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Calling On All Good Danes (And Other Folks, Too)

By On November 22nd, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Denmark to Hold New Referendum on Euro

Denmark will hold a referendum on whether to adopt the euro and drop exemptions to closer cooperation with the EU on defense and law enforcement, the prime minister said Thursday.

Danish voters rejected the European common currency in a 2000 referendum. The Scandinavian country has also opted out of other key areas of EU cooperation.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a news conference it was time to reassess those exemptions, which Denmark was granted in the early 1990s.

“A lot has changed since,” he said. “It is the right time to take a decision.”

No date was set for a vote but it would be held during the next four years, said the prime minister, whose center-right government was re-elected last week.

It was not immediately clear whether there would be a separate vote for each of the exemptions.

Danes stunned fellow EU nations in 1992 by rejecting the Maastricht treaty on closer European cooperation.

A year later, Danish voters approved a revised treaty with clauses letting the Scandinavian country stay outside a single currency and banking system and refrain from joining a European defense structure or conform to EU citizenship laws and common law enforcement.

“We have always said that the Danish exemptions are a hindrance for Denmark,” said Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark’s prime minister since 2001.

He said the referendum would be held after Denmark had ratified the new EU reform treaty, which includes changes in decision-making rules designed to make the union function more effectively. The treaty replaces the failed EU constitution, which was rejected two years ago.

Fogh Rasmussen’s Liberal-Conservative coalition won the Nov. 13 snap election with support from its nationalist ally, the Danish People’s Party, and a smaller centrist group.

Denmark, a country of 5.4 million people, has held five referendums on EU-related issues since it joined the bloc in 1973.

In the latest one, on Sept. 28, 2000, Danes voted 53.1 percent to 46.9 percent against replacing the Danish krone with the euro. Recent opinion polls have shown a narrow majority of Danes now favor switching to the euro.

Via the AP

It appears that Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is afflicted with a serious case of -isms. To better understand that from which Rasmussen and many Old Europe politicians suffer, clarity is found in New Europe, as demonstrated by President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic.

[…]

Ten-fifteen years ago I spoke many times in this country about this process of transition, about its non-zero costs, about its benefits, tenets and pitfalls. Now, when it’s over, we face a different problem.

As I said, we already succeeded in getting rid of communism. But – along with the predominant view at home and elsewhere – we erroneously hoped that the attempts to suppress freedom and to centrally organize, mastermind, regulate, control the whole society (and economy) were already matters of the past, an almost forgotten historic relic. They are, to our great disappointment, still there. I see more examples of them in Europe and in most of international organizations than in America itself, but they can be found here as well.

The reason is that there are new, very popular and fashionable “isms” which again put various issues, visions, plans and projects ahead of individual freedom and liberty. It is social-democratism (which is nothing else than a milder and softer version of communism), it is human-rightism (based on the idea of mostly positive rights applicable all over the world), it is internationalism, multiculturalism, europeism, feminism, environmentalism and other similar ideologies.

Communism is over, but attempts to rule from above, are still, or perhaps again, here.

The second main challenge I see is connected with our experience with the EU, but goes beyond it because it is part of a broader tendency towards denationalization of countries and towards world-wide supranationalism and global governance.

The special sensitivity, that I (and many of my countrymen) have, makes me view many current trends in Europe rather critically. My opponents do not seem to hear my arguments and a priori keep rejecting the views they don’t like. To understand my criticism requires familiar knowledge of the developments in the EU, its gradual metamorphosis from a community of cooperating nations to the union of non-sovereign nations and prevailing supranationalistic tendencies. This is not the standard knowledge in America.

I have always been in favor of friendly, peaceful, and for all of us enriching cooperation and collaboration of European countries. However, I have many times pointed out that the move towards an ever-closer Europe, the so-called deepening of EU, the rapid political integration, and the supranational tendencies without an authentic European identity and an European demos are not only necessary for the freedom and democracy in Europe, but damaging.

Freedom and democracy, these two, for us so precious values, cannot be secured without the parliamentary democracy within a clearly defined state territory. This is exactly what the current European political elites and their fellow-travelers are attempting to eliminate. And it bothers me.

This is from a speech Klaus delivered before the CATO Institute earlier this year and his ranking of the Religion of Environmentalism&#153 as the third main threat to individual freedom is a great read.

Or, kick back and see for yourself.

Writing in the Financial Times June 13th, Klaus stated that,

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).

Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: “future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”.

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:

    ■ Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
    ■ Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
    ■ Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
    ■ Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
    ■ Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
    ■ Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
    ■ Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

Amen, brother!

Also at JammieWearingFool

clowning around at the G8…meanwhile

By ATWadmin On June 7th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

ATW reported last year on one Malalai Joya.  The outspoken MP who stands up for women in Afghanistan and a vehement critic of the current government set up. She ‘rose to fame’ in 2003 gaining access to Parliament having spent much of her young life working solidly to build up womens rights.  Amongst the threats of rape and waterbottle throwing fits in this ‘Parliament’, one of the warlords she was attacking, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, told her that her speech denouncing them was ‘a crime’ and announced "Jihad is the basis of this nation" asking for her microphone to be disconnected.  She is no fan of the coalition forces either – accusing them of abandoning democracy by leaving it in the hands of men no better than Saddam Hussein and pointing out women were now using the burqa again for security (prior to the renewed coalition focus on Afghanistan). Survivor of 4 assassination attempts but solid in her commitment to stay and shout down the warlords, her very presence in the parliament is a powerful symbol of change.  She is, though, a woman in a world that hasnt caught up with her. Where a coalition is forced to accept ‘democratic shortfalls’? 
The role she has keenly taken up – to undermine the men who hold their penises in one hand and their Korans in the other.
The Speaker of the house Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, a former mujahideen leader, once called her an infidel, and said that if she did not apologise she could not attend the next session of ‘parliament’.  It would be almost comical if his words werent about to come true, another womans rights activist hadnt been murdered this week and Malalai’s life wasnt in constant danger. She is revered as a heroine amongst the people of Afghanistan but has finally now been suspended from Parliament – for breaking balls. When it comes to making their mark about who is in charge, as brave troops battle the Taleban,  it is women who will be used cynically as the dogs favourite lampost. Still – Good to see she got a timely full page today in the Times

Saturday ATW Brain-Teaser!

By ATWadmin On January 13th, 2007 at 4:40 pm

OK, here’s a logic puzzle that I have rewritten from another text. Hope you enjoy it!

********************************************************************** 

Multi-billionaire Sir Bob Shilling knew that he was getting on in years, and that it was time for him to choose which of his two sons, Dan or Jim, would inherit his fortune.

So he sent for his sons, and told them, “Dan, Jim, my sons. Ah, there you are, wasting your time doing those crummy logic puzzles as usual! You wouldn’t ever catch me doing any of those stupid puzzles! Put those magazines away and come here and listen to me.

“I was out shopping today, and you know what I’m like, if I see a car I like the look of, I’ll buy it there and then. Well, I saw these two beautiful brand new Ferrari’s this afternoon, both the same colour, model and engine size, fully air-conditioned, smoked windows for privacy, all the trimmings, and with personalised number plates “DAN 1” and “JIM 1”, and I knew I just had to buy them for my sons. I hope you like them!

“Now then, it’s time for me to decide which one of you will inherit my billions. I’d split the money equally between you if I could, but as you both know, it’s been a tradition in the Shilling family for generations, that the father passes on his inheritance to only one of his sons, that way the other one must learn to make his fortune by his own hard work.

“Here’s how we’re gonna do it: Take your new cars from here, No.1 Richmond St, Mayfair, London, and race all the way to my hilltop mansion in Edinburgh. I’ll shoot up there in my private jet, and I’ll use my binoculars to spot you coming up the hill. As soon as I see the winner approaching, I’ll telex my solicitor with the inheritance arrangements”.

“So”, said Dan, “a straight race, huh? First one there gets all your billions? Neat. I’m game for that. Are you game too, Jim?”

“Sounds fair enough to me, Dan. Let’s shake hands so there’s no hard feelings – may the best one win”. And with that, they ran out of the room as fast as their legs would take them, heading for the cars.

“Not so fast, there, wait a minute, boys”, Sir Bob called out after them along the corridor, at the very top of his voice. “I’m afraid you haven’t quite understood me”. The sons were quite a distance away, by now. Sir Bob continued to yell out, “It’s the SLOWEST one, the one who LOSES the race, that’s gonna inherit my fortune. Do you hear me? Boys, did you hear me? Boys…”

But before Sir Bob had finished his sentence, the two brothers had already disappeared into the garage, jumped into their new cars and proceeded to race off at top speed towards Edinburgh.

“Oh No! Stupid boys! Always in such a rush to get going – they obviously didn’t hear a word of what I just said! They’re gonna have such a surprise! I’m not even flying up there until next week; I mean, why should I? There ought to be no great rush, after all! In fact, I’d better phone up the housekeeper at Edinburgh and let him know that those two silly boys will be there in ten hours’ time” thought Sir Bob to himself, chuckling at the thought of how silly they would look, and realising that he would, in fairness to them both, have to call off the “race” and start again.

Sir Bob relaxed and sat down, and he picked up one of his sons’ “logic problems” magazines and started working through a few easy problems. And as his mental sinews began to loosen and clear, it suddenly hit him. He pressed his intercom. “Get me my pilot! Tell him, prepare to take off for Edinburgh immediately! I can’t say for sure, but I now know that there’s a 50/50 chance that my sons did, in fact, hear what I last said to them”.

– “You’ve got to be joking, Sir! Wilkins is up in his private helicopter, and he spotted them both an hour ago, zooming up the M1 somewhere near Derby, at 120mph! How can they possibly think –“

– “Don’t argue with me! Just get ready to take off!”

What did Sir Bob suddenly realise?

ATW SATURDAY NIGHT BRAIN-TEASER!

By ATWadmin On December 23rd, 2006 at 5:25 pm

Here’s another offering for all you logicians out there from Aileen..now pay attention and see who can work it out first….I’ve just looked at it and had to lie down in a darkened room!!!!

The tiger, the witch and the wardrobe

This is my favourite saint/sinner/mixer puzzle at the moment!
While travelling with her pet tiger, Tatiana the Explorer wandered into the land of Pishta.
Pishta was a land that followed the rules of saints, mixers and sinners. Where saints always tell the truth, sinners always lie and mixers strictly alternate between lies and the truth. (note that being a saint or sinner only relates to the truth or otherwise of what you say. Also for a statement which is two statements with "and" the whole thing is the statement so the whole statement will be false if only one of the sub-statements is)
While Tatiana was in the capital, the prince of Pishta, handsome and aristocratic, noticed her and asked her to marry him. The Queen however, did not want a commoner to marry her son, so she insisted that Tatiana prove herself by passing a test.
The night before the test the Prince confided to Tatiana, "You will be asked to choose between three doors. I will be behind the door furthest to the right. Your tiger and a wardrobe of peasant clothes will be in the other rooms. But be aware that if you choose the door that hides your tiger, your days of exploring will be over. If you choose the peasant clothes you will be forced to work in the castle. Remember my words my dear, for I love you and I promise to make you happy always."
The morning of the test the Queen led Tatiana to a hall with three doors. The Queen said, "For your test, you are to pick one of these three doors. One of these doors hides a fantastic wardrobe of new clothes for you. Behind another is where my son, the Prince, awaits. The third hides a ferocious man-eating animal. To help you make your decision, I have provided six counsellors. Listen to what they say, because they have all been verified to be Saints. The selection of counsellors was easy to make because, after all, there are no Sinners in Pishta."
Tatiana listened to each of the six counsellors:
Counselor A: The prince is not behind the left door. The animal is not in the library.
Counselor B: The wardrobe is not in the library. The animal is not in the kitchen.
Counselor C: The animal is not behind the right door. The prince is not behind the middle door.
Counselor D: The animal is to the right of the library. The prince is to the left of the library.
Counselor E: The wardrobe is behind the door to the left. The door to the left leads to the dining room.
Counselor F: The prince is not behind the right door. The right door does not lead to the kitchen.
Which door should Tatiana choose? ….and show your reasoning!

ATW SATURDAY NIGHT BRAINTEASER….

By ATWadmin On December 16th, 2006 at 2:54 pm

Right. Sit up and pay attention. Aileen has set you another puzzle for this (cold) Saturday evening – hopefully working it out will generate some mental heat…

 In the city of Enigmamia every person is either a saint (every statement is the truth)or a sinner (every statement is a lie). One night, two robbers managed to break into the Enigmamia Central Bank.

Five men were brought to the police station for questioning. It was certain both robbers were present.
To narrow the field, each man was individually interrogated about the identities of the robbers. The results were:
Alex: 1. At most one of Bill and Eddy is guilty. 2. Dave is guilty.
Bill: 1. Both Alex and Carl are guilty. 2. Eddy is not guilty.
Carl: 1. At least one of Dave and Eddy is guilty. 2. Bill is not guilty.
Dave: 1. Exactly one of Alex and Bill is guilty. 2. Carl is guilty.
Eddy: 1. Neither Carl nor Dave is guilty. 2. Alex is guilty.
Which two suspects robbed the bank?  And show your working out ….

 

The Left and Its ‘Acceptable’ Dictators

By ATWadmin On December 13th, 2006 at 8:25 am

If I walked down the street wearing a T-shirt with the words ‘I love Hitler’ emblazoned on it, I doubt whether I’d make it 100 yards before, rightly, being insulted or assaulted.  However, if I replaced the word ‘Hitler’ with the word ‘Stalin’,  I suspect most people would not bat an eyelid.  There are obvious similarities between the two.  The cooperated with each other during the early years of WWII; and they ruled their respective territories with an iron fist.  The main difference is the number of people they were responsible for killing.  In that league there is no comparison.  Stalin presided over 50 million deaths, approximately twice the number that Hitler did.

So why would there be a different public reaction to my hypothetical prank?  The answer lies in the media and political consensuses which have a crafty knack of presenting dictators in different ways depending upon whether they hail from the Left or Right of the political spectrum.  Those who inhabit the moral confusion that is Left-wing thought follow slavishly in their wake.  Thus the death of someone like General Pinochet is to be celebrated, whilst the activities of those who were equal and superior in terms of their negative impact are either excused or ignored.  How many know of such names of Jean-Bedel Bokassa or Colonel Mengistu?   The former gave, inter alia, the order for the massacre of 100 schoolchildren in the Central African Republic because they refused to wear the government-decreed uniform; the latter murdered thousands in Ethiopia.  What do they have in common?  A commitment to Marxist ideology.  As for Idi Amin, the most famous act the media remember him for was the expulsion of the Ugandan Indians.  Even Mugabe’s brutal excesses managed to be airbrushed by the Left who see his evil rule as a consequence of ‘British imperialism’.

As David has pointed out, this week saw the passing of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet.  Chile has always been, for me, the most interesting country politically in the Americas.  It is the South American nation with the closest historical ties to the United Kingdom.  It’s first president was the son of an Irish immigrant from Sligo (then part of the Union); its navy was founded by a Scotsman; its roads, railways and much of its agricultural practices were taught by the British – not the Spanish.  Even today 1-in-10 Chileans has some ancient family connection to Britain.  Pinochet was, without doubt, an evil man whose agents of assassination spread far and wide to catch those who opposed him.  Dissenters were hunted down and killed in places as far afield as Italy.  But he pales into insignificance compared with the numbers killed by Castro.

So why the contrast in media approach?  You cannot use the terms of Pinochet’s accession to justify the difference.  Plenty of Left-wing dictators also overcame mandated rule.  It is because the mists of Leftist ‘working hero’ romanticism always come to the fore when excusing the likes of Castro.  Invoking the image of working class resistance has the same impact on Left wing thought as Islam does on suicide bombers.  For many on the Left, death is always excusable when the aim is the ’emancipation of the labouring classes’.  The irony that escapes them today is the fact that Chile has a market economy and an average annual income of nearly $6,000 – thanks largely to the free market practices introduced by Pinochet; whilst Cuba is so secretive and so poor it doesn’t even release its GNI figures to the World Bank, but is widely viewed as having an average annual income less than one-sixth of that!!!  Pinochet killed 3,700; Castro killed 20,000.  Figures like that can really make you choke on your Socialist Workers Party dinner, can’t they?

ATW SATURDAY NIGHT BRAINTEASER!

By ATWadmin On December 9th, 2006 at 7:39 pm

OK all you intellects out there. Aileen has once again come up with a challenge for you, this Saturday evening! Can YOU work it out?
You are off in your travels in the land of living saints and sinners, where saints only tell the truth and sinners only lies and mixers who tell the truth and lie alternately. This time you are walking to a destination, and have to pass through Talking Town. As is common with these problems, you see a fork in the road, and inquire about which way leads to Truth Town. Four people around give you advice, but you don’t know their veracity or their gender. You gather from their conversation that all four are either saints or sinners, and there is exactly one girl in the group.

The four natives make the following statements

A: Take the left fork to get to Truth Town.

B: All sinners are girls.

C: All saints are girls.

D: All people who begin their statements with "All" are either all saints or all sinners.

Just from these four statements, can you see whether the left or right fork leads to Truth Town (one and only one does)? (Also: Which one is the girl?)

Additional note the "alls" relate to the group of four and the four statements. Show your reasoning.
If I challenge your reasoning I may not be disagreeing so much as making sure that I follow you or that you have made a lucky stab in the dark!

ATW SATURDAY BRAIN TEASER….

By ATWadmin On December 2nd, 2006 at 5:36 pm

OK – Aileen has generously provided us all with another dose of logical enquiry. Who will solve it first?
You are on your travels in the land of living saints and sinners. That means that all of the natives are either saints, who always tell the truth or sinners who always lie. You meet six men on a road side.
Then you have a problem – you can’t find your wallet and you had it before you met the six men and you can’t figure out if they are truth tellers or not. So you ask a few questions and here are their answers:

Allan: "Fred stole it. Fred also hears quite well."

Barry: "Calvin is a sinner. I did not steal it and I know Allan did not steal it."

Calvin: "Allan and Dwayne are both saints. Eddy stole it."

Dwayne: "Allan is a sinner. I did not steal it."

Eddy: "Only 4 of us are saints. I did not steal it. I know Calvin did not steal it."

Fred: "I am deaf but read lips. Barry did not steal it."

There is no one else about.

Who’s got the wallet?

ATW SATURDAY EVENING BRAINTEASER…!

By ATWadmin On November 25th, 2006 at 5:36 pm

795151-564912-thumbnail.jpgOK you lot, I see that you’ve been arguing all day on another topic so I can’t think of a better moment to divert all that..ahem..collective intelligence into solving a little puzzle dreamed up by our resident ATW Logician-in-chief…Aileen!

Three young men named Ernesto, Fontleroy, and Gildenstern arrived singly at an inn and awaited the innkeeper. When she arrived at the front desk, all three asked for the best room. The innkeeper explained that, since it was not possible for them all to have the best room, the man who had arrived first could have a spacious room overlooking the village square, the second to arrive could have a small room with a partial view of the garden, and the third would have to settle for a drafty loft by the back alley, but it was the last room she had to offer. The following conversation ensued:
Ernesto: I am a saint.
Fontleroy: While I am only a mixer.
Gildenstern: I agree with you there, Fontleroy.
Ernesto: Gildenstern is a saint.
Fontleroy: No, he is a sinner.
Gildenstern: Then let me say: I did not arrive first.
Ernesto: Fontleroy is the sinner.
Fontleroy: Following Gildenstern’s lead, let me say: I did not arrive first.
Gildenstern: Ernesto is a mixer.
Ernesto: If that is so, then the most honest of us did not arrive last.
Fontleroy: Ernesto, you are a saint.
Gildenstern: Ha!
The innkeeper knew that everyone in these parts was either a (living) saint who always told the truth, a sinner who never told the truth, or a mixer whose statements strictly alternated between truth and untruth. Using deductive reasoning, what is the disposition of each man, and what room did the innkeeper assign to each. In the best traditions of the schoolroom, you need to show your "working out"
Aileen awaits your responses……….who will work it out first?