Tuesday, 9 August 2011

In the dark of a winters 8.am the near 800 year old Black Abbey left images of scent, sound and picture on my child's mind. I can remember holding my Father's hand walking down the slope to the door and he putting me near the radiator to spare my the cold of the old battered stone work. I remember the way my parents used to be saddened when it flooded, as it regularly did in my childhood. That sadness and those memories make me more than glad that I was not at Mass there on the Saturday evening when Fr. Eddie Conway called Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, a "Jewish, non-practicing, atheist" and said there was a bigger anti church agenda going on.
The Prior of the Abbey has since gracefully and fully apologised for his priests stupid outburst.

Had I been there I would not have walked out, could not have walked out until I let Fr Conway know exactly how stupid and ill conceived his sermon was and that if he had a problem with Jews he might like to step off the altar of the Jewish God. And remind the silly man that the Jewish Jesus had said "It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones",an injunction lost on the Irish Hierarchy for far too long. How could I stay but how could I desecrate both church and memory with the anger I would roar? And I can roar.

That Fr Conway is to an extent right only makes me more angry. There are those who see an opportunity in the rape of children and it's criminal cover-up.It is his barren stupidity and the mean barren stupidity of bishops that have brought the Church and the country to the point where a group of anti-faith atheists who wouldn't command a grunt of support now have power to for a radical experiment in forced secularisation. The atheists like the appalling, untalented, unelectable Ivana Bacik are not the problem, the Bishops and Priests ARE.

It is there blind wilful ugly self-satisfied stupidity that has led to this pass and Fr Conway has the gall to go on an anti semetic rant in a Catholoic pulpit as a dessert course.

I am a Catholic, I spent my years in the wilderness and my fathers death was the start of my return. my spiritual struggles are between me and my God: (and not between me and that talentless Mayo thyke either).

Ireland's Catholic church is headed by a amoral monster who used his power and authority to swear children NEVER to tell  about their being raped by Brendan Smith. I am told by The Solicitor that there is no way to prosecute him for this obstruction of justice and witness tampering(American crime that).

 Brady must go.
Catholics who believe in the church, believe in its role in their lives and their children's must force him out. We have a duty not just to pray that he does go but vox humana vox dei to tell him so, show him so with every chance and opportunity we get. It is immoral  to tolerate that him, the act of panderers to allow him and the act of spiritual cowards not knock his red hat into the middle of next week.

We must roar both at him at at the Baciks that we will not be cowed.

If we don't rid ourself of that monster we will surely lose the fight for religious freedom that is coming. Already the Thyke proposes an end to the secrecy of confession on the spurious grounds of catching child molesters. Where were you when the power of corrupt bishops was a real threat Enda? Keeping your inherited seat safe of course. Militant atheists are certain that they can now produce a fully state owned education system with strictly humanist civics replacing any religious instruction.

They will win this coming battle and do irreparable harm to education, society and the country if Catholics do not radically change the battle field. Get Brady out now: he is the enemy, he is the problem. He will not go easily but we can make him go hard. The renewal starts the day he retires. GET HIM OUT!

The Norris Affair.

He is a martyr, burnt at the at stake for liberal Ireland, a good man hounded from office in the to paraphrase  Perjurerus Maximus on another. He has been prevented from being president by a vile coalition of Constitutional Niceties, Zionists and the revanchist running dogs of Conservative Ireland.

Shock horror but none of this is true and David Norris is the victim of no-one but himself and his own very bad judgement. Worse again if he is the victim of anything it is of a lazy, pro-liberal biased press who never asked about or looked at his record except through their own very tinted spectacles.

Again let me declare an interest: I gave David advice, none of it sought and absolutely none of it followed, on three occasions about his campaign. I attended one of his fund-raisers and I would willingly have worked for his campaign. So not alone am I not neutral on the issues, I come with a great big lumpy subjective bias for Norris.

If Martin McAleese had been caught in bed with a 15 year old girl and Mary McAleese wrote a letter saying that he should not go to gaol because it was not a crime in other jurisdictions and he had not received adequate legal counsel would we think it was fine? Would it betray an unacceptable attitude to to sex with those under-age?

When the remarks David made to Helen Lucy Burke re-surfaced I, like many, was prepared to ignore John Waters's ( a man whose reputation rightly increases daily, one shining star in that appalling rag) upholding Ms Burke's truthfulness and dismiss the article. Ms Burke has, despite Waters's character reference, something of a reputation since her days as a food critic and I'm not a journalist, I'm a partisan. No journalist went looking, poking or digging just as no journalist turned a serious eye on David Norris in the time he has been a senator.

As  a Senator, David Norris was accorded a kind of pass, his outbursts might be wild but he carried a get out of jail free card. That is understandable: there were enough hypocrites, corrupt chancers and con-men running the show that one single senator, a man who had to fight to the European Court to remove the police from the end of his, and others', beds, was a very low priority. Investigative journalism is a rare art form in Ireland: there is, to borrow football parlance, only one Susan O Keeffe and the Seanad merits little attention.

Tough campaigns are good for democracy and institutions. If you can't survive the heat or are carrying baggage better be found out during the campaign than in office. Presidential campaigns, because of their length, their personality rather than policy driven nature (its a personality office) and the small number of candidates are tough and ruthlessly searching. Its a sad fact that what helps the search are political rivals: no sane political campaigner would rely on the toothless blind mice journos so titbits are dropped into their laps. You cannot give a gift of the unreal. It does not matter where the Norris Letters came from: good journalism (of which Ireland has a shocking paucity) should have turned them up.

David Norris was not, to be pedantic, a presidential candidate. He was a candidate for nomination for that race. This is a small point in the aftermath of his campaign's implosion but an important. With a commanding lead in the polls and a huge head start on the other campaigns David Norris's campaign had never capitalised on these strengths. a huge bureaucracy had been created, directors of this and that but no single mission statement and no one involved seemed to have the least clue of the small practicalities of a campaign. Never was this campaign setting the story: that simple fundamental was ignored.

These faults meant that councils were NOT voting for Norris and the Plan B of 20 Oireachtais Members was visibly Plan-B-very-much-Second-Best option- no way to treat touchy new TDs and senators. The campaign was well off the rails long before the story of his boyfriend's conviction broke. That story made it impossible for Michaél Martin to gift him enough Oireachtais members to get over the line. This may always have been beyond Martin anyway with Eamon O Cuiv busily spinning webs in the dark West and his beady eye on Grandpa's job.

Nobody can be their lover's keeper: David Norris was in no way to blame for the fact that his then boyfriend committed statutory rape. A letter for leniency is, of itself, not a problem either. It is the contents of that letter and his attitude to the crime and to Ezra Yitzhak Nawi that are the trouble ( and troubling issue). Love they say is blind but Ezra Yitzhak Nawi was a sex criminal, the sort David Norris made a profession of denouncing in the Catholic Church and his attitude to his lover would appear to be an uncomfortable one with his attitude to men having sex with boys in general. Dressing it up with allusions to classical Greece or one's own sexual maturity only deepen the impression that David does not understand the issue.

Now that failure has left him in serious trouble: it is not just his Presidential campaign that has imploded but his entire public life. It is hard to see how he can continue now in the same vein or even perhaps, continue as a Senator. He is, sadly, very, very damaged.

The real issue is the ridiculous attitude of most of the media. it took a citizen-journalist blogger and a foreign newspaper to break a story that was in public domain since 1997.( Ezra Yitzhak Nawi  only ceased to be David Norris's lover in 2001- interview with Joe Jackson Sunday Independent 2002) Clearly there are different standards for some than others. Bishops, conservative politicians, anybody not sharing the right-on views better watch out: some others can glide by. Even now it is hard to find any journalist covering this story either honestly. There is an underlying assumption that the implosion of the Norris campaign is due to some malign effort rather rather than the shockingly poor judgement of David Norris.

We have a small media, we are a small country. That should not mean small low, standards but clearly we have those too. Its time for some serious examination of the self satisfied group of semi-literates who are our journalists, editors and media providers. News is a set of items selected by agenda: when the providers profess "no agenda" it is time to really distrust them.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Sometime during the day while I was dealing with the fallout to my liver of over-enthusiastic prescribing of anti-depressents and statins (so the Zeitgeist) Brian Hayes TD made an ass of himself.

You can see his full comments elsewhere but Junior Minister at Finance said that Ireland had NO choices but to trundle on paying “or go back under Britain's skirts” (no I didn't know countries were wearing them long this season or that we had ever resided there either). In a statement as pointlessly silly as it was inaccurate Mr Hayes claimed our debt would double if we left the Euro, we had few natural resources and the programme for government “ had never
mattered less”. In a final bit of puffery he likened those questioning the Euro as inspired by North Korea's Juche or go it alone policy.

I'm going to leave his remarks on the programme for government stand: after all if he wants to publicly declare lying on that scale who am I to dissuade him? With a bunched liver I don't have the energy either to earwig him for being stupid enough to announce such levels of mendacity.

We elect governments to make choices and making choices involves finding them. If you are too stupid to see the choices or too narrow minded to want to do so, get out and stay out of government. Plain old fashioned 1960s geography book economics that our choices are limited because we have no natural resources is frightening when it comes from someone in power. Guff like that is just about bearable from opposition deputies not in a position to do harm.

Ireland owes somewhere between €150 billion and €220 billion depending who you talk to, what their agenda is (watch for the ones who say “no agendas here”, worst liars of all) and how they calculate.

Not to any agreed standard of accuracy clearly.

I would like if the sums added up just one way, it is a primitive uneducated holdover I share with many: probably comes from having to get sums right in school, a traumatic experience in early life that more economists and politicians should endure.

Leaving aside my disquiet that there can be €70 billions of difference we are still faced with a colossal and still rising debt mountain (valley surely?). The debt at whatever figure breaks down roughly 2/3 Sovereign Debt and 1/3 Bank Debt treated as Sovereign Debt because our Government in their generosity with our future incomes took it on.

Right now the people who voluntarily lend money to governments, the markets, believe that we have NO HOPE AT ALL of making the repayments on this burgeoning hole.

That is why no one except other governments will give us a red cent and people who assess these things for a living have down graded our debt/bonds to junk. ( Not rubbish, junk, the super risky-you-might-not-get-all-your-money-back-stuff)-

For a variety of reasons, mostly to do with the fact that they could not win a domestic election in 25 years and had gotten themselves into Europe's BIGGEST party FG have had a kind of religious approach to Europe that is not present in any other party in the state. Wrap-the-gold-stars-round me boys leaves them ill equipped to deal with reality if the comments attributed to Junior Minister Brian Hayes tonight are, in fact true.

I'd like to give him the benefit of doubting that anyone could be so asinine without copious quantities of mind altering substances or that he is being wildly misquoted. I am not optimistic on either.

Mr Hayes jumped not just on a bad idea but on shockingly flawed thinking also and then preceded to kick it to death.

Going back into Sterling, as I am translating his skirts comment, is not just NOT the only game in town it is one that nobody how took the smallest notice of currency would advocate. I suspect that Mr Hayes knows this but is trying to stick up as unpalatable an Aunt Sally as he can construct from his limited resources. His real fear is that more and more people a re now questioning the Euro, and thus ( Oh Heresy Heresy they all hear and say) the transcendent holiness of the European project.

We started on the wrong side of a fiat currency (paper the government INSISTS is worth something), the Euro, and are going to stay there. Euro interest rates ( and insane FF policies) stoked our capital bubble: now mired in debt we will be scourged by a politicised ECB minding Germany.

The Euro, despite the feeble best efforts of EU's politicians and technocrats may fail anyway. We should have, (by we I mean the Department of Finance to which Mr Hayes is attached) a Plan B. Indeed the should even have a Plan Z. Mr Hayes's outburst does not make me confident that such plans exist or even that the people with power know that they SHOULD exist.

That the Euro under threat is fearsomely obvious: the currency would look a lot worse except for, as the elderly mourner in Monaseed expressed something similar, “He waddn't as bad as hees brudder. Bernanke, in an exercise that has reduced American wealth by more than anything else in history, has printed dollars under that wonderful but rather odd belief that one may print wealth and Sterling is dropping against both € and $ as investors assess the dodgy health of Britain's banks and poor growth prospects for its stalling economy.It is the greatest tribute to Peter Mandelson that no one noticed during the election that Brown had wrecked Britains economy for a decade at least.

There is no reason why we should NOT consider quitting a Euro that is now an impoverishment. A floated currency would work fine once government realizes that your own currency means you can't do the kind of fiscal drunkenness so beloved of all politicians. There are innumerable choices open to us on the currency side(from privately issued gold backed notes to a floated fiat, currency is money, that is all.): That Mr Hayes other does not know this or does not care to know this makes him a poor choice of Junior House Doctor at the hospital of Finance.

Threatening to double our debt if we got out then in the same breath telling us that we had no option whatsoever but pay is arrant nonsense: neither statement holds a whit of truth. We have choices and what is worse the choice of defaulting ( yes we will use another word, I typing in a hot room and with a shot liver, you supply the vocabulary) is already priced into our bonds: lenders know we can't pay, they expect us NOT to pay. In fact the only person out of the loop on this would appear to be Mr Hayes.

To be reduced to calling critics of the pay-all-love-the-Euro policy North Koreans is not just to lose the argument from first-off but to flag your own defiant ignorance of exactly North Korea does. NK is the last totally centrally managed economy, utterly inimical to markets and freedom. Nothing Mr Hayes or indeed his colleagues have said gives any confidence that they have any better understanding of the role of voluntary exchange, the markets, in the life of the economy.

 It is Mr Hayes, blind to the semaphored and shouted signals from the market that is the propagandizing Central Committee Clown.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Viral or a very silly season?

Is it viral?
It seems that no sooner had the Junior Minister at Finance got the choices and facts facing Ireland about debt and the Euro completely wrong that his boss, Michael Noonan TD did the same thing, only worse, with even more bells and whistles.
Not content with the (by comparision) mild warnings of his Junior that we would have to "go back under Britain's skirts" if we did not pay every single cent owed  and that our debt would double INMMEDIATLY if we left the Holy Euro, Mr Noonan really gave us what-for. Russia! Russia! it will be Russia 98. We would rummage for food in the bins, old people would die by the hundreds and folk who had never contemplated knowing poverty would starve. Shades of Goody Proctor and an entire Hades, the over-kill in what is clearly concerted propaganda campaign has now become embarrassing.

It seems grossly unfair to be throwing a second brick-bat at FG in 24 hours ( first was on The Edmund Burke Institute website yesterday http://edmundburkeinstitute.ie/hayesreplyessay.php ) BUT they are the Government and this issue is to big to ignore. Also I have to confess a certain proprietorial interest in the matter: I don't remember a time when I was NOT an FG member and their particular wheel has a dent marked there by my shoulder so Lictores ire pacifice, hic loquitur de amore Romae.

That this is concerted propaganda is clear. As clear is that it is shockingly poor propaganda. What is not so clear is they are doing this.

Ireland is faced by a range, not so much off choices as forced marches. One scenario, listed among the BENIGN is that following a rolling default/restructure by Greece and a slightly sharper time-framed similar exercise by Portugal it would become politically impossible for any Irish (this Irish, we are talking moths here) to continue to pay all the debt, at least one third of which is quasi-sovereign Bank Black Hole.
Our bonds are junk & the markets are pricing default (reach for a word that is easier on your delicate palate if you are inclined) into our bonds because the believe that either we will not or cannot pay pack the debt burden. 
The truth is, however obvious, that nobody knows the future.
What we do know is that the debt crisis is far from over. on Thursday Italy had a 10 year bond sale (€2.7b) but yields points from 4.94% on June 28 to a whopping 5.77% and a few hours later Italian interest rates were at 5.81%.
We can speculate future scenarios but all of them must now take account that Greece is in the process of default. Yes it will be an organised vanilla flavoured one but the outcomes are the same: not all the money, not when it was agreed & next country up please. Portugal would seem to be that country, exactly WHEN the EU leaders will be meeting to agree a Portuguese "restructuring " is open to discussion but pre-Christmas looks like a safe bet.
If Portugal and Greece get write downs in Sovereign Debt why should Ireland continue to pay the all of the quasi-Sovereign Debt that is the Bank Black Hole ( or Lenehan's Poisonous Legacy)?
More to the point HOW can we?
Of course the order of the chaos could be quite different, there is lots of excrement to slap in to lots of air circulating devices but the end question for us is ALWAYS the same. How or why must we repay BBH/LPL?
The answer to that question will not be found in the crack-pot utterances of Mr Noonan and that is a very great pity. Concentrating on propagandising the domestic market is not a good role foe our finance Minister right now (and don't give job to Junior either) but the question must be WHY does he try?
Is it possible that Noonan himself can believe the utter rubbish he was spouting about the similarities between Ireland 2011 and Russia 1998. Noonan is a bright man with a record of believing extraordinary pieces of nonsense  but that is a stretch too far. FG have a religious belief in the sacramental nature of the European project and that certainly does not help but it still leaves me at a loss to know why, in the space of 48 hours, the FG people at finance should feel the need to propagandise so heavily for a position (NO DEFAULT! EVERY CENT! EVERY CENT) that is already lost. 
Is it the Holy Euro?  

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