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What you want to say… Open Thread, 13th February 2013 February 13, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. ejh - February 13, 2013

Mario Draghi turned up in the Spanish Parliament yesterday. For a closed session. No cameras, no microphones, no recording. Yes indeed. We’re not even under formal Troika supervision yet.

Jonathan - February 13, 2013

Are any of the politicians present likely to tell people what was said by the former Vice-Chairman and MD of Goldman Sachs International?

ejh - February 13, 2013

You can actually read it on the ECB website, I believe. But not report it. (I have a feeling I remember a similar absurdity from some years ago in the UK, but can’t recall exactly the circumstances.)

Tomboktu - February 14, 2013
2. irishelectionliterature - February 13, 2013

This is quite god… A comment generator for The Guardian website :) http://www.tomforth.co.uk/guardiancomments/

RosencrantzisDead - February 13, 2013

They should do one for Irish Economy – most of the comments there read like they have been written by a Markov bot already.

eamonncork - February 14, 2013

This will do for Irish newspaper websites.
‘So much for Holy Catholic Ireland. We must be the laughing stock of Europe in these recessionary times. If this happened somewhere else there’d be riots in the streets. It’s time we grew up and showed a bit of maturity.’

Ed - February 14, 2013

Had a quick scan, they all seem to be far, far to the left of the typical Guardian comment – it seems to be based on a stereotype of the imaginary Guardian reader, whereas the people who actually leave comments on CIF appear to be the kind who think the Daily Mail is too liberal.

3. Paddy Healy - February 13, 2013

“Communion Money” Abolished
Department of Social Protection,headed by Labour Party Deputy Leader, Joan Burton, has issued a new circular (1/2013) gave instructions that payments to needy families for First Communion and Confirmation be axed.
The Circular said “ For 2012 a maximum grant of €110 was recommended for circumstances of religious ceremonies. Payment of an allowance in respect of Religious Ceremonies will cease in 2013”. Clearly all denominations are covered by the abolition

Children are cold and hungry at school and more are living in poverty as the Labour Minister reduces child benefit even to those on social welfare or low pay. All the benefits that made life bearable for the elderly are being whittled away. Heating payments have been cut and now free electricity and gas units are being reduced.

Meanwhile, with Labour agreement, home help hours for the disabled ,the old and the infirm have been set at the most minimal reduced level.
This is savagery of the worst kind.

Meanwhile the income of the top 10,000 at 595,000 Euro each remains untouched by additional taxation!

How can trade unions such as SIPTU, Unite, UCATT, Bakers, TSSA remain affiliated to the Labour Party in these circumstances?

CL - February 13, 2013

Under the supervision of Joan Burton ireland is moving from a welfare to a Reaganite workfare state. ‘Best international practice’ is being used to achieve this regression to 19th century social policy.

fergal - February 13, 2013

-this regression to 19th century soial policy. Unfortunately,the unions have not gone back to the tactics of the 19th century;open class warfare.

doctorfive - February 13, 2013

Joan still the favourite for members ‘unhappy with the direction of the party’ of course.

WorldbyStorm - February 13, 2013

I find that an odd one… I just don’t get it I guess. She doesnt seem to me to be markedly less right of centre than her colleagues.

4. Ghandi - February 13, 2013
LeftAtTheCross - February 13, 2013

That would be commodity speculation Ghandi, which would be a bad thing :-)

Dr.Nightdub - February 13, 2013

Bit harsh describing “Sins of the Fathers” as a commodity, I thought it was several cuts above all the also-ran economic histories. Artistic merit’s gotta carry some sort of premium – maybe not $500-worth, but some…

WorldbyStorm - February 13, 2013


ivorthorne - February 13, 2013

I am happy to sell mine for 400. Any takers?

Tomboktu - February 13, 2013
LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

I was going to say ‘asset speculation’ originally, but that might have been a bit OTT in the other direction.

5. Ghandi - February 13, 2013

LATC i know but it would pay the mortgage, my signed one must be worth a few bob more, have to increase security in the house now that I have a valuable book.

6. Richard - February 13, 2013

To save on precious time for analysing the conjuncture, I propose that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour be referred to henceforth as the Troika Party.

7. CL - February 14, 2013

‘The European Commission has proposed increased DNA testing of meat products to assess the scale of a scandal involving horsemeat sold as beef that has shocked the public and raised concern over the continent’s food supply chains.’
Looks like closing the stable door after the horse is already in the beef supply chain.

8. Mark P - February 14, 2013

This believe it or not is the “Liberty View” editorial on the website of SIPTU’s newspaper and, presumably, also the print edition:

“Liberty View
The actions of the Socialist Party and the anti-property tax protestors at the demonstration against bank debt and austerity on Saturday (9th February) were both dangerous and undemocratic.

It is incomprehensible how people who claim to have a progressive political view can invade a protest against the bank debt and austerity which they had no part in organising.

However, they did not prevent the huge marches and rallies across the country which were a great success for the trade union movement and for all of those who supported the Day of Action.”

That’s the full text.


I left a comment on the website, but as my comment was predictably critical of this wild series of smears, I have some doubt as to whether it will pass moderation. Perhaps if Scott Millar is reading, he’d like to explain himself here?

Martin Savage - February 14, 2013

You might be better off asking Frank Connolly, he’s the hatchet man there

Mark P - February 14, 2013

Isn’t Millar the editor? And so responsible for editorial comments?

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

I’ll add the comment I made on the same subject in a different thread the other day, which is that it WAS in fact an ICTU march and on that basis I don’t have any difficulty whatsoever in terms of them dictating the terms of engagement so to speak. The CAHWT is free to organise its own protest marches, as was the case with the huge turn-out at the FG Ard Fheis last year. No more than the CAHWT being open to having its protests effectively hijacked by the Freemen I don’t see why ICTU should be open to facilitating the CAHWT to take pole position on an ICTU march.

As for the sham outrage here at any criticism of the SP, grow up please, the SP dishes out the rhetoric at all and sundry so don’t go whinging when some of it gets reflected back.

None of which is intended as an excuse for the ICTU political position obviously.

Mark P - February 14, 2013

As soon as I saw your name listed under “latest comments”, LATC, I knew you’d be posting to side with the bureaucrats and their wild smears. You are nothing if not predictable.

Still though, you have some cause for outrage yourself. When they were listing the good little boys and girls who deserve a pat on the head for their obedience, they included the Communist Party and Sinn Fein, but forgot the Workers Party.

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

Boo hoo.

CMK - February 14, 2013

LATC, you’re way off base there and displaying uncharacteristically poor judgement. You may recall that this week SP members were subjected to brute force from the state while trying to make a peaceful point. A young member very nearly suffering a very serious injury and an MEP manhandled to the ground like a suspected armed robber. SIPTU weren’t critising the SP alone, you may have missed that in your mirth at the SP getting in the neck. They were also criticising the CAHWT and trying to depict both as somehow linked to the Freemen. That’s the standard Labour/SIPTU/ICTU tack: CAHWT = Tea Party.

This is a disgrace from SIPTU, my union, but not really surprising. They seem competely incapable of grasping that many SIPTU members are involved with CAHWT as they try to defend their living standards while SIPTU resolutely does nothing in its efforts to shore up the Labour Party in government.

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

CMK, the CAHWT protest in the Dublin South (?) Council building is an entirely separate issue and I agree fully that the Gardaí acted way out of line there. And in fairness there were some Freemen saps at the very front of the ICTU march and no harm at all leading them into the park and out of harms way and into irrelevance. Obviously I don’t equate CAHWT with the Tea Party, being active in it myself. It is to be expected that ICTU will voice apologia for the LP policy in gov’t. I don’t agree with it but it doesn’t take away from their right to organise their own march as they see fit.

CMK - February 14, 2013

LATC, the ICTU didn’t lead just assorted Freemen ‘out of harms way’ they led the entire CAHWT contingent that way. Deliberately! What should be stressed about this march was that it was choreographed weeks in advance between the Gardaí and ICTU with precisely the intention of marginalising anyone who so much as seemed to be hinting at any dissent from ICTU’s position. That will be a feature of all future ICTU demos and it will take harder and harder edges. Incidentally, the Gardaí were filmed extensively pushing and jostling the anti-eviction crowd off the streets at the March (these were not Freemen, they might be cranks but they’re not Freemen). They did that blatantly and with not a care that it was being filmed. I suspect that it was a trial run for how ‘dissident’ elements will be treated at future marches. We may soon see ‘kettling’ makes it debut in Dublin.

The ironies of this happening in the centenary year of the 1913 Lockout are almost comical, if they weren’t so serious.

Finally, the ICTU ‘Lift the Burden’ march actively demoralised thousands who attended, which was its intention. ICTU’s incoherence and inability to process contemporary conditions was exemplified by that march. They are demanding that workers march to ‘Lift the Burden’ while simultaneously demanding that the same workers meekly accept the property and water taxes which are linked inextricably to the Trioka and the bailout consequent to the banking collapse here.

Mark P - February 14, 2013

And it’s also their right to make up crazy lies about the socialist left, with your full approval.

Mark P - February 14, 2013

There is absolutely no point in trying reason CMK. You are wasting your breath. For LATC, the issues here are (1) hating the Socialist Party (and other “Trots” etc) and (2) a deep seated respect for bureaucratic authority.

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Can anyone give a clear read on the actual sequence events on Sat and where they were taking place so we can better assess the charges and counter charges. From where I was I missed all that.

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

Mark P, making the point that the SP should grow up and develop a thicker skin for a bit of criticism isn’t the same as approving of ICTU’s political position. The CAHWT was out-manoeuvred on the day, big swinging. Pick up your rattle and get on with it.

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Mark P, that’s deeply unfair about LATC. I’ve never heard him express hatred of either ‘trots’ – your phrase, not one I’ve seen him use, or the SP.

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

“Hating”? Don’t project your own base emotions onto me please if you don’t mind.

Mark P - February 14, 2013

LATC, I realise that misunderstanding is something of a way of life for you, so it’s really not much of a surprise that you misunderstand my attitude to these bizarre articles. Far from being outraged, I’m pleased that the bureaucrats (and their mouthpieces) are so clear and public about identifying the forces they see as their real enemies, even as they continue to capitulate to the government’s austerity programme.


Very little happened on Saturday, beyond the bureaucrats hassling CAHWT activists. That’s what makes the smears in O’Connor’s mouthpiece so bizarre. They don’t even try to provide any description of the allegedly “dangerous” and “undemocratic” actions of the Socialist Party and the CAHWT because there’s nothing to describe.

It was clear from the start of the demonstration that the bureaucrats had identified the CAHWT and the Socialist Party as the most likely and most organised sources of probably dissent. So they did everything possible to diminish the visibility of the CAHWT, and finally, stewards along with the Gardai, filtered the first bloc of CAHWT supporters into Merrion Square and had them effectively kettled there.

The useless bureaucrats are completely convinced that the booing they received at previous marches must have been “orchestrated” and, therefore, they think it must have been orchestrated by the CAHWT and Socialist Party. Which is in a way a compliment. But as someone who was in the SP contingent, alongside other left groups and the CAHWT, way away from the platform, when the booing started on O’Connell Street, I know for a fact that it was as much a surprise to us as it was to the useless bureaucrats. This time out there was little booing, as instead people left immediately pretty much en masse.

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

I’ve nothing to add here Mark P, that bridge was crossed long ago, you’re simply not worth engaging with.

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Mark P, I note you evade engaging with the fact that you made an ad hominem attack on LATC in your latest response – though you compound it by another one about his lack of understanding. Not on.

I was marching myself with East Wall CAHWT until just short of Merrion Square, but I didn’t see any hassle one way or another and that was close enough to the front of the march.

It seemed to me that there was a lot of mixing of CAHWT throughout, so was it a particular contingent who were taken out?

Mark P - February 14, 2013

My second comment was made before I saw yours. I stand by my description of LATC’s views, but I won’t repeat it.

As for your question, the CAHWT was spread out partly as a result of the efforts of the stewards. Much of the organisation of the day seems to have been designed to minimise the chances of another public humiliation for the chief bureaucrats. So Begg for instance was finished speaking and off the stage almost before the crowd reached the platform and then most of the rest of the programme consisted of music and comedy. And part of that planning was an attempt to make sure that CAHWT activists (who are considered the unruly elements) were nowhere near the front. The first large group of CAHWT activists to arrive was led into the park and then effectively kettled there.

In a sense, I don’t really expect any better from them. The ICTU bureaucrats are dedicated to shoring up Labour in government, and they know who their real enemies are. I’m not particularly outraged. But when they publish this sort of utterly brazen and wild claims, it’s worth taking them to task for it.

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

The weird thing is in spreading out the CAHWT it made it appear more numerous and substantive as a part of the march.

That’s still highly unfair. Either in private or public I’ve never heard LATC say such things or express an hatred of the SP. A different ideological approach – surely, and differences of opinion absolutely. If you genuinely think he holds such views you’re deeply and profoundly mistaken and it speaks of projection on your part rather than a serious political analysis.

Mark P - February 14, 2013

You say that as if you are inviting a discussion, WbS, but if I express my views, you will not be best pleased, so I’ll leave it at that.

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Not necessarily a discussion. But I did a quick experiment. I went through LATC’s comments on here from the time he started posting (WordPress has a handy search for that). 90 pages, I got through 45 and then lost the will to live. But nothing in relation to the term ‘trots’ except for the following (and the tenor of the following is generally that of his approach to the SP too):

“Ok. No, I don’t believe it is part of the current parlance within the WP [ie 'Trots' - WBS]. I would tend to believe that there’s a healthy attitude to the SP in general. And close co-operation on campaigns such as the household tax would tend to increase that. Also LookLeft has provided an open platform to the SP. So, no, whatever about Trots having horns and eating babies, I think the urge to take a pick-axe to you all may have diminished somewhat. For the moment at least.”

A few references to Trotsky, but all complimentary.

“i still hold with class politics and not political altruism – never, ever trust someone who want ‘to give something back’; you may not want it, and probably don’t need it…..”
Do you mean people such as the narodniki in 19th century Russia? What about Lenin, Trotsky, Castro, Guevara etc.? Am I misinterpreting your point?

And as for the ULA back in the day?

“the ULA’s principled oppositionism”

Not really the words of a man who harbours an hatred to either the SP or those who are Trotskyists.

And you’ve met the guy in person at least once or twice and never seemed to treat him at that time as one who would have some sort of visceral hatred to your party or your politics either.

If there are personalised attacks on people’s motivations – suggesting they go beyond natural critiques of different parties and ideologies into a sort of pathology – they have to be backed up by something a little bit more substantial.

But I think you’re right, best to draw this part of the discussion to a close.

que - February 14, 2013

WBS- “I went through LATC’s comments on here from the time he started posting (WordPress has a handy search for that). 90 pages, I got through 45 and then lost the will to live. ”

Am I stirring the pot in an unhelpful way If i suggest another nice experiment would be to read MarkP’s posts and see if you made it to 45 pages or less before losing the will to live ? ;)

(MarkP – you know I love yah only messing)

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Hey, it wasn’t the content! :)

Just for the record Mark P’s comments extend well beyond 90 pages and that is how it should be (I should add that at one time – and I hope I’m sparing his blushes – he was the most prolific commentor on the site).

9. Mark P - February 14, 2013


In fact, the lead article of this edition is also filled with crazy lies and bureaucratic paranoia. The positive side of this, of course, is that the bureaucrats (and their mouthpieces…) are making it clear to all who can read who they regard as their real enemies: Those who want to fight against the government’s austerity agenda rather than collaborate with it.

Ed - February 14, 2013

“He said that protests would also continue at home until the Government changed course on its one-sided austerity policies and adopted measures to stimulate growth and employment.”

Of all the insipid crap … first of all, if you say that something is ‘one-sided’, you’re not saying it’s wrong, you’re saying it’s one-sided. The implication is that the government needs to do something AS WELL as cutting public spending (‘no way, we won’t pay, unless it forms part of a comprehensive economic plan for the next five years’ / ‘they say cutback, we say only in combination with the right measures to stimulate growth in the economy’). Secondly, he only talks about ‘stimulat[ing] growth and employment’, the two buzzwords that absolutely everyone claims to be in favour of; if you confronted Noonan or Kenny or Gilmore, they’d say the whole point of what they’re doing is to stimulate growth and employment. No mention of wealth redistribution, that’d be too ‘ultra-left’ I guess.

Mark P - February 14, 2013

It’s precisely because the bureaucrats have capitulated entirely to the government that they are so obsessive about their left wing critics.

10. Ghandi - February 14, 2013

In the same vein as Mark P, I recently had a email in relation to the 1913 SIPTU Lockout site, which stated that it would advertise upcoming events relating to 1913 ……………except if those involved would be attacking others on the left. No dissent or debate will be tolerated. Rules us all out then.

Mark P - February 14, 2013

“Attacking others on the left” is bureaucratese for “being critical of Labour’s austerity agenda or worse still making any unflattering comparisons between the leaders of 1913 and today’s useless union leaders”. It’s quite alright to make up crazy shit about the socialist left, of course.

Ghandi - February 14, 2013


11. Ghandi - February 14, 2013

LATC, isn’t that one of the problems with WP they won’t broker any dissent against the TU leadership, stems probably from the fact that so many are Union officials or pensioners and any thing critical of ICTU, SIPTU etc., is taken personally as a reflection on them.

Bit much for ICTU to spend a fortune on publicity and then complain about the people that turn up. The comment on policical group eg PSF & CPI doing as they were told is a bit much, considering the publicity that PSF put into gathering their forces the presence was very minimal.

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

Ghandi, I wouldn’t interpret the relationship between the WP and the unions in that personalised way. The unions have the potential to be a force for progress and mobilisation. They have the potential to radicalise politically and split from the LP. They have the potential to channel the resistance of working people to austerity. That potential can be fostered by usurping the existing leadership and structures as the SP would like to do, or it could develop through the slow work within those structures which has been the WP approach. Maybe both approaches will work, maybe neither will.

12. The Caretaker - February 14, 2013

As a CAHWT activist and SIPTU member I’m not going to start crying about this, it’s to be expected. I hope we’re not going to have put up with a rambling Kevin McLoughlin article in the wake of it either.

LD - February 14, 2013

No doubt you’re a member of more than just the CAHWT and SIPTU, but just not honest enough to state that.

The Caretaker - February 14, 2013

Not at all, I’m no lover of the WP either.

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Actually, as it happens I’m a bit torn onthis. I think people have a right to organise a march as they see fit, but they shouldn’t be entirely surprised if others turn up and when it’s something like the CAHWT which isn’t simply an SP or SWP front but something with a degree of life of its own it seems odd to be so deeply antagonistic to it – though perhaps fair enough if they wanted them to march back from the front. As it happened I marched for much of the time with East Wall CAHWT, so I have no axe agin the CAHWT – which I’m involved in – at all.

But it’s also stupid if ICTU are in a snot about all this. It was inevitable and reasonable that others against austerity would turn up, and the reality is that the property taxes et as currently structured are an intrinsic part of that austerity.

The Caretaker - February 14, 2013


Mark P - February 14, 2013

WbS, is it really odd that the bureaucrats are viciously antagonistic to the CAHWT?

They are Labour supporters, they are engaged in a process of endless surrender to austerity, and they regard the CAHWT as dangerous for exactly those reasons. They aren’t confused and wrong about their allies. They know who their enemies are.

For that matter, Begg is openly pro-property tax!

LeftAtTheCross - February 14, 2013

I suspect that ICTU were a bit rattled by the booing incident at the previous march and over reacted accordingly by ensuring that the SP-led CAHWT didn’t get a chance to repeat it in front of the bigger stage. They paid was it €340,000 to organise that march, they paid the piper, they called the tune. It was their event.

As for the stupidity of ignoring the relationship between austerity and the home tax, yes for sure, but austerity is the bigger issue and I can understand why ICTU would choose to fight their own battles (or not) rather than have their efforts taken over by the SP and allow the latter to dictate the terms of political engagement.

Understanding doesn’t equal agree in the above.

The issue with the SP is that they want to leverage the efforts of others for their own purposes. I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation and I’m not surprised that ICTU would see it that way either.

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Hey, I’m pro-property tax too, just not the way this one is formulated and being implemented.

I don’t find it odd that ICTU would be antagonistic to CAHWT – though whether any more viciously than some in CAHWT are to them is an open question. What I find interesting is that they’re making such a big deal of it. Unless I’m mistaken there was little or no media coverage of the spats on the ground and most people beyond these matters wouldn’t know about them at all.

LATC re the SPs position, perhaps that is true at least in a tactical sense, but knowing CAHWT members, as indeed you do too, I think the SP is much less in control than ICTU thinks it is – not insulting the SP there, just observing – and that in general in the campaign there’s a clear antipathy towards ICTU et all which goes far beyond the SP or the SWP.

Mark P - February 14, 2013


ICTU are not stupid and are not ignoring the relationship between the property tax and austerity. They have capitulated entirely to the austerity agenda and back the actions of Labour in government fully.

There was no question of the CAHWT or the SP, “repeating” the booing of the bureaucrats, because the CAHWT and SP were not responsible for it the first time around.

I expect ICTU to stage manage their protests to avoid dissent. The whole purpose of their protests is to wheel people out as a stage army, let off a bit of steam, and then use the turnout as a little bit of leverage in its next set of surrender negotiations. Angry crowds booing them undermine that purpose, while demoralised crowds streaming silently away (as happened last Saturday) are harmless.

But the fact that the policing of dissent is expected doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be pointed out, mocked and, crucially, explained. And it certainly doesn’t mean leaving completely bizarre smears, published after the event, unchallenged.

Scabby Rabbit - February 15, 2013

As for the stupidity of ignoring the relationship between austerity and the home tax, yes for sure, but austerity is the bigger issue and I can understand why ICTU would choose to fight their own battles (or not) rather than have their efforts taken over by the SP and allow the latter to dictate the terms of political engagement.

ICTU isn’t just the bureaucrats you know.

Martin Savage - February 14, 2013

Perhaps ageing paramiltaries and angry university librarians could restrain themselves on marches, thus avoiding silly confrontations with activists against austerity

ejh - February 14, 2013

angry university librarians

‘ere, I used to be one of them

13. Laim Smullen - February 14, 2013

Laim Smullen
Important please post this post/statement other seem to to links in their
posts. Much appreciated if possiblie.

I wrote previously on the January 24, 2013 on the
What you want to say open thread 23rd January

“The new grants system seems worse than the previous one
in which students are still waiting for grant despite having applied for
them in August 2012, so it seems the you need a lot money for third
level education if you want it”

There are still 15000 students yet to receive there grants it is
already three months away from term ended. This despite the fact
quinn is claiming the bulk the bulk of the applications have been

Ruairi Quinn says third-level student grant backlog cleared


So far the political reaction apart from statements from FF, SF in the dail has been Muted.
Expect Clare daily and Joan collins went public voicing concern about
the situation and the hardships its causing those who NEED the grants.




Delay with grants pushes students into desperation
“Things have gotten to the stage here where students literally don’t have the money for a good meal. We’ve been doing food vouchers down here to ensure that each student at least gets a good hot meal. The chaplain safe fund, which goes to help people who are struggling with rent, bills and living expenses, has been used more than ever and we’re expecting a massive increase in the amount of people availing of the Student Assistance Fund”

Yet this is happening instead:



14. ivorthorne - February 14, 2013
CMK - February 14, 2013

Almost comic in its stupidity. Speaking of the other DOB it seems he’s another 150 grand richer this evening http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0214/367770-defamation-denis-obrien/

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2013

Wouldn’t you know that would happen. Inevitable result?

CMK - February 14, 2013

‘Freedom of speech’, Irish style. What gets me every time with O’Brien and the other oligarchs is that they refuse to be tax resident here and yet have free run of the courts. Courts that are paid for from the taxes of Irish workers.

WorldbyStorm - February 15, 2013

That is absolutely sickening. And it’s something that people should be reminded of again and again.

Ed - February 14, 2013

“The jury found Paul Drury’s article was based on honest opinion but was not based on facts or in the public interest.”

This makes my blood boil more than most things I’ve seen lately. ‘Not based on facts’? It was a fact that Denis O’Brien was expecting to be panned by the Moriarty tribunal (and indeed he was). It was a fact that he went to Haiti and made sure that it was publicised as widely as possible (what was Charlie Bird doing there?). Drury made a connection between these two facts (that would be the ‘honest opinion’), and it was definitely in the public interest for him to do so. A disgusting travesty of justice. There should be an emergency bill passed right away imposing a 100% tax on all awards made by the courts to Irish citizens who choose not to reside here for tax purposes. If they could pass that Anglo Irish farce so quickly last week, they could do that.

CMK - February 14, 2013

To be fair to Charlie, he was there legitimately reporting the earthquake. That’s an excellent idea on taxing such awards. Like any proposal that actually benefits citizens we won’t see this side of the revolution, by which time we won’t need it as Denis will be reaching his human potential cutting grass, cleaning windows or picking up litter.

WorldbyStorm - February 15, 2013

You’re very kind to Denis, CMK. :)

15. crocodile - February 15, 2013

Like most of us, I’ve been in a few arguments with blowhards whose reaction to so-called ‘gangland killings’ is: ‘let them at it; it’s only scumbags killing scumbags’.Then I see Denis O’Brien locked in a bitter court case with the Daily Mail…

CMK - February 15, 2013


16. Starkadder - February 15, 2013

I picked up a copy of Richard Seymour’s
“Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens” in Books
Upstairs yesterday. It’s quite a revealing and insightful
take on why Hitch ended his days cheering for the
Anglo-American hecatomb in Iraq. While Hitchens’
buddies in DC and London have been denouncing
Seymour, (Hello, Nick Cohen) the review from “In These Times” is more sympathetic:

Hitchens’ record on intellectual honesty is also rather blotchy. Seymour is not the first to note this; he points to John Barrell, who argued in the London Review of Books that sections of Hitchens’ Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man were lifted from other sources without proper attribution. Seymour contends that Hitchens’ The Missionary Position was a re-write of research done by an Indian author who does not receive credit in the original hardback, and demonstrates convincingly that Hitchens’ essay “Kissinger’s War Crimes in Indochina” borrows from Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s The Political Economy of Human Rights without crediting the authors.
….despite Hitchens’ protestations and pretensions of working-class sympathies, Seymour’s book makes clear Hitchens sided manifestly with the ruling class, particularly those factions of it that are concerned with foreign affairs


Starkadder - February 19, 2013

Another sympathetic review of “Unhitched” here, by
Jordy Cummings.


I like the line about Hitchens having
“attempted to fuse Tony Blair and Tony Cliff. ”

17. ar scáth a chéile - February 15, 2013

Any one see the Prime Time Interview with NATO Sec Gen Rasmussen on Prime Time last night?. The questioning seemed premised on the assumption that Nato is a benevolent force but should be intervening more – ie Syria and Mali – and should be coming down harder on North Korea. No question asked about Nato’s intervention in Libya and how Nato went way beyond what was mandated by Security Council Resolution 1973 – a staggering omission in my view.

Dr. X - February 16, 2013

The Prime Time bod probably isn’t even aware of that one – as indeed I was not myself! Have you got a link, at all?

18. CL - February 16, 2013

Chomsky interview in the Financial Times-
-the only global newspaper “that tells the truth”.-
(Scroll Down)

WorldbyStorm - February 16, 2013

Funnily enough the FT isn’t the world’s worst.

19. ejh - February 16, 2013

Owen Jones needs to know what to do in Dublin tonight. Can you help?

Garibaldy - February 16, 2013

Bit of an oversight there by someone.

20. Tomboktu - February 16, 2013

Vem aí a Troika! (in portuguese) happens in a fictional country named Portugalândia, where you may find corrupt and incompetent leaders, shady financials, and interest groups that don’t care about the country, causing bankruptcy and the coming of Troika. Any resemblance to actual facts, entities or persons is purely coincidental.
The winner will be the player who gets the most points by using his web of influence, by creating political consensus, by winning elections, and by getting money and certificates of deposit in tax havens (offshores).


21. Gewerkschaftler - February 17, 2013

Alexis Zipras has an intervention on the European level here in Le Monde Diplomatique. And, in my opinion, it is interventions at the European level to build solidarity and against crass nationalism that are most significant right now.

Unfortunately, for reasons that I can’t fathom, the English version of the article are behind a paywall but the German ones are not.

Any which way, here’s the gist:

On 21.02.1953 Germany’s creditors decided that that country’s political and social stability was threatened by the level of debts due. They also decided that internal devaluation and further reduction of wage levels in Germany would be counter-productive. Consequently, and in view of the consequences of the reparations enforced in the Versailles treaty, the creditors decided to write down 60% of the Bundesreplublik’s debt, and allow a 5 year debt moritorium.

In short Syriza is proposing something similar:

1. A significant writing-down of the nominal value of Greek public debt
2. A moratorium on debt servicing
3. A ‘sustainability clause’ to ensure that embryonic economic regrowth is not stifled by debt repayments.
4. A bank recapitalisation, so that bank debts are not added to public debt.

The measures must be combined with reforms to redistribute wealth and income, and to introduce transparency and democracy into Greek politics and economic relations, so that they ceases to serve the interests of a corrupt oligarchy who make no contribution society as a whole.

He expresses optimism, that now that the crisis is beginning to significantly effect Germany, that such proposals will become increasingly hard to reject. He notes that the deficit of the southern European states mirrors the surplus of Germany and other northern states. The southern states must not allowed to become low-wage financial colonies of the northern European states.

If the Sisyphean task of rolling the debt-boulder uphill is not abandoned, the resulting tragedy will play out not just in Corinth, but across all of Europe.

End of gist.

Links are included below because I don’t trust WordPress not to reject comments with links.

Gewerkschaftler - February 17, 2013

And WordPress has just rejected the links!

You’ll have to google folks – not hard.

22. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - February 19, 2013


MacAleese ignored testimony that contradicted his thesis

eamonncork - February 19, 2013

Thanks for putting that up Branno. It’s pretty shocking stuff. Is it worth moving it to a thread on its own Wbs? Because it makes pretty clear that McAleese seems to have seen the report to a certain extent as providing a chance to rebut criticism of the Magdalen Laundries. No other conclusion can be reached after reading the extremely selective way evidence is treated in the report. The McAleese report is in some ways a Backlash Report, the kind of thing you might have expected had the system been investigated in the seventies or some other era when the need not to offend the church would have been uppermost in people’s minds.
Two things. (A) The controversy about Kenny providing an apology pales into insignificance compared to the insult done to the inmates of the laundries by McAleese’s treatment of their testimonies. And it’s sickening to see FF trying to make capital out of this given that their first impulse over the last half century has generally been to stick as close to the church as possible, something I’ve no doubt they’ll do again if there’s for example a gay marriage or abortion referendum.
(B) This is the first time we’ve seen the media make a personality cult out of the author of a report. Nothing like the same level of fawning was accorded to the chairmen of previous enquiries. Which is ironic considering the balls McAleese made of things. One can only imagine it stems from the media tendency to, post Mary Robinson who was decent in the office, treat the President as a kind of quasi royal figure. Hence the hagiography surrounding Mary McAleese who didn’t do anything except utter a few waffly speeches which were like something we used to hear on retreats back in our schooldays. By extension her husband comes in for the same treatment.

23. Joe - February 19, 2013

Can’t find the Pay Talks thread so I’ll say this here.

Last night the frontline alliance of unions rallied and stood up to the government and said they won’t be agreeing to any pay cuts.
Today IMPACT issued a statement that was basically conceding that its members would be taking pay cuts. No fight. No even pretence that they will fight. Not only that but the statement attacks the unions who look like they are going to fight (INMO, PNA, GRA AGSI(!)) – in other words IMPACT is doing management’s job for it.

I posted a half-jokey comment about “frontline workers” vs “white collar bureaucrats” a while back. I never thought it would break down like this so quickly.

Joe - February 19, 2013

Could I add. I met with a very old good mate of mine last Saturday night. Private sector worker all his life. No leftie, just an ordinary head. Never a man to lead a call to the barricades. He said to me he hoped the public sector unions would stand up to the govt this time. Basically he said he wanted someone to stand up the govt – that everyone has had enough and with property and water taxes on the way, we have to fight back. He felt that all workers would support the unions if they fight the govt this time.
It’s clear after last night that the frontline union members will reject by ballot any “deal” involving pay cuts which is put to them. I believe IMPACT members might vote no to any deal cutting their pay too.
But Shay Cody and Jack O’Connor are members of the Labour Party. Cody in particular sounds like a govt spokesman rather than a union leader in the middle of negotiations.
The govt ripped up the Croke Park Agreement and the unions meekly went along with it – pretty much surrendering before the talks even started.

Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - February 19, 2013

I don’t know if the Labour connection is that vital. I doubt if they would behave very differently if Fianna Fail were in power. Cody comes from that section of the Workers Party who think standing up to ‘the ultra-left’ is more important than standing up to the bosses. O’Connor is a pessimist who thinks the fight is lost anyway.

Mark P - February 19, 2013

Yes. Everything the leaders of ICTU, SIPTU, IMPACT, etc leaders are doing can only be understood as a cynical process of managing surrender.

24. Paddy Healy - February 19, 2013

Psychiatric Nurses Leader denounces ICTU
Seamus Murphy, deputy general secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), said it was “incomprehensible” that other trade unions were “in cahoots” with the Government to break the original Croke Park deal, which secured public sector workers’ pay and allow-ances.
“The current Agreement has 16 months to go” he said. What the hell are they doing in there? Some think that a bad deal is worse than no deal. But they are bloody well wrong”
He accused the Government of reneging on the original pay deal “with the complicity of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions”.
Recent replies to parliamentary questions by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan (Dáil Report Oct 3, 2012) confirmed that:
• The top 10,000 income units (individuals or jointly taxed couples) had a total annual income of 5.95 billion and an average annual income of 595,000 Euro each.
• The top 1% ( 21,650 inclusive of top 10,000)had a gross annual income of 8,742m and an average annual income of €403,760 each
Almost none of the top 1% work in the public sector

There is no proposal by government to gather additional revenue from the 10,000 on 595,000 Euro each in the private sector. The removal of 1 billion from this group through taxation would leave them with the equivalent of just under 0.5 million each at current tax rates.
But government is proposing to extract 1 billion from public servants over the next three years.

Paddy Healy

25. adidas - July 25, 2013

I took his advice and purchased the Wave Inspire, thus entering
into a relationship with a shoe brand about which I knew nothing.
As we continued to shop, we went by the cosmetics department where there were gazillion different types of makeup.
You don’t know, I often look at yourself in the mirror asks, these remarks far if he really is not here.

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