Archive for September, 2012

GUBU* Revisited After 30 Years – What Was Unbelievable ?
September 30, 2012

What was unbelievable?

It was unbelievable that the Minister for Justice would, a year after the hunger strikes, call the RUC for a “favour” and have a man detained in order that he not give evidence against his brother-in-law.

It was unbelievable that the minister for Finance would ask the Gardai to deliver a tape recorder to his office in order that he could tape a conversation between him and the then Minister for Economic Development.

It was unbelievable that the Minister for Justice dismiss his appointed driver and take his state car in the company with a well known singer and drive the car into a ditch in County Kerry in which the boot opened revealing Uzi sub-machine guns.

It was unbelievable that the Taoiseach, before the vote on his leadership, would have two shot pheasant delivered to the house of an opponent with a Mafia-style message simply saying “Shot on Saturday”.

It was unbelievable that the Taoiseach appoint a disaffected opposition TD as a European Commissioner in order to create a bye-election in which his sister-in-law would be his partý´s candidate.

It was unbelievable that in that bye-election, the Minister for the Environment would order trees in his constituency be uprooted and delivered to the constituency of the bye-election in order to garner votes and, when the bye-election was lost, the trees were uprooted again and brought back to their original “home”.

It was an unbelievable time!

Slim Buddha     30 September 2012

Source:   “The Boss” by Joyce and Murtagh 1983

*GUBU is an acronym standing for grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented. The words were Charles Haughey’s and the acronym from Conor Cruise O’Brien, to describe the way that a serial killer was apprehended holed up in the Attorney General’s home in 1982.

Its A Political World – Finalists in the 2012 Irish Blog Awards
September 30, 2012


Happy that “Its A Political World” is a finalist in this year’s Irish Blog Awards in the Best Political Blog category.  Hi and congrats too to The Mire and the East Belfast Diary – the other finalists.
Thanks to the organisers and  judges and to all who have contributed and commented on the 100 + blog posts posted here.

Ulster’s Solemn Lack of Confidence
September 29, 2012

Among the mountain of family documents, photographs, letters and newspaper cuttings which passed to me from my late parents, grandparents and possibly great-grandparents, one piece stands out as particularly historic. It is an original and unsigned copy of the 1912, ‘Ulster’s Solemn League and Covenant’

It may be flimsy, faded and a little torn at the edges but the words scream ‘No Surrender’, ‘What we have, we hold’ and ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right’ so loud as to echo down to September 28th 2012, exactly 100 years after ‘Ulster Day’ mobilised Unionists across the 9 counties of Ulster in opposition to what they considered the nefarious Third Home Rule Bill.

Today in Belfast, tens of thousands of the descendants of those signatories are expected to gather to celebrate one of the most glorious chapters from their history. And what better way to celebrate than with a good old, road disrupting parade from all corners of the city, converging on Stormont? There they will praise the Lord Jesus Christ in solemn prayer before trailing their way back through streets, some of which will be lined with every class of Unionism, from the moderately curious to the fanatical Orders and the paramilitaries champing at the bit to provoke a little more sectarian tension.

Other parts of the route will be empty except for a few dozen protestors who have been told that their rights are less equal than the bandsmen who have behaved so disgracefully in the recent past on the same stretches of road. In some ways, things have in fact changed utterly but in others, they stay the same.

That’s the context but I’m not that bothered one way or the other. What I want to know is very simple, why and what are they celebrating?

Possibly it was the line in the sand for Unionism, they could take no more and they would lay down their lives to stop Irish Nationalists and the Church of Rome from destroying all they held dear. Unfortunately for them, the facts are a little less heroic.

Against a backdrop of demands from the vast majority of Irish people for autonomy at least, sectarian rioting and murder and a British government which was only too keen to be shot of the day to day responsibility of the whole dam lot of them if not their resources, ports and cannon-fodder for future wars, the whole campaign served to heighten the tension and ultimately tear the island apart.

The Covenant itself and the subsequent importation of arms was to bring about the militarisation of Nationalists, the undermining of Redmondite politics, the war for independence and eventually, the partition of the island, a nightmare feared and predicted by Unionism’s greatest hero, Edward Carson. The document is so swathed in the gnarled Old Testament language of the puritan that it is fairly certain that not one Catholic, not even those in the establishment that were committed to the union, could conceive of signing it.

The loyalty of Unionism appeared to stretch to threatening treason against their government and the abandonment of their own people in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.  Where the Irish Proclamation can be criticised on many levels, it did attempt to cherish all its citizens but the new Ulster was to be for one side only, a short-sighted and morally corrupt institution not to mention its thoroughly undemocratic conception.

The Covenant, we are told, was signed by half a million of the loyal and best with many using their own blood. Well actually, women were not considered equal enough in Unionist eyes either and they got their own little Covenantette to sign, God love them. Very recent investigation has also shown that the blood story is a myth as well.

On top of that, when the collected copies of the signed covenant were uploaded to the internet last year, the first thing I did was to look for my wife’s maternal relations in Inishowen and Fanad, County Donegal to see if they had also signed. They had! All of them! Even her great-uncles who were, according to the census of the previous year, 3 and 5 years of age and unable to read or write. Not only had they signed but they had signed 3 or 4 times in different locations. Sign early and sign often how are ye?

As far as I can see, without the filter of history blindness that has pervaded Unionism since its earliest beginnings, the Solemn League and Covenant should be a source of sadness and abject humiliation for Unionism, a miscalculation that lost three-quarters of the island, a third of Ulster and perpetuated mistrust and violence which careered unchecked for the rest of the century.

Edward Carson had a Cat

It sat upon the fender

And every time it caught a mouse

It shouted ‘No Surrender’.

5intheface – 29th September 2012

Join our discussions on this post at Political World online discussion forum

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=12882

Blasphemy – The Greatest Story Ever Trolled
September 24, 2012

For me, blasphemy does not exist.

If we were to accept that blasphemy is the non-violent attack upon, verbal contempt for or irreverence towards a select band of deities, their teachings and their physical or corporeal representatives or representations on Earth, then blasphemy can be nothing more than a natural reaction to varied theoretical dogma.

Put simply, I do not believe in the existence of Gods, therefore I cannot be guilty in my own mind of any criticisms I voice which concern them.

For blasphemy ‘laws’ to be acceptable, surely every major religious organisation is blatantly guilty by virtue of denying the truth preached by any rival faith and the only way in which they can avoid doing so is to immediately desist from either highlighting their own belief system or condemning the veracity of others.

Now the religious faithful will tell us that they have no objection to us disagreeing with their particular creed but that we must accept their demands for respect, to the point now of legal action. This is a view which appears moderate enough until we might ask the same groups to discontinue representing non-adherents as pitiful sinners tumbling into the fires of their respective hells or equally vicious punishments as decreed by the contemporary lawmakers. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

But hang on! I do not think that it should fall to anonymous internet commentators whose knowledge of world religions is very limited to defend an individual’s right to criticize divinities and their trappings, that responsibility belongs elsewhere; It is within the remit and I contest, the obligation of the religious hierarchies themselves, both as part of their own philosophy and as the consequence of their often sordid history.

All of the world’s major religions are founded upon violence, revenge, punishment, the removal of rights, sexual repression and discrimination against women contorted with flexible moralities with the goal of general subjugation and thought control and yet we are expected to conform to their ideas on what we can and cannot say or portray? Each of these sects has and continues to assist, support and collude with individuals, organisations and political systems which promote violence, delinquency and crimes against what we can all agree is common humanity.

Given that for the most part, the physical retribution for acts of ‘blasphemy’ are carried out by personages further down the ‘faith chain’ than those who give them their spiritual direction, surely clear and unequivocal condemnation from above could help to prevent this perpetuating violence which results in doctors being shot or Pakistani schoolgirls with special needs being assaulted and traumatised. Humble reference to, ‘sticks and stones’ would not only remove the justification but might also help to reduce the urge for opponents to ridicule the believers and their creeds. ‘Blasphemy’ is not an attack on race or sex, it’s the criticism of a combination of theories which have menaced the world for millennia.

If followers of different faiths can drop Uranium-tipped democracy on each other and dispirit tribes within the same religion can firebomb or behead the others’ children, then surely they’ll be too busy to worry should I decide to represent Moses with a ‘mickey’ on his head.

Give unto Caesar……

5intheface 24-09-2012

Is Ireland bound by right to integrate fully into a political union motivated by interests entirely counter to ours?
September 23, 2012

There is a new political concept in recent times. It’s called being pro-European. In France and Germany (having lived in France for a year and spent a few weeks in Germany and much time among many German friends and learning the German language even whilst in France ), this seems to be pro-integration with regards to European political union. To be against such a concept, for whatever reason, is to risk being called a nationalist or anti-European.

The word nationalism means different things in different European countries. In Irish history it tends to be associated with a United Ireland, Republicanism and in some instances, to have left wing sympathies is to be either Nationalist or Republican. Irish nationalism, or republicanism for the two are oft linked, are concepts that arose out of a suppressed colonised history. 7 centuries of oppression led to the concept of an Irish Republic, first touted by Wolfe Tone in 1798.

Its roots essentially stem in part to French republican ideals, as many Irish revolutionaries in the late 18th century such as Tone and Emmet had dealings with the French Revolutionary Republic in a bid to liberate themselves from English rule and establish an Irish Republic. One modern day equivalent might be found in Scotland where nationalism in the form of the Scottish Nationalist Party has led to an independence referendum in late 2014 ( http://www.scotreferendum.com ). One thing bearing in mind is Scottish First Minister’s Alex Salmond’s desire to follow the Nordic energy fund model of Norway, and any implication that might have on Irish affairs (the status of Ulster, possible Irish reunification, possible withdrawal from the EU along with Scotland, who have been told by Jose Barroso, an unelected well paid technocrat that they will need to leave the EU if they declare independence which the Scots might look on as an opportunity) but more on that later.

In German history, nationalism has shown itself to mean something different altogether. In fact it would seem that the German establishment has developed a phobia of the word. As anyone knows, such a concept in Germany is a right wing concept due to obvious historic reasons. The fact that the two terms are intertwined in countries like Ireland, and possibly Scotland, and that they signify left wing and inclusive ideals, must only make matters more confusing for those who might be for whatever reason incapable of (or unwilling to) differentiating the concepts of self determination (the right to a people’s sovereignty, freedom and exaltation among the nations of the World) and nazism (superior nationalism or xenophobic nationalism). Fear fits a fine pair of blinkers.

In Ireland we have 3 main political parties, which are all pan European vessels. They operate on the basis that they are pro-european and anyone who opposes them must therefore be anti-european, dangerous radicals, or else extremist.

It is a little reported fact in our media that since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, we have been the victims of a creeping coup on our semi-democratic but nonetheless sovereign Irish institutions. It is funny how the Brussels accounts have not been signed off on in nearly 2 decades which shows that Europe’s elite has been investing untold sums and time in full political and economic union.

Take the European Commission for instance. Nobody elects these people, yet they represent Ireland, a constitutionally neutral country on the U.N. Security council. They would potentially have the right to decide in the not so distant future whether to send Irish people, and other people across the continent in different E.U. member states, to fight a war for economic or vested interests. Given that we live in the 1930’s this is not an altogether unrealistic prospect.

European Law now accounts for most modern Irish laws. Ireland may no longer have the right to military neutrality since the passing of the EU Treaty. A very good legal paper by Karen Devine which she composed after the first Lisbon Treaty campaign ( http://doras.dcu.ie/14898/1/Irish_Ne…bon_Treaty.pdf ) states the following: In the Lisbon Treaty referendum, neutrality emerged as the most divisive issue in referendum debates (IMS/DFA, 2008: 25) and was the second most important reason why people voted ‘no’ (IMS/DFA, 2008: 14). Evidently, many Irish people have consistently demonstrated a belief through their voting behaviour that further integration in the area of EU foreign, security and defence policy is incompatible with the concept of neutrality they support.’

Since the passing of the Lisbon Treaty at the second go, largely due to ‘vote yes for jobs’, it has emerged that the Treaty, which no member of the government or opposition (the current shower) who supported it at the time publicly stated they had read, fears have emerged over article 42.7 which states a need for ‘mutual defence’ in the case of EU member states. Thus it appears, that after the Lisbon Treaty passed in 2009, Ireland had, under undemocratic threats of economic chaos from both home and abroad (‘yes for jobs’, and Sarkozy’s visit to Dublin being but small examples), ceded its right to assert neutrality which has been a key factor in determining our sovereignty throughout the history of the state, most notably during World War Two when despite threats of invasion from Churchill’s British government (who along with America occupied our Nordic neighbour Iceland during the war), from Hitler’s Germany and even from America, southern Ireland stayed neutral for the duration of the war. As Devine rightly states in her paper, many Irish people quite reasonably oppose and have opposed on many an occasion since the Single European Act of 1987 full EU integration on the grounds of neutrality alone.

Another way in which the EU has creepingly come to control our affairs was the establishment of the Euro. In 2002 we adopted the common currency, which flooded a booming Irish economy with cheap credit, something we have been paying for the last 5 years, as we are constantly told we all partied and need to clean up our own mess and to front Europe’s banking bill 100% on our own shoulders (despite the fact that the cheap credit which could not have been made available had we still had the Punt was lent by central European Banks and most notably, the ECB, at rates of below 1%). The question then arises, who sought to lend this much money to an Irish economy which did not need such credit as it was already booming ? The answer in the main, is Germany(by which I mean German businesses, German investors, the ECB which is based in Frankfurt and which has an uncanny reputation for following German Monetary policy and German banks).

This excellent article by Laura Noonan not someone given to criticising bigger European economies, states the following:

As of early 2011, it was known that German Banks were exposed to Irish banks for over 21 Billion euros, which explains why ‘Germany, along with other European countries, has been vigorously opposing Ireland’s efforts to enforce losses on certain categories of bank bondholders. German banks were owed another €64.7bn by Irish enterprises, suggesting that the banks have an interest in making sure Ireland survives the economic crisis. The final sum owed by Ireland to German banks was €2.3bn, attributed to “general government” debts. Germany’s exposure to Ireland significantly exceeds the country’s €25bn exposure to stricken Greece and its €27.5bn exposure to crisis-ridden Portugal.’

When understanding why Ireland has, under considerable duress from fellow European states, forsaken its’ economic sovereignty entirely, it is worth bearing in mind that the governments of some fellow European states, especially that of Germany, have stated that as our banks borrowed from their banks, all Irish people must pay back these banking debts to ensure no European bank closes, thus the reason for Ireland’s so called bailout in 2010. Germany was far more exposed to Irish banks and businesses than it was to those of any other EU Member State.

Considering the German media’s castigation of a Greek society and a Greek government whose banks and businesses owe(or rather owed as we, and most likely the Greeks as well have paid much of the European bondholders back, having being told by the ECB to do so) far less than our banks and businesses do (not forgetting the Spiegel’s recent headline on why Athens must leave the Euro) to Germany, it is worth remembering the type of people who lent this money ridiculously.

Essentially we are being told the Banks are Irish, you’re Irish, so you’re all guilty.

A European political union would seem to many within this society to be tyrannical, undemocratic, imperialistic, and against our sovereign wishes, economic and political interests and our wish to retain neutrality in the normal event of war which often follows economic depressions. Perhaps it is time to look to other countries, most notably our Nordic neighbours Norway, Iceland and Greenland, (as well as a potentially independent Scotland), outside the immediate union with vast energy, and fisheries reserves and small populations like ours, ideal for trade and in our own case, mass food production.

A political union, particularly one which fails to address the understandable and perhaps healthily cynical Irish suspicion of external powers wishing to control our affairs, is looking increasingly incompatible with Irish economic and political interests.

Arguably, it was always incompatible with our desire to maintain political and economic sovereignty, which was once stated by a small group of brave men as ‘indefeasible’ and which has now become a supposedly dangerous and radical concept.

Apjp September 2012

Photo: EU Commission  EUFOR

Join our discussions on this post and other topics at Political World online discussion forum

http://www.politicalworld.org/

Exclusive: Yet Again, O’Brien has to Put the Media Straight…….
September 23, 2012

Apparently an RTE regular is the latest in the firing line:

Dear Dustin,

I have come across your work over many years and I have always respected you as a turkey and as one of Ireland’s most informed commentators.

I respect your right to freely express opinions.

However, your remarks about me over the past few months in the context of my media interests have crossed a boundary and you have left me no alternative to the resort of putting out my side of the story.

On Thursday 14 December, 2001, RTE published an article on retail sales in the run up to Christmas. The piece was strewn with factual inaccuracies and was based on the fundamentally false premise that I am corpulent. You perpetuated the lazy myth that I sold Esat Digifone to British Telecom in 2001 for a lot of money and moved to Portugal to avoid tax and eat sweets and further enhance my corpulence.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact I lost almost three quarters of a stone in that year alone. You persist in perpetuating an entirely lazy version of history. I am incredibly disappointed that you accepted inaccuracies which have been peddled by others that insinuated that my body mass has increased in a significant way. As an experienced and respected journalist you are behind the door in not coming forward about the incredible laxity you display in fact checking and adherence to the highest standards.

In relation to the finding of the Moriarty Tribunal you say that the Tribunal claimed “O’Brien gained at least two stone in weight during the period from June 1996…during which the deliberations on the award of the license were underway…’
The vast majority of the pies and cakes to which you refer were all contributed by corporate entities in which I had some involvement and the implication that the sweeties were somehow personal contributions is grossly unfair.

Even more grossly unfair is the finding by the Moriarty Tribunal that Michael Lowry received 1,173,396.00 liquorice all sorts and other benefits from me between July 1996 and December 1999. Take one unbiased look at Michael. He remains as skinny as a rake.
Dustin, you are well aware of my view on the Moriarty findings. I have always believed the Tribunal to be fundamentally flawed for the reason that not one witness who gave evidence ever stated that I had a sweet tooth. The list of witnesses included respected civil servants, government ministers, a Senior Counsel, and a Senior official from a Directorate or the European Commission, all of whom professed themselves to be not too keen on desserts and puddings and treats. This is to say nothing of the international telecoms expert , Prof Michael Andersen, who pronounced himself absolutely antipathetic to sugary snacks.

You really should bear in mind that these tribunals have exactly the same stature in Irish law as Weight Watchers.
They are very far from infallible and indeed are guilty of serious faults in both evidential and procedural undertakings.
The weighing scales do not lie.

However, you have used the idle speculations of afternoon tv programs to question my probity as a thin person with extensive media interests. I do not think it appropriated or justified that I should have no rights to assert my dignity as a skinny ninny in the context of a legally sterile report based on one man’s opinion of my chubbiness. It is not my fault that politicians decided to use Tribunals as a political football. Mary Harney was much plumper than me for many years.
If there was something real and meaningful amiss it should have been dealt with by the authorities who do have legal power and effect.

When the Moriarty Tribunal reported I welcomed the decision of the DPP to refer it to the dustbin of history and the various plumpish friends I have in a particular party have never had any doubt that when the contents of the report are considered in accordance with the proper rules of law and standards of evidence and the process has run its full course I will be vindicated as a perfectly weighted person.

I firmly believe, that in time , people in Ireland will come to understand that we have trampled all over the rights of plump people in sullying their reputations and their civil rights have been grossly impugned just because they had an extra couple of biscuits.

Finally, Dustin, I am putting you on good notice that if you continue to make smart remarks about my weight I will be left with no other avenue but to sue you.

Regards,
D.

Dustin the Turkey: Media Pundit and Former Candidate for Fianna Fowl, the Poultry Party

Dustin the Turkey: Media Pundit and Former Candidate for Fianna Fowl, the Poultry Party

PaddyJoe (formerly McGillycuddy) 23 September 2012

Would You Work for Abercrombie and Fitch ?
September 23, 2012

Abercrombie and Fitch (A & F), the huge American retail outlet, is to open its first Irish branch soon in Dublin on the old Bank of Ireland building in Dublin’s College Green. Already there is a huge bill board with a model up on the building, and a lot of people are eager to get their hands on the A & F gear which is proving very popular amongst Dublin’s haute couture- aware youth, eager for the latest hoodie and top. Over the years though, A & F have been embroiled in a number of storms from being hauled through the courts – from accusations that it hid back room staff who were non white to the treatment of staff in the sweat shops that manufacture their goods in the Philippines. The Irish Times published an article recently which highlighted the issues surrounding employment. It goes on..

This notion that only good-looking people need apply has done the company no favours in recent years, and its employment policies have led to a number of court cases. In 2009 a former employee of a London store took it to an employment tribunal claiming she had been forced to work in the stockroom because she didn’t match the company’s strict “look policy”, a guide to the appearance of its shop-floor staff. She was born with the lower part of her arm missing. She won the case, and A & F had to pay her £8,000.
A much more damaging action was taken against the company in the US in 2003. Several Hispanic, black and Asian employees and applicants sued the company saying they had been put into less visible backroom jobs. The company disputed the claims but settled in 2005. As part of the deal it agreed to pay more than €30 million to black and Hispanic groups across the US while admitting no wrongdoing.

 

A & F hired a diversity officer to increase its share of the workforce from 10% being minorities in 2004 to now having approx 50% of its workforce being from minorities. The issues above are not confined however to people whom may work in its branches, there have been accusations that the company’s suppliers have ill treated staff that manufacture goods for A & F. Labour Rights.org carried the news that the Alta Mode factory, where A & F clothing is made, has done its best to stifle the rights of workers who sought to form a Union. The workers at the factory were looking for better rights but Alta Mode thought differently and suspended the workers and even had the audacity to bring a case against them in what was a flagrant breach of the workers’ rights to form a union without being subject to harassment for such actions.

However all may not be lost for such a big brand as they recently bowed to pressure to stop using cotton from Afghanistan thanks to a petition by the International Labour Rights Forum. A petition calling on A & F proved successful to the point that they bowed to pressure and stopped using cotton from child labourers in Uzbekistan . They may have been a bit behind though with the times and only caught up as other companies had signed up and installed policies to deal with such issues.

While over 65 of the world’s largest apparel brands and retailers have developed policies related to Uzbek cotton, two companies have remained silent.

One of these the site alleges was A & F until they signed up.
Next time someone goes shopping for Abercrombie and Fitch in Dublin, think of the rights that people have and where your clothing was made. Was it made ethically? Would you like to work in a company with such policies?
Ponder for a minute, would you work somewhere where the staff recruited seem to be just models?

Read the following report from an ex employee from jezebel.com

There is a “style guide” that hiring managers get to see. It contains almost no text – just a few dozen pages, each with a full-sized color photograph of different ethnicities – a male and a female for each. They are supposed to serve as examples of the kind of people you should hire. Presumably so the managers will know what good-looking minorities look like. They’re amongst the confidential files that are never meant to leave the office, but I’m surprised none have ever surfaced

In 2009 the Guardian reported on the flagship store in Saville Row in London where it seemed so out of place with all of the other shops. Benoit Denizet-Lewis who writes articles for the NYT magazine tells the Guardian that Mike Jeffries (CEO of A & F) came out with the following line when he interviewed him:

We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong.

Wonder what would happen if this 23 st lump of lard walked brazenly in and demanded a job. I could include on the application “I have the body of a God”…just neglect to tell them its a body like this…

Photo:  Chinese Buddha  (Wikicommons)

fluffybiscuits 19 September 2012

PW Blog is Shortlisted for the Irish Blog Awards
September 10, 2012

Thanks to everyone who nominated this Blog for the Irish Blog Awards 2012.

Happy to see our blog is shortlisted both in the News and Current Affairs category, and also as the best Political Blog.

Congrats to all the shortlisted blogs, and thanks to the organisers.

Also, thanks to all the contributors to the blog – more than 100 posts made since we started.

Irish Citizenship Test: Political World Questionnaire
September 8, 2012

Should there be a qualifying test of knowledge of Irish society and culture for new Irish citizens? Should Irish-born citizens have to do refresher courses in order to keep their passports ? Members of the Political World forum in the main thought not, but recently attempted to draft a questionnaire on how to be Irish :

Irish Citizenship Qualification / Retention Certificate – Questionnaire

1. What would you expect to be offered if you were invited into Daniel O’Donnell’s Donegal home ?

2. Who, or what, would you kick with the left foot ?

3. When a Irish person tells you “Don’t worry, shure it’ll be grand”, should you feel reassured ?

4. You receive £6 for a fourteen hour day digging tunnels for the London Underground ? What is least you can survive on in order to feed and maybe educate your family back home ?

5. Who should obey the law? should the law be followed: – always, – never, – only when it suits, – only when there is no chance of not getting away with breaking it ?

6. D’Unbelievables are

a) A technical grouping in the Dáil

b) The banking sector

c) A comedic duo

7. If a family is said to have ‘taken the soup’ what did they do?

8. Dublin 4 refers to

a) Developers wrongfully imprisoned

b) a postal code

c) the intellectual headquarters of Ireland?

Photo: Daíl Eireann (PW Images)

9. What is a BIFFO?

10. When is ” the Bishops’s Ring” kissed ?

11. True or False:

A Troika is how Santa delivers the prezzies at Christmas in Ireland

11. Who’s taking the horse to France ?

12. Joseph Kony leads

(a) the Tribe of Gaels

(b) the Soldiers of Destiny

(c) the Lord’s Resistance Army

13. An cúpla focal are

a) all the Irish you need to know for citizenship

b) the first Official Language of Dáil Éireann

c) a requirement for speeches in the Gaelic Athletic Association

14. Toll road charges for vans increase by 50c every

A. 6 minutes

B. 6 hours

C. 6 days

15. Fianna Fail is

(a) a political party

(b) a mafia organisation loosely disguised as (a)

(c) An expensive collection of desserts served in the finest restaurants in South Dublin

16. You have one potato. Someone gives you another potato. How long will it take before you are subject to the new chips tax ? Do we assume that “you” is not of sufficient means to influence the Government of the day to introduce a tax exemption perfectly tailored to his particular situation?

17. The correct description of the Irish climate is

a) Temperate

b) Continental

c) Total ***te

18. Bertie Ahern is

(a) an honest, salt of the Earth working class politician (retired)

(b) a wild plant found in alleys in North Dublin, which thrives in areas of high urine deposits

(c) a thief

19. Irish productivity rates are

a) Higher than Greece

b) Higher than Germany

c) Downright amazin’ in the circumstances

20. How many generations of your children must you commit to debt slavery, before you can become an Irish citizen ?

a) More than 2.

b) It’s a trick question as each generation will have the sameness of everything and their owners will ensure their future possessions.

c) Ah sure, don’t worry about it. We’re turnin’ the corner.

21. The Irish Legal System is written in

(a) accordance with the principles of common law

(b) crayon

(c) rapidly dissolving Guinness extract.

Which brings us to the essay-type question:

22. Outline the cultural significance of Márla to the ruling classes in Ireland between the years 1929 to 1967.

3,000 words max. Pass/Fail

23. It is proposed to build a piece of necessary national infrastructure near your home. Do you,

(a) Welcome this positive development.

(b) Round up a bunch of idiots to try to prevent it.

24. Fill in the blanks:

Corruption, Cronyism, _________, Nepotism, _________!

25. What is Ireland’s most common garden flower?

A. The Rose

B. The Petunia

C. The Trampoline

26. Ireland is a member state of the European Union. So is Germany. Germany is

(a) where the woman who is doing ALL the damage to the Irish economy lives

(b) the place where most of the major decisions affecting the Irish economy are taken

(c) home of Europe’s biggest economy

(d) a place where they don’t even speak English

(e) all of the above.

27. If you admit tax fraud, will your punishment

(a) be quick and severe.

(b) be just and fair

(c) depend on who you are

28. If you have a Learner Permit you are obliged by law to be accompanied by a qualified driver while you’re driving. Should you,

(a) Only drive if accompanied.

(b) Drive however you want cause it’s your effin car!

If caught doing (b) do you

(a) accept the punishment. You broke the law after all

(b) ask your neighbour/cousin/friend who is a Garda to “get you off”

(c) have your Ma contact the local TD

29. Which is the best way to get to the match ?

Via
a) the Red Cow

b) Horse and Jockey

c) the Jack Lynch tunnel

30. Which Northern Ireland* county is closest to Dublin?

A. Belfast

B. Manchester United

C. Donegal

*Illegally occupied 6 county, gerrymandered, partial statelet.

31. An Irish Passport can be of use for which of the following…

a) Travelling within the European Union

b) A form of ID

c) All of the above and assassinating Palestinians in Dubai

32. Skeoughvosteen, Skeheenarinky and Oulart the Ballagh are

a) Expletives

b) Forms of potato blight

c) Scenic villages

33. Does a ‘Sanity Clause’ have any standing in Irish law?

A. No

B. Only on December 25th

C. Yes but not as high a standing as Patrick and Brigid.

Contributors: Spectabilis, Dr. FIVE, 5intheface, C. Flower, Slim Buddha, DCon, PaddyJoe, Baron von Biffo, Captain Con O’Sullivan, Seán Ryan, fluffybiscuits

6 Sept. 2012

Join our discussions on this post and other topics at Political World online discussion forum

http://www.politicalworld.org/

“Catastroika” – the Rape of Greece
September 4, 2012

If you look at the work of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (i.e. the Greek Firesale Dept) it has had two CEO’s resign in two years in protest because of the lack of action from the Government (both the Papandreou and Samaras administrations, so ‘socialist’ and ‘conservative’ in pre-decimal terminology).

I believe there is something like an obligation to fire sale up to 50 billion euros of Greece’s assets by 2015 if they are to meet IMF/ECB conditions and there is no way looking at the last two years in Greece under either government that that will happen. They are supposed to have sold 3 billion worth up to this summer and have as far as I know only sold 300 million worth of assets.

The vultures within the Greek government are screaming at the government which I think is clearly stalling on this privatisation sell-off. Caught between a rock and a hard place I think the Greek government is paralysed, not able to go forward or backward with sell-offs or default respectively.

Here are the details on the attempted rape of Greece…

‘ The Fund is governed by its Board of Directors. The General Assembly is not empowered to adopt any decision on privatisations. The Board of Directors is composed of five members; representatives of three political parties (PASOK, ND, LAOS) and business executives. Two observers have also been appointed to the Board; one from the Eurozone and one from the European Commission. The Board has the absolute authority on privatisation decisions. The CEO is fully responsible for the operation of the Fund and introduces the privatisations to the Board of Directors for decision making.

Most of the assets contained in the medium-term plan have been transferred to the Fund, while other assets which the Hellenic Republic has decided to develop or sell will also be transferred. Any asset transferred to the Fund is to be sold, developed or liquidated. The return of any asset back to the State is not allowed.

The assets transferred to the Fund can be grouped in three categories:

■real estate
■company shares
■rights

Specifically, the following have been transferred to the Fund by Inter-ministerial Committee Decision:

■35 Real State buildings
■Shares of Athens International Airport S.A.
■Shares of Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE)
■Shares of ODIE (Hellenic Horse Racing)
■Shares of Ellinikon (National Airport)
■Shares of LARCO (mining /Europe’s largest ferronickel producer)
■Shares of the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP)
■Shares of Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYATH)
■Shares of OLP (Piraeus Port Authority)
■Shares of OLTH (Thessaloniki Port Authority)
■The economic rights of Hellenic Motorways
■Shares of the Hellenic Football Prognostics Organisation (OPAP)
■Shares of ALPHA Bank
■Shares of National Bank
■Shares of Piraeus Bank
■Rights of natural gas storage in South Kavala
■Rights of State Lottery Tickets
■Gaming Rights to Hellenic Football Prognostics Organisation (OPAP)
■Rights of 39 Regional Airports
■Rights of “Mobile Spectrum”
■Rights of “Mobile Telephony Frequencies” Shares of
■Voting Rights of Hellenic Post (ELTA)
■Voting Rights of 10 Ports
http://www.herbertsmith.com/NR/rdonlyres/10FA8FB3-B9AA-45D1-8682-3DE71DE26A03/0/Greece.pdf

The decisions of the Board of Directors take into account the opinion of the Council of Experts, which, however, is not binding. The Council of Experts is composed of seven persons with broad experience and strong academic qualifications. Four persons are appointed by the Board of Directors and three by the Troika’ http://www.hradf.com/en/the-fund

Interesting isn’t it that the narrative of business persons where their companies go into administration is that creditors lose their money. Where a nation is involved the invoices must still be paid.

In other words those who were foolish enough to buy Greek paper which was rigged by Goldman Sachs do not have ‘caveat emptor’ applied to them.

I don’t understand why the PIIGS economies simply don’t band together and tell the Germans that either debtholders are introduced to ‘caveat emptor’ or there will be a structured default by all members of that group together.

Actually I do. It is because the ECB/IMF have agents inside those governments working hard on the vulture narrative.

One last point I can’t help noticing. The ‘disaster sale’ narrative in Greek politics reminds me very much of the Russian post-soviet sell off of national assets under the programme now known as ‘Catastroika’ in Russia where much of the sell offs were done regardless of market volatility and price and to favoured insiders.

The structure of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund looks similar to me to the equivalent Russian agency at the root of their sell-offs which created a number of billionaire oligarchs in that collection of states.

I have little doubt that a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ is envisaged for Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy as well to do the same thing.

Captain Con 4 Sept 2012

Port of Piraeus

Photo:  Pireaus Harbour, Greece  (Wikicommons)

__________________________________________________________________________

Join our discussions on this post and other topics at Political World online discussion forum

http://www.politicalworld.org/

%d bloggers like this: