Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Ireland is out of Recession

Posted: July 4, 2010 in Finance, politics

Soooo. Ireland has emerged from Reccession. Fan bloody tastic. The FF’ers must be pissing themselves with excitement.

Of course if you are stupid enough to believe that the collapse of the Irish economy was just something that “happened”. If you are stupid enough to believe that mad FF policies had nothing to do with it, then you might just be stupid enough to believe that FF have solved our economic woes and everything is going to be grand from now on.

But wait. Hang on. Why are there more people unemployed now then there were last month, you know…back in the days of the recession?

Could it be there’s more to this story than the FF’ers would have you believe?

If FF threw you from the roof of the Dail, would you be happy when they walked over to your bloodied body lying in the car park proclaiming “See, you’ve stopped falling, you’ve turned a corner.”

Of course FF wouldn’t leave it there. They’d dwell on the fact that they built the car park that halted your decline, and gloss over the fact that car park or not you were eventually going to stop falling.

Recovery is not about halting a decline. The all too resistible force force called gravity, and the immovable object called ground will always conspire to halt a fall. Recovery is about getting back to healthy.

To labour the falling man analogy a little more, when the ground stops you falling it doesn’t stop your health declining. If your injuries aren’t treated properly and if you don’t do the right things you can actually find yourself injured beyond repair and living out a miserable existence.

Ireland’s Unemployement continues to grow despite the fact that thousands have left the country. Less people working supporting more and more people not working.

The full and final scale of losses from Anglo, Nama and the rest has not been totaled up and added to our national debt yet.

The full and final scale of losses from running a massive deficit has not been totaled up and added to our national debt yet.

It’s great news that some multinationals are growing their profits and that statistically Ireland is out of recession. But if anyone tells you that we’ve turned a corner they are lying.

Williegate

Posted: February 18, 2010 in politics

I don’t want to get up on any high horse about ethics in public office, or Willie O’Dea lowering the public’s opinion of politicians. I don’t believe he has done any such thing. He has simply lived down to the very low standards that the public have come to expect.

The Greens in supporting him have confirmed what we all knew. Their talk about high standards in high places was nothing more than populist bluster. They too have lived down to the low standards they claim to oppose, again no surprise there.

And Fianna Fail. Ah Fianna Fail. Is there no end to the entertainment you give us?
There’s really no point lowering our expectations of Fianna Fail because if limboing beneath expectations of decency and honesty was an Olympic sport Fianna Fail would be a global superstar that makes Usain Bolt look like an out of shape jogger.

So, let’s forget all that nonsense. Let’s forget about the explanations given by O’Dea, we know he’s a liar so why pay any heed to his version of events. Let’s instead piece together what really happened here, so that the rest of us can understand it, agree about it and move on.

Here’s what actually happened.

O’Dea heard or invented a rumour about Mr. Quinlivan. He claims he heard it from a Garda, but he won’t name the Garda. Given O’Dea’s record I see no reason to believe his claims about the Gardai. Let’s put this part of the story down as “questionable”.

O’Dea claims he “accidentally, or inadvertently” repeated the rumours to a journalist, and then promptly forgot that he had. This is clearly a Lie. The only way Mr. O’Dea could forget such outrageous claims is if he routinely makes similar claims and this claim wasn’t in any way special.

If it was out of character for him, he would have remembered. If it was in character for him then he couldn’t have been sure enough of having not made the statements to swear an affidavit.

Mr O’Dea claims that his affidavit was a “mistake” not perjury. This is a lie.

How do we know that Mr O’Dea committed perjury in his affidavit rather than simply making a mistake?

His own words convict him.

He claimed on the RTE News at 1 on February 18th that “he knew a tape existed of the interview BEFORE he made his sworn affidavit”. He uses this as evidence that he couldn’t have committed perjury because it would have been “illogical” to do so.

Isn’t it even more illogical to swear an affidavit about what you did or didn’t say in an interview without checking the contents of a tape that you know exists?

Mr O’Dea claimed in the Dail on February 17th that he heard the rumour from a Garda, but made no mention of the Garda in his affidavid because the rumour “turned out to be wrong”.

So he admits that he remembers hearing the rumour, he remembers who he heard it from. He remembers learning at some point that the rumour was false, so this wasn’t something he heard in passing and forgot. It was something that was on his mind, however he forgets passing on the rumour, and was willing to swear an oath that he hadn’t passed it on when he could have simply checked the tape or told the court that the tape existed.

It just doesn’t stack up. The reason it doesn’t stack up is that Mr. O’Dea knowingly committed perjury.

It is interesting that his memory of the interview is so vague that he can forget making wild claims about a political opponent, but fresh enough that he can remember there being a tape recorder. He seems to have studied at the Bertie Ahern school of selective amnesia. Perhaps Fianna Fail run night classes.

Ironically if he claimed to have forgotten there was a tape then his whole story would hang together much better. We can be thankful that Mr. O’Dea lies first and thinks later.

I’m amazed the Greens haven’t asked for his head on a plate. It would seem like a no-brainer. Force the sacking of Willie, and they get to look like they can still wag the dog, they get to stay in government.

Supporting O’Dea seems like a lose lose for the Greens. It confirms the perception that Fianna Fail is running rings around them and leaves them open to an embarrassing u-turn when O’Dea’s facade of lies eventually comes tumbling down.

Even if O’Dea survives he has done a service for those of us hoping to see the back of this government. He has weakened Greena Fail and made them more susceptible to the next banana skin.

Enda Kenny on YouTube

Posted: February 11, 2010 in politics

Well, it’s been a bad week for Fine Gael and Enda Kenny. Or so the media would have us believe.

OK, it’s pretty bad when you can’t come up with good reasons for not going into government with Sinn Fein. How embarassing. And yes, unveiling George Lee as the Mesiah and then having to admit a few months later that he’s actually just a very naughty boy, well that’s no fun.

But has it really been a bad week for Fine Gael? I don’t think so. In the grand scheme of things it hasn’t been particularly bad. Let’s look at some of the other bad weeks and months that this week had to compete with.

This is a party that is in opposition during the greatest economic collapse in the history of the state. A collapse that anyone with a functioning frontal lobe can trace back to Fianna Fail.

Have Fine Gael have managed land any punches? Have they F@*K.

Any votes Fine Gael have picked up seem to be protest votes rather than energized inspired voters. I suspect this partly because I’m one of those forced to choose between the corrupt idiots of Fianna Fail and the honest idiots of Fine Gael. l also don’t seem to be alone. Again and again conversations about the state of the country seem to be a mix of desperation for a bit of common sense leadership and despair that there’s no chance of it materializing.

If you were Fine Gael right now, what would you do?

Personally I think I’d have a couple of creative teams working on short commercials and movie clips that explain how we got into this mess and how Fine Gael will get us out of it. Go Viral. Uploading a PDF of a dail speech or a policy paper to a website is not going to win you votes or get your message across.

In my days teaching I worked on a simple principal that even complex issues can be explained to a seven year old, and if you can’t explain something it’s only because you don’t understand it.

I don’t understand how Fine Gael would rescue the country. I’ve tried paying attention and I don’t get it. It might be that I’m stupid, but I think it’s partly down to the fact that Fine Gael don’t understand their own message. They’re so desperate to be popular that they contradict themselves.

Out of curiosity I googled to see what Fine Gael was uploading to YouTube in the last few days. What I found was one of the most boring interviews I have ever seen. As an opener, to get you hooked Enda Kenny tells us that he was asked to chair a meeting. WOW!!! You really get us Enda. You had us at Hello.

See the YouTube clip here.

Ireland needs an opposition. NAMA is happening and kids who’s parents have not yet been born will pay for it. Taxes paid for decades to come will cover the interest on NAMA rather than on education or healthcare. And where is the opposition? It’s on YouTube telling us about chairing meetings.

Get the finger out. Hire someone to make a few charts and diagrams. Add a bit of animation and graphics. Get some quotes from actual experts. Take Fianna Fail’s lies about NAMA apart bit by bit and lay them bare for all to see.

If I didn’t know better I’d suspect Fine Gael don’t want to win the next election.

I almost missed it, but back on May 10th the Irish Independent carried a story about the rents that the state is paying. The Indo in true tabloid fashion got hung up on all the well known rich people who are earning this rent. As if that were important.

The real interesting part of the story was the amount we spend on empty office space.

the OPW keeps one per cent of its property portfolio vacant so as to maintain a degree of flexibility in case a new tribunal or agency is formed

There you have it. At a time when there has never been more empty office space available to rent, and at a time when we should be cutting down on the number of agencies, we’re renting empty offices “in case” a new tribunal or agency is set up.

And how much are we wasting on this empty office space?

€1.127m spent renting empty office space

At a time when we apparently don’t have €10m to fund cervical cancer vaccines, we can blow over a million needlessly on empty office space.

On top of that, we’re overpaying by about €15m a year because the government hasn’t renegotiated rents despite huge falls in rents since the bubble burst. They of course excuse this by citing “Upward Only Rent Reviews”.

You’re the government for goodness sake, the biggest tennant in the country. You make the rules. If you can’t parlay that power into a bit of action, what good are you?

It’s not that there isn’t any way for the government to save money, it’s that there isn’t any will.

Read Article

Draft Gore

Posted: February 27, 2007 in politics

How about that? He’s become a filmaker, been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, his first movie has won 2 Oscars, and as if that wasn’t enough, Al Gore has also got a sense of humour, playing along with a joke that he was going to announce his candidacy in front of 1 billion people at the Oscars.

Fortunately he’s also got the smarts to know that joking about running is funny, actually announcing a run would have drawn scorn from people who would accuse him of using the sacred Oscars for free media time for his political campaign.

Either he genuinely does not want to run for the Whitehouse in ’08, or he’s playing the game to perfection.

The websites calling for him to run are in full swing. DraftGore.com now has over 45,000 signatures on it’s petition. Jimmy Carter has said he would support Gore. Gore’s wife has said she would support him. Numerous Newpapers, Magazines, and TV pundits, are discussing his chances of winning, “If he runs”.

Everyone it seems, except Al Gore has formed an opinion on whether or not he should run, and whether or not he would win.

I’d like to think we’re seeing a perfectly executed opening gambit. The announcements of intentions by potential candidates started almost immediately after November’s elections. The ’08 election was a full 2 years away.

With both Democrats and Republicans having to find candidates the field of hopefulls has rarely been bigger. The focus has been squarely on the Democrats, boosted by their November success, and the Republicans continuing woes. A Democrat in the Oval Office is being treated as almost a done deal, if the level of coverage is any guide. It helps that the Republican with perhaps the best chance of being his party’s nomination, John McCain is strongly in favour of sending more Troops to Iraq.

As Democrats like Clinton, Obama, and Edwards jostle with each other for primacy, Al Gore has the comfort of sitting in the wings. Showing up to collect Oscars and getting shortlisted for Nobel Prizes sure beats trying to beat out your party collegues to become the party favourite.

The longer Gore stays out of this race the better his chances of winning it. Give the others a few more months of infighting and the public will be sick of listening to them.

Let the grass roots demand for Gore grow, let it seem like he has allowed his name to go forward in response to the incredible outpouring of public support, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a candidate. The public like a winner. If the news coverage of Gore is that he’s so popular that he has to run, then that popularity has a way of becoming self fulfilling.

I genuinely think the Democrats have 4 candidates any combination of any two of them could be a hard ticket for the Republicans to beat.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say that I believe the Democratic ticket in ’08 won’t contain the names of either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Although I think either one of them would be a fine President.

I believe the Ticket will be Gore for President, Edwards for VP. And I believe that ticket will win. It’ll win because America needs it to win. America needs to draw a line under the Bush years. What better way to do that than elect the man who should have been President all along.

If he runs and wins, the Democrats could easily hold the Whitehouse for 4 terms. They’ll need to grow a back bone and tell the American people what they believe in and what they stand for. They’ll need to stop trying to avoid offending some or other demographic and just say what they mean and mean what they say. They’ll need to look America in the eye and say “these are our principles”, and for once not follow that declaration with, “but we’ve got other principles if you don’t like these”.

If they do that, then they might just hold the Whitehouse long enough to actually make a difference so significant that even Republicans will have a hard time screwing it up when they eventually take back the Oval Office.

There is of course one lingering question. Who would want to be the President that follows George W. Bush? Perhaps anyone dumb enough to want the job should be immediately disqualified as too dumb to have it.

What we need is a great candidate, who’s clever enough to know that cleaning up a whole planet is probably easier than cleaning up a Bush run Whitehouse.