Europe

Black humour is a British trait but Brexit extensions just ain’t funny anymore

While black humour is definitely a strong British trait, there is nothing remotely funny about further delays to execute a Brexit deal. Despite the highest turnout in British voting history, UK legislators continue to show their employers utter contempt. We all know how King Arthur was eventually forced to deal with the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail despite denying the obvious.

While many Remainers argue that there was a whole swag of voters that didn’t show up on the day of the referendum – meaning the majority didn’t support Leave – they clearly showed by those actions that it didn’t mean enough to get to the polling booth. Too bad if they thought “remain” was a formality. It is a bit late to complain after the result. Tell that to Americans who believed in Hillary Clinton’s coronation three years ago. They can’t stop banging on about being robbed. That is how democracy works. Complacency is no excuse. Do we change the rules? Hand out mulligans?

It isn’t hard to work out what is at stake here. The EU wants to turn the UK into a colony. PM Boris Johnson’s latest deal was week-old leftovers from Theresa May’s disastrous proposal. Any deal short of “no” will come with so many caveats as to beggar belief.

To say that people were “duped/misled/lied to” in the lead up to the referendum is deceitfully condescending. People knew exactly what they were voting for. Now they see the very people sworn to represent them, going out of their way to cede more power to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. The deal, as it stands, is the type of document a vanquished nation would be forced to sign – unconditional surrender. Blind Freddie can see that.

The greater irony here is that if politicians are so cocksure they can read the mood of the nation to the extent of lecturing citizens that they don’t understand the implications of Brexit they should use that same chest-beating confidence to win by a landslide. Surely was such conviction so iron-clad, they would call an election immediately. Yet the Remain camp steadfastly refuses, hopefully using the time to lock in cushy EU jobs post being turfed from office.

Maybe a crushing victory in the Rugby World Cup final this weekend will be all Britons need to know that they are capable of greatness on their own.

Dear Mr Speaker

How is it that Speaker of the UK House of Commons, John Bercow, was seen in Brussels negotiating with the new European Parliament President David Sassoli to prevent a no deal Brexit? Isn’t the speaker’s job to be impartial? Isn’t he supposed to be strictly non-partisan and give up any current or future affiliation to any political party? Isn’t he only supposed to cast a tie break vote and even then, one which follows Speaker Denison rules which advocate pushing it for further debate?

It is no surprise where Bercow’s bias lies. Maybe his wife didn’t affix a ‘Remain’ sticker on the family car afterall…?

A deadly problem: should we ban SUVs from our cities?

Activists, including one wearing a Angela Merkel mask, outside the Frankfurt International Auto, holding signs reading ‘gas guzzling vehicles off the road’ and ‘Stop petrol and diesel’.

More junk journalism from The Guardian. Why can’t the paper make sensible commentary on the auto industry? Essentially it pushes a narrative that we should ban SUVs, a long term growth market for automakers because they advertise the segment too much. Shame on trying to act in the interests of shareholders. The article encourages the movement to push for a ban of SUVs in cities. Why? The socialisation of transport!

The article makes the early assertion that passengers are 11% more likely to die in an SUV accident than a regular passenger car. Unfortunately, it cited an article written 15 years ago. In that time, SUVs have evolved leaps and bounds. A far greater proportion of SUVs are made using a monocoque chassis as opposed to the old ladder frames. Even those SUVs with ladder chassis hold 5-star safety NHTSA ratings in 2019:

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 5 star (ladder) vs 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 3 star

2019 Ford Expedition – 5 star (ladder) – 2004 Ford Expedition – 5 star

2019 GMC Acadia – 5 star (ladder) – 2007 GMC Acadia – 4 star

2019 Toyota RAV4 – 5 star (monocoque) – 2004 Toyota RAV4 – 4 star

2019 Mazda CX-9 – 5 star (monocoque) – 2007 Mazda CX-9 – 4 star.

Some may recall in the early 2000s when the Ford Explorer/Firestone tyre rollover incident killed 261 people. Since then, carmakers have installed so many safety items – passive and active. Automatic braking, lane departure detection, forward collision warning, electronic brakeforce distribution (which prevents rollovers). SUVs are safer than ever, including pedestrian facing features.

Never mind the huge leap in safety. Let’s shame the automakers and buyers instead.

The Guardian noted, “In Germany, in 2018 they spent more on marketing SUVs than on any other segment; they actually spent as much as they spent on other segments together” says Stephan von Dassel, the district mayor of Berlin-Mitte. “This is not some accident that people suddenly are really into these cars, they are heavily pushed into the market.”

Wow, so carmakers actually made a sensible advertising budget allocations and convinced new buyers to voluntarily select their SUVs. Those wicked capitalists. They should be burnt at the stake for being in touch with their customers. Perhaps politicians could learn from the carmakers about being in touch with their constituents?

The Guardian then noted the following,

In Europe, sales of SUVs leapt from 7% of the market in 2009 to 36% in 2018. They are forecast to reach nearly 40% by 2021. While pedestrian deaths are falling across Europe, they are not falling as fast as deaths of those using other modes of transport.

So even though the sales of these vehicles have skyrocketed, pedestrian deaths are falling. Reading the paper published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, stated

“A total of 5,987 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2016, accounting for 16 percent of all crash fatalities. The number of pedestrians killed each year has declined 20 percent since 1975…”

Surprisingly, The Guardian waits till the end to point the finger at the pet issue facing SUVs – emissions.

“Transport, primarily road transport, is responsible for 27% of Europe’s carbon emissions. A decade ago the EU passed a law with a target to reduce carbon emissions to 95g/km by 2021 but a recent report by campaign organisation Transport and Environment highlights what is calls it “pitiful progress”. “Sixteen months from before the target comes into force carmakers are less than halfway towards their goals,” the report adds. The car industry faces hefty fines in Europe of €34bn in a few months for failing to meet emissions targets.”

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How is it that diesel engines, the increasingly preferred powerplant in SUVs, have had emissions cut 97% over the last 25 years? That is monumental progress.

Yet why have legislators tried to ban petrol and diesel cars and looking to force adoption of dirtier EVs which have done 150,000km equivalent CO2 emissions before leaving the showroom? Because ideology distorts reality. Even Schaeffler AG, an auto supplier, admitted it is almost impossible for automakers to comply with the different demands of over 200 cities in Europe with EV rules. No common standards and the quest of woke city councils trying to outdo each other on being climate-friendly. Then governments need to consider the 5% of total tax revenue that fill the coffers they would be giving up, although already in the US, Illinois is looking to impose a $1,000 a year EV tax.

Shouldn’t the EU and other countries face the realities that consumers (taxpayers) like the utility these SUVs provide for their individual needs over and above saving the planet? Shouldn’t politicians realise that consumers make conscious decisions when making the second largest purchase for the household?

One can absolutely bet that if some maker came out with a Hummer sized EV, these cities that want to ban SUVs from driving in them would grant the monster truck an exemption and special parking zones.

Julia Poliscanova, director of clean vehicles and e-mobility at Transport and Environment, says regulators must step in to force car manufacturers to produce and sell zero-emission and suitably sized vehicles, for example, small and light cars in urban areas.”

What if consumers don’t want to buy small and light cars? Force car makers to produce cars their customers don’t want? That is a winning strategy. If carmakers must sell zero-emission vehicles, why on God’s earth are politicians with absolutely no engineering pedigree dictating technology to the experts? Why not let necessity be the mother of invention? If carmakers can get fossil fuel-powered vehicles to be zero-emission and keep their brand DNA at the same time, imagine the billions that could be saved on reckless waste rolling out often unreliable charging infrastructure? Maybe then carmakers could build cars its customers wanted and make money to literally fuel the economy. Politicians would still be able to virtue signal! Win-win.

Maybe the modus operandi is to socialise transport. Poliscanova said, “Smart urban policies are also key to drive consumers towards clean and safe modes…Mayors should reduce space and parking spots for private cars and reallocate it to people and shared clean mobility services.

That is the ticket – force everyone off the road. That is a sure vote winner!

Kavanaugh 2.0? Do texts tell anything?

CM will say this from the outset. If Trump is actually guilty of a crime that validates formal impeachment, then the law of the land must prevail, regardless of partisan bias.

Unfortunately, this impeachment process smacks of Kavanaugh 2.0. Don’t be surprised if more allegations come out of the woodwork. After Kavanaugh’s eventual confirmation, recall that many who came forward in the hearings suffered bouts of amnesia or flat out reversed the initial allegations made. The Democrats remain so deranged, that if not careful, this could create an ill wind that will blow back on them if not successful.

Luckily for the Democrats, having a compliant mainstream media which can think of nothing better than aiding and abetting an impeachment are salivating so as to recover self-inflicted slumping ratings. So much for objective journalism. How cute that they pass so little airtime over allegations that US politicians could have family members embroiled in corrupt activities while they were in office. Don’t Americans see that as worth knowing? Isn’t it odd that Hunter Biden, a man with no experience in a particular field, was given a $600k job to act as a director, 10x the average CEO salary in the country?

How they missed the allegation that the first whistleblower, failed to disclose his meeting with House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff to the Inspector General Michael Atkinson. Atkinson didn’t follow up because he had no knowledge until it came out. Never mind that according to 18 U.S. Code § 1001, anyone who “falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact” might be guilty of making a false statement. A felony?

Now that whistleblower #1’s credibility is looking even shakier (given his testimony was based on second-hand information), how surprising that whistleblower #2 has come out of the woodpile with supposedly first-hand information. He claims to have evidence supporting the first. What a surprise?

Will he/she also be found to be a registered Democrat? Will he have the same impartiality of FBI agent Peter “at no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took” Strzok when the lead investigator of Hillary Clinton’s email saga and Trump’s alleged Russia collusion?

Now the media wolf pack is seizing on comments that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made supposedly about quid pro quo. He said,  “This is what we do. Nations work together and they say ‘Boy...if you can help me with X, we’ll help you achieve Y. This is what partnerships do. It’s win-win, it’s better for each of us.” If one looked at nearly every administration, countries look for mutual benefits. What is remotely odd about that? Does America give aid to countries that benefit it? Israel perhaps? If you help keep peace in the region, we’ll sell you state of the art equipment? Saudi Arabia? If you buy our fighter jets, we’ll buy your oil?

Zelenskiy said there was no quid pro quo. Australian PM Scott Morrison spoke of exactly the type of cooperation Australia and the US has had for decades. It isn’t a quid pro quo. It is mutual benefit. Sharing common values.

Officials taking part in the texts are Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine; William Taylor, who was interim chargé d’affaires in Kiev is the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine; Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union; and Andrey Yermak, a top aide to Zelenskiy.

In an exchange dated Sept. 9, in a text Taylor sent to Sondland, the career diplomat wrote: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Sondland responds: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.

In a July 25 message between Volker and Yermak — the aide to Ukraine’s president Zelenskiy — which occurred just ahead of the Trump-Zelenskiy call, Volker wrote:

Heard from White House—assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/’get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.

Weeks later, on Aug. 9, Sondland and Volker exchange texts as they try to establish a date for Zelenskiy’s visit:

Sondland: “Morrison ready to get dates as soon as Yermak confirms.”

Volker: “Excellent!! How did you sway him? 🙂

Sondland: “Not sure I did. I think POTUS really wants the deliverable

So the texts go to show there was no quid pro quo which involved “monies being withheld”, which is the real point of attack by Schiff et al.

Does Trump wanting to get to the bottom of the very collusion during the 2016 election that the Democrats had been screaming about for the better part of two years all of a sudden require impeachment because that it doesn’t suit their purposes? Do they want a president to wield a big stick or be a wallflower? 

Washington Post gave 4 out of 5 Pinocchio’s to Adam Schiff. How hard must have that been? Pelosi removed Jerry Nadler from the investigation. Surely she must think to remove him given the incompetence he has shown? Now Schiff has made himself part of the investigation. He is now a witness. A bit hard to chair an impeachment enquiry when he himself is part of it.

What a farce.

Returning wind turbines to Mother Nature

Don’t ask questions. Renewables are there to save the planet. Period. Including wind. That is until decommissioned. In Wyoming, Casper Solid Waste Manager, Cynthia Langston, said that though most turbine blades can be reused, there are some that are simply un-recyclable. So 900 blades are headed for landfill.

Langston said, “These blades are really big, and they take up a lot of airspace, and our unlined area is very, very large, and it’s going to last hundreds of years.”

Fibreglass can be ground down into fine particles. Although there is a lot of work to cut up 80m wind turbine blades to be able to be fed into a grinder.

Blades can be incinerated but fibreglass contains only 25%~30% organic material, so its heat content is low, and its ash content is high. The ash is primarily calcium oxide, which comes from the calcium carbonate, boron, and other oxides in the glass. That heads straight to landfill.

Pyrolysis is the process of chemically decomposing or transforming a material into one or several recoverable substances by heating it to very high temperatures in an oxygen-depleted environment. Pyrolysis is different from incineration, which takes place in an open atmosphere.

Pyrolyzed fibreglass decomposes into three recoverable substances: pyro-gas, pyro-oil, and solid byproduct— all of which can be recycled. In the US, auto tyres are treated this way. However in order to put blades into a pyrolysis reactor, they must be shredded into 2″ pieces (a lot from one 80 metre blade). At about 5000F, the hydrocarbons in the resin decompose into gas. The gas is drawn off and sent through a scrubber, which separates it into pyro-gas and pyro-oil. The pyrogas is very clean and has an energy content similar to natural gas.

In Germany cement maker Holcim is using the polyesters coming from crushed turbine blades for use in cement. Recycling 1000 tonnes of fibreglass material in cement manufacture saves up to 450 tonnes of coal, 200 tonnes of chalk, 200 tonnes of sand and 150 tonnes of aluminium oxide.

Wyoming could theoretically follow the lead of Holcim but presumably, the cost to recycle fibreglass turbines is way more expensive than to bury them.

Eco-warriors worried more about tailpipe emissions than the depleted uranium coming from the pipe at the front

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler“…remember the old ‘Dad’s Army‘ tune? Well, it seems that the UK military believes in order to recruit the next generation of soldiers it must take a new approach to appeal to the eco-credentials of those graduating. It is a touch odd to believe that any prospective new squaddies might hold grave concerns about what comes out of the tailpipe of their tank rather than the depleted uranium shells they might fire from the 120mm pipe at the front.

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said that “the challenge and genuine commercial opportunity is to aim high and lead the world in the development of military equipment which is not only battle-winning but also environmentally sustainable.”

Truth be told is that is unlikely that young, fresh out of school eco-warriors would be the types that would enlist in the first place.

CM is sure that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will be clamouring to follow the UK’s lead and invest in the next generation of solar-powered wafer-thin armoured tanks and carbon-free balloons which will drop virtue signalling leaflets printed in soy ink on recycled paper encouraging our enemy to embrace love, compassion, diversity and inclusion.

Despite all the problems at the gates of Elysee Palace, Macron torches 10 Downing St instead

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As the German 6th Army marched on Paris on June 14th, 1940 civil servants of Britain and France drafted a proposal for a Franco-British Union in the ensuing 48 hours. It wasn’t to be a mere military pact but essentially merging two countries. The document stated clearly,

At this most fateful moment in the history of the modern world, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the French Republic make this declaration of indissoluble union and unyielding resolution in their common defence of justice and freedom against subjection to a system which reduces mankind to a life of robots and slaves.

Churchill was surprised by the eagerness of the French. Charles de Gaulle embraced the idea of wanting immediate execution. However, the French quickly became disillusioned and disappointed when the British were pulling troops from Dunkirk. The deal collapsed.

Then PM Paul Reynaud wrote in his memoirs that, “Those who rose in indignation at the idea of union with our ally were the same individuals who were getting ready to bow and scrape to Hitler.

So it was a No Deal outcome. The British accepted it.

The British didn’t give up and abandon the French but vowed to liberate them regardless of failing to reach a ‘mutual’ deal. Surviving the Battle of Britain, the Blitz and U-boats destroying merchant shipping, the British, with allied help, played an instrumental role in defeating Hitler. We can soundly argue that Britain had little choice but to do as she did, but the liberation of France was a welcome by-product, not lost on the French in August 1944.

The sacrifices made by Great Britain to drive out those evil occupiers are not lost on the British either. So to have Macron issue an ultimatum is ignoring history. Perhaps Macron should ask his wife, who grew up soon after the war, about French attitudes of the time – how they deeply appreciated and embraced Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

However, all credit must be given to French President Emmanuel Macron for conveniently forgetting the past and embracing double standards to try to railroad and back the very foreign democracy – that essentially assured he was able to attain the position he has – into a corner. That is the EU operating to type.

As CM has mentioned multiple times, the negative impacts on the UK economy are effectively zero if common sense between nations prevails.

Looking at the latest trade stats between the EU and Britain it is simple. EU members make up 7 of the Top 10 British export markets accounting for 37.4% of all trade. Top 10 accounts for 65.9% of trade. Trump accounts for £54.9bn vs £36.5bn from Merkel.

On the Import side, the UK matters much more to the likes of Germany £68bn. The Dutch at £42bn and France at £28bn.

In short of the UK ‘s Top 10 importing nations, 8 are EU members. The Top 10 account for 65.7% of the total. Those 8 EU nations make up 48.1% of all British imports. 7.13% of Germany’s exports end up in Blighty. One might argue that 10% of UK exports ending up in Germany is reason enough to back down. Yet why would either seek to make their position worse off? Germany is the UK’s #1 importer and Germany is the #2 destination for British exports. For Germany, the UK ranks #11 importer and #3 export nation.

Will Angela Merkel really work to ruin a trading relationship with the UK where the trade surplus alone is worth 1% of German GDP? Especially as the German economy is contracting?

Macron has once again revealed the EU’s utter contempt for sovereign state democracy. Ironic coming from a man who has seen his popularity collapse at home. If he can’t fix the will of those very constituents he represents at his own doorstep (yellow vest protests haven’t ended), what place does he have soiling the doormat at 10 Downing St? It reads like Aesop’s “Dog in the Manger.

In closing, wasn’t the whole point of establishing the EU to prevent tyranny from ever happening again?