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What you want to say – 20th April 2016 April 20, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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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. Gewerkschaftler - April 20, 2016

There’s a fascinating discussion of the economic history and thus the nature of the USSR here on the Symptomatic Redness blog, which demolishes the standard liberal histories as well as other simplistic narratives from the left.

Political economy was done in the USSR – just in a different way and by different groups of people. The frustration of the planners over not being able to deploy the undoubted scientific and engineering strengths of the country after the 1960s comes through.

Well worth a couple of listens.

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WorldbyStorm - April 20, 2016

Looks really interesting. Nice one.

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Gewerkschaftler - April 26, 2016

I’ve listened to a few more episodes and they can be a bit, well, graduate-studentish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but we don’t all have time to steep ourselves in theory and history, more’s the pity. It depends on the interviewee.

The conversation with Leo Panitch here has convinced me that I should read Panitch and Gindin’s The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire, in pretty short order.

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2. Gewerkschaftler - April 20, 2016

I don’t know whether the Nuit Debout movement has had any resonance in Ireland – but in France it has given rise to a new twist to the ‘suppressing dissent through anti-terrorism’ tactic.

Apparently the attempts at democratic debate and movement in public space are distracting the police from their (in the end impossible) jobs of preventing IS attacks.

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WorldbyStorm - April 20, 2016

That too is interesting though not in such a good way.

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3. Gewerkschaftler - April 20, 2016

The movement against TTIP, CETA and the dictatorship of ‘the markets’ continue – this Saturday in Hannover.

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Gewerkschaftler - April 20, 2016
4. sonofstan - April 20, 2016
5. Starkadder - April 20, 2016

Last week I mentioned that the website “Wikiquote” is biased to the
political right on certain subjects. It seems I’m not the only one
who’s noticed:

https://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/3l45bl/does_anyone_else_find_wikiquotes_page_on/

As for the actual Socialism page:

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Socialism

about half the quotes are anti-socialist, while the rest seem
either pro-socialist or neutral. Still, quoting Hayek or Churchill against socialism is fair enough, but…..do L. Neil Smith, a minor sci-fi writer, or Brent Parrish, a very, very obscure right-wing blogger, really warrant entries in a proportedly encyclopedic list of quotations?

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WorldbyStorm - April 20, 2016

L Neil Smith. Hah, his Crystal Empire started with – I kid you not – a chapter about the Mujahideen in Afghanistan before moving on to libertarian counter factuals. I enjoyed the book but reading some of his non fiction stuff he’s a bit of a chump. That’s hilarious that these guys are being quoted.

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Starkadder - April 20, 2016

Further proof L. Neil Smith is [sarcasm] one of American’s great political thinkers. From his 2001 book “Lever Action”, Smith responded to politicans who backed
a ban on semiautomatic weapons:

“….they [the drafters of those laws, one would suppose] must repeal the offending legislation; they must resign from office immediately afterward; and they must promise, publicly and in writing, never to seek or hold public office again.
Meanwhile, we can offer them a few words of advice: don’t listen to the torrent of lies spewed out by Sarah Brady and her fascist front-group. Don’t let that pickle-faced harridan and her tent-revival meat-puppet [apparently referring to Sarah’s husband, Jim] get you into more trouble.”

https://books.google.ie/books?id=WgwvzzkopVIC&pg=PA97&dq=%22the+drafters+of+those+laws,+one+would+suppose%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjsrs2G7J3MAhUECcAKHUNQAqUQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=%22the%20drafters%20of%20those%20laws%2C%20one%20would%20suppose%22&f=false

Of course, you won’t find this quote on Wikiquote.

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WorldbyStorm - April 20, 2016

Lovely guy – eh?

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RosencrantzisDead - April 20, 2016

‘tent revival meat-puppet’

What a term to use about a wheelchair user.

Maybe it is the sadpuppies/angrypuppies/whatever movement has made it seem larger but does SF/Fantasy have a higher proportion of wing-nuts than other areas of literature?

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Starkadder - April 20, 2016

Well, in the past, UK crime fiction could boast anti-semites Dorothy L. Sayers, and “Sapper”,
opponent of Irish Independence John Buchan, and eugenic sterilization advocate / anti-Communist
R. Austin Freeman.

“Sapper” is crap, but the other three are excellent writers despite their dreadful political views.

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6. Phil F - April 20, 2016

On CLR James, Malcolm X and the politics of rebellion

https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/c-l-r-james-malcolm-x-and-the-politics-of-rebellion/

I’m reading a fascinating book at present on James’ time in Britain in the 1930s. I had no idea that it was his (positive) experiences in the (almost entirely white) industrial mill town of Nelson in Lancashire that were pivotal in making him a Marxist. Those and his presence in Paris, while researching for what became The Black Jacobins, where he saw Parisian workers stop the fascists when the SP and CP wouldn’t.

Phil

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7. Phil F - April 20, 2016

Interesting article on brexit and the current state of british society & economy: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/what-the-brexit-referendum-shows-about-british-capitalist-society-today/

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8. Phil F - April 20, 2016

And lastly, I don’t know if people in Ireland are following the contest for the UN secretary-general post, but folks may be interested i these pieces on the NZ frontrunner, Helen Clark (our Joan Bruton, but rather more successful!).

Helen Clark and he tangata: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/helen-clark-and-he-tangata/

UN leadership contest – Helen Clark is the ultra-establishment candidate: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/un-leadership-contest-helen-clark-is-the-ultra-establishment-candidate/

And our earlier look at the actual record of Ms Clark in government: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/the-reign-of-helen-clark/

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Dr. X - April 21, 2016

I remember her being named as a possible future UN gen sec when I was down in Aotearoa in 2008.

That was the year she lost the election – and weren’t there allegations of some serious dirty tricks behind the scenes with that one?

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9. Starkadder - April 20, 2016

Harriet Tubman to replace murderer of Native Americans Andrew Jackson on US $20 bill:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/us/women-currency-treasury-harriet-tubman.html

Expect RosencrantzisDead’s “wing-nuts” to leap into action, with
complaints about “Social Justice Warriors” and “Dead White Male
Bashing”.

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gendjinn - April 21, 2016

s/murderer/genocidal, low life, ill bred, sack of excrement/

There fixed your spelling mistake.

Jackson opened the White House to his pals for the inauguration and they trashed the place.

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CL - April 21, 2016

Jim Webb, “the former senator from Virginia, has written and spoken reverently of Old Hickory. Webb called Jackson “in my view the most underrated American president,” in an interview for his 2004 book, “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.” “I am at heart a Jacksonian,” he said.
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-08-13/andrew-jackson-breakup-is-awkward-for-jim-webb

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CL - April 21, 2016

-The culmination of this progressive interpretation of Jacksonianism was the publication in 1945 of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s The Age of Jackson. Schlesinger was less interested in the regional basis of Jacksonianism than Turner’s disciples had been. He saw support for Jackson not just among western farmers, but also among urban laborers in the East. Jacksonian democracy, he argued, was the effort “to control the power of the capitalist groups, mainly Eastern, for the benefit of non-capitalist groups, farmers and laboring men, East, West, and South.” He portrayed Jacksonianism as an early version of modern reform efforts (in the progressive era and the New Deal) to “restrain the power of the business community.”-
http://glencoe.mheducation.com/sites/0012122005/student_view0/chapter9/where_historians_disagree.html

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oconnorlysaght - April 22, 2016

The ‘non-capitalist groups’ included Andy’s fellow slave-owners, indeed, they seem to have benefitted more than those directly exploited by the capitalist class.
It is worth remembering, too, that, a century later, the New Deal did little, if anything, to tackle Jim Crow.

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CL - April 22, 2016

“The segregationists supported the Tennessee Valley Authority, but only so long as the cheap electricity it produced flowed only to communities that were strictly segregated. Likewise, African Americans were specifically excluded from New Deal legislation that set minimum wages and secured benefits for farm laborers and domestic servants”
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/2013-08-12/new-deal-old-south

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gendjinn - April 23, 2016

oconnorlysaght,
the New Deal was constructed to exclude black sharecroppers.

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gendjinn - April 23, 2016

Webb is mostly a thinly veiled racist. Then there are the occasions the mask slips.

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10. CL - April 21, 2016

“This is one of the striking features of the present era: wars turn into bloody stalemates with no outright winners or losers, aside from the millions of civilians who are the victims. Political systems decay or are overthrown but nobody is strong enough to replace them. An Islamic cult motivates people so they are prepared to die for it in a way that is no longer true of nationalism or socialism.”-P. Cockburn
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/19/the-first-draft-of-history-dispatches-from-the-frontline-of-war/

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11. Alibaba - April 21, 2016

“Some on the left have even made the politically absurd call for the formation of a right-wing government. All the better to oppose, presumably.”

Reluctant though I am to say it: Gilmore calls this one right.

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/eamon-gilmore-labour-needs-fianna-f%C3%A1il-guarantee-government-would-last-1.2618037

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RosencrantzisDead - April 21, 2016

Repeatedly, and often to its own electoral disadvantage, the party has put the country’s interests first

I am really sick of the Labour martyr complex. Yet another means by which they abdicate responsibility. What a joke of a party. This is sadder than John Gormley’s asylum speech.

Turning to governments:

To paraphrase George C. Scott, politics is not about some dumb bastard making a sacrifice for his country; it’s about making the other dumb bastard make a sacrifice for his country.

It has been said that Irish politics has suffered from a blurred ideological lines, mainly thanks to the mix of FF Peronism and FG noblesse oblige liberalism. It has been detrimental – the parties would do very little differently and so have to sell on personalities and ‘management style’. Trading places every so often and thriving while the other withers. My belief is that this has given Secretaries General, policy advisors and technocrats too great an influence as the twins scramble for headlines like ‘jobs’, ‘tough on crime’ etc.

Why not be strategic and push these two together? Why allow one to grow and thrive when there is a chance to weaken both? People would whine about the left being naive and unrealistic. They play a cynical game, and play it reasonably well. I say let them do it.

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Alibaba - April 21, 2016

The ‘Labour martyr complex’ is stomach-churning. I couldn’t agree more. But about governments and the ‘twins’: ‘Why not be strategic and push these two together?’ Usually this is suggested in the belief that it will better for the left to become the ‘real’ opposition. I don’t see an inevitable correlation between the two things. No leftist should give a leg-up to right-wing forces and that’s what a FG/FF coalition would have meant.

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RosencrantzisDead - April 21, 2016

I suppose it boils down to empirical questions: does the FF/FG faux-divide harm Irish politics and/or the left? Would putting them together in government undermine that divide? And would undermining the divide have a net benefit for the left?

It is impossible to know if these things will be true beforehand but I think it gamble worth taking.

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CMK - April 21, 2016

In the last election FF positioned themselves to the ‘Left’ and that rubbed off on many people, hence their increased representation in the Dáil.

However, it would be better in the short-term interests of the Left if FF/FG were to either formally coalesce or, more likely, to agree a parliamentary lash-up to keep a minority government on the road for a couple of years.

A situation where FF could not oppose a FG policy and vice versa can only lead to space being opened up for the Left as an opposition voice. Of course, SF will dominate that space for several years to come but it will also allow a genuine parliamentary Left perspective to grow.

I think the prolongation of the talks around forming a government is rooted in the acknowledgement by both FF and FG that there is still a s**tload of austerity to come (running a balanced budget from 2017 will, axiomatically, mean austerity). Both are trying to position themselves so that they can deflect the backlash they know will result.

When that backlash does come it will be to the good that there is no differentiation between both parties and that both suffer electorally and organisationally as a result.

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12. Garreth Byrne - April 21, 2016

Most Irish voters don’t think in terms of right-wing governments versus left-wing governments. They think of FF-led governments pursuing popular or unpopular policies, and FG-led coalition governments pursuing popular or unpopular policies. While the troika calls the shots we’re going to get lots of unpopular policies from whatever government is formed. An FF-supported FG-led government may water down the Irish Water issue that lost FG so many seats recently.

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Jim Monaghan - April 21, 2016

What you say Garreth seems to be the current norm across Europe. Whatever the origins of the parties.

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13. Jim Monaghan - April 21, 2016

Frank Ryan, Ireland, Spain and Germany.
I tend to be on Cronin’s side.
http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/frankryan/InterpretativeResources/HistoricalContext/FrankRyanArevolutionarylife/

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Gewerkschaftler - April 21, 2016

Me not.

The Republican relationship with the Nazis was a particularly egregious case of why ‘your enemy’s enemy’ often goes wrong.

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Michael Carley - April 21, 2016

In fairness to Ryan, he was never a supporter of Nazism, it’s just that he was given the choice between Franco’s firing squad and a jailbreak to Germany. Would you have had the moral fibre to choose the firing squad?

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Gewerkschaftler - April 21, 2016

Almost certainly not, Michael – I was making a more general point about a damaging alliance.

Ryan then went on to work with Francis Stuart etc. Whether he had a gun to his head in that case, I don’t know.

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Michael Carley - April 21, 2016

Ryan has a get out. Russell et all. don’t, you’re right about that.

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14. ivorthorne - April 21, 2016

Just saw a post on the WSM Facebook page. It’s a picture of Britain’s Queen Lizzy with the message “Happy Birthday, We Hope It’s Your Last”.

That’s pretty ugly. You’d don’t have to monarchy as a system of government or Liz personally, but is it too much to ask for people to respect a human being enough not to wish death on them?

There are rather sections of the Left that are intolerant and incapable of showing human decency to those with whom they disagree. It’s not worse on the Left than in many other sections of society but it always irritates me because I expect more from them.

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sonofstan - April 21, 2016

‘She ain’t no human being’
🙂

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botheredbarney - April 21, 2016

I suppose ‘taste’ is a key word when people wish to express distaste.

Liked by 2 people

Gewerkschaftler - April 21, 2016

Is studied indifference permissible, Ivor?

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Starkadder - April 21, 2016

“Kill the Queen but spare the Woman”. 🙂

Or:

“Let it not be understood that I have the slightest feeling against Henry of Prussia; it is the prince I have no use for. Personally, he may be a good fellow, and I am inclined to believe he is, and if he were in trouble and I had it in my power to help he would find in me a friend. The amputation of his title would relieve him of his royal affliction and elevate him to the dignity of a man. This is a necessary part of
the mission of Socialism….

Eugene V. Debs, 1908.

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fergal - April 21, 2016

I have no time for Lizzie but I have some English friends who think she’s great- they say it’s because she’s a lovely lady!! these are fairly bright fellas, I just don’t get it…

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Liberius - April 21, 2016

Stockholm syndrome?

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Ivorthorne - April 21, 2016

Yes, as is manifest indifference.

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gendjinn - April 21, 2016

Hate takes energy, so does swerving to avoid her. I’d do neither.

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gendjinn - April 21, 2016

That was supposed to come across a bit more tongue in cheek than literal.

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WorldbyStorm - April 21, 2016

😉

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15. Gewerkschaftler - April 21, 2016

Here’s a particularly clear explanation why national sovereignty under the 2012 EU Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance is an illusion, and democratically elected governments are forced to adopt austerity and stagnation by unelected and unaccountable bodies like the EC and the Eurogroup.

Each year, the EU countries that share the euro as their currency submit draft budgetary plans to the European Commission. The Commission assesses the plans to ensure that economic policy among the countries sharing the euro is coordinated and that they all respect the EU’s economic governance rules. The draft budgetary plans are graded as either compliant, partially compliant, or at risk of non-compliance.

After what was done in Greece we now know that these anti-democratic forces are willing to collapse a county’s economy using an attack on its financial system by the ECB.

The EU will only survive if it is radically reformed as a functioning democratic structure.

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CL - April 21, 2016

“By the 2000s neoliberals had taken firm control of the European Commission, manifested most obviously in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. The step-by-step legal codification of EU reactionary economic policies goes far beyond legislation enacted in the United States.” Exactly (link above in Gw)

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oconnorlysaght - April 22, 2016

The danger in Brexit is that it is an attack on neo-liberalism being moved by neo-conservatives. If it goes thru’ the poor old Brits will have the neo-liberal economics without the socila reforms.

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CMK - April 22, 2016

What social reforms? Genuine question.

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oconnorlysaght - April 22, 2016

As I understand it, the EU has tried to uphold a number of liberalising decrees (v.hate crimes, etc.) that are targeted by the KIppers and their fellow travellers in the name of free expression.
I do not like the EU myself, but I know that after the First World War Germany was an oppressed nation in which there were possibilities for the left. It failed to seize them and and the initiative was taken by a man called Hitler. In politics, there is often a choice between a good way and a bad way to try to achieve a goal. The Brexit campaign is aimed at delivering the Brits to a triumvirate of Boris, Farago and (to give it intellectual credibility!!!) Michael Gove. Corbyn knows what he is doing when he opposes it.

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gendjinn - April 23, 2016

Farago is the best typo ever!

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16. RosencrantzisDead - April 21, 2016

Someone in Newsweek has decided to give Slavoj Zizek a column to discuss the Panama Papers.

Some bonkers and thoroughly enjoyable stuff ensues.

Explaining the Panama Papers or, Why Does a Dog Lick Himself

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WorldbyStorm - April 21, 2016

Cheers will read that now

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17. CL - April 21, 2016

“the debate in the United States is now widening in some ways in response to long-term stagnation and growing working-class precariousness…
The surprise in the election at this stage is the rage, rebellion, and revolt among lower-income voters who normally have no say and who are alarmed by the nature of the system — but who are themselves divided between left and right….
No class-hierarchical order willingly commits suicide. So it has to find a way of promoting ideas that reinforce its own existence while marginalizing all others. “The ruling ideas of society,” Marx and Engels wrote in The German Ideology, “are the ideas of the ruling class.” The reason they gave: the class that controls “the material means of production” also controls the main “intellectual means of production.”
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2016/jbf200416.html

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Gewerkschaftler - April 25, 2016

From the same article:

As for Hillary Clinton, the investigations into Benghazi and other scandals will not come to anything. She was serving the imperialist cause. Consequently, any attacks on her from the top will be blunted by that fact — however much her Republican critics, for their own political ends, may seek to criticize her for incompetence and cover-ups. The imperial order takes care of its own. Her aggressiveness in military interventions as U.S. secretary of state, where she embraced the military aspect probably more than any previous holder of that office, is seen as her strongest card. She frequently makes it clear that she is symbolically running for commander-in-chief even more than for president, and suggests that she is the best possible military leader for the country. She is, indeed, the most openly hawkish of all the candidates at this point.

The more I learn about Wall St. Woman, the more I’m convinced that she will inevitably start more wars. She has form in Libya and Syria and she’s is more powned by the military/security/industrial complex than Obama was at the beginning of his incumbency.

She will also try to aggressively repress the left, given her experiences during this election.

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gendjinn - April 25, 2016

Abusive father. Narcissistic husband. Hillary always believed Bill’s lies about his infidelities. Put all those observations together with an understanding of psychology and you can see that her irrational bellicosity arises from trying to defend herself from her father.

So you know. More bellicosity and inevitably confrontations and wars. Great.

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CL - April 26, 2016

“Oil tycoon and conservative mega-donor Charles Koch had kind words for both Bill and Hillary Clinton in an interview Sunday, saying there was an outside chance he could support her in November.”
http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/24/politics/charles-koch-hillary-clinton-2016/

If…the nomination is taken from him (Trump), the Republican Party will be seen by the American people as a glorified Chinese tong…
Like the 1919 World Series, the fix is in…
If Trump sweeps the remaining major primaries, comes to Cleveland with millions more votes than any other candidate, and then has the nomination stolen from him, the Grand Old Party will be committing hara-kiri on worldwide TV.”
http://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/is-the-gop-risking-suicide/

“Sanders has more than accomplished what he set out to do: expose the deep flaws of modern capitalism and how corporate control of our democracy has done little for average people. Voters, especially the young, aren’t afraid to embrace some form of Euro-socialism.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/opinion/hillarys-big-idea.html?_r=0

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gendjinn - April 26, 2016

It’s all really exciting in a way I’ve never seen before. Barring black swan event it’s over for Sanders. He came very close but he’s not going to win the remaining contests 60/40.

The supporters are still working just as hard even as the reality seeps in and I’m conversations about what happens after a Sanders loss are starting.

Look at the age demos – the under30s go for Sanders 70/30 in the Dem primary, in the GE they are even going for Clinton over Trump/Cruz by large margins. They have to win this fight, they’re screwed otherwise.

Liked by 1 person

18. sonofstan - April 22, 2016

Friday morning inbox treat: advice from the Competition and Markets Agency concerning the rights of students as consumers. Here’s the opening paragraph:

“consumer law will generally apply to the relationship between universities and undergraduate students, as undergraduate students will generally be studying for purposes which are outside their trade, business or profession.”

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FergusD - April 25, 2016

Got everybody in my institution scared to say anything to potential students – “we could be sued”!

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sonofstan - April 25, 2016

Same here.

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19. Tomboktu - April 22, 2016

I’m surprised I haven’t seen the obvious poor-taste joke yet:

“Your Majesty, you may wish to know that Prince has died”
“Oh, what an unexpected birthday gift.”
“Eh, no Your Majesty, not ‘the prince’, just ‘Prince'”.

Liked by 2 people

Aonrud ⚘ - April 22, 2016

Seeing the Queen’s birthday knocked off the top headline by Prince did make me think I’d better avoid comedy panel shows for a while. At least the Now Show isn’t running at the moment – they’d have got ten minutes out of that🙂

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WorldbyStorm - April 22, 2016

Yeah, they’d love that. Always fond of the Now Shows clunkiness

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20. Gerryboy - April 22, 2016

Mr. William Shakespeare died 23rd April 1616. Will his mugshot be plastered all over the tabloids and ‘serious’ papers on Saturday morning 23rd?Just imagine – Thursday: Queen is 90; Friday: Prince Dead; Saturday : Shakespeare 400 years under. OUR WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME
Alas, poor Yorick.

Liked by 2 people

21. sonofstan - April 22, 2016

I found this piece in the Atlantic really interesting. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/

Short version; almost half of adult working age Americans would find it difficult to lay their hands on $400 in an emergency – car breakdown, medical problem etc. a majority are less than 6 days wages away from penury.
I’d be fascinated to know how we compare here in Ireland and the UK

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 22, 2016

It’s an appalling indictment of that state. But as you say, interesting to know the stats for here. And the UK.

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Tomboktu - April 22, 2016

I’d be fascinated to know how we compare here in Ireland

The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice lead the way in Ireland on that question.

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fergal - April 24, 2016

The credit unions issue a report entitled ‘What’s left’ in people’s pockets once everything is paid for- in 2013 it was 100 euros a month see here http://politicaleconomy.ie/?p=596
Not exactly the same but similar to what you’re talking about ?
I suspect that getting the 400 dollars for a breakdown might get you a credit union loan, I suspect ties of family are still ‘relatively’ strong in ireland compared to uk/usa- somebody might see you right!
100 euros a month in 2013- it puts the irish water fiasco into perspective, doesn’t it?

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sonofstan - April 24, 2016

Thanks, that’s interesting.

I think you’re right regarding the credit unions providing a non-exploitative safety net that’s not as available elsewhere. Where I work in the supposedly affluent SE of England, there are 4 cash converters type outfits in the town centre, plus a few places offering payday/ log book loans at doubtless extortionate rates.

Family ties in Ireland stronger? I’d hesitate to generalise but may be true. On the other hand, with, what 1 in 6 people born on the island living abroad, some emigrants must get into financial difficulties beyond the reach of those networks

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22. Alibaba - April 23, 2016

Here is a knowledgeable overview on what’s happening in Brazil:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n08/perry-anderson/crisis-in-brazil

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CL - April 23, 2016

“the Workers’ Party has rejoined, by a mutation of its own, the deformed ranks of the rest of Brazilian political fauna …
once it accepted the price of entry into a diseased political system, the door closed behind it. The party itself withered, becoming an enclave in the state, without self-awareness or strategic direction,”-Perry Anderson,(linked by Alibaba,above)

Perhaps the lesson learned here has more general applicability.

Once a radical, or heterodox party, assumes power without altering the system, it inevitably takes on essential aspect of the status quo power structure to the detriment of itself and its adherents?

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 23, 2016

A big problem is getting a willingness to change the system on the part of citizens.

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Gerryboy - April 23, 2016

Too true. Most voters are not as revolutionary as the radicals they vote for.

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oconnorlysaght - April 25, 2016

Every serious (dare I say, revolutionary) change in an existing system starts with people making relatively moderate demands. As these demands are often quite inadequate solutions to the problems that inspired them, those elected to execute them have to choose whether to go beyond their mandate or to stand pat on it, and, usually, to abandon major parts of it. When they choose the latter, it is because they accept the lack of radicalism of ‘most voters’ and forget that people can change and that, if they went forward, enough people would be likely to support them.
We should learn from the enemy. Maggie Thatcher ravaged the British economy without ever getting support from more than 43% of the electorate.

Liked by 1 person

Gewerkschaftler - April 25, 2016

+10. Well put.

Recent history is full of over-cautious elected representatives who respond to focus-groups and a hostile media rather than focusing on convincing and moving their support base politically.

Liked by 1 person

23. Tomboktu - April 23, 2016

Lately, my eclectic reading has had a strand on how humans got to have the diversity we have and the routes we took to the different places around the planet that we’ve occupied for millenia, after we’d evolved. (As an local example, a paper from TCD last Christmas on neolithic and Bronze Age migration to Ireland is available here: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/2/368).

That poking on the internet brought me to http://dienekes.blogspot.ie and it’s refreshing to see below-the-line comments that elucidate and disagree, sometimes with a vigorous tone that I might not want used in the pub, but for the most part informative on the possible weaknesses of what I’m reading or seeing for the non-expert.

(A specific example. If you’ve an hour to spare, this is a fascinating lecture that explains the emergence of the genetic profile of modern Europeans and tells how an invasion of Europe about 4,500 years ago was identified through ancient genetics. But then, if you read the comments here (http://dienekes.blogspot.ie/2013/10/ancient-central-european-mtdna-across.html) you discover that maybe it wasn’t quite so simple.)

http://dienekes.blogspot.ie/2013/10/ancient-central-european-mtdna-across.html

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24. roddy - April 23, 2016

Just saw a great item on the RTE news where the decendants of a group of 1916 volunteers recreated a 40 mile march over the connor pass.On Easter Saturday 1916 up to 150 volunteers marched the 40 mile route to Tralee to assist in Casement’s ill fated gun running attempt. Their relatives ,many of them proud as punch marched the same route overnight in tribute to their ancestors.

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25. roddy - April 24, 2016

I attended the “reclaim the vision” march in Dublin today.It was a brilliant event but was marred by the Gardai surpassing themselves in terms of bigotry and stupidity.Among the contingents of SF, PBP ,CPI and unions was a group from Pavee point highlighting travellers rights.They had a vintage caravan being pullled by a horse which really added to the occasion.However they were made to withdraw from the parade before the finish by a group of Gardai led by the usual thick set “officer” type.They did this on some spurious grounds of no horses being allowed on O’Connell street.I’d hazard a guess that if the horse had been carrying a free state soldier or hauling British royality,no such ban would have been invoked.The Gardai were jeered loudly by the crowd and one man began singing “take it down from the mast” at them and soon dozens of others joined in.I captured the event on Mrs Roddy’s camcorder and hopefully I did’nt make a hash of it.I’ll check shortly if the footage is saved!

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26. Jim Monaghan - April 25, 2016

http://rimediacoop.org/2016/04/24/jim-fitzpatrick-on-the-easter-rising-and-irish-politics/

Andrew Stewart: Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick on the Easter Rising and Irish politics
24 April 2016Andrew Stewart

Our demands most moderate are –
We only want the earth!
–James Connolly

The name Jim Fitzpatrick might strike some in New England, a historic home of Irish Americans, as slightly common and nothing special. However, the Irish artist, now at work promoting works related to the centennial celebration of the 1916 Easter Rising that began the Irish revolution against British imperialism at the height of World War I, will be familiar to the many people who have seen his artwork across the globe. Consider this famous screen print of his:

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Gerryboy - April 25, 2016

I have admired Jim Fitzpatrick through his visual art, but this is the first time I’ve heard him speaking. He uses his head to speak from the heart and has thought about many things. He’s spot on about Saudi influence on islamist extremism. I too would be wary of Hillary Clinton – she speaks with a forked tongue and tapers her speech to whatever audience. How perceptive of him to admire young Sinn Feiners yet warn them that their children and grandchildren will become corrupt. Fitzpatrick expresses psychological insight when talking about people whose causes he supports or doesn’t support.

I didn’t realize he was self-taught, coming from ancestry that had artists. He’s right to note that current Irish are visually impaired – we really need to open our ‘eyes’. I wonder what he thinks of Robert Ballagh’s oeuvre?

Fitzpatrick is a great Dub and deserves the Freedom of the City. Let him paint on; and give more radio interviews.

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Michael Carley - April 25, 2016

A couple of guys I went to school with who are big in advertising and visual identity type stuff told me they moved to the Netherlands in part because of the second rate visual culture in Ireland, for example in design of public documents such as banknotes. Ballagh’s name did come up.

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gendjinn - April 25, 2016

The sister works in design in Ireland. It’s been a horror show of underpay, asshole bosses and collapsed businesses for decades.

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botheredbarney - April 26, 2016

+ 1 Fitzpatrick and Ballagh are practitioners of artistic realism, with different styles.

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27. Michael Carley - April 25, 2016

Just finishing Ferriter’s book on 1913–1923. Anyone else read it and have thoughts, especially on the final chapters about memory and commemoration?

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28. irishelectionliterature - April 25, 2016

TV3 doing a Trial of Padraig Pearse with a jury that includes Nick Leeson, Damien Dempsey, Lynn Ruane, Una Mullaly and many more worthies. …all presented by Pat Kenny
http://www.thejournal.ie/padraig-pearse-trial-tv3-programme-2733494-Apr2016/

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29. Gewerkschaftler - April 25, 2016

About 90,000 people protested against Obama’s attempts to push through TTIP by the end of his incumbency last Saturday in Hannover.

Obama cleverly (from his point of view – possibly not in terms of Brexit voters) triangulated Brexit and TTIP when he claimed the the UK (shock, horror!) would have to go the back of the queue in terms of trade agreements.

There was a good feeling on the street – again the organisers well surprised at how many people turned up from all over Germany. People are increasingly sceptical of all the trade agreements and the SPD speaker was booed off the stage.

Because, if history is any guide:

“Wer werden uns verraten – die Sozialdemokraten!”

as the saying goes – who will betray us? – the SPD!.

It scans better in German.

Liked by 1 person

Ed - April 25, 2016

Wasn’t it extended with ‘Wer war mit dabei? Die Grüne Partei!’ (‘Who was with them? The Green Party!’)

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Gewerkschaftler - April 25, 2016

Yep.😉

The Greens wobbled somewhat on TTIP because their darlings in the CDU/CSU were so smitten, but they seem to have firmed up a bit against the issue.

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ewolc - April 26, 2016

90,000 in Hannover we managed about 200 here

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30. roddy - April 25, 2016

For anyone wanting to see what it is like to run a political operation under adverse circumstances,go to Danny Morrison’s twitter page.Danny reproduces a photo of himself at the window of the SF office on the falls road 1980. Lest anyone thinks the office was about to be renovated,it was still in the same condition 3 years later when Adams addressed supporters from the same window on being elected West Belfast MP. (Perhaps WBS could reproduce Morrison’s tweet so you all can see the gem of a photo!)

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Michael Carley - April 25, 2016

This one?

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Gerryboy - April 26, 2016

Danny and that historical photo leave me Breathless.

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31. roddy - April 25, 2016

Yes,that’s it Michael.Thanks for your assistance!

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32. Enzo - April 25, 2016

Fiona Ryan from AAA was co-opted to Cork City Council tonight. the vote was 19 for 2 against 3 Abstentions (FG).

glad that Labour failed in their desperate bid for an undeserved seat!

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2016

+1 a disgraceful ploy by them

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33. Michael Carley - April 26, 2016

Just been on the doctors’ picket in Bath (all-out strike for two days). Lots of support from passing traffic and about a hundred on the picket proper, so numbers are holding up.

This could get bitter, judging by the government response, but the mood inside the left and more broadly seems to lie with the doctors.

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FergusD - April 26, 2016

Same here in Nottingham. I do think the broader message needs to get out though. The 7-day NHS is a totally ramshackle “plan”, well it isn’t really planned at all. The NHS is short staffed as it is, doctors and nurses. The head of NHS England has promised £22bn of efficiency savings by 2020. That AND introducing a 7-day service. Completely bonkers! £22bn in savings is bonkers anyway, what is the biggest cost to the NHS? Staff. How can he possibly make such savings and expand the service?

Labour needs to do more on calling out Hunt and the Tories on this.

A research position at my university was “advertised” on the junior doctors Facebook page recently. A staggering response. Come August and the new contract I am expecting a substantial number of junior doctors not to sign up but to find other work, many abroad. Australia and New Zealand in particular beckon. Not Wales and Scotland (which aren’t introducing the new contract) though

Check out doctor/patient ratios across the world. Compared to Europe the UK is poor:

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.MED.PHYS.ZS

Liked by 1 person

Michael Carley - April 26, 2016

It’s being pushed in Bath, in fairness, and I think Hunt is too stupid for his own cynicism: turning down the Labour initiative yesterday makes him look just as vindictive as he actually is.

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Gewerkschaftler - April 26, 2016

Is it just me, or are the Tories beginning to loose it, even on their own despicable terms, on several fronts simultaneously?

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Michael Carley - April 26, 2016

On the picket this morning, somebody said it was like the last days of Thatcher when they introduced the poll tax and lost all contact with political reality.

It’s taken this shower less than a year. You know you’re getting old when you start to feel nostalgia for the competence of old-school Tories.

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sonofstan - April 26, 2016

Corbyn marching with striking doctors. Now try and imagine any of his 3 predecessors doing that.

Liked by 1 person

34. Michael Carley - April 26, 2016
Gewerkschaftler - April 26, 2016

What’s that – 27 years later?

How long before anyone’s prosecuted?

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Michael Carley - April 26, 2016

It’s a better verdict, and faster, than Bloody Sunday III got.

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Gewerkschaftler - April 26, 2016

True dat.

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35. Gewerkschaftler - April 26, 2016

Bernadette Devlin in Jacobin Mag Online:

You are remembered by many for your activism in the Civil Rights Movement and your election to Westminster in 1969 at age twenty-one. What is your memory of the People’s Democracy period?

When I’m asked about the People’s Democracy period, I can’t help but laugh. It was crazy and brilliant. The chaotic creativity of large numbers of people who were thinking and taking action at the darkest of times. Madness and sanity at the same time, and out of that, ways forward appeared.

The dynamism of the mass movement came out of attempts to create democratic frameworks, often in simplistic ways that meant decisions could change every half hour. Someone would call a meeting and take a decision, then the minority that didn’t like it gathered more people and organized an even bigger meeting to change it. Then the new minority would do the same. But by the end of the night you had ten times more people than had been involved at the start of the day.

People’s Democracy is under-appreciated now in terms of its importance as a crack of light, moving ideas forward and radicalizing the Civil Rights Movement. It won an election long before Sinn Féin was heard of in that arena. In fact, when Sinn Féin moved into electoralism they originally actually got no bigger vote shares than the students managed in 1969 or later when I was reelected.

You can criticize People’s Democracy structurally but it was an amazing time. It was a forerunner, in its own way, to what we’re seeing today.

and

So you see the 1960s spirit in today’s left movements?

Yes, I saw it when I was in Greece last summer and in the Right2Water campaign in Ireland, certainly in the Occupy movement, and all the young people around Jeremy Corbyn. I have to say these movements seem to me, from the outside, more serious than the one I was involved in, but that might just be because I’m not at the party in the same way!

It is also more difficult to do it now. The 1960s were a time when everything was being liberated. You had youth movements, movements in music, gender, and sexuality, there was a global trend towards opening up society. Now movements are trying to fight back or hang on to ground won during the victories of the 1960s and ’70s.

Yet the struggle is being taken on. And I see a great similarity in how scared society today is of its youth. It helps that many veterans of the old fights are still around. So you get “sixties kids” like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn bringing their memory, their experience, and the madness they picked up from those times. Part of change is defeat and setback but to see that tide rising again while the people who rode the last wave are still here and active is important.

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Michael Carley - April 26, 2016

The Daniel Finn article on SF in the back of that issue looks great as well (I’m waiting for the print edition to read it properly). There was one copy left in Books Upstairs at the weekend.

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36. roddy - April 26, 2016

I have nothing negative to say about Bernadette but I wonder if those in the media who now use her to diss SF can recall her totally correct attack on virtually all media organisations at Dominic McGlinchey’s funeral.Curs,dogs and prostitutes were how she described them and got tremendous applause from the mourners including myself.As I say I always admired her but maybe she should wonder some time why these media outlets are slowly rehabilitating her.

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WorldbyStorm - April 26, 2016

I’d be likewise re Bernadette, she’s a very important voice, but without sounding pedantic I’d disagree with her interpretation of the peace process lasting five years (as articulated further in the jacobin piece). I don’t recall anyone suggesting that was going to be the case at any time. If anything the sense was that it would be something that would continue for decades.

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Ed - April 26, 2016

To be honest, I haven’t seen much sign of the media outlets that would be very anti-SF warming towards her in recent times. She’s got a little bit more positive coverage than would have been standard 15 or 20 years ago, but most of it seems to come from outside the mainstream; that documentary in particular.

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Gewerkschaftler - April 27, 2016

I really didn’t want to start a fight about SF but just wanted to the admire the woman’s continuing astuteness.

Perhaps it goes with continuing to work in a working class context.

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37. Starkadder - April 26, 2016

“I wonder if those in the media who now use her to diss SF can recall her totally correct attack on virtually all media organisations at Dominic McGlinchey’s funeral.Curs,dogs and prostitutes were how she described them and got tremendous applause from the mourners including myself.”


Dominic McGlinchey Snr. claimed in a newspaper interview that he killed 31 people, including a child and more than 200 other operations against the security forces. Those included the 1982 Ballykelly disco bombing in which six soldiers and 11 civilians were killed.

http://www.irishnews.com/news/2015/11/03/news/uncle-yet-another-nightmare-for-mcglinchey-family-312466/

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38. roddy - April 26, 2016

I have that newspaper and he never claimed he killed a child.He was not part of the movement I supported for at least a decade but he was not the monster the media made him out to be.Bernadette knew him better than most and described him as”the finest Republican of them all”.Maybe those who enthuse about her now being Eamon McCann’s election agent or launching Gerry Carroll’s campaign should trust her judgement regarding Dominic.Something tells me most of them would run for cover both verbally and physically if a conflict broke out again.At least Bernadette has the bullet wounds to show that she stood her ground.I doubt many of her new found “admirers” will ever subject themselves to any danger.

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Starkadder - April 26, 2016

“I have that newspaper and he never claimed he killed a child.He was not part of the movement I supported for at least a decade but he was not the monster the media made him out to be.Bernadette knew him better than most and described him as”the finest Republican of them all”.

My aunt, active in Irish left-wing activity since the 1970s, threw out her copy of “The Price of My Soul” after Bernadette made that speech praising McGlinchey. “I don’t see any difference between what Dominic McGlinchey did and what Lt. William Calley did.” she told me.

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Starkadder - April 26, 2016

Just noticed an error in that IN article. It was actually:

“Eleven soldiers and six civilians were killed in an INLA bomb attack at the Droppin’ Well bar in Ballykelly…It was from this area that their most notorious leader emerged; Dominic ‘Mad Dog’ McGlinchey, who claimed responsibility for the planning of the Ballykelly bomb.”

https://books.google.ie/books?id=TymrBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA156&dq=%22who+claimed+responsibility+for+the+planning+of+the+ballykelly+bomb%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidyt6npa3MAhVjFMAKHQmdDLQQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=%22who%20claimed%20responsibility%20for%20the%20planning%20of%20the%20ballykelly%20bomb%22&f=false

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Michael Carley - April 26, 2016

He also admitted supplying the weapons used at Darkley.

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39. roddy - April 26, 2016

As I said ,Dominic broke away from the mainsream movement in the late 70’s and aligned himself with the INLA. As someone who always was in the SF camp ,I could easily distance myself from Bernadettes support for him.However most of the stuff the media alleged about him was pure shite and Bernadette correctly denounced this shite pedalling.Two contributors above continue to give credibility to a media that really knew f— all about McGlinchey.You initially give an incorrect casuality description for Ballykelly, then correct it but then state that “it was from this area that their most notorious leader emerged”. Actually he was from the Bellaghy area 40 miles from Ballykelly. Michael then says “he also admitted supplying the weapons used at Darkley” but conveniently omitting that he denied any involvement in Darkley and had supplied the weapons for an entirely different purpose.Just two examples of people accepting the diet that was fed to them by the gutter press and which Bernadette correctly railed against.The thing is McCann now attempts to ride two horses by writing for the curs dogs and prostitute media outlets while appointing Bernadette to be his election agent. So if any of you have an issue with Bernadettes admiration for Dominic,take it up with Eamon or Gerry Carroll.

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CL - April 27, 2016
40. sonofstan - April 27, 2016

More than a million people in the UK living in destitution says the Rowntree foundation

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/27/million-people-uk-living-destitution-joseph-rowntree-foundation

That’s about 1 in 60 of the population – I would hazard a guess that a similar audit in Ireland would produce a much higher proportion – though I bet the UK figure is an underestimate as well.

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41. EWI - April 27, 2016

The continuing sly efforts to reinterpret the defence of Mount Street Bridge as the scene of ‘massacre’ by the rebels (and in a year when there hasn’t been an official peep about North King Street) have just found another pony to ride to death; someone has nicked that (quite large and ornate) poppy wreath laid the other day on the Volunteers memorial.

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