Friday, 20 December 2013

The Fool, The Maoist and The Big Fat Lie

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso is a man of almost ferocious attachment to bad ideas. 
He has made a career of it, from his days as a brutally stupid Maoist to his incompetent, bumbling Presidency of the Imperial Commision but even with his track record it is still astounding to hear this europerv blame Ireland for the troubles of the shoddy, ill thought out and worse regulated euro.

When the incompetent ECB was left in charge of the currency, which was a political football and not an economic means of exchange, the results were always going to be bloody. As it turned out with interest rates designed set to suit Germany ravaged by Kohl's precipitous and impoverishing union with the East, it was the fast growing edges of the Zone, particularly Ireland that got the flensing.

In Febuary 2000 Martin Feldstein, an economist with a hefty and serious track record including a spell as Chair of Reagan's Council of Economic advisors predicted that the low interest rates set by the ECB would result in a disastrous over heating of the fast paced Irish economy (here). No one in the ECB, particularly the wining-and-dining numpty appointed as a compromise President of the silly institution, Jean Claude Trichet, either read the article or took as much as a pfennig's notice. 

As newly cheap money poured into Ireland's loan market and the next-election obsessed Bertie Ahern drove the boom boomier (I paraphrase the former Taoiseach) Irish inflation made interest rates effectively negative: it paid to borrow. With the price of money warped and distorted, risk could no longer be assessed and was ignored. That is always what happens with long-term too-low interest rates.

There was no brakes on the runaway train. As Ireland's borrowings exceeded the nations savings, foreign banks, mostly German, stepped in with banker's heroin: short term paper. By 2006 Irish banks, certain that with no exchange rate issues there was no risk, were taking in €120 BILLION short term euro bonds per year. The ECB, with a duty under the Maastricht Treaty to monitor and control such international capital flows was oblivious. 

The euro created the boom, the euro was its blood, bone and flesh. That boom made the bust. When that bust happened Ireland's Government guaranteed the country's banks, damming every Irish person with the cost of the ECB's failures but saving Germany's banking system. There is a vast, separate exploration of the weekend of 29th September 2008 and the lies told then to be made but the alternative courses, leaving all or some banks to fail must have looked more expensive to Brian Lenihan.

The reaction from the glass tower in Frankfurt? The vicious blackmailing of a sovereign government into paying every last junior bond holder, every gambler, their losses. Rightly the quite and conservative Colm Carthy of Bord Snip fame has repeatedly described the actions of the ECB as being openly hostile to Ireland.

Now Barroso, a man promoted at several 100 levels above his competence (sub-under-toilet cleaner?) has decided to put the boot in. 

Ireland is to blame for the Euro woes.

Ireland caused the the problems for all 17 countries

Irish tax payers MUST continue to pick up the massive tab caused by ECB incompetence because there will be no retrospective funding of the Bank intervention.

In his studied and haughty hostility  euronasty Barroso has done us a massive favour. He has blown away every illusion, every fluffy cloud Kenny and Noonan could puff. Now the naked face of where we are and who is our enemy is clear.

When the Government put money into the banks that money was created by the Irish Central Bank acting as an agent of the ECB. This is called the Emergency Liquidity Assistance. Barroso believes we will keep paying back that now €51 BILLION ELA debt to our Central Bank, who will promptly burn the money to satisfy the ECB's isdeas about inflation and moral hazard. Neither apply. The €51 billion is trivial in comparsion the the Eurozone money measurements, even the tighter M1. Moral hazard should apply to the incompetent ECB, not the Irish people who had NO way of stopping the trainwreck the Euro sponsored.

I have news for José Manuel Barroso.

We are not as stupid as our elected politicians. 
We won't pay because it is not our debt and neither the Imperial Commission nor the ECB have any way of extracting money from a free and determined people. We left a bigger, stronger much better organised empire before and we can do it faster and harder than the europervs can dream.

Thanks for starting the rebellion José!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Free Speech & Offence, Horse and Carriage of Rights

Perils of a Catholic boyhood. As a child I was puzzled by what I thought was the rather risqué compliment offered the Blessed Virgin Mary by the prayer The Divine Praises in the line "....and blessed be St Joseph, her most chaste spouse."

Allow for it was mainly heard, not read and I was even less literate than now, but the fact that the women of Nazereth spent their time hunting and luring St Joseph seemed to be a puzzling tribute to his spouse, her serene holiness and her ability to keep her man. The seven year old me that did not know the difference between "chaste" and " chased" formed a peculiar view of the social life of Roman era Nazereth....

Now that I am older and more knowledgeable, I am not wise enough to even attempt chastity, a virtue to which the Catholic Church holds all believers, gay, straight or confused, are called.
Yesterday University College Galway disbanded a Catholic student society, The Legion Of Mary, for advertising a religious group that works/prays with what they delicately call "people with a same sex attraction" to achieve chastity. Not even conversion to straightness, mass murder or the end of academic bureauracracy, just chastity, standard Catholic teaching.

The A4 posters on College notice boards are deemed to have offended gay people and indeed the college claimed to have received over  seventy complaints ( seventy one?). In a world which elevates offence to secular mortal sin, this was enough for the academic bureaucrats to take action against the LoM which was banned. You don't need to be a chaste Catholic to find this heavy handed censorship disturbing. As a very unchaste, and not often enough chased gay man, I find it intellectually deviant.

Universiities should be in the business of exposing people to ideas ( and vice-versa!), that NUIG is not and believes students need protection from an idea as harmelss as chastity advice should worry any one considering it as a college.

That Free Speech is vital to democracy, to public and intellectual life should not need to be said. Once we decide that offence trumps the right to say (and say includes publish, let's heed Derrida on the privileging of the spoken) that with which someone disagrees, we have decided to limit what may be discussed, thought, or considered. If I am offended by what you say that is my problem, if I can enforce my dislike of your speech by silencing you that is everyone's problem.

That I should be defending free speech for the second time in four months says we have have that problem, Galway.

If free speech does not include the right to offend then it is not free. Freedom only to say the agreed and the uncontentious is not freedom at all. By establishing the right of anybody to silence speech with which they disagree NUIG are creating a campus not, as the academic bureaucrats claim, safe for all students, but dangerous for students, ideas and debate. Banning the Legion of Mary because their poster offended gays means claiming the power of censoring any group or individual whose ideas offend. The gaystabo may be happy now but woe betide the physics department when the Flat Earth society wake up to the power offence gives them.

Of course the Flat Earthers have not the cachet and cool of us gays, and lack the organisational ability to create the outrage necessary to move the bureaucrats to action. Posting the "offensive" poster on Facebook meant complaints came from at least as far as Aberdeen. (fact courtesy of the plaintiff there)

Given that I have had death threats from "LGBT" activists in the last month I find the explanation of the complaints given me  by one ex NUIG student a little ironic : "My concern was that a society shouldn't be making lgbt students feel targeted".  The poster advertised a voluntary activity. Banning such "targeting" because you disagree with the message means waging war on almost any sectorally aimed message. Offence is an open door, not a limited chink in the wall.  

If offence draws retribution then we learn to avoid offence to survive, we think less, say less, hear less because we learn to fear the sucked in breath, the wagged head. Censoring for offence is a charter for bullies not a protection for the powerless. Other Catholic groups in NUIG will now feel that chill wind and will learn circumspection. Many more will learn the power of offence.

The bien pensant despite for Christians is not enormously different from the dislike and abhorrance gays once faced. Gays may not always be cool or on top of the victim heap. When we are not, we would be better served by real freedom than by a corrupt system of offence censorship. NUIG and its students would be much better served by a vibrant, free, market place of ideas than by imposing what must eventually turn into a system of self censorship. The academic bureaucrats have shamed the college and started themselves down a dangerous road. Apologising for drastic, bureaucratic overreach and re-instating the Legion of Mary as a student society would be a good first step back to sanity and freedom.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Of mice and men and the forces that make them

In the miserable place that was the USSR, the government insisted not alone was the country a workers' paradise but that that the paradise was the result of the inevitable, irresistible forces of history and science. ( The fact that some of the Irish politicians who agreed with the small minded thugs then, sit in cabinet now is both there and here.... )

Vindicated by these twin Gods the rulers believed that anyone who disagreed, the wretched dissidents, were not just wrong, but mad. Political dissent was pathologised and dissidents often sent to mental institutions.

Almost twenty years on from the ignominious collapse of the left's great economic experiment they very same tactic of pathologising dissent from a powerful narrative is still being used, unashamedly, by collectivist clowns.

Several times in the last month l have debated the issues surrounding same sex marriage on TV and Radio and, just as the Sovietocracy judged their opponents mad, l have been weighed by the amateur psychologists of Same Sex Marriage and comprehensively found wanting.

Self hating homophobic bigot. Internalised homophobia. Admits to being mentally disturbed. This last canard, used because I have spoken publicly about my struggle to survive depression, is both the most dangerous and revealing: now admitting to depression is a weakness and every weakness is a weapon. Gay people talk of closets, good luck with making depression a closeted illness again: how did those suicide figures work out for y'all?

The truth is that these attacks are merely the admission that the attackers cannot make a case for Same Sex Marriage ( NOT the same thing as there not being a case!) and that their limited, collectivist grasp of human interaction leaves them unable to participate as equals in the debate. Homophobia has a range of meanings but the belief that gay people are mere ciphers in an identity politics parade is rancid homophobia of the lowest reductionist, dehumananising, order. This is no less the case when this collectivist ideology is promoted by homosexuals who pretend to the leadership and representation of gay people than when Stalin saw gays as corrupt, bourgeois
freaks. Uncle Joe shot the homosexuals, I have been offered the same fate by the tolerant, liberal equality merchants.

After Prime Time on RTE tonight I promised friends I would not open twitter until late tomorrow. The promise was exacted by kindness and concern but there is no need for their worry. Good ideas need no thuggery to defend them, no one worth interaction plays the man not the ball. I will not allow bullies their wish to turn me into their mouse.

Using the tactics of the old Soviet politburo may give a some fleeting satisfaction, but it is an admission of failure, of inability, a vote of no confidence in the very proposal they profess to advance. Progressives have arrived but who knew their destination was Moscow circa 1967?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Windmills make you poor

Poverty kills.

A thousand generations of your ancestors went to their graves worn out by exhaustion, disease, pain, and hunger. Mostly they died in darkness, unable to afford anything

useful to light their passing. Even the richest of them was a pauper by the metric of now. 

You live in a different world, you read these words on a device that would have looked like magic or riches unimaginable to your great grand-parents. We are rich because we live in an unfathomably rich society.  

Yet you never have enough wealth to get everything you want, so you make choices. The same rule of choices and priorities applies to everyone: that's economics.  

Every thing you or buy sends a signal down the market so all purchases you make are part of a vast web of information. This is not anything sinister, it is not high tech snooping, merely the simple fact that what you buy matters to the sellers/producers. They too never have enough wealth either and need to be guided by your purchases.

The information is not private or hidden: enough of us buy gromagging widgets, the price of gromagging widgets goes up. When the price rises some producers will look at getting into gromagging widgets and some consumers will switch to another widget. 

Somewhere somebody will think they have a better solution than old fashioned grommaging widgets and will make an optimistic calculation that new ideas could lead to wealth.

Price tells us to produce, invest or get to hell out of grommaging widgets. Price also attracts and fund entrepreneurs to do something different, to bring an alternatives to market. Only those that offer consumers value will succeed: price makes the consumer king and producers permanently uncomfortable,

Price guides investment, research and production. Constant competition forces down prices, favouring the most efficient producers, others will have to find new stuff to do. Producers are efficient by constant small improvements, all dictated by the need to keep our business, to avoid the ultimate discomfort of failure.

Think of the market as a constant, seething mass of exploration, individuals and companies looking for advantage, delivering goods, services and value and you will have some idea of why you are rich and your ancestors lived in a poor society. 

Value matters: doing more with less frees up resources to do even more, gives us more food, more heat, more light, more of our needs. Value creates wealth. Wealth saves us.

Because wealth works such good on our lives and poverty is a miserable and killing plague, we should protect our ability to produce wealth. When governments, as they always do, find some way to destroy wealth in pursuit of their witch crafts we should fight their murderous intent. 

When government subsidises any business it steals our money to help the friends of what ever polithievans (politician plus thief - an open source word free for use!) are in power. Not so oddly those friends remain consistent: they are always the contributors and lobbyists, companies and individuals who see advantage in politics not in giving us value in the market, political entrepreneurs not market entrepreneurs.

If you see a subsidy you see you and your family being robbed. It doesn't matter how high minded the reasons or how noble the claimed cause: any subsidy to favour an industry is robbery to help someone who cannot complete honestly. 

Windmills are the ultimate example of this form of vicious theft. 

Given a free choice nobody would buy electricity from a windmill. Expensive, irregular and unpredictable wind power is the antithesis of everything electricity needs to be and that's before you consider the bird mashing ugly reality of the the mills. Since we won't buy from these cronies the polithievans will make us: power companies are forced to pay over the odds for wind generated electricity. We pay that cost

The noble cause in this case is saving the earth but the theft from general welfare is exactly the same except on an enormous scale. The visible effect of the forced subsidy is to put up our electricity bills but the invisible effects: the stolen money which is never directed at productive use, the research and development that doesn't happen because the cronies are kept comfortable and insulated, are far more pernicious.

Poverty kills, hypothermia kills. 

People die because of fuel poverty, murdered by high minded polithievans bleeding compassion. Now and the future are impoverished and made more miserable by those polithivans subsidies to windmills. You get a choice every few years, next time make sure it is not a choice for robbery and poverty.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Never hit on Vice Squad- Why I'm not for Same Sex Marriage

(This piece was published in the Irish Daily Mirror but not all Mirror articles are made available online)
I was arrested once for chatting up a big, burly member of the Vice
Squad, wasting his time chasing gay guys like me. Every time I hear proponents of Same Sex marriage telling me that they want the state to endorse and validate our relationships I think of that night. I want to keep the state out of my relationships, and, as much as possible out of my life.

Same Sex Marriage is not some warm fluffy equality bunny, it’s a bare-faced state power grab. The state gets to entirely remake marriage, not as the man/woman/child model we’ve inherited from 10,000 years of history and across all cultures but as an anything-goes irrelevant partnership agreement between adults.

Only a man and a woman have children despite every fantasy the gender-busters want us to believe. Every child has a right to that natural life. Same sex marriage asks us to ignore reality and children’s rights to a mother and father. Marriage will be made irrelevant because this re-make says that, for the first time, children and parenthood has no natural place in marriage. If you have children, the kindly, benevolent state will set your relationship with them.

If you don’t want a gay marriage don’t get one? Everyone gets one because, in the eyes of the state, marriage will be about adults, not about a man and a woman committing to making and raising children
Politicians love us to believe we belong to some victim class so they can save us. I’m a gay man, I am not a victim and I reject this notion that traditional marriage should be drastically altered for some fantasy. Yes, gay people need to give legal force to their relationships but for that we have civil unions, not a one size fits all marriage, emptied of meaning to suit the romantic whims of adults.

People get married for their own reasons but we have marriage because marriage has a meaning and does a vital job not just for individuals but for society. Claiming that equality demands that men and women be as interchangeable as Lego blocks shows you don’t understand men and women, marriage or much else. Profound ignorance is a poor basis for massive change.

Redressing historical wrongs may be worse basis. Yes, gay people had a hard time. The night I was arrested was brutal, terrifying experience and a terrible waste of Garda time but that was in long ago, in a very distant galaxy. Ireland is a very different place for us now: pretending otherwise is to trap gay people in a damaging victim culture.

We can ignore reality all we want but the out-comes for children are not the same across all family models. Marriage of a man and a woman gives children the best chance. That doesn’t mean there are not great parents in other circumstances, just that the weight of evidence is stacked against them.

Chocolate is good, more chocolate is better; living on chocolate would be great. You can get from one simple proposition to a very wrong idea very fast. The politicians who say they will save me with Same Sex Marriage are doing just that.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Seanad: Reform or Kill?

Halving the amount of examination of what Government does and removing 60 Oireachtais members from the process of oversight cannot be described as reform. It is an anti-democratic deform, stupidly sold as a big idea from a man without a trace of one.

Democracy creates not just a market place in ideas but in trust and reliability. Ideas can't be sold on lies because too many voters may realise that they are being sold a very mangy pup to make the sales pitch profitable in votes. This has not stopped the Abolish The Seanad campaign from using a much exposed lies on costs and savings to sell the very bad idea of abolishing the second chamber. No, Richard, it doesn't cost €20 million a year and what money it does cost will be spent on a newly deformed Dáil. No savings and the estimated €9m annual cost of the Seanad could be paid for 5-6 years for the cost of this referendum? Even Barbie says facepalm.

The Irish Seanad, the Second Chamber of our Parliament is an unlovely beast. Elected by county councillors and university graduates from some (but not all) universities, criticising its processes is like taking pot shots at Patrick Neary's tenure as Banking Regulator. Unlovely beasts can be still effective and unlovely constitutional beasts can be reformed.

The problem for Seanad Eireann is that some believe parliament and its procedures are effective in so far as it allows Government its immediate and unopposed will. Delay, debate or second opinion are at best fripperies not to be countenanced and may, in many circumstances amout to treasonous activity. Fettering politicians to even vestigial discussion is seen to undermine their abiility to act swiftly in their awesome wisdom.

Seanad Abolition was an idea born in opposition and desperation. In 2010, languishing behind a failing Fianna Fail in the polls, losing ground to Gilmore's Labour and widely regarded as a drag on Fine Gael's prospects, Enda Kenny needed a BIG IDEA. Without either the method, means or philosophy to find one, FG used a sequence of focus groups to probe what might work with an electorate hammered by recession. The proposal to abolish the Seanad was taken to the party's conference in Killarney but, with little ability to sell the bad idea, party hierarchs cancelled the debate on the issue when opposition surfaced and replaced it with a speech from Kenny, imposing abolition as a policy by fiat. Mr Kenny has
been chickening out of debate ever since. 

How have Irelands problems been caused by an excess of democracy, surfeit of debate or a overburden of enquiry? When the Dáil expressed it's confidence in Willy O Dea as Defence Minister despite the accusations of perjury, it was the prospect of a well informed seanad Debate that triggered his fall. The ONLY justification for abolishing the second chamber is that we need FEWER people challenging the Government in the Oireachtais. It is very hard to share that confidence in the government, that belief that it was examination of policy and implementation that led us to this tragic meltdown. 

In the English speaking world unicameral or single chamber parliaments are the exception, only New Zeeland operating on one chamber. That may help account for the fact that only one unicameral country is richer than Ireland in GDP/GNP league tables. Delay and discussion work. 

It is conservatively estimated that the Seanad saved the country €300m per annum in its oversight and examination of legislation coming from Dail Eireann. ( a figure never disputed by the abolitionists) Thus in 10 years this “radical and revolutionary idea” will cost us €2.75b. of course you may believe that the Dáil will get its legislative pants pulled up...

In the end what is most disturbing about this proposal is the base and cynical view it demonstrates of elected politics. Every single argument for abolishing the seanad is just as good an argument for abolishing the Dáil. Yes, we could appoint a commision of 12 or 8 wise minds to govern and do away with all the expensive waste. Come to think of it 1 person would run the entire show much more quickly and cheaply.... And if you think that go read Hayek's classic "The Road To Serfdom".

With this base view of politics it is hardly surprising that the proposed "reforms" of the Dáil are all methods of handing power and influence to vested interest groups and disadvantaging citizens in the legislative process. Odd too that this government believes the Dáil can be reformed ( even if their proposals to do so are pants) but that no reform is possible of the Seanad? Kenny's declaration that there will be no reform if the public vote against abolition is the futile utterance of a small and spiteful man. We are not dependent on Enda Kenny for constitutional reform.

Tomorrow we have a choice: back a base, limited view of democratic politics, sold on a lie, and hand the power of speed and silence to the cabinet or retain a working institution which we can reform. A wrong decision will leave us much more at the mercy of the idiots we elect.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

We are older, not any wiser, just more experienced. The children orphaned must, in many cases, be young adults. The unbearable grief of bereavement has become a burden carried for twelve years by families.

Twelve years ago savage fanatics murdered thousands in an atrocity intended to provoke global war. They got a war, indeed up to Obama's blithering failure on Syria in the last 48 hours it had looked like America was committed to endless, futile war. Maybe the failure of a vacillating, incompetent and underwater president marks the real end of that sorry episode?

In that pursuit of an Armageddon the 9/11 attackers saw the murder of three thousand people not just as collateral damage but as a bonus.  Islam has not properly addressed the warped morality of the attack or the evils of Wahabism. When the Christianity's outstanding mind and figure attempted to engage Islam in a vital debate on the central issues of faith and our relationship with, and the nature of God, Pope Benedict's Regensburg address was attacked, misrepresented and vilified by a media so corrupt and stupid that we must doubt the possibility of any useful public debate on any issue occurring.

The purpose of terror is to terrorise and because government uses every excuse to expand, because the rabid secularists, for whom all religions are equally evil, and equality pimps insist that NO judgements can be made, and because the wahabists are still plotting we remain terrorised. Catholic pilgrims from the Marian shrine at Lourdes are forced to empty holy water from their luggage lest they smuggle explosives. Endless queues for security at every airport are a reminder, a people-snake monument, not a defence. The best answer to random terrorism may be sensible security alongside a recognition that terrorism is the fault of the terrorist.

We have lived twelve years with the images and memories of what was done on this day. On the anniversary each year I take a moment to remember Jimmy Gray who died with his colleagues of Ladder 20
when Tower 1 collapsed. Jimmy's father was from Kilkenny, his grandfather Paddy, asked my mother to pray for his missing grandson the next day. His body was not found and that November  his eight year old daughter, Colleen, spoke the memorable, heartbreaking, line at his memorial service: "Daddy, if I knew you were not coming home, I'd have let you tickle me harder."

The pain inflicted on the families of the victims will last as long as Colleen's and her sister's lives. For the wider society the twelve years that have passed should allow us the space to look at 9/11 with older, if not wiser eyes and minds. We owe Jimmy Gray, the men of Ladder 20 and every other person whose life was stolen, that we at least try to understand the impact of what we commemorate.

Part of that impact was revealed by the revelations of Edward Snowden to be the utterly enormous data and spying apparatus built by the American government to compliment the airport people snakes. No government can or should be trusted with the private business of every person. Carte blanche to spy on citizens in the name of security is permission to undermine democracy, law and rights. The administration that used the I.R.S to target opponents can hardly be trusted with with universal eavesdropping.

Men wore Jimmy Gray's name and those of his colleagues in battles with wahabists in Afghanistan, Ladder 20 was a T-shirt worn with pride. Those soldiers believed they were fighting for the most fundamental rights, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It would be a grave betrayal of them, the men of Ladder 20 and all the 9/11 victims to justify stealing every persons privacy in their name.

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