Sunday, 30 June 2013

Racist B&B, anti-immigrant racism on increase during the recession, and clubbing Anglo Irish Bank executives in a sack

"Put former Anglo Irish Bank executives into a big sack, along with all shareholders, creditors, members of the last Irish government, relevant members of the Irish Central Bank, Irish and European regulatory authorities,  then hit the sack with a club until the screams of pain are unbearable".
You will know by now that the above is a rough approximation of a Frankfurter Allegemeine editorial, written in response to Anglo Irish bankers joyfully taking the piss out of us all surrounding Fianna Fail's decision to make the banks' debts sovereign debts which the taxpayer must repay. 

You might have thought there would be lynching parties throughout the land, with every ex-Anglo manager swinging from the lamposts, their (still very comfortable) houses having been first burned to the ground. 

You might have thought that every member and supporter of Fianna Fail would suffer the same fate, or at least get a good kicking - depending where they were in that abominable party's hierarchy.

But no, that is not the "Irish way".

Instead, another article in The Irish Times described how racism was on the rise in Ireland, with immigrants being the recipients of public hatred and bile, rather than the people who bankrupted the country. Here's a piece by Judith Crosbie in last Saturday's edition:

"What surprised Ernest about the monkey chants during his daily commute to Maynooth was their persistence. As an African man in Ireland he says he is used to racist insults but when a man taunted him on the train and then followed him off it, he knew things had reached a new low. “In a coach full of people he did a monkey chant and told me to go back to my own country and to stop taking our jobs,” he says.

“Then he followed me off the train and walked beside me doing monkey chants. It amazed me that no one stepped in and said, ‘What do you think you are doing?’ ” he says.

The Gardaí were called when he confronted the man but Ernest declined to press charges. “I don’t see any cases of anyone getting convicted over racist insults. It’s a waste of my time to take something like that any farther,” says Ernest, who doesn’t want to give his real name.

This week, a report by the Economic and Social Research Institute, commissioned by the Integration Centre, showed that Irish opposition to immigration has spiked since the recession began. The number of people who say they are not in favour of immigrants coming here from different ethnic backgrounds or from poorer non-European countries has jumped from about 5 per cent in 2002 to about 20 per cent in 2010, according to the report.

Whether this has a racist motivation is unclear. There is also a growing opposition to immigrants of the same ethnic background, with the number of opponents rising from 4 per cent to 15 per cent.
Some campaigners fear a growth in the types of racial tensions that have plagued other European countries, and say recent cuts in funding to migrants’ projects and the absence of a Government policy on integration are among the causes.

Campaigners also sense a rise in racist incidents. Earlier this month racist graffiti was posted around Dublin; it included anti-Semitic slogans on the Anglo Irish Bank headquarters building on North Wall Quay, and a message saying “Out if you’re not working” on a family home.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland’s poster campaign on buses and trains in Dublin, to encourage reporting, has increased reports of incidents from one to five incidents a week. The council says 17 serious incidents were reported in one month. Official statistics compiled by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration show a decrease in racist crime. Campaigners attribute this to the recording system, which does not categorise incidents as racist crimes, and to a lack of Garda training.

Vocal politicians
Some politicians have also become more vocal on the issue. In January, Sen Paschal Mooney of Fianna Fáil said he would not get into a taxi driven by a foreign national. In April Kevin Sheahan, a Fianna Fáil councillor for Co Limerick, said Irish people should be given priority over foreign nationals on housing lists.

There may not be much political gain from such statements. Political parties are usually quick to admonish their members for such comments and the Immigration Control Platform, which favours strong limits on immigration, says it won’t be running candidates in next year’s local or European elections because of poor results in previous votes.

But Seamus Treanor, an Independent councillor on Monaghan town council and county council, believes people’s concerns about immigration are real and need to be heard.
Campaigning for the local elections for the first time in 2009 opened his eyes to the “seething anger” about immigration, he says. “We were sold a pup. We were told there would be between 5,000 and 10,000 immigrants coming in here and now look at the numbers,” says Treanor, who topped the poll in both the town council and county council elections and has just finished a term as mayor of Monaghan.

Ireland should have introduced a strict immigration policy and refused to sign up to EU rules that allow people to move here, he says. “People can come in from other EU countries, work for a few years and stay on the dole indefinitely. No country can stand that,” says Treanor.

Perhaps this gobshite will also call for restraints on Irish people emigrating abroad,  thanks to the mess that bankers, investors, and his political class made of the country?

Or maybe he should open a racist B&B in monaghan?

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Clare Daly and the Obama visit - she's right; our obsequiousness is embarrassing

Regular readers will know how narrow nationalist "republicans" love to bandy the term "imperialism" about.  They usually apply it only to the Normans and the Tudors, however... anachronistic gobshites that they are.

How often do you hear them talk about the world's greatest present-day imperialist, the United States?  

Mind you, considering our rotten little country is used as a landing-craft for US multinationals to penetrate the UK and mainland Europe - and a haven for them to avoid paying taxes - it's not that surprising.   Interestingly, the Shinners have campaigned for a similar conglomerate-friendly tax regime in Northern Ireland.

Think of a war crime.

The Holocaust, undoubtedly.

But what about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the beacon of freedom dropped the most horrific weapon ever devised on the defenceless populations of two Japanese cities? 

And all because the Yanks wanted to show the Ruskies what capability they had, as they did in tandem with Bomber Harris when slaughtering, by "conventional" means, the  defenceless civilians of Dresden.

Power corrupts, and now the US doesn't even have the counterbalance that the Cold War provided.

But even so, as with warmonger Ronald Reagan's visit back in 1984, Paddy and Mary can't tug their forelocks enough for  their imperial masters in the US of A.

Clare Daly has it spot-on. 

Nice to hear the "imperialist" charge come from a true, internationalist socialist for a change.

Daly attacks ‘slobbering’ over Obamas
Marie O'Halloran - The Irish Times.

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 17:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny rounded on Independent TD Clare Daly after she accused him of showcasing Ireland “as a nation of 
pimps, prostituting ourselves in return for a pat on the head”.

He described as a disgrace remarks about US president Barack Obama, whom she described as a “war criminal” who had 
increased by 200 per cent the use of drones, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.

She said there was speculation this morning on “whether you were going to deck the Cabinet out in leprechaun hats decorated 
with a bit of stars and stripes to really mark abject humiliation”.

Mr Kenny retorted: “I think your comments are disgraceful. I think they do down the pride of Irish people all over the world who 
are more than happy to see this island being host to the G8. ”

The Taoiseach said: “And for you to stand up and criticise the American president for giving a continuation of support for a 
fragile peace process in Northern Ireland, where over 3,000 people lost their lives in 30 years, is a disgraceful do-down.”

‘Unprecedented slobbering’

Ms Daly, a TD for Dublin North, hit out at the “almost unprecedented slobbering” over the Obama family’s visit. “It’s really 
hard to know which is worst, whether it’s the outpourings of the Obamas themselves or the sycophantic falling over them by sections of the media and the political establishment,” she said.

“We’ve had separate and special news bulletins by the State broadcaster to tell us what Michelle Obama and her daughters had 
for lunch in Dublin, but very little questioning of the fact that she was having lunch with Mr Tax Exile himself,” she said in reference to U2’s Bono.

She described Mr Obama as a “war criminal”, having “just announced his decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition, 
including the jihadists, fuelling the destabilisation of that region, continuing to undermine secularism and knock back conditions for women”.

Ms Daly said: “This is the man who is in essence stalling the Geneva peace talks by trying to broker enhanced leverage for the 
Syrian opposition by giving them arms - and to hell with the thousands more who’ll lose their lives, or the tens of thousands who will be displaced.

“This is the man who has facilitated a 200 per cent increase in the use of drones which have killed thousands of people, including 
hundreds of children.”

International laws

She asked the Taoiseach what he was going to do to ensure no weapons for Syria are going to go through Shannon, in breach of 
our international laws on neutrality.

“What steps are you going to take to showcase this country, not as a lapdog of US imperialism, but as an independent nation 
with an independent foreign policy which takes a lead in international diplomacy to outlaw the use of drones?”

Mr Kenny rounded on her for criticising the US president, “who wants to support that [peace] process visibly, personally and 
with assistance from the US, where 35 million Irish-Americans want this peace process to continue”.

The Taoiseach also said there was a serious discussion about Syria at the G8 summit. “Ireland took a very clear position on this 
as articulated by the Tánaiste - that the embargo should not be lifted.”

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Harry Browne - The Frontman, Bono.

You have to be innately suspicious of people who are seen to champion "good causes", very publicly  -  even when they minimise their own tax liability while simultaneously advising governments to divert more of other people's exchequer money to developing countries.

U2 upped sticks with much of its operation when the artists' tax exemption was capped in Ireland, some years back. 

 Interestingly, Bono once defended the very person who introduced the exemption, Charlie Haughey - just when some sections of the Irish public belatedly realised what a corrupt shyster the man was.

  But Bono has been known to rub shoulders with some very unsavoury characters, in his endless quest for ego-massaging publicity... he's Mother Teresa with silly yellow shades.  (See book cover.)  And just as ineffective, to put it - erm - charitably.

Harry Browne has a book out on Mr Vox which, judging by initial reviews, is well worth a read.  The Irish Times reported that friend of the Hewsons (aka Mrs and Mrs Bono Vox), and fellow look-at-me-I'm-doing-good-deeds merchant, Adi Roche, has said that people shouldn't buy the tome.

And what better recommendation could you get than that? 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Senator McDowell wants to save the Seanad

Add caption
The not-so-surprising, not to mention unedifying, spectacle of senators campaigning against the abolition of the Seanad is a bit like turkeys voting against Christmas.

Doyens of democracy such as Michael McDowell are all promising dire consequences if the Senate is abolished. 

 The Senate is, of course, an inherently elitist  undemocratic institution – its members are voted for, not by the public, but by various interest groups.

Others are chosen by councillors, and some are simply appointed by politicians.  The standing prime minister, for instance, can appoint eleven senators.

It is a talking shop full of wafflers and inadequates (with the notable exception of Ivana Bacik) that has no real power, and can only delay Dail decisions.   It is a also a handy depositary for  failed politicians such as McDowell, who was rejected by voters at the 2007 general election.  

Here are some interesting facts:

  • Senators are paid an annual salary of €65,650.   There are expenses on top of that, of course.
  • Between January and March of this year, senators sat for only 29 days.
  • The country's national debt is something in the region of €200 billion.

    (All data from Sunday Times, 2/6/'13).

Not only should the Senate be scrapped due to it being elitist and undemocratic –  it is a politicians' comfort blanket we can ill afford.

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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Breaking red lights. OK if you drive a 4x4.

4X4s are the new Volvos.  Their owners feel invincible - more than most, anyhow - and as a result, they are shit drivers.

Invulnerable and superior - by their own reckoning, at least - they look down with some condescension at mere car drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians whilst wrapped in over 2.5 tonnes of boxy steel, some of which are adorned with child-crusher bars out front. 

There are some motoring stereotypes that prove true to form, IMO:

Toyota Starlet and Nissan Micra drivers (now, though not so much in the past) should not have been given drivers' licences;  Audi drivers stick so closely to the rear bumper of the car in front that it constitutes automotive buggery;  Renault drivers are French patriots;  Subaru and Porsche drivers are kind and thoughtful;  BMW drivers are ignorant lane-hogging gobshites;  Nissan Juke, Mercedes CLS, Nissan Primera and Ford Ka drivers should be shot for crimes against aesthetic sensibility.   I won't say anything nasty about Peugeot drivers, as I know one quite well.

But really.  This bank holiday weekend will see the boys and girls in blue on the hard shoulder of every decent stretch of road in the country, pointing their lasers or hiding in the back of vans with cameras... applying penalty points to everyone but themselves and their cronies.

Would they not be better off being out and about, catching half-wits chatting away on mobile phones and  - most dangerous of all - flagrantly breaking red lights?  

I've seen far worse examples than the clip above, but given the traffic light phasing and the distance of said lights on the road to the left (situated some distance up to allow oncoming traffic to turn - you can't see it here) this halfwit turning right has plainly broken a red light on a blind junction.  You can see the light turning green (for a couple of seconds) above the Fiat Stilo in front.

I see it all the time on busy Dublin streets where idiots blithely break the red light with no regard for crossing traffic or pedestrians. Have I ever seen anyone penalised by the coppers for doing so?  No. 

This, to me, is the most dangerous traffic-law infringement going - one that currently wasted resources should be re-directed towards.

There are  enough impromptu traffic-light wreaths out there to back up the contention.

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