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Basic Income Ireland Summer Forum 2014 May 26, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Economics, Equality, Other Stuff.
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Date: Saturday 7 June 2014

Time: 1:00 to 5:00, with informal discussion afterwards

Venue: Carmelite Community Center – 56 Aungier Street, Dublin 2

No Charge
Donations/membership subscriptions will be accepted on the day

Programme
1:00 – 1:45 Welcome and light lunch
1:45 – 3:10 Recent developments in Basic Income internationally:
Keynote speaker: Yannick Vanderborght, will speak on transnational cooperation in the campaign for basic income and on recent developments in the theory and politics of basic income. Followed by a participatory discussion.
3:10 – 3:30 Tea and coffee break
3:30 – 5:00 Advancing Basic Income in Ireland:
Brief presentation and participatory discussion

Afterward Social gathering in The Swan, Aungier Street.

Registeration: http://www.basicincomeireland.com/basic-income-2014-summer-forum-signup.html

Philip Chevron testimonial August 26, 2013

Posted by Tomboktu in Music, Other Stuff.
1 comment so far

[The following is from a text message I sent today, that WbS asked me to post.]

I was at the Testimonial for Philip Chevron on Saturday night in the Olympia. He came on stage and looks very ill. Great gig. Each singer did two songs; one of their one and one of his, except Shane McGowan. Mary Coughlan pissed me off, as she hadn’t bothered to learn the lyrics off the song. It ended with three sets: Radiators, Horslips, and both together. Aidan Gillen was MC. He clarified something I’d wondered about. Song of the Faithful Departed on the album is slightly faster than the single version (which I’d heard on Dave Fanning’s show at the time).

 

====

[Roddy Doyle read a piece, a dialogue between two characters (Added on 30 August 2013: The script I posted is now replaced with the version posted on the Radiotors website.)]

-D’yeh remember Kitty Ricketts?
-I fuckin’ married her.
-The song.
-The song, the attitude, the whole fuckin’ shebang.
-The song – stop messin,. Yeh know what I fuckin’ mean.
-I do, yeah.
-You remember it.
-Yeah.
-It was brilliant, wasn’t it?
-Yeah – brilliant. There were great songs back then.
-Great gigs as well.
-Yeah, yeah. The Blades, The Attrix.
-The Radiators from Space.
-Songs about Dublin.
-Made us proud, didn’t it?
-Still does.
-The fella tha’ wrote tha’ one, Kitty Ricketts.
-Philip Chevron – yeah.
-There’s a testimonial for him tonigh’.
-Football?
-In the Olympia.
-Football in the Olympia? Fuckin’ brilliant. The Radiators from Space versus A Republic of Ireland Eleven – from space.
-Niall Quinn up in the gods.
-His natural fuckin’ habitat.
-Eamonn Dunphy on drums.
-Tha’ makes sense.
-Philip Chevron on the left wing.
-With his mazy runs an’ silky skills. Slashin’ at his opponents’ shins with his guitar.
-He isn’t well.
-Yeah.
-Yeh know wha’ tha’ means – ‘isn’t well’? For men our age, like.
-I do – yeah.
-Okay.
-Chevron, but. What sort of a name is tha’?
-It’s Irish. He dropped the O.
-O’Chevron?
-Exactly. It means son of the unfortunate fucker who couldn’t get the odds together to emigrate.
-Here, look it. We don’t normally do this. But we’ll lift the glass for Philip, will we?
-No – we won’t.
-Why not?
-Cos punks don’t do tha’ shite.

http://www.hotpress.com/Philip-Chevron/news/LISTEN-Philip-Chevron-Testimonial/10112857.html

A Left-friendly email service provider? October 15, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Capitalism, Community, Ethics, Internet, Other Stuff, Society, Trade Unions, Workers Rights.
9 comments

Hi Folks,

My main email account has been with ireland.com since the 1990s. Today they sent an email to say they are closing the service in less than a month (so the domain can be transferred to Tourism Ireland).

I could simpy transfer everything to my back-up gmail account, and may do that simply to ensure that I have the data. However, I was wondering of any readers of CLR know of a Left-friendly email service provider?

So, what would be Left-friendly? My ideal would be one run as a co-op, and I wouldn’t mind paying for that, but I’ve no notion if there are any or if any I might find thrpugh an internet search are secure or reliable. My second preference would be one run by a company that recognises unions. (When I got my first mobile phone, I checked with the CWU to see which providers recognised it and/or other unions. The initial reply gave me a list of companies where the union has members, but I did get an answer the specific question a few days later. I don’t know how often the union gets a query like that.)

Thanks,

Tomboktu

Dear Account Holder,

The Irish Times and Tourism Ireland today announced a digital content cooperation agreement to promote Ireland as a tourist destination. The agreement spans a number of areas, including the sale of the ireland.com domain name to Tourism Ireland. Tourism Ireland will use the ireland.com url to attract more web traffic and enhance the promotion of Ireland overseas.

As a result, we wish to inform our @ireland.com email subscribers that the service will be discontinued from November 7th, 2012. From midnight on this date, you will no longer be able to send or receive messages. You will, however, be able to access your account until December 7th for the purpose of transferring any data (i.e. emails, tasks, documents, appointments and/or contacts) currently saved on your account. We are writing to advise you of this change and to ensure the transition to a new service provider is as seamless as possible.

To aid the transition, we have provided a step-by-step guide and FAQs on ireland.com and a helpline has been established to assist wherever possible. The helpline will operate between 8am and 8pm weekdays on telephone 1890 876 666 or 01 685 6999 or email customerservice@digitalworx.ie .

We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to our valued customers.

John O’Shea

Head of Online, The Irish Times

Paul O’Brien: ‘Port to Port’, Saturday 17 December December 13, 2011

Posted by smiffy in Culture, Music, Other Stuff.
2 comments

Photograph  © John Heeneman

Paul O’Brien, an Irish singer-songwriter based in the Netherlands, will be performing songs from his new CD ‘Port to Port’ (accompanied by flutist Kate Huber) at the Artane and Beaumont Community Centre, Skelly’s Lane/Kilmore Road, Artane on Saturday night (17 December).  Details of how to get to the venue are available here.  Doors open at 7:30pm and admission is free.

Paul is originally from East Wall and his ‘Songs from the North Lotts’ based on the lives of the residents of the area was launched by the then Lord Mayor Emer Costello in 2009.

It should be a really good night, and I hope you can make it (there’s a pint in it, on me, for anyone who comes having seen this shameless plug).

More on ‘Port to Port’ below and on the website.

For the past year and a half, while performing ‘Songs from theNorth Lotts’ Paul has written a cycle of songs entitled ‘Port to Port’. These songs are based on stories he picked up while visiting and playing in harbor towns, stories of and about the people who live and work in them.

 These songs take you on a musical journey in time and place, from the Ouzel Galley Saga from the late seventeenth centaury right through to the present day, taking in tales of Captain Bligh, Admiral William Brown, the demise of the sailing ships, the shipbuilding industry, tattoos, the whaling industry, true love and contraband.

Paul has painted pictures of the many different aspects of a Port, highlighting the parallels and the links between them, whetherDublin,Belfast,PortsmouthorRotterdam.

‘Port to Port’ reflects Paul’s own musical journey, from one port to another and all the people he has met on the way….….

A whimsy: a seasonal sound September 26, 2011

Posted by Tomboktu in Culture, Meanwhile, Other Stuff, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Some people write letters to the irish Times to note the first cuckoo of Spring, and others comment on the first lawn mower of the season. Today, on my bus home from work, I reaslised that I had been hearing another seasonal marker:

  • “our lecturers won’t”
  • “take a locker — you don’t have to”
  • “timetable has”
  • “my course you have”
  • “on all different campuses”
  • “seven worksheets before”
  • “no, he’s repeating to”
  • “textbooks are all”

Best of luck to all the first years getting into lectures after induction weeks. Make the most of your time in college!

(I’d love to know which school held its debs the night before the first lectures, with the students deciding they would attend their new higher education colleges in gowns and tuxedos.)

 

Labour equality event September 12, 2011

Posted by Tomboktu in Inequality, Labour Party, Other Stuff, Skepticism.
14 comments

Here’s an interesting little challenge. I received an email via the UCD Equal-L list about a Labour Equality event at the weekend. It’s for an panel discussion with Michael D on Friday in Dublin.

The challenge is that given how Labour has performed, I don’t particularly want to promote one of their events. However, some of the speakers on the panel are perfectly capable of laying into the party for its failures in government — in fact, one of them did lay into the government last week in the Irish Independent (here), and another has been a regular critic on her blog (here).

Oh heck. I’ll put it under the fold, so that you have to want to read it in order to see it .

And I’ll use a “skepticism” tag.

That should ease my conscience. :)

(more…)

Election posters February 17, 2011

Posted by Tomboktu in Other Stuff.
16 comments

Brace yourselves, CLRers: this post about the general election has no policy (or opinion poll) content.

Some bloggers have been scrutinising how the parties and their candidates have been using the new media in this election campaign. You could forget that a lot of the electioneering is still being done with posters appearing on lamp-posts, railings, and so on. From what I have seen, the hip-to-the-groove bloggers are mainly interested in election posters as sources of amusement when they are defaced.

Old technology they may be, but the parties put a lot of effort into them, and they are still key ways of communicating with voters. If this election were to be won or lost only on the posters, then Labour soundly deserves to be trounced by Fine Gael. Yes, the bigger party made peculiar choice with the ghastly “Join the team Ireland 2.0” yoke, but that seems to have been relegated to the world of electronics and is not being used on lamp-posts.

But after that initial whoops, FG has been winning hands down.

First, the “national” set.

At the start of the campaign, Fine Gael had two and Labour had one. One of FG’s first offerings was a reasonably standard showing of the party leader, with the slogan ‘Let’s get Ireland working’, and the second showed a simple text message ‘Let’s Get Ireland Working’. Labour’s first offering was simply a photograph of Eamon Gilmore and the word “Labour”.

(I’m not considering rare 48-sheet posters that are “unveiled” for a press photo-call but not then pasted up around the country on the (rather expensive) billboards they are designed for.)

The second round, at different stages in the campaign for the two parties, consisted of the red with “Gilmore for Taoiseach” printed three times and with two corners rounded off to give it a distinctive shape, and a very plain black-and-white, text-only poster from Fine Gael promoting their five-point plan. Labour’s ‘Taoiseach’ poster went up very quickly after the first ones were placed, whereas FG’s third poster was a week or ten days after the kick-off.

Those five posters tell us a lot about what the two party’s campaign objectives are. The message — the only message from Labour’s two lamp-post posters is Eamon Gilmore: no slogans, no values, no key messages other than the man himself. Fine Gael has conveyed three messages: (a) the personal face of their leader, matching Labour on that point, but pulling ahead of them with (b) a core message about getting Ireland working — telling us that the the election is not just about Enda Kenny’s career path (we cynics on CLR may not be fooled by that, but that is the message). The coup, though, is the third poster in the campaign: moving from a slogan to convey to us that they have substance behind it with a five-point plan, and a web address where you can get more information about it. (As threatened, this post is policy-free, so I ignore the dreadful content of that five-point plan.) Now, Labour could have said they have a three-point plan (to reflect the sub-title of their manifesto), but apparently that is not worth letting the voter know about (unless they are nerdy enough to go onto the party’s website and download the tome — and certainly not in a poster).

The FG deftness and Labour ineptness with the low-tech device that is is the election poster is reflected in my own constituency.

In my part of the capital’s suburbs, both FG and Labour have two candidates. FG was first out of the starting blocks with the standard, single-candidate portrait style poster appearing around the constituency immediately the election was called, with more posters going up later. My local Labour candidate took a week to get them up near where I live, and seems to have densely postered one area before moving on to the next one. Local score, then: FG, 1; Lab, 0.

Second point: Along the main routes, FG has managed to place their candidates posters opposite the exits to many estates. My local Labour candidate’s posters are on the ‘intervening’ lamp-posts. I wonder if his poster putter-uppers gave any thought to how election posters work, especially on primary traffic routes. Somebody should tell them: those primary traffic routes are used mainly by people in vehicles. Yes, there are some parents walking younger children to school, but most voters on those roads are driving. And when you’re driving, you don’t (well, shouldn’t) be watching the election posters. The chance you get to look at an election poster is when your car is stopped — at a traffic light or coming out of a housing estate. Latest score: FG, 2; Lab, 0.

Third point: the range of posters. FG have four local posters: two single-candidate posters, with the a “Vote 2″ for the running mate, and a pair of double-size posters, again naming both candidates. I’ve seen four different Labour local posters, but presume there is a fifth not used in my areas: the two standard portrait single-candidate posters, a double-size one showing the local candidate and party leader (I presume there is a matching one for his running mate in the other part of the constituency), and reused red diamonds from the last local elections. None of the Labour posters ask for a second preference for the running mate. Now, that might be useful if you are planning to re-use the posters in the next local elections. But if you’re planning to run in the next local elections, what on earth are you doing running for the Dáil. And why has your party HQ not imposed some co-ordination and required both of your posters to get maximum transfers? You’re losing pints here, Lab.

For Fine Gael, you could give them a score of 1 or 0 for their double-size posters because the colour scheme is not the same as the standard portrait posters. Maybe that is a device to encourage people to look at it thinking it’s not part of the set they have already seen in the campaign. Let’s go for a zero for FG.
Latest score: FG, 2; Lab -1.

In fairness to the local Labour candidate, the red diamond does stand out (it’s the only one of that shape in the area). But I do wonder if his team know how to use them. The critters put those ones up at the same time as they put up his main portrait posters. Stupid mistake. If you have two distinctive psoters, the most effective way of using them is to get the name up across the territory immediately at the start of the campaign, filling in gaps as quickly as possible. If your second poster contrasts with the first one, it should go up some time later, serving as a fresh message when the voters have become used to the first round of posters. That waste of a valuable resource brings the local score (so far, with eight days to go) to: FG, 2; Lab, -2.

A little bit of science February 2, 2011

Posted by Tomboktu in Environment, Other Stuff, Science.
3 comments

When I was in school, I had planned to be a scientist. But life took me on a different course. For a while after completing a science degree, I did get to copy-edit scientific journals, and in a later job I did interview a guy for a job who had published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. (He had dropped out of the “tenure rat race”, as he called it, but with a pre-PhD co-authorship in the prestigious PANA, he should have had no difficulty getting a job if he’d finished the doctorate. But love and marriage brought him away from all that.)

So, I was dead jealous when I read about a study that has been accepted for publication in the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters. Visually, it offers a clue as to why it is different from your usual academic paper in a learned journal (and make no mistake, Biology Letters is a learned journal). First, if you run your eye over the references section at the end of the paper to see if you recognise any of the preceding work in the area, you find there is no such section. And, second, the published paper has three figures that contain tables like this one.

Image of table published in Biology Letters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you think the handwriting in that table looks a bit child-like, you would be right: it is child-like because it was written by a primary school pupil. But the paper does not report a study that is about primary school pupils’ handwriting. No, that table was the authors presenting their findings. The whole study was conducted by 25 school pupils aged between 8 and 10 years old. They did have some adult help, but that is described as minimal.

The study was on the ability of bees to learn where to forage, using the colour and position of “flowers”, which were made of perspex for the experiment.

I suspect that they have had a little bit of help in writing up the research: they open the “Discussion” section with the following comment:

[This experiment] tells us that bees can learn to solve puzzles (and if we are lucky we will be able to get them to do Sudoku in a couple of years’ time).

And where the typical acknowledgement of grant support in a scientific paper would be limited to various foundations or state scientific funders, this paper thanks” the George Inn—where the manuscript was written—for the free Cokes”.

Biology Letters has accepted it for publication because they have checked and it appears that it is novel scientific research.

The paper is short enough 6 pages, and is available here.

My heartiest congratulations to each of you, S. Airzee, A. Allen, S. Baker, A. Berrow, C. Blair, M. Churchill, J. Coles, R. F.-J. Cumming, L. Fraquelli, C. Hackford, A. Hinton Mellor, M. Hutchcroft, B. Ireland, D. Jewsbury, A. Littlejohns, G. M. Littlejohns, M. Lotto, J. McKeown, A. O’Toole, H. Richards, L. Robbins-Davey, S. Roblyn, H. Rodwell-Lynn, D. Schenck, J. Springer, A. Wishy, and T. Rodwell-Lynn (but I am dead jealous of ye!)

Who fears to speak of ’68? May 9, 2008

Posted by smiffy in European Politics, History, International Politics, Other Stuff, The Left, United States.
23 comments

40 years on, and the legacy of 1968 remains contested.  This is probably inevitable.  While it’s one of those few years like 1789, 1848 or 1989 that are synonymous with uprising and revolution, 1968 is unique in that there’s little or no consensus on what it meant then or what it means now.

Sean O’Hagen, in a recent feature for The Observer, gives a good overview of the events of that year.  Over on the Prospect website, you can find a variety of views on ’68 under the title ‘1968: liberty or its illusion?’ from a slew of writers ranging from Tsvetan Todorov to PJ O’Rourke.  Don’t miss this characteristically bitter little piece from Alan Johnson.  Not to be outdone in the bitterness stakes, of course, our own John Waters (sub req’d) describes 1968 as ‘The tragic conflict between freedom and tradition’.  A little more coherent than most of Waters’ pieces, he does descend into his typically nonsensically quasi-mysticalism towards the end, stating that:

(F)reedom is a deceptive word which, in its modern meaning, conveys a pursuit of desire without limit.  Because of the structural limitations of the human mechanism, there is a point at which the pursuit of desire, in any direction, becomes destructive.  One of the consequences of the disrespecting of tradition since the 1960s is that this consciousness of limits has been mislaid.

Hours of fun could be had speculating about where John Waters thinks the ‘structural limitations of the human mechanism’ lie, but we’ll simply gesture towards the area between the navel and the knees and move on.

Over on Comment is Free, the fight is being played out between Geoffrey Wheatcroft, who argues that the actual consequences of 1968 are four decades of near uninterrupted right-wing political control and 17-year olds being offered positions as strippers at the Job Centre, and Peter Lennon, who instead argues that the events of May 1968 in Paris had substantial positive effects lasting even to the present day (although he does include a rather gratuitous ‘My demonstration is bigger than your demonstration’ dig at the British soixante-huitards).

As disparate as Wheatcroft and Lennon’s positions are, they both, I think, fall into the same error: that of seeing 1968 solely in terms of events in Western Europe and the United States (Lennon, in fact, implies that only the Parisian ’68 is the authentic one).  This is a perception shared by many of the Prospect writers and writers elsewhere, as well as in the popular consciousness.  When one thinks of 1968 one immediately thinks of either French students digging up cobblestones to throw at policemen or the mixture of rioting and assassination that characterised the US Presidential campaign that year. 

This is, without a doubt, the sexier side of ’68, the side which appeals to those who prefer the ‘Street-Fighting Man’ of the Rolling Stones to the ‘Revolution’ of the Beatles.  However, it’s also extremely limited and the more we look back on the legacy of 1968, the more limited such a view appears.

While, for example, the anti-war movement in the United States, and globally, was hugely significant at the time, and was a crucible from which major figures in contemporary US politics emerged, it’s important not to see it as a spontaneous mass phenomenon which emerged sui generis on the Washington Mall and on campuses across the continent.  It evolved slowly, and gradually, over the course of half a decade.  As Chomsky writes in the current edition of New Statesman, contrasting the anti-war movement of the 1960s with the opposition to the invasion of Iraq five years ago:

You have to remember that, during Vietnam, there was no opposition at the beginning of the war. It did develop, but only six years after John F Kennedy attacked South Vietnam and troop casualties were mounting. However, with the Iraq War, opposition was there from the very beginning, before an attack was even initiated. The Iraq War was the first conflict in western history in which an imperialist war was massively protested against before it had even been launched.

It’s also worth recalling the extent to which the anti-Vietnam war movement, the student movement, was dependent on the civil rights movement for its very existence.  Even though the formal civil rights movement had, to a large extent, played itself out by ’68, when one looks at leaders like Tom Hayden, David Dellinger, even Abbie Hoffman, what’s particularly notable is how many of them either had their political baptism or were heavily involvement in the Freedom Riders or the voter registration projects from earlier in the decade.  Indeed, many of the tactics employed by the anti-war protestors were perfected on the streets of Selma, Birmingham, Albany and other towns across the deep South.  It’s fair to say that without the initial work of the NAACP, the SCLC and the SNCC, there wouldn’t have been an anti-war movement, certainly of the scale that came to exist.  However, this doesn’t tend to be part of the dominant narrative of 1968, or to feature prominently in the Sunday newspaper nostalgia pieces, where the massive significance of the civil rights movement at the time, and its legacy to the present day, tends to be reduced to the assassinations of that year.

Similarly, when one considers whether 1968 represented a turning point in the United States’ engagement with Vietnam, one should overplay the significance of the anti-war movement.  Important though the domestic and international demonstrations were, they paled in comparison to the actions of the Tet Offensive of the same year, which demonstrated that the United States military machine could be defeated on its own terms, and acted as a call to arms for anti-imperialist movements across the world.

Turning East, or West (depending on your perspective) there’s also a tendency to diminish the significance of the uprisings and protests across Eastern Europe (not to mention in Southern Europe, where the term ‘fascist government’ carried much more weight than just a rather self-indulgent hippy cliché) as an off-shoot of the demonstrations in Paris or Chicago, where the main event was happening.  However, in hindsight we can see that what occurred in Czechoslovakia, as well as in Poland and elsewhere during that year, proved to have a far greater impact than the equivalent Western activities.  Far from being a failure, as they may have appeared at the time, they proved  – as Timothy Garton Ash notes – in time to have laid the ground for the revolutions of 1989, arguably the most important mass social movements since the Second World War.

None of this is intended to in any way denigrate the achievements and the commitment of the students, workers and revolutionaries who took to the streets in Paris, Berlin, London, Chicago and elsewhere in 1968.  Many argue that the lasting legacy of 1968 is the dominance of right-wing politics over the last forty years, that the backlash which thrust Nixon, Reagan, Thatcher and, latterly, Sarkozy into power can be laid at the feet of those who fought for a better world at the time.  This strikes me as a rather myopic, not to mention begrudging view, of those events.  The achievements of feminism, of the gay rights and anti-racist movements and the rise of Green politics are, at the very least, just as much the outcome of 1968 as the emergence of the Red Army Faction of the ex-Trotskyists of neo-conservatism, and those of the left should be unashamed to claim this legacy as their own.  It’s far more plausible to state that the civil rights movement – by breaking the stranglehold of the Democratic Party on the Southern states of the US – inadvertantly caused the near permanent dominance of the Republicans in US politics, but no one would suggest that, because of this, perhaps it would have been best if Rosa Parks had taken a different bus after all.

It is probably a mistake to speak of 1968 as a single phenomenon.  Rather, it might best be remembered as a confluence of different events, movements and individuals which together formed something greater than the sum of their parts.  However, on one point they were as one.  Like the proverbial stopped clock, John Waters is actually correct on one point.  What the various strands we understand as ‘1968’ have in common was the determination to challenge authority, particularly traditional authority, in the name of human freedom.  Of course, for Waters, this is a bad thing, being synonymous with the uppity women he despises (particularly those who play house).  However, if one imagines the kind of Ireland that Waters seems to advocate in his criticism of those who challenge authority – one where the Roman Catholic Church retains a tight grip on social policy, women are still treated as second-class citizens, where Northern Catholics never demanded their rights from a state which structurally discriminated against them and where gay people remain in fear of criminal prosecution, one can see that the spirit of ’68 is something which should still be held dear.

Pr(yi=1|xi) = 1/(1 + exp(-xi ß)) The formula for a ‘successful’ war October 6, 2007

Posted by franklittle in Iraq, Other Stuff, Pseudo-Science, Science, The War On Terror, United States, US Media, US Politics.
1 comment so far

Some people cherish the fond belief that many of the more confusing problems of this life can be reduced to mathematical forumlae and equations. One of these seems to be Patricia Sullivan, a professor at the University of Georgia in the US, who has devised a mathematical equation to predict the outcome of conflicts based on a detailed analysis of 122 military interventions involving the US, Britain, China, Russia and France since 1945.

She claims that the correct outcome is predicted in 78% of the conflicts run through it. The chances of success for the US in Vietnam for example, come out at 22%. The Soviets had a 7% chance of success in Afghanistan and the invasion and overthrow of Saddam started off with a 68% chance of working.  The forumlae gives the objective of routing the insurgency and the creation of a democratic Iraq a success rate of 26% with an estimated duration of ten years.

While accepting that there is some truth in the accepted wisdom that the relatively poor success rate of the major powers in foreign military interventions is down to a combination of lack of resolve and poor decisionmaking, Sullivan argues that the key determinant in many conflicts has been the attitude of the civilian population. Without ‘target compliance’ the chances of success through the application of overwhelming use of blunt force are pitiful. Decades after Vietnam and the notion that hearts and minds must be won over still seems not to have caught on.
“We can try to use brute force to kill insurgents and terrorists, but what we really need is for the population to be supportive of the government and to stop supporting the insurgents,” she said. Otherwise, every time we kill an insurgent or a terrorist, they’re going to be replaced by others.”

Strangely, despite a level of understanding of mathematics that has floored me in calculating the tip in a restaurant, I’d figured all that out by myself. Also interesting that the notion that foreign powers have a right to intervene isn’t questioned, merely the efficiency with which it is done and whether the target population is compliant enough. Key words there being ‘target’ and ‘compliant’.

More of an oddity I suppose than a newsy story for the blog but easing myself in again after an unavoidable absence. Also, would be curious to know what the chances of a successful armed revolutionary uprising in Ireland would be. If ‘y’ is the number of copies of Socialist Worker sold in the country and ‘xi’ is the number of capitalist running dogs, how many ‘Pr’ (left-wing blog posts) are necessary to push us over the top?

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