Archive for the ‘UK Politics’ Category

Newly-Nationalised UK Bank Demands Political Affiliation of Customers

March 19, 2009

The Spectator reports:

The right to keep one’s political affiliation secret is in many eyes a sacred feature of British life. There are households where married couples don’t tell each other how they vote. Those who grew up during the Cold War era remember the years when, in some countries, party membership was a grim prerequisite of a halfway decent life. So it is still a matter of pride that, in Britain, one is never required to discuss one’s political beliefs. Unless, that is, you want to do a certain type of business with the state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland.

Geoff Robbins, a Cheshire-based computer consultant, recently approached RBS to ask for a credit-card processing facility for his business. After the usual bankers’ inquisition, he was asked a question that knocked him for six: did he have any political affiliation? Did he know any MPs, councillors or mayors? It was a new question, the lady explained to him, which had been introduced soon after the government took control of RBS. She said, in his paraphrase, that ‘political influences may be used for corrupt purposes’.

Seriously chilling stuff, and I’m shocked this hasn’t received more publicity. We are on a slippery slope…

UPDATE: You can read the rest of the article on the Spectator Website

Obama’s First 50 Days

March 10, 2009

“On the occasion of President Obama’s 50th day in office, Americans for Tax Reform released a timeline of important dates to taxpayers:

January 20: The Dow opens at 8,279.63. Obama is inaugurated. The Dow falls 330 points.

January 26: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is confirmed despite his tax problems.

February 2: In order to ensure “What happens in Chicago, stays in Chicago” by preventing corruption and kickbacks arising from the “stimulus” bill, ATR asks each Member of Congress planning to vote for the bill to sign a statement promising that they, their family, and the members of their staff will not personally benefit from the bill. All refuse.

February 3: Health & Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle withdraws his nomination due to tax problems. Chief Performance Officer-designate Nancy Killefer withdraws her nomination due to tax problems.

February 4: On the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama breaks one of the central promises of his campaign by singing into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack, to take effect April 1. Obama promised repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would never raise any form of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year, for example:

“I can make a firm pledge.  Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.  Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes

(September 12, 2008, Dover, NH — )

This tax increase will fall squarely on the shoulders of the middle- and low-income Americans Obama said he would not raise taxes on: 55 percent of smokers are “working poor”, one in four smokers live below the poverty line, and on average, smokers, whose median income is a little more than $36,000 make about 30 percent less than non-smokers.

February 9: Obama holds his first press conference, during which he calls for massive government spending increases. He fails to provide a single historical example where a government increased spending which led to increased jobs, income, and wealth on any sustainable basis. Obama also has the audacity to claim the “stimulus” plan is free of pet projects and earmarks:

“What it does not contain, however, is a single pet project, not a single earmark, and it has been stripped of the projects members of both parties found most objectionable.”

Responding to a reporter’s question as to what specific metric the American people should use to determine whether Obama’s programs are working, Obama replies:

“I think my initial measure of success is creating or saving 4 million jobs.”

How, exactly, does one measure a “saved” job? (See March 4 for details)

During the press conference, Obama builds expectations about the next day’s planned announcement by Treasury Secretary Geithner.

February 10: Instead of presenting the promised specific plan, Geithner instead offers vague statements and echoes FDR’s economically paralyzing “bold, persistent experimentation” philosophy with this gem:

“We will have to adapt our program as conditions change. We will have to try things we’ve never tried before. We will make mistakes. We will go through periods in which things get worse and progress is uneven or interrupted.”

The Dow falls 380 points.

February 12, sometime around 10:00 PM: The “Stimulus” conference report is completed behind closed doors. Less than sixteen hours pass before the bill is taken up by the House.

Friday, February 13

2:24 PM: With not a single Member voting for the bill having claimed to have actually read it, the House passes the conference report for H.R.1, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009”.

5:29 PM: With not a single Member voting for the bill having claimed to have actually read it, the Senate passes the conference report for H.R. 1.

The Dow falls 82 points.

February 17: Obama signs the “Stimulus” bill and violates his pledge to the American people that he will allow legislation to be posted online for five full days before signing it. The stimulus bill was posted for only four days, not five.”

Read the rest here