Archive for December, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions
December 31, 2012

As 1941 drew to a close, Woody Guthrie sat and drew up an illustrated list of 33 resolutions for the following year, 1942.

NEW YEAR’S RULIN’S

1. WORK MORE AND BETTER
2. WORK BY A SCHEDULE
3. WASH TEETH IF ANY
4. SHAVE
5. TAKE BATH
6. EAT GOOD – FRUIT – VEGETABLES – MILK
7. DRINK VERY SCANT IF ANY
8. WRITE A SONG A DAY
9. WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES – LOOK GOOD
10. SHINE SHOES
11. CHANGE SOCKS
12. CHANGE BED CLOTHES OFTEN
13. READ LOTS GOOD BOOKS
14. LISTEN TO RADIO A LOT
15. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER
16. KEEP RANCHO CLEAN
17. DON’T GET LONESOME
18. STAY GLAD
19. KEEP HOPING MACHINE RUNNING
20. DREAM GOOD
21. BANK ALL EXTRA MONEY
22. SAVE DOUGH
23. HAVE COMPANY BUT DON’T WASTE TIME
24. SEND MARY AND KIDS MONEY
25. PLAY AND SING GOOD
26. DANCE BETTER
27. HELP WIN WAR – BEAT FASCISM
28. LOVE MAMA
29. LOVE PAPA
30. LOVE PETE
31. LOVE EVERYBODY
32. MAKE UP YOUR MIND
33. WAKE UP AND FIGHT

 

Dr. FIVE     31.12.2012

 

A happy new year to you in 2013 !

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The Cynical Reporting of a Politician’s Death
December 24, 2012

I have deep and sincere sympathy  for the family, friends and colleagues of Deputy Shane McEntee.  To lose a husband, brother, father or friend at this time of year in particular is very hard.

What makes it worse is the way in which it has been reported by the media in Ireland.

Mr. McEntee had other things to deal with apart from alleged adverse social media commentary.  On a personal level his father had died, and a local man had died in an accident and that apparently upset him greatly.  On a professional level he had voted for recent cuts. How much pressure was on him from the FG whip to do so? He was being lobbied by directly by people affected by cuts.    He was concerned with environmental issues like ash die back and frustrated at how slowly the Dept. of Ag. are dealing with it – as am I.  Last summer, a fellow FG TD called his remarks on unemployed youth “moronic.” What other issues were on his mind we do not know. Mental health is a very complex issue, but generally depression and suicide cannot be ascribed to just one thing.  The needless speculation by our established media will not clarify that.

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum – speak no ill of the dead – is a very old maxim that can be taken to extremes, to a point of martyrdom on a media altar.

Brian Lenihan Jnr’s death was used to divert attention from the disastrous decision process on the bailout. Gerry Ryan’s death, now a tabloid staple sensationalist saga, means people are not looking at how grossly overpaid or politically/editorially interconnected our mediocre media caste is.

Mr. McEntee, in a newspaper interview in regards to cutbacks is reported to have said: “You could stay in a top hotel for €700 a week,” “People just have to get on with it”   Fianna Fail then issued a statement calling on Mr. McEntee to “immediately clarify his callous and crass comments.”
If anyone took Deputy McEntee out of context, highlighted his comments, or turbocharged adverse commentary against this individual it was Fianna Fail.

So does anyone call for closure, censorship or greater control of FF or their press office?

No, but far be it from Joe Blog-er to comment or question.

An unnamed (quelle surprise) FG deputy has been quoted in the papers

“Parts of social media give a voice to nutcases who are full of anger and spit out vitriol.

“There is no filter – they give a platform to these people when often it’s just bile.”

It is ironic, or perhaps even hypocritical that the source was unnamed,  after former Taoiseach John Bruton said those who tweet messages to radio or TV shows should not have their views aired unless their names and addresses are given: “In fact they are being delivered under the cowardly cloak of anonymity.”

Now it appears a rather disturbing and heavy handed attempt is being made to associate this reported suicide with social media and cyber bullying. In the wake of a number of recent high-profile teen suicides linked to online abuse, the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said laws existed to punish those behind such harassment.

I think it is crass and callous to associate this death with that of the truly traumatic and tragic deaths of two teenage sisters in Donegal. The two events are utterly incomparable.  I think it is crass and callous the way in which his death was reported, in contrast the restraint shown, for example, by the forum users at http://www.politicalworld.org could be a role model for the press.

But, quite cynically, some politicians, named and unnamed, will always attempt to use tragedy to their advantage. Some will, as we have seen, use this as a means to attack critics and divert criticism.

Mr. McEntee, for what I have no doubt were honorable intentions, ran for public office and was elected.   In accepting public office, one must accept that one’s actions are subject to criticism and comment, and not always in a friendly, nice or reasonable way.  He chose, or perhaps was forced by the party whip system, to vote to support cuts that adversely affected a lot of his constituents and others across the Island, supporting the Party over the people.  Those cuts reduce income from a large amount of people on low incomes to bail out a few who are still in relative terms very, very well off. This creates an angry atmosphere, and his comments did not help.

People are, justifiably, angry with FG and Labour continuing on a road doomed to failure started by FF.  There is also a real sense of dis-empowerment in general and a sense of betrayal by Labour in particular.

Apart from the internet, regular people with real grievances have no way to have their voice heard within the Irish media-political caste system.

In closing, I would just like readers to consider how many suicides could already be attributed to the cutbacks, house foreclosures, job losses and an avoidable depth of recession due to the failings of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour?    With cutbacks in respite care how many people will commit suicide or choose euthanasia so as not to be a burden on their families due to cutbacks?

vvv

Simonj

Tim Pat Coogan’s “The Famine Plot”: England’s Genocidal Role – A Review
December 20, 2012

Why, in Ireland, a part of the richest empire in the world, did over three million people die or emigrate during the years 1845 – 1852  ?

Tim Pat Coogan’s “The Famine Plot” offers us a valuable perspective on the Great Irish Famine.   The book is a welcome rebuttal of and polemic against revisionist histories of An Górta Mór.   Revisionist historians went in with an agenda, he says, to disprove John Mitchel’s claim that; “The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine” rather than providing an accurate and honest history of the period and in particular Britain’s actions during this time.   Thoroughly researched and brilliantly written, Coogan compiles a book of evidence which leads one to the conclusion that John Mitchel was right all those years ago.   It is certainly the conclusion Coogan himself reached.

The catastrophe of the Famine was not mismanagement, Coogan claims.   A concerted policy to clear the land of peasants to allow “high farming” was behind the tragedy.   “Natural causes” would deal with the displaced millions.   Death or emigration. Coogan offers extensive and convincing evidence to support his claim.

Behind the headline grabbing assertion that the famine was genocide Coogan hauntingly describes the horrendous conditions that some three million people lived in during that time. Their mud hut dwellings, the workhouses, the “work schemes”, the coffin ships and the horrendous slums the Irish fled to in America and beyond are all brought to life by Coogan’s pen.   Above all it is the suffering that the Irish were subjected to that will occupy your thoughts long after finishing this book.

He thoroughly deals with the different personalities who were in power at the time – he is kind to some such as Robert Peel and outright damning of others, such as the infamous Trevelyan. While others have tried to explain away the policies of the day as being ground in ignorance and the economics of the day, Coogan tears these feeble excuses to shreds and points out the uncomfortable truths – such as the fact that many of those in power were absentee Irish landlords who knew well the conditions of Irish peasants and the consequences eviction would have.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the analysis of the role British media played in what Coogan calls genocide.   The downright racist, demonising content of papers such as the Times, a newspaper considered the voice of Britain,   (to such a degree that Trevelyan literally wrote editorials for it under a pen name), is exposed in damning fashion and the central role they played in hardening attitudes towards the Irish is explored.

One of the things which always confuses me is the fact that the Irish largely acquiesced to starvation, with notable exceptions of course. Relatively few landlords or agents were killed, despite atrocious conditions half of which would have prompted outright rebellion in Britain. Coogan attempts to explain this by theorising that the Irish suffered, and continue to do so, from a condition called “learned helplessness”. Coogan at length explains what this is but in basic terms it means someone’s spirit is broken by extended abuse and mistreatment to such a degree that when an escape from their plight is in reach they don’t bother grabbing it – they think it’s pointless. They have learned to be helpless, even when they are not. He claims that this perseveres today with the Irish people’s meek acceptance of bondholder bailouts and austerity. It’s a fascinating treatise which warrants further thought and examination.

In conclusion, “The Famine Plot – England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy”, is not the definitive book on the period: others offer more detailed research and material and deal more extensively with specific events during those years.  It is a very valuable piece of work. It is flawed; some events are only lightly touched on when they deserved closer examination.  In addition there are a handful of rather annoying typos – a pet peeve of this reader.

Much of the book’s value is in the fact that Coogan is brave and confidant enough to come to the necessary and correct conclusions.  Where others have feared to tread and skirted around – with the obvious conclusion left hanging – Coogan boldly leaps in and proclaims the truth, free from undeserved and ideologically motivated mitigation.   In doing this he has done a great service to Ireland as a whole – but especially to those who died during those terrible years.

I thoroughly recommend this book.

Saoirse go Deo   19.12.2012

“Burying the Child” by Lilian Lucy Davidson

The Silencing of the Hacks – Ganley Threatens Journalist With Arrest Over Tweets and Blog
December 15, 2012

A journalist and member of Politicalworld.org, Kevin Barrington, has been threatened with arrest and is being sued by Declan Ganley for remarks made in recent tweets and also for a blog post on the right wing groupings gathered under the Libertas eu umbrella.  The blog post was made last May on Barrington’s personal blog.  There is nothing unusual in this, as Ganley has a history of threatening legal action against critics. Anyone raising his history in Iraq, his extensive involvement with the US military, his Eastern European business interests and the very toxic collection of far right traditionalists, near-nazis, anti-semites and Hitler-saluting nationalists who he attempted to weld together into a pan European party may expect some kind of hostile attention.

Ganley likes to threaten to sue –

http://peoplekorps.blogspot.ie/2009/…o-sue-but.html

In Barrington’s case, some satirical and unfriendly tweets directed to an Irish comedian, others to the world in general, on pro-life supporters, were retweeted by Ganley and I guess it is those tweets that are subject to action, given that Ganley was mentioned in one.

Barrington, as well as a journalist, is also a poet. Anyone interested in reading his work will find a couple of examples on our writing blog “itsapoeticalworld.” Recommended 

The blog post complained of by Ganley appears to have contained material about Ganley that is historical and widely published elsewhere, including this quote from the Wiesenthal Centre.

Libertas is running some 600 candidates in over 20 of the elections in the 27 member-states. Some of those standing are known antisemites, homophobes and anti-migrant racists. These include:

– Ryszard Bender and Anna Sobecka of the Polish League of Families. Both are supporters of the widely criticized antisemitic Radio Maryja, where Bender was recorded as stating that Auschwitz was ‘not a death camp but a labour camp where Jews and Gypsies were killed by hard labour – not so hard, not always killed.

Georgios Georgiou, of the Greek LAOS party which was described by the United States State Department as antisemitic, racist and xenophobic. Uschi Winkelsett, head of the German extreme right Republikaner party, claimed to have received congratulations from Libertas upon her election. There are also press reports of Libertas’ outreach to the Austrian BZO party of the late Hitler admirer, Jörg Haider.

Since Ganley first appeared on the political scene, he has managed to espouse the US military, “disaster capitalism,” successive business failures, spectacular electoral failure across Europe, Swiss “refuge” banking, and the European far right, abroad, while at home maintaining, by hook or by crook, an image of an “open and transparent” successful entrepreneur on the side of the people. Going so far as to attach himself to the coat tails of the fine people of Ballyhea, who in my opinion deserve much better company.

In the past, Ganley has threatened critical journalists with being sued. This time, he additionally threatened to have the journalist arrested, under the “Non-fatal Offences Against the Person Act” which carries the threat of a large fine and a jail term of up to 6 years. This is a new and disturbing legal approach when used in the arena of political commentary.

I’m making no comments on Barrington’s tweets or the content of the blog article, (other than items quoted in it from published sources), as these matters may come up in Court and should not be prejudiced.

Everyone has a right to their good name. Factual reportage of, and freedom to oppose political viewpoints is also a right of great social importance.

In the last week, another member of the Irish Right – John McGuirk – produced a “list of pro-choice journalists” in a blatant attempt to marginalise and silence pro-choice opinion in the media.  Freedom of the press and of individual journalists to speak their political minds is one of the cornerstones of democratic society.  In the present economic and political turmoil, it needs to be defended firmly.
mmmm
The far right, when Ganley first came on the political scene, was a dim and microscopic entity. Now we have seen what has happened in Greece, when social fabric is strained by poverty and struggle over diminishing resources, it is more important than ever that it is reported on. If Ganley wants to disassociate himself from his past connections with far right groups, it is open for him to do that through his own political actions and statements, rather than by silencing critics.
__________________
C. Flower  15.12.2012
mmmmmm

Nil carborundum ab illegitimati
December 14, 2012

 

“Does Keaveney want to lead the Labour Party?”

……
It was not just football we were taught in St Jarlath’s College, a shared Alma Mater.

SJC – Ducimus

He is the obvious choice for a new generation.

With these cutbacks and taxes, Kenny and Gilmore, in their Dail bubble (caput inter nubila) are pulling both Labour and FG into a death spin, but then again abyssus abyssum invocat.

Shorthall, Penrose, Nulty, Broughan and now Keaveney – caetera desunt !!

Gilmore and Rabbitte are perhaps jealous that Keaveney did what they could not do – get a socialist seat in East Galway.

They are also ex Workers Party, Gilmore was certainly seemed far more inclined to support David Norris for the presidency that Higgins so there is that dynamic to consider.  The current ex-WP willingness to toe the F.G. line is not shared through the Labour body politik- a pedibus usque ad caput – if you pardon the pun.

As for the rest of it – the use of punitive taxes on the public like a property tax on the family home – not even properly ad valorem – and imminent charges on water, just to help out a few banksters? – this precept is supposed to be falsis principiis proficisci – buggfer that – Non sequitur est.

The now blatent, sheer level of gombeenism with Gilmore and in particular James Reilly is now more apparent with social media and is going to cost a great deal to the back benches, incertae sedis after all.

Perhaps they should adopt Mayor Quimby’s motto – corruptus in extremis 

And Colm, Nil carborundum ab illegitimati

,,,,

Simonj     14.12.2012 image by Dr. FIVE

Interesting Phrases
December 14, 2012

Interesting phrases this morning from Labour Party people on the radio

political narcissism

self-indulgence

pirouetting on the plinth

calculated venom

shocking

None of the above associated with the FG/Lab Budget … but more to do with hypocrisy and downright lies being exposed.   If only they were so vociferous in defence of the poor and the vulnerable.

Andrew49     14.12.2012

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