Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Slavery and Racism

The kevin on Disillusioned lefty asked this question. Does racism fed slavery or slavery fed racism. Fiona adds her ideas So here is my view. The definistion of racism on Word Reference.com is the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races. This is wide spread in nearly ever person on the planet I will admit that I am a racist. This is wide spread in nearly ever person on the planet I will admit that I am a racist. Now many of my regular readers may be saying that I’m not and I would say thanks for having faith in me but I would guess that people think that racism is against people of a different skin but it is not it is against people of a different race. Race is defined as people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock. Now if you think about genetic stock can be narrowly defined. I mean my stock is a very confined. My stock comes from Tipperary, Clare, Galway area. Some one from Leitrim is more then likely not out of my genetic stock. One of my racist beliefs is that American’s political views come from what they see themselves. I mean I think that if an American says they are a liberal then they will usually agree with Gay marriage and abortion and most people that says they are conservatives will see themselves as anti Gay marriage and pro-life. That liberals are against the war and conservatives are all for the war. No matter what they really think. I have no proof of this I am basing this on purely on prejudice. In Ireland not many people have moved all over the country so their stock is as limited to certain areas. So when people say Cavan people are stingy that is a racist statement. When people say d4 people are stuck up that is a racist statement. When someone says all that comes out of Wexford is strawberries that is a racist statement. So why do we accept those statements as not been racist and say that the use of the words like nigger and knacker are racist. It is true these words are said as derogatory statements but so is culchie. Culchie is a derogatory term for people from the countryside but it is perfectly accepted to say it in Irish society and nigger is not. Why? The reason I see for this is racism against black people and travellers. By saying that one group can take the use of a derogatory and not the other is saying that we see them as different. This might be a bit of an off the wall theory but I'd like to hear your opinions on it. As for the question itself I think racism inspires slavery

A Review of 'Munich'

Few actions are apolitical so that in watching a movie, fans and critics alike will often see political agendas or themes in the images created by the moviemaker or through the actions undertaken by the movie’s characters. Movies based on politically sensitive events on the other hand will be judged firstly on their portrayal of the events in question before judging its entertainment value or aesthetics. This is especially true of ‘Munich’, based on the events of the hostage tragedy during the Munich Olympic Games, orchestrated by Palestinian group Black September which lead to the deaths of members of the Israeli Olympic team and the Palestinians themselves. Events and responsibility for actions are especially salient in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with historians and politicians disagreeing on the sequences of events, engaging in blame games, ultimately increasing tensions.
The responsibility of the producers behind ‘Munich’ can be discussed in the broader context of freedom of expression and how individuals, institutions, governments and others portray events- Michael Moore’s tirade against the Bush administration, Eddie Hobbes ‘salvation’ of the Irish consumer, suggestions that the numbers of those killed during the Holocaust have been exaggerated- how do we judge and decide where individuals are being reckless with the truth at the expense of individuals genuine rights and interests. Who can effectively determine what is the truth? Are filmmakers in making entertainment obliged to comply with this ‘truth’? Should artists and activists be given free reign- what about impressionable people for whom this movie will be the closest examination of events they know?
The approach of Spielberg aided by his scribes is to construct a story littered with each point of view through tense exchanges to demonstrate the motives of both sides. For every conversation with a PLO member or wife of one of the organizers of the siege, Avner (Eric Bana) has a conversation with his mother, a faithful Jew or Geoffrey Rush’s character, representing the Israeli government. The approach could have failed, but is gauged and a success in a political dispute where statements and technical wording is all important. The dense quandary that is this dispute does not hamper the film. This film has of course been subject to criticism, as ever it if the Israeli PR machine that criticizes too much, condemning the film for humanizing the actions of the Palestinians.
In trying to offend neither side, the film instead develops through the scenes where the team lead by Eric Bana are not debating the motives or agendas behind their missions but simply questioning their very actions. There is a beautiful scene in a train station on the way to their most questionable death, that of a woman which is not directly linked to their mission and one that serves to strip away any sense of nobility to their purpose. One of the team members, the explosive’s expert, withdraws from the group, displaying his total sense of loss and understanding of what they are doing. He speaks to Bana, a brilliant white background blurring the edges of each man as other passengers are silhouetted in the foreground. This is glorious filmmaking. Spielberg works with the same team on each movie, yet manages to create such distinct pictures. Look at the contrasts of the muted blues of ‘Minority Report’, the 50s day-glow colours of ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and in ‘Munich’ the rich matte painting of the various locations across Europe. Within this simple scene, not over stylized nor gut wrenching like other violent scenes in the movie, the first traces of these men beginning to question the value or contribution of their actions emerges and the film finds its voice.
The central character of Avner played with quite grace by Bana, remains steadfast at this stage, committed to killing the men on their list so he can return to his family. He explains that he finds comfort in the confusion- it never letting him stop to seek answers. Gradually, the futility of their actions, the questionable and brutal deaths, the lack of clarity that distinguishes them from the men they are out to kill who will ultimately be replaced by worse means the confusion offers no comfort, only fear, paranoia and doubt. The body of the film is purposely episodic made up of incredibly tense set pieces, in-fighting and gruesome deaths becoming life for these men and all they have is more questions. The film becomes the story of the complete desolation of our hero, one of the great tenets of story telling and one Spielberg delivers to the screen in every film- Hanks, Leeson, Cruise and now Bana consume the screen, completely lost.
There is no resolution and all we have is the confusion, that only points to a disjointed and dangerous world. The film ends with men who thought they were fighting for the same cause parting ways- another shade of grey in a melee of different factions, states, lobby groups and vigilantes which emerge throughout the film to show there can be no easy or uniform solution. So much of history has been this dispute, including the few days events that inspired the film, it has created the problems and such differences are entrenched and political expediency is so dominant that the lives of the largest group of refugees on the planet and a race that seek to protect their heritage are mere pawns in international politics and terror. You can’t take a stance on which side the judges hammer should fall, doing so you are placing differing values on lives which no man has a right to do. Watch this movie and take in its final shot and become less satisfied with every answer you hear and finally we can get around to asking the right questions.

Visiting Friends in Palestine.

Palestinian Princess(PP) gives a low down on how she gets to visit her friends 25 minutes away. For all the bickering that is going to ensue in the North over the IMC's findings. People need to realise just far they have actually gone. I mean it was not that long ago that people had to go through similar procedures to PP in the North

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dossing Times gives into evil.

I have decided to give in to the evils of advertising and add adsense to the blog. Just to see how it all works out.

Irish blog debate podcast.

Gavin, Richard, and Mick have a new podcast show the Sunday Brunch . It is a debate of the issues of the day. Download it out here. Great stuff.

Devs Constitution for a 21st century Ireland.

My thoughts on the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution's report on the family are not on par with Fiona de Londras and Richard Waghorne debate but this is a short thought I have about it. De Valera was a dreamer. He dreamt of an United Ireland of cosy rural homesteads of comely maidens dancing at the crossroads. In an Ireland that was Irish speaking god fearing nation. Of a deeply spiritual people who cared not for material possession but were content with spuds and tea. This was the Ireland he saw in 1937 when he wrote the constitution. Alas for Dev Ireland today is not what he wished for. The island is partitioned, the rural homesteads are being abandoned by the youth for the lights of the cities. The comely maidens are shaking their booty in ever decreasing amounts of cloth on dance floors across to country. The are more Polish speakers then Irish. Religious belief in god has been replaced by a religious belief in jimmy coo’s and English football. Material possession is are all anyone cares about, people want organic squid and decaffiniated mocha latte Americano coffee with cinnamon sprinkles on top. Some parts of the constitution have served us well like the stipulation that a change is made by the people via a referendum. This was shown in 1959 when the people voted against the government proposal to remove the PR voting system and replace it with the first past the post system. In a Sunday Independent poll 62% said that they are in favour of gay marriage yet the government think that they are not. This new Ireland however is still based primarily on the constitution written to govern the 1937 dream. So should we really interpret it as Dev meant. Especially in relation to the definition of the family.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

When Blogs Attack

One of the most interesting debate on Irish Blogs since I started blogging is taking place between Fiona de Londras of Mental Meanderings who is a lecturer in Law and Richard Waghorne of Sicilian Notes a Research Fellow at the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin over the publication of the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution's report on the family. Now I would like to weigh in with my views but I don't have the legal knowledge to match these arguments. Fascinating stuff. If you have time I would advise you to read all the post they are all excellently put arguments. It starts here With Fiona Yeah, but how do you feel? Followed By Richard here What You're Entitled to From the State Fiona Yes I'm Angry, but Don't Call me Hysterical Richard Why I Disagree with Fiona de Londras Fiona Richard Waghorne and I Still Disagree Richard Outsourcing My Decisions. Paul at For All We Know weighs in withThou Shalt Not Marry Wulbeorn also adds his two cents with Who is Family Edit: Rinceoir adds Wow! Look over there A small thought on the issue from Myself Devs Constitution for 21st Century

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Enda Kenny announces new education policy "sex should be made available for every student studying Irish"

Many people might think that this is quiet a bold and daring move to encourage young males to study Irish. Alas seemingly it was just a Freudian slip from Enda Kenny (he meant to say "experience should be made available...."). He was debating Eamon O'Cuiv in Galway last week as Gaeilge. Enda Kenny was defending his position on the removal of compulsory Irish from the Leaving Cert. His basic point was that he has friends who were teachers and they hate teaching the Irish syllabus because the students have no interest, very poor Irish and were going to do really badly in the exam. Eamon O' Cuiv's reply to that was that basically if something's broken, don't get rid of it, just fix it. Eamon then announced that he was recommending two syllabi to the department of Education. One syllabus would be like French or German for Leaving Cert, based on learning the spoken language. The other syllabus would be very literary, based on Irish literature and history. This caused some debate, but he clarified that only one of them would be compulsory, and that people could do both of the subjects if they wished. He made the comparison between people having compulsory maths but being able to take maths physics if they wished. O'Cuiv's policy is interesting but all together useless. Irish Education needs to revolutionised at primary level not slightly altered at leaving cert level. When will politicians in this country realise that the key to improving education across the board is at primary level not Secondary. Alas they all looking for the quick fix solution. They are all just Band Aids the cure needs to be administered before the age of 10. Here is my thoughts on the Irish language and how it can be approved. Thanks to a good friend of mine who supplied all the reporting for me about this article.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Democracy: Is it really all that great?

Hands up, who's big idea was it to insist on free Palestinian elections as part of the “road map to peace”? That fairly backfired on ye, now didn’t it? Who knew the Palestinians would choose wrongly and put a party committed to violence and the destruction of Israel into power? Oh I hear the excuses: “But militant Islamics have never come to power via democratic elections considered free and fair by international observers before!” Well, was it not obvious that the only law observed in the Middle East is Murphy's Law? Jesus, look at Iraq. If something can go wrong it will. Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections has thrown a fairly sizeable spanner into the works for all manner of reasons. Israel is gearing herself up for a crucial set of elections in March. Much will depend on what happens between now and then, but it will be very interesting to see how the Israeli electorate react to Hamas’ victory as they choose between the moderates and hardliners in finding a new leader and new direction post-Sharon. Hamas themselves probably didn’t even want this, as they would have preferred to have constituted a sizeable proportion of a Fatah led government. According to the BBC, Hamas are likely to consult Fatah and other groups with a view of forming a political partnership. However, Abbas has said before that he would resign if unable to work towards a peaceful resolution with Israel, so the likelihood of such a partnership, is questionable. Israel and the West could be forced to do business with Hamas without the moderating influence of Fatah. World leaders have already stated they will not deal with Hamas before it has renounced violence and its quest to destroy Israel. Would Hamas ever be seen to do this when under pressure from Israel? How has the IRA reacted to pressure from Britain and Unionism over the years? And what will happen if Hamas refuses to renounce its ideology and goals? As for Bush its a definite case of "Be careful what you wish for". It was his idea to hold Palestinian elections as early as possible, so great was his faith in the democratic process. The only silver-lining is that Hamas' victory was not won on a platform of terrorism and violence. Instead they concentrated on social issues and down played the conflict with Israel. They were also helped greatly by the corruption in Fatah. This is good news for two reasons. Firstly, Hamas' victory does not mark a definite shift to violence amongst ordinary Palestinians. Secondly, it shows that social issues, rather than just the conflict with Israel, concern the ordinary Palestinian. This may force Hamas to play ball with Israel and the West. Palestine wants an end to this thing as much as anybody, and the destruction of a U.S backed Israel simply isn’t going to happen. Similarly in the Israel and the West, ordinary people will quickly grow tired of any stalemate or indeed an escalation in violence. A poll conducted by CBS News found that 48% of Israelis believe Israel should talk with a government lead by Hamas (43% were against). The will of the people could force both sides to find a solution, but time and events will tell. This result, along with the trouble in Iraq, could be seen as the inevitable teething problems of Middle Eastern democracy. One exercise in democracy has just put the Israeli-Palestinian situation into a very sticky situation. When Israel does likewise in March the problems may be compounded even further. That’s democracy for you, warts and all, sometimes you don’t get the result that you want. I'm not going to become Supreme Ruler of Planet Earth any time soon, so Democracy still represents the best form of Government we have got. Whilst it has complicated things in Palestine, if the average person on each side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide wants this situation resolved, surely it still remains a vital cog in finding a solution to the problem.

TOP 6 FRIDAY My Deepest fears

Here my deepest fears be warned this is not a pleasant list. 5. Ian Paisley shouting at me because I forgetting how to count six. 4. Quantum Entanglement 100% proved. Instantaneous communication faster then light it just can'’t be 3. On RTE's The View some poncy person declares David McWilliams is literary genius "The term "Kells Angels"(complete with air quotes”) displays a wit a kin to Oscar Wilde with a ting of Orwellian sadness and his hair has a certain orgasmic floppiness". 2. Wake up in the morning and find Linda Martin in the bed beside me. She says "you were a star last night". 1. Being Buried alive with Hector. (Tá Hector isteach in mo bosca)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Google censoring in China

Michelle Malkin has come up with a very funny point about Google censoring in China.
What will Google's search engine logo look like tomorrow? Here's my suggestion:


Olunkunle Eluhanla

Last year this guy was deported during his leaving Cert year. There was a massive out cry and Michael McDowell was forced to change his mind and bring him back. Allowing him to stay to finish his exams. But now he is to be deported again. The reason from RTE
Mr Eluhanla's recent plea of guilty in court to charges of driving without insurance or tax, along with the fact that he already has a previous conviction for a road traffic offence.
Good riddance he gives the rest of asylum seekers a bad name. Watch all the bigots now getting to use this against every Nigerian.If someone comes here they should respect our laws. He has also broken the law not once but twice. This guy was given a chance to make something of his life here. But didn't. He threw back all the support people gave him back in there face when he steped behind that wheel and has set his fellow Nigerians back in this country. I hope all the do gooders have enough sense to let this one go, there is far more worthy cases out there. Edit: 27/01/2006 I think my hope was invain. In the Dail yesterday from Mr. J. Higgins:
I seek the adjournment of the Dáil to raise a matter of urgent public importance and interest, the new deportation order issued against student Olunkunle Eluhanla in defiance of the clear wish of his classmates and the community in Palmerstown and of the Irish people generally who prevailed upon the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to have him returned from his initial ill-judged deportation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

CIA rendition

Red Rover of Where's me country talks about the EUs report on redition flights Correction it is the Council of Europe report thanks Potatriotique for pointing out my mistake.

Canadian Election Results

A while back in my post Canadian Elections an uninformed view. I predicted a minority conservative government. The result of the election is just that a minority conservative government. So I would just like to say "you the man Saint" Now back to my usual demure self. :) I was wrong when I predicted that the Bloc would hold the balance of power it will more then likely be the NDP. So I would like to say "For shame Saint for shame" :) Still though got the most important part right. :)

Does Rabbitte go around the Sun?

An article in today’s Irish Times pretty much made the same argument as this. But I started this yesterday so I say poo to you Irish Times not everyone reads you so here is my take.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the sun goes around the earth. I mean if you walk out the door at 9 O’ Clock and see the sun to your left and then you walk out the door at 4 and it is on your right. You haven’t moved house so you presume that the sun most have moved. However facts don’t lie and the earth goes around the sun.

Much of the recent talk about worker displacement and wage deflation starts with the sentence “anecdotal evidence suggests”. Yet if we look at the facts wage deflation is a not supported. The CSO's current (Q3 2005) Quarterly National Household Survey reports that approximately 25% of the 40,000 immigrants who joined the labour force found work in the construction industry. Yet wages in construction have experienced inflation of 6%. So to say that foreign workers are bringing down wages is on the whole wrong. (Article here from Freedom Institute)

But what about the anecdotal evidence. It has to be based in fact doesn’t it? Well yes of course there are people losing jobs because of migrants and unscrupulous employers are employing them at lower wages. But that is due to lack of enforcement of labour laws more then anything. Also the unemployment in Ireland is dropping in Ireland so it seems to suggest that these people losing jobs are gaining other jobs. But if Pat Rabbitte’s restrictions come into place they will only put the workers in a less secure situation. Leading to more exploitation.

Every country has its glory days France had the Belle Epoch Italy had the Roman Empire, Britain had its Victorian era but what was Irelands. Many would say when we were the isle of saints and scholars but is a few monks copying the bible really anything to Ireland taking its place as one of the leading countries in the world. We have never been as free and peaceful. Now we are a world leader in economic thought. Eastern European countries and many around the world do not look at France America or Sweden to inspire their political direction they look to us. They see low unemployment, high minimum wage, high social welfare payments, high productivity and amongst the highest rate of life satisfaction and want to emulate it in their countries. However the price paid for this our economy is a hungry beast it needs to be feed the things it needs. Houses, spending and workers. Now the houses are going to stay going for a while the demand is high and demographics suggest there is another few years in it yet. Watch Eddie Hobbs any night and you will see the Irish have no trouble spending. So the one factor challenging Irelands golden age is workers. We just don’t have enough.

I bet jobs created in this country over the next 2 years will be greater then the available unemployed. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this would mean every unemployed person would get a job. But if you look at the facts a pharmaceutical company is going to employ someone qualified in the same way that a plastering company is going to employ a plaster. Put simply the unemployed pool simply do not have the skills we need. This means we have to retrain and import the talent. So what happens if we decide what we have is enough and should stop importing labour like about 70% of the people polled want. Firstly companies will stop investing in Ireland. Two the companies here already here will not expand but setup operations in other countries and eventually leave increasing unemployment. House price will increase as there will be less people to build houses increasing cost. Slowing the sector and eventually crippling the economy. This is one of many scenarios that will happen. I can’t think of any good ones for sending them home or blocking entry.

One of the arguments is what happens when are country goes bust. Well that is a presumption that many people have. They have lived through the 80s and expect it to go like that again. I am no economist but I don’t think this will happen. True our economy will decline but unemployment will be no where near the 20% of the 80s. But the question is then how will we handle these people in social welfare. Firstly they can’t claim social welfare unless they have been working for 2 years. This means they have been paying taxes for 2 years. Which frankly is a lot more then some on unemployment at the moment. So are they not entitled to something at that stage? Also we hear the figures for immerigrants every year coming to this country. But how about the figures for leaving. Like many Irish going to oz now immerigrants come to Ireland for a year or two to make a bit of money, have a good time and learn English. The figures support this, the Department of Social and Family Affairs say that the majority of the workers stay only 10 months. They want to go back home and do go back. Ireland’s economy is booming Sweden’s is not and more people from Eastern Europe take the longer trip to Ireland. They come to work and make some money. So on a scale from 1 to yogurt the likelihood of many staying on in a 1980sesque Ireland getting social welfare is just not that creamy.

But then what about Irishness. Some say that they are going to dilute Ireland and eventually turn the Irish into a minority race in Ireland. This really is crap. Look at America some of the most proud Americans are Irish-Americans. They say they are Irish but are utterly dedicated to America. In 30 years time the 19 year old Polish-Irish Tipperary full forward is going to drill the ball past the legendary Nigerian born Kilkenny goal keeper to bring Liam McCarthy cup back to its rightful place. If these immigrants kids are given equal education opportunities and this anti-Immigrant sentiment that Pat Rabbitte is tapping is done away with these people are going to fit into to Irish life with out much hassle.

Political correctness people throw out the word racist for anyone that disagrees with them no matter what the facts are. The reason I called Pat Rabbitte’s comments racial scaremongering was because in my opinion the facts do not back up any call for restricting the movement of labour. So why are politicians coming out in favour of restrictions? Well if 78% of people are in favour of it do you not think they are seeing a big pile of votes in the next election. The Labour party was for the Nice referendum the very referendum that brought in unrestrictive access from Eastern Europe. Now they are against it. Who ever said politics was about principles.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Immigration myth

The Freedom Institute's blog has some interesting figures from the The CSO's current (Q3 2005) Quarterly National Household Survey about how immigrant workers are effecting wages in light of recent Pat Rabbitte comments. You can read the Article here. The best fact i think is this.
While construction absorbed the highest percentage of immigrant workers, wage inflation in this area stood at 6.0% in the 12 months to September 2005.
With Inflation between 2-3% Construction wages grew. Compared to
Earnings in the Financial Services sector were up just 1.7% in the 12 months to September, below the rate of consumer price inflation.
Edit: A survey in the Irish Times tomorrow says that about 78% of the population polled want eastern Europeans subject to Work Permits. Also according to politics.ie the PD supporters are the ones most against work permits. But comparing the figures from the Freedom Institute and the poll makes scary reading. Pat Rabbitte type scare tactics could lay the basis for an Irish BNP. Scary times indeed. Edit again: Minister for Social and Family Affairs Seamus Brennan weighs in:
"These people deserve to be treated properly in Ireland, they deserve to be welcome here," he said. "They're young people who come here for fairly short periods to do work and that's what Irish people have done all over the world for generations. "It wouldn't be right for us to start with any kind of serious restrictions."
SIPTU leader:
“It is now absolutely clear that, if we are to go into new national pay talks, and that has still to be decided, these issues must be addressed,” Mr O’Connor said. “Even if we wanted to, neither the trade union movement, nor the Government, nor probably employers, could emerge with an acceptable proposal from those talks that does not comprehensively address these issues.”
Edit 3. Michael McDowell
No one is really suggesting that the people who are here now working in our economy should be sent home." He conceded that it would be difficult to implement work permits asking: "Who would be eligible for them and if there was excessive demand for them who would actually decide that this person gets one of those permits and that person doesn't? "The interests of Ireland depend on there being migration into the country at this stage. It can't be uncontrolled migration and I take that poll as saying to the Government, remember you have a power to control it and if needs be you should control it,"
Ned O'Keefe
"The situation has to be looked at in some orderly way. But at the end of day we have to have some protection in place for Irish people who are seeking employment in their own land," Mr O'Keeffe said. "It's a matter for the legislature to put systems in place where we can maybe work on a quota system," he added.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Recent Poll

The recent poll out is interesting in a way. The results for the Pd and the greens can be ignored. They only run in a few places so a national poll shows nothing. From Indo.
Fianna Fail is now on 37pc (+3), Fine Gael 24 (-1), Labour 16 (+2), SF 9 (-1), Greens 4 (-1), PDs 3 (-1), and others 8pc, unchanged. That suggests the Government parties have jumped 2pc since the previous corresponding poll in September.
From Sluggerotoole comment by Henry94
Fianna Fail'’s core vote sits now at 37%, which is below the 41.49% it achieved in the general election of 2002. Fine Gael'’s core vote sits now at 18%, which is below the 22.49% it achieved in the general election of 2002. The PDs's core vote sits now at 3%, which is below the 3.75% it achieved in the general election of 2002. The Greens'’s core vote sits now at 3%, which is below the 3.85% it achieved in the general election of 2002. Besides Sinn Fein the only party to make a gain was Labour at 12% up from the 10.77% it achieved in the general election of 2002. It is suggested by commentators that Labour's gain was caused by itÂ’s playing of the anti-immigrant card.
I have to agree, Pat Rabbitee playing the race card is certainly going to increase their vote. His own rating has gone up 4%. Sinn Fein's support is also falling. What I said about a Sunday Business Post Poll back in September.

Limerick Gears up for Munster Match

Limerick is the home of Rugby. Where in Leinster it is only the D4 heads who play. In Limerick everyone plays. So when a big match is in The Fortress of Thomand Park. The city jumps behind the team. As seen with the city draped in Munster Flags. Even Brown Thomas is Red I'll have more pictures over the weekend. From the Match. Because even though the tickets are like goldust The Dossing Times Thomand Park correspondent (A new title I just gave myself) has one. Come on Munster.

Top 6 Friday Barn Yard Animals

6. Sheep. Where would the Clancys be without them 5. Hens. The most feared of all party groups. 4. Dog. Without them Snoop Dogg would be Charlie Brown. 3. Cat. Inspired hey didle Didile the cat and the fiddle. 2. Cows. The first Animals to attempt a moon landing but they went over. 1. Pigs. Do I need to telegraph this un P.C joke.

Ireland and anti-Zionism

This story has totally gone under my radar. Seemingly there is a bit of a spat between Ireland and Israel. Seemingly former Labour Justice minister Justin Keating in an article in Dubliner magazine said.
"The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people." This was a self serving and untruthful Zionist myth.
Bertie refused to condemn the comments and Ariel Sharon aide Raanan Gissin said
"I am very sorry that Ireland takes this position because in doing that they support [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad," he said.
The full story from the Jewish Telegraph can be read here. Does this mean anything. I'm don't think so.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Is Iran the death nail in the U.N.

In the film Wag the Dog America invented a war with Albania so as to divert media attention from a scandal. The Iranian President must have watched that film as well. The countries economy is in a poor state and it is the main issue for many Iranians. But unemployment is 25% and even with massive oil revenues the country is in dire straits. So what does it do. It make people forget about the economy by uniting them behind a cause. That cause international attack.

Oil burning is still amongst the cheapest ways of making electricity far cheaper then nuclear. Now add into that equation no need to import oil and you begin to wonder why Iran would need nuclear energy. So it seems quiet obvious to me that basically Iran is looking to build a bomb. The major powers realise this and are looking to act. But what can be done.

David “I think nicknames like Kells Angels are cool” McWilliams in an excellent piece in the Sunday Business Post Outlined the three ways that this situation could pan out.

In order of preference, there are only three ways out of this conundrum. First, and most preferable, is that the UN imposes sanctions on Iran and that this works. The second is that the US air force, launched from Iraq, attacks the Iranian instalments, neutralising the Iranian nuclear programme. The third is that the Israeli air force destroys the Iranian plant as it did Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981.

Now the American and Israeli strategies will work in the objective of stopping nuclear production for now. But it is doubtful that they will bring real change to the country and could indeed make the region even more unstable. To truly stabilise the region multiple nation support is needed.

The Irish government White Paper on Defence of February 2000 says of the UN that it ‘has the primary role to play in the maintenance of international peace and security’. Iran proves the biggest test to this. While the UN is noble and useful in it dedication to peacekeeping if it cannot effect a solution in Iran it shows that the only peace it can maintain is in small backwaters that the rest of the world wants to forget and not in larger countries that pose the true tests to international peace and security.

The UN’s inability to act in the most dangerous cases such as Iran is due to the diversity of the security council. Each member state has its own concerns and is going to act according to them. This is shown in Iran where China is reluctant to act as it has oil interests there. Also Russia has a big contract with Iran for nuclear reactors. This explains why the UN cannot be depended on to act. The interests of Europe are not the same as China the interests of America are not the same as Russia. France interests in Iraq surly clouded its judgement on the war in Iraq. This is due to the five permanent members veto. Israel's decade-long defiance of resolutions calling for the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank, the genocide in Rwanda, the recent war in the Congo amongst other things show that even when the U.N mainly agrees it cannot produce results.

But surely if the UN cannot act on issues such as Iran it still has a role to play in other aspects such as human rights. Yet Colonel Ghaddhafi can appoint the U.N. Commissioner on Human Rights and also the U.N has failed to put things like Gauntanamo Bay under serious scrutiny. On issues such as aid. The Red Cross/Crescent has much the same coverage and indeed as it doesn’t have the same organisation structures it can act a lot faster.

The Maastricht treaty says:

Member States shall coordinate their action in international organizations and at international conferences. They shall uphold the common positions in such fora. In international organizations and at international conferences where not all the Member States participate, those which do shall take part shall uphold the common position.

The EU sees itself as a more important entity then the UN and other organisations. Ireland is taking a case against Sellafield. It took this to the UN court but this has been blocked by the European court which says it has jurisdiction. If this case is won by Europe it will prove that the EU sees itself as the true negotiator between countries in Europe and that the U.N is not needed. Is this the first step of Europe moving away from the U.N.

Thus what is needed to truly affect decisions is coalitions of the agreeing. But does that not just regionalise the world again? The aim of the U.N was to create a world devoid of blocs. But the world is in Blocs China is rarely going to agree with America and the Gas crisis in the Ukraine shows that Russian-European relations aren’t great. Also the war in Iraq showed that America and Europe are not in much agreement either. So maybe it is inevitable that the world is going to divide into factions. The E.U. U.S.A Russia China may agree on something’s but not on everything. Something’s need to be done that are disagreed with between blocs. For instance Europe and America were in agreement about Kosovo but China and Russia didn't hence it was NATO that went into Kosovo.

One thing the Iran crisis has shown is the first signs that Britain seems to be moving away from America. The groups coming to the fore in condemnation of Iran are America Russia and the EU-3. This new entity the EU-3 is interesting. The British Government received a lot of flack from its own people about the handling of the War in Iraq. So when the press conferences about Iran are on. Jack Straw is not standing beside Condoleeza Rice but beside his EU, French and German counter parts. When Ms Rice (soon to be Vice President Rice watch this space) was conferencing about Iran she was talking to E.U Foreign Minister Javier Salano. Britain seems to be along with France and Germany showing a United EU front. This I think is signalling a move for the British government away from being a bit player in the American sphere towards a major player in the European Sphere. This has major implications for NATO but that is a topic for another day.

So what is the future for the U.N. If divisions over Iran stifles action it will prove that the UN cannot fulfil it objectives that of promoting peace in the world. The EU proves that pervious warring nations and blocs can come together and work together. But maybe this is due to Europeans having a lot in common and the Union appealing to each members own greed. Maybe the solution to world division is in the EU model.

By ending global poverty and promoting globalisation greed will dictate that the countries will act peacefully for their mutual benefit. But then the cultural differences will pop up. But then maybe one of the U.N’s publicity stunts, goodwill ambassadors, is the solution to world peace. Western Culture and music in particular had a massive effect on the fall of the Iron curtain (and their cultural will effect western culture in years to come) this could be applied to the rest of the world including Iran. I had 2 Muslim friends from Tunisia one kept going on about the Cranberries and the other thought Slipknot were "very beautiful". So maybe Time magazine in a way was right when it said Bono could Save the World.

Why I am a Liberal Hating Liberal

Auds over on RealityCheck(dot)ie makes a great point. In her discussion about Equality Legislation she says.
Legislating against speech is a bad idea - for the most part it's subjective and the test of reasonableness is hard found. Crimes are crimes regardless of who they're committed against or why - the thug who beats up a homosexual person commits the same crime as the thug who beats up a heterosexual. Why do we need laws to protect minorities when the main priniciple that they're protected under, namely the right to be treated equally, stands on it own?
In response to people who say that people against gay marriage should not be allowed to air their views, at all. She says.
I think it's censorship rooted in a smug superiority that's afraid, or unwilling to engage opponents in a meaningful discourse. If you are so adamant that those who do not agree with you are so fundamentally wrong, why shy away from the public forums where you can competently and convincingly dismantle their arguments? Why resort to name calling and excessive labelling?
I could not agree more. This is why I am a liberal hating liberal. While I disagree with people against Gay Marriage I am totally supportive of their right to air there views in a discussion. And before anyone says what about Nazi Sympathiers. A few years ago a radio presenter had the leader of the BNP on. Many people protested the fact that he was on and wanted to pull the man of the show. But the presenter let him on, let him say his views and then ripped his views apart in debate. If he had censored him the BNP would have gain sympathy and a propaganda victory(like Gerry Adams on the Late Late years ago when Gay Byrne refused to shake his hand). However because his views were turn apart many of their supporters may have thought twice about continuing to support them. Ignoring Bigots does not make them go away. Confronting them does.

Division in the Rainbow.

I'm not very good at Irish so this was pointed out to me by a friend who is. Seemingly Trevor Sargent was interviewed in this weeks Foinse. He outlined in Irish that he is very pro-Irish and that he thought that Enda Kenny's proposal to make Irish non-compulsory at Leving Cert level would make it an academic language like Latin or Ancient Greek. He reckons Enda Kenny just wants to start a debate about compulsory Irish for Leaving Cert. Now I am not sure if Kenny just wanted to start a debate. I mean even if he was just throwing an idea out there it wouldn't be one that would damage him. There are a lot of people including my self who think that is a bad idea. Maybe Enda was gambelling on more young people in favour of it then people against it. However if it is a serious policy. Will Trevor (who teaches Irish on Fridays) see this as a barrier to joining government? Will he demand that the policy is droped? Or is Trevor just gearing to get votes in the various Gaeltacht namily Niall O Brolcháin in Galway West. Who lost out last time by around 800 votes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Iran what is to be done.

Free Thoughts on Iran blog has an interesting article about the current crisis. How an Israeli Attack would further Iran's Nuclear Intentions Also David McWilliams has an interest article in the Sunday Business Post and what effect sanstions would have. The nuclear nightmare that looms over the Middle East This conflict is difficult to judge and I don't know what the best way is to go about tackling this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Easy peasy Chocolate orange and rum cheesecake.

I have been getting some hits about cheesecakes recently so I thought I should share my easy method of making tasty cheesecake. This recipe is idiot proof. First take some chocolate chip cookies. About 2 packets of chocolate chip cookies. (about 400g) and crush them. To make the base
Then melt about 50g of butter in a saucepan at a low heat. Next put the crushed cookies in to the saucepan. Keep stirring until the chocolate in them is kind of melting and the mixture is getting darker and a wee bit moist. Then put contents of the sauce pan into a cake tin. (or any thing suitable.) And flatten it out until fairly even.
To make the filling
Next put a packet of orange jelly ( if you are American this is not what you put on toast. I think it is jello to you. But don't quote me on that) into a mug of boiling water and allow to melt. Once it is melted place inside a blender. Add half a carton of cream (not sure of the volume but half the standard Irish carton) Add a tub of Philadelphia Cream cheese. Add about a breakfast serving of fresh squeezed orange juice not concentrate . Then add a shot or two of rum. Blend this . Then melt some chocolate about 125g. add this into the blender and blend. Taste the mixture and add more orange, chocolate or rum if you think it needs it.
The finish
Pour the blended mixture on to the base in the cake tin. If you want to be fancy. Melt some more chocolate. Using a spoon carefully let the liquid chocolate trickle on to the surface of the Cake. And make swrilly shapes. Then carefully place into the fridge. Should be ready in a few hours.
This recipe can be adapted to many flavors. Enjoy.

CIA flights in Baldonell

Interesting post by Freestater about CIA flights into Baldonell. The PO box given is indeed the address of the US embassey in Ghana.

Why the media should not praise Governments

John Bowman made an excellent point on questions and answers the last night. Brian Cowen was going on about how many roads are on time and under budget and yet the media doesn't cover that. What Bowman said but it is not news that is what they are suppose to do. If a train crashes it is news but if a train comes in on time it is not news as it is what is supposed to happen. On his blog Mark humphrys says one of the problems with western Media is.
Refusal to ever praise the west: For the media, a story does not exist unless it can cast some skeptical look over western policy. The idea of them saying: "Government and military doing well, given that they are humans. Not much to criticise." seems absurd. A story must criticise the authorities. It must be negative, and slyly skeptical. It must compare the government and military to an imaginary utopia where everything runs perfectly (actually this is very much the left-wing mindset).

This is all good and healthy, and essential to democracy. But the point is, it can distort the news. Governments do achieve good things. Over the past 200 years, we have got richer. We have got freer. Tyrants have been destroyed and threats have been ended forever. But the media can never celebrate these things. It must find things to be negative about. And it will highlight these, even if they are trivial, while ignoring the real story of success.

As I say, this is good and healthy. Non-stop criticism is what makes democracy strong, just as it does science. My point is just that it distorts the news. When government has a massive success, the media simply do not cover it.
But that is the point of good governments if they get rid of tyrants they are doing their job. When we get richer they are doing their job, when we get freer they are doing their job. We should expect that from them. That is their purpose. If you drive a car and drive at the correct speed do you get praised no that is what your have to do. When you speed then you are in trouble . When government don't do their job that is when we need the media.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sinn Fein's Scandinavian love affair.

Sinn Fein released their tax plan there last week. As expected from Sinn Fein it is a million miles away from what they said the year before. One policy was that Northern Ireland should have the Euro. About a month ago Gerry Adams was calling from Ireland to leave the Euro. Why Sinn Fein can get away with this policy jumping is beyond me. They are members of the European United Left -Nordic Green Left Anyway like many people they like going on about the Scandinavian model. Here is a very good article about the Scandinavian model and why it is a myth. Personally I don't think the Scandinavian model could ever work in Ireland. I think the reason why we can never have it. Is due to Irish culture and way of life. Here is a story a good friend of mine told me that explains the difference between the Irish and the Scandinavians and which I think explains why the Scandinavian model can never work here.( I’m not 100% sure the quotes are accurate but its close enough to explain my point) Two friends of mine were asking a girl from Sweden about how long it takes to get to the airport. The girl from Sweden said "65 minutes" So my friend said "oh so about an hour". And the Swedish girl. "No it takes 65 minutes." My friend said “In Ireland we would say it is about an hour”. The Swedish girl said “Why its 65 minutes”. That is why it can never work in Ireland. The parts of our culture that indear us to other countries and to ourselves is the very reason that our economic model is the one that works for us.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Home Grown Islamic Extremism in the West

Recent opinions Polls in Britain have found that 60% percent of Muslims want Shariah Law. 40% support al-Qaeda and 27% approve of the attacks on the Twin Towers. This is a shocking statistic. And Kevin Myers is quiet right to say that In Ireland the question do we want to take in 100,000 Muslims 27% of whom may support the twin Towers Attacks or 100,000 Poles.

On the other hand look at India a country that had a bitter split between Muslims and Hindus in the 40s. Yet this country has a Muslim head of state, a Sikh head of government and a Christian leader of the largest party. Muslims and Non-Muslims work to together on economic issues perfectly without any friction. For most people religion probably is less of an issue in choosing persons representatives then in America

In Lebanon the Cedar revolution has removed Syrian influence from the country. It was a populist uprising. Lebanese Muslims did not side with the Muslim Syria they sided with their fellow Lebanese. It didn’t matter that they were Christians they were simply fellow countrymen and women.

In Iraq while Islamic extremism is quiet high much of the war isn’t fought on religions grounds but is comparable to the early 20th century Irish “get the Brits out and we will be better off” ideal. What ever American right wingers like to think Anti-Americanism in the Muslim world isn’t always based on Islam it is often based simply on a desire for independence. But I digress.

Even in Afghanistan the home of Al-Qaeda “Eighty-one percent of Afghans said they think that al-Qaeda is having a negative influence in the world”. Compare that to Britain. So why does Britain seem to have such a higher proportion per Muslim head of radical Muslims then the Muslim world.

The normal argument lefties like to throw out is that it is our fault for not integrating them into our society. Yet there is no Muslim party in the British parliament. Muslims live in tight-nit community Yet how come if 60% of Muslims support Shariah Law how come there isn’t a Shariah Law party in the Parliament they are not voting for there political beliefs. This shows to me even if this 60% are been pushed out of society they are not trying to integrate with the society either. While the Muslims that do participate in society do so like any other British person would like the Birmingham Labour MP Khalid Mahmood. Nor is it a case of social deprivation. There are many people poor of all races yet they don’t all rise up in rebellion. One of the 7/7 bombers in London was a teacher another was a son of a chip shop owner. They were not economical badly off.

The PIRA received most of their financial support from Irish-Americans. Irish-Americans still clung to the physical force tradition of Ireland at a time when the rest of Ireland had moved on. Many Irish-Americans still think of Ireland as listening to Danny Boy and riding around on donkeys when really the Irish are listening to 50-cent and riding around in BMWs. To many Irish Americans supporting the PIRA was sort of a way of being true to Ireland.

So why do we have Muslims in Britain wanting Shariah law and supporting Al-Qaeda and Muslims in the Islamic world increasingly wanting rid of Shariah and anti Al-Qaeda? I really don’t know why. Is it similar to the Irish-Americans? Is Islamic extremism in western countries not so much about jihad against Islam’s enemies but merely a yearning for identity? And if this is so how can we prevent another 7/7 attack in Britain or Ireland.?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Top 6 Friday My favourite songs of all time. (this week)

Here is a list of my favourite songs of all time this week next week they will probably change. 6. Rocky Racoon The Beatles . A friend of mine in college use to do a great version of this song. So always brings back good memories. Not a bad moral lesson either. 5. Speed of the sound of Loneliness Alabama 3 From exile on Coldharbour lane. From the band that gave you the sopranos theme. A mixture of jazz country acid house. It is a song that just is plane cool 4. Christy Moore Nancy Spain Simply a beautiful song. 3. Angel Massive Attack from Mezzanine. Possible one of the most visual of songs. You hear the song and you immediately are transported to another place and time. You travel to the trenches of World War 1 and can see your self going over the top. Rushing to a futile death. A terrible beauty of a song. 2.The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl Fairytale of New York. This is probably the only Christmas song that can be listened to throughout the year. The tale of down on their luck Irish immigrants in New York. It is hopeless and hopefully hate and love all at the same time. The line I could have been some one Well so can anyone you took my dreams from me when I first found you. I kept them with me babe I put them with my own can’t make it along I built my dreams all around you is poetic and the video of Kirsty MacColl and Shane McGowen slow dancing awkwardly is a vision of true love that Westlife or any modern band could ever achieve. 1. Keep on rocking in the free world. Possible the most powerful verses in the history of music. “I see a woman in the night With a baby in her hand Under an old street light Near a garbage can Now she puts the kid away, and she's gone to get a hit She hates her life, and what she's done to it There's one more kid that will never go to school Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool..

2007 Election North Tipp

So everyone is now looking at the elections thinking who they will see getting into government. But the only way to really predict this is to look at every seat. So here is my prediction for my constituency North Tipperary. The Nenagh Guardian has an article about it this week. Enda Kenny sees North Tipp as a winable Fine Gael seat due to the fact Fine Gael use to always get a big vote in here. They have selected Senator Noel Coonan. However Enda is deluding himself. They haven't a hope in hell of getting a seat in the constituency. The traditional Fine Gael vote is going to be behind Michael Lowery. If the controversy's that have dogged him had not arisen he would be the leader of Fine Gael. A great organizer and with more personality then Enda. Fine Gael would be a lot stronger now then they would have been. He will top the poll. There is a traditional strong Fianna Fail vote in North Tipp. This will result in Michael Smith holding his seat easily. The third seat is where the dog fight will be between Maire Hocter of Fianna Fail and Kathleen O'Meara of Labour. It is hard to tell who will take this seat but I think a general mood of boredom with the present government will give the seat to Kathleen O'Meara on a re-count. If other Bloggers wanted to predict their constituencies would be good.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What the love Ulster parade means for Ireland.

If you look at the main Blog listing site technorati. You will find that The Dossing Times is listed top of the Most Authority list for Northern Ireland. While I'm flattered and do talk about the North sometimes I am no Slugger. But with this in mind.

So Willie Frazier is coming down to march in Dublin for victims of Violence. This is a noble cause and does deserve our full support. However Willy Frazier’s organisation is not for victims of Violence.

The organisation is a sectarian organisation. The march is going to be headed by a Union Jack with Orange Bands. And of the 1000 marchers about 5 will be Catholic this is not about victims it is about IRA victims. If it was a victim’s organisation it would not have Orange Bands and it would have both Union Jacks and Tri-Colours. What we need is true a victims group one who represents all victims North, South and in Britain. Not a sectarian organisation masquerading as one. This is basically a Love Ulster parade. An organisation with suspected links to Loyalist paramilitaries.

First of all. The Orange Order under the constitution are Irish Citizens. So they are as entitled to march down O’Connell Street as anyone. I totally agree that they should be allowed to and welcome them. However why do they want to march in Dublin?

On the Big bite on RTE Willie Frazier said that the march was the first test for people down south. This struck me as very strange. Why were we being tested, and if this is the first what is the next test?

The North is struggling. Where once Unionist prided themselves that they were the hard workers and the true economic power house of the Island (which was utterly true). The north is now an economic basket case and the south is not just the economic power house on the Island it is one of the strongest in the World. Where down South ministers open massive IT and pharmaceutical plants, Northern ministers open Tesco’s.

The next leader of the U.K will be Gordon Browne while many unionist are happy about this thinking he will be more pro-Union then Tony. However he is if anything a fiscally conservative guy. Will he see as justifiable the £5 billion the British treasury gives to Northern Ireland ever year? Which is more then the EU gave to Ireland. Where the EU’s money in Ireland help build an economy which will soon be a net contributor to the EU economy. Northern Ireland is unlikely to contribute to the British exchequer any time soon.

Unionists see that Britain doesn’t want them any more. Unionism is realising this especial in the young. The Portadown News parodied the Ulster Unionist poster Decent people vote Ulster Unionist saying decent people leave Ulster. This is increasingly true. Young people now by and large don’t care for sectarian policy. They worry about education, economy, environment, child care everything that Southern and British people worry about. But they don’t have any option in the political spectrum. They can’t vote left they can’t vote right yet. The question is how long before this happens how long till the disenfranchised youth start creating and voting Northern Labour, Northern Conservatives, Northern Green parties (not connected to either British or Irish parties). Parties with no sectarian policy. They see the South has moved away from the United Ireland politics and has boomed. They too want to be well off. The first aim of the Love Ulster campaign is "LoveUlster is a campaign for Unionist unity ". This suggests to me the campaign is all about stopping people moving away from sectarian voting. The love Ulster Web site has also been linked to the organisation of the rioting last summer.

So what is the point of this Love Ulster parade. Is it an attempt to get a response out of us? Do they want a violent response to go back to the North and say they are all bigots still down there. You must vote to preserve the union less you be destroyed. This could cut any possibility of normal politics in the North. With the Southern booming economy they have lost their greatest argument that the South can’t run a country. And the booming economy has strengthened the Union many down South don't want to pay the cost of the North. So they need another argument to bolster the unionist cause. An attack or a massive protest against this march would be just what the doctor ordered. They could go back and say see they haven’t changed they are still intolerant to Unionists. Maybe that is the first test. A test to see how much pressure is needed to rise Irish sectarian hatred.

On the other hand Sinn Fein is on the rise in the South. It is feasible to suggest they might be in power in the South. This may really increase anti-Unionist sentiment in this country. Many people down here think that Bloody Sunday was diabolical yet the Enniskillen bombing was less so. They readily accept British Army collusion in the Dublin and Monahan bombings but dismiss as ludicrous Garda collusion in IRA violence. Even amongst does who despise the IRA some see the crimes against Protestants as less legitimate some how. In this country Unionist get the least fair hearing in the media and in pubs. Anything Ian Paisley says is immediately deemed wrong. This attitude needs to change we have to be as sympathetic to the plight of ordinary unionist as we are to ordinary nationalists. Some people keep going on about how Orange culture is represented in the Irish Flag and Protestants should realise it is inclusive of them. And they should but those people should also realise it is a two way thing we have to include them to truly embrace the Irish flag's meaning.

So what is the point of this organisation and parade. Is it an attempt to solidify Unionist support by getting a bad response in Dublin or is it to show us that Unionist were victims to or some show of strength of support against a United Ireland. We in Ireland are coming more and more accepting of multiculturalism the majority of us are proud how we are easily (and most are) accepting them into our society. But maybe what Willie Frazier meant by test was that. The biggest and hardest test for Irish society is not seeing can we accept Poles or Nigerians but can we accept Unionists.

Update: The aftermath of the riots that stopped the parade. riots and consequences

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ireland in NATO.

I started the "Should Ireland join NATO poll" just as a filler really. Thinking that the answer to the issue would be fairly uniformly no. However the vote is so far closer then I thought it would be. So if you haven't voted already do please. The poll is on the right sidebar. Also if anyone has an argument for or against feel free to place it in the comments. I'll try writing a more substantial post on the arguments as I see them soon.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Canadian Elections an uninformed view.

The Conservatives (Tories) are the main opposition party in Canada. But they seem to be a fan of Brian Cowen one of their recent policies is to give a $1,200 (€840) annual allowance for parents of children under the age of 6. Maybe Cowen should sue for copyright infringement. I remember reading some foreign blogs during the IRA decommissioning. To put it bluntly they hadn’t a clue of Northern Irish politics. One average a person from the North is probably going to have 10 times (actual figure may be 100% made up) the grasp of the Northern situation then a southerner and a southerner probably will have a 100 times better grasp then an American. With that in mind here is my take on the Canadian election. Canada is on of the richest countries in the world. So what happens in the election will effect us more then what happens in the Palestinian election. Yet the coverage is a lot less. I suppose the reason for this is that suicide bombers and Israeli bans on polling make better press then spats about softwood lumber. The election was called when Paul Martins liberal party lost a no confidence won in November. This was a long time coming as he was leader of a minority government and it was dogged with controversy. In the end the straw that broke the camels back was the Gomery report. Basically the scandal was that in the late 1990s about €70 million of tax payers money was paid by the liberal government to advertising agencies in return for not a lot of work. It was alleged that some Liberal Officials demanded kickbacks for the contracts. So the election was set for January 23. So who are the contenders The Marijuana party of Canada has zero chance of being in the next government . But I thought I would mention them. I have not read their manifesto but does one really need to guess their policy.(read it here) They are fielding 23 candidates which puts Ming the Merciless to shame. The main party is the Liberals who are lead by Paul Martin. Paul Martin was the previous Finance minister who seemingly did not want to be finance minister. However he is credited to have done a spectacular job. Guiding the country out of dire trouble, clearing massive debts and running surpluses. However as leader he is not as popular. The current polls place them at 113 seats The Conservatives (Tories) would be considered a right wing government. But recently they said that they would increase the bottom tax base up to 16%. It had recently been drop from 16% to 15% by the supposedly left wing Liberal Party. This is causing a stir in Canada. They claim that overall their tax cuts are better. However Blast Furnace Canada blog did the Math and disputes this claim.Polls places them at 109 The NDP is lead by Jack Layton. They are basically a social democratic and thus would have more in common with the liberals. In fact people think they want to be in a coalition with the Liberals. They are tipped to take 24 seats. Of their marginal seats many of them are against liberals. Bloc Quebecois is solely based in Quebec. They are a basically a separatist party that wishes to set up a separate French Speaking state. However a referendum in 1995 on this issue was lost. They are mainly challenged by the Liberals in their province and thus have been focusing their attacks on them. Their attacks have centered around alleged funding of pro-federalist rallies during the referendum. As this strikes squarely at the reason for the party. They are unlikely to vote with the Liberal party. The polls give them 62 seats. So in my very uninformed opinion I would call the election as a minority Conservative government with the support of the Bloc Quebecois. This would be a possibly more stable government then the last however the Bloc Quebecois are not going to be silent partners and will push there own agenda. Much of western Canada which has the oil gas reserves and also strong Conservative support may not be too happy with pro quebec policies and this might result in the government falling in a year or two. A force to be reckoned with will be the green party. In such a tight political system and with the green party on the rise. Canada might have a green party with Jackie Healy Rae power in the next few years. Canada is looking very much towards Europe for political inspiration. With relations disproving with America interesting times line in store in Canada.

Senator Mary O'Rourke's gaf

This "controversy" must be the most idiotic in Ireland in a long time. The Sunday Tribunes Richard Delevan in his blog goes into a long winded argument about it with nuggets like the ever original what if a Senator from Mississippi said it. It is totally nonsense. While she might be an idiot she is no racist. She did not use the term "works like blacks" in an racist sense.In much the same way someone saying "put your feet up" is not been derogatory to amputees. It is an expression get over it. It is a ridicules state of affairs that this is news. I noticed he hasn't mentioned Pat Rabbittes more deliberate comments at all. Edit. Fiona de Londras gives Richard Delevan a thumbs up. Interesting comment in my comments from Sliabh "I am guessing that "black" as used by Mary O'Rourke meant protestant. My mother is from Leitrim and that is the way the term is always understood there." Which rings a bell with me to I think I heard that explanation before. I wonder if people knew that (protestant) was the meaning would they be as quick to term it racist. And if they would not is that not in its self racist? Edit 2. A sting in the tail makes my point better then I ever could.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Does Ayman al Zawahiri want America in Iraq longer?

If the American war effort needed something to bolster the war effort they couldn't ask for more then Osama bin LadenÂ’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri: saying
"Bush, you must admit that you have been defeated in Iraq as you have been defeated in Afghanistan and will be shortly defeated in Palestine if Allah'’s willing."
"Oh my Muslim brothers, I told you more than a year ago that the pullout of America'’s troops from Iraq would be a matter of time and Americans are now begging to leave and negotiate with the mujahidin."
Either Ayman al-Zawahiri is an idiot or wants the war to continue or votes republican. Because goading America like that will only serve to keep them in Iraq longer. This article by Daniel McCarthy explains some of my thinking

Friday, January 06, 2006

Unnoticed Racial Scare Mongering

If someone in Irish politics started racial scare mongering. You would think that the media would be hounding that person. You would think the likes of Vincent Browne and the Blogs would be baying for blood. However all is quiet. Why?

During the citizenship referendum the media was very vocal in its criticism of the government. Using the racism word frequently. Now they are largely quiet. However I think I know why. By the second last paragraph of this post many people will be utterly shocked at these quotes and wondering why this has been so quiet in the media and be baying for blood.

In an interview with the Irish Times Michael McDowell mentioned

“The time may be coming when we will have to sit down and examine whether we would have to look at whether a works permit regime ought to be implemented in terms of some of this non-national labour, even for countries in the EU.”

Now I have no problem with a non-EU countries work permit scheme at all as long as the workers get the permits not the employers. However if you ask anyone what is the main principle of the EU it is the free movement of goods and LABOUR. So basically Michael McDowell is saying that a time may come when we will have to renegotiate Ireland membership of the EU. I sincerely doubt that the rest of the EU countries would allow us to even think of this. Yet a man who I guess wants to the deputy leader of this country is considering suggesting changing the EU’s founding rules. Without the free movement of goods services and labour what is the EU.

So Michael McDowell wants to consider restricting legitimate non-national workers entering Ireland.

But that is not the worst thing he said in the interview. Now if you ever wondered what racial scare mongering is. Here is a classic example.

“There are many positive spin-offs from the diversity of labour here now but to say that that should for all time go unregulated I think has been thrown into question by the Irish Ferries dispute. There are 40 million or so Poles after all, so it is an issue we have to have a look at.”

The sentence “There are 40 million or so Poles after all” is a very vindictive line. This is formed purely to pry on the racist beliefs of people that believe we are been infested by Poles.

So why you asked has this been fairly quiet. Any ideas? I’m not entirely sure but if I pointed out that the above quotes were in fact were said by Pat Rabbitte on Tuesday and not Michael McDowell would it perhaps help explain the lack of baying for blood in the media. The only blog I could find mentioning this is ceadaoin and Indymedia have statement from Joe Higgins but no editorials.I seen haven't any condemnation from any columnists in the papers. (haven't read every paper though.)

Or am I becomeing a cynic in my old age and turning into a bit of a McDowell cheerleader.

Edit: I must say sorry to Vincent Browne as he did write about the topic in the Sunday Business Post. All though not as strongly worded I think if it had been McDowell. Still fair play.

Irish Blog Awards Nominations

The Irish Blog awards nominations are now open. (blantant plug warning) So if anyone likes our stuff feel free to nominate us. The catagories are * Best Blogger * Best Blog Post * Most Humorous Post * Best Photo Blog * Best Fictional Piece in a Blog * Best Arts and Culture Blog * Best Political Blog * Best Group Blog * Best Comment/Commenter * Best Personal Blog * Best Use of the Irish Language in a Blog * Best Contribution to the Irish Bloggersphere (Tech wise) And if you do not like our stuff well make sure you nominate a blog that you do like. Use your vote. Thanks

Top 6 Friday Things I would like to see the government do.

I swear I will stop these lists about the past and the future. Soon I’ll have a list about the top 6 cheese cake fillings but until then you are stuck with this. Enjoy :)

I looked at a Vincent Browne article in the Village recently about his view of the future and what needs to be done. So here is my views.

6. The planning laws in this country need to change. The climate that created the planning tribunals has not changed much. Much reform needs to be taken. Planers need to be no longer in fear of high rise buildings. Also these rules where councils can specify who can live where need serious debate. I think it is true to say a government has no right to specify where someone can live under EU law but does someone with money from D4 and no link to the area have the right to deny someone from the area from living there just because the D4 person fancies a scenic holiday home for a few days a year.

5. The government needs to fund or restart the Centre of Public Inquiry. The centre is very important and needs to be in place. The management of the centre has to be carefully selected this time to make sure nobody with possible ulterior motives will head it up. The Atlantic Philanthropies had offered to continue funding if Connolly and Fergus Flood resigned the board refused. The government should campaign to bring this back even if it requires the creation of a new agency called Public Inquiry Centre.

4. Help needs to be given to help long term unemployed people gain employment. The situation where people who take up employment lose their housing benefit and then can no longer afford their rent needs to be changed. This acts as a real deterrent to people. What does the government expect people to do? They are not going to do something that is going to adversely effect them.

3. While the health services is improving a lot more needs to be done. We invest more per head in health then the British yet it is not a patch on the NHS. We have amongst the highest paid consultants in the world. Their wages need to be brought in line with the rest of Europe and their private practices need reduced. They should either be fully private or working for the state. The management structures of the hospitals need to be over hauled. Increases in the health budget no longer the main issue.

2. Ireland needs to become more self-sufficient in energy. We can not be continually dependent on foreign imports as much. We need to invest in renewable sources heavily and be less wasteful. We need to build incinerators and the government has to help people recycle and reduce waste. My local recycling centre was taken away how is that promoting recycling. We also have to reduce emissions.

1. The early education system in the country needs to be radically reformed. The reason that many people from disadvantages areas struggle to get the University has got little to do with the university system. It has to do with the fact that at that stage students already do not want to go to collage. This attitude needs to be altered. It happens at the early stages of schooling. More resources are needed at primary level. Not just in school but more importantly in my opinion at homework clubs. Also a new approach to Irish needs to be taken. We can learn from the Welsh example and introduce Irish speaking (not grammar) at an earlier age.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Double Standards my pet peeve

Now I have already stated my views about the Frank Connelly Affair. Here. The people who disagree with what was done do so mainly on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Which I can totally respect. But only if it is consistent. However some people are not consistent and that bugs me. Take for example the well produced and maintainedIrish Corruption. Who are against the Connelly affair. I can only suppose they believe in the innocent until proven Guilty argument as they say.
Ah, come on, I hear you say, that’s a bit over the top. The State is not going to target innocent citizens in order to protect itself against possible revelations of corruption. Really? Ask Frank Connolly.
Then they say
"The most corrupt politician in Irish history, Charlie Haughey"
Yet Haughey has never been convicted of anything so why are they not being consistent about the whole innocent until proven guilty thing. Is it because Haughey is Haughey or McDowell is McDowell. I accept that Irish Corruption is solely about Corruption and is wee bit partial to the odd bit of sensationalism. ( "AIB, the most corrupt bank in Ireland" I mean how does one know that for sure. Its like saying Roy Keane the Greatest Irish Player there ever will be.). But double standards are in my eyes one of the worst things in the world whether it is in media or life.

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon has suffered a "significant" stroke. I had recently thought he was becoming a major calming presence in Israel. I did give him third on the list of people of 2005. If he is unable to govern (and I think this is very likely) it may signal a step backwards in the path to peace. It seems that Sharon illness is uniting much of the left and the right Little Green Footballs are offering there prayers While Written for the Revolution Had this to say.
When Sharon quit Likud to form a center left coalition committed to pullout and peace, I was very happy. I actually was. Sharon, a war criminal, who was responsible for all sorts of things while he served in the military, was also the head of the hardlined, right wing nationalist Likud Party. He has been seen as one of the road blocks to the resolution of the Palestinian problem for years now. But then, one morning, he quit Likud. I seriously felt like crying. At last, someone seemed committed to change over there. Even someone like Ariel Sharon. The new party he formed was center left, and included the socialists in Israel. He declared that he was committed to peace there in Israel, and demonstrated the commitment by quitting the Party that opposed it. All the talking and even the troubled withdrawal from Gaza earlier in this year were not enough to convince me of a commitment, but this action, what could be seen almost as political suicide, (except for the fact that most of the people of Israel support peace), was enough to convince me, and finally I saw that perhaps this would really move ahead. Not quite ready to see Sharon as a good person, but at least I was ready to see him as one who supported peace, and I was certainly willing to believe that he indeed had discovered that he may have supported the wrong policies and was at least trying to turn over a new leaf.
The fortunes of his new party may well indeed suffer now. Which is a shame. However maybe people will rally around his memory and vote to keep peace on track. His current replacement Ehud Olmert will probably try to maintain Sharons wishes how ever Binyamin Netanyahu may try to use this to his advantage.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Noam Chomsky

I hear Noam Chomsky tickets are scarce. I have a friend who wants to go. Anyone know how i can get my hands on a ticket please email me at thedossingtimes at gmail.com if anyone has any leads or leave a comment. Thanks . Is anyone one going to blog the event.?

Russian Gas Influence Part 2 – European Union and Us

This is a follow up of Russian Gas Influence Part 1 - Ukraine

I don’t think I have ever learned as much about gas then I have in the last few days. What I have learned has scared me. When ever I look upon those hippies in the Friends of the Earth and people who decided to live in Hobbit type huts I looked upon them with a kind of smugness. But now I am nearly ready to go on the street protesting with them. Not because of any great belief in being friends with polar bears but because I realise how vital self-sufficiency in energy is. We should be investing heavily in off-shore oil and gas, wind farms, wave power, solar rain power, tidal power, biomass, hamster power whatever we need to cut down on imports. Because those who have the energy have the power and Russia seems to have a desire to wield it

Even though Russia is only the 16th richest country in the world it is a member of the G8. Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign relations committee of the State Duma(Dail/Parliament), Said that "Russia's participation is not a gesture of lordly generosity. It is recognition for the obvious fact that Russia remains a world power," While the Russian Army is not what it was the energy supplies do in fact give it a powerful position on the world stage. The world recession in the 70s can be directly correlated to the Saudis reduction of oil supplies.

Already One quarter of European gas comes from Russia. The gas supplies in Europe are dwindling Norway the Netherlands and Britain are running out and unless something unlikely happens like vast gas fields are found off the Irish coast. Russia will be the prime source of energy in Western Europe. This gives them the type of power Khrushchev would have been proud of. An article in the Financial Times, circa 13 January 1982 about American sanctions on a pipeline through Poland stated “The Reagan Administration has long argued that the pipeline will make West Europe dangerously dependent on the Soviet Union.” It looks like this may indeed yet prove true.

However as gas is piped Russia would have to bring gas through some countries such as the Ukraine Belarus and Poland. This would leave Russia’s interests in jeopardy of being controlled by these countries. As they could decide to siphon gas if Russia cut their gas for not towing the Kremlins line or stop the gas for ransom.

However they have started construction on a project to counter this. Although it is more expensive to build they are building a direct pipeline to Germany and beyond called the North European Gas Pipeline. Due to be completed in 2010. Controlled by Gazprom with a 51% stake(the other lot is controlled jointly by 2 German companies). The new pipeline will be an underwater pipeline along the Baltic sea bed. As it is in international waters it would be free from interference. However if Finland and Estonia rescinded a 1994 treaty (pdf) they could halt it. However neither Finland or Estonia are likely to do that and Russia may try keeping those two countries on side. (For full explanation Brussels Journal.) The newly appointed chairman of the North European Gas Pipeline is former German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder. Who weeks prior to his leaving office signed the pipeline agreement. This has lead to some Germans being annoyed claiming he was manufacturing his own pension scheme. (Crazy Germans as if a politician would ever dream of using their office to feather there own nest.)

It is expected that by 2020 the EU will import 75% of it natural gas needs. This puts Russia in a very strong position. All it would need to do is threaten turning off the taps and Europe would have to capitulate to what ever demand Russia makes or risk economic destruction. Russia is already trying use it market to effect countries. A recent incident in Norway shows Russia’s thinking. A Russian fishing boat “kidnapped” 2 Norwegian fisheries inspectors as the boat was escaping Norway’s coast guard. Russia doesn’t like Norway enforcing fishing rights in the Spitsbergen zone. In response to this (From Secular Blasphemy)

Russia's food safety authorities claimed to have found extreme content of cadmium and lead in Norwegian fresh farmed salmon, and instituted a total ban on imports. Russia is Norway's largest customer of seafood products. The claims were beyond sane in every way, so obviously designed to send a 'signal', as they say, while leaving no reasonable way to believe there was any actual truth in the claims. Norway's food safety authorities not only found the fish perfectly safe, but found it impossible, no matter how much heavy metals they subjected salmon to in tests (don't tell PETA), to duplicate the absurd values the Russians claimed were present. Also, Singapore, alerted by the row, decided to test Norwegian salmon and found it totally safe.

This and the Ukraine incident seems to me to show Russia is willing to use economic force to impose its will on other nations.

So how will Russian Gas effect Irelands future. As per 2001 estimates Ireland consumes 4.1999 billion cu m and produces 815 million cu m. And as of 2001 we have 9.911 billion cu m proved reserves. So theoretically we could be self sufficient in gas for over 2 years. However we doubt we have the ability to tap the reserves to that extent. This does bring the controversy of the Corrib Gas back into focus. It is in our strategic interest that that gas is taped at some stage in the future (possibly father into the future is even more in our interest). It is possible that Ireland does have large reserves of gas and oil in the Atlantic. With the famous Rockall reported to be rich in oil.

If the Corrib Field does eventually get tapped successfully whether on or off shore it may increase companies coming into Irish waters searching for oil and gas. If they do and find more, this can help stabilise Irelands’ future by giving a secured supply lessening the economic blow. The question then is would some larger nation invade for the supply? If we do not find extra supplies we are in the same boat as the rest of Europe. With Ireland being plunged into a recession similar to the 70s where inflation neared 25% in 1975 (which is almost Iraq levels).

Europe needs to learn from this Ukraine incident and realise that Russia is willing to use its resources for political gain. Now they may be willing to supply our energy needs but this may be just to create the situation where Europe realise solely on Russia. At that point they can then start exerting pressure. We need to develop more sources of energy. We need to find more oil and gas and even dare I say it investigate nuclear energy (Finland is rebuilding it nuclear industry). But also develop renewable sources, conserve more. So grab your stripy woolly jumper, grow your hair and don’t wash. Because the era of the tree hugging hippy may be coming sooner then you might think. That or another cold war.

Poster came from here