"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Signing away the data privacy of 400 Million European citizens - Bush has a timetable and his pen ready to sign up

In September 2006 President Bush introduced a slim 24 page booklet which few have bothered to read, National Stratgey for combating terrorism . It is worth considering of some of the remarks and statments made in that document. ... well all of it but here are some Europeans might well consider.

Overview of America’s National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (p 6)
America is at war with a transnational terrorist movement fueled by a radical ideology of hatred, oppression, and murder.

It is often overlooked that this threat is boldly, clearly and directly as fuelled by a religion, a religion that is followed by probably more followers than any other in the world. (see p. 10)

This transnational movement is not monolithic.

Although al-Qaida functions as the movement’s vanguard and remains, along with its affiliate groups and those inspired by them, the most dangerous present manifestation of the enemy, the movement is not controlled by any single individual, group, or state. What unites the movement is a common vision, a common set of ideas about the nature and destiny of the world, and a common goal of ushering in totalitarian rule. What unites the movement is the ideology of oppression, violence, and hate.

Our terrorist enemies exploit Islam to serve a violent political vision. Fueled by a radical ideology and a false belief that the United States is the cause of most problems affecting Muslims today, our enemies seek to expel Western power and influence from the Muslim world and establish regimes

Perhaps the most significant pasage concerns how the defence of the Homeland impacts on the US partners (see page 18)

Deny terrorists entry to the United States and disrupt their travel internationally. Denying our enemies the tools to travel internationally and across and within our borders significantly impedes their mobility and can inhibit their effectiveness. They rely on illicit networks to facilitate travel and often obtain false identification documents through theft or in-house forgery operations.

We will continue to enhance the security of the American people through a layered system of protections along our borders, at our ports, on our roadways and railways, in our skies, and with our international partners. We will continue to develop and enhance security practices and technologies to reduce vulnerabilities in the dynamic transportation network, inhibit terrorists from crossing U.S. borders, and detect and prevent terrorist travel within the United States. Our efforts will include improving all aspects of aviation security; promoting secure travel and identity documents; disrupting travel facilitation networks; improving border security and visa screening; and building international capacity and improving international information exchange to secure travel and combat terrorist travel.

Ever since 9/11 there have been discussions between the US and the EU about the physical methods of making such alliances for controlling access to the US.

These talks are now reaching frution and President Bush wants them in place, without scrutiny by Congress before he leaves offic. Almost unseen within the Joint Statement when he met the EU leaders in Slovenia is mention of “the fight against transnational crime and terrorism requires the ability to share personal data for law enforcement,” and called for the creation of a “binding international agreement” to aid such transfers while also ensuring that citizens’ privacy is “fully” protected.""It would provide the greatest level of legal security and certainty."

On June 6th Reuters carried a report which went largely unnoticed that a panel of senior (ie unelected) European Union and U.S. officials, was set up more than a year to hammer out solutions to problems raised by European lawmakers and rights groups who have long argued that data sharing deals lacked proper privacy protection.

On this see Wednesday, February 06, 2008 Data rape see also here and here how the Queen interrupted her hols at Balmoral to sign UK citizens Rights away by an Order in Council - Court at Balmoral, the 5th day of September 2006 Present, The Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty in CouncilHer Majesty, in exercise of the powers conferred upon Her by sections 60(1), (2)(b), (3)(h) and (4), 61(1)(a) and 102(2)(b) of, and paragraph 2 of Part 3 of Schedule 13 to, the Civil Aviation Act 1982(a), is pleased, by and with the advice of Her Privy Council, to order as follows: ... etc which means that 34 bits of data about you , name, address, sex, food preferences, credit card number, etc.,etc., will disappear of to the data vaults of uncle Sam ..... forever...and ever... sometghing dear reader you can do ablsolutely nothing about.

This group have, like any group of unelected officials been busy at work , brooding over Washington access to private data on air passengers travelling (and also from Canada, Mexico etc,)to the United States and the demand to keep them for 15 years.

They have also been discussing with the U.S. Treasury Department why they should have access to the banking records of EU citizens via access to records of international banking network SWIFT.

Meanwhile at various levels EU nations have been busy building all sorts of cross border police databases (Interpol see Friday, November 04, 2005 Secret Service spread terror message ... we are all doooooomed!!!! ) and has agreements to exchange DNA data , fingerprints, details of stolen passports within the bloc. Naturally they see no difficulty about sharing access further to the other side of the Atlantic and agree they need to cooperate on data privacy to "build trust."

The EU-U.S. panel have already identified a first set of 12 common principles on data privacy. These cover the use of information on race and religion in certain cases "Personal information revealing racial or ethnic origins, political opinions or religious or philosophical beliefs ... health or sexual life ... may not be processed unless domestic law provides appropriate safeguards," the text of a document seen by Reuters (but not by EU citizens or their MEP's) says.

An EU diplomat said the guidelines did not carry legal weight and would need to be detailed in further negotiations. Of course.

"The use of sensitive data depends on circumstances and purpose; it may be OK in some cases, under special circumstances, and not in others," the diplomat said. Of course.

We don't want to sell everyone's deal for a mess of pottage do we Ambassador ?

We have a report in the New York Times today that is entitled "U.S. and Europe Near Agreement on Private Data "

"The United States and the European Union are nearing completion of an agreement allowing law enforcement and security agencies to obtain private information — like credit card transactions, travel histories and Internet browsing habits — about people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean."

We are sorry ....were you asleep whilst all that happened ?

You didn't realise this...... " diplomatic breakthrough for American counterterrorism officials, who have clashed with the European Union over demands for personal data" was in the works even ?

You thought Europe generally has more stringent laws restricting how governments and businesses can collect and transfer such information. You were right , but very soon you will be wrong.

Whilst you were asleep ... and all your elected representataives at Westminster, hosing money away down the Northern Wreck Black Hole of South Shields " draft language for 12 major issues central to a “binding international agreement,” is now agreed. All done silently secretly, swiftly ,jointly by the negotiators from the United States Homeland Security, Justice and State Departments, and by "their European Union counterparts".

We'll run that by you again , we said above "Personal information revealing racial or ethnic origins, political opinions or religious or philosophical beliefs ... health or sexual life ... may not be processed unless domestic law provides appropriate safeguards," ....

Now European law and the laws of sovereign states, sets up independent government agencies to police whether personal data is being used lawfully and to help citizens who are concerned about invasions of their privacy. The United States has no such independent agency. As a concession, the Europeans (ie those unelected well paid, well fed bueaurcrats) have agreed that the American government’s internal oversight system may be good enough to provide accountability for how Europeans’ data is used. Well let's all trust Uncle Sam... Prop. Guantanamo Bay, Diego Garcia , Abu Ghraib ...

A sticking point is what happens say if you get put on a no fly list based on incorrect personal information.

In Europe you file a lawsuit to seek damages and to have the data corrected or expunged. American citizens and permanent residents can generally do the same under the Privacy Act of 1974, but that statute does not extend to foreigners. The way we read it. It never will.

The EU is in a holding a pattern that its citizens “require the ability to bring suit in U.S. courts specifically under the Privacy Act for an agreement to be reached on redress.” Not only does that sound like a lawyers breakfast it looks like a very expensive lawyers breakfast.

The problem is that a change in the Privacy Act of 1974 requires Congresss to Act. The last thing Bush wants is to face Congress.

Bush wants to leave office with a deal - no legislative action .... simply a signature.

Paul Begala an advisor to the previous President, (who was noted for a unique understanding of evidential law), exhibited a frightening view from the top, of this misuse of executive order authority when he pardoned Marc Rich "Stroke of a pen, law of the land, kind of cool." said Begala .

Dylan Thomas described it accurately in his war time lament, "The hand that signed the paper, felled a city, and ruin came…Great is the hand that holds Dominion over man by a scribbled name"

Here in Europe officials are as anxious for a swift, silent and secure deal as President Bush , at the moment such changes will require national ratification of any accords, the Lisbon Treaty will hand ratification power to the European Parliament, which has been sceptical of American antiterrorism policies.

Anyway HMQ signed your air travel data away if you are a UK citizen one wet September afternoon in 2006. Expect your DNA, fingeprints ,bank transactions to follow pretty soon.

Is there any reciprocity ? Do we get the same deal from US citizens visiting Europe ? Is it simply a one way street ?

Do bears defecate in the woods ?


THE BBC has been accused of “stomach- churning” television after inviting a transvestite dressed like Lady Dame Jane Baroness Neville Jones 69, on to highbrow politics show Question Time.

Viewers of the BBC1 debate programme flooded its switchboard and website with complaints.

As her alter ego Tory shadowy security spokesman pantomime Dame Jane Lady Pauline Baroness Neville-Jones 71,(confirmed spinster) on the panel of Thursday night’s edition, sat alongside Minister Yvette Cooper (AKA Mrs Balls) and prize-winning potter Grayson Perry, 48 on the panel of Thursday night’s edition.

But debate quickly turned to farce when the camera focused on Pauline in a wig and a pale blue gown with a lace-trimmed collar and heavily rouged cheeks.

“It was like a seeing a Rocky Horror show,” wrote one viewer. “Stomach-churning.”

But minutes after the programme ended, complaints began that the BBC was dumbing down. Janice Evans from Glossop wrote on the BBC website: “Unbelievable! BBC you are now officially a joke… your credibility has gone down the pan.” A male viewer stormed: “I refuse to be made a fool of.”

Last night a BBC spokesman said: “The Question Time website openly welcomes and encourages comments from viewers and members of the Lady Dame Jane Baroness Pauline Neville Jones Fan Club, c/o Royal United Services Institute .”

10 cases where anonymous witnesses helped secure a conviction

Michael Dosumnu

Abdi Noor, 22, and Mohammed Sannoh, 19, guilty of south London murder of the schoolboy, who was shot dead with a Mac-10 sub-machine gun as he slept after being mistaken for his brother Hakeem Dosumnu who shared the bedroom (and had been in the Army). They both received jail terms of a minmum of 30 years . A fter the jury took 9 days deliberating to reach a verdict , Judge Stephen Kramer said: "This was a planned and premeditated killing. It was an execution." ...."You both, quite probably acting with another person or others, carried out this killing in an act of revenge." After reporting restrictions were lifted the full story of violent criminals , dishonour amongst thieves, and the death of a gang member can be found here at BBC online.

Magda Pniewska

Armel Gnango, 17, guilty of murder of the Polish nurse after she was caught in a crossfire during a shoot-out in south London as she walked home from work. The teenager was convicted even though he did not fire the fatal shot. Prosecutors said he was still responsible for the killing because he was involved in the gunfight. The Judge gave him 20 years for murder and also gave him a minimum 12-year sentence for attempted murder and a five-year sentence for possession of a firearm.(Daily Mail 23rd June 2008)

Police believe it was a second youth (un-named) , who had been wearing a bandana, firing at Gnango who fatally wounded Miss Pniewska.Gnango, has so far refused to co-operate in identifying him.

Toni Ann Byfield and Bertram Byfield

Joel Smith was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment in 2006 for the murder of 7 year old girl Toni Ann Byfield, who was under the care of Birmingham Social Services and was shot in the back because she was the only witness to the murder of her drug dealer father, Bertram Byfield. She was visiting Mr Byfield in his bedsit in an ex-offenders' hostel in North London on the day the pair were killed - after their deaths it became apparent that Bertram was, not, as she thought , her natural father.(BBC Online)

Smith, believed he had committed the perfect crime, leaving no witnesses or clues and he did not leave any DNA or forensic evidence and there was no CCTV in the area.

It was 2 years later when he was in prison in Liverpool that people who knew him identified him as the killer.

Roselyn Richards, the mother of Toni-Ann Byfield issued a statement through her solicitors after the trial , " I believe that Joel Smith did not act alone and hope police enquiries will continue to arrest, prosecute and convict others involved in this terrible crime so they join him behind bars."

Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare

Marcus Ellis (half brother to Charlene) and Rodrigo Simms , Nathan Martin (whose brother Yohanne's death precipitated the murders) who was acquitted of murder , Michael Gregory, (whose sister Leona had been Yohanne's girlfriend and mother of his child) and Rodrigo "Sonny" Simms were convicted of shooting dead the teenagers at a hair salon at New Year in Birmingham in 2003. They were the innocent bystanders present at a party where a gangland feud between rival drugs gangs in Birmingham attempted to settle old scores.

The murder was carefully planned with the involvement of specially purchased untraceable mobile phones, the purchase of a car (and burning ti out to remove evidence) and the tinting of it's wondows to prevemt identity of the occupants and use of a Mac10 sub-machine gun, apparently nicknamed the "spray and pray", as the fierce recoil makes accurate aiming very difficult. (BBC Online)

Tafarwa Beckford, was acquitted of murder on the judge's directions because the only evidence against him came from a witness, known as Mark Brown, who the judge concluded had been lying.

Zainab Kalokoh

Roberto Malasi was sentenced to 30 years for shooting the 31-year-old mother in the head with a 9mm automatic pistol after bursting in on a christening in south London while she was cradling her baby in 2005. His gang mmbers also convicted included Diamond Babamuboni, 17, his brother Timy, 15, and Jude Odigie, 16 - The four, (all Angolan illegal immigrants) wearing masks, ran into the christening party on the Wood Dene Estate in Peckham, south London, with the intention to rob guests. The three boys were given 16 years. (Full story of their history of crime here)

As Mrs Kalokoh lay dying with a bullet in her head, the raiders stripped guests of valuables. The baby, her niece, was unharmed.

The jury in the trial concerning Ms Zainab Kalokoh , who wasa regugee from Sierra Leone was not told that two weeks after her murder on September 11 2005, the defendant dragged student teacher Ruth Okechukwu from a car and stabbed her through the heart.

That court heard Malasi had accused Miss Okechukwu of disrespecting him, following a telephone conversation with one of her friends.

Noel Patterson, Lorna Morrison and Connie Morrison

Rohan Chung 30, and Michael George Letts 36, were convicted of the 2006 triple murders of the innocent stepfather and two sisters, in revenge for their brother allegedly double crossing the killers in a drug deal.

Chung , who used a variety of aliases whilst running drug dealing ring, (he had been deported for gun offences but returned illegally) was determined to exact revenge on Morgan “Indian” Morrison, 30, a man he believed had cheated him out of 4kg of cocaine. The pair burst in, discovered Mr Morrison was not at home and took their anger out on his family.

Their bodies were dragged to the corner of the room and piled up. The men left, abandoning the eight-month-old infant of Lorna Morrison on the bloodstained floor.

They were ordered to serve a minimum tariff of 40 years.

Detective Superintendent Gary Richardson, Met's Operation Trident, said:
"This conviction is the result of a detailed investigation by officers from Operation Trident, and the bravery of witnesses who were literally in fear of their lives.

Lee Subaran (Street name "Gangsta")

Three members of the "Mus Luv Crew", Leon Roberts, Tafari Dacas and Shane Taylor are all serving a minimum of 30 years for shooting dead Lee Subaran because he showed them "disrespect" at the Notting Hill Carnival in 2005. He and his brother Tyrone were surrounded by up to ten men, the jury heard and a number of them then produced guns and shot him a point blank range. He was hit in the neck and back and had died by the time he reached hospital.

A fourth man, Tunde Thomas, 30, of Kensal Green, north-west London was cleared of murder.

Jason Greene

Christopher Toussaint-Collins is serving at least 25 years after he was convicted of shooting dead the 29-year-old in front of his two sons on the school run in north London in 2006. His eight year-old son was sitting beside him in the passenger seat and there were other children in the area going to school when the shooting took place. Jason Greene's brother Gavin Greene was shot at in February 2005 and a month later Shaun "Stunts" Stanislas, the man thought to be responsible, was shot dead.

Jurors were told Toussaint-Collins (19 at the time) was in a car that was lying in wait but the man who pulled trigger has never been caught.

Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London, told Toussaint-Collins: "You did not pull the trigger but you were complicit in a (pre-meditated) killing that took place in broad daylight in a residential area as members of the public passed."

Richard Holmes

Carl Dobson (AKA rap star Crazy Titch ) and Anthony Green are serving a minimum tariff of 30 years for the murder of the 21-year-old music producer in a row about rap lyrics in 2005.

Dobson and his associate, Anthony Green, 35, confronted Mr Holmes, 21, because he had made the mistake of allying himself with the upcoming garage star Shaba Shah. Shah, 16, known as Shaba Shak, had released a track insulting Dobson's half-brother, Dwayne Mahorn, 25, also a rapper known as Durrty Goodz.

A handgun was held to the victim's head before he was shot in the back as he tried to escape. The attackers also shot him in the leg with a Mach 10 machine gun.

Mahorn, of Chingford, east London, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.(Guradian 3/1/06)

Andre Linton

Jermaine Campbell
was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years in 2005 for the murder of the 22-year-old. CCTV footage showed Andre and his cousin Torraine were driving along Buller Road, Wood Green, at about 11 pm in February, when the notorious gang - know as Money Over Bitches, surrounded his vehicle and Campbell killed him with a single shot to the heart with a converted imitation firearm - allegedly for giving the killer a "disrespectful look".

Five other gang members who were with him that night are still at large.

In the previous 8 weeks Police had recorded , 20 incidents of violent disorder most involving guns or knives as violence increased between two groups of youths in Haringey. The murder of Mr Linton was investigated by Operation Trident which investigates gun crime in black communities.

21/7 Flour Power bombers

UPDATE :"Michael Bexhill" gave evidence to the 21/7 flour power bombers from a special table situated directly below, and therefore out of view, of the public gallery. What the judge described as "monstrous" screens up in front of the defendants' glass tunnel dock to shield him from their eyes.

Press benches were cleared and journalists moved to the public gallery.

Mr Justice Fulford had also granted him anonymity and the name on the witness list, Michael Bexhill, was completely fictitious.

Mr Justice Fulford was anxious to make it clear to the jury that they should read nothing into the deployment of such elaborate measures.

The judge made it clear that the defendants knew full well who he was and the jurors too were given a piece of paper on which Bexhill had written his real name.

The Judge warned the jury that they should not read anything more into them, and added:

"The fact that there are screens does not mean that the witness is being honest or dishonest or anything in between.

"The screens are completely irrelevant." Apparently the architect of Woolwich Crown Court had failed to include a curtain rail (and presumably a curtain) to screen witnesses.

He said Bexhill had sought these measures for his own peace of mind and he had decided to grant them.

Initial list from Daily Telegraph Saturday June 26th 2008

Evidently is is impossible to form any judgement how these cases (and others as yet not identified) will be affected (if at all) by the Iain Davis appeal. The Crown Prosecution Service are currently assembling details of cases that could be affected, which will necessarily take time. Time ideally spent in pursuing further successful criminal prosecutions.

Any decision to appeal is of course a decision of the accused/defendant and their legal advisors, as most of the above found guilty are serving 20 plus years in prison and will have any such appeal paid for by public funds it is difficult to believe they will not appeal.

By any measure these people are violent killers. Should an appeal be successful, it is impossible that they could be given a fair trial even if further evidence is found of their guilt. Witnesses may in certain circumstances throw off the shroud of anonymity in the belief that the continued imprisonment of the accused may afford them safety from intimidation or worse.

Such are the consequences of re-shaping the law without resort to statute.

We remain to discover what the consequences of war criminals Mr Straw's hasty attempts at legislation will be. It is vital that the lawmakers listen very carefully to the advice of practising lawyers in framing a law to provide anonymity in criminal cases and also that they take full cognisance of EU Human Rights obligations.

If the legislation is rushed and botched in the process, it will further set back the problems of dealing with these armed and violent criminals in our midst.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bradford & Bingley - falling to the bottom feeders and union bashers

Just what is going on at Bradford & Bingley ?

The “gang of four” large shareholders – M&G, Legal & General, Standard Life and Insight have supported a bid from Clive Cowdery’s company Resolution - but B & B refused access to the books.

This gives TPG (introduced by Goldman Sachs who have earned loadsamoney in the past from advising them) a clear run gaining control as a 23% shareholder.

Unsurprisingly the shares crashed 16¾p (21%) to 63¼p today when the news was announced at mid-day. “The board has consistently made clear to Resolution that it was prepared to allow due diligence should an acceptable indicative proposal be made,” the bank said. It said that the revised proposal did not meet the board’s concerns about certainty, funding, clarity, change of control and price.

B&B reported losses of £8m in the first four months of 2008, with rsing and accelerating arrears on its mortgage loan book. Margins are evaporating and a credit downgrading is likely any day.

What TPG ("our investment philosophy has been to create value by investing in change ")intends to do with B&B , remains unclear.

TPG have clearly obtained control with only 23% of the shares and their cash injection plus the the rights issue and using the Bank of England special liquidity scheme will provide some stability - which could be thrown of course by a credit re-rating.

Whether it is enough capital (given first quarter losses) to finance new lending puts B&B’s current business model in question.

Which suggest that if the B&B retail depositors decide to do a Northern Wreck and take their money and run could simply lead to the bank to stop writing new business and go into run-off.

With the dramatic run down in sales, the loss of B&B would hardly be noticed by borrowers, although staff might miss their jobs - see factoid.

Barclays with the proposed injection of £4.5 Mn of Asian money saw shares drop 2% today (down 5.75 p @ 298.00 p 289 at one stage in day) due it is said to Citigroup suggesting that £9 Bn more capital is needed - always supposing the right offs announced still haven't left the balance sheet with more fiction than fact.

TPG : History Lesson - "Texas Pacific Group's takeover of Gate Gourmet leads to "meticulously planned assault on trade unions"
Gate Gourmet, the catering division of SwissAir, was bought by Texas Pacific Group in the wake of the airline company's bankruptcy in 2002 . At the time of its acquisition by TPG, Gate Gourmet employed over 25,000 workers in 29 countries with 140 flight kitchens. For 2005, the figures are 22,000 workers and 109 flight kitchens. The path to "organic growth" at Gate Gourmet began with a meticulously planned assault on trade unions.

This began with the well-known struggle at Heathrow Airport in the UK, which was kicked off by the company stealthily hiring hundreds of contract workers in a restructuring program centered on mass dismissals and a dramatic degradation of employment conditions. (the dispute which began on August 10th when the airline caterer sacked almost 800 workers at Heathrow Airport.) The anti-jobs, anti-union offensive then moved to Germany's Düsseldorf airport, where (at the time of writing in late February 2006), members of the IUF-affiliated Food and Allied Workers' Union NGG have been on strike since 7 October 2005 over the company's refusal to negotiate wages and compensatory measures for increasingly arduous working conditions.

Under duress to improve returns for TPG's investors, Gate Gourmet not only put pressure on the T&G, but on its main client, British Airways, which it pressed for concessions on its contract.

Exit by Stealth: TPG Completes Sale of Gate Gourmet Reuters March 2nd 2007
"A day after Texas Pacific Group [TPG.UL] joined other powerful private equity in a call for more transparency, the firm's mystery sell-off of Gate Gourmet reveals just how much work the industry has ahead of it. TPG, which bought the airline catering firm in late 2002 from Swissair, has quietly reduced its stake in the business over the past year without any disclosure, selling the last piece to Merrill Lynch on Thursday."

TPG walked away from a highly leveraged Sainsbury's bid - they could still walk away from B&B.

I want to go Darwin on the SUV crowd

Cocktails in the bar atop the John Hancock Tower, Michigan Avenue, Chicago,Illinois.....today.

When life looks this good, who gives a fuck what price gas is?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why UK Natural Gas Prices Will Move North of 100p/Therm This Winter- £3 - 400 this year on the average house gas bill

Chris Vernon at the Oil Drum introduces a post from Norwegian Rune Likvern who has been studying UK energy sources and has produced this familiar graph showing the primary energy cources (note this mixes road fuel demand with domestic / industrial oil, gas and electricity production).

Ideally the reader should read the complete post but it identifies the future reliance on of the UK on imported gas, whose price is directly related to oil and the short term impact on domestic heating costs.

" The UK will increasingly have to cover their natural gas consumption through imports, which suggests that an era of cheap natural gas, which has also acted as a competitive edge, increasingly will have to become harmonized with natural gas prices on Continental Europe which UK increasingly will have to bid against to secure supplies.

His research suggests that natural gas prices in the UK at the beach has risen 50 - 60% relative to 2007 levels. On average in 2007 these prices were 30 p/therm at the beach (the natural gas price has huge seasonal swings).

Oil prices in 2007 was on average above US$72/bbl, and so far in 2008 the average oil price has been close to US$110/bbl and recently it seems like it has found support at US$130 - 140/bbl.

This now suggests that the natural gas prices should increase 80 - 90%. The above points suggest that natural gas prices on average in 2008 in UK will have to increase 150 - 200% resulting in average prices through 2008 of 75 - 90 p/therm at the beach (ie point of entry, to this must be added further costs) . Recently natural gas is now trading at 60 - 65 p/therm.

Thus the headline suggest UK natural gas prices at the beach will move north of 100 p/therm before Christmas this year. (Please tell Angela Eagle)

For an average household consuming 600 - 700 therm/annually (18 - 21 000 kWh/a) this would translate into an increase of the households natural gas bill of £3 - 400 this year relative to 2007.

Natalie Bracht disappears - oh and five kids as well, on the lam for a month and no National Press

Stef has a fascinating story of the effect of far too many CCTV cameras working.

Start here with rather odd BBC report today (26th June 2008) headlined "London link in missing woman hunt " which is exraordinarily odd because this woman a Mrs Bracht (31 5ft 6in tall, of medium build, with shoulder-length hair) also has in tow her 5 daughters between 5 and 13.

Whilst the report doesn't have any apparent errors it is confusing and really fails to reveal that she left (according to the Shields Gazette by Jessica Foster ten days fater her disappearance) her home in Hendon lunchtime on Saturday, May 17.

The first CCTV images, were captured in Newcastle at 2.38pm on the day she disappeared, show the 34-year-old wearing a red Berghaus-style three-quarter length jacket and jeans or trousers.

The second show her walking through Kings Cross in London later the same day, at 6.20pm, wearing a white flowing robe and headscarf.

The report states that Ms Bracht moved to Sunderland (205 Hastings Street, Hendon, Sunderland, SR2 8SJ. ) in 2006 from Dusseldorf, Germany, and speaks good English with a heavy German accent, apparently she had been an active ant war activist.

Now that is a Mega double good news story - made even better by Det Insp Ford saying: "Natalie does not appear to have had access to money, certainly not enough to look after herself and her five children.

"I cannot rule out that someone or some organisation is offering the family assistance or shelter, possibly for what they believe to be all the right reasons."

The report said Officers from the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police are working together with Northumbria Police to further the investigation.

What the report didn't say, and couldn't say was (as explained at the Missing Kids site) that the Bracht children are are subject to Interim Care Orders and Natalie had been assessed previously assessed as having a Histrionic Personality Disorder .

Northumbria Police had to go to the High Court explained Detective Sergeant Dave Willetts to be allowed to publicise this, as it would " help our search for the girls and their mother if the public knew they should be in the care of their local authority."

Today the Avon and Somerset Police report "Missing mum Natalie Bracht, who has mental health problems, has been traced to the Yeovil area of Somerset. " ...Natalie was initially traced to the Harlesden area of London and from there officers have traced her to a commune near Yeovil, in which area police are now focusing their efforts. DCI Ford continued: "We know that Natalie and the girls were at the commune but have since abandoned their belongings and fled.

Anyone with information about Natalie or her children, is asked to call Northumbria Police, on 03456 043 043.

Which may also be related to news from another source with a very odd tale to tell about the itinerant Bracht family. Indymedia report today that Tony Gosling has had contact with Mrs Bracht and has recordings available in MP3 format to downlod of conversations with her.


1. Natalie Bracht. Her story via Tony Gosling

She has been in the UK about 2.5 years .Not long after entering the UK she refused to be recruited by Rabbi Dr. Robert Ash to become an undercover Mossad 'student'as part of Israeli Anti-Muslim activities in London.

Various 'establishment strings pulled through increasing social services harassment to stop benefits, culminating in a fabricated legal case for social services to take away her five children.

Two early morning phone calls alerted her to social worker/police visit in late May 2008 and she departed with children 20 minutes before police (who broke down door to find no-one at home) arrived.

Natalie and her children are now 'on the run'.

Her father is Moshe Baton (Spy for British & Israelis, diplomat in E. Germany. Fell from grace & exiled in Libia 1981 after bribe paid. Believed by Israeli public to be in prison in Israel) Mossad Her apparently ex Husband: Dietrich Shimon-Bracht (Now in UK 'helping police') is an Israeli nuclear military scientist (originally unknown to Natalie)

His grandfather is in the Knesset and the Tel-aviv masonic Grand Master. They have been together for 6 years but have been separated for 4.5 years

There is apparently an 'Untouchables' - Masonic/Zionist cell centring around South Gosforth Reformed Synagogue,
1. Reformed (non-religious) Rabbi: Dr Robert Ash (organiser/handler)
2. David Abrahams (Newcastle) - Labour Party funder
3. Bernard Schaeffer (along with pretend wife wants to 'look after' five children)
4. Sir Jeremy Beecham
5. Dr. Marc Orlim Bereleowitz ('interviews' children)
6. David Hozen - Judge brought in from Manchester to rule in custody case . These names may be misspelled

2. Tony Gosling

On the Indymedia website he claims - He and his fiancee were held at Trinity Road police station in Bristol until 1200 the next day, 25th June.

Both were heavily questioned. They were each arrested three times, a total of six arrests. The arrests in order were, Obstructing a Recovery Order, Theft of a Credit Card and then again for Obstructing a Recovery Order.

The two later arrests were made in the police station where they were still being detained for the first arrest.

The officers in command had come from Newcastle: DC 1077 Fairlamb (M) & DC 8558 Logan (F)

Gosling states that he gave police the key to his home address in Bristol. Nonetheless Officers battered his door down before proceeding to take away printed lists of contact details, two diaries, two mobile phones, a laptop and a desktop computer. These items are still being held at this time.

Gosling feels he was threatened with precocious charges. He states that he cooperated with police, but claims that his rights as a journalist were not respected.

All the charges were dropped shortly before Gosling and his fiancee were released.

Several locations in and around Bristol associated with Gosling were also raided by police. The police are looking for a woman called Natalie Bracht -

Although Gosling states that he can not confirm that the information provided to him by Bracht is genuine, he does stress the importance of sharing her allegations. The authorities have suggested that Bracht is suffering from mental illness and has threatened to kill her own children.

Gosling and others have met with Bracht and her five daughters.

They report normal behaviour between Bracht and her children - this would seemingly contradict police allegations.

It is not clear at this time, but Gosling believes they have found and arrested Bracht today.

Bracht's allegations involve operations carried out on the British mainland by Israeli intelligence agents from Mossad.

In particular activities at the South Gosforth Reformed Synagogue in Newcastle.

According to Bracht she has been on the run from her home in Sunderland since Libyan intelligence officers warned her that the authorities were going to arrest her and place her children in care.

The Libyan agents told Bracht that her father was Moshe Baton (spelling tbc) an Israeli British intelligence officer who defected to Libya.

She believes that Mossad helped to carry out the July 7th bombings and that no Muslims are to blame. Download and listen to the hour long interview to hear other information.

A short and one hour long MP3 can be downloaded from here

This woman does not sound in any way unhinged or incapable of looking after children, balanced, fluent in English, she was able to obtain British Citizenship and got her passports in UK Consulate Dusseldorf, came in via Harwich, provided with a house in Hull and National Insurance number within one week. Then moved to Sunderland and Rabbi arrived to see them. He gave her a mobile phone and £150 pound credit, which she chose not to use.(He turned out subsequently to be Dr Robert Ash) He offered her accomodation and money to be a student in London but she would need an Israeli passport which he could provide.

She claims a Northern Irish "Muslim" attack is to be expected. If found , she says that she will be put in mental hospital and children taken to Israel.

Listen and judge for yourself.

UPDATE : Further to comments below the Sun did in fact carry exactly the same story as the Shields Gazette on 27th May. The Northern Echo group did have an update story on June 5th mentioning a poster campaign.

Interestingly the Camden gazette had a story later on June 18th..."Police now have information that Ms Bracht has visited The London Central Mosque, in Regent's Park, on several occasion in the last few weeks, but they are still no nearer to tracing the family.

Ms Bracht moved to north east England with her daughters from Dusseldorf, Germany, in 2006, but has been psychologically assessed recently as having a histrionic personality disorder. - (although it seems capable of looking quite adequately for 5 kids in the worst Council House Estate in Sunderland - Lord Patel knows it well visiting the I J Dewhirst sewing factory (major M&S supplier in UK at the time) many times)

Symptoms include the constant seeking of reassurance or approval, excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion and excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval. Sufferers also have a need to be the centre of attention, shifting emotional states and a tendency to make rash decisions. Detective Inspector Peter Bent said: "Natalie has been assessed as having a personality disorder and we know that she can seem plausible even when she is not telling the truth." (sounds like say Wendy Alexander, Hazel Blears, etc.,)

They also say Police have been arranging for posting "Missing Person" posters in the NorthEast and London.

Miss Sharabang - A Death is announced

On the No 1 Court at Wimbledon the lovely and beatiful Miss Sharabang who has been shepherded all the way in her illustrious career by Lord Patel, died early this evening at the hands of Russian spy equipped with what looks like an innocent tennis racket.

News of the death has been passed on to the Head of the Metropolitan Police Terrorists who have the case under "active consideration" and have been reviewing their extensive library of the very much alive Miss Sharabang.

LATE UPDATE : The Police have moved swiftly and a Miss Alla Kudryavtseva (6-2, 6-4) is helping the Police with their enquiries and a racket said to be hers is being tested for baloneyium. Reports are coming in that a girl answering her description ( blotchy red faced, spotty, sweating , no make up , dreadful dress sense) was seen by eyewitnesses at the murder scene.

EVEN LATER UPDATE : As Miss Alla Kudryavtseva (6-2, 6-4) was screaming about Miss Sharabang's dress when she was dragged away. Police have impounded the dress and shorts and underwear Miss Sharabang was wearing for "DNA tests".

New Cornucopians

We have had it with the neo-conservatives, they were the bright guys on the block who about 2001 turned into the hated neo-cons...now we have the New Cornucopians.

Thse guys offer untold energy from the sun via biomass, wind energy, siliconised solar power, wave power, marine barriers, boundless crops, easy spread butter straight from the fridge ... meanwhile those hydrogen economy guys have gone real quiet.

New Cornucopians - we love it .. now where do we get the hemp T shirt ?

Shheeeeit a Google search finds no suppliers, not even rotten cotton.

We ARE ahead of the curve here at Patel Towers.

Angela Eagle ...and a State of Emergency over oil and gas

Angela Eagle, slim and elegant, as beautifully dressed as she is spoken, with an acute and finely trained brain was discussing current Treasury policy and the alleged bad blood now resulting from No 10 trying to micro-manage the Treasury in the way the Treasury wanted to micromanage everything else before cuddly loveable Gordy became temporary tenant at No 10 on the BBC4 World at One programme earlier.

"Nobody predicted the current oil price spike"

Oh really ?

We we might direct he alert mind to the statements from Goldman Sachs, into whose pockets the Government shovelled many sacks of gold to prolong and delay at great cost to the tax paper and profit to Goldman Sachs the affairs of Northern Wreck.

There must therefore be the occasional contact, odd chat, over a nice dry, crisp Sancerre in a trendy London eaterie at tax payers expense of the state of the economy oil prices etc., Especially considering that each price rise does actually swell the coffers of HM Treasury more than might have been anticipated when planning national income (which one assumes someone does).

Marketwatch March 7, 2008 ..." With $100-a-barrel here for now, Goldman Sachs says $200 a barrel could be a reality in the not-too-distant future in the case of a "major disruption"

"Goldman analysts Arjun Murti, Kevin Koh and Michele della Vigna said prices have advanced more quickly than Goldman had forecast back in 2005, when it predicted a range of $50 to $105 a barrel as part of its "super-spike" oil theory. "

Are oil prices headed for a 'super spike'? from that little known and rarely watched TV channel CNN. Online article May 2nd 2005 and at the time many, many others

This report featured the Goldman analyst Arjan Murti who had produced a ," thoughtful, 30-page piece of logical analysis ....Murti had previously raised the notion of a super spike in two reports last year--in June and September--forecasting a then sensational peak price of $80 a barrel. "

Reporter Andy Serwer explained "The crux of Murti's theory is simple: We're in the middle of a classic boom-and-bust cycle. The economy has been heating up here and in China, which pushes up the cost of crude. When the price of oil--and especially, here in the U.S., of gasoline--climbs too high, it curbs economic activity, which then depresses the demand for oil, causing prices to drop. Nothing revolutionary there. For now, though, demand for crude is continuing to rise--if a little more slowly than last year. That means prices could go higher. Remember: In terms of 2005 dollars, oil peaked in 1980 at $85 a barrel. "

"All I did (Murti explained ) was to raise the high end of my price band from $80 a barrel to $105 a barrel," says Murti. "Spending on gasoline in the U.S. relative to the overall economy is still well below where it was in 1980--81. So demand could still climb from here."

A week later, at the firm's annual shareholders' meeting, Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson ( now US Treasury secretary ) felt compelled to defend the report and the integrity of the analyst and his firm.

We would direct the elegant Angela's gaze to the essential reading for literally everyone intersted in UK finacial / energy forcasting by Euean Mearns on The Oil Drum

A State of Emergency

This crisis (in energy supplies and costs) has been turned into a state of emergency by the indifference of political leaders in the UK (and throughout the world), fluttering in the wind of poorly informed public opinion while they have prevaricated about expanding renewable energy resources and building new nuclear power stations. All warnings of this pending energy crisis have been ignored in favor of pursuing popular policies that created the illusion of prosperity whilst the fundamentals of our nations security and well being have been draining away.

Here are a few pointers to what I think we can expect in the next 18 months:

1. Forever rising energy import bills will pressure Sterling which will continue to fall, pushing up the cost of energy, food and consumer goods even more.

2. Public sector workers, no longer able to borrow to supplement income will begin to strike once they discover that 3% wage increases do not come close to covering the rise in the cost of living (the great inflation lie will be found out).

3. Unemployment will begin a steady rise as financial services, banks, building sector, airlines, airports, leisure and retail come under severe pressure. They will be joined by public service workers as the government struggles to fund public services with falling tax receipts, spiraling debt and a falling pound. (already happening in Aberdeen with deep cuts in education spending across the city and teacher numbers being slashed). (QV Californian City of Vallejo filing for Bankruptcy)

4. The elderly and poor will really struggle this winter to pay their energy and food bills. If the weather is cold, the grid might fail and the vulnerable will begin to die from cold and starvation.

To illustrate this Euan Mearns has produced an amended chart from a presenation of 58 slides given internally by someone in BERR - Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (what in the old days we used to call the Board of Trade) this shows Net UK oil and gas national supplies and demand and in GREEN the growing horrible national deficit
This demonstrates how from an energy rich and independant country we have now tipped into an energy importer and the deficit is now growing at an alarming rate. For example one single component , national gas consumption and it's sourc in this graph produced by BERR shows the way how imports (especially from Norway) have grown and are growing monthly.

Click to enlarge .. which as Gemma Garrett was saying, if only it was always that easy.

PS Hot tip of the week . Radicalise yourself become a screaming hab dab mullah , get extradited and seek asylum in Norway where their leaders have had the good fortune and even greater sense to accrete the benefits of their North Sea "windfall" into a national fund for investment.

PS Second Hot tip of the week : Someone at HM Treasury get Euan Mearns in for a chat and pay him before you run out of money.

Lord Thomas of Gresford QC for Lib - Dems slams War criminal Jack Straw's proposals on witness anonymity

On the BBC4 World at One Martha Carney interviewed Lord Thomas of Gresford QC (Wrexham Grammar School , Peterhouse, Cambridge) who is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Attoney General (and all round good egg) who said , concerning the Second Reading of the Fraud (Trials Without Jury) Bill in the House of Lords - which sought to introduce trials without Juries in fraud cases ...

" These proposals must have come from a Home Office official who has never set foot in a criminal court, backed by the Government legal establishment who regard the participation of ordinary people in the criminal justice system as unhelpful."

"The Government is well aware of the outrage within the legal profession, whose job it is to ensure fair trials. There is also a lot of hostility from the general public."

He had previously stated for the Lib - Dems "..., we shall maintain our determination to oppose any attempt by the Government, now or later, to abolish juries in such cases all together."

Lord Gresford has pointed out elsewhere that we have provisions in place which enable a court to sit in camera, and to take evidence from officers of the security services in the presence of the accused and his advisers, but behind screens and that he has prosecuted men accused of letter-bombing in such circumstances.

Questioned about the still undocumented proposals by Jack Straw for witness anonymity , and speaking as a practising barrister he made the immensely powerful point ( which it has to be said had not been fully appreciated by Lord Patel's extensive legal staff) that the practice of introducing anonymous witnesses in crimial trials arose directly and especially in London (i.e the Met viz Commander Yates and his Trident gang desperate for results and an improved clear up rate ) proffering anonymity to witnesses as part of the evidence gathering process by the police...."If you grass up on blokey you will of course remain anonymous etc., ...".

Lord Thomas had recently defended a man in London who faced 5 witnesses, all unknown , unnamed, unseen, with voices distorted and so he was incapable of providing any sort of sensible cross examination as to the credibility of the witnesses or the authenticity of their evidence.

Martha also previously interviewed a Scottish lawyer (Niall ?) who explained under the Scottish system, witnesses could be anonymous in court with the judges discretion, (and rarely) but only in certain cases where the witness provided evidence as a representative of an evidence source , secret services, HMRC etc., and not in a personal capacity as in a criminal case.

Lord Thomas's vigorous and evident resistance did not suggest as the report in the Daily Mail today that their support in the House was stitched up - but of course if the Opposition agree that will not matter.

War criminal Jack Straw was interviewed , he continued to push the line that this concern about witness intimidation was something previously unknown.

Lord Gresford in the Guradian November 26th 2001 on the Terrorism Act 2000 et seq is required reading for folks interested in such matters as the maintenance of habeas corpus and the 38th article of Magna Carta, 1215: ...."In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, with out producing credible witnesses to the truth of it."

UPDATE 6.30 BST : Sir Ken Macdonald QC took up his post as Head of the CPS and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in November 2003 and was ibterviewed on the BBC 4 PM programme and explained that he couldn't give figures on the number of prosecution which might be affected by the David Judgement and was waiting or reports from the CPS's 42 regional offices.

David Howarth the lack lustre Liberal shadow Solicitor General (ex Clare College and Yale Law School ) appeared to support with reservations the proposed legislation that war criminal Jack Straw wanted tio rush through the House of Commons in one day. Evidently he has not had a chat with his colleague Lord Thomas of Gresford QC Liberal Democrat Shadow Attoney General and sits as a Lib Dem in the House of Lords.

How unusual for the Lib Dems to have such confusion in their ranks on policy about anything.

Off Road rage ?

We found this photograph at the quixotic and excellent Strangely Perfect ... see BBC for story

War Criminal Jack Straw and Conservatives and Lib Dems stitch up to breach of common law rights in allowing anonymous witnesses in criminal cases

The Daily Mail today reports that "Straw will end 'secret witness' ban to prevent more trial collapses"

In a squalid stitch up the leading War criminal Jack Straw has got the backing of both the Tories and the Lib-Dems for the introduction of a new law which will legitimise the use of anonymous witnesses and destroy the rights of the accused founded in centuries of Common Law.

A statement will be put before Parliament next week . Government lawyers are burning midnight oil drafting a bastardised breach ocommon law based around ten (allegedly) simple clauses modelled on the system curently in use in New Zealand. It will it is reported grant anonymity to witnesses for cases such as those involving organised crime, witness intimidation and gun and gang-related crime. It is expected this will go through, "on the nod" and be passed before MPs break for the summer at the end of July.

The Antipodean system is based on the presiding judge hearing applications for witness anonymity on a case-by-case basis behind closed doors before deciding whether they can give evidence without revealing their identity.

They take into account the safety of the witness or whether any other person is likely to be endangered.

The judge must be satisfied the witness has no reason to be dishonest and the making of the order would not deprive the accused of a fair trial. (Thus denying the jury the chance to make their minds up)

The Government will also have to ensure any legislation is compatible with human rights laws guaranteeing a free and fair trial - meaning it will not be in conflict with European based Human Rights legislation.
But the judge must be satisfied the witness has no reason to be dishonest and the making of the order would not deprive the accused of a fair trial. One might ask by what divination he makes this judgement - how can he , how can he make enquiries about the witness...perhaps other than asking the prosecution ?

The Davis ruling pointed out that, the prosecution case cannot rely entirely, or largely, on anonymous witnesses. For example there was considerable evidence based on Davis's behaviour and actions after the victim was shot. (See para 2 Davis Judgement) "He had gone to the United States on a false passport shortly after the murders. When questioned by the police after his return to this country he had declined to give any answers. In evidence he had for the first time given details of an alibi, which he had called no further evidence to substantiate."

Mr Straw has acknowledged the need to 'strike a balance' between witness protection and the need to ensure innocent men and women are not convicted on evidence given by witnesses hiding behind the cloak of anonymity

It is interesting that in striving to acheive that balance that In a majority decision of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand in R v Hughes [1986] 2 NZLR 129, Richardson J, (see para 8 Davis Judgement) quoted the Supreme Court of the US pp148/9 "We would be on a slippery slope as a society if on a supposed balancing of the interests of the State against those of the individual accused the Courts were by judicial rule to allow limitations on the defence in raising matters properly relevant to an issue in the trial." and that decsion led to the statutory amendment which it appears will form the basis of our new law, already it seems assured without public debate of passing.

LORD RODGER OF EARLSFERRY remarked (Davis para 40) "Lord Bingham of Cornhill and Lord Carswell, have surveyed the domestic case law which has been developed in these circumstances. What stands out, .... is that the domestic cases which permit the use of anonymous witnesses are all remarkably recent ." ..." the Commission chaired by Lord Diplock (1972) rejected the idea of witnesses giving evidence anonymously as being inconsistent with the very notion of a trial by judicial process in a British court of law. Three years later, for the same reason, Lord Gardiner's committee (1975) also rejected the idea of using anonymous witnesses. "

It is of course premature to make any judgement about the proposed legislation. What is evident however is that from the illegal stitch up which the Police and the CPS have recently relied upon , we will now have to rely on the discretion of a judge in secret and in private based upon as yet unknown rules ... which will be a license for argument and debate, appeal and counter appeal. Good for the lawyers of course.

If we are to have a change in the law, it must be a change in the law, not a burden to the judiciary, for the jury to be denied the opportunity to hear the clear plain and transparent case for the accused and the accuser.

It is worth remembering here the case of Sally Clarke charged with the murder of both her sons. It was revealed by the prosecution after the trial anf her conviction. that by agreement between the defence and prosecution with the agreement (and participation) of the judge, details of Sally Clark's treatment for alcohol abuse was traded for a denial of her defence to bring forward testimony of good character from her family, friends, employers.

Thus denying and misappropriating the opportunity for the jury to hear evidence which had been suppressed without the power of statute, but by a grubby compromise between lawyers.

It also provided the press and TV who knew of her treatment acres of stories and pictures of the drunken mother, to a public unware of how this was concealed throughout the trial, but was to haunt th erest of her yerribly short life after release from prison.

LORD RODGER OF EARLSFERRY again at para 44 of the Davis judgement has pointed out anonymity of witnesses is a recnt development of the rules of evidence by judicial agreement . He points out very forcefully...."that threats of intimidation to witnesses and the challenge which they pose to our system of trial are anything but new. In theory, the common law could have responded to that challenge at any time over the last few hundred years by allowing witnesses to give their evidence under conditions of anonymity."

He went on ..."Lord Diplock saw the common law principle as so fundamental that he felt unable even to recommend that legislation should be passed to interfere with it. In these circumstances, while I am very conscious of the problems confronting the authorities which have led them to adopt these measures, in my view it is not open to this House in its judicial capacity to make such a far-reaching inroad into the common law rights of a defendant as would be involved in endorsing the procedure adopted in the present case."

For Lord Rodger it is clear, there is no cause for legislation or judicial interference to adopt anonmyity for witnesses.

Lord Patel agrees with him.

PS : The Metropolitan Police are still anxious to trace Martin Harvey, who is 45 - ish, black and known to frequent the Haringey area in relation to the Iain Davis case .

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's that time of the month again ....

Yes it's that time of the month (the last Tuesday of each month at 9:00 am
ET.) when Standard & Poors S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index is published. The latest for April shows continuing annual declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the United States with all 20 sample cities (MSAs) now posting annual declines, 13 of which are posting record low annual declines, and 10 of which are in double-digits.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's sums it up succintly "There might be some regional pockets of improvement, but on an annual basis the overall numbers continue to decline." (full chart here)

San Francisco Chronicle "Last month, foreclosures represented 43.3 % of all home sales in Contra Costa County and 26.8 % in Alameda County, according to DataQuick Information Systems."

Wall Street Journal "The weakness has not been contained to the bubble markets ...On a monthly basis, prices surprisingly rose in 8 cities ..... we attribute most of unexpected increase to seasonal distortions as prices are typically higher during the spring selling season –Michelle Meyer, Lehman Brothers who have a lot riding on the US domestic mortgage market ....

"In two years the price of a home will be the equivalent of the taxes due."
Comment by Good Luck. - June 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Seeking Alpha Comment by Dapperdan19 "For those lamenting/moralizing about credit worthiness, all I can say is that the credit quality going through and getting approved for the past 9 months is the best credit quality I've ever seen in my lifetime.

Anyone doing loans right now will tell you the same thing. It's much tougher to get an approval, but the benefit is that overall credit quality is extremely high right now.

Detroit Free Press "Metro Detroit remains the only metro area in the top 20 that has an index level under 100. It was at 93.79 in April, below the 100 set in 2000 as the baseline. That means home prices have not risen enough since 2000 to offset the current erosion "

Forbes "... another decline in the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which fell 15.3% in April from the similar period a year earlier. The drop may be a blessing in disguise though, pointing toward the eventual bottom for the housing market.

Miami Herald " Military officials promised changes ...House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman talked of ..."defense officials overlooking Miam based AEY's ''long record of failed and dubious performance.'' That record, as compiled by the committee, included delivering damaged helmets to the Iraqi army, falsely blaming a hurricane in Miami for failing to deliver 10,000 Biretta pistols (James BOn's oridginal and favourite weapon) to Iraq's security forces and delivering the wrong model of laser pointer and rifle attachments to the U.S Embassy in Colombia.

''It appears that anyone -- no matter how inexperienced or unqualified -- can win a lucrative federal contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars,'' Waxman said, adding it was ``hard to imagine a less-qualified company than AEY.'' .... don't fret so, Senator, there are certainly worse ones somewhere in there who hav been scamming the DOD and the Pentagon , USAID for a long, long time.

Some scurrilous celeb rag asked David on his way out of the Lakers game who won...he looked a bit blank ... and said..."Who cares ?"

NHS Choose and Use - not a popular choice with GP's, another disastrous chapter in £12.7 Billion NPfit IT program

The excessively well paid CEO of the NHS David Nicholson dropped so many jaws on House of Commons Public Accounts Committee yesterday to further consider the £12.7 Billion on the £12.7bn NPfit scheme it's a wonder a radiologist with a portable X ray and an orthopaedic surgeon weren't required.

He was explaining that the "Choose and Book" system ,which was expected to attract 39Mn bookings by 2008 had in fact resulted in ..er.. nearly 6 Mn. Limply he explained (still it appears retaining his job) “Utilisation of the system is not as great as we would have imagined at this stage.”

There are bright spots “On average half of first appointments are now made through the system.” The fact that GP's were incentivised (ie paid money to use it) and that ending it would not affect usage was, he said ,"unfounded".

One of the things we will do as part of the next stage review is to publicise patient’s rights to choice, to get pull.” Which sounds dreadfully like huge amounts of dosh spent on , more surveys, pamphlets, Posters, and late night TV advertisements - hopefully not like the NHS "Hooked" ads that received the most complaints last year by the ASA and were banned.

Health Insider website has some comments from users (ie GP's paid to use it)Chris Frith a GP in Hereford said "the design needs a complete rethink as hours and expertise are being wasted in General Practice at present to earn our LES (payment) if we are lucky. "

Reliability and system design are common problems .."If the system reliability could be sustained and not leave communities without a fully working system for a week" ...."It also only works with Internet Explorer so you have to buy Windows to make a hospital appointment. (many of us have Windows-free systems) "....." (a) combination of IT and general system failures risks driving away even committed GPs" ...."If C&B actually did do what was intended - support patient choice and make booking appointments quick and easy for patients and practices, - we'd all be using it and this thread would not be occurring. Unfortunately a combination of very clunky software and poorly designed Directories of Services (different for every Trust)" ..."We can no longer afford to create software/systems that no one is willing to use."..." "The recent spine update has meant several weeks of access problems. In addition the update to allow full choice together with the 18 week wait has created a meltdown in the directory of services." Why? As part of disaster recovery plans, should we now include spine updates as a risk?"

It is only sustained by payment to GP's for using it ..."The DES might have stopped but almost every PCT has introduced an equivalent LES. It is ONLY the funding that keeps this going, for very many GP practices." Doctors are remarkably resistant to change - eg : take a look at the digital stethoscopes available for improved diagnostic use. (see pic follow link for evident benefits) Maybe its because they cost £100 each... and they need incentivising.
Quite simply patients choice is predictable anyway....."I have yet to have a patient who has chosen anything other than the local hospital. " Apparently patients in hospitals don't want to travel and if hospitalised ,have what we doctors call visitors, who won't want to travel far.

Lord Patel's experience - asking for Manchester Eye Hospital instead of the local and well thought of Local Hospital stumped the GP and working together we finally made it....for Lord Patel to receive over ten letters cancelling the appointment, each of which I posted to the GP and each of which he told me to ignore...because, "the system isn't working properly". I did.

Turned up, excellent consultation. The consultant queried why I chose the Manchester Eye Hospital and was intrigued when I explained they saved my fathers eyesight in 1911 when a button hook he was reaching for, fell off the mantel piece and fell in his eye. Which meant he missed the opening of the Manchester Electric Light Cinema in Rusholme.

"Lorenzo" software

This project is now only 4 years overdue and early (and very, very brave) adopters Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust , Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and South Birmingham PCT, issued a statement in early June saying that "deployment testing is identifying technical issues which are being resolved on an ongoing basis". This was just before a scheduled demonstration to MP's.

Criticism of delays with the Care Records Service have been met by Ministers giving a series of dates when the first sites will go live. These have been repeatedly deferred.

Many MPs are concerned that NHS will be pressured into going live on an a system that is not yet ready to meet promises made by ministers... or the Department of Health's financial contractual commitments to local service providers.

Major General Patrick Cordingly shows what a Desert Rat he is on BBC Radio 4 - Feed the men rations, not food

Early this morning , well very early actually, Gemma was sleepily listening to the BBC4 Today programme and then she woke with a jolt.

Major General Patrick Cordingly , retired Desert Rat ( he commanded 12,000 men in 7th Armoured Brigade, in the Gulf War) was on the Renta Quote for Iraq spot for the day (closely follows Thought For the Day usually) and he was jokingly describing the "Combat Rations" UK troops are given in unrelenting 40 degree heat.

Ho.Ho.Ho, Laughed this genial General, Beans and skinless sausages for six months every day. Terrible stuff.Ho. Bloody Ho.

"Dear General", shrieked Gemma, "we have been sending troops to the Gulf sice 1995 ,illegally invading Iraq in 2003 , 7 years bringing education to little girls in Afghanistan and you feed the men this shit."

A presenter choked on the "Tuna Bake" which was inedible. Ho.Ho. Ho. laughed the genial General again.

"You daft bastard" shouted Gemma (she really looks lovely when she is angry)..." the bloody Generals and Admirals like you spend squillions on military toys".Sh paused for breath. " Bloody millions , then you send them to Afghanistan in 50 year old designed ,unprotected "Snatch" Land Rovers...and the most important part of that Land Rover is the men in it"... another pause for breath, her bosom was heaving, and well..moving about a bit." Then you give them this muck"

There is of course powdered drinks, helps that stuff go down, disguises the taste. Ho Ho Ho laughed the genial General again. Of course water is in short supply ... desert, dry .. er.. sandy.

Well Gemma really, really got cross and used language ..like ..well.. a trooper living on baked beans and chlorinated water and washing once a week for six months.

She is right of course.. another example of the military masters failing to get their priorities right.

So we soon got her back to her old fighting self with some scrambled egg with smoked salmon and some delicate fried fresh mushrooms.. and champagne.. she likes champagne at breakfast.

Anyway the jovial General is all for some sort of research johnnies having a look at what they feed troops .. jolly important.. So fucking important that no-one has looked at how you feed our fighting machines properly. 3,000 calories a day .. what more do you want ... meals in the Officers mess ?

UPDATE Thursday 26th June

The Daily Mail have a story today following the ppearance of Major General Patrick Cordingly , retired Desert Rat on BBC4 Today programme

Yesterday the Ministry of Defence revealed the 20 menus, plus six each of Sikh, Hindu, vegetarian and halal, which should be ready for the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan next year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rush to judgement for anonymous trial witnesses...wronging a Right....more hastily prepared laws restricting ancient Common Law Rights

Well here IS a surprise. Justice Minister Maria Eagle (never voted against the Government) is reported by the BBC saying that as a result of the succesful Davis appeal which rules out the use of anonymous witnesses except where provided for by current legislation : "We're looking very urgently at the implications of the judgement. "

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "I certainly accept, and I said some time ago, that there is a problem here that we need to solve."

"We are working now... to look at what we need to do to put this right."

The justice secretary, war criminal Jack Straw, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he could put anonymous evidence on a statutory footing before December's Queen's speech.

"I'm looking at this as we speak," he said. "Ever since this judgment on Wednesday this has been my major preoccupation - to ensure that we are able to change the law as quickly as possible."

""We are working now... to look at what we need to do to put this right." said kebab chomping Jacqi Smith ...Oh no she isn't. The Government want to chang / mangle / destroy the common law that has survive for centuries to provide cover for the scret stitch up between the CPS and the Police, in defiance of the Common Law by allowing witnesses not only the cover of screens, but also anonymity, voice modulation and secrecy about their names, occupations, addresses. Thus denying the defendant the chance to truly test the accusers evidence and reasons for it.

Shock and Horror, scream the headlines .... a £6 million murder trial was halted at the Old Bailey today .

Common law and uncommon practices

It is now apparent that the Police and CPS lawyers had become so cocky in skipping round the Common Law. Misleading juries by preventing proper cross examination of witnesses. Making the job of obtaining evidence by the Police and case preparation by the CPS lawyers much easier. There are now at least 44 trials halted in their tracks, and a substantial number who will as a result of the Davis judgement, be subject to appeal .. and then a possible re-trial.

LORD BROWN OF EATON-UNDER-HEYWOOD @ Para 66 of the Davis Appeal Judgment said ..." ..If, .... the government now think it right to legislate in this field, so be it. Meantime, however, the creeping emasculation of the common law principle must be not only halted but reversed. It is the integrity of the judicial process that is at stake here. This must be safeguarded and vindicated whatever the cost. "

LORD CARSWELL @ Para 51 quoted the consequences identified of anonymity spelled out by Judge Ackermann in the South African case of State v Leepile (5) 1986 (4) SA 187, 189:

"The consequences to the accused of such a wide direction are, inter alia, the following:

(a) No investigation could be conducted by the accused's legal representatives into the witness' background to ascertain whether he has a general reputation for untruthfulness, whether he has made previous inconsistent statements nor to investigate other matters which might be relevant to his credibility in general.

(b) It would make it more difficult to make enquiries to establish that the witness was not at places on the occasions mentioned by him.

(c) It would further heighten the witness' sense of impregnability and increase the temptation to falsify or exaggerate."

Which , when considering the credibility of witnesses who frequent nightclubs in the early hours and are involved in the fringes of drug dealing and criminality, or who may be paid police informers on paint ball expeditions of brown men with beards, or help brown men with beards buy allegedly bomb making chemicals etc., etc., must be taken into account by a jury.

This is Gemma Garrett s latest Speech in her race for the seat of Haltemprice and Haydon - catch up with her Blog She will be speaking about David Davis's limp performae on You and Yours BBC 4 today which you can hear here. In which the surprise Studio guest was Gary Hindle (?) from the Royal United Seervices Institute, that fair minded bunch of Right Wing bastards and (fully paid up) members of the LadyDame Jane Pauline Baroness Neville Jones an Club for whom 42 days detention without charge is is nowhere near long enough.

As Lord Patel explained to Gemma over a cool, refeshing and relaxing glass of non post coital orange juice, his Nanny used to say..." Well Teddy, they must be very bad men, or else the Policemen wouldn't have taken them away".

June 25th National Catfish Day !!!

It's National Catfish Day. Time for cooking up some catfish on the Barbecue..time to save the woman in your life some cooking chores.

Here's How.

Light the Barbecue after calling a few good 'ol boys, pass round the Wild Turkey, crack a few stubbies. Convince everyone Dan Moreno was the greatest quarter back ever because he lived on a diet of catfish.

1. Take One 3 lb catfish per person, cut off the head, IIf you are from Alabama just bite it off and spit it out) draw the guts, skin.

2. Sprinkly with lemon /lime juice. Marinate.

Pass round the Wild Turkey, crack a few stubbies. Put Dolly Parton's latest CD on ...VERY LOUD . Explain how Joe Theismann broke his leg with a running demonstration. get someone to bring out Ezy Boy.

3. Sprinkle with Tabasco sauce.

Pass round the Wild Turkey, crack a few stubbies. Put some Frank Zappa on ...VERY LOUD

4. Put the catfish on the barbecue, till the surface is cracked black, turnover .Ditto.

Pass round the Jack Daniels as the Wild Turkey has ..er ..run out , crack a few more stubbies. Put some Frank Zappa on ...VERY LOUD Discuss calmly who is going to take the World Series and why it won't be the Patriots this time.

5. Take catfish and feed to cat.

Carry on with Zappa, Jack Daniels until the neighbours call the State Troopers over.

Factoid : Proclamation 5672 -- National Catfish Day, 1987 - June 25, 1987
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation - More and more Americans are discovering a uniquely American food delicacy -- farm-raised catfish. More >>

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish