Friday, June 26, 2015

The European Union, the Eurozone and the Financial Crisis in Greece: Has Anything Substantial Changed in the Last Four Years?

We have always been fans of Greece, particularly ancient Greek history, and have even written about it. See The Phaistos Disc: An Ancient Enigma Solved: Two corroborative Old Elamite scripts can be deciphered using the Greek syllabic values obtained for the Phaistos Disc by A. Kaulins in 1980.

Greece is a marvellous country and we have also vacationed there -- some years ago, enjoying superb Greek hospitality, food, music and lifestyle.

Ever since antiquity, and surely since the days of the Trojan Horse, the Greeks have always had the reputation of being keen and clever persons, a cleverness that modernly extends deep into the business and economic world.

As written at Bloomberg in Billionaire Greek Ship Owners Surface While Home Economy Sinks:
"Greeks have long dominated the shipping business. The nation’s fleet, numbering 3,669 vessels in 2013, is the largest in the world, according to the annual report of the Union of Greek Shipowners, making up more than 7 percent of the Greek economy and providing 192,000 jobs in 2013.

Greece’s shipping magnates control 23 percent of the world bulk carrier fleet, according to the report, even as their home country accounts for less than 0.4 percent of the world economy. 

...
As social pressures mount, the privileged tax status of the shipping industry has come under increasing scrutiny as successive Greek governments look to boost revenue. The industry pays no tax on international earnings brought into the country under rules incorporated in Greece’s constitution in 1967." [emphasis added]
But that cleverness poses modern problems.

Given the above knowledge about the virtual non-taxation of shipping in Greece, many observers in the world and in the European Union viz. Eurozone have little sympathy for the present Greek financial crisis. A government that does not tax its major industries is not going to have much money.

Moreover, observers are astounded that Greece not only has the highest pensions spend in the Eurozone, but seems unwilling to reform its vast overspending habits or to make major reforms to a totally skewed national economy that has ca. 800000 civil servants, whereas, by population, if compared to the number of civil servants in the United Kingdom, it should have maximally only 80000 civil servants, i.e. 1/10th that amount.

The reality is that e.g. citizens in France and Germany have saved their money over decades and have saved that money in banks who have loaned that money out inter alia to Greece, in effect, as it turns out, to finance Greek overspending and to subsidize the Greek shipping business, which, as noted above, pays virtually no taxes.

Now that is cleverness on the part of the Greeks and one should view it as such. We live in a world where people get what they can, if you let them.

But now the trick is known, and it should not go on indefinitely.

It turns out that the Greek government owes so much money to banks that Greece has little hope of ever repaying the vast monies that have gone to finance the past decades of Greek overspending with money financed north of the Alps. As written by Mehreen Khan at the Telegraph: "Greece's debt mountain is set to rise to 180pc of GDP this year."

Is there a workable path out of the situation?
or is this now the end for Greece in the Eurozone?
See
Greece talks to go down to the wire amid fears of imminent banking collapse

The problem of the European Union, the Eurozone and the Greek financial crisis was discussed in understandable form at the London Review of Books by John Lanchester in Once Greece goes…: Any hope for the euro? · LRB 14 July 2011.

That was FOUR years ago.

If one reads the article now, and one really should read it to understand the core essentials of the problem, it would appear to this observer that virtually nothing substantial has changed in the last four years in terms of any truly effective structural economic and financial improvements in Greece.

As Paul Krugman has long pointed out, simple austerity is not working and of course can not work. It never has, because it shrinks an economy that needs to be growing fast to meet its spiral of increasing debts. Austerity has merely led to increasingly high levels of unemployment and many other social evils.

As for obtaining more government money via taxation, a government must focus on the people who have that money, and not on those who do not have it. In Greece, the rich pay few taxes, and, indeed, the richest industry, shipping, is virtually freed from taxation. How is government finance then supposed to work? Where is the money to come from if home industry does not pay it? The answer has been that loans from northern nations have been paying the bills.

In other words, it is no wonder that the problem of Greece persists still today.

It is equally understandable that there are many proposed solutions:
  • The Greeks themselves, as could be expected, are pragmatic. As written by John Hooper at the Guardian in Greece’s plight at odds with public's lack of concern as default deferred – for now (this was in May):
    "Kostas Panagopoulos, of Alco Polls, said a survey he carried out last month indicated the public was already resigned to compromise: 52% of respondents said they wanted a deal with Greece’s creditors “even if the prime minister had to step over those red lines”.
    Hence, we expect a compromise whose reaching Greece will surely prolong as long as possible simply to win time.
  • No Simple, Painless Solutions for Greece: Das - "Risk Consultant and Author Satyajit Das discusses Greece’s attempt to get new bailout terms from Germany and the ECB with Bloomberg’s Rishaad Salamat on “On The Move.
  • Mikio Kumada - Greece Should Sign Any Deal, LGT Capital's Kumada Says - "Mikio Kumada, a strategist at LGT Capital Partners Ltd., talks about the standoff between Greece and its creditors. He speaks in Hong Kong with Angie Lau on Bloomberg Television's "Asia Edge." (Source: Bloomberg)"
  • At Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden's picture - The Austrian Solution to Greece
  • A Greek exit from the Eurozone as the last option - Michael Nevradakis interviews Economist Roger Bootle in "Grexit" Is the Only Solution for Greece
We have a simpler solution: nationalize the shipping industry, confiscate private and business assets of the rich, wherever found, pay off the nation's debts, and go from there.

Of course, that will never be done, but our proposed solution, easily implemented, very clearly puts the focus on the cardinal question which is always: who pays????????

The clever ones seldom do.

Look at the digital era companies Apple and Google in the USA, who pay little corporate income tax, which is not "tax avoidance", as Tim Worstall has correctly pointed out at Forbes in Can We Please Get This Straight, Apple And Google Do Not Avoid US Corporate Tax, but is simply utilisation of tax rule options provided to them by the laws, i.e. the government. It is comparable to the tax preferences viz. "exemptions" granted to the shipping industry in Greece. And Greece shows us where that kind of preferential treatment of corporations -- who make full use of the free infrastructures of government -- ultimatley leads: to government insolvency.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

President Barack Obama via The White House Email Sends Out Letter on U.S. Supreme Court Decision Today Upholding Obamacare

In what should be a topic of interest in Europe, the President of the United States via The White House just sent out this email (as follows in content) regarding today's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare:

"On March 23, 2010, I sat down at a table in the East Room of the White House and signed my name on a law that said, once and for all, that health care would no longer be a privilege for a few. It would be a right for everyone.

Five years later, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law and multiple challenges before the Supreme Court, here is what we know today:

This law worked. It's still working. It has changed and saved American lives. It has set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

And it's here to stay.

If that means something to you today, add your voice here.

This morning, the Supreme Court upheld one of the most critical parts of health reform -- the part that has made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance, no matter where you live.

If the challenges to this law had succeeded, millions would have had thousands of dollars in tax credits taken away. Insurance would have once again become unaffordable for many Americans. Many would have even become uninsured again. Ultimately, everyone's premiums could have gone up.

Because of this law, and because of today's decision, millions of Americans will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about 8 in 10 people who buy insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplaces the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month.

If you're a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 -- something that has covered millions of young people so far. That's because of this law. If you're a senior, or have a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions -- something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far. If you're a woman, you can't be charged more than anybody else -- even if you've had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you're a woman. Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms. They can't place annual or lifetime caps on your care.

And when it comes to preexisting conditions -- someday, our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who got sick. Because that's something this law has ended for good.

Five years in and more than 16 million insured Americans later, this is no longer just about a law. This isn't just about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

This is health care in America.

Today is a victory for every American whose life will continue to become more secure because of this law. And 20, 30, 50 years from now, most Americans may not know what "Obamacare" is. And that's okay. That's the point.

Because today, this reform remains what it always has been -- a set of fairer rules and tougher protections that have made health care in America more affordable, more attainable, and more about you.

That's who we are as Americans. We look out for one another. We take care of each other. We root for one another's success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation that comes behind us.

And today, with this behind us, let's come together and keep building something better. That starts right now.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama"

National Health Care Law ("Obamacare") Upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court

It is a great day for America.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has upheld The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") in a 6-3 vote of the nine Justices. Read the majority opinion and dissent at SCOTUS.

We anticipated both the result and the reasoning of the holding in this case in our previous LawPundit posting of June 21, 2015 in Does Upholding Dewsnup in Caulkett Mean Obamacare Will Be Saved by the U.S. Supreme Court?

The majority opinion was written by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and to his great credit now, after dropping the ball on the first SCOTUS Obamacare case, by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who thereby returns to our good graces. When the going gets tough, the tough get going ... and do the right thing. Well done, Justice Kennedy!

Kennedy's shift to the majority from his minority stance in the first Obamacare case is in our opinion a strong signal that Obamacare-opponents are playing a losing game in their attacks on Obamacare.

The "terrible trio" of Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented, suggesting that they have learned little since the first Supreme Court Obamacare decision, in which they were also in the minority. It would be good if these three Justices would at some time in their careers rise above their personal political prejudices and private intellectual theories about law and the Constitution and be the wise and impartial Justices they should be, but are not, in deciding matters of great importance to the nation.

The U.S. Supreme Court should never overturn major laws as passed by Congress for linguistic hair-splitting reasons, and we say this as co-author of a dictionary, who knows how difficult pinpointing the meanings of words can be in reality, and how little proper attention is paid to linguistic detail in lawmaking.

If the nation ultimately wants it, nothing prohibits Congress from repealing Obamacare, which is unlikely, however, since it has been a success. What Scalia writes in his dissent -- even resorting to calling Obamacare "SCOTUS-care" -- is ridiculous, and unfit for a Supreme Court Justice. Not worthy of that position.

 Indeed, as Roberts observes in the majority opinion concerning "the words":
"The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting.
...
Several features of the Act's passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through "the traditional legislative process." Cannan, A Legislative History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History, 105 L. Lib. J. 131, 163 (2013). And Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as "reconciliation," which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate's normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. Id., at 159-167.  As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.
Adam Liptak at the New York Times in Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies pinpoints the most important issue in the Roberts opinion:
"Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the words must be understood as part of a larger statutory plan. “In this instance,” he wrote, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” he added. “If at all possible, we must interpret the act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
That was, as we predicted, the essential and critical core of the case.

We quote Roberts directly from the opinion:
"We have held that Congress "does not alter the fundamental details of a regulatory scheme in vague terms or ancillary provisions." Whitman v. American Trucking Assns., Inc., 531 U. S. 457, 468 (2001).  But in petitioners' view, Congress made the viability of the entire Affordable Care Act turn on the ultimate ancillary provision: a sub-sub-sub section of the Tax Code. We doubt that is what Congress meant to do. Had Congress meant to limit tax credits to State Exchanges, it likely would have done so in the definition of "applicable taxpayer" or in some other prominent manner. It would not have used such a winding path of connect-the-dots provisions about the amount of the credit.5

Petitioners' arguments about the plain meaning of Section 36B are strong.  But while the meaning of the phrase "an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]" may seem plain "when viewed in isolation," such a reading turns out to be "untenable in light of [the statute] as a whole." Department of Revenue of Ore. v. ACF Industries, Inc., 510 U. S. 332, 343 (1994).  In this instance, the context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.

[LawPundit note: The text of Footnote 5 is omitted in this excerpt.] 
Reliance on context and structure in statutory interpretation is a "subtle business, calling for great wariness lest what professes to be mere rendering becomes creation and attempted interpretation of legislation becomes legislation itself." Palmer v. Massachusetts, 308 U. S. 79, 83 (1939). For the reasons we have given, however, such reliance is appropriate in this case, and leads us to conclude that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.
                                                *   *   *
In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined
—"to say what the law is." Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803). That is easier in some cases than in others.  But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done.  A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.  If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress's plan, and that is the reading we adopt."
Exactly. Right on the money. That is good, solid jurisprudence.

Bravo, Justice Roberts and bravo to the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court!

Roberts and the majority of Justices have done their job, which is to interpret laws rationally. The minority trio have -- again -- dropped the ball.

The Mainstream Press

We refer here to other early reports about this event in the mainstream press:

Wall Street Journal, Washington Wire
Supreme Court Upholds Health-Care Subsidies–Live Blog

The Boston Globe - Mark Sherman
Supreme Court rejects challenge to Obama’s health care law

NPR - Krishnadev Calamur
Supreme Court Rules Obamacare Subsidies Are Legal

USA Today - Richard Wolf and Brad Heath
Supreme Court upholds Obamacare subsidies





Saturday, May 16, 2015

Geographic Information Cognition and Human Spatial Orientation and Navigation in an Age of GIS and Virtual Reality: Locomotion Wayfinding and Systems of Reference

One critical area of scientific inquiry that bears directly on our ongoing analysis of ancient rock art, megaliths, mounds, earthworks etc. as land survey markers sited by astronomy is the question of human spatial and geographic orientation in a given environment and the role of systems of reference used for this purpose. Far too little research has been devoted to this topic and it is the kind of thing that research foundations should be sponsoring and funding.

We refer here to fundamental articles in Robert B. McMaster & E.Lynn Usery (eds.), 2004/2005. A Research Agenda for Geographic Information Science, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 402 p., ISBN-13: 978-0849327285 ISBN-10: 0849327288, eBook ISBN 978-1-4200-3833-0

and especially to Chapter 3 by Daniel R. Montello and Scott Freundschuh on the Cognition of Geographic Information, where they write, inter alia:
"Cognitive research about space and place has focused on several issues:  the responses of sensory systems that pick up spatial information, the development of spatial knowledge from birth to adulthood (ontogenesis) and upon first exposure to a new place (microgenesis), the accuracy and precision of knowledge about distances and directions, spatial language, cognitive structures and processes used during navigation, and perceptual and cognitive issues in cartography, and very recently, GIS. With the advent of new technologies like GIS, new questions about spatial perception and cognition develop, and old questions (both basic and applied) become focused in new ways. 
One of the most basic concepts in this area is that of the cognitive map. Introduced by Tolman (1948) in his work with rat spatial behavior, the cognitive map is a mental representation, or set of representations, of the spatial layout of the environment. According to Downs and Stea (1973), “cognitive mapping is a process composed of a series of psychological transformations by which an individual acquires, stores, recalls, and decodes information about the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in his [or her] everyday spatial environment” (p. 9). The cartographic map thus serves as a metaphor for spatial and environmental knowledge. Other metaphors have been offered as well, from topological schemata to cognitive collage (see Montello & Freundschuh, 1995). GIS and virtual reality provide our latest metaphors for environmental knowledge. 
Cognitive researchers are interested in comparing various sources of geographical knowledge. Montello and Freundschuh (1995) review the characteristics of acquiring knowledge from direct environmental experience, static pictorial representations such as maps (see Thorndyke & Hayes-Roth, 1982), dynamic pictorial representations (movies, animations), and language (see Taylor & Tversky, 1992). Montello and Freundschuh listed eight factors that may play roles in differentiating these sources of geographic information: sensorimotor
systems involved, static vs. dynamic information, sequential vs. simultaneous acquisition, the arbitrariness of symbols, the need for scale translations and their flexibility, viewing perspective, precision of presented information, and the inclusion of detail varying in relevance.
It is commonly thought that spatial knowledge of the environment consists of three types of features: knowledge of discrete landmarks, knowledge of routes that connect landmarks into travel sequences, and configurational or survey knowledge that coordinates and metrically scales routes and landmarks. In fact, inspired by Piagetian theory, it has often been suggested that these features represent a necessary learning sequence (Siegel & White, 1975; for an opposing view, see Montello, 1998). Landmarks in particular are thought to play an important role as anchor-points or reference points for the organization of environmental knowledge (Sadalla, Burroughs, & Staplin, 1980; Couclelis, Golledge, Gale, & Tobler, 1987).

Spatial cognition researchers have studied human navigation and orientation (Golledge, 1999). Navigation is coordinated and goal directed movement through space. It may be understood to consist of both locomotion and wayfinding processes.

Locomotion refers to perceptual-motor coordination to the local surrounds, and includes activities such as moving towards visible targets and avoiding obstacles.
Wayfinding refers to cognitive coordination to the distant environment, beyond direct sensorimotor access, and includes activities such as trip planning and route choice. Humans navigate and stay oriented both by recognizing landmarks (piloting) and by updating their sense of location via dead reckoning processes
(Gallistel, 1990; Loomis, Klatzky, Golledge, & Philbeck, 1999). Some of these processes are relatively automatic (Rieser, Pick, Ashmead, & Garing, 1995), while others are more like conscious strategies (Cornell, Heth, & Rowat, 1992).
 

A fundamental issue about human orientation concerns the systems of reference that people use to organize their spatial knowledge. Various possible systems have been discussed, including those that encode spatial relations with respect to the body, with respect to an external feature with or without differentiated appearance, or with respect to an abstract frame like latitude-longitude (Hart & Moore, 1973; Levinson, 1996). Several researchers have investigated reference systems within the context of verbal route directions (Allen, 1997)."

Monday, May 04, 2015

Law, Antiquities and Discoveries in the Pickwick Papers of Charles Dickens

The "immortal antiquarian discovery" in the Pickwick Papers by that most incomparably descriptive fiction writer, Charles Dickens, gives us some interesting insights into the world of antiquities and discoveries, here excerpted by us from the Gutenberg edition. It was Dickens' first novel and for all of our law readers, the novel (not in this excerpt) also has quite a bit of law. ENJOY!

"It was at this moment that Mr. Pickwick made that immortal discovery, which has been the pride and boast of his friends, and the envy of every antiquarian in this or any other country. They had passed the door of their inn, and walked a little way down the village, before they recollected the precise spot in which it stood. As they turned back, Mr. Pickwick's eye fell upon a small broken stone, partially buried in the ground, in front of a cottage door. He paused.

'This is very strange,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'What is strange?' inquired Mr. Tupman, staring eagerly at every object near him, but the right one. 'God bless me, what's the matter?'


This last was an ejaculation of irrepressible astonishment, occasioned by seeing Mr. Pickwick, in his enthusiasm for discovery, fall on his knees before the little stone, and commence wiping the dust off it with his pocket-handkerchief.


'There is an inscription here,' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Is it possible?' said Mr. Tupman.


'I can discern,'continued Mr. Pickwick, rubbing away with all his might, and gazing intently through his spectacles—'I can discern a cross, and a 13, and then a T. This is important,' continued Mr. Pickwick, starting up. 'This is some very old inscription, existing perhaps long before the ancient alms-houses in this place. It must not be lost.'


He tapped at the cottage door. A labouring man opened it.


'Do you know how this stone came here, my friend?' inquired the benevolent Mr. Pickwick.


'No, I doan't, Sir,' replied the man civilly. 'It was here long afore I was born, or any on us.'


Mr. Pickwick glanced triumphantly at his companion.


'You—you—are not particularly attached to it, I dare say,' said Mr. Pickwick, trembling with anxiety. 'You wouldn't mind selling it, now?'


'Ah! but who'd buy it?' inquired the man, with an expression of face which he probably meant to be very cunning.


'I'll give you ten shillings for it, at once,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'if you would take it up for me.'


The astonishment of the village may be easily imagined, when (the little stone having been raised with one wrench of a spade) Mr. Pickwick, by dint of great personal exertion, bore it with his own hands to the inn, and after having carefully washed it, deposited it on the table.


The exultation and joy of the Pickwickians knew no bounds, when their patience and assiduity, their washing and scraping, were crowned with success. The stone was uneven and broken, and the letters were straggling and irregular, but the following fragment of an inscription was clearly to be deciphered:—


          [cross]   B I L S T
                  u m
                   P S H I
                    S. M.
                    ARK
 

Mr. Pickwick's eyes sparkled with delight, as he sat and gloated over the treasure he had discovered. He had attained one of the greatest objects of his ambition. In a county known to abound in the remains of the early ages; in a village in which there still existed some memorials of the olden time, he—he, the chairman of the Pickwick Club—had discovered a strange and curious inscription of unquestionable antiquity, which had wholly escaped the observation of the many learned men who had preceded him. He could hardly trust the evidence of his senses.
....
The sun was shining brilliantly into his chamber, when he awoke, and the morning was far advanced.... After a hearty breakfast, the four gentlemen sallied forth to walk to Gravesend, followed by a man bearing the stone in its deal box....

It appears from the Transactions of the Club, then, that Mr. Pickwick lectured upon the discovery at a General Club Meeting, convened on the night succeeding their return, and entered into a variety of ingenious and erudite speculations on the meaning of the inscription.


It also appears that a skilful artist executed a faithful delineation of the curiosity, which was engraven on stone, and presented to the Royal Antiquarian Society, and other learned bodies: that heart-burnings and jealousies without number were created by rival controversies which were penned upon the subject; and that Mr. Pickwick himself wrote a pamphlet, containing ninety-six pages of very small print, and twenty-seven different readings of the inscription: that three old gentlemen cut off their eldest sons with a shilling a-piece for presuming to doubt the antiquity of the fragment; and that one enthusiastic individual cut himself off prematurely, in despair at being unable to fathom its meaning: that Mr. Pickwick was elected an honorary member of seventeen native and foreign societies, for making the discovery: that none of the seventeen could make anything of it; but that all the seventeen agreed it was very extraordinary.

Mr. Blotton, indeed—and the name will be doomed to the undying contempt of those who cultivate the mysterious and the sublime—Mr. Blotton, we say, with the doubt and cavilling peculiar to vulgar minds, presumed to state a view of the case, as degrading as ridiculous.


Mr. Blotton, with a mean desire to tarnish the lustre of the immortal name of Pickwick, actually undertook a journey to Cobham in person, and on his return, sarcastically observed in an oration at the club, that he had seen the man from whom the stone was purchased; that the man presumed the stone to be ancient, but solemnly denied the antiquity of the inscription—inasmuch as he represented it to have been rudely carved by himself in an idle mood, and to display letters intended to bear neither more or less than the simple construction of—'BILL STUMPS, HIS MARK'; and that Mr. Stumps, being little in the habit of original composition, and more accustomed to be guided by the sound of words than by the strict rules of orthography, had omitted the concluding 'L' of his Christian name.

The Pickwick Club (as might have been expected from so enlightened an institution) received this statement with the contempt it deserved, expelled the presumptuous and ill-conditioned Blotton from the society, and voted Mr. Pickwick a pair of gold spectacles, in token of their confidence and approbation: in return for which, Mr. Pickwick caused a portrait of himself to be painted, and hung up in the club room.


Mr. Blotton was ejected but not conquered. He also wrote a pamphlet, addressed to the seventeen learned societies, native and foreign, containing a repetition of the statement he had already made, and rather more than half intimating his opinion that the seventeen learned societies were so many 'humbugs.'


Hereupon, the virtuous indignation of the seventeen learned societies being roused, several fresh pamphlets appeared; the foreign learned societies corresponded with the native learned societies; the native learned societies translated the pamphlets of the foreign learned societies into English; the foreign learned societies translated the pamphlets of the native learned societies into all sorts of languages; and thus commenced that celebrated scientific discussion so well known to all men, as the Pickwick controversy.

But this base attempt to injure Mr. Pickwick recoiled upon the head of its calumnious author.


The seventeen learned societies unanimously voted the presumptuous Blotton an ignorant meddler, and forthwith set to work upon more treatises than ever. 

And to this day the stone remains, an illegible monument of Mr. Pickwick's greatness, and a lasting trophy to the littleness of his enemies."

Pale Moon "Your Browser, Your Way" as a Workable, Customizable, Efficient Alternative Browser Solution Forked from Mozilla Firefox for Windows, Android and Linux


Pale Moon might be an alternative browser solution for many users. We switched from our previous browser primarily because Pale Moon permits tabs underneath the rest of the toolbars at the top of the page, a feature that we need because it reduces "mouse miles" and speeds up our research work.

The whole philosophy of Pale Moon is what made Mozilla Firefox popular in the good old days -- USER customizability, not tyranny by software programmers or other company types trying to be important and pushing their ideas and preferences on others against their will. The USER is king.

PALE MOON is not only a brilliant "fork" of Mozilla Firefox 28 but constitutes a continued development which does not adopt "Australis", i.e. the ill-advised Mozilla Firefox 29 and subsequent versions, which have seen Firefox market share plummet. 

Here are some of the features which we pass on from the PaleMoon.org site, whose logo is ""Pale Moon -- Your Browser, Your Way"
  • You are able to import existing Firefox profiles with the migration tool
  • You have the option to put tabs not only above, but also BELOW the address bar -- this is working perfectly thus far
  • Under the Pale Moon "Status Bar" preferences at the tab option "Address Bar" you can click "Show progress in the Address Bar - and the line style that appears in that bar: none, bottom, top or fill -- try it out -- great!
Here is what Pale Moon writes at http://www.palemoon.org/ about "Your Browser, Your Way":
"Pale Moon is a free and open-source web browser based on Mozilla Firefox, available for Linux, Windows, and Android, developed and distributed by Dutch developer M.C. Straver. Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox, retaining the fully customizable user interface as seen in the previous era of the Firefox browser, and focusing on the core tasks of web browsing."


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

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