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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  11/01/2009  :  06:04
New Year, new topic. If you want to see the old one do a forum search for same title but 2008.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 27/06/2009 : 21:12
And what about all those bad debts that still haven't been traced? Nobody mentions them now but at the start of the `credit crunch' it was all put down to these debts sloshing around in the financial world. The reason, we were told, that the banks stopped lending was that they didn't know how much money they really had. As far as I can see, that hasn't changed one jot. Somewhere there is an enormous amount of debt being hidden. I suppose it's all - what's that phrase - `off balance sheet'. A very useful invention - for the finance wizards.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 28/06/2009 : 05:29
Quite....  The evidence here on the ground on the mushroom farm is that the banks have changed none of their practices. They may have moderated them slightly but the same algorithms still govern what is known as the 'investment banks' (Gambling more like?) Notice that all the big banks reported a profit and attributed it to security trading. The question is, Whose money are they using? The evidence is that it is the investment put in by the taxpayer and the excuse is that by doing this they can pay us back more quickly.

This is the big trap, the authorities are not going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg because rapid pay-back from the banks is the only way out of the liability they exposed us all to. So, talk about reforming the system is just hot air, they daren't do it in any meaningful way. The bottom line is that we are still running the system that gave us melt-down. 

A banker or politician would argue against this and start spouting about 'consultations', 'measures' and regulation'. The problem is that the evidence we see is that all goes on as before, enormous salaries and bonuses, enormous profit from shuffling paper and dead silence about the fate of the Trillions of pounds worth of debt still sloshing round in the system. They don't even know how much there is......


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 30/06/2009 : 06:26
Godron appears to be in denial that we have a financial problem. The new 'vision' he unveiled yesterday looks more like Fantasy Island than realpolitik. Mandy appears to be keeping his head down and back-pedalling furiously on Post Office privatisation. The only people who appear to be talking sense in public are the Lib Dems. and this will do them nothing but good.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 01/07/2009 : 06:27
I liked the report from the Institute for Public Policy Research on defence spending. Some respecetd names behind it who know what they are talking about and they raise significant doubts about Trident and naval spending. They are right in that strategists are always fighting the last war, in this case the Cold War. They make the point that we should be making sure that our ground tropps are properly supported and spending on big budget items to keep us at the top table is a waste of money.

I also note that  the Office of National Statistics has reported that the rate of shrinkage in the UK economy over the last three months for which we have figures is higher than anyone thought, highest for 50 years. They also say that we went into recession earlier than Godron and the Treasury had us believe. The bottom line is that Godron's frequent pronouncements that the UK economy was the strongest in the world were ridiculous. Best guess at the moment is no improvement until end of 2010. At the same time the privatised naval shipyards talk about closing two of the three down when carriers are built. If they are axed it will be sooner of course. Gloomy reading for anyone relying on the economy for a job.....


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 07:20

I’M WORRIED AGAIN!

I’m watching the latest news from Helmand Province in Afghanistan. The spike in troop deaths seems to be being accepted as a given. There are repeated complaints from the people doing the fighting that they are under-equipped, particularly in helicopter capability which would avoid many of the deaths which are caused by what they charmingly refer to as ‘Improvised Explosive Devices’. This suggests they are constructed by amateurs which is obviously not the case, the Taliban are learning fast. I keep hearing news items which suggest surprise that the Taliban are using more sophisticated fighting measures. Of course they are! Freedom fighters and guerrillas always learn fast, they have to in order to survive!

Coupled with this news and what looks like a disparity between US deaths and UK ones which could suggest the US forces have more armour we get an ICM poll which suggests that public support for the action in Helmand is rising, roughly 50% for and 50% against. We have a new minister of defence, Bob Ainsworth who is very active making what sound on tha face of it to be informed announcements but when you look closely he has no military background, has visited Helmand once and yet, because of the briefings he is given by his staff, is trying to sound like an ‘expert’. Add Gordon Brown to this equation using weasel phrases like, ‘this is under review’ or ‘we will look at that’ every time the question of equipment and troop numbers is raised and I think you can see why I am worried.

The biggest problem to my mind is that everyone keeps talking about Afghanistan as though it is an established state. Look back at the history and you find that it isn’t and never has been, it is an area occupied by a variety of local groupings by tribe, ethnic origin, religion and allegiances. Everyone from Alexander the Great onwards who has tried to ‘conquer’, ‘subdue’ or unify the region has failed and yet we are repeating the mistake.

I often wonder what the Russians are thinking as they watch us repeating their mistakes with the added difficulty that in an effort to disrupt the Russian campaign we nurtured the Taliban as our allies. Read Baer, ‘See No Evil’ or Bob Woodward’s three books on the G W Bush presidency. All the evidence is that we are on a hiding to nothing and yet we see the Vietnam syndrome reappearing where every body is Taliban and therefore counts on the scorecard. Body count wasn’t a reliable way of estimating progress then and it isn’t now.

So what can be done? There is only one way to a degree of peace in the area, attack the economic problem and start talking to the opposition. One area where I believe we could make a difference is to buy the poppy crop at guaranteed prices, use what we need for western medicine and incinerate the rest. This puts a bottom in the agricultural economy, attacks the illegal drug trade, saves the cost of interdiction of the drug supply routes and solves the supply problem there is in the base materials for legitimate drug production. Oh and by the way, it will hit the drug problem we have at home. Suppose we used the poppy production to supply addicts through a regulated market and perhaps even supplied registered addicts free. The death toll from impure drugs on the street would vanish, the crime rate fuelled by the necessity to steal to service addiction would decrease and there is no evidence to suggest we would have more addicts.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if a strategy similar to this was cheaper, more efficient and resulted in less deaths amongst the young than the present policies.

SCG/13 July 2009


Stanley Challenger Graham




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frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 08:25
Stanley Afghanistan is not a problem we can just leave alone. I agree it has never been a state in the conventional sense of the word.
The Taliban are New and they are not a tribe indigienous to Afghanistan. If we leave the Taliban to establish control in Afghanistan they will be in Pakistan before we know it.
The Taliban with Nuclear Weapons are to dangerous to bear thinking about. Why do we worry in the UK ?? because we have the largest population of Pakistanies outside of that country, and they may become a real unstabilising factor in this country. This is much wider than " Afghanistan" and please don't compare our armed forces with the Russian Conscripts, we are not trying to achieve the same aims as the Russians tried to do.
Hearts and minds can only be won in a stable environment which is one of our aims.
We do need to ensure our frontline troops are resourced, and that is a clear failure by this goverment.



Frank Wilkinson       Once Navy Always Navy Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 12:08
Stanley, if we wanted to provide people with heroin-type drugs under controlled conditions I expect we would provide them with a chemically synthesised product of controlled-strength and known purity and we wouldn't need the poppy supply at all. Not that I am suggesting we do that - I don't support the idea of making such drugs easier to get.

The claims about how many people in the UK support the war in Afghanistan would make a topic for the Statistics thread. It depends on what question you ask them. If someone asked me if I supported the war I would have to ask them what they meant by "support" but even then I couldn't give a yes/no answer. We have to do something for reasons that Frank has outlined but I'm not convinced  we are doing the right thing - but I haven't found an obvious alternative yet. We might be in Afghanistan for as long as the Taliban want to keep us there. I've got bindweed in my garden and no matter how much I kill it off it always returns from the field next door - which seems a good analogy for the Taliban and the like seeping in from surrounding countries.

But whether it is the right or wrong approach, if we send the troops in we must give them what they need to get on with the job effectively and at least risk to themselves. You can't start cutting back just because money is a bit tight. You either do it right or not at all.


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Another
Traycle Mine Overseer


6250 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 12:18
Tize, I disagree about making drugs "more available". Currently even hard drugs are as easy, if not in some palces easier, as under-age kids buying alcohol. Legitimise controlled synthetic supplies and crime and social disorder in this country would be halved and you would go some way towards a solution to the Afghan situation. Nolic


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 13:38
Frank, whether you like the comparison or not, Russia was trying to crush opposition to their version of an Afghanistan government. Exactly what we are doing. The aims and objectives may be different but the problem remains the same. I never said the Taliban was a tribe, I said that it was nurtured by the US for their own ends. Every plotician should be forced to read 'see no evil'. Baer was working for the CIA and saw exactly what was happening and the mistakes that were made. He warned against them at the time but was sidelined.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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handlamp
Senior Member


1100 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 15:32
At all costs the Taliban must be kept away from Pakistan's nuclear capability but it is despicable that our lads are not being given the tools to do the job with the absolute minimum of casualties and that must be our unfailing priority.Two other things strike me, is any real effort being made to talk to these people and do we think that a country that has always been in the hands of war lords is likely to convert to a democratic  system at such comparative short notice?

Edited by - handlamp on 13/07/2009 3:33:03 PM


TedGo to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 16:02
Quite Ted, I heard Bob Ainsworth on the news at lunch time defending the government position on helicopters by saying that provision had been increased 84% More dodgy stats. Increased from what? Has any increase in provision matched the increased demand because of the hot war that's going on in Helmand? Typical politician's answer. If it's analysed properly he's probably admitting to serious under-provision.

Got this from my mate Bob Bliss in St Louis re my NOP this morning:

My uncle Bill, a surgeon, president of his state medical association, and quite a conservative man politically, long supported legalized addiction for most of the soft and hard drugs. The reason the drug trade generates so much violence is that prices are so high, and a major reason for high prices (in the US and Europe, certainly) is that drug law enforcement is sporadically effective, raising the risk factor for those who engage in both the wholesale and retail trade.  You could also argue that enforcement against cocaine and heroin has effectively made rural Missouri the epicentre of meths production.   

Legalize the stuff, register the addicts, set up state-owned drug stores, clean up the streets.  Of course, there would then be an unemployment problem, especially of the enforcers (variously called) that now discipline the traders and purchasers. Perhaps they could be sent to Afghanistan to help the poppy growers diversify..

 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 16:12
The Taliban now what does that mean ??   I know Talib in arabic means Teacher.  So are the Taliban Teachers of the Islamic Faith ??  and using it to surpress the people who don't agree with them ??
The Taliban want to rule Afghanistan as a dictatorship, I think we are better keep them under control in Afghanistan rather than letting them come to Bradford to start radicalising our own Muslim  population.
Slight change of subject but did you see Nick Griffin on the AM show yesterday ??. He had Marr lost for words when he asked him how he would propose to stop the Africans from crossing the Straights of Gibraltar from  flooding into Europe/UK.  It's up to the Goverment was Marr's response so he has no answers either



Frank Wilkinson       Once Navy Always Navy Go to Top of Page
Bradders
Senior Member


1880 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 19:29
"Marr lost for words".......

Very diplomatic more like.

Face with a bigot like Griffin , and a pathetic question , what would you say?

(and keep your job) 


BRADDERS BLUESINGER Go to Top of Page
frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 20:28
I would say the same as Griffin,( I don't vote for them by the way)  we need to beef up the patrols and turn them around. If they land in Spain the Spanish should ensure they are returned to Africa, paid for collectively by the EU. Otherwise Griffin will have millions voting for him and his party at the next election.



Frank Wilkinson       Once Navy Always Navy Go to Top of Page
Bradders
Senior Member


1880 Posts
Posted - 13/07/2009 : 21:28
Frank ...Have I missed something here.?

Is there a huge threat from that neck of the woods?

And who was interviewing whom ?

Does Uberffin give a T*ss about anybody's opinion but his own?

.........I could go on........

PS   Frank this is NOT personal , but I'm afraid you have hit a nerve ........I believe we should not tolerate this guys behavior. He and his like are exploiting vulnerable peoples fears , for their own ends.


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