"Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon"-"A nation without a language is a nation without a heart" Welsh Proverb

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Europe makes deal to bail the Irish out!

     As Eamon Ryan communications minister announces today that deal to bail out fellow Celts in Ireland one wonders who will be next. It seems it was yesterday that the news was full of the booming economy for Ireland with computer age, but like the USA that did not have a lasting effect on the Economy. The  deal for the Irish will give them $115 Billion and interest rate of about 5.2%.
     This deal has taken some days and the concerns seemed to be caution as the figures had to be ones that Ireland could pay back and  added comment by a minister Dempsey "It's more important to get it right than to get it quick" As an American I wish the Obama government would think this way rather than hurt future generations with debt! Also "Obama care" was more a decision to give Obama a win quick rather than get it right. He needed to hear what the people wanted rather than a broken program to get a victory! My wonder is that in the Irish deal before European Ministers in Brussels involves Britain who has given out austerity plans recently to it's own people. It might though present a good feeling between Ireland and Britain.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My take on the changes in British Aide or Benefits System

This article for my blog is based on a BBC Internet story "Benefits system overhaul 'to make work pay"

Please note that quotes here are from that article.

      As I begin my article here I have a wonder if this may also happen in the United States, but then again maybe not!

     The British Work Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says the plan is to to bring in a single Universal Credit to replace work-related benefits. He goes on to state that "The changes will bring welfare (dole) 'into the twenty first century" It is being reported that this is " The biggest welfare shake-up since the 1940s' and "will make going out to work pay and see benefit cuts for those who refuse to take jobs" Work Secretary Iain Smith plans to bring in a single Universal Credit to replace work-related benefits. Claimants moving into work will keep more of their income than now, but face losing benefits if they refuse a job.

       My mind wanders again when thinking about the USA! Such an action here might prompt words like this: You are being racist as you are making a certain race that is in the majority of those on Welfare work and take jobs.  Or the mother of four but out of wedlock feels that this is not fair to have to work when she has to take care of her children! In all they will find it unfair!

          Britain's Labour Party said it backed  this move to make work pay but warned about the possible lack of available jobs. Something that might be the out cry here in the USA or is it that jobs are felt to be beneath them or why should I work when the government pays me not to work. Mr Smith countered saying "We are not in the business of punishing people who can't take work." In the case of not enough jobs he stated hitting back at claims there were not enough jobs in the current economic climate for the plan to work, "there were 450,000 vacancies "even as the country is coming out of recession" He felt that creating jobs was "vital" but tackling the culture of worthlessness was more important, as the country could not afford for it to continue." Can the USA? Like Britain one wonders if we can sustain it much longer?  "In prosperous times this dependency culture would be unsustainable but today it's a national crisis," said Mr Duncan Smith.
Mr Smith added "70% of the four million new jobs created during one of the longest economic booms in history had gone to foreign workers, while 4.5 million British people continued a life on benefits."
"Businesses had to bring people in from overseas because our welfare system did not encourage or even assist people to take those jobs," This new action Smith felt "would reduce the number of work less households by 300,000 and make work pay for 700,000 low earning employees." The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, (the Lib Dem Leader,) backs the reforms, calling them "the most radical overhaul of our welfare system since its inception".
      The new system  like that of online bank account will mostly be administered through the Internet, with people expected to make claims online and check their payments. The records show though that an "estimated 1.5 million unemployed people do not currently have Internet access, according to government figures." This might be the out cry if such a system were taken on in the USA, but the fact is that most Libraries in the USA now have Internet available and people to help you become "Internet friendly." But then again like the British DWP a "minority" of cases could  be dealt with face-to-face. Mr Smith added that the
"current system was hugely complex and costly to administer, vulnerable to fraud, and deterred people from finding a job or extending their hours." I say much like the USA! Or in many cases the attitude that the Government "Owes them benefits." Just as in the USA Mr Smith said "millions of people had become "trapped" on benefits and long-term unemployment had become entrenched in communities where generations of families had not worked for years." How true this is here in the USA and the sad part is that many do not care! The following taken from the BBC article outlines the key points of the British reform:

                                                                                                                              Low paid workers to keep more of what they earn.

Replaces working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, jobseekers' allowance and income related allowances. Benefits cut for three months if job offers refused - and for up to three years in the most 'extreme' cases. People can move in and out of work without losing benefits. Starts for new claimants in 2013. Will take up to 10 years to come fully into effect. £2.1bn start up costs, but Meant to save money in the long run through reducing fraud and error

     Mr Smiths plan would consolidate "the existing 30 or more work-related benefits - including job seeker's allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit, working tax credit, income support and employment support allowance - into a single universal payment." One of the key points here is that "There will be tougher penalties for people fit to work but unwilling to do so." A suggestion that the USA might take to heart and consider. This work on " A sliding scale of sanctions will see those refusing work on three occasions having their benefits taken away for three months. Those repeatedly convicted of benefit fraud could have their benefits stopped for three years." The reality for what Mr. Smith "insists" is "no one will experience a reduction in the benefit money they receive as a result of the introduction of the Universal Credit.
Universal Credit claimants will receive a basic personal amount with additional sums for disability, caring costs, housing costs and children, with single people and couples getting different rates and, as now, the under 25s receiving less. Unlike now, people will not have to claim separately for different benefits. That would make it easier in the USA as Social Security benefits actually reduce the benefits paid on disability! Mr Smith added something else that sounds good "The amount claimants receive will also be calculated closer to "real time", with adjustments potentially made monthly rather than annually." It might be noted that here in the USA benefits have not been pro-rated for the last two years under the Obama administration!  Mr Smith told MPs he was determined to "ensure people will consistently and transparently be better off for each hour they work and for every pound they earn". That is noted that it does feel good people to earn your keep I know! In Britain "Officials believe that up to two million people will be better off as a result of the changes, which will cost an estimated £2bn to implement over the next four years. Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg believe "that in too many households families have not worked for generations, and have thereby doomed their children to a life of poverty and blighted prospects." How true this is in the USA!  They believe, the solution "is through encouraging and - if necessary - forcing these people back into work." It is noted in the article that this might make or break the present administration.
Disability charity Scope has expressed fears "that changes requiring more disabled people to undertake some work, if they are able, could drive more disabled people into poverty." I feel that we will have to wait to see on that aspect. 
       It might be noted that "The United trade union" in Britain, "warned the coalition's reforms would create "a US-style 'soup kitchen' culture". As a note here is it not the Salvation army responsible for some of the first "Soup Kitchens." here in the USA?  Funny how this establishment was started in 1865 in you guessed it LONDON ENGLAND.
        In all I am not giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the British reform, but I will say this that it would take two or three time the time it took to pass the Obama Care "that was not wanted by the people." here in the USA. I will be keeping an eye on this an as a Welsh background person I might add I wonder if there is room for discrimination in such a plan. The outcomes are for another day to consider and I am sure that I will be writing on this again. I wonder if this British Reform will sail across "the Pond." or  sink on arrival. We will wait and see, but the feeling is that something must be done!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today we proudly honor our veterans past and present for those that served and for those that gave their all! Today is a day for thanking them for serving and honoring us with defending our freedoms. Join me in remembering those that have gone before us!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Decision Points"-NBC Interview with former President George W. Bush

     I watched with interest the NBC interview on TV this evening with former President George W. Bush about his new book "Decision Points." Starting a blog this week with two major people in the world the queen ( Mrs. Windsor) and now Bush might be a little bit dangerous and a magnet for comments the world over, but like Bush this evening it is words that I feel need to be commented on.
      Well I must say the interview this evening asked the major questions and openly. I was taken again I must say by Bush's face that not always I felt showed the emotion that went along with his answers. In other words a smile when talking about a serious topic or a wondering look when not needed. I must say that this is a man that has seen it all. A man that when workers could not hear him at "Ground Zero" New York right after 9/11 said "but I hear you." He heard a nation that came together behind the man that heard the pain and gave him a 90% approval rating. He also heard the people give him a 30% rating at the end of his presidency and heard them when he made mistakes and blunders. It was clear that he loves the country he served and expressed very clearly that he had to do things that did not make him very popular because of that love of country. As a person that trained for the ministry I can feel for him on a smaller basis with the people wanting him to be a so called "jack of all trades." and some times people not seeing that sometimes that position is not popular. That is especially true when he talked on the topics of Water boarding, prison abuse etc, but those decisions both embarrassed him and saved lives in the long run. Sometimes you just can not win as a minister or a President. He was very clear that Katrina provided a problem that we fail to understand and that is that it takes the State and local governments to ask for Federal help and he was blamed for being slow to react. Then even this evening an expression of hurt when he said that being called a "racist" was one of his worst days and the commentator come back...worst when you faced 9/11? You just can't always win as a minister or a president.
   People do not see I do not think that each President inherits the problems of the previous. but still gets blamed for them anyway. People do not see that it takes a man of integrity and strength to place people in a state of War...and War is hell. It was apparent this evening that decisions were made for the good of the country which maybe not popular were made by a man that loves the USA. He tried to express gratitude and even that caused pain when he expressed a job well done in Iraq, but the war was not over! He admitted without shame that we entered into war without a plan for building afterwards which I feel is a clear indication of a man of strength. You know what in all that he was I feel that he was a man with respect that never may come but a man that knew he had to act and sometimes act quickly. I admire him now for his respect of the Presidency unlike his vice president he feels that it is not right to speak out against a Seated President by a former president. I hope that Former President Clinton hears that! One has to though look at all that Bush faced and how many of us could have done a better job and have the strength when he was not popular in his decisions or actions (that often times were made to look bad by media takes on the Presidency) in all I think this was one of the most open interviews I have seen of a Former President and "Decision Points." should be a good read!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Protect and Preserve Garth Celyn

The 13c royal court on Garth Celyn was far more complex than some would have us believe. ... It was a thriving centre, with international status. Where learning was encouraged with an open door attitude. Gwynfor Evans described Garth Celyn as "the place that holds the Nation's memory". We need to hold onto that memory, and cherish it. Dr John Charles

Mrs.Windsor yes the queen has joined Face Book!

     My laugh for the day is that Mrs. Windsor has joined Face Book! Kind of makes me want to post my first blog message on another day! My first posting after I saw this was: "There goes the neighborhood! She is not going to be my Neighbor on farmville!" I got some very funny replies as well.....O my she must have nothing to do! Not many want to be her Neighbor!...Checking up on the Grandsons are we! Well can you guess I am a Welsh Nationalist in my thinking! From time to time I will poke fun at the Germans that rule Britain. To some it might be sad to others fair play when they act as they do!

      At my home post office in North Haven, Ct. USA they wanted me to write United Kingdom on my letters to Wales! My reply was NO...there is nothing united about Britain at all! They were worried about my letters not getting there if I did not! I asked if they knew were Wales was. You guessed it ...not a clue! I sent the letters marked CYMRU/Wales. They got there!!! Wonders of wonders, but then again Robin H. Bowen the Triple Harpist of note sent me a letter all in Welsh even United came to me quicker than most! O I might as Well tell you about my adventures with United Parcel Service which in the USA is fairly good at delivery etc.,  but in Britain it is run by the English so you can guess what goes on! I had a package that did not come so I traced it to Manchester, England and the hub of the service in Britain. I spoke with the man and he said that they do not make pick ups that far out in Wales! "What" I said! "You advertise World wide service!" "Yes he said but not in rural Wales" I said."I have had parcels picked up three miles down the road further into Wales." His reply was typical of English ways! "b..Hell I tell you we do not pick up there." I asked him another question if I may! "Yes but I am busy" I asked in a very serious voice "sir are you aware of the Sons of Owain Glyndwr? He hung up on me....but the parcel was picked up the next morning at 8AM! And one wonders why the Welsh are so in thinking about the English! Well my friend here is ready to defend the border....they will never see him coming! LOL!!!