Decent Journalism

This letter was in the Irish Independent on Saturday. The guy is over 80.

I did not want to write to a newspaper, but having listened for the past three or four days to the emerging story of Cardinal Sean Brady and paedophile priest Brendan Smyth I felt it was the only way to release the anger that I have felt.

I feel rage that church authorities could go to the extent of making innocent children swear oaths of silence in order to cover up the brutality of people like Smyth and others of his ilk.

It is totally irrelevant now whether Cardinal Brady resigns or not.

The day he should have resigned was the day he was sent by his superior to browbeat two innocent and damaged children into signing an unlawful document. That was the day he should have had the moral courage to walk out of that building taking those children with him to a place of safety. In my opinion, the Catholic Church that I grew up in, and the religion I practised for over 80 years, is finished as an institution.

It is no longer relevant to the ordinary person and the ordinary person has no longer got any time for the pomp and ceremony that is central to the institution.

The only relevant way the Catholic faith will survive in modern Ireland is by a total rejection of all those big pompous ceremonies with the ornate vestments and red hats, mitres and other trappings.

Do away with bishops’ rings. The recent line-up for ring kissing in Rome was an embarrassment and I think a couple of the Irish bishops thought so too.

These men were basically branch managers and as such could they not have met their CEO wearing a dark business suit and sat around a boardroom table to do their business without all the nonsense?

Two things are required of our bishops if the Catholic faith is to survive in this country. Give up the arrogance that is evident in every statement and adopt a practical spirit of humility.

Leave your bishops’ palaces and live like your people, get a modest car, get out and walk among your people. Talk to them as your founder did 2,000 years ago.

There are two bishops who give some signs of hope – Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe. For many of the rest, there is little hope of change. It is time to get back to fundamentals.

We live in hope.

Peter R Cullen
Maynooth, Co Kildare

1 Like

That’s bullshit. They should all be shot.

Twenty major knows the score when it comes to this shit.

a good letter and in fairness to an awful lot of that generation they are hurting badly over this.

however Bishop Willie Walsh opened a nice can of worms for himself yesterday

Rocko you’ll like this. Take five minutes to read it. Very applicable to Ireland in the current climate.

Are Americans Too Broken by Corporate Power to Resist?
We need to take a look at what forces in American society are preventing people from being able to resist tyranny and dehumanization.
March 23, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following is the transcript of a recent interview with Bruce E. Levine by OpEd News’ Joan Brunwasser. Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007).

Joan Brunwasser: Back in December, you wrote ‘Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression.’ Could you tell our readers about your theory?

Bruce E. Levine: There are times when human beings can become so broken that truths of how they are being victimized do not set them free. This is certainly the case for many victims of parental and spousal abuse. They are not helped by people explaining to them that they are being battered, exploited, uncared about and disrespected. They know it already and somebody pointing it out is not helpful.

So, it seems to me that it is also possible that human beings can become so broken by the abuse of the corporate elite that they also are no longer set free by truth.

While certainly the corporate-controlled mainstream media does not report many important truths, the majority of the American people do know enough to oppose the war in Afghanistan, but they do almost nothing in response to recent troop surges.

Polls show that the majority of Americans actually support single-payer, Medicare-for all plan and even a larger majority support a public option, yet there are relatively few people on the streets protesting the Democratic party betrayal of them.

And look at the 2000 U.S. “banana-republic” presidential election, in which Gore beat Bush by 500,000 votes and the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount, and 51 million Gore voters were disenfranchised. Yes, there were small protest demonstrations against this election farce, but the numbers of protesters were so small that they empowered rather than concerned the future Bush administration, which went on to almost vaunt its regime of anti-democracy and piss on basic human rights. How humiliating for an entire nation. The shame many Americans feel, at some level, for allowing torture and other abuses is similar to the shame that spousal abuse victims feel – and this routinely makes people feel even weaker. So, while not all Americans are broken, demoralized and feeling powerless, many are.

I wish the answer to restoring democracy was simply one of people getting more journalistic truths through a non-corporate media --and certainly I am all for that – but I think that much more is required. We need to take a look at what forces in American society are breaking the American people from the ability to resist tyranny and dehumanization, and we must start considering what are the antidotes to this. At least that’s what any psychologist or social scientist who gives a damn about genuine democracy should be doing.

JB: So, our feelings of powerlessness are rooted in modern life, exacerbated by present political realities. I’d like to point out another factor, which is what Paul Rogat Loeb refers to as our ‘historic amnesia.’ Historian and social activist Howard Zinn spent decades trying to offset that amnesia by providing an alternate history of our country, emphasizing various movements that have spanned decades (or generations) and eventually brought about change. He told stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and his book, A People’s History of the United States has sold two million copies. So, it’s obviously struck a chord. What do you think about the power of stories as an antidote to the ennui you describe?

BL: Stories of resistance to tyranny are great for the morale, so Howard Zinn did a great service by popularizing historical examples. These can be inspirational. A broken person and a broken people need morale. Inspirational models whom people can identify with can be energizing, and energy is exactly what demoralized people need.

It is important for people to know that, yes, there are historical examples of people rebelling against the elite. It is important, for example, for us to know that there once was something called the People’s Party in the U.S. and a huge populist revolt that scared the hell out of the elite in the 1880s and 1890s.

But historical truths are not enough because sometimes people say, “That’s just history, now is different, rebellion isn’t possible.” That’s why not only historians need to report rebellions but journalists must report current resistance to the ruling elite corporations and their political lackeys, current resistance to this “corpocracy.”

Bill Moyers has done a good job reporting on current resisters. I have seen a couple of examples on his recent shows. One is Steve Meachum and his group City Life, which has successfully kept people from being thrown out of their homes in foreclosure. Another example is pediatrician Margaret Flowers, a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, jailed for the cause of single-payer/Medicare for all.

JB: Good examples. I interviewed Dr. Flowers last May, shortly after she was released from jail.

BL: Historical examples and current examples of resistance against the corporacy can be inspiring, energizing and morale-boosting.

The elite know that to win the class war, just like winning any war, the goal is to crush the spirit of resistance of your opponent. So if you want to win the class war, you must care about the morale of your class.

Remember the “Tank Man” in China? While it is important for the people in China to know all the ways that they are being victimized, the problem is if they are completely terrified of their authoritarian government and too broken to resist, what’s the good of knowing more and more about how they are being victimized? So, that one image of the guy getting out in front of the tank – “the Tank Man” – is hugely important.

I can tell you for sure that what I need is more models and fewer lectures. My sense is that is what many of us need.

JB: Your comment points to one of the big problems we Americans face. The corporate media is often part of the problem, rather than performing its historic ‘watchdog’ function. That’s difficult to overcome, especially when so many exclusively read and listen to that right-wing echo chamber. Wasn’t it Hitler’s propaganda minister who said that all you have to do is repeat a lie 1,000 times and it becomes true? Those of us trying to practice responsible journalism online are fighting an uphill battle. Any recommendations?

BL: It’s only going to make genuine journalists feel more powerless and broken if they focus on the ability of the corporate media to pound the airwaves with bullshit. The good news is that with all the money and power behind them, not all that many people take the corporate media seriously.

Of course, people don’t get how impotent the corporate media is if they just watch the corporate media. But the polls show that, despite all their propaganda, the American people know that big business, the Democrats, the Republicans and the corporate media are all special-interest groups that work together for their own interest and not for the people.

I’m not going to worry about people like NBC’s Brian Williams who spends a good part of his life appearing on every program possible to get his face and name out there. Williams makes it as clear as possible to anybody with half of a brain that what he’s desperate for is publicity – not truth.

So the corporate media now even recognizes how bored people are by their boring bullshit. However, instead of trying to excite people with truths, they are now trying to ape Jon Stewart. But their apes are not witty or funny and not reporting any truths, even the obvious ones that Stewart points out. … So what are my recommendations to real journalists who actually give a damn about getting the truth out there and about having an impact?

Two things come immediately to mind. First, when you are preaching to the choir, when you are writing for a publication that is read by an audience that already has been radicalized one must think, “Is my piece going to simply depress them with one more truth of oppression and injustice? Or, is my piece going to stimulate some action in at least one reader, and hopefully more?”

I have written for publications such as Z Magazine, AlterNet, CounterPunch, Adbusters and The Ecologist, for readers who are already radicalized. I used to feel satisfied with informing readers about yet another industrial complex that I knew well, specifically, the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. But now I think that’s not enough. When one has an opportunity to write to people who are already aware of how they are being screwed by an oligarchy of industrial complexes, I believe it is one’s responsibility to write in a way that galvanizes them to get off their asses and do something constructive.

Much of schooling teaches people that it is good enough to simply know the truth and care about injustices. But it’s not enough to know and care if that concern is passive. Jonathan Kozol, the school critic, used the phrase “inert concern” to characterize what he was taught in his elitist schooling at a fancy prep school and later at Harvard. Kozol mocks “inert concern,” and so do I.

Good journalism is going to energize people to take action. One way is, as we’ve already talked about, giving people inspiring models.

A second thing that journalists must do is to get creative in figuring out ways of expanding their audience rather than simply preaching to the choir. People who feel defeated, demoralized and broken want to be energized. This means it is not enough to report the truth – one needs to write in a way that is fun to read. Molly Ivins got it. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert get it. Gore Vidal has always gotten it.

Michael Pollan is an interesting example of somebody who has been able to expand the audience of people who get it about the food industry. I remember reading Pollan when he was a relative unknown writing for Harper’s about drug hypocrisy issues – he was right on the money and damn near anarchistic. But Pollan is an entertaining guy who is fun to read and doesn’t sound like some ideologue pushing counterpropaganda.

He’s now going after the food-industrial complex. Pollan has been effective in making it quite mainstream to talk about some pretty radical stuff. I hear he is responsible for influencing Michelle Obama to have a vegetable garden. Now, having a vegetable garden and cooking your own food does not sound radical to people who get turned off by radicals, but there is no more radicalizing stuff than learning to become more self-reliant and independent of the food-industrial complex.

So, two solutions to your question involve expanding your audience and energizing people who already get it. If all journalists started to think about this and get creative, there would be a bunch more specific answers.

The real question for me is what can each of us do, at least each of us who gives a damn about genuine democracy and getting rid of the plutocracy we now have. What can journalists do? Psychologists? Teachers? Parents? Students? We need to try to think about this question strategically. Think about it creatively. We need to think about what can be energizing and fun and is thus sustainable.

JB: You’re talking about advocacy journalism, aren’t you?

BL: Let’s take a look at this phrase “advocacy journalism.” In reality, Brian Williams is advocating for the career of Brian Williams, and the New York Times is advocating for the New York Times. Neither is advocating all that much for the truth.

The Times would like to us to believe that it is not advocating any political ideology, but in reality, it’s advocating for readers to take the entire institutional establishment seriously. Times writer Judith Miller took establishment sources seriously about WMD in Iraq, and this greased the wheels of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Times would have us believe that Miller and WMD were an anomaly. Not true.

When the Times reports that the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug, the Times almost never reports that the FDA did not do independent tests but trusted drug company data – this is normal procedure. And the Times does not report in any drug approval story that there is a revolving door of employment between the FDA and drug companies – this is the reality.

Advocating for the truth would mean reporting facts that question the credibility of institutions, especially ones such as the FDA with its history of getting it wrong so much of the time. The FDA example is only one of many. The New York Times is a major institution that benefits from the status quo being taken seriously. The Times keeps itself from being attacked by other major institutions by what the Times omits about these other major institutions.

Pretend neutrality and lies of omission insult the public. Genuine democracy needs people, including journalists, mixing it up honestly. So, journalists need to report the facts because they will not be taken seriously if they get the facts wrong. And journalists need to report facts that may be troubling for their position because that will gain a journalist even more credibility and power. But readers know that journalists are people who have a point of view, so journalists shouldn’t pretend that they don’t have one and then slant a story.

When New York Times apologists accuse Amy Goodman and “Democracy Now!” of advocacy journalism, I have to laugh. The Times is advocating taking the status quo and major institutions seriously, and “Democracy Now!” is advocating against that. The Times puts a lot of effort into not being transparent about its kind of advocacy, while “Democracy Now!” doesn’t waste its time on such pretend efforts.

JB: Before we close, let’s shift gears for a moment. Have you found that your clinical practice has changed over the last number of years, with patients feeling more overwhelmed and powerless than before?

BL: I see more powerlessness with teenagers and young adults now than I saw 20 years ago. Many extremely smart but nonacademic high school students who hate school have been told that they must go to college or they will never be able to make a living, and at the same time they know that increases in college tuition result in outrageous debt, and with increasingly crappy jobs out there, this debt will be difficult to pay off. And of course debt breaks people.

There remain young people who have not had their spirit of resistance against the corpocracy crushed out of them, and I ask them, “How many of your peers are aware of and rebelling against the reality that they are being turned into indentured servants and slaves?” They tell me practically none of their peers are resisting, at least constructively, as they feel too powerless to do anything but lots of alcohol, illegal and psychiatric prescription drugs to kill the pain of their hopelessness. I don’t see a hell of lot of kids protesting about how they are getting screwed, and that tells me something.

United States hypocrisy knows no rationale

The political events surrounding Biden’s recent visit to Israel stand only to highlight the hypocrisy of the U.S. command.

By Jim Miles

The political events and comments surrounding Joe Biden’s recent visit to Israel stand only to highlight the hypocrisy and arrogant ignorance of the United States command. There are two factors here: first is the avoidance - in spite of superficial appearances - of the UN security council; and secondly - again in spite of superficial appearances - that the U.S. military command is concerned about the welfare of their troops in the Middle East because of the Israeli situation.

As most followers of the news are aware, the Israelis announced plans to construct another 1600 settlement units in the Jerusalem area. They did this in the face of Biden who at the time was meeting with Netanyahu concerning the rebooting of the ‘peace process’. The main purpose of the ‘peace process’ - at least for the Israelis - is to be able to establish communities on the ground so that if they ever did finally get to some form of settlement, imposed or negotiated, the inarguable facts would severely limit what could be negotiated as far as independent, sovereign, and contiguous territory for Palestine is concerned.

Biden, Clinton, and Obama all ‘condemned’ these statements, acting as any affronted president should [1] in their pretended outrage against Israeli actions. The real message arrives with the comments from the Quartet: the UN, the U.S., Russia, and the EU. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, acting as head of this group said he “urges the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activities,” adding they “condemned the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem”.[2]

The comments continued emphatically,

“The Quartet has sent a clear and strong message: we are strongly supporting your efforts to establish an independent and viable Palestinian state.” Later he added, “Let us be clear, all settlement activity is illegal anywhere in occupied territory and this must stop.”[3]

Others in the region however were not as fooled as perhaps the rest of the world is, having dealt with this issue for the last forty and more years. As reported on an Arabic website,

“The Palestinian Authority will need the UN’s support in these confrontations.” And that is the crux of the matter - taking the issue to the UN.

  • International law[/b]

Why does the U.S. not introduce this topic to the Security Council at the UN? Why did Ban not do the same? Why are they all sitting back saying the UN needs to do something when nobody is willing to take it to the UN? The answer is really quite simple: taking the issue to the UN Security Council would address the issue for what it is, a crime against international law of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter of Rights.

If the UN Security Council dealt with the matter and supported the ‘condemnation’ as strongly as the (ineffective) quartet, it would then be a matter of international law, and it would then have to be recognized that both Israel and the U.S. are constantly in contradiction of many international laws concerning occupation, war, and the humane treatment of prisoners. Following the U.S. lead, with the EU and the Russians in support, there would be unanimous approval from the Security Council for such a condemnation and establishment of the ‘facts’ in international law. They obviously want to avoid this.

* International war

Another factor that struck me as singularly ignorant and arrogant is the pronouncement from the U.S. General Patraeus,

“The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the [CENTCOM area of responsibility] AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world.”

Biden stepped in again saying, “What you are doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace.”

NO! Really? Do you think it is a perception of Israeli favouritism, or perhaps do you think, in the deep darker corners of your mind, refusing to come out into the arena of awareness, that it is true, you do favour the Israelis? And further, in those same dark recesses of the arrogant U.S. mind, lurks the thought that perhaps what is occurring is against all international law, both the events inside Israel/Palestine and the events occurring in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan? And who are the moderate Arab regimes? Are they the ones that refuse to do anything except mutter a few politically correct phrases directed to the Palestinians, while they continue to kowtow to the U.S. presence in the region and accept all the favours that are offered the elites of these supposedly moderate countries?

And why are you there in the first place? Biden’s ignorance and arrogance in considering that the U.S. is supporting regional peace is nothing but - pardon the language- crap. Put it all in context. The U.S. is interested in the oil in the region, always has been except that the British made it there first. The U.S. has always supported Israel, maybe not without contention and not always overtly, but the political mechanisms in the U.S. have always been favourable to Israel. The U.S. has always wished to contain the Soviet Union and now is doing the same with Russian interests in the region. China becomes a new added factor, with its increasing demand and increasing economic and military power throughout East Asia, and the U.S. is obviously trying to limit its growth in the area.

* Peace? What arrogance! What ignorance! What culpability!

No, the U.S. is not there for peace. The U.S. is there for war, a war to control all the elements that might hinder their access to soon to be rapidly depleting oil resources, other natural resources, and to contain Russia and China from encroaching on ‘their’ territory. It is a war of terror, creating the very terror they presume to eliminate. The ephemeral disappearing terrorist, creating an ongoing situation of contingencies that the U.S. then allows themselves, a unilateral self-justification, their invasions and encroachments on the sovereign territory of many nations in the Middle East and Asia (and indeed around the world).

The U.S. was quite happy to create a coup to eliminate the democratically elected Mossadegh government of Iran and then support the Shah of Iran when he ruled the country with the aid of his secret police (SAVAK). The U.S. supported Hussein of Iraq until it became necessary to take pressure of the Saudi government and find a new base for their military establishments. The U.S. was quite happy to stand by as the Israelis captured all the remaining Palestinian territory in the 1967 war, with no complaints when the USS Liberty was destroyed, and stood by again as they attacked Lebanon in 2006, hoping to see a new puppet government established there, and then stood by while the Israeli military pummelled the Gaza territory, in full contradiction of all international law (thus making them complicit), hoping for the elimination of those pesky Gazans who did not like living in an Israeli ghetto or prison.

* Take it to the UN

The U.S. and Israel are locked in a macabre dance. The U.S. congress shuffles meekly along to the orchestration of the AIPAC group. And now the U.S. is excited because the Israelis say they are going to build some more settlement buildings. Get real. They really do not care, other than for their own deluded ‘perceptions’ of peace.

Take it to the UN gentlemen (and I use the term sarcastically), and allow the world to see the truth of the situation in relation to international law.

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.

Kerrigan is the one good journalist the Sindo has.

Gene Kerrigan: Elite won’t save us – just themselves
The Cowen/Lenihan matrix of preserving everything as it is makes no sense at all, writes Gene Kerrigan

Sunday April 18 2010

NEXT September, this Government plans to do something reactionary and foolish that will cost us further billions. For years, during the Celtic Bubble, their policies were deeply reactionary and foolish. And since the bubble burst their policies have been equally reactionary – and arguably even more foolish.

The key to understanding the Cowen/Lenihan debacle is this – they must preserve everything as it is, as far as possible.

The same people, the same structures, the same inequality, the same unfairness – whatever the cost. The mugs will pick up the tab for the greed and foolishness of the elite.

This isn’t because the Cowen regime is evil – this is simply their view of the world. They believe in inequality as an economic dynamic. They know no other philosophy.

In preserving the old inequalities (while unashamedly preaching austerity for the rest of us), they act with awesome cockiness. Remember Mr Lenihan boasting about how he put manners on the bankers? No more insiders appointed, no more wet dream salaries, bonuses or pensions. Guess what? Richie Boucher (an insider) got the top Bank of Ireland job, and on Friday we learned that last year he cost the bank (propped up by the State) a whopping €1.9m. This included a million-and-a-half to pump up his pension fund, so when he retires at 55 he’ll have a pension of €367,000 a year (two-thirds of his €623,000 salary).

All of this was approved by the Department of Finance (proprietor B Lenihan).

Alan Dukes gets around €100,000 for his Anglo Irish Bank job. Alan is also on the ministerial pension lists for another hundred grand. And if memory serves he’s due about €50,000 for being an ex-TD.

Charlie McCreevy is on about €230,000 from the EU, plus he’s down for another €125,000 or so in combined ministerial and TD pensions. Ditto a whole range of politicians – from Garret FitzGerald to Mary Robinson (presidential pension €150,000, TD pension €50,000). Judges get to decide if they’ll voluntarily pay a levy.

For all the austerity, every living ex-Taoiseach is ferried around free of charge for the rest of his life – costing around €170,000 each per year. When asked about this, millionaire Albert Reynolds said: “I’m worth more to them than that.” Indeed.

Now, if an ex-Taoiseach is on his uppers, I’ve no objection to a few taxi vouchers. But a car and two full-time drivers? If everyone else is means- tested for everything, why aren’t the pensions and perks of the elite means tested?

Most TDs are on handy nixers that boost their salaries of €100,000 or so. We pay the current president more than we can afford – over €300,000 (plus another €300,000 in allowances). The Taoiseach and ministers still get stupendous wages. And with those levels of pay, cuts of 20 per cent are not a sacrifice. Seventy per cent would be appropriate.

(Oh, yeah – I forgot. There are “constitutional difficulties” about trimming the gross rewards of the elite. Well, change the constitution. Quick referendum – let the people speak, let the judges squeak.)

The senior layers of civil servants were quickly excluded from the heaviest pay cuts, which were inflicted on their low-paid colleagues.

In the private sector, executives hold on to salaries that would be ludicrously unmerited even if they hadn’t proven their own incompetence.

Quietly, developers in debt put goodies into their wives’ names. When the economic floodwaters recede, some amongst us will rise again, exceedingly dry. This isn’t simple greed. It’s complex greed. It isn’t the amounts they hoard that matter to them – it’s the structural inequality that they insist must be preserved.

They will, if they must, sacrifice the occasional loser from their ranks.

One centre of power, Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield, brought down another – former billionaire Sean Quinn. The elite, however much they empathise with Quinn, had to reluctantly back Elderfield. He’s trying to preserve a structure.

Quinn was merely a foolish rich man, trying to preserve his personal grip on power and wealth after frittering away billions at one of the gaming tables of capitalism (aka Anglo Irish Bank).

The government finances are crocked. The inequalities must be preserved, so the elite agree the fiscal problem must be attacked by slashing public services and public sector wages. Yet, €7.5bn in tax breaks are preserved. They slash €809m from social welfare – even hospice care isn’t spared – yet preserve €877m in tax breaks for landlords. What about a Bubble Tax, clawing back money from the landowners, estate agents, bankers, landlords and developers who made billions inflating the bubble that destroyed the economy?

That, of course, would be taking from the wrong people. In the Cowen/Lenihan view of the world, we need to preserve the wealth of the elite, because it is they who will save us.

Doing a great job so far, right? Similarly, when the banks crashed, the Cowen/Lenihan instinct was to save them, all of them – preserving the power, the wealth and (as far as possible) the personnel, exactly as they were. Even Anglo, which will cost us northwards of €25bn, for no gain whatever.

The excuse now is that we’re tied into the sacred bank guarantee (“Look forward, not back”). Well, it expires at the end of September. But, already, the elite are preparing to renew it. They know that any change would be an admission of a major mistake – raising questions about the whole policy. Besides, bank bondholders and shareholders will revive the economy. So, Cowen/Lenihan will toss more billions down the black hole, to join the billions to be squandered in Namafication and recapitalisation.

Listen to the chorus of media cheerleaders. “Look forward, not back.” “There is no alternative.” “Nama is the only game in town.” “We mustn’t play the blame game.” “Let’s all pull on the green jersey.” “We’re all in this together.” And, of course, “We are where we are.”

Media cheerleaders call for “tough decisions”. By this, they mean cut services to hospice patients, who can’t fight back. While leaving alone the landlords – who would fight back ferociously.

Cutting the spending power of the masses, while preserving the wealth of an elite, has created huge deflation, further hammering the real economy. (Attacking public service pay pleases the media commentariat – and it costs private sector jobs).

The left has argued this from the beginning. Others are now worried. Last week, Michael Casey, former Central Bank chief economist and IMF board member, wrote: “In the middle of the worst depression ever experienced, we are inflicting upon ourselves five deflationary budgets and at least three restrictive monetary policies . . . it does not appear as if the Government even considered the implications of piling deflation upon deflation . . . Let us hope and pray that we have not deflated ourselves into the ground to satisfy Brussels mandarins, financial markets and Irish bankers.”

Who will challenge the drift of a reactionary, foolish Government – its mandate long evaporated and no election due for years?

Who will say, No More Billions for Banksters? The union leaders are craven. Those Fianna Fail backbenchers who aren’t brainless are gutless. The opposition share too many of the principles of Cowen/Lenihan. The reactionary policies will continue.

Come September, unless something changes, they will renew the foolish blanket bank guarantee on Anglo and others, and again sell us out to bank bondholders – while continuing to preach austerity.

  • Gene Kerrigan

Can someone bullet point all this gash?


it never ceases me that after all our requests & posts to stress the importance of bullet points on here long winded posts still turn up day after day after day


I find it rather amusing to see WTB, Fooley and Sid Waddell quote long winded samey newspaper articles at the expense of their own thoughts on a subject.
Its a poor posting technique in my very humble opinion.

I nicked this from AFR - surprised it hasnt been pulled down actually but what a superb article. The country is rotten to the core. Best journalist in Ireland by an absolute mile.

Sunday Tribune - 4 July 2010

The Achilles Heel of the Hunt

During a time of national crisis, the airtime given to the Wildlife Bill last week exposed everything that is wrong with modern Ireland – from obsequiousness to the elite and powerful, to the self-preservation of politicians.
Michael Clifford reports

Forget your banking inquiries. If you really want to know why the state is in the state it’s in, look at the events of last week. All of the evidence points towards a political system that is entirely bankrupt. The vanities, frailties and cynicism of a system that does not serve its purpose were writ large in the passage of what should have been a minor piece of legislation.

Last week, there were serious issues that a national parliament should have debated with passion and purpose. The slashing of respite hours for the carers of children with an intellectual disability. a survey that shows Ireland has the second-highest food prices in the EU. the revelation Nama is already acting as a cash cow for all manner of professionals. another leap in the live register.

Instead, the drama and passion was reserved for a group whom Tony Gregory referred to in the Dáil in February 2005 as “some of the richest, most powerful and most influential developers and businessmen in this country”. A slice of their wealth may be gone, but some members of the Ward Union Hunt have retained their power and influence.

The plight of the leisure activities of this small, exclusive group dominated discourse inside and outside parliament in the early part of last week. The Wildlife Bill bans the hunting of carted red deer with hounds. The only group affected by the ban is the Ward Union Hunt. One of its prominent members is Michael Bailey, who was deemed corrupt by a tribunal and who, with his brother, settled with the Revenue for €25m in 2006. In developed countries, Bailey may well have been the subject of a criminal prosecution, but we don’t do that kind of stuff here.

The hunt also includes one of Nama’s finest, Johnny Ronan, who, like the late George Best, enjoys the company of Miss Worlds, one of whom he flew to Morocco on a whim earlier this year, at a time when his debts were being socialised into Nama.

You might think high-profile developers would not be flavour of the year with politicians. But these boys are as popular as ever. Members of the national parliament were bending over backwards to ensure the likes of Bailey and Ronan could continue scaring the life out of defenceless animals, who are reared and retained for the purpose of having the life scared out of them.

Obsequiousness to the wealthy and powerful was a feature of the political system in the bubble years. Another was the subsuming of the state and wider society’s interests into the agendas of those who shouted the loudest.

Last October, the Green Party inserted the Wildlife Bill into the revised programme for government. By the standards of any half-developed European state, it was a tame measure. In January, a “pro-hunting” group, Rural Ireland Says Enough! (Rise!) emerged. With an office in Ashbourne – in the heart of Ward Union territory – and fronted by top PR man Liam Cahill, it was obviously well funded. Cahill had previously worked as PR man for Intel, with Fianna Fáil’s David Andrews and with the Labour Party. He doesn’t come cheap.

Over the last six months, he brilliantly purported to represent the interests of rural Ireland with a campaign to “mobilise public and political opinion in support of traditional field sports and rural pastimes”.

The Nama boys and their fellow hunters were thus transmogrified into saviours of rural Ireland, the last bulwark against the rampaging instincts of the Green party. Apart from the Wildlife Bill, the only other proposal of concern was the Dog Breeding Establishment Bill, which pre-dated the Greens in government, and arose out of recommendations from a group comprising all stakeholders in the dog breeding industry. This was an overdue bill in any half-developed European country, but facts are the enemy of spin. In the hands of Rise!, the breeding bill was another stab from the great Satan of rural Ireland, John Gormley.

Throughout the country, beyond the pale, Rise! spread the word. Ten county councils adopted motions endorsing the campaign. Constituency clinics were visited and politicians asked nicely to support the Nama boys.

A Rise! rally in Trim, Co Meath last Saturday was told that “the revised programme for government agreed between Fianna Fáil and the Green party will go into the records as one of the most shameful deals ever perpetrated on rural people by an Irish government”.

The programme contained only one provision affecting rural Ireland – a two-page bill banning carted red deer hunting.

The speaker at Trim, Des Crofton, warned TDs: “Vote down Gormley’s bills next week or pay the price by losing your seat.”

For some of us who grew up in rural Ireland, this hijacking of the travails that have dogged that section of the country is insulting. Where were these people when manufacturing disappeared from rural Ireland? When the post offices and the garda stations closed? Where were they when towns and villages were being emptied of the young, when the land no longer provided a proper living? Slavish devotion to the market was the only game in town, and if that ripped rural Ireland to shreds, nobody was shouting stop. There was no Rise! to wield influence over the political system on these matters. Instead, rural Ireland was reduced to a flag of convenience by lobbies engaged in flogging drink or chasing deer.

Rise! was pushing an open door with politicians. Many of them are clueless in their nominal duty of bettering society, but they are brains on wheels when it comes to protecting their seats.

The more sensitive noses sniffed the wind. Seven Fianna Fáil backbenchers spoke out against the bill. Meath deputy Thomas Byrne is regarded as the future of the party. He said the bill could be unconstitutional. Thomas is a solicitor. Maybe he really didn’t know that he was talking through his hat.

Fine Gael’s resident hyena, Michael Ring, must live in another universe. He told RTÉ’s Late Debate, “People are sick and tired of it. They can’t fish, they can’t farm.” Maybe he believes the Ward Union fish for their deer.

Others saw the thing as an opportunity. Time to jump ship with a big splash.

On Morning Ireland last Monday, Michael Healy-Rae came on to speak for his father. Michael was introduced as Jackie’s director of elections. Is there another country in the developed world in which a parliamentarian’s director of elections is wheeled out to speak on policy mid-term?

The slot gave Healy-Rae a chance for the voters of Kerry South to familiarise themselves better with him. Ninety years into independence, and still the post-colonial practice persists of seats in parliament being treated like a family heirloom.

Jackie Healy-Rae showed up on RTÉ’s News at One to explain why he was tumbling overboard on this bill. He denied he had told a Sunday newspaper: “Letting a pack of dogs loose after a deer and scaring it half to death isn’t something I agree with.” The newspaper’s deputy editor rang in to say they have him saying it on tape.

Another government supporter to hop off was Michael Lowry. He is a proven liar and cheat of whom any self-respecting government would have nothing to do with in the first place. He told Sean O’Rourke he was worried about the horse-racing industry in Tipperary. Do they chase deer around Fairyhouse?

Then we had the Fianna Fáil tribunes of rural Ireland, Mattie McGrath and Christy O’Sullivan, both of whom represent constituencies many miles from where the Nama boys hunt and whoop. This is the second so-called assault on rural Ireland in which both got their knickers in a twist.

The previous occasion was the lowering of the drink-driving limit to a level deemed necessary by every other developed country in Europe. For these two lads, drink driving and hunting deer are the only real pastimes in rural Ireland.

The Labour party’s position on the bill suggests it doesn’t stand for anything anymore, apart from the pursuit of power. Nine of the party’s 20 TDs have publicly opposed blood sports, yet all but Tommy Broughan had no problem voting against the bill. Maybe the party’s position was adopted on foot of research from focus groups, the favoured governing tool of Bertie Ahern when he was leading the country into perdition.

That was politics at ground level last week. Matters of urgency and, in some cases, desperation, were sidelined for a pantomime of what occupies politicians. The energy spent on self-preservation, making the other guy look bad, sucking up to powerful interests, is all energy lost from any effort to do proper work.

Up at leadership level, the bankruptcy is just as stark. Brian Cowen is a busted flush, leading a discredited party. The most obvious alternative for Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, is not wanted by the majority of voters polled. A fortnight ago, he showed how he could be the sharpest tool in the shed when it came to protecting his power. Yet he can’t inspire confidence in an electorate crying out for some – any – leadership.

Eamon Gilmore is promising there will be no recession when he’s in charge and everybody will get what they want. He looks more and more like Bertie Ahern with each passing day.

Gormley is being wrongly vilified over his Wildlife Bill. But he undermines his party’s position by abusing his power to block an incinerator in his own backyard, which has been given the green light by all the relevant agencies. In this, he is more Fianna Fáil than Fianna Fáil itself.

They protest about all being tarred with the same brush, about how hard they work. They claim they are victims of media cynicism. And they can’t understand how the general public don’t appreciate all they do. The answers were there in stark detail last week. The system is bankrupt, and so far there appears to be little will to reform it into something fit for governing an alleged developed country.

Deer factor highlights arrogance of Greens
04 July 2010 By Tom McGurk

Last Wednesday, as has been the statistical reality since the start of this year, another four small businesses went to the wall in this country.

Another four hopefuls had to shut up shop, bin the letters from the banks refusing credit and head home into unemployment and uncertainty.

I’m sure as they sat down on Wednesday evening and watched the news reports of another day the Dáil had spent arguing about the wildlife status of stags in Co Meath and exactly what constituted a breeding bitch, they will have been duly impressed.

What an interesting Ireland we live in, they must have reflected, where the deer of Co Meath are a lot safer than the entrepreneurs of the nation, at least in John Gormley’s political credo.

What a lesson in political priorities and good governance the leader of the Greens has given, as yet another Fianna Fáil deputy found himself looking over his shoulder at the party’s disappearing rural mandate.

Were Gormley’s hijacking of the national parliament a brave and singular attempt to alter radically the ways in which our free market society treats its animals we might have sat back and looked on in some admiration.

But no such luck, I am afraid; instead we were getting a risible lesson in public morality.

Here was a concern about animal cruelty carefully and politically sanitised.

Here the target was not the savage, organised and mechanised cruelty of factory-intensive farming, but rather an obscure deer hunt in Meath.

Not for Gormley was there any attempt to ‘humanise’ the industrial mass production of dead animal parts for our society at the end of their miserable existences, but rather a war on a bunch of people chasing not a deer at all, but its scent.

Just like the political bully he is now exhibiting for us all to see, Gormley then set off around the school yard to find the smallest and most insignificant example of our doleful relationship with animals to give it a good thumping.

It was essentially, of course, not a moral exercise at all but a political one, a sop to the Greens’ overall determination to teach the ‘boggers’ of rural Ireland how the suburban civilised live. Indeed it had formed part of the agreement with the lettuce only-eating wing of his party to get their approval for the Lisbon Treaty.

So, after Humanity John’s valiant efforts in the Dáil, has green and modern Ireland now radically altered its treatment of animals?

The morning after Gormley put manners on the Ward Union, has the way in which we treat our animals in this society changed fundamentally for the better?

Are there no longer to be thousands of hens, pigs, veal calves and bullocks doomed to spend their wretched existence locked up on slatted floors in tiny spaces no bigger than their body size, and trapped in lives beyond sunlight and green grass?

Are there to be no more electronic stunning or throat slashing of the hundreds of animals we process through our abattoirs every day?

Are Halal butchers who hang animals from the ceiling, cut their throats (sometimes with ceremonial swords) and leave them in agony to slowly bleed to death, to be outlawed?

Are dehorning, castration and gelding and all the other little tricks we employ for ‘good stock purposes’ to be banned?

What happens to cows forced twice a day to yield gallons beyond anything nature designed their frame for?

What happens to animals taken by lorry and ship en route to their slaughter?

By Thursday morning was Dublin Zoo emptied of all the creatures incarcerated there? The answer to all of these questions is, of course, no.

Even in the strictest terms of cruelty to wildlife, Gormley’s morality lesson becomes curiouser and curiouser.

How come the Ward Hunt can now lawfully saddle up and chase foxes and rabbits across the countryside, but not deer?

What’s the compelling moral difference between these animals and the deer in Meath (apart from the fact that a posse of outraged Fianna Fáil backbenchers might constitute a very different moral majority)?

Indeed, on the very same day that the Ward Union deer hunt was made illegal, Gormley’s own environment department was still issuing licences for deer stalking.

Can someone explain the moral/ philosophical difference between hunting the scent of a deer with dogs after it has been locked safely away and legalising groups of armed men with dogs to ‘cull’ deer on our mountainsides?

How many deer are ‘legally’ wounded and then escape to spend days dying slowly in agony? Indeed, can Gormley explain the ‘cruelty difference’ between the illegal hunting of a deer scent when the deer is already gone and the legal hunting of a wounded deer by dogs which the same Gormley still licenses? Is that an angel or a stag I see on the head of my pin?

The whole Ward Union business has been a political disaster - and not least for the Greens themselves.

What was intended to be a headline grabbing strategy to illustrate the superior moral philosophy of Green politics has instead become a vivid example of why environmental ideologues simply can never see the wider political wood for the trees.

Good government is actually a sophisticated art; a complex balancing act between competing demands.

Here was government by stunt - and it has hugely damaged whatever credibility the Greens had left.

From the perspective of our deepening financial crisis the wider public was left looking on in astonishment.

Who can ever take the Greens seriously again, as the opinion polls have already pointed up?

What is it about the Greens and their determination to teach rural Ireland that they know better when their experience with animals is probably to meet a cat on the corner of the street?

Is it prejudice, class consciousness or even envy?

Is it that old traditional authoritarian impulse that in other generations used to stop dances and couples kissing in cinemas and censored anything that moved on screens or could be read in books now breaking out in a new guise?

Most Greens are probably only a generation or two out of the country themselves.

Is it the lack of space or the traffic fumes, or the miles upon miles of concrete that has produced this very suburban morality?

Whatever it is, it will in the near future be dead and buried among all the other brief political hysterias that came and went in Irish political life.

And the Ward Union will still be galloping across the wonderful countryside of a land which we all unashamedly love.


Some good points among some massive exaggeration but McGurk (That Odious West Brit Cunt) wrote it so cant take it too seriously.

Anyway, on the issue itself, who actually gives a fuck? I lived in the country obviously and those west Brit aping huntsmen going around chasing foxes didnt particularly bother me but it sure as hell bothered a lot of farmers whose fields and walls were destroyed by people illegally trespassing on their lands. (No deers where I grew up)

How much revenue do these hunts generate for little old rural Ireland that TOWBC is so passionate about protecting? Little or none. I cant really see the problem of hunts provided farm owners are adequately compensated for damage done to their lands and that animal levels are tracked but spare me the lets save rural Irish bullshit FFS. Yes there is an element of nanny stateism going on, Gormley certainly isnt whiter than white with his cuntish antics in relation to the incinerator but the Greens arent killing rural Ireland.

Save Rural Ireland - eh Start with a national broadband infrastructure that connects everyone to high speed internet spawning cottage IT industries, start with repealing frankly disgraceful local planning laws in places like Clare that see local people turned down for permission to build family homes while the cronies build mansions but spare me tired FF back bench/RISE/TOWBC mind numbing bullshit that the Greens are to blame for the collapse of Irish modern society.

NAMA are saying the State could lose up to 800m today. Maybe people need to get priorities in order starting with state employee Tom McGurk (TOWBC).

That “what about?” argument is alway a warning sign of a weak case. It’s like the Israelis trying to defend their own human rights abuses by saying what about China or Sudan.

Tom McGurk. :clap:

:lol: :lol:

That caused me to laugh out loud.

Good man The Dunph :lol:

McGurk is a west Brit? You’re some clown. For a guy who only leaves Britain to live in the commonwealth you’ve a funny concept of what constitutes a Brit.

Thought you didnt care where I lived or worked? Your narrow view of Irishness is disgusting. What is the Socialist party stance on RISE by the way, did Comrade Daly fill you in on what party HQ feel about this issue?

It is a sad sign of how far you have fallen that you are now rowing in behind the likes of Lowry, Healy Rae and FF backbenchers that you used despise.

I think you have misunderstood something again petal. I haven’t supported anything from Lowry, Healy Rae and FF backbenchers.