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Emergency funds… May 25, 2018

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This made me smile, a US piece on how much people should have in ‘emergency funds’. Of course to allow for that people need better wages and consequently greater disposable income.

I find this literally incredible… the claim that ‘almost half of Irish adults claim to have a deposit account, with an average of €32,000 saved.’

An FF private poll on the referendum May 25, 2018

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This from the Guardian:

Private polling for Fianna Fail, whose parliamentary representatives are divided on the referendum, is believed to predict a similar outcome. [a YES victory – wbs]

Anyone heard of this poll?

Referendum day thread May 25, 2018

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Any observations from the vote? I’m not going to be voting until early evening but all thoughts on how it is going welcome.

Might be of interest… May 24, 2018

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Did a video piece with The Journal earlier in the week going through Abortion related Material ,,, it’s up now 

File under obvious May 24, 2018

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Buyers are paying as much as 26 per cent more, or €114,000 extra, to live close to a Dart or Luas line, with those opting to live close to Sandymount and Lansdowne Road Dart stations paying the biggest premium, according to a new survey from Daft.ie.In its latest report, Ronan Lyons, an economist at Trinity College Dublin, said: “The price of housing reflects not only the dwelling itself but also a wide range of nearby amenities”, adding that those looking for a new home reward properties with good transport links.

No winning the ground war? It appears not! May 24, 2018

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Speaking at a Save the 8th event this morning Niamh Uí Bhriain said No campaigners do not want to import the “abhorrent culture” of abortion that is in the UK. She said the No side has won the “ground war” and the Yes side has spectacularly failed to match them.She said campaigners have knocked on 700,000 doors around the country and put up 20,000 posters. 

Does this ring true? Haven’t seen a No canvasser around the place. The most was the ‘republican/leftish’ anti-abortion leaflet pushed through the letterbox at 10 pm one evening. What’s the sense of other places around the state?

Not exactly addressing the issues of Brexit… May 24, 2018

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This was sent to me, a link to a piece on Jacobin by Thomas Fazi and William Mitchell entitled Why the Left Should Embrace Brexit.

It’s all sunny uplands but at no point does it engage with any of the basic aspects of the situation.

There’s not one mention of Ireland, of the Border, of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. There’s nothing at all about tariffs, about the World Trade Organisation, about the customs union. The single market is dealt with in a depressingly cursory fashion, with no consideration of the practical aspects of it – and a rather unconvincing argument that it hasn’t worked on its own terms (as well as completely ignoring the significance of being the major anglophone state within the EU with all that that entails and similarly ignoring where it can stand outside the EU).

It’s as if those writing it are discussing something completely different to the mundane and prosaic aspects of the EU in place of – for want of a better term ‘high politics’, or to put it another way, generalities and generalisations. So we are told that the SM, etc, are irrelevant to British economic welfare. And yet given that it doesn’t seriously engage with the realities of what underpins that economic welfare there’s a significant deficit at work. Or we are told that renationalization and other policies ‘would be hard to implement under EU law…’. Telling how that line has shifted from the rhetoric of pro-Lexit proponents hitherto where we were told that it was impossible but still – since when do leftists balk at ‘hard to implement’? But of course it isn’t impossible, it’s just been done but the Tories themselves in relation to a rail franchise, and states such as France, Spain and Germany would more than likely acquiesce to same, for why wouldn’t they? Or if not identical be entirely open to municipal and cooperative and other forms of ownership none of which are disallowed by EU membership.

High politics is fun. We can all talk about such stuff at length and with no real need for detail. But it isn’t really the basis for a serious analysis of the EU as an economic construct where a much greater effort to engage with the complex and banal detail is absolutely necessary.

I fear that some are about to be massively disappointed in regard to the idea that Brexit, a line argued by the authors, provides a break with Neo-liberalism, because even on that grounds there’s much less room for optimism – quite apart from which if one is pinning, as they do, ones hopes on a BLP victory under Corbyn they’re really pinning far too much on what may or may not come to pass, which suggests that far from this being any sort of a rupture it is at best a fleeting moment, and I say all that from a pro-Corbyn position. And in truth the rather mild leftism of the Corbyn BLP (which as noted previously while a vast improvement on what has gone before for quite some time is quite some distance short of that tribune of red revolution Jim Callaghan – though in fairness to Callaghan for all that he was regarded as ‘right of the BLP centre’ he seemed a lot more comfortable with a much more socialist approach to economic affairs than any of his successors before Corbyn) doesn’t seem to me to represent a rupture so much as an amelioration. Good to get, but entirely possible within the EU or EFTA, or EEA. And what happens if the BLP isn’t the next Government of the UK? It’s a lot to bet on a victory by that party.

But most tellingly, they go for the ‘hard Brexit’ option, explicitly so when they say:

That is why Corbyn must resist the pressure from all quarters — first and foremost within his own party — to back a “soft Brexit.” He must instead find a way of weaving a radically progressive and emancipatory Brexit narrative. 

Emancipatory? Progressive? For who?

Again, no regard to this island or its concerns. And no regard to the enormous stresses that Brexit, with such a finely balanced vote, has engendered in the UK. And most centrally no regard to what the single market (and customs union) mean in practice in terms of everyday trade between these islands and the UK and the rest of the EU.

To be clear, if at this stage, almost two years into the Brexit process, one is still talking about the ‘high politics’ – airy notional stuff indeed, particularly after the very mixed electoral results both in the immediate past and a year back – with no interest or engagement with the very real, very tangible and intractable issues that are now front and centre for this state, the EU and the UK then that’s no contribution at all to anything approach a debate.

Remember the massive capital expenditure the Trump administration was going to initiate? No? Neither do they. May 24, 2018

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In the past week, Donald Trump has abandoned what was left of the “economic nationalism” that drove his presidential campaign. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters there may not be an infrastructure bill before the end of the year, which likely spells the end for Trump’s promise to revitalize the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and airports with billions in federal dollars.

Still, that’s not all Trump as President has diverged from Trump as candidate on. Health ‘reform’, tax ‘reform’, immigration ‘reform’ etc.

Signs of Hope – A continuing series May 24, 2018

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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

A serious lack of empathy… May 24, 2018

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This is a fascinating piece – a submission to the Citizens Assembly from an anti-abortion speaker. Dr. Dónal O’Mathúna, Associate Professor of Ethics at Dublin City University offers his views on the matters at hand. What I find particularly notable is the way in which everything is framed in soft language but at every point as the argument digs in it returns to the old certainties and moreover locks directly into extremely reactionary attitudes to sex, social relations and so on. For example take just this section:

One way to decide when autonomy clashes with other ethical principles involves the so-called harm principle: that people have the freedom to do what they want, so long as they do not harm others. This is precisely where the freedom of choice argument breaks down in abortion. There is always an ‘other’ where abortion is concerned. And by definition, that other ends up dead. Whatever opportunities, or potential opportunities, the unborn might have, they are terminated totally.
The unborn are one group of humans least able to express autonomy. Yet if given the opportunity, they, with the same uncertainties we experience, can become autonomous and live their lives. Society has a duty to protect the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn.
Relational autonomy goes beyond the right to choose; it includes the responsibility to choose rightly. If we get into bed with someone, we take on certain responsibilities whether we acknowledge them or not. Intended or unintended, a pregnancy may result.
This is partly why becoming sexually active is such a momentous decision, with most societies urging that it be reserved until a committed, permanent relationship exists to welcome a child into society.
This aspect obviously doesn’t apply in rape situations. If a woman had no choice in becoming pregnant, how should she be responsible for the unborn? Rape is abhorrent, and my heart goes out to anyone who has been raped.
But at the same time, the unborn had nothing to do with the harm inflicted. Why should they be the ones to have their chance at life terminated? If allowing the unborn to grow and experience life is the right thing in other situations, it does not matter how the pregnancy came to be. Certainly, after rape, this would be very difficult, heroic in many ways.
Taking away the life of the innocent because of a man’s crime will not relieve the pain or bring justice. Allowing life to come from a heinous crime can let some good come from something bad.

What’s astounding to me is just how detached from how most people live their lives, how most people engage with the world around them. It is indeed asking for people to be ‘heroic’, though that’s not necessarily the word I’d use. And that’s simply too much to ask of many/most people. And we know that’s the case because all he proposes requires incredibly constrained social and legal structures to force certain behaviours – which in any event are circumvented where at all possible.

He argues at the head of the piece that:

The principle of autonomy has become widely respected, especially in healthcare. In general, this is good.
I’m glad we are putting behind us the days of clergy running people’s lives, husbands making all the decisions for their wives, or doctors telling patients what to do.

But this is precisely what he is doing himself. Telling.

There was a further example of this at the debate on RTÉ during the week where there was a woman who argued against abortion in the case of FFA. What struck me listening to her, again, was that there was an incredible unreality in terms of her understanding or empathy with women who were in the same position as her. For her it was simply given that everyone would have the experience as a positive one as she saw it. And that if they didn’t, well, they should. It’s very difficult to engage with someone who holds those sort of beliefs because her overwhelming positivity allows of no dissent. For her it was an experience that she came out of feeling enabled. For her it is literally incomprehensible that someone else might have the same experience and come out of it feeling entirely different.

But this is a strange gulf because to many, perhaps most, of us it is clear that a pregnancy in such circumstances would be beyond harrowing, something we simply could not endure ourselves. And likewise with rape and incest, and so on. And all the rhetoric about how positive this can be, no must be, doesn’t prevent the reality that what is actually being said is – under all and any circumstances there can be no allowance for abortion and not merely must you go through this, but – and this implicit – if you do not find it enabling and uplifting this is somehow a problem with you. I find that literally incredible. I imagine many others do too.

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