Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Evil That men Do....

This day 12 years ago evil men did a very evil deed.

The evil men intended much more than a terrorist outrage. On the anniversary of the date in 1683 that the Sultan's army was forced to retreat from the gates of Vienna, they intended to start a war between the West & Islam. Killing ordinary men and women of all faiths and none was merely a method, not an end. They were Islamic Millenarians with a belief they could shape history in their evil image.

On that day ordinary men and women were victims of their sick, twisted plot but they were also much more. America & New York can be rightly proud of the heroism & courage of those ordinary people on that brutal day. Every year I remember Jimmy Grey, a decent man with two small children who died with his colleagues of Ladder 20 when Tower One collapsed. Jimmy's father was from Kilkenny & and his Grandfather asked us to pray for Jimmy, and very soon, Jimmy's body to be found. He never was. Jimmy's eight year old daughter spoke one of the most heartbreaking lines of 9/11 at his memorial: "Daddy, if I knew you were not coming home I would have let you tickle me a little bit harder".

Today we remember 9/11. We remember the horror, the heroism & the lost & our hearts are heavy. We must also remember what it was that those evil men desired & we must make sure that their evil deed bears no fruit.

A religion which regards it's central text as the unmediated word of God and has no central authority will present problems. It is easy to construct arguments that Islam is disposed to such horrors, easier again to produce empirical evidence for the involvement of its adherents in terror.

Jimmy Grey and the other victims died because evil men wanted a world wide war. The very best commemoration of all those victims, the most scalding is defeat for their murderers, is to deny them that war. That does not mean ignoring terror or dishonestly pretending that we do not have philosophical problems with Islam. Instead, unlike the adherents of  Bin Laden, we must not generalise or fail to see the human. We must not become that which we hate nor wear Ladder 20's heroes as emblems in a religious war. The ultimate defeat of Osama bin Laden is that we seek a way to live with our differences. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Collins & Lenin, Decency & the Devil

Last week, making the biggest set piece speech of the year in Ireland, at the Michael Collins Commemoration, in  Beal Na Blá, Cork, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny claimed that Michael Collins was "the outstanding organiser who brought Lenin himself to Ireland to see how the National Loan worked".

The claim was a lie. How does a Prime Minister's huge set piece speech get to contain a lie that a small child could have fact-checked? Even if it was true why would a Fine Gael Taoiseach even think of shaming Collins with such personal connection to Lenin? No one who admired Collins & had the remotest idea of the history of the 2oth century would have thought this was a compliment.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was one off the most destructive & evil men who ever lived. Few could claim to have done so much harm, been responsible for so much murder, so much destruction or set in train so much disaster. 

Lenin was not Czar of Russia, no Czar ever yielded such undisputed utter power over Russia, Russians & their lives. Czar's rule was tempered by some version of law, Lenin recognised no rule, law or curb. His brief tenure as Supreme Godhead was marked by cruelty & ferocity unimaginable and set in train eighty years of such horror, not just for the unfortunate Russians but for people all over the world. 

Collins was ruthless in pursuit of Irish freedom but his actions were always tempered both by mercy & his belief in the lawful, democratic state which was his aim. 

The great fat untruth in Enda Kenny's speech is deeply embarrassing. Far more embarrassing is that the Taoiseach & those close to him are so unaware, so oblivious to the horror that was Vladimir Lenin. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Baby Killing & Real Stupidity

Opposition to abortion is a moral position & moral positions, to be defensible in public discourse must be consistent & fully thought out. It’s not that consistent fully thought out positions will make converts or persuade opponents but they will save you from the exposure as a clown with nothing to offer but damage to the causes you espouse that has been the fate of US Senate candidate Todd Akin. Mr Akin managed, in a single interview, to reveal his own ridiculously poorly thought out views on abortion & to hand the US Democrats a drum to beat, something they badly need as Obama’s poll figures continue to head south. "Thank you Todd Akin" crowed one site "The candidate exposed his party's misogyny, and the swift backlash is reason for defenders of women to celebrate". In the upturned looking-glass universe of the Democratic Party, abortion is a defence of women & opposing mass sacramental killing is misogynistic ignorance. Thank you indeed Todd Akin.

Struggling to justify NOT murdering a baby conceived in rape, Akin went down a rabbit-hole of distinguishing “legitimate rape” & an imagined biology where a woman’s body would reject  pregnancy in such a circumstance. Akins remarks were utterly horrible: he was articulating an utterly untrue & very vicious piece of nonsense. Does he believe that no crime has been committed (legitimate rape?) if a child is conceived? Has this idiot any idea how repulsive that notion is? How satanically cruel to women who have been raped & become pregnant?

Akins has apologised, as well he might, but the apology may have more to do with his substantial lead being put in jeopardy than with any real contrition or understanding. Real contrition, real comprehension of how evil his stupid remarks were & the damage he has done to the pro-life cause would have meant immediately resigning from the ticket. 

Akin was asked a simple question. Any logical opponent of abortion must have answered that question for themselves. Akin, in so much as he had thought about it at all, had certainly never devoted the kind of serious though & discussion one would expect automatic from a man intending to be an elected representative. Missouri Republicans must have better to offer voters than a man too stupid or intellectually lazy to have worked out a viable, articulate position on a major issue? Any local pro-life group would have gladly, freely briefed him so there is also a question of just how unprofessional a campaign was Akin running?

Rape can & does result in pregnancy, among its consequences for the victims. That means an innocent third party, an infant, is now exists. Logical opposition to abortion demands we vindicate that child’s right to life. This is a difficult & for many, horrible & repugnant idea. The alternative is that opposition to abortion is a mere position, not based on any firm philosophical grounds, but on the Yeuch factor: we don’t like it much so we only allow a little baby killing. That kind of shallow reasoning produces the nonsense that Akin spouted or assent to abortion. Recognition that some moral positions are tough & that there are no pain free choices is central to a discourse on abortion. Inability to deal with tough choices & a desire to pretend they don’t exist are the prerogatives of fools.

Until we regard unborn babies as human & not as some nasty STD, we will continue create a culture where unborn children are viewed as legitimate targets for the most horrific deaths imposed on any living creature. While that culture continues the left will continue broadcasting the evil nonsense that abortion is good for women.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Katie Taylor, Not up to Speed on the God Delusion

Katie Taylor is magic in front of the cameras, all steel willed brute & feminine icon, but no one has brought her up to speed on the God Delusion. Shamefully our Olympic Gold Medallist insists on displaying her wilful ignorance publicly.

The national broadcaster has a duty to counter Katie's God referencing with a disclaimer, or in the absence of such, at least bleep the God references out for a daytime audience. Children were listening. Katie Taylor may not have a sense of the responsibility she now carries but we could expect better from RTE than to have them put an attractive, hugely successful young woman talking of God into every living room in the country. The lead taken by The Irish Times in reporting Katie’s victories & interviews but with the shameful God references deleted shows just how a responsible media organisation can affect the public narrative.

Religion is a private matter. If it is to be indulged at all it should be behind closed doors where it will not offend or embarrass more progressive citizens. No one wants to stop those who suffer from religion worshipping on Sundays but that surely as far as our freedom & tolerance could possibly extend. Speaking publicly of God or faith is worse than embarrassing: it is a rejection of Science. The Science that gives us internet & cheap flights now explains everything making God pointless as buggy whips & flint knapping.  Only the stupid, the uneducated or those that deliberately want poverty for their own dark ends reject Science.

It maybe that the Taylor/God matter is already in hand: our Government contains a high level of men who advocated re-education & cultural realignment as a panacea for those that rejected scientific socialism when that faith was in vogue all over the world. Mr Rabbitte I've always believed especially persuasive, perhaps a quiet word from him or one of his colleagues might bring Katie to her senses. Such a fireside chat would be for her own sake as much as for the children of the nation. Sooner or later a bright intelligent young woman like Katie will realise she is wrong about the existence of God. Nobody wants Katie to view the footage of her win with in future the cringing embarrassment that must come from being wrong in public. 

She should count herself lucky given the evil for which Religion has been responsible that freedom of worship is permitted in Ireland but Katie Taylor needs to get with the programme, God is dead.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Infantults & Emotional Incontinence as Fashion

When did public crying for relatively minor inconveniences or disappointments become not just permissible but de-rigueur for adults?

Weeping was  once an expression of deepest emotion, not the sulks of some athlete beaten in a race or an event. This Olympic Games have provided us a the sorry sight of men & women crossing the finish line (or any other indicator of event completion) to hurl themselves on the ground with the abandon of an ill behaved two year old & weep  with all the emotion of someone who has learned their entire immediate family has been put cruelly to death by the government.  

This clichéd emotional incontinence is not just tolerated, it is encouraged as a necessary expression of "passion". 
"Marlene/Marlon is distraught" the commentator will cluck approvingly.
"Yes" will come the answer from the studio"She/he expected to do much better & you just know how passionate he/she is about this event"

Adults function in society by dealing with their feelings. Emotional storms are controlled, our inner turmoil recognised personally but not released in a spoiled child outburst. One of the great lies of the twentieth century, part of the mendocracy of Freudianism, that emotions must run free for health. The opposite is the truth: without emotional restraint, the mark of functioning adults, both society & people are ill. "Feelings" have become the touchstone for all, feeling is elevated above reason and dignity. Civilisation was built by rational restraint, feelings are a private matter, to be indulged in privacy not displayed & indulged publicly. If we do not control our feelings we cannot live in proximity to each other in a civilised manner.

The fact that it is the worlds neediest, least civilised nations such as Britain that put the most emphasis on winning Olympic medals neither excuses nor explains this childish display of sulks nor diminishes the bad example it provides. The infantilised adults, infantults, produced under this tolerance are self serving creeps without the grace of civilisation.

Anger, lust, disappointment, love are part of our interior lives, not the currency of public discourse.  Passion is not some guarantee of quality, merely a statement of the least useful mental process. At the start of the twentieth century Yeats knew this: "..while the worst. Are full of passionate intensity" That century's abandonment of rationality in favour of multiple murdering faiths & emotion conducting tyrants should have confirmed that knowledge. 

Outpourings of emotion at victory or defeat were once regarded as vulgar. They need to be seen both as bad sportsmanship & eroding the restraint necessary for civilised life. Losing is no disgrace, crying in public like a spoiled brat is.

Monday, 30 July 2012

In Praise of Losers

In sport either you win or you lose. The Olympic Games reminds us of that with the constant reiteration of the Gold medallist above the also rans of bronze & silver, the rest of the losers tidily out of the way.

Competition encourages & rewards excellence. Citius, altius, fortius takes effort & application. Achievement has a price: for top level athletes a life dedicated to excellence. That is a price worth paying for Usain Bolt, it may be a horrendous waste for many who will never be top tier.

Life is not sport. While there are no simple metrics to allow us see except in extremes, what might amount to gold medal success, there are multiple winners. Competition does not mean elimination but sharpening, a delivery of improved goods & services to all of us.

As the Olympics progresses there will be an orgy of publicity surrounding the winners. Chest thumping patriotic fervour will break out. Countries that have spent vast amount of wealth on elite athletics & sports programmes need to trumpet victory lest the ordinary people whose wealth was stolen might question the theft. Losers will go home to silence, just glad to have competed.

We should be glad they competed too. Also rans won't be shamed with revelations of cheating. They compete to thee best of their ability & get on with their lives. Too many gold medals are tarnished with syringes. The good sports that never stand on that podium, never hear an anthem play for them, won't have to dilute urine samples with whisky or tranquillise a horse brutalised by banned training methods either. 

It may be with that vast army of good sports that real victory lies.

A Rally for the Rotten

Last night several thousand people turned out in support of Sean Quinn & his family in Cavan. In the light of that support, an endorsement of Quinn family's efforts to put a billion euros beyond the reach of Anglo, it is worth remembering Justice Peter Kelly's excoriation those efforts.

Worse than any national and international fraud, sharp practice, chicanery and dishonesty” that he had seen in court, the Quinns “had deliberately created and operated a scheme of mesmeric complexity, reeking of dishonesty and sharp practice, for the two-fold objective of putting assets beyond the bank's reach and to feather this own nests” was how Peter Kelly described their actions. Any supporter of Quinn should be asked whether they think Justice Kelly dishonest or merely insane.

Nothing the Quinns say can excuse them this damming by an honest man.  Anglo/IBRC  is a bogie man but that status was earned by the Anglo Irish Bank that operated under Sean Fitzpatrick: efforts by Quinn & his family to portray themselves as martyrs are the typical bullies ploy of pretending to be the victim. 

Quinn claims to be a job creator : he now wants other job creators to pay back the money he so carelessly borrowed. The cost of allowing the Quinn family to put their property portfolio beyond the reach of Anglo/IBRC s must be borne by ordinary Irish people, their businesses & their jobs. This would be an unacceptable transfer of wealth from all of us to the Quinn family.

Quinn attempted to take over Anglo Irish Bank by the back door. I have asked questions elsewhere about the help, tacit & otherwise that Sean Quinn recieved in this effort (see here). He had picked the wrong bank, the wrong time & the wrong method. He lost a huge amount of money borrowed from Anglo.

Quinn's main money maker was Quinn Insurance which was run not as an insurance company but a cash cow for the Quinn empire. Instead of using premiums to build reserves for future cases, money was drained from the company to finance Quinn's own debt. The Government insisted drivers have insurance, Sean Quinn saw this as merely a reason for drivers to pay him money.

The looting of Quinn Insurance under the noses of a compliant regualtory authority is costing every driver in the form of a levy to make up the shortfall. Quinn & regulatory failure has made us all poorer. The same compliant regulatory authorities allowed and maybe even encouraged Anglo to illegally finance Quinn's purchase of Anglo shares to unwind his CDF bet.

Quinn has developed a nice line in straw men, continously defending himself against charges that no one has made. He is not accused of breaking Anglo or causing the property /credit bubble that broke the country. He is merely asked to return the securities pledged for loans he can never repay.  

Quinn has his supportors including the celebrity priest, the appalling Fr Brian Darcy, a humourless teller of fibs best known for his campaign to ban Monty Python's Life of Brian, and a group of criminal thugs that have intimidated & terrorised management in the seized enterprises. 

It is clear there is a tribalist, welfare, dependency mentality at work in Cavan aided by the thugs of which Quinn claims he has no knowledge. Every rally, every statement from Sean Quinn further reveals the lies he is prepared to tell & the L'Oreal-because-I'm-worth-it sense of entitlement he has developed. Nothing emphasises the Quinn's utter sneering disregard for the Irish people & laws as the the photograph of Sean Quinn with his fugitive nephew at a GAA match over the weekend. 

Irish people owe Quinn nothing.  He and his family owe us to stop costing us any more money than he already has. 

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