Archive for Obama

Is Cost Effective Government Possible?

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Insanity, Mobile Phone, Modern World, MP's, Parliament, Police, President, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/10/2010 by floroy1942

The old adage: “If you want to make money – get a Government contract” is as true today as it ever was. The bigger the country, and thereby the government, the easier it is to charge extortionate fees for the provision of services.

Sir Philip Green

The sheer depth of government miss-spending has been revealed in Britain today by a report issued on an ‘in-house’ investigation by a well known High Street name, specifically Sir Philip Green, owner of the ‘Top Shop’ chain of stores. He was commissioned by David Cameron, the UK Prime Minster, to look into government spending with a view to cutting expenditure. What he uncovered defies description!

He stated quite frankly, that if he operated his business in the same way, he would be bankrupt within in days.

Government Waste?

In Sir Philips view, literally billions of the huge £191 billion budget could be saved by government departments with better co-ordination in the procurement of services. As an example, he estimates that a massive £600 to £700 million could be saved on the annual British Telecom budget of £2 billion. Renegotiating contracts with companies providing mobile phone services, and even office supplies and coffee could save up to 40% of the annual budget.

Damn! There Goes Another £1.45

The differences between departments in the costs being forked out for mundane things such as a box of copy paper (from £8 to £73), printer cartridges (from £86 to £396) and a cup of coffee (90p to £1.45) are to say the least, quite staggering. Who in their right minds would pay £396 for a printer cartridge? Talk about being ripped off!

Never Heard of Video Conferencing?

Sir Philip also criticised the 400,000 nights a year spent by M.P’s in hotels in London in order to attend meetings at a cost of £30 million. In the modern age he found it incomprehensible that so much money could be spent on people who must attend meetings personally. Quite rightly he puts the question: “Have these people never heard of video conferencing?”

M.P’s transport costs such as taxis and hire cars is a huge £551 millions a year. Someone from an anonymous car hire firm wrote in to say her company were being paid by the government £156.28 a week for a small car, which a normal customer would get for £99!

At the Heart of it All

It’s amazing to think that no-one in the financial side of government, i.e., The Treasury, has checked up on this kind of thing for so many years. It’s the same old story of there being no accountability within government circles! Government laptops, so often in the news for being left behind on buses, in taxis and on tube trains by government officials in sensitive jobs, cost up to £2000, while a little research on the internet revealed identical models for just £800.

Sir Philip also questioned the advisability of moving a government agency to new offices in the Midlands with a rent of £1.2 million a year on a 20 year contract, fixed for 15 years, when shortly after the department was abolished leaving a commitment of £18 million. Mismanagement of real estate by government departments costs the taxpayer £25 billion a year but could be drastically reduced.

The final report due out on Monday should make very interesting reading for Governments world-wide, especially in the rest of Europe and the United States. With luck, it will begin a wave of in-house cleaning by many governments, but I doubt it.

The Eurofighter - Costly, But Worth It

When government contracts are awarded for new military hardware, buildings or transport links etc., we all know that the project is going to cost e.g., £25 billion, but when the final accounting is done the end figure can be five times that or more. Good examples are the Eurofighter from BA Systems and the Channel Tunnel, both of which went way over budget.

Boring the Eurotunnel

Such major contracts are first put out for tender and presumably the lowest bidder wins. In my opinion, over the last three or four decades many companies have intentionally put in ridiculously low bids, one for which they know they cannot complete the task, just to get the contract. Once the contract is signed, they are fully aware the price can be jacked up once they have started work.

This is no way to run a business, and running the government services for any country is just that, a business on a larger scale.

The Secret - Make it Stick!

Governments must realise that if a supplier quotes a certain price for work to be carried out, the company must be held responsible for ensuring the end product for the quoted price. Companies dealing with government departments, be it the Ministry of Defence, Transport or whatever, must be made to put in realistic bids for services to be provided. There is nothing wrong in allowing perhaps a 3-5% cost over-run in today’s turbulent markets, but it should be no more than that.

The problems highlighted by Sir Philip Green only go to emphasis that much tighter control is necessary on government spending, for in the long run, it always comes from the pockets of the general public in the form of taxes.

This is 'In-house'

The present coalition government is currently looking for ways to reduce the annual budget by many billions of pounds with cuts to defence and the police force high on the gender. It would seem wise for them to first look in-house before taking such drastic measures, and the assistance of men like Sir Philip would be invaluable in such an exercise. By this I mean top flight business men with a known track record like Sir Philip who pulled BHS back from the brink into a good solid company, not some fly-by-night stock exchange wannabe.

Obama, Zarkosy and Merkel - the Big Three

Britain is by no means the only country afflicted with such woes. I am sure the economies of all the major nations could see a dramatic upswing if the leaders, like Angela Merkel, Presidents Barack Obama and Nicholas Sarkozy were to employ businessmen in strategic monetary positions within the government as fiscal advisors.

Another Good Place to Start?

Without a doubt, we will not see an end to the worlds economic woes when duly elected governments and leaders allow such wastage at the top, while telling the public it is time to ‘tighten belts’.

I firmly believe in the old saying, which should apply especially to governments: ‘If you must lead, lead by example!’

Roy.


Pastor Terry Jones – A Simple Solution!

Posted in Afghanistan, Al Quada, Arab, Christianity, Demonstration, Insanity, Insurgents, Islamic Revolution, Modern World, Muslim, Obama, President, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorists, UN, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on 10/09/2010 by floroy1942

Not in My Name!

There is a very simple and cost-effective answer to the furore surrounding the “Quaran Book-Burning Day” threatened by Pastor Terry Jones and his cohorts.

Pastor Jones

Surround the whole church and congregation with fire trucks, and the second someone lights a match, turn on the hoses. Sounds simple, but very affective!

Such a humiliating action would probably be sufficient to take the wind from the sails of the Muslim demonstrators world-wide.

The amount of media attention this whole drama received has turned it into a world headline incident of devastating proportions. Now 4 people (Muslim demonstrators in Afghanistan) have died because the media made the man famous. Let’s face it, before the hype, Jones was unknown outside his own community but has now received international fame. While I can understand his motives, i.e. being against the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, this is not the way to change the situation (See ‘Pig Power and Ground Zero’ entry on this blog – another simple solution).

Muslim Reaction

Governments, and even the UN now know the name of this man and his notoriety has set the whole Muslim world on its head. I agree with President Obama in that this mans actions will fuel the al Quada and Taliban recruitment enormously. Those who will suffer the most are the soldiers serving in Afghanistan, and probably Iraq. They will be on the receiving end of the Muslim wrath, not our “innocent” man of the church!

Shame on you Sir!

Roy.

At Last The Knife Goes In

Posted in Justice, Modern World, Obama, President, USA with tags , , , on 23/10/2009 by floroy1942

Finally a brave politician has put the knife into the banking sector, and companies that received government aid at the start of the current financial crisis. The income of these bank executives and CEO’s has been slashed from it’s previously outrageous levels to, what I would call, a more acceptable level, but all is not what it seems.

President Obama has been the first world leader with guts enough to attempt cutting the exorbitant salaries of these people. He appointed Kenneth Feinberg this summer to look into the huge payments, and he has just released the first phase results.

I can hear the moans in the Boardrooms across America now; “Damn! I was going to get myself another Ferrari, a new villa in the Bahamas, a massive yacht, and a huge new cabin cruiser to park in Puerto Banus Harbour in Spain (the most expensive), and oh, the wife wanted a new ironing board. I was even thinking of buying Yellowstone National Park to build some condo’s. Now I guess all that will go on hold. Damn that Obama fella!. Doesn’t he understand I want to be super-rich?”

Of the top seven companies bailed out by the US tax payer, 136 employees from; AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, General Motors, Chrysler, and Chrysler Financial have all taken a hit.

According to the news, bank executives and CEO’s will have to take a 90% pay cut, while their employees, traders etc, would take a cut of up to 50%. Bosses would no longer receive huge bonuses, but get stock in their company they could not sell until 2011.

It is staggering to see the pay-packets some of these individuals take home. Top of the tree is Sanjay Jha, Co-CEO of

struggling Motorola, who took home a massive $104.4 million in 2008. His salary was a mere $484,615, but he made a further $412,096 in ‘Perks’, $36 million in stock grants and $67,59 million in stock options.

He and his fellow CEO Gregory Brown ($24.2 million), were magnanamous in December last year and took a 25% salary cut. At the same time, Motorola froze all employees salaries and retirement contributions. It sounds like a case of; “Pull up the ladder Jack, I’m on board”.

Mr Jah no doubt owns several Ferrari’s, probably one for each day of the week. His only problem would be to decide which colour to drive on which day! “Let me see. Monday the blue one, Tuesday the black one…….”

I wish I had those problems, the only trouble is I would find it hard to decide; I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure!

Mr. Jah is of course not alone with this problem. The CEO’s of; Oracle, Walt Disney, American Express, Citigroup, Hewlett Packard, Calpine, News Corp, Honeywell International and Proctor and Gambell all face the same agonizing problems, and I haven’t mentioned the car industry yet!

Among the “Money Men’, under the new rules AIG’s top executive will get the highest salary at $10.5 Million which will include a salary of $3 million, a $3.5 million bonus, and $4 million in stock options. AIG is still one of the companies bailed out by the tax payer. But there’s worse to come!

The top 22 executives of Citigroup, bailed out with billions, will share a staggering $118 million in salary, stock options, and restricted stock options that will increase over the next four years. Mama! I want to be a bank executive. Please, can I????

All I can say is; firstly, I should have chosen banking as a career instead of the military and aircraft industry, and secondly; everyone should start keeping their money under the mattress and let the bankers starve.

Of course, the bankers and CEO’s are complaining. Their arguement is, that without the current bonus scheme they will lose all their star performers to companies that are not covered by the new ruling. Citbank and Bank of America have already reported losing key personnel to companies like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase who managed to escape from the governments clutches during the summer. Some companies are activly engaged in luring away these people with promises of even double their previous bonuses and salaries. Who can refuse that.

The downside is, the loss of key personnel may affect the recovery of the institution concerned, putting repayment of the government loans in jeopardy.

But when all is said and done, these people may not lose as much as first thought. The ruling on bonuses put in place by Ken Feinberg is not watertight. Instead of bonuses they will get ‘Incentive Pay’ in the form of company stock, so all may not be lost after all, just be a little more complicated.

Scrutiny on the part of the general public is advised to see how all this ends, but I for one hope the money trail dries up for these people because they have been milking us for far too long.

All we need now is for the heads of state and governments around the world to take action on this despicable practice once and for all.

May your mattress bulge in all the right places!

Roy.

Some People Are UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

Posted in Obama with tags , , , on 18/06/2009 by floroy1942

I cannot help myself! I have to write about the reaction of some insane people to an incident that occurred a couple of days ago with President Obama.

Many will have seen the articles, or perhaps Facebook video clips, of the President killing a fly during the taping of a CNBC interview that was aired last Wednesday. It was quite funny and he does have good hand/eye coordination as reported.

Today, a report has come in that an obscure animal rights group in the USA has criticised his action as “an execution”.

They call themselves ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’, the PETA, and they are asking Obama to show a little compassion to even the “the least sympathetic animals”!

Can you believe this! It was a fly for crying out loud! It’s a pest! It spreads disease! It tramps around on your dog’s droppings and then on your food for heavens sake! I am aware there are ‘nutters’ (a good English word) around, but these idiots should be locked away as a danger to public health.

I suppose that if any of them ever got lice in their hair they would have someone gently remove them so they can be released outside!!! I can imagine they never wash because then they would be killing millions of mites that live on our skin constantly. Ugh!

When asked for their official response, their blog site gave the following answer; “In a nutshell, our position is this: He isn’t the Buddha, he is a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act.” Eh! Pardon? I have heard some ‘Codswollop’ (another good old English word) in my many years, but this really does take first prize!

What gets my goat about all these animal rights half-wits is that most have no objection to animals being slaughtered so they can eat them, but The President cannot kill a fly.

Apparently, they have even gone so far as to send Obama some sort of fly trap that captures flies so they may be released outside. Flies being what they are, they just do a 180* and fly straight back in again, but I guess they haven’t worked out a contingency plan for that scenario yet. Keep at it people!


Do they make people sized fly swats?


Roy.

A Missed Opportunity.

Posted in Israel, Netanyahu, Obama, Palestine with tags , , , , , on 15/06/2009 by floroy1942

With his speech yesterday, Binjamin Netanyahu the Israeli Premier, stood on the dockside and watched the ‘Peace Boat’ sail without him. Most people were not expecting any earth-moving changes to the Israeli stance on a Palestinian State, and they were not disappointed.

Apart from a reference to the existence of a Palestinian State, which clearly had to be dragged out of him, he didn’t make a single move that could be called constructive when it came to ending the dispute. Both the USA and European governments voiced muted acceptance of the speech, stating that at least the recognition for a Palestinian State was “a step in the right direction”.

Netanyahu called for a de-militarised State for Palestinians with no control over its airspace, and recognition by the Palestinians of a ‘Jewish State’. This latter statement alone was not acceptable to any of the Arab countries listening. It would mean that refugees from the 1948 founding of Israel would have no right of return to their ancestral home, or as many fear, be second class citizens in a state for Jews.

The speech made no reference to the removal of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, much of it stolen, and all declared illegal by the United Nations, the EU and USA. It is clear this speech was an attempt to defuse the tension between President Obama and the Israeli’s on the settlement situation. In that I am sure it failed miserably.

President Obama, quite rightly in my view, has insisted that all settlement enlargement on Palestinian land be halted immediately. If you read my post of June 3rd you will see a UN map of the restrictions placed on Palestinians in the West Bank. Not only have the Israeli’s taken over huge tracts of land for the settlements, but severely restricted Palestinian access and travel to more than half of the West Bank (see map-Orange area).

It would be like England taking over half of Ireland, or the USA taking half of Mexico, and saying the local people can neither live nor travel in these areas because of ‘our’ security.

Firstly, I believe Israel does have a right to exist right where it is, but the Israeli hard-line Right attitude of, “It all belonged to us two thousand years ago” will not hold water. Netanyahu’s problem is that this grouping in The Knesset is very strong, and if he wishes his government to remain in power he cannot be seen to make concessions on the settlements. This puts him on a direct collision course with not only the Arab World and The Palestinians, but with the Obama camp. Obama can also not be seen to give in on his demand for all settlement activity to stop, because he made a promise to the Muslim world in his Cairo speech, and let’s face it, why should he, they are all illegal under International Law.

This in effect brings us back to the age-old impasse that has been going on for more than half a century. While I have a certain sympathy with the Israeli cause for a homeland, I cannot approve of the way they have being doing things for the last thirty years at least. I have often come out on the side of Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks by the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah, and I still believe that to be true. Israel has had to fight for its very existence on several occasions and I agree with that, but the current atmosphere is of Israeli making because of their intransigence with regard to the settlements which they believe is their right because of history.

I have to say that were it my choice, all the settlements would be turned over to the Palestinians lock, stock, and barrel! The Israeli’s have no right to be there, and for them to continue in existence would be pure land theft on a grand scale.

I can imagine the outcry if American citizens started building townships on Mexican or Canadian soil along the border and banned the locals from entering this territory. Imagine if you will that all nations acted in this way, WW3 here we come. But the Israeli’s have gotten away with it for the past forty years! Incredible!!

Before any progress can be made towards a lasting settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian question the problem of the settlements has to be addressed by the Knesset.

Last but not least, Netanyahu did not give any ground on the question of Jerusalem. He told his audience, and the world, that the city would remain in Jewish Hands. The Palestinians of course want their Capitol to be in Jerusalem as do the Jews. So once again we have an impasse.

According to the original boundary’s laid down for the State of Israel by the United Nations in 1947, the border runs through the city with Jews and Palestinians sharing. If Jesus were to return today and see the turmoil surrounding this Holy City he would be livid!

I fear this is a problem that will go on and on. I wish President Obama luck in his attempt and I hope he succeeds. I believe the answer lies with the US President and Government, for only they have the power to make the Israeli’s come to the negotiating table with real gifts of compromise. Without the backing of America Israel will become a smoking hole, especially if the Iranians get nuclear weapons, although the Israeli Government may not let it get that far. If they do attack Iran and knock out their nuclear capability, they will bring upon themselves the wrath of the entire Arab and Muslim world, although I think in private many will be relieved.

I do not wish to reiterate my suggested solution to the problems here, for that you would need to read my earlier posts, but suffice it to say, at the moment the whole argument is going nowhere, and things will not improve until Israel starts facing up to reality instead of the past.

Abraham, your people need you – again!

Roy.

Obama’s Message

Posted in Obama with tags , , , , on 05/06/2009 by floroy1942

Without being overly dramatic, I think yesterday we heard what may turn out to be the most important political speech for decades. I refer of course to President Obama’s speech to Muslims world-wide, made from the University of Cairo, Egypt.

All reviewers have remarked how eloquent his speech was, and in general, it has been greeted with praise and enthusiasm. There are those of course who have criticised it as meaningless propaganda, but you know what they say about ‘Pleasing all of the people’…

The most heartening part of all is that with perhaps the exception of Iran, Hamas, and Hezbolla of Lebanon, who remain sceptical of Obama’s intentions, most Muslims seem ready to give him the benefit of the doubt, and are pleased that at last we have an American President who is ready, and it seems willing, to mend fences with the Muslim world.

He is without doubt as good an orator as Bush was bad, and one gets the feeling that he means what he says. He really is trying to gain a better relationship between America and the Muslims, which after all the sabre-rattling of the previous administration is a refreshing change.

His speech touched on just about all the main issues that are on the minds of Muslims, from the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions, to women’s rights and religious freedom.

It was a long speech, 55 minutes, and although it could not possibly have been unscripted, Obama was never once seen referring to notes and there was no evidence of tele-prompters around considering his eyes were constantly on the move. It was indeed a remarkable performance, and should he be given the chance to realise even some of the things he is trying to do, I think the speech could well go down as one of the great defining moments of history.

He is after all, only trying to achieve a world we all want for our children, a world at peace, with all peoples living in harmony. It is a pipe-dream, but you cannot fault him for trying to achieve it.

It saddens me to know there are some individuals who have ridiculed his speech as worthless and without substance. The biggest cry heard has been ‘actions speak louder than words’ and so they do. They want to hear the speech and ten minutes later see the fruits of it. The only being I know who can deliver that is God.

For once, lets put aside our back-stabbing, mistrust, and petty behaviour, and give the man a chance to achieve his dream, for all mankind will be better off if he succeeds.


I for one wish President Obama success in his endeavors, I hope you do to.


Roy.


Israel – Obama’s Dilemma

Posted in Israel, Obama, Palestine, Six Day War with tags , , , , on 03/06/2009 by floroy1942

No-one in their right mind would think President Obama is looking forward to a direct confrontation with Israel, but things seem to be headed in that direction.

After recent discussions between the President and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, in which Obama made it plain that all West Bank settlement construction must cease, it would appear the Israeli Government is not prepared to play ball.

Since his return to Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it clear they will stick to an agreement made with George W. Bush, i.e. that construction would be restricted to ‘natural growth’ in established settlements. This can be interpreted to mean; We will continue to build and expand all existing settlements, but we promise not to start any more!

Both sides of the argument are easy to understand. On the one hand, President Obama cannot be seen by the Arab World to be favouring the Israeli’s, while on the other, any attempt by the Israel government to halt construction would mean their downfall, with perhaps even more serious repercussions.

You have to look a long way back in history to find the Israeli justification for the settlements. They say the West Bank and Gaza was their land two thousand years ago, which gives them the right to build. The fact that the land has belonged to the Palestinians since then is, in their eyes, irrelevant.

There is a comparison to Argentina claiming the Falkland Isles and Spain claiming Gibraltar from Britain, both of which were taken by the British three hundred years ago by conflict. In today’s world you cannot claim something because it used to be yours centuries ago. I do not think the case for the Israeli settlers under those rules is acceptable.

The settlements first began some time after the 1967 Six-Day War with Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. For a time the Israeli Government would not allow settlements to be built, but this rule was relaxed and eventually it actively participated in the plan. With regard to the West Bank, religious Zionists claimed the lands of ‘Judea and Samaria’ (ancient Jewish lands) had finally been liberated, while the Government thought building the settlements would give them an extra bargaining chip at any future negotiations. For the Military, it was an opportunity to have a buffer zone between Israel and its Arab neighbours, Jordan and Syria.

On the accompanying UN map, the orange areas mark places in the West Bank that are restricted or forbidden for Palestinians. Many of the roads that service the Jewish communities have military roadblocks and are forbidden to local Palestinian people. Most of the world population is not aware of these measures taken by the Israeli’s. You must also bear in mind that all the settlements, and the travel restrictions placed on the Palestinians, have been pronounced illegal by the United Nations and the International Courts of Justice under International Law.

President Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia today on an official visit, prior to giving what will probably be his most important speech so far. He will leave Saudi for Egypt where he will address the Arab World, and possibly the subject of Israel will come up. This speech is eagerly awaited by the whole Arab and Muslim World, and I am sure they will judge him, and his intentions, on it. Successive US presidents have tried to settle the thorny issue of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, but none have yet come up with the magic formula.

Whatever happens, the settlements will remain at the heart of the solution. One only has to look at a map of the West Bank showing their locations to realise that Israeli settlers have colonised much of the West Bank as far as the Jordanian border, and as some Jewish web sites record, a proportion of them are on land stolen from the Palestinians. There is no way you can justify this!

Ideally, all these towns and villages built by Israeli’s in the West Bank must be torn down and their residents rehoused inside the 1967 borders of Israel. When you consider that in excess of half-a-million people now live in the occupied areas, it must seem impossible.

President Abbas of the West Bank Palestinians stated during his visit to Washington that he is no longer prepared to talk of peace until the building programme on the West Bank is halted. This seems a reasonable request considering how vast the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is and it’s illegal status. Unfortunately for Obama, he must walk a tightrope between the two.

While he is reaching out to the Muslim world in a way no previous president ever has, he must be mindful he doesn’t alienate the Jewish State, especially with Iran’s nuclear ambitions in the mix, and the threat of an Israeli ‘solution’ to the problem.

So what is the answer to this half-century old problem? Could there in fact ever be a Palestinian State in co-existence with an Israeli State recognised by the Arab World? Personally, I think yes, but it will take many years and a lot of soul-searching and tough action by the Israeli Government.

In 2005 the Israeli Government removed all the settlements in the Gaza Strip by force and rehoused its citizens within it’s borders. The same is possible logistically for the West Bank, but it would be a huge undertaking. Any who refused to be removed could have the right to become citizens of Palestine. One measure that could force many to leave would be the withdrawal of protection by the Israeli Armed Forces.

Of course there is also the option of the land of Israelistine being run by a joint Jewish/Palestinian government with Arabs and Jews living side by side in harmony. Now wouldn’t that be a miracle!

Whatever happens, eventually common sense must prevail, and both sides will realise they cannot go through the rest of eternity at each others throats. Either that or the Iranians will solve the problem for them.

I wish President Obama success in his mission.

Roy.

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