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Sunday and other Media Stupid Statements from this week… September 20, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Behind the paywall, but the first three paragraphs deliver a classic. Don’t think about the substance, or the recent track record, our correspondent is just sure that everything is fine with national leadership – and in the process takes a swipe at a familiar political opponent:

Last Friday, with just one clearly delivered broadcast, the Taoiseach disproved a famous dictum of Dr Johnson’s – that once the media has started using you badly it will go on doing so, although Johnson used the word ‘world’ instead of the word ‘media’.

Because commentators mostly, if begrudgingly, accepted the Taoiseach had delivered a tough message with the clarity which was needed without having to resort to Seamus Heaney.

But it was the first break he got. Soon after the general election, Martin got up the patrician noses of the posher nationalists who now dominate our media when the shock and awe of the Sinn Féin vote left him unshocked and unawed.

Elaine Byrne notes in the SBP this morning, that one problem is…well, much of the party that sits behind said national leader.

You would wonder what Micheál Martin did in a past life to deserve backbenchers like Marc MacSharry and Éamon Ó Cuív, two grand old Dukes of York who march up to the top of the hill and march back down again. The huffing and the puffing of all this marching and self-importance is a sight to behold.
It must surely be a strategy by the opposition parties to sit tight, say nothing and wait for the two sons of rural Ireland to attack for them. The MacSharry and Ó Cuív Show is Fianna Fáil’s own Trojan horse, attacking from within.

Meanwhile Newton Emerson appears to believe there’s some sort of equivalence between a British government that pursues the breaking of international agreements not merely as a part of policy but actually writes that potential into legislation and the European Union ‘warning that it will not list Britain as a permitted exporter of live animals and food of animal origin, banning all such products from crossing the sea to Northern Ireland.’

To ignore the fact that the British government is trashing the original agreement it made with the EU is quite some achievement.

The IT editorial suggests:

The decision to move Dublin to Level 3 restrictions is justified. The alarming spread of the disease in the city and county is at risk of spiralling out of control. If three weeks of added restrictions can help to break the chain of transmission, that will save lives and help avert an even stricter shutdown. Yet the Government’s handling of the situation in Dublin raises yet more questions about the coherence of its approach.

Without question Government incoherence has played a major role. But what too of parts of the media who have seemed on a weekly, if not sometimes daily, basis dismissive of precautions and restrictions hitherto?

Paul Cullen could, one thinks, having gone through the concerning trends relating to Covid-19 at least offer something more concrete than the following at the conclusion of an article:

While the temptation in the past has been to reach for another “blunt instrument” in the form of restrictions, a more tailored approach would address specific sectoral or geographical “hot-spots”. Is there enough testing of key workers such as home helps and healthcare workers, for example? Is the health message getting through to young people? Are we following up with incoming travellers to ensure they are self-isolating?
The experience elsewhere show that a hundred small steps can work just as well as a sledgehammer approach in curbing the spread of the virus.

Where ‘elsewhere’ exactly?
Michael O’Leary appears oblivious of the fact that it might be better not to send people from a high rate of Covid-19 country to ones with lower rates when he complains about air travel not ‘opening up’:

“The Germans and Italians have been allowing intra-EU travel without restrictions, without quarantine since the 1st of July.
“Their Covid case rates are under 20. Ireland has been locked up like North Korea. We are the only EU country that has these EU restrictions in place, and yet our Covid case rate in the last 14 days is now north of 50.”

That said, one word of cautious praise for him:

“Business needs to continue to function,” he said. “But we as a nation need to do more on face mask wearing. Face masks should be mandatory in almost all settings.”

That last is a sensible point.

Note that Stephen Collins is always willing to give the Government the benefit of the doubt.

The Coalition has been getting it in the neck from the Opposition and the media for confused communication of its Covid plan but the reality is that absolute clarity is impossible to provide.

The root of the problem is that finding the balance between those two demands can only be achieved by messy compromises that will inevitably create some confusion.

Uh-huh? Like not having a graphic representation of the various Levels available on the day they were announced? Or being unable to clearly articulate restrictions on travel in Dublin? Or the telling run for the hills when the possibility a Cabinet member had contracted Covid-19 occurred – those in high risk jobs will no doubt have taken note of the immediate shut-down of a workplace (even if that was retreated from).

As noted at the top of this post, it’s not all the government’s fault. The media – and a number of outlets in particular – has been problematic as well… but difficult not to agree with much in the following comment under the article:

In the battle between the virus and vested interests, this government has opted to listen to vested interests every time, while hoping the virus would facilitate its inaction.
Thus, meat processors, airlines, hoteliers, people who own luxury second homes in the sun, and even presenteeism management styles, must all be accommodated, while NPHET whistle an often lonely tune.
We are where we are, as a result of government priorities.


1. CL - September 20, 2020

Dan O’ Brien on Claire Byrne show Sept 17 claims that virus numbers are not growing exponentially.

-Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan has said the reproduction number of the virus is now between 1.3 and 1.7 nationally….

“Case numbers appear to be growing exponentially and are likely to double every ten to 14 days if every one of us does not immediately act to break chains of transmission of the virus.”

An R0 number above 1 means exponential growth.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

+1 Great spot CL. What’s lamentable is the lack of pushback against O’Brien’s empty rhetoric by media.


EWI - September 20, 2020

In fairness, Dan is only a political economist (a branch of the fuzzier sciences) so real-world maths won’t come naturally to him.

Liked by 1 person

Tomboktu - September 20, 2020

It’s possible that DOB meant the growth is not exponential (i.e., one that follows an equation of the form y(t)=y[0].exp(k.t) ), which would be possible with active interventions that disrupt the pattern of spread.

If so, it’s either a technical point that the experts would need to apply in their modelling, or it’s a piece of pure pedantry used in public discussion.


CL - September 20, 2020

“Nationally, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is growing by five to seven per cent per day, with exceptionally strong growth in Dublin.
The 14-day incidence of the disease per 100,000 people nationwide is up 50% in the past week alone.
The head of modelling for NPHET, Professor Philip Nolan, explained this week that we could have upwards of 1,000 new cases per day by the middle of October, with the majority of them in Dublin…..
If all this were allowed to continue we would be trapped in a cycle of exponential growth in infections from the most deadly virus and public health threat in our lifetime.”

Liked by 1 person

CL - September 20, 2020

“Economist Dan O’Brien was on radio this week and brought a welcome bout of reality to the seemingly never-ending train of doom from medical experts.
Speaking on Claire Byrne, O’Brien admitted he is not a medical expert but he is a numbers man, and quite clearly the numbers are at odds with what the prophets of doom have been saying….
While he said the numbers needing hospital treatment for Covid-19 are creeping up, they are doing so gradually…..

But, sadly O’Brien’s voice of sanity is being drowned out by the myriad of medical people who have assumed the central role occupied by economists during the last crash a decade ago.”

“Six more counties are now on the brink of being increased to level three restrictions as Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the country….
The warning comes as the highest single-day figure since May 14 was recorded, with 396 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed on Sunday, which brought the weekend figure to 670.”

O’Brien fails to grasp the meaning of exponential growth. As he has an outlet on most msm his statistical illiteracy is dangerous.


WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

It’s like you say, it is dangerous.


WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

BTW, Daniel McConnell in the Examiner has been offering this sort of why oh why can’t we reopen stuff for a while now.
And this is nonsense:

“All we have heard from the medical side is that people, when they argue pubs and restaurants could be the source of the spread, are misreading the data.

But they admit they don’t know for sure. It’s a guess. They have no solid evidence for this.”

We know from other polities that pubs and restaurants, indeed any places where numbers of people gather when transmission is already high, are going to contribute to that. Now why McConnell can believe otherwise is a mystery. I also find his line that it’s no big deal for those under 25 rather obtuse. It’s a deal for those in their 30s, a bigger deal for those in the 40s. A bigger deal again for those in their 50s and right up to a very big deal indeed for those in their 70s and 80s and so on. And there’s no clean way of delineating demarcations between different generations. Indeed there’s something profoudnly distasteful about the manner in which age cohorts are set against one another implicitly in this. Either we’re all in this together or we all go hang.


CL - September 21, 2020

“”Boris Johnson’s chief scientific advisers warned coronavirus cases could hit almost 50,000 a day within weeks….
deaths could top 200 a day by November unless action was taken”-FT.

Worldwide deaths are nearing one million and in the U.S, 200,000.

Pointing to these numbers and saying in Ireland its not as bad, is like saying that its colder on Mars

In Ireland confirmed cases of Covid-19 are growing by five to seven per cent daily. meaning the numbers will double every 10 to 14 days.
Without government intervention, supported by the citizenry, exponential growth will result in daily case numbers in the tens of thousand by Christmas.

Dan O’Brien is afflicted with ideologically-induced cognitive impairment.

Liked by 1 person

CL - September 21, 2020

The policy response so far has been characterized by institutional failure.

“Scientist accuses HSE of breaching duty of care over test-and-trace failture…
Leading Trinity College scientist, Dr Tomás Ryan, said… the HSE missed a vital opportunity to improve testing and tracing that could have prevented a second wave….

‘How can a situation where you have exponentially increasing cases – where we’re getting twice as many cases every two weeks – how can a linearly increasing testing capacity, that now seems to be saturated, keep up with that?….

Dr Ryan said he could not understand why the authorities did not act sooner.”

Perhaps the dilatory policy response resulted from the influence of neoliberal, innumerate ideologues whose propaganda posing as ‘economics’ serves the status quo political and economic power structure.

Liked by 1 person

2. EWI - September 20, 2020

Where ‘elsewhere’ exactly?

My firm takeaway from the IT article was that it’s designed to suggest that only the northside should be under social restrictions, while the southside – and which newspaper bases itself in that constituency? – is allowed to carry on as it pleases.


WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

Wow, that’s interesting, never thought it that way, but it makes sense given the faux localism it keeps arguing for.


3. pettyburgess - September 20, 2020

I see that Eamonn Sweeney makes a cod left wing argument in support of torturing animals for fun in the Sunday Independent.


WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

Would you have a link?


Liberius - September 20, 2020

Paul Murphy wants to put coursing people in jail. The RISE TD’s bill to ban the sport includes a provision which would sentence anyone engaging in it to a spell of up to six months in prison. Paul, like any traditional hang ’em and flog ’em Tory, apparently believes that putting people behind bars is the best way to enforce any law.

His political forefathers would be surprised to discover one of their putative heirs attacking field sports. Leon Trotsky’s declaration, “the attraction in hunting is that it acts on the mind as a poultice does on a sore,” is so famous historian Raymond Carr used it as the last line of his English Fox Hunting – A History….


Liked by 1 person

CL - September 20, 2020

What Oscar Wilde described as ‘the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible’ -fox hunting-was a pastime enjoyed by Frederick Engels.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

Thanks Liberius. Hmmm… opinions differ sharply on the issue but not sure calling on Trotsky and Marx is necessarily the way to go.


roddy - September 20, 2020

Depends where you live .I oppose it but Leftists in Tipp and Tyrone support it.( Seamus Healey and Bernadette)


Pasionario - September 20, 2020

Surely fox-hunting provides excellent preparation for revolutionary combat.

There’s also a famous passage in The German Ideology, where Marx imagines everyone hunting and fishing in a future utopia:

“In a communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.”


WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

Never been fox hunting, wouldn’t go. But I was brought coursing by my father who was brought up in Meath and fishing and hunting rabbits with him and so on. It was bloody cold as I remember the times I went coursing and my sympathies were entirely with those being chased.

Pasionario, that’s very true. And it’s interesting too the level of gun ownership in the USSR for hunting thought apparently many of the guns were constrained to single shots/immediate reloading.


GearóidGaillimh - September 20, 2020

My mother grew up in a small farm near Loughrea and her father hated fox-hunters because they’d leave gates open and knock stone walls. A lot of rural dwellers see it as a nuisance.

Liked by 1 person

rockroots - September 20, 2020

The father was a farmer and likewise had no time for foxhunters – the horses would churn up the fields if you gave them permission to cross. I’d hazard that group hunting ‘sports’ are actually a very niche, minority pursuit even in rural parts.

Like others here though, I’ve had a go at clay pigeon shooting and enjoyed it more than I wanted to.

Liked by 1 person

Pasionario - September 21, 2020

No doubt we can all agree, in any case, that it’s about time the workers were in the saddle.

Liked by 1 person

yourcousin - September 20, 2020

Had to work today so am of course late to the party, but that’s never stopped me before and will not now.

To deal with the historical leftist hunter element quickly, and succinctly. Many of the Soviet and Eastern bloc leadership engaged in both big (cervids, bears etc) and small game hunting including upland birds and waterfowl. There is no Capital “I” distinction there.

As per most things worth discussing game hunting is a nuanced topic.

As most folks here know I’m a passionate upland hunter and an avid, if lack si dasical (spelling?) big game hunter. Big game (elk, deer, antelope, bear) are for refilling the freezer, bird hunting is for refilling the soul.

It should go without saying, but I will clarify it again, that I eat everything I shoot (pheasant hearts are thawing now in the sink as I type). I also do my best trying to recover downed game and ensure a quick/timely death for all targeted game.

Scaring/torturing animals are antithetical to hunters.

Game management models differ all over the world. So take this with a grain of salt because while I try to familiarize myself with many, my actual experience with them is limited to the US (sorry, no African safaris for me).

In Europe, game is treated as part of the property and is owned by the landowners. It can be bought much like an excess timber harvest. But it cannot be extirpated, ie you can’t shoot it all out just because you and your bhoys want to have a go at it.

Here in the US it’s different in that animals are owned by the individual states (migratory birds and endangered species being an exception). Science is used to maintain healthy numbers.

In America, the sale of hunting licenses and ammo plus hunting accoutrements are subject to additional excise taxes which fund conservation. This money is what in many instances is the only funding for state wildlife departments and is used for both game and non game species. Additionally the main threat to wildlife is human growth and development. Many hunting organizations preserve and redevelop habitat. This also includes non game habitat with many game bird organizations putting special focus on pollinator habitat.

Getting into the dog world for a minute. It’s very true that coursing dogs are sight based. Hounds, are hounds and track scent. Traditionally sight hounds outside of the English tradition (ie Central Asia) are used in conjunction with falconry. Hounds of all sorts are used for both big game (even predator control) and small game. Beagles for rabbits, fice dogs for squirrels, traditional hounds for raccoon etc. Terriers for ratting and groundhogs. A variety of dogs for both mountain lion and bear work (both lethal and non lethal). This is leaving aside the bird hunting dogs, suffice to say, “pointers forever!”.

Outside of Virginia and Maryland the hoity toity fox hunt have never existed here. The hunt parties of England and even the driven/tower shoots are foreign to me. Most of my dog hunts are solitary affairs with me, my dogs and maybe another person or two (usually with their own dogs) trodding desolate yet beautiful landscapes taking our main pleasure in watching the dogs work, and do what they love.

There can be no denying that many users of the land in whatever form do not show the proper respect to either the native land or those who dwell there. I have seen State Wildlife Areas turned into dumping grounds. I’ve come across piles of trash in parking lots or good dove spots where people leave a pile of hulls (spent shot gun shells). Of course this is wrong, full stop.

Respect the land, and the people who live there.

I don’t have an answer for things like fox hunting. That being said, if the story is true that Murphy and RISE are sponsoring the named legislation it does the left no real favors in rural Ireland. Any more than a rural TD going prescribing solutions to say the Dublin drugs crisis in the eighties. It strikes me that crucial nuance and context is lost.

Folks rail against the Healy Raes as ideologically devoid hillbillies, but the fact is that they are far more attuned to the cultures in question than say Paul Murphy. And I say that as someone who respects Murphy and wishes the RISE project success.

While something like this seems like an easy target for the left I feel like there are much bigger fish to fry so to speak.

Liked by 3 people

4. benmadigan - September 20, 2020

Not being a country person I had to look up coursing and found it was “the sport of hunting game animals such as hares with greyhounds using sight rather than scent” while foxhounds, as even I knew, follow the scent.
I went whale watching once in the Atlantic. The skipper and boatmen had been whalers but had transferred their hunting skills to finding the animals and getting in close for the watchers. Their technique was fascinating, like stealthily approaching an enemy in the dark. It helped me understand “the thrill of the chase”, even though I have always been against foxhunting and blood sports.

Liked by 1 person

5. roddy - September 20, 2020

The only thing I am not against on Marx’s list is cattle rearing.Whilst I never kept cattle either ,it reared the families of the many small farmers I live amongst.Similarly I have only ever shot clay pigeons despite acquiring a shotgun in the new dispensation up here.I could never see the”sport” in blood sports.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

It’s what Ben says, there’s a genuine thrill in the chase, I’d like clay pigeon shooting.


6. An Sionnach Fionn - September 20, 2020

A certain presenter on Newstalk’s morning show is doing a great job of actively platforming the talking points of the anti-lockdown alliance of conspiracy theorists, far-right agitators and beef barons. And doing much the same on her social media accounts. The basic message seems to be a Darwinist one. The sick and elderly, the weak and the vulnerable are gonna die anyway so…

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020



WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020

And am I wrong but this person actually had it


An Sionnach Fionn - September 20, 2020

Indeed so.


WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2020



7. CL - September 21, 2020

“Before a storm, the winds pick up and the skies begin to darken. Seagulls gather in tight circles, adjusting their sensors to the changing air pressure…..
The HSE did its millionth Covid-19 test this week and that is an achievement. It has built a test and trace system from nothing and that has to be recognised. Indeed, this week, officials from the National Health Service in the UK made contact with the HSE Chief Executive, Paul Reid, about helping with testing across the water….
What we have missed during these grim times is great comedy….
Satire is a great antidote to gloom.”

“The Health Service Executive … has reached a deal with a German lab to create “surge capacity” to carry out up to 2,000 additional Covid-19 tests a day – beyond the current daily capacity of 15,000 tests – if they are needed.”


8. Paul Culloty - September 21, 2020

Jack Chambers, who is the Junior Minister for the Gaeltacht, writes a tweet using Google Translate – even if your Gaeilge’s very rusty, what he wrote is essentially the same mistake as “Tá sé fear”:

Liked by 1 person

Paul Culloty - September 21, 2020

And how it should have sounded:


Bartholomew - September 21, 2020

The TG4 tweet isn’t much better – ‘fear na Carraige Súire’ should be ‘fear Charraig na Siúire’. (I feel bad about saying that, because the little I heard of the TG4 commentary was terrific, humorous and informative).

Barnier’s tweet in Slovak was classy too.

Liked by 1 person

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