Monday, December 30, 2013

Is Europe a Model for the USA to Develop a New Antiobiotic Resistance Plan?

Various expert opinions on antibiotic resistance are presented at the New York Times in When Bacteria Can No Longer Be Stopped.

The cardinal question is the legal structure necessary to optimally fight the developmemt of antibiotic resistance.

Does Europe present workable models for the USA to follow?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Latvia Officially Joins the Euro Currency on January 1, 2014

The European Central Bank (ECB) reports that Latvia joins the Euro currency as the 18th member of the Euro area on January 1, 2014. The Latvian currency, the Lats (LVL), ceases to be legal tender on January 15, 2014. The fixed exchange rate is € 1.00 = LVL 0.702804, which is equivalent to ca. 1 Lat to 1.42 Euros.
In Latvia

Latvian post offices will exchange the old money until March 31, 2014 while normal banks will exchange the old currency until June 30, 2014. In addition, the country's central bank, the Latvijas Banka, i.e. the Bank of Latvia, will exchange unlimited amounts of LVL currency (notes and coins) for an indefinite period into the future.

Outside of Latvia in the Euro Area

Outside of Latvia, Euro area national central banks (NCBs) will exchange Latvian banknotes in amounts limited to €1000 for any given party/transaction on any one day until February 28, 2014.

General Comment

Although the shift from the Latvian lat to the Euro area currency is not massively popular among the Latvian populace, the fact is that "Latvia has, for all practical purposes, been part of the euro zone since joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 2005." (WSJ)


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Do the Brits Have it Right? Merry Christmas! (and/or) Bless the Winter Solstice! The Celebration of Feasts in an Age of Political Correctness

Heather Long has it right at the Guardian in The Brits have it right: forget Happy Holidays, just wish people Merry Christmas, writing, inter alia:
"Personally, I think the Brits have this one right. I'd rather be able to wish people a Merry Christmas this week without having to worry if they'll be offended. I'd also rather have people wish me Happy Hanukkah, Happy Diwali or Eid Mubarak when those holidays come around. It makes me feel more a part of their celebration. Let's call each holiday what it is instead of trying to lump Jewish, Christian and even the Kwanzaa ritual together. If we need a generic holiday, we've already got the New Year, which touches all people and cultures."
In Germany, along the same lines, you "celebrate the feasts as they come" (Feste feiern, wie sie kommen).

If more people would read our websites, blogs and postings, they would understand that many modern calendric fixed and moveable feasts have their origins in the ancient cultures of humanity and in time-keeping by astronomy.

Religious and commercial institutions are simply capitalizing in the modern era on human traditions much older than they are themselves.

The fact that many people think they need to be "politically correct" here is simply an aberration of our modern, often fully misguided world, that for the main, has no understanding of human history.

Bless the Winter Solstice!
and the gradual return of the Sun!

oh,
and

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Monday, December 23, 2013

White Anglo-Saxon Protestants in America, the British Empire and the Anglo Cluster: VALUES are More Important than Race, Nationality, Gender or Religion

How many of the nine current U.S. Supreme Court Justices fit the description of being "white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant"? NONE of them! There are six Catholics and three Jews as Justices in a predominantly Protestant nation.

In this vein, Joseph Epstein has probably done the world a valuable service by raising numerous controversial issues about leadership in America in his piece at the Wall Street Journal on The Late, Great American WASP.

Epstein talks about an America no longer led by WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) but rather by a mixture of persons from a presumed meritocracy of diversity. It is an analysis, however, which is cast in the contemporary American insular and provincial habit of viewing things only as "We, in America...."

We (of America) in Europe were reminded upon reading Epstein of a chat we had some years ago with an English friend, "a commoner" and employee of several Lords over the years, who served on the front lines in WWII and sang the praises of the military officers from English nobility, who he said had proven superior in wartime, because, in his words, "they knew how to lead men", under the motto that there is no substitute for experience.

Critics of Epstein in the USA seem to focus on "current" issues in vogue like the American race ramifications of his analysis, fully forgetting that the question of LEADERSHIP is the true issue, and long predates the present United States.

It was indeed the heritage of knowing and understanding how to lead men that made the American Founding Fathers so eminently successful and that paved the way for their many -- but not exclusive -- WASP successors to ultimately catapult the ever-increasing number of united American States to world leadership down the road of history, but only in the 20th century, for prior to that, the British Empire of WASPs ruled the roost, and that is where one should look for the sources of that heritage of leadership:
"The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power.[1] By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population at the time.[2] The empire covered more than 33,700,000 km2 (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area.[3][4] As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse across the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories."
What Epstein is criticizing in the USA is the loss of American understanding of the values of leadership and society that made the nation great, leadership characteristics and values that can be traced to the legacy of the British. We find written in the Abstract in Neal M. Ashkanasy, Edwin Trevor-Roberts, Louise Earnshaw, The Anglo Cluster: legacy of the British empire, Journal of World Business 37 (2002) 28-39, www.journalofworldbusiness.com:
"The Anglo Cluster comprises Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa (White sample), and the United States of America. These countries are all developed nations, predominantly English speaking, and were all once British colonies. Today, they are amongst the wealthiest countries in the world. The GLOBE results show that the Anglo Cluster is characterized by an individualistic performance orientation."
That PERFORMANCE orientation of the Anglo Cluster is traced back in that article to British Protestantism.

America took over Protestant values, not unlike those in Britain, and that was one main secret to American success.

To better understand AMERICA and the countries of the Anglo Cluster, who still lead the world, it would probably be advisable for everyone to read the above article. There is more to this than just WASPs. It has to do with VALUES.

Hat tip to CaryGEE and MW.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Map of the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU)

Update: Please note that the European Union was expanded to 27 States on January 1, 2007 as Romania and Bulgaria joined the ranks of Member States, and to 28 States on July 1, 2013, as Croatia joined the EU. Here is the new map which I just got around to creating for my websites and blogs:


__________

Below is the original posting from December 8, 2003....

European Union Expansion to 25 Member States - Map (German - Karte)

NEW EU MEMBERS as of May 1, 2004

On May 1, 2004, ten (10) additional countries will join the European Union as new member states, raising the number of EU Member States from 15 to 25.



This extremely important development for the world will change the taxation and legal systems of the new EU Member States, according to a report of May 1, 2003 of PriceWaterhouseCoopers which writes:

"The enlargement of the EU will fundamentally change the tax and legal systems of the ten accession countries requiring harmonisation to ensure they are in line with EU legislation and case law. Areas affected include: VAT, customs and excise duties, direct taxation, commercial law, consumer and competition law, social security and employment law, intellectual property, e-commerce, financial services, and data protection.

Peter Cussons, international corporate tax partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said:
"The need for a large measure of tax and legal harmonisation is inevitable, the list of areas affected is huge, and the compliance clock is ticking.
"Companies with existing operations in the ten accession countries should be re-evaluating their operations now to enable them to implement necessary changes in time for the accession date of 1 May 2004. It should also be noted that these changes will have implications not just for companies which already operate within the accession countries, but also companies which plan to invest in or have or plan to have other business relations with those accession countries.

"I cannot emphasise enough that, with only 12 months remaining, businesses need to act now to ensure they are fully compliant with the new largely harmonised EU tax and legal environment."


And now there are only 5 months left for these changes to be made.

The enlargement of the European Union will have further long-term political, economic and legal repercussions as ebusiness.com has stated:

"In the Treaty on European Union which came into force in 1993, Article 49 says that any European State which respects the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law may apply to become a member of the Union.

Further clarification was given by the European Council meeting in Copenhagen in 1993 which laid down the basic conditions for membership - the so-called "Copenhagen criteria" :

stable institutions guaranteeing democracy;
rule of law, respect for and protection of human rights and minorities;
existence of a functioning market economy;
capacity to cope with market forces and competitive pressures within the Union;
ability to take on the obligations of membership, including Economic and Monetary Union."


As seen on the map above prepared for this purpose, these ten new members starting in the north and moving southward are:

Estonia
Latvia
Lithuania
Poland
the Czech Republic
Slovakia
Hungary
Slovenia
Malta
Cyprus


United States and European Union compared

The European Union has similarities but also differences to the United States.

Predecessor Organizations and Member States

The predecessor organizations of the European Union started with six (6) members.
These were Belgium, West Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Currently there are 15 so-called "member states" in the European Union including the original six member states (Germany after the reunification added the 5 East German Laender on October 3, 1990)

plus the following nine additional member states added as follows:
Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom joined in 1973. (numbers 7,8 and 9)
Greece joined in 1981 (number 10)
Spain and Portugal joined in 1986. (numbers 11 and 12)
Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined in 1995. (numbers 13, 14 and 15)

Norway signed an accession treaty in 1994, but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum, so that Norway is NOT a member of the European Union.

The accession to the European Union affects the monetary systems of the new member nations and their currencies.

What about the EURO in the new member states?
As you can read at that link, in spite of membership in the EU, the adoption of the Euro in the new member states is conditional upon meeting certain monetary requirements.

The Maastricht Treaty and Other Treaties forming the EU

The Maastricht Treaty also known as
The Treaty on European Union
entered into force by ratification of the Member States on November 1, 1993.

See the milestones of the EU in a timeline of events for the European Union

See the factsheets for the European Union

Europe is Impacted by American Politics: How Strong is the Political Center in the United States?

American politics impacts Europe.

Just how strong is the American political center?

Thomas Edsall at the New York times writes that
The Center Cannot Hold.

Is that true?
Is the study that he reports analytically correct?
We think not.

Edsall reports on a publication titled "Why American Political Parties Can't Get Beyond the Left-Right Divide" by Edward Carmines of Indiana University, Michael Ensley of Kent State University and Michael Wagner of the University of Wisconsin.

As follows, Edsall shares the image of the distribution of American voters, 2012 American National Election Studies, showing the Ideological Distribution of the 2012 American Electorate in terms of Economic and Social views (horizontal and vertical labels) into five groups rather than two: Conservatives, Libertarians, Liberals, Populists and the resulting centric Centrists (image linked from the New York Times):


The argument is that the center is too small to hold the four groups together. Wait a minute!

We suppose that it all depends on how large you draw that middle circle and where you place the center!

We are political centrists, but not moderates, as suggested about centrists in Edsall's article, and one thing we can get quite immoderately upset about is the tweaking of facts to suit some political purpose, regardless of which party.

We have drawn a new (larger) circle which shows that there is in fact a MASSIVE center, albeit somewhat larger than that in the original graph.


Moreover, as shown above, a larger drawn center shows in our opinion that the midpoint of that center is located more to the left than the original graph suggests. This accounts for the fact that the "Centrists" in the middle of the original graph show a tapering off to the right rather than being circular as at the left, i.e. the central midpoint is falsely located in the original graph.

Lastly, there is no reason for these four groups to be distributed circularly in terms of distribution, and in fact they are not, as a turned ellipse better fits the facts at the center, with the majority congregating as liberals and conservatives, and with populists and libertarians clearly narrowing, i.e. having fewer adherents, as their fringe group status would predict.


Accordingly, a candidate who is able to attract the voters in that larger center, and this can only be a true political centrist, can not be beaten in a national Presidential election. Artificially narrowing the size of that center is wrong.

Conclusion:

The idea that the center can not hold is simply false.
Centrists decide elections. That has not changed.
Just do not describe us as "moderates".
We are in fact quite immoderate to all forms of tyrants and political dogmas.
Rather, we are prudent, practical, realists.


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

European Union (EU) Policy on Intellectual Property and the Abuse of IP Rights in the USA: Who is Winning?

What is the European Union doing about intellectual property, and does the EU have a better policy on copyrights, patents and trademarks that the USA?

See Intellectual Property Rights: Europe’s asset, Europe’s priority.

We were brought to this topic through an editorial by The New York Times Editorial Board reporting that
Congress Takes on Abusive Patent Suits.

For comparison, take a look at some LawPundit patent postings about "the patent problem", some of which go go back ca. 10 years in obviously anticipating what have become serious intellectual property problems....

November 2, 2003 - LawPundit, Patent Law and Policy : FTC Report : Bonito Boats v. Thunder Craft Boats : Selden Case : Eolas Case

January 18, 2004 - LawPundit, Money to Burn - Judge Zagel, Robins et al., M. Doyle, Eolas and Microsoft

January 19, 2004 - LawPundit, A Call to Legal Vigilance against Overly Broad Patents being issued by the USPTO for Mechanical Juggling of Prior Art

January 27, 2004 - LawPundit, Indigenous intellectual property, art, architecture, cultural icons and modern copyrights

October 25, 2005 - LawPundit, IP - Is "Intellectual Property" a Misnomer?

May 22, 2006 - LawPundit, Patents Injunctions and Patent Trolls - eBay v. MercExchange

May 7, 2007 - LawPundit, Supreme Court Redefines Obviousness in Patent Law : KSR is a Landmark Case

May 11, 2007 - LawPundit, KSR Teleflex Obviousness Standard Applied by the Federal Circuit in Leapfrog v. Fisher-Price & Mattel -Price & Mattel

November 30, 2007 - LawPundit, Patent Reform Act of 2007 (PRA), eBay v. MercExchange, KSR, Leapfrog : Vested Interests & Territoriality : Justice Harlan I Wins Again for Modern Law

December 11, 2007 - LawPundit, LawPundit Patent Reform Act Posting is Rated at the Postgrad Level - Megaliths.net is Rated at the Genius level : OK - It's All in Good Fun

November 23, 2008 - LawPundit, In re Bilski : Patentable Subject Matter : Federal Circuit Overturns Pure Business Method Patents : Requires Machine Process / Physical Transformation 

August 21, 2010 - LawPundit, Mouse Trap Economics: Give us a Billion Dollars Says the Judge on Behalf of the USPTO : Did Bilski Kill Sensible Patent Reform?

August 21, 2010 - LawPundit, Speaking of Mouse Trap Economics, What About that Yarn that Patents Stimulate Invention: Les Earnest Testifies Before the USPTO

August 23, 2011 - LawPundit, Samsung Digital Picture Frame 2006 is Clear Designer Prior Art to the Later "Design" of the iPhone and iPad

July 31, 2012 - LawPundit, Patents, Apple, Samsung, Koh's Court & Jury, Poker and the Sucker: Guess Who?

April 15, 2013 - LawPundit, Patenting Human Genes: Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics: U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument Indicates Natural Genes Will be Found Unpatentable as a Matter of Composition but Genes Worked by Human Ingenuity May Be Patentable as to Use

June 13, 2013 - LawPundit, Human Genes Are Not Patentable: U.S. Supreme Court Rules Unanimously

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