translated from Polish Catholic DEON.pl news item:
A Two-Euro coin design by Miroslav Hric to be released into circulation in May of next year by the National Bank of Slovakia (NSB) in commemoration of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the two saints in Moravia was changed.
Currently, there is the image of the two saints, and between them a double cross representing the national emblem of Slovakia. However, the symbol of the cross was removed from the saints’ vestments, and halos were removed from around their head. NSB spokeswoman Petra Pauerova told the Slovak newspaper “Pravda” that “the European Commission, assenting to the ‘request of some Commonwealth countries’ prescribed the removal of these attributes from the original coin design.” Since the coin will be released into circulation in all euro area countries, the project should respect the principle of “religious neutrality,” explained Pauerova.
The removal of those features from the Slovakian coins was announced on Sunday on public television and radio stations in Slovakia.
The Slovakian Bishops’ Conference in a statement did not hesitate to use the word “disgrace”. “The resignation of the key attributes associated conceptually with Saints Cyril and Methodius demonstrates the lack of respect for the Christian tradition of Europe.” indignantly remarked Church spokesman Rev. Jozef Kovaczik. He added the Church only learned that the two symbols would not appear on the Two-Euro coin via the media.
“In 1988, before the Velvet Revolution, the faithful in Slovakia risked their lives, preaching the doctrine of the two saints. Do we really live in a nation of law, or in a totalitarian system, which dictates to us what attributes we may use?” asked Rev. Kovaczik, noting that Slovakia is a Catholic country.
St. Cyril (926-869) and St. Methodius (815-885) were the first missionaries to the Slavs. It was to their mission that the Slavic portions of Europe owe the adoption of the Christian faith and their own roots in the culture of Europe.
These saints in both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are called the Apostles of the Slavs, and came from Byzantium to the Moravian state in 862 A.D. at the request of the local ruler Rostislav. They knew both the language and customs of the Slavs, having dealt previously with Christianized Southern Slavs living in the area around the Byzantine Thessalonica. Both had already made a translation of the Bible into Slavonic, having for purposes of translation created a special 40-letter alphabet, the Glagolitic script.
Cyril and Methodius’ students continued their mission to the Eastern and Southern Slavs. The complicated Glagolitic script ultimately replaced in liturgical writings by the simpler Cyrillic alphabet, modeled upon the Greek alphabet.
Pope John Paul II gave Sts. Cyril and Methodius the title of patron saints of Europe.
In church iconography the saints are depicted dressed in pontifical garb as Greek or Latin bishops. Their attributes are a cross, a book and an unrolled scroll displaying the Slavic alphabet.
The NBS web-site. announcing the winning design, says blandly:
The original competition design was modified in line with recommendations made within the notification and approval procedure conducted pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 975/98 on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation, as amended.
The advertisement in favor of the European Union, first of all, takes a surprisingly negative, and decidedly politically incorrect, view of European relationships with China, India, and Africa.
Not every European country, I would tend to think, likes to see itself as a red-headed woman in a yellow leotard. And the proliferation of meditating broads seems to this viewer at least to represent a strikingly ineffective response to a series of martial arts challenges. Of course, donning yellow leotards and assuming the lotus position, it could be argued, is not an entirely inaccurate way of depicting the European approach to defense generally, but there really should be some reference to relying on the Americans to come in and kick those wogs’ butts for them if they attack the pretty red-headed girls.
“The core problem underneath all of this, when you whittle it down, is that we simply are not getting enough growth in the developed world economies to pay our way out of all the debts that those economies have built up by making promises that are undeliverable to public sector workers.”
The Telegraph has a news item proving that the unelected elite bureaucracy does as excellent a job at supervising food standards as it does managing the European financial system.
Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.
“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”
Senior advocate of the European Court of Justice Paolo Mengozzi denounced British suspension of welfare benefits to wives of persons believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda or the Taliban in a 26-page written opinion which declared welfare support to be a human right. A final ruling is expected in a few months.
Terrorist spouses had previous appeals for restoration of income support, child benefit and housing assistance rejected in Britain and subsequently appealed to the European Court of Justice, whose decisions are binding on Britain’s Parliament and courts.
During questions yesterday in Parliament, Europe Minister Caroline Flint admitted that she had not read the Lisbon Treaty in its entirety.
Following a series of vague answers on the implications of the Treaty for European defence, Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois asked, “Has the Minister read the elements of the Lisbon Treaty that relate to defence?”. Ms. Flint replied, “I have read some of it but not all of it.” She went on to say: “I have been briefed on some of it.”...
In a press release, Mark Francois responded saying, “It’s wonderfully honest of the Minister for Europe to admit that she hasn’t actually read the renamed EU Constitution. It’s not every day that someone will admit they haven’t read the most important document for their job. Her astonishing admission does leave some questions. How does she know if the Treaty’s good for Britain if she hasn’t read it? How could she lecture the Irish that they’d only rejected the Lisbon Treaty because they didn’t understand it?”
Here’s an eye-popping figure: the cost of EU rules in Britain over the past decade is £106.6 billion – accounting for 72 per cent of the cost of all regulation in Britain. Despite repeated noises in Brussels about making life easier for businesses, each year is more expensive than the last. The burden falls most heavily, not on financial institutions or big corporations, but on small and medium firms.
Open Europe, a business group campaigning to turn the European Union into a looser trading area, says official figures show the cost of regulation has risen from £16.5bn ($23.7bn) a year in 2005 to £28.7bn last year.
The report, based on a study of more than 2,000 impact assessments published by Whitehall departments, found that EU legislation was responsible for almost 72 per cent of the annual cost of regulation.
It claimed that the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform – which is responsible for fighting red tape – imposed more regulatory costs than any other government department, describing the department as the UK’s “regulation factory”. ...
The study found that the cost of EU legislation had risen every year over the past decade, imposing costs on the UK of £18.5bn in 2008, compared with £12.2bn in 2005. ...
The proportion of regulatory costs coming from Brussels is more than 90 per cent for the FSA, environment department and Health & Safety agency, it found. New EU rules for food and feed hygiene more than doubled the FSA’s regulatory burden in 2006, making it impossible to hit its deregulation targets.
“The government effectively has control of less than 30 per cent of the annual cost of regulation,” the report says.
George Friedman, at Stratfor, discusses the fundamental contradiction of the current European Union.
How do you have multiple sovereign states within a single central bank? How do you reconcile national sovereignty with a multinational monetary system when it is impossible to create a single monetary policy that satisfies the policies of multiple sovereign nations? Someone must always be hurt. What is of great significance is that Sarkozy has made it clear that it is France, one of Europe’s founders, that is being hurt—to the benefit of its partner, Germany.
This leads to the more immediate question: If Germany and France undertake fundamentally different approaches to economic development, how can both of these strategies be contained in a single European structure? In a way, it would have been simpler had there not been a euro. Multiple economic strategies can be reconciled with a customs union, or even a multinational regulatory system. But reconciling multiple economic approaches with a single currency cannot happen.
The United States confronted this question in the past. In the 1850s, some states wanted a radical revision of social, economic and monetary policy that would benefit them but leave other states at an enormous disadvantage. The industrializing part of the country wanted policies that would protect its interests. The agricultural part of the country, heavily dependent on exports, wanted a different policy. A conference was held in 1863 at Gettysburg. Both sides made compelling arguments over three days, but in the end it was decided that not only would the policies of the industrializing states be followed, but no one would be permitted to withdraw from the economic, political and social union of the United States. State sovereignty was to be limited and federal power was to be paramount.
It was the Union Army that made the most convincing argument at Gettysburg. There is no Union Army in Europe. There is no sovereign center that can hold dissidents in the monetary or economic union. And there is, for that matter, no power on Earth that can keep France and Germany within a single system if they do not want to be there. Sovereignty, without the slightest shadow of doubt, rests with the nation-states of Europe—and the European institutions will last only as long as they reflect the interests of all of these nations.
On this 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, Tony Blair is looking less like Margaret Thatcher and alarmingly like Jimmy Carter, the embodiment of the soi-disant “superpower” as a smiling eunuch.
But this is a season of anniversaries. A few days ago, the European Union was celebrating its 50th birthday with the usual lame-o Euro-boosterism. I said up above that the 15 hostages are “British subjects.” But, as a point of law, they are also “citizens of the European Union.” Even Oxford and Hoover’s Timothy Garton Ash, one of the most indefatigable of those Euro-boosters, seemed to recognize the Iranian action was a challenge to Europe’s pretensions. “Fifteen Europeans were kidnapped from Iraqi territorial waters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards,” he wrote. “Those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged ‘confession,’ clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what’s it going to do about it?’’
Short answer: Nothing.
Slightly longer answer: The 15 “European” hostages aren’t making that much news in “Europe.” And, insofar as they have, other “Europeans”—i.e., Belgians, Germans and whatnot—don’t look on the 15 hostages as “Europeans” but as Brits. Europe has more economic leverage on Iran than America has. The European Union is the Islamic Republic’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 40 percent of Iranian exports. They are in a position to inflict serious pain on Tehran. But not for 15 British servicemen. There may be “European citizens,” but there is no European polity.
OK, well, how about the United Nations? Those student demonstrators want the execution of “British aggressors.” In fact, they’re U.N. aggressors. HMS Cornwall is the base for multinational marine security patrols in the Gulf: a mission authorized by the United Nations. So what’s the U.N. doing about this affront to its authority and (in the public humiliation of the captives) of the Geneva Conventions?