Thursday, 26 January 2012

I am as smugly pleased with my self as a Labour minister with a little bossing to do.

Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, The State & Utopia" is a major work of libertarian philosophy, possibly the major work. It is available as a free e-book: Nozick, like most libertarians, opposed the idea of intellectual property.

 Available it might be but finding it and persuading the PHP Downloader on www.edmundburkeinstitute.ie that it was a valid file for down-load proved a bit trickier than my limited grasp of PHP & web protocols until this morning.  So now you can have Nozick's master work for free at the Edmund Burke Institute website.

Hence my extreme pleasure with myself.....  

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dr Who, Banksters & The Minister

In Dr Who, for all the time travelling ability of The Doctor, there are fixed points in time that do not change, that are too important. In the horrendous story of Anglo Irish bank there are also such points. There are questions that arise from those points that have not yet been properly asked or answered.


On April 24th 2008 Brian Cowen, Minister for Finance, had dinner with the board & management of Anglo Irish Bank at the bank's HQ on St Stephen's Green. Cowen was one of the most popular politicians in the country and, other than Bertie Ahern,the man he would replace,unopposed, as leader of Fianna Fail a fortnight later, the most powerful. His abysmal ignorance of the disaster he had helped to create for his country was fully intact. He wined and dined with his usual gusto, the management at the bank had every reason to make sure he had a very good time.

Sean Fitzpatrick, the chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, cannot have been as sanguine about the future as Mr Cowen. Although management consulting firm Oliver Wyman had named Anglo "the best bank in the world"   (OW have removed reference from their own site,  their league table can be seen below) in January 2007*, the share price of the bank had been on a steady slide since May 2007. 


The share slide eroded confidence in the bank & depositors took their money out, as large depositors fled the bank confidence eroded & the share price declined....


Two reports had made that slide worse. A report by a Merrill Lynch analyst,released on March 13, said Anglo were at particular risk from the collapsing London property market as late arrivals who lent very aggressively. On St Patrick's Day the bank lost €1billion in market capitalisation in a single disastrous day after the Financial Times columnist had named Anglo as being over exposed to the risky commercial property market. 


 The ML analyst, Cambridge zoology graduate Phillip Ingram had been influenced by an articles written by  Dr Morgan Kelly, articles that had provoked Cowen's boss, Bertie Ahern, to say that people who talked down the economy should commit suicide. Ingram had visited Dr Kelly and had simply applied the "mosaic theory" to the Anglo story. Mosaic Theory is the idea of collecting evidence/views from  wide variety of sources by finance professionals to come to some conclusion about the value of a company's securities. Although Ingram named ALL 3 big Irish Banks as risky,Anglo,BoI & AIB. Merrill Lynch retracted the report on the day & by the end of the year Ingram was no longer an employee there either.....


These reports were not the only worry the bank's senior management had about share price. Sean Quinn was, in the early months of 2008, about to bankrupt himself & the bank because of the bet he had made on the bank's shares. Quinn wanted to takeover Anglo without the full publicity of a stock exchange bid so he took out Contracts for Difference on a large amount of the banks shares. CFD's are a bet that the share price will move in  particular direction: Quinn bet that the share price would not fall. Worse again it appears he may have made that bet with money borrowed from the bank.


Quinn & Anglo were caught in a bind. Short-selling, the practise selling shares overnight, & buying them back in the morning (mostly with borrowed shares) was a huge issue for many banks in the wake of the Northern Rock & the near collapse of Bear Stearns. Short selling drove down share price but in Anglo's case the holders of Quinn's bet had every reason to help drive the price down:  the more the shares fell, the more Sean Quinn owed them, profits from the short selling & collecting off Quinn's bet was a double whammy.


Instead of investigating the bank after the horrendous share price drop on St Patrick's Day the Financial Regulator began to investigate stock brokers & the Governor of the Central Bank issued a statement supporting this investigation & supporting  Anglo as a sound bank.......




The senior management at Anglo were in no doubt that they were funding Quinn's speculation. Dara O’Reilly,Quinn's financial controller has testified to the numerous phone calls he made drawing down "development loans" that the bank was well aware was money to cover margin calls. 




Most CFDs contain a "stop loss", a point beyond which the bet pays out no more, this limits the level of margin calls . Quinn had put no stop loss on his bet. In the end he had no choice but buy out the shares. He did this with money borrowed, at least in part, from Anglo.  Quinn could not afford to hold his massive stake in Anglo so now those shares overhung an already fragile market. If Quinn tried to sell on the open market there would be catastrophic decline in the share price. Such a catastrophic decline would spell the end for the bank, deposit withdrawals & a near valueless share would mean insolvency. 


So as he handed Brian Cowen the gin & tonic  before the meal that Thursday night Fitzpatrick had to be painfully aware that Anglo Irish Bank in Wile.E.Coyote territory. To do a road runner they needed deposits & the government's National Treasury Management Agency had proven very reluctant to place funds on deposit with Anglo. 


Michael Somers , head of NTMA, was deeply suspicious of a bank growing at 45% per annum when the best banks interregionally did between 6-7%.


Why none of the trio directly concerned, Brian Cowen as minister, Patrick Neary, Chief Executive of the Financial Regulator or John Hurley, Governor of the Central Bank  had not noticed this suspiciously explosive growth rate has never been made clear. 


 That night Anglo's CEO, David Drumm, would lobby Cowen for NTMA deposits. 


As he wined and dined that night Cowen had to also be aware that this bank was in Wile.E territory: Fitzpatrick had informed him of the Quinn problem. Patrick Neary, the bank regulator & CBoI Governor John Hurley also knew.


In a Dail reply on the 17th of February 2009 Cowen said:


"A meeting took place last March at which the governor indicated to me, as Minister for Finance, that a situation was developing in regard to the contracts for difference issue in Anglo Irish Bank. That had to be dealt with by the bank. It proceeded with that and Mr. Quinn made a statement on 13 July relating to it. It was indicated at that time that the matter had been resolved."



Anglo had solved the Quinn  problem by inducing 10 major clients, referred to as the "Maple 10" by management to buy out a 10% tranche of Quinn's shares with money borrowed from the bank.  These loans appear now not to be recoverable: we have to pay them off. 


Banks are specifically prohibited from loaning money to buy their own shares. Such loans, are, by their nature, a particularly insidious fraud against the banks other investors.


Mr Cowen is a solicitor


"That had to be dealt with by the bank."  


Cowen was aware that between March & July 2008 an enormous tranche of shares had been quietly sold, "dealt with by the bank". These shares had to be placed with private investors in the teeth of a gale blowing away bank share prices, in a bank that had been close to being wiped out by a combination of lack of confidence & an insane speculation the countries richest man. 


How did Mr Cowen think, in so much that he could think on his beer-swilling, song-singing, glad-handling victory tour of Co. Offaly following his May 8th election as FF party leader & Taoiseach elect, that any investor was persuaded to buy shares in Anglo? 


How could anyone with the merest knowledge of the situation be unsuspicious of such deals?


Anyone that new of Anglo's "Quinn problem" in March 2008 would also have been painfully aware that the bank faced a rapid threat to its solvency and existence, not just to its liqudity. 


On the night of the Sunday 29th of September, faced with the certain knowledge that there would be a devastating run on every Irish bank on Monday morning Brian Lenihan held discussions with the banks, eventually at 2am Monday announcing a complete guarantee for the 6 Irish based banks. Lenihan believed the banks faced a liquidity problem:that is not enough ready money to do day to day business while the under-lying business remained sound or solvent.


Did the Taoiseach inform Mr Lenihan of  the earlier, averted crisis in Anglo?  


Cowen knew, the Governor of the Central bank knew ,the Financial Regulator knew. They all at the very least that Quinn's share overhang, an overhang that threatened the very existence of Anglo, had been purchased when bank shares were sliding and Anglo's were sliding faster than any. There is no doubt all three indicated that Anglo should solve the problem: did the question the deal done and if not, why not? If Anglo officers broke the law boosting the banks share price by loaning money  will the defence of those officers be that Cowen, Neary and Hurley cleared such a move to save the bank? Would that be a defence or an indictment?


Sean Quinn attempted to take over the third largest bank in the country by stealth. There are specific provisions in law about the ownership of bank shares. The Central Bank must give approval for any shareholder to own more than 10% of the publicly traded shares. Was such approval sought in Sean Quinn's case? Was it granted? If neither sought nor granted why was the Central bank complicit in this?


The figures for Quinn's shareholding all vary: 25-28% as final figures from a start of 6-7% in early 2007.  Although the figures vary they are remarkably consistent in placing Quinn's final holding below 30%.  If Quinn had purchased 30% or more he would have been obliged to bid for the entire shareholding.  Why were some shares put into his family members names? Are we sure he did not own or control  that fatal 30%? What investigation has been done by London & Dublin Stock Exchanges? By the state regulatory authorities here? Sean Quinn is now bankrupt and thus unamenable but others involved including the Irish State may not be so safe. 




The collapse of Anglo Irish Bank is the worst, most expensive financial scandal ever to occur in Ireland. The dimensions of the disaster and gravity of the consequences have no parallel in the history of this state. Twice the bank posted the largest corporate loss in the country's history.




Sean Quinn owes the bank over €2billion, largely as a result of his failed takeover bid.

Not alone did hundreds of honest investors,many of them small investors, lose their savings but the Irish people will be paying to mop up this mess for decades: up to 2031 when the final €7.2 billion annual payment will be made on the Promissory Note. (Anglo's only asset acceptable to the Central Bank\ECB Emergency Liquidity Assistance scheme was Government promises to pay in money)


To date no one has been charged with any crime relating to Anglo Irish Bank, its clouded share deals or its collapse.








The Oliver Wyman league table naming Anglo Irish bank the best performing bank in the world.




*Mistake! Originally this post had the date "January 2006" for the release of the Wyman accolade.In fact this was based on the banks 06 figures & was released to coincide with Davos in late January 07. The post has been amended to that effect.



Sunday, 22 January 2012

Our Web Freedom terrifies Rabbitte

What  treasure trove of delights this Government has turned out to be.
Granted the Taoiseach is sober in public, a huge & welcome improvement and of course,  by comparison with the last lot, demented monkeys would look like statesmen.

But the treasures FG/Labour bring, the treasures!

We've had the confiscation of savings under the rule that all your money belongs to the government any money the government leaves you after tax may be taken later, the attacks on both religious & private education by mass-murderer supporter Ruari Mao Tzi Quinn, and now Pat Rabbittes announces a household "broadcasting charge".

It seems that not alone are we reluctant to pay the RTE Tax, there are some recalcitrant citizens who may legally avoid it by not even owning a television. These revanchist running dogs of personal independence & freedom actually use the internet for news & entertainment, by passing the proper & approved state channel.We tut with horror at their irresponsible individualism...

There is NO reason to give further money to Government for broadcasting: as it is the RTE Tax is utterly without justification. The idea that we must pay a fee to the Government to ensure our screens light up is as antiquated as the idea that government does just about anything well. We are bombarded with content, entertainment & news coming to us in all sorts of ways. The RTE Tax/License fee serves only to grossly distort competition & feather bed luvvies & restrictive practices in the highly unionised Donnybrook.

The plea for the survival of that unicorn, Public Service Broadcasting will be made.

Mr Rabbite's version of "Public Service Broadcasting" means whatever the Minister, some ideologue party hacks & a few over-paid luvvies decide. Real Public Service broadcasting is what people voluntarily purchase or watch themselves. Netflix spelled doom for state broadcasting. Now the net makes us all independent of luvvie-controled TV: it is a free, free market thanks to the anarchy of the web. Attempting to force citizens to pay for something they do not want & will not use is coercive bullying worthy of a state run by Chavez or Mugabe...but Mr Rabbite probably takes that as a compliment.


For the likes of Rabbitte, wedded to  model of broadcasting (and a model of the world) where Government is the provider, the good guy, the white hat AND the town mayor this anarchy is repulsive &  frightening.
I hope the Government are stupid enough to bring in this charge: the outcome will most likely be a public re-valuation of the RTE Tax/License Fee. Such public evaluation may well lead to an outcome far from the Minister & the luvvies wishes: an all out revolt against the tax.

 It would be very difficult to jail 1.5 million people.







Thursday, 19 January 2012

Perjury, Power & Popularity


Perjury is a serious crime.

Suborning the perjury of others is an even more serious crime.

Engaging in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct, mislead, and distract a tribunal set up by the Houses of the Oireachtais would, if it happened, be a crime on such a grand scale as to warrant immediate, vigilant  and thorough investigation.

The fact that the evidence of a gentleman (for shorthand purposes hereafter referrd to as Mr X), both written and oral, at tribunal, changed fluidly at least three times, must not be taken as evidence that this writer regards him as a perjurer.

Mr X is an honourable man.

That a lady (hereafter unnamed) was warned by a learned judge of the dangers of perjury and SUBSEQUENTLY changed her evidence from an account that tallied with Mr X's evidence to an account, given under oath, which disagrees TOTALLY with that gentleman's evidence and the evidence of several others, previously citizens of entirely UNBLEMISHED character and reputation, also given UNDER OATH, may not be construed as indicating that this writer believed at any stage that Mr X was engaged either in perjury or the suborning of perjury , nor that those other respectable citizens, previously of entirely unblemished character and reputation, perjured themselves either. Nor that Mr X asked or persuaded them to lie under oath, thus suborning their perjury.
.
Mr X is an honourable man.

The evidence of  the lady (herein unnamed) and the documents that forced her to alter her evidence (documents which tally with her later evidence but flatly contradict Mr X's evidence  in all its various versions) may not mean Mr X, by lying under oath, perjured himself. There may be alternative, mutually contradictory truths.

Pontius Pilate asked “What is truth ?” but did not wait for the answer. Maybe he, had he waited, would have been told that truth is both infinitely malleable and there are infinite numbers of versions of it out there. That Mr X's evidence agreed with the evidence of several  citizens previously of entirely unblemished character and reputation and not with a lady (herein unnamed) may be due to the wonders of a large and diverging universe governed by complex and largely mis-understood rules: coincidence instead of conspiracy.

Mr X is an honourable man.

Perjury is both a very serious crime and, for Catholics, a very serious sin. As a crime it undermines justice and the rule of law as exercised through the courts.  If we cannot trust a witness we can trust no court, no trial nor no verdict. Mr X has,during his career, made annual public show of his Catholic beliefs.

As a sin perjury may be worse than eating chocolate and drinking whiskey for breakfast.


As a crime it is a vicious undermining of law, courts & justice.

Perjury is not just a crime for little people.

Mr X is an honourable man.
Others supported Mr X's increasingly various stories, under oath, at a tribunal set up by the Houses of the Oireachtais. These too, men who testified too whip arounds that may never have existed are also honourable men.

Mr X, being an honourable man would never have sent a loyal, trusting female employee out to bear false witness under oath thus committing perjury.
Nor having done so and the falseness of her witness being exposed would he have stayed silent, stum, without squawk or word while she was embarrassed, threatened with criminal trial & exposed as a liar & a perjurer.

He would not have done so for he is an honourable man.

So are they all, these others, honourable men.
Honourable men surely may not be perjurers.

If perjury and suborning of perjury had occurred before a tribunal such acts would be a criminal conspiracy. Such crimes would be investigated and incur a level public opprobrium as to disqualify the criminal or criminals from public life.

We live in a nation of laws, bound together by respect for law as the ONLY barrier between us and savagery. Perjury attacks the very basis of law, makes courts unworkable and evidence useless.

So are they all, all honourable men.

If these things had happened we would know, would we not? The vigilance of the investigation and the enormity of the crime would be a guarantee of that. We trust the authorities to whom we have, in our soverign wisdom, delegated the task of gaurding the gates, minding the oaths and keeping what pieces we hold dear. Some pieces may be too dear, too valuable, the cost of their loss to high allow for their losing.

We trust.

We can trust the honourable men.

We trust and in the great and honoured, we trust, and in the citizens previously of entirely unblemished character and reputation ,we trust, and in the vigilance of the lawful authorities who guard the gates, mind the oaths and keep the pieces we trust, trusting that perjury could not occur unpunished nor the suborning of perjury happen uninvestigated and unpunished, nor a that criminal conspiracy to hide the truth from a tribunal set by The Houses of the Oireachtais  could go unmarked, unimpeded and unpunished. In that, too, in our awful innocence, as in God, tarmacadam and the inevitability of unhappiness in soap opera, we trust.

We are a trusting people.


(DISCLAIMER:
This blog contains NO reference to real people, living or dead. Mr X is of course an honourable man.)

Monday, 24 October 2011

#VOTENOx2 - The case against the referendums in bullet points

I have written elsewhere (http://edmundburkeinstitute.ie/referendumessay.php) on the 29th & 30th Referendums, here in bullet points are the good reasons to vote NO.

  • The referendums are rushed, leaving very little time for discussion. This means potential pitfalls are not teased out.
  • The wording of both referendums is unclear- good law is always clear, predictable & equitable. it is not clear what is meant by the word "class" in 29th nor how far the powers of an Oireachtais Committee might go in 30th. nor how such committees could be,if at all, made amenable to ordinary law.
  • For over two hundred years it has been a principle constitutional law that Governments cannot reduce judges pay- that was to prevent government threatening & interfering in court cases. Now to save at most €800,000 the government wants to do just that.
  • Only independent courts can make a decision about the "balance of rights". If we vote YES to 30th referendum we give that power to politicians, to an Oireachtais committee & by extension to the government of the day. 
  • Contra to EVERY principle of law Courts will have NO power to hear cases about or protect the citizens from such committees. Citizens can be held to have NO rights what so ever.How far do you think politicians would go if there was NO LAW to stop them?
  • "Public Interest" will mean whatever the government wants it to mean which would allow an Oireachtais committee to examine anyone, anything, any business. This gives the government of the day, who ALWAYS have an Oireachtais majority, vast power to intimidate, delay, harass and persecute ANYONE they don't like.
  • The Oireachtais already has the power to investigate, they just want LOTS more. The 30th referendum proses giving them FAR too much power
  • Voting NO will allow us get it right, a YES vote will never be mended.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

London Burning

So London and other British cities are starting to look like a science fiction dystopia.

The surprise is that we  (and they) are surprised.

Britain, ahead of most of the developed world, has been heading down the road of social disintegration for over 60 years now. Every single piece of the fabric, every thing that makes a civilisation has been taken, disregarded and dumped. Now the unfortunate inhabitants of the great cities think the police can save them from the the calamity.

Take a long look at the Jeremy Kyle Show, the best window there is into the sewer. This is a broken, depraved society and this is what politicians will create if you let them. It is the DNA-mystery off-spring of the JK show that are looting a the cities.

Yes we are hearing the usual clap trap about deprivation and lack of opportunity but London is a huge bustling honey-pot of opportunity, attracting thousands to come and work every year. They come, they work and they become prosperous. There is no shortage of opportunity, looting louts don't lack opportunity, they don't want it for them selves or for others.

Already letters to the Daily Rag threaten us here with the same horrors if we do not spend and spend again. We could, if we do what the left would have us, create a similar situation here with enough money and some time. Years of socialist clap trap and victim politics have left the looters unfit to take part in any real society and the schools unfit for purpose to use a term much loved here.

The English Education system is bedevilled not by class but by class politics played by the leftists.
Of the 80,000 odd children who get schools meals ( the poorest by definition) only 189 get 3 A levels and only 19 qualify for Oxford or Cambridge.

No other statistic puts so starkly the sheer failure of left politics in education or the sheer lack of any kind of effort by thousands of families. Just 0.24%, less than one quarter of a percent of the poorest students study for 3 A levels. (Since data does not include the FE Sector it is almost certainly an OVER estimation of the percentages). That is failure on a shocking scale: failure of students, failure of families and failure of schools. This is not the result of poverty but of poverty of ambition.

That poverty  is concentrated in some areas.Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education wrote:
"Indeed, there are two local authorities in England,Islington and Slough, where no ­comprehensive pupil sat a single GCSE in physics, chemistry or biology".

These children are coming from families encouraged to see themselves as victims, told that they are entitled and paid to rot. So they do. Now the zombies are on the street and short of shoot-to-kill they will not be stopped.










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!

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