Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The blogger formally known as Saint

Hey if Red Rover (sorry I mean cian) can do it so can I. I have changed my name back from Saint to my real name Simon. Now if you didn't guess that was my name from the use of saint I pity you. :-)

Is the Green Party locked into the rainbow?

Just had a read of Ciarán Cuffe Green Party TD for Dún Laoghaire blog. Interesting statement about the other two parties in the supposed Rainbow Coalition.
Report of chairs being thrown through the windows of the Progressive Democrats Headquarters on South Frederick Street. Possibly the same chairs that Pat Rabbitte and Enda Kenny used for their phot-op at Dunne and Crescenzi a few months previously. Speaking of which, whatever happened to that Programme for Government that they were working on, or was it all froth from their cappuccinos?
Not the nicest thing to say if you were planning to row in behind a Fine Gael-Labour Coalition or even if it was your first choice I would think. Am I reading too much into it?. Now some time ago I heard that Trevor Sergeant said that the Greens would not enter a coalition with Fianna Fail with him in charge . Leaving only the rainbow option. However does Mr Cuffe statement sound like a party locked into the rainbow. That statement would not have been unusual from a PD or Fianna Failer. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Update: Land of Ireland has more on this.

Dail Questions about the Riots

The Dail debate is starting you can watch it here. Update: Well it over now. But you can read the debates. Here and here

The rise of wannabe knacker culture

Where I come from Knackers are not members of the travelling community they are basically the kinds of people that riot in Dublin, drug dealers, vandals, joy riders etc. Many people have been making the point that these people who rioted are the ones that the state has left behind. Which is valid in a way. Some of these kids don’t know better and don’t have no other prospects. So they get easily caught up in republican rhetoric. But many of the people who were arrested were not from these areas. They have futures, they have education they have secure homes. So why do they throw bricks at people. I believe it is the rise of wannabe knacker culture.

One of the most popular rappers in the world is 50 cent. Ask any kid why they listen to him and talk about how he got shot and was a drug dealer. They talk about how he is rapping about real life. Real life is being stuck in traffic for 3 hours a day. Being a “gangsta”(another word for knacker) is not, yet this is what some kids think it is real life. Kids from all social backgrounds walk around the city in hoodies acting and aspiring to be knackers. Many of these kids that are not deprived, they have everything they need in life. Yet they want to be the “hard men”. Why?

Senator David Norris talked about how in deprived communities that once the first few locals get educated and become doctors, lawyers and dentists. They will become role models and make kids in these areas will want to be doctors and not drug dealers. Yet lets look at the areas where kids have loads of positive role-models where there neighbours are Doctors Dentists and Lawyers. These kids are rioting too. Many arrested on Saturday did not come from deprived areas. Did the reclaim the street anti-capitalist riots come from deprived areas or well off areas.? Mostly they came from well-off backgrounds these people are not marginalised. In fact they are the least marginalised in the country. They talk about fighting for the working class. Yet the working class think that they are a disgrace and many have never meet a working class person. They just want to fight the “pigs” and be anti-social.

The state of education in inner city areas is a disgrace to say the least but to say that marginalisation is the cause of these riots is in my opinion wrong. Sure marginalisation causes a lot of crime joyriding being one but not every crime is due to this. Why are lower class rioters called marginalised and lashing out at society while middle class rioters are called politically motivated. Are we saying lower classed cannot be politically motivated, are we saying middle class kids are marginalised. Or is it the case that many people and mainly young males just want to be knackers.

Domino Pizza Attempt to recreate 1950s Ireland

The founder of Domino's Pizza wishes to create the first town in "America to be run according to strict Catholic principles".

Oh Dev would be so proud. Will it be run by a John Charles Mcquaid clone I wonder. Update: Just listening to Air America Radio. They are giving out about this and blaming Bush(what's new I hear you ask). See the difference between this an 1950s Ireland is that the Domino's pizza guy is not forcing people to live by a catholic ethos. You don't have to live there if you do not want to. If people want to be suppressed by a Catholic hierarchy well who are we to stop them.

Monday, February 27, 2006

More on the riots

I have to agree with Planet Potato, the march should be re-run. We can not let the scumbags who rioted and looted win. The march must go on.

There has been some people saying that this march was not about republicanism but because people have been marginalised. So other then the fact that these people are middle class socialist that can’t understand why the working class vote Fianna Fail and don’t rise up and over throw the bourgeoisie. Do they have a point.?

Surely the only people who would riot are the marginalised and downtrodden in Celtic Tiger Ireland. Yet some of the people arrested and in court were seemingly from upper class areas. This shows I think that the idea that this was the repressed rising up is ridicules. This was a rising of scumbags fuelled by republican rhetoric and a desire just to cause mayhem. While many of the scum did come from areas that have social deprivation and this was a factor in the riots. It is a minuscule part of it. There is an underbelly of anti-orangeism in the South while most people don’t vent it in public and only in private. The fact that it remains in society says something about us. I mean many people have put "We are all danes now" buttons on their blogs to support Danish Free Speech. Will anyone put a "We are all orange now" to support their freedom of speech.

I think not. We are still not that accepting of people who subscribe to the latter third of the Irish flag. Remember the Danes invade us and occupied this Island as well.

But much of the rioting though fuelled by Republicanism was merely perpetrated by people who thought it would be a bit of craic.


I have been along with some other been linked to by instapundit blog. So I have to say thanks to them and hello to the odd thousand readers I have got from there. Does that mean I have more readers today then the Limerick Leader daily edition :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

DUP position themselves to isolate Sinn Fein.

Interesting speech by DUP Deputy Leader and East Belfast MP, Peter Robinson today. Apart from the Sinn Fein/IRA linkage claims from the IMC report. There seems to be moves to start links with the south and the southern parties. He said.
Unionists know Northern Ireland has much to gain through good relations with the Irish Republic
Considering Jim Allister DUP MEP said a few days ago that
Bearing this reality in mind, the most obvious and natural area of co-operation is co-operation undertaken on an east-west basis, rather than the unnatural and politically-motivated north-southery
So suddenly it has gone from unnatural to much to gain. Also
The dangers unreconstructed republicans pose in democratic politics is the same in Dublin as it is in Belfast. They have the potential to pollute the entire political process.
I hope that you come to see you have more in common with democratic unionists (with a small "d"; and "u") than with unreconstructed republicans even though you may share with them the same ultimate constitutional objective.

I can see this line increase in an attempt to use the Dublin Riots to isolate Sinn Fein. Even though it was not Sinn Fein who organised the riots. It is quiet likely that Sinn Fein members were in the thick of it and some of the tabloids have reported this. If this is proved and linked to the Dublin branch. Mary Lou may not get her seat. But even if it is not linked Sinn Fein will suffer. Despite Mr Aherns 's attempt to reclaim republicanism from Sinn Fein republicans are still seen as Sinn Fein whether they are or not. For once Bertie maybe happy he failed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Riots and the consequences.

As the dust settles (pun not intended) on what has to be the worst riot in Ireland in over 20 years. It is time to take stock of what happened and figure out what the consequences of this are. In my piece on the Love Ulster parade I said that the “biggest and hardest test for Irish society is not seeing can we accept Poles or Nigerians but can we accept Unionists.” It looks very much like we have failed that test.

Many people have blamed Michael McDowell for this. Which of course they would.I mean he is the reason it rains so much in the country. But beyond the normal McDowell bashers. There is some valid points to be made.

1. Was it right to hold the march. 2. Was it right to have it go through a building site. 3. Were the Gardaí unprepared.

The answer to the first question is an resounding yes. People said that the parade should not have gone ahead as it would only lead to this sort of behaviour. But as George W would say you can not give into terrorism. And that is what the riots were terrorism. If something is right (and a persons right to march is) then you cannot give in to terrorism. If the Love Ulster parade was stopped or banned then we would have abandoned all things this country stands for all the things the founding fathers and mothers fought for. And paradoxically everything Republican Sinn Fein say they stand for.

On the question of should the march have been sent through a building site. Should the march have been diverted. O’Connell street is the main street, to deny them the right to march there sends out a very clear signal that they were being sidelined. If they had told them that they feared a riot. Then it would look like we expected that the march would not be tolerated. On the other hand public safety needs to be top of their agenda. But looking at the trouble on Nassau Street. It looks like this was going to happen where ever the march was held.

The Gardaí were not prepared for the scale of this. The rioting in Nassau street was happening without Gardaí presents. They had made a judgement call to protect the Dail.(The right one) The Gardaí are heros but the numbers in Dublin were not sufficient to control the situation. They should have drafted in more from the countryside. For the May day riots in 2004 the Gardai loaned a water cannon from the PSNI. Yet none was there today. Why not? On a cold day like today. The rioters would not have rioted for so long if they had been covered in ice cold water. Why was a water cannon not procured. It cost the Government €6000 to loan them last time. Compared to the damage caused, money lost to the economy and damage to Ireland image abroad for investors and tourists. €6000 is a miniscule sum. The riot were not entirely unpredictable. So water cannon vehicles should have been secured prior to this. Michael McDowell certainly has a case to answer on this.

But he is not to blame for the riot in the first place. The fact that they attacked the PD's offices show that McDowell is certainly getting to them which means he is not far off the mark with what he says. So who is to blame The blame for this lies sole at the feet of one group. Republican Sinn Fein (RSF). They were the only ones to oppose the march. The rest of the parties supported their right to march. Sinn Fein said ignore them. Saoirse the RSF paper said. “Saoirse calls on all Republicans to oppose the loyalist march due to take place through the centre of Dublin”


“The proposed loyalist march is very definitely part of a softening-up process for an Official Visit to Dublin by an English Queen claiming part of Ireland. The like has not been seen since Partition in 1921. And now, on the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, the siren voices tell Republicans to ignore this loyalist march. If we do, they will return with even greater insistence and tell us to ignore the state Visit of the Queen of England. In other words, to stay away, make no protest, and accept finally that the Six Occupied Counties belong to England. Is that what you want? NEVER.”
This is very strong language clearly they saw this as a fight. This was organised. Rioters came with petrol. This was not spontaneous lads saying “feck it lets chuck a brick”. There is talk that some anarchist groups were evolved and reports of black flags in the crowd suggest that they did have some part in it. Also reported is that some RSF people seem to have tried to quieten the crowd down. Whether this is true or not is not the issue. RSF certainly provided the fuel (metaphorically speaking) for the rioting even if they didn’t light the match.

Ireland's image has taken a battering tourist numbers will be down, foreign companies may think twice about locating here. This could seriously damage us in the future. Another aspect of the riots. Is RTE’s failure to deliver on its public service remit. They go on about the need for licence fees and public service. And yet during the worst rioting in the last 20 years. RTE One had the Robe “An Oscar-winning biblical epic about a soldier who wins Jesus's robe” while RTE Radio had sports coverage. The only source of news was Newstalk and to a lesser extent BBC, breakingnews.ie and blogs. Clearly there was a desire for information that was not forthcoming from the rest of the media. I have never had as many visitors to my blog. People were desperate to know what happened and RTE was not telling them. But there is a more serious aspect to it. As Richard Delevan asks “If RTE 1 had gone away from sport for the afternoon, might some people have turned their cars around and stayed home today?” The answer is an undoubted yes. If someone had died in the riot. Someone that if RTE had been broadcasting about it would have gone home. Then RTE would have been to blame. They are the public service broadcaster. They have failed in servicing the public. Why they did this needs to be seriously examined and heads should roll.

The winners in this series of riots is not the rioters. They think that they have won. That they have stopped the march. That they have fought and won for their country. They could not be more wrong. They have lost, republicanism has lost, Ireland was lost. It is the very thing that they are fighting against loyalists that have won. The minute Jeffery Donalason said on RTE news . That people have been talking about giving Northern representation in the Dail and I can’t even talk outside the Dail. It was game set and match unionism.

No longer will Nationalist be able to say that the Unionist would be welcomed in the South. Because obviously they can say last time we came down to the South we were deigned our civil rights. Next time someone brings up the suppression of the civil rights marches in the North in the 60s and 70s. They will come back and say are civil right to march was also suppressed by the South. They will look at Ireland’s top reporter Charlie Bird being attacked and called an “orange bastard”. And say that the South would suppress unionists right to freedom of expression. They will look at the attack on the PD’s office and say they do not tolerate political parties that do not tow the republican line.

The prospects of a United Ireland or even cross border cooperation have been utterly shattered today. Recently it looked like the two governments were going to put pressure on the DUP to talk with Sinn Fein. That pressure will surely now dissipate. This just gives the DUP even more ammunition against the Irish state. They have been going after Mary McAlease for the past while. Trying to make a big deal out of nothing. Now they don’t even need to make a big deal out of anything. We are the ones that are going to do it. Jeffrey Donaldson said “"We have received a warm welcome from ordinary Dubliners, but its clear these republicans have come from north of the border and other areas intent only on causing trouble.” He can now say “Ich Bin ein Dubliner“ and the Irish people will feel guilty about this and quiet rightly too. The government are going to be far more conciliatory to the Unionist as an apology for the rioting and tougher on Nationalism. To all those rioters who are cheering themselves saying they got rid of the enemy know this you are cheering a victory for Unionism and a defeat for Ireland.

Picture From An Spailpín

Riots in Dublin

Update: I have decided to post a link to my opinion on the The Riots and the consequences at the top of this post. Also my opinion on the Love Ulster Parade a few weeks ago. What follows is the post I created on the day. As the news came in on 26/02/06

What is the deal with the riots between Republican Sinn Fein and the Gardaí­. If there was anything that the likes of Paisley needed to futher say they would not be tolerated in a United Ireland this is it.

I have posted about the Love Ulster Parade some weeks ago.

Update. Newstalk.ie report that there is about 600 people rioting. They have blocked O'Connell street. They are using the rubble from the building site to throw.And that the Gardaí don't think the Love ulster Parade will go ahead.

Update: BBC report.

The Irish Times weather Camera shows the rioting

Update: Dublin Traffic Cameras have Pictures

Update: Newstalk.ie">St Stevens Green and City Quey closed.

Update: Newstalk.ie report. The Rioting has now moved towards Nassau street .Where there is no Gardaí. Cars have been over turned and burned. The Fire has spread to a Building. The Fire Brigade is not there.

Update : the Love ulster People have been bused home

Update: The PD's office has been attacked. The Gardaí have charged the Riots on Nassau St and has been brought under control. TV crews have been attacked.

Update: BBC have TV footage. Can watch it here

Update: Backstreet Drivers have some Photos. There are definite signs this has been pre-planed. People don't bring petrol into town for peaceful protestors. Update: Newstalk report Charlie Bird was seen with his head bleeding

I would say that the attack on the PDs office. Shows that McDowell is getting to the republican movement.

Update: Politians Condemn it. Sinn Fein Sean Crowe says "some people allowed themselves to be provoked by the 'Love Ulster' rally". Seems to me that he is saying that they let themselves fall for a loyalist trap. Rather then saying that is unacceptable for people's right to protest being violated.

Update: A rioter in Dublin said that he was fighting for his country. Des Dalton VP Republican Sinn Fein. Says that RSF are not participating in the riot. Does not condomn it. Says that the Political establishment is out of touch. Saying the rioters are ordinary Dubliners. Who don't like the sectarian Love ulster parade.

Update: 100 people have charged into Jervis Street Shopping centre.

Why are RTE radio not covering this. All these people who have been caught in the riot. Could have been able to leave the city if they had been informed. But RTE the public service broadcaster is having sports news how is that public service.

Update: Kevin from DL has an Eye Witness Report.

Update: Look at the guy in the centre with the brick

Great pictures. From 06scura check them out. Hat tip (Red Mum)

Update: 37 arrested.

Update: Elblogador has a good piece on it.

Update: The rioting seems to have died down thank god.

Update: Philbsboro has more photos

Update: Loads more Photos on Flickr

Update 17:41: 16 in Hospital 6 of them Gardaí and 40 arrested

Update 21:39. From the Dublin City traffic Camera. A battered and bruised O'Connell Street returns to "normal". I will upload a post a more substantial post about The Riots and the consequences Later

Update: 23:00 CNN say it is IRA supporters

Auds has links to other blogs talking about it An Spailpin has an interesting theory

Update: Shocking Picture of an Asian Guy being attacked. There certainly more to this riot then republicanism

Back seat drivers have pictures. Hat tip TAFKABO on Slugger

Update: United Irelander has some shocking Video footage.

Update: Riots in portadown as well.

More videos here.

Twenty talks about it as only twenty can. Direct, true and very crude.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell. Says Gardaí 'were unprepared for Dublin riot' Update: A special Sunday Bunch Podcast.

Update : The Dail(parliment) Debate about the riots has started. Can be followed here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Kevin Myres 1916 Questions

Kevin Myres in the Irish Times on thuresday asked 5 questions saying that no one answered them. So here I will attempt to answer them.

What right had the 1916 insurgents to kill anyone? Why had none of the signatories of the Proclamation ever stood for parliament? How could they call the butchers of Belgium "gallant allies"? How could people today "celebrate" an orgy of violence in which hundreds of innocent Irish people died?,

First question. Their right came from the quest for freedom. Whether or not the country was better run by the British or not is beside the issue. People have the right to be free. Self-determination if you will. If you think they didn't have a right then what right have the people of Iraq to be free. Which Mr Myres is in favour of.

The last election prior to 1916 was in 1910. In 1910 Eamon Ceannt was not in any movement he joined the IRB in 1913 Joseph Plunkett was also not in any movement joining the IRB in 1915 Thomas MacDonagh was also not in any movement (save Gaelic League ) joining the ORB in 1915 Pearse was busy trying to keep his lost making school afloat and was not involved in politics. James Connolly was deputy head of the ITGWU so his efforts were devote to that
So in 1910 only one of the leaders Sean MacDiarmada was active in a political way. Being in the IRB. It would therefore it is not particularly unusual that none of the leaders ran for parliament.

Their gallant allies gave them their weapons. They hoped the Germans if they won would give them a republic. They were unlikely to criticise them. Did Canada condemn the butchers of Dresden.? War time politics is rarely ever moral. And always Machievalian

How could people today "celebrate" an orgy of violence. Every country does American, France Ireland is no different 1916 is our defining moment.

I worth about this here.1916 Commemoration and Neo-Redmondness

Also to his point. Did the murderers of Jerry McCabe not arrogate that self-same right. No the difference with the North is in the south well over 90% of the people were nationalists that wanted to move away from Britain. They were fighting the majorities cause. In the North the IRA could never say it was fighting the majorities cause.

Top 6 Friday Threats to world Peace.

6. North Korea. Some time ago got nuclear weapons. This regime is extreme and crumbling. They will not stop at using these weapons to survive. Also with American armies in South Korea. They may get itchy fingers on the button.

5. China’s booming economy is making it hungry for resources. They are investing heavily in African countries. Expanding their influence. The west thought the opening of the economy would lead to increased freedom for it’s people. But what cases such as Google show. Is this regimes power is not being diminished. And they still have their eyes on Taiwan who is supported by America.

4. Russia’s Gas grip on Europe. I have talked about this.

3. The collapse of the U.N . The U.N is the one organisation that can bring countries together to work together and work through divisions. But as I argued here the UN’s inability to effectively work beyond self interests could herald its demise as a body that can help maintain world peace.

2. Fundamental Islam. Does this one need to be explained. Iran, Syria, 9/11 Madrid 7/11 reaction to Danish cartoons. Fundamental Islamist are manipulating the poor moderates to make them believe that they are at war with the west. That they have to destroy the west. This large bank of hatred building up is going to boil over and effect us all. And people in the west like these people. Are helping the fundamental Imams turn moderate Muslims in to potential Jihadists.

1. Oil makes the world go round. It is vital for every countries economy and food production. Without it the world order would collapse. As resources diminish oil will drive countries to more and more desperate measures.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Paragraph Problems

It seems Blogger has got rid of all the paragraph spacing in posts. Sorry about this. Hopefully can get it sorted soon.

Mary, Mary quite contrary.....

Poor Mary McAleese has as ever been caught up in a somewhat important argument, instigated on a number of occasions by her predecessor, Mary Robinson-what the hell is her job? We use non-committal words such as ‘figure head role’, ‘symbolic’, ‘representative’, ‘guardian of the constitution’, without understanding them, hearing about the expense to the taxpayer of running the Presidency on a slow news day but based on the fact that until 1990 we were largely forking out for green fees never really having to ask big questions. Our constitution says that she takes precedence over all others in the state, yet the woman cannot take a trip abroad without the permission of the Dail and certainly her remarks in Saudi Arabia last week would have been written to the satisfaction of the government.
There are few apolitical acts, she is caught up in power struggles where her role is essentially cowering over the elderly in nursing homes and cowering over the young in maternity awards and generally not being allowed to pass comment on anything that happens in between these stages in the life cycle.

However, the debates at the moment on the exact nature of her duties, how any powers are negated by the governments veto and the extent to which she can be said to represent us have dominated our media with each missing the essential point. They have failed to grasp the primordial instinct driving the Presidents actions at the moment.

It is clear that there are two many women named Mary in Irish politics and McAleese needs to create a legacy of some sort in this era of Mary’s. What careful political orchestration, she clearly took a master class in ‘Political Shaking It Up Big Time’. Class 1: speak at a press conference in Saudi Arabia, in a room where women use a different exit to the men and sit behind a screen. You are there to ensure Saudis continue to use their oil money to buy our butter, you choose to make a some way political statement. Instead of commenting on how your sex is not allowed make eye contact with men in your host country (that would be condoned and make the news after 6.30 when everyone has turned over to ‘Home and Away’), which is so old news, jump on the Cartoon bandwagon knowing you’ll upset people back home. Robinson before her brought Rwandan atrocities to our attention, shook Gerry Adams hand pre cease fire and passed comment on the divorce referendum with no shortage of objection on all accounts. McAleese needs to make her mark in light of such actions. (Don’t forget Robinson’s husband Nick is a cartoonist himself so there would be a tactical team in place to keep her away from microphones were she still our head of state at the moment for the benefit of Irish embassies all over the Middle East at the moment. )

Mary Wallace’s return to Irish politics, albeit on the back bench, has been turned into a story for some reason and no doubt will spell the end of the Haughey legacy in Irish politics. It was worth the sacrifice, clearly the return was instigated to get rid of Sile DeValera and ensure the sanctity of Mary’s in the Dail. Smell conspiracy much? I pity poor Liz O’Donnell and how the front bench will deal with the affront her parents made to Irish politics when they christened her Liz. Her mentor, Mary Harney will be forever remembered for her arranged marriage to some poor bastard from the VHI to make her seem human and the fact that the collapsing dam that is our health services have been made worse by her sticking her finger in it. Mary O’Rourke has spoken on national radio from a bath and signed off on the Luas routes not being connected so to herald her campaign to return to front line politics will no doubt pose nude on the front of ‘The Village’. McAleese has a tough job ahead of her making her mark in the annals of Irish history, how can she hope to be included in the list of famous Mary’s of Ireland when she must contend with Mary Hanafin having spent her tenure in Education talking about league tables while a quarter of our adult population are some way illiterate. How she can hope to make as big a political cock-up as Mary Lou McDonnell to join a political party and look dumbfounded every time you are presented with evidence (including their website) of their ‘past’ as if you are hearing it for the first time. I think Mary Lou should run for President, no woman can dodge political questions so well.

If you look a little deeper though you will see this is part of a Mary manifesto. Let the progression of this blog, from discussing empty rhetorical politics to the epiphany that has been the realisation of the mass political conspiracy that is going on guide you. Let this blog be the first to start asking the real questions- is this the beginning of the men of the Dail creating ‘Stepford Wife’ type women politicians and the dodgy computer system they bought is only programmed to name all its models Mary, maybe the women in place were about to make progress or instill some reform so the men decided to replace them with incompetent bureaucrats? The perplexed look of countless farmers across the country is now easily explained away, no one wanted to deal with them so they got a Mary drone (Coughlan). Lets hope she was programmed some way decently to cope with the bird flu, having her in place was good forward planning for the Dail boys who aren’t too hot on the idea of implementing national strategies. The same thinking clearly applied in allocating the poisoned chalice of Health, give it to a Mary. O’Rourke may have been an early prototype, she was simply sent to the Seanad in the last election for some re-wiring. Was it really a coincidence that the borders of her constituency were altered at election time? Clearly, Robinsons model did not work or maybe it worked too well so she has been sent on an international tour to show how Mary’s can be used to make a mark on the international stage- lets use her to have our first female President. Perception is very important. McAleeses model must be proving effective that they arranged for her to go uncontested, maybe they got Michael D his own Marybot to keep him quite? Is McAleeses programming funny at the moment that she is acting up or is she a pawn in some ploy?

Also, why send a prominent politician such as Charlie McCreevy to Brussels, is he spreading word of the conspiracy or has it already reached their shores and he is looking for funding to upgrade and get sexier deputies? Maybe the hope is that if the women get better looking, T.D’s will turn up in the Dail or people will start watching Oireachtas report? Is this the mad plan of a man who wants to reform public broadcasting and end the torture that is Fair City? We have sent John Bruton to represent the EU in the UN, that can’t be a real job so surely he is the representative of the conspiracy of the States, Hilary Clinton’s days are definitely numbered. Has the technology already reached there, maybe the Democrats swopped the Bush Twins with Mary politicobots? Know now that there are weapons of mass destruction, its title- Project Mary.

P.S: Reply if you want to help me break into the Dail to help Liz O’Donnell, she needs our help, we must act fast. She was on the Political Party was Ursula Halligan last week, surely the kiss of death from the master minds behind her scheduling.

The hardmen Trinity

There is this image of people who go to Trinity. As rich D4ers who speak highly proper English. The people that Sinn Fein like to call west-brits. The kinds of people who go on about Drico. And talk about being Ghetto while being basically weak wusses. I will admit I had that kind of prejudice as well. So I was walking around Trinity yesterday. and I was watching everyone an they looked like any other college campus in Ireland. However I soon realised they are the toughest people in the country.

Graffiti is a part of any modern campus. It varies slightly from place to place but not really in tone. It can be quiet intimidating. Now I am not that easily intimidated. I mean some years ago when I was threatened to be stabbed in Limerick. I was not intimidated. True it was 8am on a Saturday morning and my would be stabber was cycling a bike with stabilisers up William Street and was only about 8. But still it was Limerick he probably had a knife.

But in trinity I saw possibly the most intimidating thing I have ever seen graffitied. I mean I have been in Bathrooms in NUIG where I was told by arrows pointing at the bottom of the cubicle door to "Beware of limbo dancing Midgets". In Queens in Belfast I was told stuff like the UVF will kill all Fenians

However Trinity tops all that for the sheer hatred and connotations of violence visited upon my person. Shivers ran down my spine as I read

"you smell like a fool"
My image of Triners being wusses has been well and truly shattered they truly are as tough as teak.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Single Issue Candidates.

Back in the day of Dev he tried to get rid of the P.R system of voting in favour of the British First past the post system. He was convinced that is was the source of all the weak governments of the 50s. To make sure that he would get a Yes vote he ran the referendum on the same day as the presidential election hoping that his popularity would result in yes vote. But P.R is widely loved in Ireland. It gives minority parties a voice they would not have in a first past. Considering that they are the only ones that deviate from the centre it is a good thing. But one aspect of the P.R system that is not good for the overall political environment of Ireland is the rise of single issue independents. In 1997 neither coalition had the ability to form a government. So the independents had to be courted. 5 out of the 6 independents (Michael Lowery voted for his old party) were bought by Bertie. He promised them roads and hospitals and loads of investment. The rest of the country saw this. They saw Jakie Healy Rae getting a disproportionate slice of the states cake. So what happen at the next election. 13 independents were elected to the Dail. This was mainly out of greed. They wanted their area to get something that they wanted. They no longer thought that the government should be allowed to make decisions based on the greatest good. They thought they deserved the services more then anyone else. However it backfired and Bertie got loads of seats and no longer needed the independents. They had no power. No speaking rights no way of solving the problems they were elected to fix. So what did they do. They went on reality T.V shows. The funny things is if you look at decentralisation it is quiet clear that parties themselves are not unwilling to give disproportional slices to their own patches. But we still have talk of more single issue candidates. The Rossport 5 were rumoured to be running in the next election and now the relatives of the victims of the stardust tragedy are running. While these peoples issue are the most important to them. Unless we have a hung Dail. They will have absolutely no power to do anything for their people. And the country will have less representatives that will have and support a broad range of ideas that effect us all.

Why Kate Moss proves democracy does not work.

Kate Moss has been voted the most stylish British woman of all time I mean come on one this is a useless survey. But two style is subjective I mean Queen Elizabeth was stylish in her day. But yet again the masses show that they can't be trusted in magazine /telly polls. I mean Robbie Williams got best male singer of all time. Some years ago. Who votes in this kind of thing. It ain't men so I guess I have to leave this answer hanging.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why Sinn Fein get treated better by the media then any other party

One of the many things that shiners like to speak of is that the media is against them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The media gives Sinn Fein by far the least grilling of any party. I’m sure there are many out there who don’t believe me. And think the Media are unfair to Sinn Fein. That they are “demonising them” that they are “biased” “Paisleyite” and “West Brits”.

But lets look at a few points.

1. Sinn Fein do not consider murdering a member of the Garda Siochana (Irish Police for any foreign readers) wrong. 2. They do not consider the Irish Army as the legitimate army of the state. 3. They do not believe that people of certain ethnic backgrounds have the right to private property. 4. They consider people convicted of training FARC guerrillas heroes 5. They do not recognise the police service of a neighbouring state. 6. They support foreign terrorist organisations 7. Their armed “wing” the IRA committed the largest bank robbery in the history of theses Islands 8. Their armed “wing” tried to cover up the murder of Robert McCartney. Then offered to execute the killers.

So firstly I will deal with point 3. In the Irish Times today with zero comment. It said that at its Ard Feis Sinn Fein decided that “Lands owned by "British aristocratic landlords" in the State should be seized by compulsory purchase orders,” This is the kind of policy Hitler started bringing into Germany against the Jews. This policy is that if someone is of “British aristocratic” ethnicity they don’t have the right to private policy. Considering that Ireland has not been British for 85 years or so. It is highly unlikely that these people who own the land were not born under Irish Rule. But Sinn Fein think that due to their ethnic background they have less rights. This is a fascist policy if there ever was one. Yet do we see the papers criticise them. No. It is a side note in the general Sinn Fein backslapping in the media.

Now such things have been discussed in the media such as the Northern Bank and Robert McCartney but the level of coverage and condemnation that Sinn Fein received was a kin to what Former Minister Michael Lowery got. So lets weigh up the differences. Michael Lowery got a house extension done as payment for a business dealing. Without paying tax. The IRA robbed €38 million. Are these even remotely similar. Why are they dealt with similarly. Michael Lowery appears in the media more then the North bank. Michael Lowery evaded tax in 1996. The Northern Bank raid was just over a year ago. At this rate the Northern Bank raid will be like a myth in 8 years time. The offer from the IRA to execute the killers of Robert McCartney shows that these people have zero respect for Irish morals. People including Sinn Fein talk about the corruption in Fianna Fail. Yet few journalists are asking the questions where is all the IRA’s money going. How is Sinn Fein so well financed? Much of the corruption in Fianna Fail was found out by Frank Connolly. Do I have to spell out why he found corruption in Fianna Fail and not Sinn Fein.

So why does the media act this way. Are they scared. Are they afraid that they will walk down one dark alley to many so day? I think the reason is that Sinn Fein is still seen as a marginalised terrorist party. That they should be encouraged towards peace. This is all well and good. We don’t want to frighten such organisations away from peace. But this is no longer applicable. Sinn Fein are a party that wish to enter into government and “say” they want to pursue purely peaceful politics. This means they should no longer get an easy ride from the press. No longer should the party be not viciously chastised for not recognising the Army of the state. They believe that the murder of a member of the Gardai is “unfortunate”. They say this and people say that is a bad attitude to take. You might think the media’s reaction to Ms Ferris saying it was bad imagine the reaction if Trevor Sergeant said it. Really sit down and think about this.

Seriously clear your mind.

I’ m not joking. Clear your mind.

Is it clear?

Good. Now imagine you are watching Prime Time or the Political Party. Trevor Sergeant is being interviewed. He talks about the Kyoto treaty and Bio Fuel. Then he is asked about the murder of Gerry McCabe. He replies that it was “unfortunate”. Now imagine the reaction of the supposedly anti-Sinn Fein press. Got that imagine in you head.

Now compare that to what happens when Gerry Adams says it. Would the presses reaction be remotely similar. I think not.

Another motion that Sinn Fein support is the removal of the offences against that state. Now I will let Richard Waghorne explain why that is bad. Are the media going to ask Sinn Fein why they want to weaken our defences against terrorist organisations. When the latest IMC report said the likes of the CIRA and RIRA are recruiting. I guess the next few days will tell us that.

Britain is our most important ally. Tony talks to Bertie as much if not more often then he talks to George W. You would think that what ever the make up of the next future government. Whether it is Enda and David. The British Irish Link is going to be very strong. Britain is our largest export partner. Yet Sinn Fein still consider that the British people were legitimate targets. Why is this not been questioned.

The reason I think the media treat Sinn Fein with more leniency then any other party is because they hold every other party to a higher standard. And that attitude had some merit. They were after all not really a democratic party. Yet now they are in the position where they maybe in power. The media can no longer not hold them to the higher standard of the other parties. When they say they move on policing in the North they should not be congratulated for saying “might” they should be vilified for not supporting the rule of law. The era of uneven Sinn Fein coverage needs to end. We need the media to expect Sinn Fein to have the same morals and integrity as every other party.

Where is the Freedom to offend now.

Dec makes a really good point. Many of the arguments about the Cartoons were about the Freedom to offend. Saying they would defend the Freedom to offend. Are they defending David Irvings right to offend people by denying the Holocaust? David Irving is sentenced to three years in prison. The Danish Cartoonists are protected. To me I can see the difference between Irving and cartoonists. But will a Muslim in Iran see it. The real question is where are the right to offend people now?

And the nominees are...

The Irish Blog Award Shortlist is up. Check it out. As expected the Dossing Times did not make it. Ah well. But looking at the competition it would have been a surprise to have been shortlisted.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Shocking Court Case

If anyone thinks our courts are bad. This has to be the worst verdict I have ever heard of. Italian court: Not a virgin? Sex crimes aren't as serious (hat tip blast furnace canada)

Gerry's speech at ard feis

Love or hate the guy you have to admit Gerry Adams is one of the greatest politicians on this Island. For sheer political genius, charisma and he is by far and away the best orator. With the young shiners on display behind him Gerry Adams took to the podium. For his speech.

After the usual thanks he started of by equating the 1916 rising and the hunger strikers. Both aniversities are coming up soon. One of the deepest desires of the republican movement has been to make the Northern conflict seem as being the same and inextricably linked to 1916-1921. The hunger strikers are the same to the republican movement as the 1916 rising is to the first Dail. The great martyrdom of the troubles. Sands is their Pierce. So to them getting the 1981 hunger strikers legitimised in the eyes of the rest of the country is vital in legitimising the troubles. In the next few months be prepared to hear plenty of sentence containing both 1916 and 1981.

The 1916 rising was a big theme in this speech with Bertie still saying FF can be the heirs of the philosophy of the proclamation. Mr Adams said “These are great words, great ideas, which it is our task to see implemented.” Sinn Fein say they are a socialist party (Tom Cosgrave disagrees). In quiet a dazzling display of political prowess. They highlight the inequality stats and highlight cherishing all of the children of the nation equally“ part of the proclamation to not only attack Fianna Fail on society but also to attack them on 1916 in one move. Karl Rove eat your heart out.

He questioned the use of the army for the 1916 commemoration. Saying that his preference is “An inclusive, civic and cultural celebration, which educates us all, particularly about Irish republicanism,” Has this got more to do with the fact that they don’t recognise the Army. By inclusive Mr Adams does not mean Poles or Nigerians he means Unionists. Considering that nationalist not going to join orange parades that celebrate the Battle of the Boyne. Is it likely that unionist are going to celebrate the 1916 rising? If Unionist are ever going to be integrated into Ireland then we have to accept that we have differences that are never going to be fully solved. We have to accept that they are different suggesting they are not only deepens the devoid.

This is followed with the “five great strategic challenges facing Sinn Féin” The first is implementing the good Friday agreement including the issue of policing. This is nice to see but considering they are not going to join the police boards. We are not going to see this issue resolved in the next year. Next is that they must “engagement with unionism”. Then he called for Sinn Fein to “build support for Irish unity in Britain” considering that they consider that the blowing up Brits was legitimate. I doubt they will find much solidarity in Britain. However with the North’s financial drain on the British exchequer the union probably has never has as little support. Sinn Fein may indeed have something there. However perhaps they should let the SDLP carry the torch on that one. He called also for tackling of the equality in Ireland. Then he point out that “There are more republicans in Ireland today than at any time in our history”. Which is quiet true since our population has not been this high since the 19th century.

Gerry then pointed out “No one should harbour the notion that the republican struggle can be advanced any further by an armed campaign. This leadership is firmly opposed to such a departure”. On this I have to congratulate Mr Adams. It is questionable whether the IRA would have destroyed their weapons without his presence. If Ruairí Ó Brádaigh had remained leader of Sinn Fein who knows what might have happened since.

I have argued before that about the possibility of economic links between North and South and how unionism needs to realise this. Gerry also talks about this. He talks about what has happened the north. “This includes job losses, privatisation, education cuts, falling incomes for those working in agriculture, a failure to produce any strategy to deal with suicide prevention, and much more”. This is interesting the fact that he equates privatisation as a bad thing. Considering that the biggest problem with the Northern Economy is the over reliance on the state. That the states monopoly on talent stifles the economy and that privatisation is the solution. But I will let an economist answer that one.

Gerry mentions that racism needs to be tackled and it is true. But he can start by dealing with it in his own party. They should stop considering calling someone a west Brit an insult. Racism is not just against black people you know. He also states quiet rightly that “The reality of our time is that more money is spent on military projects than on aid or fair trade policies.” Which is quiet true Sinn Fein /Ira have spent more on military projects then on aid or fair trade policies.

Then Mr Adams moves on to issues of the Irish State. He makes excellent points about the Health service and the provision of social housing. Then he takes a dig at everyone’s favourite punch bag builders. Blaming them for the lack of houses. Even though we built more houses last year then ever before in this country. He attacks the government on childcare a real vote getter. Many seats around the country may be decided on this issue. The party with the best plan may be the winner. Sinn Fein’s plan is very strong. However will the voters who accept this accept the tax increases needed to pay for this.

The Irish language is very major part of Irish identity. So Gerry links the 1916 rising and the hunger strikes again to it. More reinforcing of the 1981 part of Irishness. However they do point out that teaching methods need to be improved. Something I think we can all agree on. He attacks the service directive which I don’t know much about so I wouldn’t comment. He also attacks Pat Rabbitte over his migrate stance. Which any reader of mine will know is one of my new pet hobbies.

Again the Swedish model rears it head in Ireland. This time from Gerry. “Sinn Féin would increase taxes on capital gains, property speculation and corporate profits. Of course, our policies will be attacked by those who have mismanaged the boom years of the Celtic Tiger” Funny how he considers the bringing in of the policies that have created the boom is mismanagement. He attacks FF/PD agriculture record. Is this showing signs that Sinn Fein are going to go after the farming vote? Considering that the government have done a good job on farming considering the pressure from Europe. He attacks the new pet hate in the country toll booths. Also the Rossport 5 make an appearance in his speech. He says over the government that “They hand over our natural resources to multi-nationals like Shell”. Considering the cost of exploring and the amount of empty wells that exploration ( Hat tip Gavin) off Irelands coast has yielded. It is highly unlikely that the government could ever have afforded to explore the sea as multinationals have.

Before launching into the final stretch of the speech he makes the ever original brown envelope joke.(edit: 16:55 19/02)He talked of "payments made to crooked politicians by corrupt developers. ".While ignoring payments to corrupt Sinn Fein members by the British Secert Service. (end Edit) Then the section entitled Make partition history. Make partition history has to be one of the most shameful exploitation of a charitable cause ever. Attempting to equate the evils of partition with the evils of world poverty is bad taste to say the least. Bob Geldof must be pissed.

Again the 1916 hunger strikers link is made and it is wound up with a tiocfaigh ár lá. So what do you make of it all. Personnel I think it was a very clever speech. Sinn Fein certainly are setting their stall out as the socialist party in Irish politics. With labour moving to the centre the left is relatively clear. But to fully emerge into the main stream they have to move the troubles more into the mainstream. To legitimise the troubles. The constant reinforcement to the 1916 rising - hunger strikers link is very much part of this. If they can place the hunger strikers into the legacy of 1916 during the next few months commemorations. It will bring a certain legitimacy to Sinn Fein. Then they will be able to move into the mainstream. Whether this happens depends on how everyone reacts to it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Irish Election Blog

The Irish Election Blog is a small attempt by Irish bloggers to get together and blog the Irish election. Most posts that appear will be cross-posted with the authors own personal blog. It is the intention of the contributors to add unique content to the blog in the run up to the election. It will be interesting to see how will this go. If this will become popular and increase blog readership it could be great. I am going to post some stuff over there. Not sure how much yet. But I'll see how it goes. But check out the site some great bloggers posting there. And Labour Deputy Leader Liz McManus has the introductory post. From the site
If you are a blogger interested in joining this project, email election-2007-at-yahoogroups.co.uk replacing -at- with @. All bloggers are welcome, irrespective of ideology, we just ask that you have some familiarity with Irish politics.
So join up if you wish.

Debate and motions at the Sinn Fein Ard Feis???

I feel really angry with my self. I used the Family Guy "Drive by argument joke" on a post. Now I have a post that can really use it. However forever not caring I am going to repeat the joke. But more about that later. Back in November Sinn Fein suspended Francie Molloy for speak out against party policy. Even though he was reinstated it does show a very small tolerance of dissent. As PS said on Balrog
This is not the case I know myself that debate in encouraged within the confines of the party. I have taken part in debates on policy with other party emembers and we often disagree on certain issues. But, as Francie himself knows, there is a tradition that debate and dissent should be welcomed but left behind closed doors. Unfortunately Francie neglected to respect this tradition this time.
Now Damian Blake on his blog disagreed with some of his party (Fianna Fail) policies and at time of writing he has not been suspended or to my knowledge threatened with suspension. It really does make you wonder. Also Ms Ferris saying she was “not authorised” to comment on Garda Gerry McCabe also makes you wonder are Sinn Fein politicians allowed to comment on anything that hasn’t got prior approval from head office. Is the Ard Feis of any use. Considering they have a policy of “behind closed doors” are they really going to debate much during the Ard Feis in front of the media. Is the only likely true debate going to be drive by arguments
Irishman: I say, Jimmy, isn't that Paddy O’. Neill, the young upstart chap who's been touting the merits of a united free Congo (motion 84) ?
Jimmy: Why begar, tis. Irishman: Oh, let's get him. [They drive up.] Irishman: Oh Paddy... I disagree. [drives off]
But maybe I am doing a disservice to the party members. Maybe they allow debate and Ms Ferris was wrong and Francie Molloy was a case of mistaken identity. Maybe the debate about the future is just that a debate about the Good Friday Agreement and not a ploy to make it seem that Sinn Fein is teetering on the edge of a spilt. In an attempt to make the two governments from fear of a Sinn Fein split act to avert the spilt by pushing Paisley to dance to their tune. Some of the motions are interesting like the one calling for British Ministers to have no role in decision making and then condemn the British for under funding the North. Others like calling for the
“Dublin and London governments to ensure that all loyalist paramilitary groupings follow the example of Oglaigh na hEireann and put arms beyond use forthwith”
Last time I checked Oglaigh na hEireann had all its arms. In fact they had joined new EU battle groups. Yet Sinn Fein (while ignoreing that the other Republican paramilitary’s have all their weapons) showed that this party that wishes to be in government does not recognise the Irish Army. As Oglaigh na hEireann to them is not the Irish Army but the Provisional IRA. A party in government that sees another secret organization as the legitimate army of the state is not a pleasant thought. To me anyway.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Top 6 Friday - My Favourite Cartoon Characters

I've gone for the 6 characters that at the moment i would want to watch given the chance. 6. Bugs Bunny Bugs Bunny is the first on my list at number 6, and nobody else on this list can claim to have been around now for over 60 years. He's also the earliest cartoon character I can remember watching as a child.

Bugs is witty, intelligent, rarely flustered and always one step ahead. He's also arrogant and cocky, but just to the right degree. Crucially, he never initiates the quarrell whether it be against Elmur Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck or Marvin the Martian. Bugs is just happy being Bugs, living his life, eating his carrots, until somebody comes and picks a fight with him. When they do, he responds by humiliating them. That's key.

His influence on popular culture is incredible. He's has one of the most instantly recogniseable faces across the world and his catch phrase is as famous as he is.Bugs was untouchable for well over 60 years, until finally succumbing last year in the Family Guy movie. Still, he had a good run.

5. Zapp 'The Zapper' Brannigan - Futurama Possibly the most suprising entry on my list is Zapp Brannigan or the "Zapper" at number 5. A highly decorated General of DOOP (Democratic order of Planets), Zapp has risen through the ranks to become Earths greatest hero in the year 3000. Most of this appears to have been down to luck with little of it being down to his smarts or ability. His successful military victories include defeating the pacifists of the Ghandi nebula, conquering the Retiree People of the Assisted Living Galaxy, and leading the Earth Army to victory over the Spiderians of Tarantulon 6. (hat tip Wikipedia)

Zapp reminds me a great deal of one of my favourite comedic characters of all time, Inspector Clouseau. Like Clouseau he has risen through the ranks predominantly on luck. He has no true sense of himself, seeing himself as dashing, intelligent, sophisticated, sexy, totally believing his own hype. For example he claims to suffer from a sexy learning disorder, 'sexlexia'. In reality however he is a buffoon, an idiot who is inept in his position but for some reason he gets by and the world is as oblivious to his defects as he is. Such a character has great comedic potential.

He boasts about his sexual conquest of Leela ("Kif, I have made it with a woman. Inform the men") and is determined for a repeat ("But as a gentleman, I must warn you. If you so much as glance at another woman, I'll be all over Leela like a fly on a pile of very seductive manure.").

Oh and he hates neutrals, "I hate these filthy neutrals Kif! With enemies you know where they stand but with neutrals? Who knows! It sickens me."

4. Wile E Coyote - Road Runner Shorts If ever somebody was in need of protections provided to consumers under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1893, Wile E. Coyote was it. How many times were his brilliant and intricate plans thwarted by substandard Acme products?

I love the Road Runner shorts for a number of reasons. The plot is simple (Coyote chases Roadrunner, but never succeeds), they are incredibly clever and witty and in Wile E. Coyote they have the near perfect anti-hero.

Wile E. Coyote is the first aggressor I can remember rooting for as a child. Of course this was mostly motivated by that smug Roadrunner who was in dire need of being brought down a peg or two. I mean most of the time Roadrunner escapes because of some flaw in Acme equipment and yet he always felt the need to rub salt in the wounds with a "Meep, Meep" before dashing off. Nonetheless, with Coyote, here's a guy who is doomed to fail but he never relents and kept coming up with these incredile schemes to reach his goal.

He's the epitomone of the mantra "if at first you don't succeed..." Creator Chuck Jones once proclaimed that "Wile E. is my reality, Bugs Bunny is my goal", I can relate.On top of that, he's flat out hilarious.

3. Stewart Gilligan Griffin - Family Guy I resolved at the start of this list not to include two characters from the same show. Stewie wins over Peter simply because I cannot remember seeing another character similar to Stewie. A one year old American sexually ambiguous baby genius, who speaks with a British accent, and who's goals in life is to kill his mother and rule the planet.

Yes, Stewie is nothing if not the a-typical infant. Stewie slowly descended into insanity in the 9 months he spent trapped in his mothers womb. To pass the time he kept a diary ("Day 171: I've sprouted another finger. Counting the one from yesterday, I'm up to 11"). He also spent his 9 months plotting the destruction of Europe and was followed out of the womb by several maps, marking major European cities.

Stewie like most great characters is a bunch of oxymorons. He's suave and sophisticated, reading the Wall Street journal. He's cool, with obscure pop culture references aplenty (witness his hilarious parody of William Shatner singing Rocketman). He also dreams of world domination.

All this from a baby, who requires adult assistance to change his diapers. Brilliant.

2. Eric Theodore Cartman - South Park I was relatively slow to "get" the appeal of South Park. As far as I could tell all the hype was over one of the characters dying every week and 8 year old kids swearing. No big deal. Then I saw Eric Cartman feed Scott Tenorman's parents to him in some chilli because of a dispute over pubes and all that changed.

"You guys, you guys, Guess what?"

Cartman is quiet simply the most selfish, spolit, racist, anti-semitic, ill tempered, manipulative and flat out evil 8 year old ever to appear on TV. And the funny thing is, you can't help but love the guy! Like Wile E. Coyote, Cartman is the anti-hero, the guy you shouldn't root for but can't help it. (It helps that he and I share a mutual contempt for hippies though!)

He is capable of innocence and shocking evilness. For example in the episode with Scott Tenorman alluded to above, Cartman thought he could beat Stan and the rest to puberty by buying some 'pubes' from an older boy, Scott. When he finds out that his newly acquired pubes are useless in that respect he hatches a diabolic scheme of revenge which ends up with Scott eating his own parents.

South Park in recent years has evolved into one of the finest political and social commentary shows on TV. It has improved year by year and its as funny as hell. Nonetheless, Cartman carrys the show, with episodes suffering when he is not at, or close to, the centre of the action.

Trying to pick a favourite Cartman moment is flat out impossible. Watch some episodes if you don't believe me. He is also responsible for some of the most shockingly un-P.C one liners I have ever heard. My favourite would probably be when he's trying to offload a bunch of aborted foetuses for stem cell research. As he haggles for the best price he declares:

"Oh plehease! Okay, you tell me where you can get aborted fetuses for seventy cents on the dollar? You tell me, Chuck? ...Yeah, I didn't think so-You know, I'm just like the fetuses, Chuck. I wasn't born yesterday, either. Uh huh. ...So are you gonna talk to me, or are we just gonna keep bullshitting each other? Breakin' my balls, Chuck."

1. Homer J. Simpson - The Simpsons Anybody who knows me, knows my affection for the greatest TV show in history, and the greatest cartoon character I've had the pleasure to watch. Homer quiet simply is the greatest. He's far and away the biggest reason I will watch an episode of the Simpsons time and time again and still find it funny. Whilst he's not as funny as he used to be he's still the man.

If I start talking here about Homer, I might not be able to stop. For some reason my head is an encyclopedia of scenes, quotes with him. Again ask anybody who knows me. If only it was as easy to memorise facts and figures at school! He's the only father I know of who uses examples of hitting a referee with a whisky bottle to explain emotions to his kids. He gives advice like "Trying is the first step toward failure" and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the code of the schoolyard. All entries in my Top 6 Simpsons episodes featured Homer heavily. That says all I need to say about Homer.

Homer Simpson, my favourite cartoon character of all time!

Honourable Mentions: Dangermouse, Pinky & the Brain, Tom & Jerry, Daffy Duck, Peter Griffin, Bart Simpson, Butters Stotch, Batman, Ralph Wiggum, Adam West, Marvin the Martian, Taz, Bender, Mutley.

Paris Hilton to play Mother Teresa

I am with United Irelander on this I don't know what to say. Other then is it the first of April all ready.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Next US president, Northern Ireland and other US polls

Just looking through some of the polling data on the next president. Looks like Rudy Giuliani at this stage would win the election. If he went. I always find polls interesting. Here is another poll from the same site. Seemingly in 1998 50% of Americans favored a United Ireland. While 17% favored remaining part of the UK. Seemingly 30% of Americans see Canada more as another State then another country. Very interesting site check it out.

Apartheid returns to Africa, Corruption remains

Apartheid is one of the worst crimes black people have to endure in the 20th century. But now it looks like Zimbabwe want to do the same to white people. From South Africa’s Mail & Guardian
“Banks in Zimbabwe must not enter into contracts with white commercial farmers without asking the government first, the official Sunday Mail reported. National Security Minister Didymus Mutasa said some financial institutions were "denying new [black] farmers loans ... on the basis that the white commercial farmers had title deeds of the farms as collateral," the paper reported.”
This is part of along series of measures brought in by Robert Mugabi to slowly remove democracy and white people's rights from Zimbabwe. He is cracking down on the media. Shuting down independent newspapers and arresting journalists saying (From NY Times)
The journalists were "driven by the love for the United States dollars and British pounds, which they are paid by the foreign media houses to peddle lies,"
In an interesting case of irony. In 1983 Emmerson Mnangagwa, then Minister of State Security (From this is Zimbabwe)
He told a rally at the Victoria Falls that the government was considering as one option the burning down of “all villages infested with dissidents”. The dissidents were, in his words, “cockroaches” and 5 Brigade was the “DDT” brought in to eradicate them
DDT was a famous chemical that cause a lot of damage to the environment it was used in. Same to for the Zanu PF's rule of Zimbabwe. Inflation in Zimbabwe in January was a spectacular 613% compared to neighbouring Zambia at 12% and a GDP growth of -4%. Back in 2000 inflation was 50%. This is due mainly to Mugabi's policies. Like many countries in Africa white people controlled much of the decline in Zimbabwe’s economic collapse has been Mugabe’s policies of forced seizure of White owned land. Land redistribution has always been an issue in Zimbabwe since independence. It started on a voluntary selling basis which didn’t work as few sold. Then in 1992 it changed to a forced selling basis but with fair compensation. This was widely corrupt and the land merely went to cabinet ministers and other cronies. Because of this Britain then stopped its aid to the land reform programme. In 2000 the government staged a referendum to pass a constitution that would allow the acquiring of land compulsorily without compensation. The Government lost but supporters seized land anyway. Now there is 300 white farmers left farming in Zimbabwe, down from more than 4 000 in 2005. While white farmers have their land is due to colonial rule the manner in which Mugabe is going about rectifying this is counter-productive. By destroying the agricultural sectors viability he is in essence making the Black population less well off then before. And the country has severe fuel and food shortages. Protestors against the government are stoped. On Tuesday 159 women and students marching for bread and roses were arrested and jailed including a 0ne-year old baby. In May of 2005 he started Operation Murambatsvina" (Drive Out Trash) hundreds of thousands of poor peoples homes were destroyed. (From Wikipedia)
The Zimbabwean Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, said that Operation Murambatsvina was meant to “clean the country of the crawling mass of maggots bent on destroying the economy”

So will anything be done to halt Mugabe.The easiest option is for the South African Government to put pressure on Mugabe. As Economist, Tom Hawkin said of South African President Thabo Mbeki (From Disillusioned Lefty)

"If he wants to, he can force Zanu-PF to the negotiating table, the exit package, free and fair elections" It's just that he appears not to want to, or lacks the conviction that this is what he should do but the South Africans seems unwilling to do this.
(From BBC)
South Africa's Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlaminini Zuma said South Africa would "never" condemn its Zimbabwean counterpart. "It is not going to happen as long as this government is in power," she told journalists.

So unless there is a change of government in South Africa. Which considering the main opposition has 12.4% of the vote compared to the ANC's 69.7 % . Thats not going to happen any time soon so little is going to be done. The next avenue is the African Union but considering that the actions of Mugabe are not uncommon in other African countries they are unlikely to act. The unwillingness to act was vocalised by an AU spokesman who said (From BBC)

If the government that they elected say they are restoring order by their actions, I don't think it would be proper for us to go interfering in their internal legislation,"
Zimbabwe has left the commenwealth so it has little influence in this situation. (I wrote about the Commenwealth here) The next port of call for action as always is the UN. Now as I pointed out over Iran the UN is weak due to other countries self interests. China is investing heavily in many African countries and Zimbabwe is no different. It is Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign investor and eager to get its hand on the worlds second largest platinum exporters stock. It is also the supplier of the radio-jamming equipment that the government uses to suppress the radio media. So the likelihood of China supporting the ousting of Mugabe is slim to none and slim just left town.

So then we are left with every anti-war peaceniks bogeyman a “Coalition of the Willing”. From (The Washington Post)
David Coltart, an opposition member of parliament, said Zimbabwe has been on the Bush administration's radar screen, even if not the president's. "George Bush is too preoccupied by Iraq to be personally engaged in the Zimbabwe crisis," he said. "But Colin Powell certainly was a friend of those struggling to bring democracy. It's too early to say whether Condoleezza Rice is focused on Zimbabwe."
In October Mugabe speaking at a UN meeting said (From BBC)
"Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed [an] unholy alliance, form an alliance to attack an innocent country?" asked Mr Mugabe, apparently referring to Iraq. "The voice of Mr Bush and the voice of Mr Blair can't decide who shall rule in Zimbabwe, who shall rule in Africa, who shall rule in Asia, who shall rule in Venezuela, who shall rule in Iran, who shall rule in Iraq," he said

Was this a pre-emptive strike against the likely main instigators of his ousting. His only hope would be to develop enough international sentiment against this. But other then China I can not see any country rally to his side. I see 4 future outcomes.

  1. South Africa gets its act together
  2. The people will no longer tolerate his corrupt and catastrophic rule and rise up and topple him.
  3. A coalition of the willing lead by America or South Africa will either invade, topple or encourage and help option 2
  4. He will die. The man is 82 on the 21st. So this is the most likely scenario. Will his successor follow in his footsteps and reform. Is another question.

But I think Mugabe’s days are numbered. This can only be a good thing for all people in Zimbabwe.

Cartoon from here

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Vote in Blog awards and win

Damien Mulley has announced that O2 are sponsoring I-mode phones as prizes if people vote in the Blog Awards. So please go vote Dossing Times (if you think we are worth it) and maybe you will win a phone. Voting ends Friday

Sean Haughey who does he think he is.

From RTE
The TD, who had been widely tipped for promotion, told RTE‰ News he believed he was best placed for the post and he was baffled by the decision not to appoint him. Mr Haughey said while he accepted that such appointments were entirely at the discretion of the Government, the decision indicated that he was unlikely to secure the higher office which would enable him to represent his constituents at the level they deserved.
Translation: Enable me to get the job I think I deserve. Also with talk of him moving to the PD's which would be spectacular considering the way his father treated Des O' Malley. This guy is a pure self-serving opportunist in my opinion. Just shows you the apple does fall far from the tree.

Hope for the Middle East

The always interesting Lebanon an Irish Experience through the bottom of a glass Has a great piece about the recent events in Lebanon.
MacDara was witness to a people at their best, Young and old, Christian , Druze and Muslim were all there to remind the politicians that it is there country and that they want to live together in peace and prosperity.
Lebanon is really showing the middle east how the future can be bright.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A drive-by arguement with....

Richard Waghorne of Sicilian Notes said
I don't have a problem with inequality, either of income or of opportunity, though I believe people are far better off in a free society rather than a planned society in any case.
Not so long ago Michael McDowell said that Inequality was good for the Economy. And people were like “how dare he”. “You can’t say that” “we are Irish we love each other equally” “we cherish each child of the state equally”. He is the minister for Justice Equality and Law reform he is suppose to lax lyrically about equality and yadda yadda yadda.

Few I think actually realised that he is right. Inequality is good for the economy in some ways. And everyone who is out there shocked at what McDowell said is glad of inequality.

I have argued before the case for a high minimum wage which I still stand by. But there is a limit to the height it will go can go before it will start price inflation. At a certain point the increased consumer spending will not compensate for a business costs so prices will rise. Thus as prices rise people will be getting less “value for money” then before and demand wage increases and thus creating loads of problems and job losses. (Edit Cause high inflation as well thus starting a vicious cycle)

The fact of the case is that to control inflation and give people the “value for money” they so crave we need inequality in the economy. Before anyone yells at me what about the Swedish model. Read this. Then you can yell away.

However in other ways inequality is not good for the economy. We are going to be a knowledge economy so we need to excel at it. That means every child should have equal access to education, health and an equal opportunity in life. It should not matter if a parent can pay to send their kids to a top school the free school needs to be as good. If it is not and rich kids get a better education then poor kids our economy will decline. We can not have a type of inbreed intellectual elite in this country coming from the same social strata(inbreed from a limited pool of people). Our economy needs the best of the best not the best of the rich. And with that then people will be better off.

So Richard. I disagree. neeeeeeeeeeumm
(if anyone doesn't get the family Guy Reference For Shame get thee to the DVD store)

Is Michael D talking lessons from Sinn Fein

Last night on Questions and Answers (watch here) Michael D Higgins said that Pat Rabbitte's remarks about 40 million poles was unfortunate. Is that not what Sinn Fein say of the killing of Garda Jerry McCabe. That is was unfortunate. Is this the kind of dodging the question spin we have to put up with in Ireland. Do we not deserve more!

Is Northern Ireland's future success on a North-South basics or East-West basics

In the past few elections the SDLP has been taking a hammering in the Northern Elections with Sinn Fein engineering themselves into the position where they say they are the true Irish party. So the SDLP have been trying to claim back this territory for themselves last year they had their White paper on Irish Unity. Now they have a document about North South Co-operation.

The DUP have an alternative East-West proposal. As DUP MEP Jim Allister said.

“Bearing this reality in mind, the most obvious and natural area of co-operation is co-operation undertaken on an east-west basis, rather than the unnatural and politically-motivated north-southery”

Personally I think both of these proposals are more politically motivated then serious proposals to enhance the North. But what of the question which is better for the North. A North-South link or a East-West link.

The DUP’s first point is about tourism. Yet none of it really says why tourist links are needed to be created with Scotland to implement there proposals. Other then selling to a Scottish market. Their proposals are quiet good with such ideas as promoting leisure ports i.e. pleasure boating but they don’t say why Scottish co-operation is needed on this issue. They don’t talk about people sailing between ports in Antrim and West Scotland. So why co-operation is needed for this I don’t know. The idea of attracting Ulster-Scot American ancestor hunters is a good one. But are they going to be moving between Scotland and the North. On the other hand as Ireland is a single island. It is possible to sell it as a complete package for one simple reason. You can get a train to Belfast from Dublin but not from Belfast to Edinburgh. To go to Scotland you have to fly or go by sea. If you promote to people an Ulster-Scotland tour you have to tell them ,of the need to cross the sea and organise ferry or flight passage etc. However on an all Island bases they can travel where they want by just turning up at the bus/train/car rental depot and get where they want to go. Tourist want hassle free touring. A North South tour is less hassle then a east-west.

Next the DUP take about road infrastructure co-operation. Now no where in the plan do they talk about building a bridge between the North and Scotland So I don’t really get the need to co-operate on road building. Their calls for more Ferries and plans is a good idea. Now on the Ireland side. It is quiet obvious why road co-operation needs to take place. Because the roads join. I mean what use would the M1 be if it joined a small by-road south of the border or the other way around. So it makes sense for North-South road co-operation.

Then the proposals stop. I think this document was put together quiet quickly really as it does very little about economic development. But I will continue on with the comparison. If we compare the two economies Ireland and Scotland. We see two different stories. Now I will not bore you with the details that you already know about the Celtic Tiger. But the Scottish economy is in an entirely different animal with the state accounting for 55% of the economy while the country has about 2% growth(growth in Northern Ireland is 3% and in ROI is 5.5%). Like the North the state props up the economy is this something that the North should look towards integrating closer with. Something it wants to model itself on. From the Scotsman

Alan Mitchell of CBI Scotland said: "To have that much of the economy generated by wealth spending rather than wealth creating can't be good for the Scottish economy long term.”

The same goes for the Northern economy if they want to survive long term they have to wean themselves off the British exchequer. Maybe this is the DUP’s plan to make the country totally dependent on London’s pockets and the union will always be secure. But if they want the country to advance economically they need to adapt a new model. One highly successful model is on their doorstep in the South. While they could try every lefties wet dream the “Swedish Model” if cross border co-operation on economic factors started they would have a wealth of experience to tap in to. So economically North-South as opposed to east-west makes sense to me anyway.

Now some of the policies the SDLP came up with can be taken or leaven and they would work on an North-South, east-west basis even some like The development of an all-Ireland approach to suicide prevention should possibly be implemented on a British-Irish level However I can see where some policies would bother unionists. Such as the ability of cross-border workers being able to pay tax in either jurisdiction. Now I am not sure how many cross-border workers there are. But the prospect of money being brought out of the Northern Ireland exchequer to go to Ireland is a valid concern as it would effect the North’s ability to pay for services. Also the prospect of the all-Ireland police intelligence agency probably worries them as much as the thought of the PSNI running intelligence in the south is to us.

On the whole North-South co-operation on issues such as tourism, transport, waste disposable and economy makes sense. Much more sense then the East-West co-operation. But we have to thread carefully on this issue. Unionist sensibilities are as valid as Nationalist sensibilities they have to be shown that this is the prudent and wise thing to do. Not forced into it to appease Nationalists. The south is desperate for workers the North has them and as Northern Secretary Peter Hain said the North and the South must work together to prosper”. Perhaps Scotland too should realise the direction they are heading in and reform along the lines of the Irish model. Then maybe the East-West co-operation the DUP envisage would produce a positive outcome for Northern Ireland.