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Sunday, 20 May 2018

An interesting option on retirement

Or, perhaps, well after retirement when you are around 75.

It will also depend, of course, on whether you have children, whether the children are well off, whether they are still loving and supportive if not well off.

And whether, of course, you have invested wisely in pensions during your working life.

This article will assume that you haven't an adequate pension, and if you have children, they are either well off, or have neglected you.

First of all, if you need to go into a nursing home, and you can't afford a private one, there are certain restrictions as you can read in this Daily Telegraph article.

Of course, you can always sell your home and go on a "round the world" luxury holiday and live like a prince until it is all gone, and throw yourself at the mercy of the local council. You need to have less than £118,000 left if you've read the Daily Telegraph article in the above link.

Another way is to consider"Equity Release". This is where you sell your house to an insurance company. It is very difficult to say how much you will get as it depends on the value of your house, the area it is in, whether it is likely to go up in value and other criteria.

For example, if you release £50,000 now from a home worth £250,000 and the loan runs for 15 years, you will build up a debt of £123,000. If we assume that house prices rise at 5pc a year, the value will be £528,000 in 15 years' time. So you will have £405,000 remaining to bequeath.

However, this will still be a lot over the £118,000 mentioned earlier - so an outright sale and a very, very long around the world travel holiday might be your best bet.

But only if you don't have loving, and supportive children.

Ampers.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Some Middle Eastern Facts & Figures

Israel and the Middle East


There are so many misconceptions about Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East in general.

Accurate figures are hard to come by, so I have taken various facts and added the best figures to show the minimum below. The first three items are accurate.

The first known date that Jerusalem became Israel’s capital is very hazy, but it was a long time before the figure I show below. There are many figures between 602 and 670 when Mohammed established the Islam religion, but I have taken the earliest.

    • Square metres of the Middle East
    • 3.5m sq miles or 9 m sq km
    
    • Square meters of Israel
    • 20,770 sq kilometres

    • Percentage of Israel over the entire Middle East
    • zero point two three percent – 0.23%

    • The first known date that Israel existed
    • In the time of Abraham, 2,000 BC
    • Originally known as Canaan.

    • The first known date that Jerusalem became Israel’s capital.
    • Dates are very hazy but certainly before 1,500 BC

    • The first known date that Mohammed founded Islam
    • The date is uncertain other than it was in the seventh century AD.


The idea that Jews only inhabited the land known as Israel after WWII on the 19th May 1948 is therefore not at all accurate. In addition, as Muslims only came into being over 2,000 years after the Jews, it tends to put a different light on matters.

It is hard to say how many rockets the Palestinians have fired into Israel, but I found that the figure of 5,972 rockets have been fired into Israel between 2001 and 2011, I have been unable to get a more updated position.

Muslims have killed 11 million other Muslims since 1948. The amount over the centuries totals hundreds of millions but I’m trying to restrict numbers for this aspect to modern times.

Thomas Sowell wrote in ‘Race & Culture’ (page 188) in 1948 that 17 million people, mainly Africans, were captured and made slaves and shipped to Islamic countries. We learn from many articles in newspapers that this is still going on today.

This information has been taken from Wikipedia: There are 6,335,000 Jews in the Middle East mostly residing in Israel, there are between 27 and 34 million Christians across the Middle East, there are 800,000 - 1,100,000 Druze who live in Israel, Syria and Lebanon. There are large communities of Hindus in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia who number over 3.1 million and an estimated 902,890 Buddhists and 700,000 Yazidi and numerous other religions. Non-Muslims are about 43 million or 23% of the Middle East population, Muslims form the majority of the rest.

The Middle East consists of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. According to this definition, Middle East has a population of 218 million in 2013, i.e. 3.05% of the total world population (7.2 billion) in 2013.

So 6.3 million Jews (2.89%) and 218 million Arabs 97.11%) – and this was in 2013. As Israel has no oil it is probably the reason why the USA gives financial aid to Israel. But, to help balance that off, they also give aid to Palastine.

I have been careful to only offer facts of my short research here. I offer no insight or opinion. That is not the object of this article. However, I do find it interesting that the Arabs tend to hate the Palestinians, read on.

Note: I may be departing from facts in this last paragraph:

It is not easy to believe either side’s propaganda in this conflict: The following link is from an Israeli newspaper by an experienced Jew on the Middle East at a prominent Israeli university, but it makes fascinating reading although I suspect there is bias here.

Ampers.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

We need to get organised or perish

The Government ignore all our petitions with mealy-mouthed responses. As far as they are concerned, these are a nuisance, but a useful way for the population to let off steam.

The British people, the English in particular, have lost their “thrust” from the old colonial days of Nelson and Wellington.

We are now far better off, and comfortable, and dying for one’s country is only an option for the very few.

The globalists are winning. It is looking more and more unlikely that we will be free of the European Union. We have a Prime Minister who is either still a staunch remainer, or has no idea of how to negotiate, or has no courage. Some may well think it is all three!

The idea behind globalism and the New World Order is to have a One World Government. Once this happens, there will never be any elections, and whatever country you decide to move to, you will be under the same government. You will be trapped. Whatever you may earn, the taxes will be crippling as they will need to keep the workers poor so they don’t fight. If they do show spirit and start to organise, the government‘s thugs will find them and kill them, No mercy will be shown.

So we must become organised. Now, before the damage is done.

If we make a big show of this, then we will be infiltrated before we even get off the ground.

One person only should start this, and run it for the first year. He or she should enrol only friends and acquaintances after sounding them out thoroughly. Nothing should be mentioned on social media. Then each friend and aquaintance should approach other friends and acquaintances, sound them out, and enrol them. Every member should be extremely well known to at least one other member.

A database should be kept of the membership showing a full tree of dependences.

Members should come from both the left, and the right, but not extremists of either left or right.

These members should be of people who love their country, love their history, and feel disillusioned at they way our system is deteriorating.
  •     A Civil Service which has become politicalised
  •     Qangos costing huge amounts but jobs for the boys (and girls)
  •     The way we spend our foreign aid budgets
  •     A House of Lords which is destroying the Government
  •     A politicalised Local Government which should be there to assist residents and businesses
  •     A House of Commons which betrays the wishes of the people.
  •     International Conglomerates which suck Britain dry
I could go on, but unfortunately the list is endless so these should be enough to get on with.

After the first year, where members sole role should be (a) to sound out promising new members, and (b) to gather information in articles, and Hansard, for future ammunition. The group needs to take stock and decide, on the strength of membership, exactly what can be done to start to alter the status quo.

If everyone recruits two people in their first day and even if they never do more afterwards, in a further seven days we will have 256 members and in 14 days we would have nearly 33,000 members. If each member just found one piece of useful information, that would be 33,000 pieces of ammunition. Naturally it would take a little longer than this, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t be over 50,000 strong in the first year.

However, in the early days it might be useful to avoid recruiting people who could be disrupting to an embryo organisation, such as ours, finding its feet.
  •     Avoid members and voters of both the Liberal Democrats and the Greens who are pro Britain losing its sovereignty.
  •     Treat with suspician card carrying members and fervent voters of the Labour Party and the Conservatives
  •     UKIP have infiltrators, especially at the top. Treat members who joined within the last ten years with a healthy suspicion
  •     Avoid Civil Servants, NGOs, Qangos and other Government backed organisation staff or be very careful unless they are in a lowly position
  •     Avoid managers and above of all large SMEs and all Corporates
Never tell anyone you are a member of the group, even when you are sounding people out. Questions to ask when sounding people out are:
  •     Are you pro Brexit? If yes:
  •     Do you think our politicians will see it through? If no:
  •     Who do you think is behind our failure (If EU, Soros, NWO, Common Purpose, Globalists or similar, then:
  •     What can the ordinary person do about this?
Based on their last answer, perhaps with a little prompting from you, see if they are the sort of person who might risk a little to save our country. However, do not mention this new organisation for at least 48 hours whilst you reflect on their position.

Before approaching for the second visit, mention you’ve heard of an organistion of pro British people and ask whether we (you and your prospect) should try and approach them. If they are interested, go away and wait at least another 48 hours and meet them again and tell them about this.

But before you can recruit, you have to be recruited yourself.

Finally, I haven’t the resourses to start such an organisation myself and it might be years before one of my friends joined and then approached me.

I would appreciate any ideas you may have on this so, I implore you, to share your thoughts and ideas with me at twzaite@gmail.com with a heading “We need to get organised or perish”.

Someone with a little money to spare might decide to do something along these lines. But if so, don’t approach me so I can say under duress “I know nothing”!

Ampers



Thursday, 10 May 2018

Social Media is only a tiny part of life, no matter how many are on it

This is the same whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any of the others.

One tends to live in a small world. I will talk about Twitter as it is the only social media I use, but what I am saying can refer to all social media.

First of all, think of how many people are living in the United Kingdom. The last information I can find is from Wordometers and is shown as 66,517,722 men, women and children as at 10th May 2018. This doesn’t include the many illegals.

Now take a look at the number of followers you have. If you are in a charity, in politics or an online newspaper, examing your followers and their estimated reach; you will note that, in the great scheme of things, you are not reaching that many people. I’m sorry to dishearten you, but this is a fact.

On Twitter recently, there was a petition to abolish the House of Lords. At the time of writing, 159,272 signatures have been collected. Alas, at present, even a figure so much higher than the 100,000 required when Parliament has to discuss it, you will see nothing will be done. The reason is simply that the government is quite happy to have Brexit destroyed. And having the Lords destroy it will save the government from total defeat at the next General Election.

Forget Parliament - they just send out mealy-mouthed replies after the MPs have debated your petition. To ensure success, you have to get the information out to many of the sixty-six million people out there who are not on Social Media.

Now, use your imagination with regard to the above petition. Suppose every signatory contacted all their relatives and friends, business contacts. Then suppose they delivered leaflets throughout their neighbourhood and, collectively, managed to get over two million signatures? The government will still try to ignore it. However, with that number, newspapers around the Western World will write about it, thus forcing British newspapers, under the yoke of our politicians, to grudgingly publish it. Hell, it might even get to the BBC. Remember, the debate is on the 18th of June!

How much harder would it then be for Parliament to issue the usual stock reply?

This, finally, brings me to the point of my article.

Which is not to promote the petition, but to show that getting a point across to your few thousand followers is an infinitesimally small grain of sand on the beach compared with the outside world. It’s not enough to sit on your backside punching computer or mobile phone keys!

Ampers.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Are Carphone Warehouse an honest reliable company to deal with

I am not going to say... if I did, I might lay myself open to being sued. So I am just going to tell you of my experiences.

First of all, I buy the top of the range mobile phone every year. In 2017 I thought I’d switch from Amazon to Carphone Warehouse. I received my Galaxy 8 Plus and had no reason to contact Carphone warehouse again that year as it never went wrong and I had no problems with it.

This year I purchased the Galaxy S9 Plus from them as they offered me circa £400  trade-in if it was in good condition. It was in perfect condition, not a scratch on it and no problems with it at all.

They told me over the phone to buy the new phone for the full price and they would send a bag for me to return the phone.

Great I thought.

So I purchased the phone, paid the full price, and waited for the bag to arrive to send my phone back.

And waited.

And waited.

No bag arrived.

I phoned up and they said there was a shortage of bags and mine would soon arrive. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

No bag arrived.

My first tweet read:
@CPWTweets Nearly threexxx four weeks later with conversations with five different members of staff and Carphone Warehouse are still refusing to honour their trade-in promise.

So, up to now I have made seven phone calls and one tweet over four weeks.

They later said, go to this link to their website and fill in a form and the bag will go off almost immediately. Now nearly a month later I have given up.

I have now sold my Galaxy S8 Plus privately and lost about £170.000 through giving up on CarPhone Warehouse.

Naturally I will never use them again. And, I will tell everyone I know of my experiences with this company. I know a lot of people.
Ampers

PS There is no copyright on this particular entry.

Choosing apps on Android

I have well over three hundred apps on my Samson Galaxy S9 Plus mobile phone and because of the knowledge I have gleaned over the years, have made some decisions on how I evaluate apps.

Cost

There are four main ways that app writers use when marketing their apps

    • Free - no adverts.
    • Free – adverts to help pay for the adverts.
    • Chargeable – one off price with no adverts
    • Chargeable – an ongoing monthly rental.

Free – No adverts
What can I say, one can’t complain. But very few app writers are philanthropists so apps in this section will usually be very simple but, having said that, many can be quite useful in saving time and effort.

Free – adverts to help pay for the app

Here we get apps written by two types of people. First are those who have small apps, usually quite intrusive, just waiting for you to decide their app is worth paying a little extra for. Then there are the whole screen, full in your face apps by app writers desperate to get you to move up to the paid version.

Chargeable – one off price with no adverts
These are usually companies or more experienced programmers, their apps are usually more advanced – but not always. Before taking the plunge, if you aren’t sure about anything, email the programmer – the address is at the bottom of the Google Play app page you are thinking of downloading from. Another help is to check how many have purchased the app, and read the reviews.

Chargeable – an ongoing monthly rental
Read the above “Chargeable – one off price with no adverts” with one addition. Take the monthly rental multiply it by 12 to get the price over a year, then supposing you may want to use the app for ten years, multiply the annual figure by ten. This will give you a better idea of the true price of the app. It's often frightening!

Accessibility

How easy is it to use your data if it is the sort of program you want moved?

    • Can you share it?
    • Can you send it to your printer?
    • Can you save it to Dropbox, Google Drive or Box?
    • Can you access it with web based software eg Google Keep

Backing up

If you can’t back up to Dropbox, Google Drive or Box do they have their own cloud service you can back up your data to in case you lose your phone?

Finally, using a file manager, can you access your data easily on your phone? If not, contact the writer and ask where the data is stored on your phone. He probably doesn’t need to know the make of your phone, just what version Android is on the phone.

Useful Apps

Free Apps

Google have many useful apps which are also web based. And many web writers take advantage of this.

"Google Calendar" for example. I use “Business Calendar” which synchronises perfectly with Google Calendar. So Google on my desktop and Business Calendar on my mobile. (Google Calendar is also available on a mobile but I find Business Calendar can do so much more and has an array of useful widgets.

An app I use every day is Alex Baker’s “Task: Astrid todo list clone”. This is for those regular chores you do every day, or every week, or every month or even every year. For example, my Panasonic shaver’s battery is well over five years old so I have an entry every Thursday to charge it, and on Sunday to clean and charge it. We send out a newsletter every year to friends and relations who live far away. I have a monthly reminder to bring it up to date with that month’s events. A reminder to put the wheely-bins out on the allotted day. You get the picture. You can have the tasks sent to your diary as well.

"Google Keep" is a ‘not very known’ gem. It is a note taker, you can colour code your notes if you wish. You can also pin important actions to the top. The best is you can add anything you want to send to your phone using a full size desktop on their web based program. It will be in your phone on the Google Keep app in seconds.

I have a series of widgets to turn on and off Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS and Airplane mode.

It is awkward going into Settings to send mobile calls to a switchboard so, when I get home, I use DHC app’s "Call Forwarding” a couple of clicks and it is done. When you get the app, just set it up with the phone numbers you are likely to forward your calls to. Free or paid for, very intrusive adverts but only a quid so I went for it.

"Accuweather Platinum". A paid for app as it gives more advance days by the hour than their free app. The good thing is, it helps you to understand the uncertainties of the weather. For example, look at the precipitations. 0% to 100%. If 51% or over, the app shows rain, however as you get to know the app you learn how to make your own decisions. Under 20% no rain, 21% to 80% it may or may not rain, but you learn to judge each percentage, over 80% and, yes, take an umbrella. Now I’ve learned how to read the app, I am right over 85% of the time.

I love “Progress of Project” which I use for bigger projects, such as my forthcoming China trip for two weeks. I also use it for projects in my home. However, it is quite difficult to get used to the way it works. Start a 'test project' which you can eventually delete and get to know it before you go for real. It also has a web based site so, whilst getting to know the way it works, it may be better to use your desktop.

For email, I use “Aquamail”. You can skip the adverts and buy, not expensive for the power it offers. If you use Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail and more, using IMAP, POP3 and Exchange, then you may find this useful. I love it and only wish they had a web based version. You can have many email accounts and colour code them. If you use G-Suite or equivalent, then you can use your aliases or identities as well. I have four email accounts and with my G-Suite account, I have six more aliases, totaling ten in all. There is a smart button that collects them all and as you read then, they disappear from the smart button, but if you reply using the smart button, the reply will use the correct 'from' address. You can have a separate signature for each email address and identity/alias.

Finally I use “Signal Messaging”. This is a cross between your SMS program and a WhatsApp communications app. Unlike WhatsApp, it is opensource and experts around the world study the code of each new release, so if the NSA or MI5 insist on a backdoor in it, over a thousand hackers will tell you its happened. If WhatsApp gets a government backdoor put in, you’ll never know. In addition it takes the place of two apps. When you load it, it is just an SMS program. If you want secret conversations with other users, just send them a link – it is at the top of your messaging page and you can send it clicking on one button – it’s that easy. Then once you’re both on, you have secure secret conversations. Handy if you are married and have a couple of mistresses!

There’s a few to be going on with!

Ampers

My apologies, I have been tied up for a while so blogs not very forthcoming

By I am back now, just waiting for my darling wife to proofread them - most of you already know English is my third language after Afrikaans and Zulu.

I am @AmpersUK on Twitter. No longer on Facebook, and ampers on GAB which I am keeping for when Twitter kick me off for being too honest. If you want my email, send me a message in the box on the left and I promise I'll reply to you.

Thats all for now but I'll leave you with a lovely little joke I picked up some time ago. Forgive me if you've heard it!

Ampers.

One dark night at Christmas time at small town in Minnesota, a fire started inside the local chemical plant and in a blink of an eye it exploded into massive flames. The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around.

When the volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president rushed to the fire chief and said, "All our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved. I will give $50,000 to the fire department that brings them out intact.
 
But the roaring flames held the firefighters off.
 
Soon more fire departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate. As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now $100,000 to the fire department who could bring out the company's secret files.

From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight. It was the nearby Norwegian rural township volunteer fire company composed mainly of Norwegians over the age of 65. To everyone's amazement, that little run-down fire engine roared right past all the newer sleek engines that were parked outside the plant.

Without even slowing down it drove straight into the middle of the inferno. Outside, the other firemen watched as the Norwegian old timers jumped off right in the middle of the fire fought it back on all sides.  It was a performance and effort never seen before.

Within a short time, the Norske old timers had extinguished the fire and had saved the secret formulas. The grateful chemical company president announced that for such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to $200,000, and walked over to personally thank each of the brave fire fighters.
 
The local TV news reporter rushed in to capture the event on film, asking their chief, "What are you going to do with all that money?

"Vell," said Ole Larsen, the 70-year-old fire chief, "Da first thing ve gonna do is fix da brakes on dat fokking truck!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Very interesting blog. Most of my friends are intelligent enough to know this but the great majority (more than 95%) are either unaware, or are slowly on the path to realisation.

Having said this, still watch it, and make a note of what contacts you might want to send it to.


If the video is removed from here, send me an email and I will send you an mp4.

Ampers

Saturday, 31 March 2018

The similarities between the new British laws and the old communist laws

I warn you, dear reader, this is a terrifying video if you live in Britain There are two levels:

One is where the police make a note of your name and what you have said. This is used for large companies who may request a CRO check on you. They will then receive full details of your "hate" crime.

The second is where you may go to prison for heinous crimes, such as teaching your dog to give a Nazi salute. Someone is awaiting trial for just that and has been warned it may be a prison sentence.

The reader has a pleasant slow voice so you shouldn't miss anything if English is not your first language (It is my third language.)



Ampers.

I've never been a big fan of Tommy Robinson

I think it was because he was, I believe, once the leader of a far right movement called EDL.

But he has moved on from there, and although I haven't completely relaxed with him, I think what he is now doing is necessary. I also think it disgraceful that he has been permanently banned from twitter.

Here, he talks to a reporter at Russia Today and he challenges the reporter to find anything hateful he has said, and they can't find anything.


Watch and listen, then decide for yourself.

Ampers.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The 1400 year history of Islam, clearly explained.

About forty-five minutes, but fascinating and worth spending the time to watch it.


Ampers.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Why my wife and I resigned from UKIP at the EGM


My dissatisfaction started in 2015 when I overheard Nigel complaining to someone that the NEC refused to accept any proposals which Nigel, the Party Leader, put forward. I was very disappointed when he resigned in January 2016 and wondered what the NEC were playing at.

The more recent history of leader after leader resigning, some within weeks of being appointed, showed there was something seriously wrong with our NEC.

Then Henry came along. Ex Army, ex police, an United Nations ambassador, sorting out things in the Balkans. Now, perhaps we have someone who can get behind. But he turned out too strong for the NEC so they had to get rid of him too.

They complained after his wife had left him and he went with a younger woman. A while ago on Facebook this woman had said she was surprised that Harry was bringing in a half black girl into the Royal Family. I was too, but I don’t think my black or Muslim friends would think of me as a racist.

They then said he lied about having a bachelor’s degree on his CV. Did he lie? This is not a simple question to answer and on reflection, how many of my readers know that 6 NVQ’s (which Henry has) is the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree? I never did. Wikipedia explains that it is. So he kept it simple. Is that a crime?

My wife and I went up to Birmingham to attend the UKIP EGM and whilst there, we were disgusted to listen to each NEC speaker slate Henry Bolton. And as an ex army man myself, I was proud that Henry kept to the facts and didn’t insult any of the speakers who insulted him.

That is the man which UKIP needs to push the party forward.

Many were upset at the proposal for changes (which were to be negotiated with the NEC) and many UKIP members, who had no idea of how professional negotiating works, thought these lines were cast in stone. One can accept their lack of knowledge, especially when the only example that they may have was our Prime Minister negotiating with the EU! In her case, everything the EU puts forward is accepted!

When you enter into negotiations, you include items which you know the opposition would never accept. You give in reluctantly, and say, we’ll drop these if you accept those.

The next day, Sunday, my wife and I voided our membership cards and we sent them to head office with a strongly worded letter.

I feel awfully sad as I have been in UKIP right from the beginning. In fact I used to attend the “Anti-Federalist League” meetings which morphed into UKIP.

Around the beginning of the century, I was UKIP Head Office Manager when the party was half way up Regent Street in London’s West End. Until the NEC started being awkward I was a £1,000 a year Patron member. Now we are both resigning UKIP as we feel the NEC has totally killed the party and I will be very surprised if the party will be here at the next General Election.

It is interesting that since Gerard Batten has started attacking Moslems, rather than the politicians who let them in, many former UKIP members who left to join the far right (according to Wikipedia) ForBritain party are returning to UKIP.

Many others are flocking in as well. I don’t know how true this is, but it is not going to do UKIP any favours. And, Gerard Batten should never have called a listener who phoned into his programme on LBC “uninformed and unintelligent”.

I have stopped using Twitter but kept it alive for Ampers Rants as I know my blog has a lot of readers on Twitter.

The only winner in this sad saga is my wife as I now have time to attend to all those chores which have built up over the last two decades (or so)!

Ampers.

Friday, 26 January 2018

The lowdown on what Jacob Rees Mogg is really about. Do you really want this man as our PM?

There is a great Brexit opportunity and some really obvious benefits that
we can get that improve the condition of the people. This is currently at
risk. The negotiations that are about to begin sound as if they aim to keep
us in a similar system to the Single Market and the Customs Union. ‘Close
alignment’ means de facto the Single Market, it would make the UK a rule
taker like Norway, divested of even the limited influence we current have.

90% of global trade growth is expected to come from outside the EU but we
would be tying ourselves to a system that seeks to protect the current,
declining status quo rather than engaging with the challenge of the next
generation.

Conformity with EU rules will also prevent us from making meaningful trade
deals with other nations where we could secure reduction of the non-tariff
barriers and regulatory distortions which are often worse than the tariffs.
They impose such high regulatory burdens on importers that no-one bothers
and they are not there for either safety or scientific reasons but for
protectionist ones. No sensible nation would negotiate with the UK for a
marginal gain when we would merely be a vassal of the EU.

The Customs Union is worse. It protects industries that we often do not
have and helps continental producers on the back of UK consumers. The
EU-funded CBI, that lover of vested interests, wants it to favour
inefficient encumbrance against poor consumers. Whether it is ‘a’ or ‘the’
Customs Union it is a protectionist racket that damages the interests of
the wider economy.

This would deny us some of the early Brexit advantages which relate so much
to trade, to the ability to trade freely. Economic arguments for one way
free trade, let alone for trade deals, are well known. For example, 21% of
people’s income is spent on average on food, clothing and footwear. These
are the highest tariffed areas in the Customs Union. 11.8% on clothing,
11.4% on footwear. Food is so heavily tariffed and obstructed that it is
almost impossible to import.

This hits most on the poorest in society, the poorest who spend an even
higher proportion of their income, even above the 21%, on food, clothing
and footwear. The first gain that we can have is by removing all the
tariffs on those goods which the UK does not produce thus giving a real
terms income boost, most of all to the poorest in our society. To that
group of people who Theresa May spoke about during her famous speech on the
doorstep of Downing Street when she had just kissed hands and become Prime
Minister. Just the people that Mrs. May wanted to help. I think Mrs May’s
words were inspirational and should underpin what the Government does.

The United Kingdom, though, should be more ambitious than this and take the
benefits of the best regulatory models and then challenge for global
technological leadership.

Despite our relatively small geographic size we are still the second
biggest exporter of services and one of the largest foreign investors, the
United States being first in both cases. We are also an open and welcoming
nation not least to foreign investment. We have both a large stock and
regular inflows of foreign investment coming into this country, by some
measures second only again to the United States and even bigger than China
(excluding Hong Kong and Macau).

Such a nation should take responsibility for its own future and become a
role model for the rest of the world. Already two of our universities are
the best in the world. We have a high tech sector and are the site of the
world’s premier financial centre. We must build on this comparative
advantage in the knowledge economy. Surely we must become an innovative
hub, a centre and driver of the world’s technological advance.

To do this we must ensure that our regulatory system promotes competition
on its merits and thus enterprise. We should succeed or fail based on the
quality of our ideas and our capacity for hard work, not on the ability to
lobby the Government to get regulations or laws to obstruct competitors.
Our system cannot be tied to regulations that stifle innovation.

At the moment the UK, in the European context, is the best of a bad bunch.
Europe lags far behind other comparable regions in the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor’s ranking of the rate of business start-ups. All
we manage is to be the best in a sclerotic Europe. Compared to the dynamism
of the United States and Asia the UK has a long way to go to translate its
brainpower, its little grey cells, into entrepreneurial companies.

To build this capacity is to make our nation ready for the next hundred
years. In the future there will be a premium on creativity and judgement,
in industries that rely on intelligence as opposed to pure manufacturing.
The jobs that people, as opposed to Artificial Intelligence, will do will
be in precisely the space where Britain has the greatest advantage.

This does not mean a nation of computer scientists. Innovation and
creativity can be applied to the leading edges of any industry and it is
these leading edges that Britain is in a position to capture. In a truly
competitive, enterprise environment no one can know precisely what those
industries are. Our success will depend on our ability to capture the most
valuable parts of increasingly complex supply chains.

An example of this is the iPhone. iPhones are manufactured in China but the
value is added by the research and marketing being done in the US which
reaps the bigger advantage. Consequently, China sees only 6% of the value
created.

As I said, we do not know precisely where these areas will be but it will
always be important. Interestingly, New Zealand, which produces only 3% of
the world’s milk, controls 30% of the value of the global dairy market. It
is not just high tech areas that will be dependent upon this knowledge
economy. It is even in traditional areas such as agriculture.

Taiwan has developed a system of growing vegetables in a water solution
rather than soil using a patent formula of antagonist micro-organisms which
boost production with low nitrate levels. It wants to develop this in York
and should be encouraged to do so.

Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom there are barriers which may prevent
us getting to this bright future. First, the UK-EU relationship may
continue to tie the UK to the kind of regulatory framework which has made
Europe so inefficient. This would be bad for the economic environment in
the UK but it would also be bad for the ability of the country to deal with
other, faster growing nations.

A classic example of this is data. If the UK were tied to the European
approach to data protection and data flow – a very restrictive one – it
will limit the ability of our country to embrace the fourth industrial
revolution: big data and all that this offers. Without data flow none of
those applications are possible.

It is all very well for UK Ministers to extol the virtues of artificial
intelligence and high tech as they are doing now almost, as we speak,
amongst the panjandrums in Davos. But no one will take them seriously if
they do not have the ability to set their own regulations in this area. The
European regulatory system is simply not conducive to the development of
entrepreneurial companies. Those companies will continue to come from the
United States and Asia. For the UK to be active in this area it needs
regulatory autonomy. As Michael Gove has put it: the EU is analogue in a
digital age.

Second, the UK must be in a position to encourage pro-competitive behaviour
across the globe. Highly developed agreements like the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) represent the blueprint for trade discussions in new
areas involving services that rely on the cross border supply of data.

It is noteworthy that the EU was unable to agree to cover new services like
these in CETA whereas the TPP members were. In order to do this the UK must
be able to determine its own regulatory system and negotiate freely with
others.

Third, contracting trade deals is difficult and requires great flexibility.
Any restrictions, such as the EU having an effective veto on UK changes of
regulation or the UK instantly losing access if there were any deviation
without some pre-agreed mechanism to manage divergence, will take the UK
out of the negotiating game.

Other countries would not think it was worth their while to discuss trade
deals with us. We would merely appear to be a mini-me version of the
European Union and thus be of no interest to other countries.

There are disturbing signs that the EU’s position on a host of internal
market distortions will mean that it is unable to play in this new world.
These are data flow, prescriptive regulations like REACH chemicals
regulation, the precautionary principle in agriculture, local content rules
in broadcasting which are mainly there to protect unwatchable French films.

In addition to being unable to discuss new services involving data flow in
CETA it could not discuss them in the Trade in Services Agreement in the
WTO either. A plurilateral agreement that like-minded countries agreed in
order to improve trade in services around the world.

This prompted the Americans to question why the EU were in the discussions
in the first place. Why were it there if it were not willing to do
anything? For the United Kingdom, dependent as she is on our service
exports and the creation and realisation of ideas, it would be foolish
indeed to put our future into such constrained hands.

If the UK can achieve the independence necessary it can become a
rule-setter in the world. It can export with its trading partners ideas
about how best to create a governance structure that will spur innovation
and enterprise. Its future can be true to its history.

As I said, encapsulated in this College, it is vital to ensure that
competition, not cronyism, determines the future prospects of our citizens.
Competition allows aspirational societies to be formed where people truly
believe that they succeed or fail on their own merits and not some crony
interest.

Britain’s success as a nation can be attributed to the application of this
competitive principle. It has been translated through free trade and free
markets and has allowed people to come together to meet each other’s needs
in voluntary exchange.

We have reached the portals of tremendous possibility. If the UK is to
execute an independent trade policy then it can play a role in ensuring
that there is an injection of wealth into the global economy. This will
improve the lot of all mankind and we, the British people, will be
propelled forward on this rising tide.

To paraphrase Pitt the Younger we will have saved ourselves by our exertion
and we will have saved the world by our example. If, on the other hand,
this possibility is taken off the table then Brexit becomes only a damage
limitation exercise. The British people did not vote for that. They did not
vote for the management of decline. They voted for hope and opportunity and
politicians must now deliver it.

If we do not, if we are timid and cowering and terrified of the future,
then our children and theirs will judge us in the balance and find us
wanting. ‘Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin’ – as the writing on the wall said at
the feast of Balthazar. We have our future and our destiny in our hands.

To embrace the world boldly with this new policy is not a foolish leap into
the unknown. Sometimes the bold move is the safest one. As Sir Walter
Raleigh said: “fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.”

For too long our negotiators seemed to have been cowed by the EU. Their
approach seems to be that we must accept what the EU will allow us to do
and build from there. This is no way to negotiate and it is no way for this
country to behave. We must negotiate from the international trading
framework in which both the EU and the UK sit as equal partners, whose
provisions govern our behaviour. We must also not confuse the EU’s opening
bid with its bottom line, it is not Holy writ. If we came out with our
negotiating objectives nobody in Europe would assume these were set in stone.

If the EU and UK, who start out with exact regulatory alignment, cannot
agree some mechanism to recognise each others’ regulations and one that
manages divergence without the UK being prevented from exercising its
independence, then who can? Both sides’ negotiators must not fail here and
I am confident that as long as we are strong and negotiate properly they
will not.

I have talked about who we can be as a nation. We must also understand our
particular role in the world at this critical time. The world’s economic
architecture is stuck and the UK is expected by the rest of the world to
advocate policies that will release its energy.

There has been no concluded WTO round for twenty-three years, while
indicators show that actual industrial output and global trade are stalled.
If the UK is unfettered by the deadweight of the EU then it will play a
role in jumpstarting the global economic system. This will unblock many
initiatives that have been gummed up for too long.

We must never forget that wealth can be created or destroyed, but it is
much harder to create than destroy. We are coming to a fork in the road. We
can take the familiar path that leads to a gradual erosion of our wealth,
our success and ultimately our values, by staying close to the EU and
aligning our regulations to theirs.

We could simply manage decline. Or we could take another road that may look
to us now like an unfamiliar one. In which case our best days lie before
us. From the Agricultural Revolution to the repeal of the Corn Laws to the
birthplace of the Industrial Revolution to being co-architect of the
post-war system the UK has led the way.

Britain has been called on to be a shaper not only of our destiny but that
of the whole world. If we get it right by opening up our markets, seeing
the benefits of free trade and regulations that encourage enterprise others
will follow. The EU has too many pen pushers to dare, the US is too big to
care. Only a medium sized, flexible economy can lead the way and the next
great economic revolution should be made in Britain for the benefit of the
world.

This speech by Jacob Rees-Mogg MP
at Churcher’s College, Petersfield,
25th January 2018

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Forget whether you hate, dislike, like or love President Trump...


JUMPSTARTING AMERICA’S WORKERS AND ECONOMIC ENGINE: President Trump has put the American economy into high-gear, creating jobs and increasing wealth.
  • Under President Trump’s leadership, Congress passed historic tax cuts and relief for hardworking Americans not seen since President Reagan.
    • The Tax Cuts Act provides $5.5 trillion in tax cuts, of which $3.2 trillion, or nearly 60 percent, goes to families.
    • A typical family of four earning $75,000 will save more than $2,000 in income tax cuts.
    • The Tax Cuts Act nearly doubles the standard deduction.
    • The vast majority of American families will be able to file their taxes on a single page.
    • The Tax Cuts Act will repeal Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate.
  • The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate increased at or above 3 percent for two quarters in a row for the first time in three years.
    • Third quarter GDP growth rate was 3.2 percent.
    • Second quarter GDP growth rate was 3.1 percent.
  • During President Trump’s first year, nearly 1.7 million new jobs have been created and the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.1 percent, the lowest rate in nearly 17 years.
    • The manufacturing industry has created 159,000 jobs.
    • The mining and logging industry has created 57,000 jobs.
    • Thirteen states have reached record low unemployment rates.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average index has hit record highs more than 60 times under President Trump, including closing higher than 24,000 points for the first time in its history.
    • Since President Trump’s election, more than $5 trillion in wealth has been added to the U.S. economy.
  • Economic confidence has rebounded to record highs under President Trump as his pro-growth policies have and continue to put American workers and businesses first.
    • The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose in November to a 17-year high of 129.5.
    • The National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Index had the highest annual average in its history.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order on expanding apprenticeships, recognizing the need for more quality alternatives to four-year college degrees.
    • The Executive Order sets in motion a new process that will make it easier for businesses to create and scale apprenticeship programs, providing many more Americans access to an affordable education that leads to a good-paying job.
  • President Trump signed a Memorandum directing the Secretary of Education to prioritize STEM education with a particular focus on computer science.
    • Leading private sector technology companies and organizations pledged over $300 million to amplify the President’s computer science initiative.
  • The Trump Administration has prioritized the economic empowerment of women as a key element of our commitment to economic growth and gender equality.
    • This year, the Small Business Administration has lent approximately $500 million more than last year in capital to women-owned businesses.
ENDING JOB KILLING REGULATIONS: President Trump is rolling back wasteful and costly regulations that have stood in the way of hardworking Americans.
  • In order to control regulatory costs, President Trump signed an Executive Order mandating that two regulations must be eliminated for every one created.
    • President Trump’s Administration surpassed the 2:1 ratio, eliminating 22 regulations for every new regulation.
    • In FY 2017, President Trump’s Administration saved over $8.1 billion in lifetime regulatory costs.
  • President Trump has signed 15 Congressional Review Act resolutions into law, more than any other president, ending burdensome Obama-era rules and regulations.
  • By announcing our intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Trump protected America from a bad deal that would have harmed America’s economy and workers
    • According to a study by NERA Economic Consulting, implementing the Obama Administration’s plan under the Paris Climate Agreement could have cost the United States economy nearly $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order with the goal of dramatically reducing the time for permit approvals for infrastructure projects from up to 10 years to an average of 2 years.
  • President Trump eliminated the Obama Administration’s “Stream Protection Rule,” which unfairly targeted the coal industry with estimated costs of $81 million a year.
PROMOTING FAIR AND RECIPROCAL TRADE: President Trump is putting America first in trade so American workers aren’t put at a disadvantage.
  • One of President Trump’s first actions was to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, advancing his agenda to protect American workers.
  • The Trump Administration has begun renegotiations of trade agreements that have contributed to the U.S. trade deficit and harmed American workers.
    • Renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement are underway to modernize the deal so all countries benefit from it.
  • President Trump has worked to bring foreign investment back to the United States so more goods are made in America by American workers.
    • South Korean companies announced 64 projects that will invest more than $17 billion in the United States over four years and will purchase $58 billion in goods and services.
    • Foxconn announced it was investing $10 billion in Wisconsin to build a factory that will employ thousands of workers directly and up to 22,000 workers indirectly.
    • Toyota and Mazda announced a $1.6 billion investment in a new manufacturing plant in the United States that will create an estimated 4,000 jobs.
    • At the White House, Broadcom Limited announced they were moving their headquarters back to the United States, bringing $20 billion in annual revenue.
  • President Trump has worked to promote the sale of more American products abroad.
    • On his first overseas trip, President Trump and King Salman of Saudi Arabia oversaw the signing of a historic $400 billion in deals between U.S. and Saudi companies.
  • The Trump Administration has made enforcement of U.S. trade laws a top priority and has already made significant progress.
    • To defend U.S. national security interests, President Trump blocked a foreign company from acquiring a U.S. business for only the fourth time in history.
    • Since President Trump was sworn into office, the Department of Commerce has initiated 79 antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) investigations.
    • The U.S. Trade Representative self-initiated a Section 301 investigation into whether Chinese policies, acts, and practices related to technology transfer, licensing, and intellectual property are unreasonable or discriminatory. This is the first use of Section 301 since 2001.
  • President Trump delivered on his promise to roll back the Obama Administration’s bad deal on Cuba, which benefitted the Cuban regime at the expense of the Cuban people.
ADVANCING AMERICAN ENERGY DOMINANCE: President Trump is reversing years of policies that locked-up American energy and restricted our ability to sell to other countries.
  • The Department of the Interior is planning to auction off leases for nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling starting in March, the largest offering ever.
    • President Trump signed an Executive Order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling and to reissue a leasing program to develop offshore resources.
  • President Trump has acted aggressively to increase exports of our energy resources to the global market.
    • New guidance will allow financing for coal and other fossil energy projects, which will increase access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy around the world.
    • The Administration streamlined Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal permitting, including the Lake Charles LNG terminal.
    • Under the Trump Administration, our allies have received, and will continue to receive, American LNG exports, which will prevent dependence on single suppliers.
  • President Trump has unleashed oil and gas development by expanding access to resources and the infrastructure needed to get them to market.
    • The Trump Administration has approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, which will create an estimated 42,000 jobs and $2 billion in economic benefits.
    • The Administration has expedited new pipeline approval and production, including the New Burgos Pipeline, which will export U.S. gasoline to Mexico.
    • The Department of the Interior is boosting responsible oil and gas development on Federal lands.
  • President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).
    • According to NERA Economic Consulting, the CPP would have increased electricity rates by as much as 14 percent, costing American households up to $79 billion.
  • The EPA is reconsidering an onerous Obama-era rule on methane emissions that would cost American energy developers an estimated $530 million annually.
PROTECTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE HOMELAND: President Trump is enforcing our immigration laws, protecting American communities and American jobs.
  • President Trump has laid out his principles for reforming our immigration system to serve hard-working Americans instead of harming them. In particular, President Trump has called on Congress to fund a wall along the Southern border, close legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration, end Chain Migration, and eliminate the Visa Lottery program.
  • President Trump pulled the United States out of negotiations for a “Global Compact on Migration,” a plan for global governance of immigration and refugee policy that would have had far-reaching implications for U.S. sovereignty.
  • Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security took action to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in an orderly fashion, following the assessment of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that DACA lacks legal authorization.
    • This action gives Congress the opportunity to consider appropriate legislative solutions, as required by our Constitution.
  • President Trump’s Administration rescinded the unlawful Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.
  • In keeping with President Trump’s campaign promise, the Department of Homeland Security launched the office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE).
  • From President Trump’s inauguration through the end of FY 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made 110,568 arrests of illegal aliens, a 40 percent increase compared to the same time period the prior year.
    • Over the same time period, removals that resulted from arrests increased by 37 percent.
    • Of the illegal aliens arrested by ICE, over 92 percent had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, were ICE fugitives, or were illegal reentrants.
  • The number of counties participating in the 287(g) program, which gives state and local law enforcement entities delegated authority by ICE to enforce immigration in their jurisdiction, has doubled.
  • In FY 2017, 36 percent more criminal gang members were removed by ICE compared to FY 2016.
  • President Trump’s Administration is cracking down on sanctuary cities by improving the administration of Federal grants to increase information sharing on illegal aliens.
PROTECTING AMERICA’S COMMUNITIES: President Trump is protecting American communities and restoring law and order so that every American can feel safe in their community.
  • The Department of Justice announced more than $98 million in grant funding to hire 802 additional full-time law enforcement officers.
    • President Trump signed an Executive Order to restore state and local law enforcement’s access to surplus Defense Department equipment through the 1033 program, including safety equipment.
  • The DOJ has worked with Central American partners to arrest and charge about 4,000 MS-13 members so far this year.
    • This includes the alleged leader of MS-13’s “East Coast Program.”
  • The Department of Homeland Security arrested 796 MS-13 gang members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the previous year.
  • In February, President Trump signed three Executive Orders aimed at cracking down on international criminal organizations.
  • In June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of the new National Public Safety Partnership, a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crimes.
MAKING GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE: President Trump is following through on his promise to drain the Washington swamp and make the Government accountable.
  • President Trump fulfilled his promise to the American people by placing Neil Gorsuch on the United States Supreme Court.
    • As of December 14, President Trump has nominated 73 Federal judges.
    • Twenty-two judges have been confirmed, including a record-setting 12 circuit judges.
  • President Trump implemented higher ethical standards to make sure his Administration works for the American people.
    • President Trump signed an Executive Order on lobbying that included a five-year ban on lobbying and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign countries.
    • President Trump has donated his salary, following through on his promise to the American people.
  • To ensure the Government serves the needs of all Americans, President Trump has called for a comprehensive plan to reorganize the executive branch and has begun to implement this plan.
  • President Trump has commenced a comprehensive overhaul of digitally delivered Government services.
  • President Trump has called for “conducting a full audit of the Pentagon.” The Department of Defense (DOD) responded to the President’s call to action and has begun its first full financial statement audit.
    • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has called for business reform in the DOD to instill budget discipline and effective resource management.
COMBATTING OPIOIDS: President Trump and his Administration are fighting back against drug addiction and opioid abuse.
  • President Trump directed the declaration of a Nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioid crisis.
  • The President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) recently found that evidence suggests drug overdoses involving opioids are underreported by as much as 24 percent.
  • In April, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) laid out a comprehensive five-point strategy to combat the opioid abuse crisis.
  • The DOJ announced it was scheduling fentanyl substances as a drug class under the Controlled Substances Act.
    • Anyone who possesses, imports, distributes, or manufactures any illicit fentanyl-related substance will be subject to criminal prosecution similar to other controlled substances.
    • The DOJ announced its first-ever indictments against two Chinese nationals and their North American-based associates for distributing large quantities of fentanyl and other opiate substances.
  • In an opioid fraud crackdown, the DOJ charged more than 400 people, including doctors and medical facilities, for prescribing unnecessary opioids, fueling the drug crisis.
  • In 2017, the Administration provided nearly $500 million to States to prevent and treat opioid abuse. The President’s FY 2018 Budget requests another $500 million.
  • On National Drug Take Back Day, the Drug Enforcement Administration collected a record-breaking 912,305 pounds – 456 tons – of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs at more than 5,300 collection sites.
PROTECTING LIFE: President Trump recognizes the precious gift of life and protects the sanctity of life at all stages.
  • During his first week in office, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy that protects $9 billion in foreign aid from being used to fund the abortion industry.
    • President Trump de-funded a U.N. agency for colluding with China’s brutal program of forced abortion and sterilization.
  • President Trump worked with the Congress to sign a bill overturning an Obama midnight regulation that prohibited States from defunding abortion service providers.
  • The Trump Administration published guidance promising to enforce the Obamacare requirement that taxpayer dollars should not support abortion coverage in exchange plans.
SERVING OUR COUNTRY’S VETERANS: President Trump is making sure the government fulfills its commitment to our country’s veterans.
  • The President signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to allow senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fire failing employees and establish safeguards to protect whistleblowers.
    • Under President Trump, the VA has fired 1,298 employees, suspended 425, and demoted 73, as part of President Trump’s efforts to restore accountability.
  • President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act after it passed the Senate unanimously in August.
    • The legislation streamlines the lengthy process that veterans undergo when appealing disability benefits claims with the VA.
  • The President signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, an important step in providing our nation’s heroes the support they have earned.
    • This funds the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides educational benefits to veterans, service members, and their family members, including tuition, fees, books, housing, and additional costs.
  • President Trump signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program (VCP).
  • Fulfilling President Trump’s promise, the Administration created a new White House VA Hotline staffed by veterans and family members.
  • The VA increased transparency and accountability by launching an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with a way to access wait time and quality of care data.
  • President Trump and VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced three initiatives to expand access to healthcare for veterans using telehealth technology:
    • “Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care” allows VA providers to use telehealth technology to serve veterans no matter where the provider or veteran is located.
    • VA Video Connect allows veterans and providers to connect by video across the country.
    • The Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) application allows veterans to schedule appointments at VA facilities on digital devices.
PROMOTING PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH: President Trump is rebuilding our military, defeating terrorist organizations, and confronting rogue nations to protect America and our allies.
  • Immediately upon taking office, the President directed the rebuilding of the United States military, a new national defense strategy, a comprehensive nuclear posture review, and fielding state-of-the-art ballistic missile defenses.
  • President Trump has worked with the Congress to increase defense spending, fully reverse the defense sequester, expand our military capacity, and modernize its capabilities.
  • The President has empowered the Secretary of Defense and our military commanders to make decisions, seize the initiative, and win – without micromanagement from Washington.
  • The President directed the revival of the National Space Council to develop and implement a new national space policy and strategy.
  • President Trump directed the elevation of the U.S. Cyber Command into a major warfighting command, to advance U.S. efforts in cyberspace.
  • President Trump reasserted American sovereignty over our borders by announcing our withdrawal from the U.N. Global Compact on Migration.
  • President Trump restricted travel from certain countries that do not have sufficient security or share enough information.
  • Under President Trump’s leadership, ISIS has lost nearly all of its territory and its most important cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, including Mosul and ISIS’s declared capital in Raqqa.
  • President Trump has taken strong action to end North Korea’s aggressive actions and its continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
    • With U.S. leadership, the United Nations Security Council unanimously sanctioned North Korea for its continued rogue actions.
    • The Trump Administration sanctioned Chinese financial institutions aiding the North Korean regime.
    • President Trump signed an Executive Order sanctioning North Korean trade and financing, signaling to the world that they have to make a choice: deal with the United States or the rogue regime in North Korea.
  • President Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy that strengthens our support for Afghan security forces, delegates authority to military leaders, and demonstrates our resolve to defeat terrorism.
  • In reaction to the new U.S. South Asia strategy, NATO allies and partners increased troop contributions to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
  • President Trump approved a new Iran strategy focused on neutralizing Iran’s regional destabilizing influence, sanctioning Iran’s ballistic missile program, and decertifying Iran’s compliance with the multilateral nuclear deal.
  • President Trump ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase after the Assad regime used it to launch chemical weapons attacks against civilians.
  • President Trump prevented further chemical weapons attacks by announcing detection of their preparation and warning Syria that they would be struck again if the attacks were carried out.
  • President Trump imposed new sanctions on the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, targeting the regime itself, and not just individuals, for the first time.
    • The new financial sanctions prohibit dealings in new Venezuelan debt and its corrupt oil company. The regime will no longer be able finance its debt using U.S. banks.
RESTORING CONFIDENCE IN AND RESPECT FOR AMERICA: President Trump has used an America First foreign policy to restore respect for the United States throughout the world and to advance our interests.
  • President Trump has worked to release American citizens held abroad, often using his personal relationships with world leaders.
    • Three student athletes from the University of California, Los Angeles, were released from China after President Trump’s personal intervention.
    • An American, a Canadian, and their three children were released from Taliban custody after United States Government and Pakistani forces secured their release.
    • The Trump Administration secured Otto Warmbier’s release from North Korea.
    • Sandy Phan-Gill was released from Chinese detention after President Trump and his Administration intervened.
    • Aya Hijazi was released from an Egyptian prison and welcomed to the White House by President Trump.
  • President Trump followed through on his campaign promise and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
  • President Trump conducted a historic 12 day tour through Asia including visits to five countries and attending three regional summits to promote America’s interests.
    • South Korea and Japan both pledged to build closer defense relations with the United States, and the President underscored the U.S. commitment to providing advanced military equipment.
    • President Trump boosted cooperation between the Quad countries (the United States, Japan, India, and Australia) on the sidelines of ASEAN in Manila.
    • President Trump reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to promote prosperity and security in the region, including by modernizing America’s development finance institutions and increasing their coordination with Japanese counterparts.
  • President Trump travelled to the Middle East and Europe to solidify relations with our allies in both regions and push for greater commitments and cooperation.
    • President Trump visited Mecca, Jerusalem, and Rome, three of the world’s holiest places.
    • While in Saudi Arabia, President Trump pushed for a coalition of nations to confront Iran and attended the opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.
    • At the May 2017 NATO Leaders’ meeting, President Trump persuaded our allies to agree to develop national plans to boost defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024, and for NATO to formally join the defeat-ISIS coalition.
  • President Trump visited Poland and a meeting of the G-20, where he pushed for closer cooperation and American First policies.
    • With G-20 partners and the World Bank, the United States championed the establishment of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi), which could leverage in excess of $1 billion in financing to support women entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

A few notes on looking after your kitchen knives.

I am slowly replacing my kitchen knives with Zelite knives, mind you, my 12" French cooks knife will remain. I have had this over 15 years and although only sharpened once, is as sharp as the day I bought it, and I use it, amongst other things, to cut an avocada pear in half, right through the stone in the centre!

A lady, I've deleted her name, asked the following question on the Amazon Zelite page for one of their knives:
"Can anyone recommend a knife sharpener for this?"
Zelites answer was very comprehensive and I thought my readers would like to read it. There are so many different ideas for knife honing and sharpening, I thought my readers would like to see the expert's answer to the above question:

Firstly, Honing and Sharpening perform different functions. You should hone your knife regular – maybe every 6-8hrs worth of use and this will ensure it keeps its sharp edge.

Honing only removes the microscopic burr that it put on your edge after general use – it does not remove metal, only removes the burr and realigns the edge.

For honing steels, you will want one with a 10” or longer rod and with a hardness greater than the knife which is 56 Rockwell. Ceramic Honing rods are popular as here you don’t need to worry about hardness. I don’t have a specific one to recommend as the choice is so vast on Amazon.

Sharpening depends upon your skill level with using a whetstone. If you are confident using a whetstone, then we recommend the King 1000/6000 whetstone – this is very popular. A lot of our customers prefer to send their knives to a local sharpener if they are not as confident using a whetstone.

I actually found it difficult to use the whetstone at first, so I recommend practicing on an old knife if you choose this route. I found the technique in the below link to be the best and easiest to use for consistent results:
https://www.chefsteps.com/classes/knife-sharpening

Amazon is a great place to make these purchases as they have a great selection to choose from. Some customers choose the rotary water sharpeners like the Yaxell Knife Sharpener Gousharp Pro - here sharpening is simpler but you are then restricted to a fixed angle on your knife, which will be what ever the fixed wheel sharpening system you chose. We suggest the whetstones as you can make the blade angle to suit your specific needs. An example of a whetstone here.

General good tips are to cut on blade friendly materials such as wood, bamboo or plastic. Surfaces such as stone, glass or ceramic would quicken the dulling process.
The Chefsteps link above will help to understand about knife sharpening and honing.

Ampers.

Friday, 8 December 2017

This is great for retirees, procrastinators, and bosses who want more efficiency.

I use a system called 52:17

Basically all this means is, after working 52 minutes, you take a break of 17 minutes.

No, it won't work for everybody, and it won't work for people with little imagination.

If you are called out to meetings all day or your work is answering the telephones, forget it.

But if your desk work doesn't involve this, it will work. Others can use it. Car mechanics for instance working in a garage. Retirees who can't seem to get organised can use it - such as me!

I am retired and in my late seventies, and to keep healthy I walk a mile every day. But not in one go now. Work has been building up, I am building up a large recipe base using "Now you're cooking" and am busy entering in all my typed recipes. I have four bookcases, 16 shelves of books that need cataloging, a few hundred CDs these are just three of the many jobs building up.

So now, as I am retired, I do two 52 minutes of these sessions with 17 minutes rest time, starting at 9am and finishing around 11:20am Then I take a long lunch break, maybe reading or other leisurely persuits, and at 2pm I do two more 52/17 stints, finishing at around 4:40pm. On two of these four 17 minutes rest periods I go for a half mile walk so I no longer need to go our for the mile walk every morning.

I am amazed at what gets done. I am doing more, in a third of the time than I have done since I retired eight years ago.

This link will take you to a Google page with lots of different articles on the system. One is detrimental, but do read that as well as it shows how having a lack of imagination by being self centred can make you unable to see the  bigger picture.

Ampers.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The history of fascism

I must admit, I didn't know a lot of this, absolutely fascinating. It's not very long but it had me spellbound. We've had it all wrong for years.


Ampers

Friday, 24 November 2017

A terrific Cookery program


It is called, and you can search for Now You're Cooking on the internet This is a shareware program and it is worth every penny if you decide to buy and use it.

Although a Windows Program, if you install the latest, and the latest version of Linux Crossover, it will run on Linux with a few idiosyncrasies.

I really missed this when, nine or ten years ago, I moved over to Linux. Now I am busy exporting all my recipes - I have well over 100 and those are just my favourites.

The following is taken from the blurb on the program's website.



Convenient & Friendly Interface

runs in Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP
context-sensitive Help throughout
quick-fill data entry
"Did you know?" tips
auto-updated droplists
user-defined external editor and browser
toolbars for speed use
safe and easy upgrade to new NYC versions
Windows Help (contents, search)
zip/unzip/email cookbooks for backup or exchange
easy cut, copy-paste options
web links for support and recipe downloads
cooking glossary with user tips
easy Backup of entire user folder (with compression)
movable user folder
selective Restore of backed up files to user folder
change screen font size
numerous user preference settings
NYC User Manual on Help menu


Recipe Management

organized, customizable recipe interface
recipe fullview and editview choices
up to 500 user-defined categories per cookbook
duplicate recipe checking across cookbooks
unlimited number of cookbooks
resize recipes by a multiplier or by #servings
automatic or manual recipe categorization
automatic best units for resized ingredients
tag and untag recipes for later operations
defrag or reindex cookbooks and image archives
toggle US-SI, fractions-decimal conversions
cookbook annotation
edit, delete, email, print, export recipes from search results
customizable find-replace text across cookbooks
attach images to recipes in cookbooks
proper case recipe names across cookbooks
customizable edit window layout
customizable multi-rater, multi-criteria recipe rating
spell checker (dictionaries in 14 languages)
graphical analysis of recipe ratings


Finding Recipes

multi-criteria recipe search across cookbooks
edit, delete, email, print, or export from search results
find recipes that use ingredients on hand
manual or automatic recipe categorization
search within a limited range (category, recipes with images, etc)
user-defined keywords for auto-categorization
click 2 (or more) categories to find recipes assigned to both
user-defined default categories for new cookbooks
find and delete empty categories
merge and delete categories across cookbooks


Importing and Exporting Recipes

email recipes and cookbooks
158,000+ free, importable recipes on website
robust import of MM, MC, generic formats
0.5 million free, importable recipes overall
multi-file imports; each file can have mixed formats
easily create a recipe website with images
Quick Web Recipes for easy download/import
customize Export-to-Web web pages
easy Screen Import for recipes in any format
export recipes in various formats to your text editor
save un-imported recipes to a separate file
export search results to other cookbooks
publish NYC cookbooks to MS Word
move selected recipes to other cookbooks


Meal Planning

meal plan using multiple cookbooks
handles breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks
multi-criteria search from meal plan
add recipes or individual items to meal plan
quick view recipes from meal plan
scale meal plan entries by a multiplier
maintain multiple menus
automatic shopping list from menus
pop-up calendar for date selections
tag and untag recipes from the menu planner
unlimited meal plan period
easily swap menu days
randomized auto-menu creation


Automatic Shopping List

sums like items from meal plan recipes
add miscellaneous items or delete items on hand
sums like items with different units (converts)
append to or replace previous list
user-definable unit conversions
maintain multiple shopping lists simultaneously
auto-expansion of unit conversion combinations
shopping list sorted by store aisle
multiple shopping lists
merge shopping lists
Cost Management
shopping list cost comparison for up to 20 stores
complete coupon manager
user-defined prices/aisles for up to 20 stores
coupons sorted by item, brand, or expiration date
auto-add new ingredients to prices and aisles list
flag coupon list items with match in shopping list
flags low price and store for shopping list items
import/export price lists to/from text files


Nutrition Analysis

uses USDA nutrition database SR28
8789 food items in USDA database
raw, cooked, prepared, or commercial foods
add, delete, replace user-defined nutrition items
nutrition analysis (recipes, meals, menus)
includes proximates, vitamins, minerals
over 40 nutrition elements analysed, including trans fats
%calories as carbohydrates:protein:fat
analyze any recipe from any source
customizable DietPoints calculations
%Daily Values calculated using your calories/day
add a recipe’s nutrition analysis as a nutrition item
searchable nutrition database
auto-link recipe ingredients using ingredient droplist

Fitness Tracking

calculate body fat %, BMI, waist ratios, and more
track body measurements for multiple users over time
calculate calories/day to gain, lose, maintain weight
calculate basal metabolic rate


Printed Outputs

With your choice of fonts, font sizes, orientation, margins, and printer, you can print:
any or all recipes in various formats
shopping list
recipe names by category
shopping list by store aisle
meal plan
shopping list cost comparison at up to 20 stores
recipes in meal plan
list of unit conversions
recipe categories
list of coupons
recipe category assignments
list of prices and aisles
cookbook recipes by category
droplists
nutrition analyses
recipes on index card sheets (various sizes)
print-to-text file option
mini-print preview for recipes
fitness data
nutrition link status for recipe ingredients