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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Once In A Blue Moon


Take one bottle of traditionally illicit Antrim poitin, matured three months to six, and into it macerate some fresh seasonal blueberries for nine months.

Serve two fingers of the resulting fruit poitin in a Slim Jim with fresh mint leaves, muddled.

Add ice to the top, then dilute with quinine tonic water to the brim.

Citrus slice optional.

The best summer cocktail ever.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pervert dies, America mourns

Michael Jackson, who wrote and performed some shit songs, is dead.

One feels sorry for his offspring (assuming they are actually his), only some of whom he has held off three storey balconies.

However, they live and their putative father is dead. And one should speak well of the dead, except of course for the small issue of child abuse.

Jackson shared his bed with little boys. That's neither normal nor right, but in keeping with the way of justice on this planet, being rich meant he never faced charges relating to his admissions of sharing beds with small boys.

In one sense, I have sympathy. He had no privacy, no normality, no childhood, no life. Not in a fit would I swap with his existence, no matter how large his fortune. That can't have led to a normal life.

But in another I do not. He put himself in a position whereby he settled a court case about child abuse and was faced with other cases. And there's no excuse for that.

One can have sympathy with Jackson over his childhood and his background without ever endorsing the situation in which he found himself among kids.

But in the long run, I suspect the main legacy will be the fact that he was black and turned his skin white.

What better condemnation of the modern world is there than the fact that "the most talented musician in the planet" (according to Sky News) sought to spend his lifetime changing his skin colour?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some questions about Monica Leech

1. The court has found Monica Leech was not libelled by an Evening Herald article which said she travelled to New York with a ministerial delegation and did not attend the UN. So, what was she doing there and how much did it cost the taxpayer?

2. You get a quarter of a million for a lost limb from the personal injuries board. What lunatics rate a married woman's virtue as worth nearly ten lost limbs?

3. Monica Leech was hired in a process found to be flawed and wrong in which no one else was allowed to apply for the position, was paid well in excess of going rates, and has not been replaced in her role since departing her job with the minister. Since then, she has worked on the Higher Education Authority - a ministerial appointment - despite having little knowledge of that sector. Given that the articles did not make any reference to any affair, how is it possible for a victim of an alleged libel to completely make up such an allegation and attribute its meaning to a series of articles that clearly and overtly describe cronyism?

4. Monica Leech said during the trial that the articles 'only got her name right' and afterwards that the Evening Herald 'made up a story'. Since the court has found that their article was true, what story does Monica Leech believe they made up?

5. When are Ireland's creaking libel laws going to be overhauled, and when are caps going to be put on libel damages?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Solidarity among bloggers

I note with interest that celeb gossip blogger 'Perez Hilton' has been allegedly assaulted at some Canadian music video awards show.

'Hilton' is in reality an overweight gay Latino wannabe called Mario Lavandeira, and he has for a long time now been desperate to parlay his blogging nerdery into a place at the table with those he spins scandal about.

Hence the bizarre scenario whereby this overtly gay man ends up judging the Miss America contest, which predictably results in controversy when he decides to get outraged because one girl's a devout Christian and doesn't agree with gay marriage.

I don't know if this pointless cretin was really hit or not. Certainly, he appears to have got his video camera out and filmed himself crying like a little girl, though.

So, buried under layer upon layer of self-importance and self-regard, is the tiny possibility that someone really did the world a favour by slapping this bitch up.

And the inadvertent comedy of those 'tweets', in which 'Hilton' pleaded with the public to rush to his hotel to help him with the 'bleeding' will raise a smile for some time yet.

Should I be showing more solidarity for my fellow blogger? Should I not show sympathy for someone unfairly struck down? After all, according to the self-publicist, 'violence is never the answer.'

Except, of course, if the question is: "What word beginning with V describes the sort of act of aggression that is the correct response to dealing with whining, self-important, duplicitous gossip queens without talent when they accost you at a music awards ceremony in Canada?"

Let me be clearer still: 'Perez Hilton' is the bleeding edge of all that's wrong in the modern media. He inhabits the nexus where the internet, web 2.0 and social networking intersect with reportage and old media.

You'd hope for better from such an intersection - a democratisation of information, perhaps. A gripping real-time account of revolutions, such as we thought, for a second, we were going to get in Iran (until we all realised that the protests are a CIA funded activity.)

Instead we get this poison - 'Perez Hilton' breathlessly puffing other pointless inanities, but most of all himself. It upsets me that people care enough about such vacuous irrelevances to keep 'Perez' thinking that he's important.

So that's why I'm delighted today to see that he's cupping his eye and crying for teacher, just like the mouthy, bitchy little wanker in the playground who thinks he's fantastic being full of cheek to all the other kids until eventually someone stops him with a fist.

Because it seems to me that 'Perez' is still living in the playground. A dose of playground morality, therefore, doesn't seem amiss.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Pogrom That Wasn't

A week on from screaming headlines all over the globe, what are we to make of the anti-immigrant pogroms in Belfast?

It made for perfect headlines for the world's media. To the outside eye, the North of Ireland has always resembled a boiling pot of irrational hatred and sectarianism.

Logic dictates that if these neanderthals are prepared to kill each other, despite sharing language, culture, skin colour and a God, what wouldn't they do to foreigners?

And that's what we got, all over the world, last week. Endless handwringing articles about a 'return to hatred', hectoring PC sermons from fingerwagging commentators in other countries, multiculturalism 'experts' warning ominously about the slide toward Nazism.

It always helps to return to the facts, and on this occasion, they didn't really get aired at all (although fair play to some of the local media and indeed Myles Dungan on RTE for eventually getting round to reporting the facts.)

So what happened? Same as everywhere else in Europe - a load of Roma gypsies moved into a nice area and made shite of it. Robbed, begged, intimidated local elderly people, and howled racism when asked to stop.

Wellington Park and Wellesley Avenue are NOT some Loyalist shithole full of 'For God and Ulster' meatheads. It's a mixed area next to the university and always has been. Go back two decades and it was probably one of the few areas of the city where a foreign face could be seen. Many Chinese and Indians live in the vicinity, as do many foreign students.

It's a nice, peaceful residential area, and it's not the sort of area that would easily accommodate a family of thieves, living in squalor 30 to a house, intimidating the locals.

Now let's deal with the lies. No one put copies of 'Mein Kampf' through any letterboxes. No glass bottles rained down on the 'anti-racist' march. No organised campaign by Loyalist terror groups or the BNP or Combat 18 or any other far right group took place. There is, in fact, no evidence of ANY FORM of far right or racist involvement whatsoever.

The only organised element in these whole proceedings where those of the sinister far left Socialist Workers Party. These demented Trots, none of whom come from or live in the area, saw a bandwagon to jump on and did so with gusto.

They organised an 'anti-racist' march through the area, pissing off all the locals and attracting abuse from drinkers at a local pub. Petrol on the flames as far as the Roma were concerned, I'd imagine, but far be it from the Socialist Workers to think of others. They had an issue to hijack after all.

So they lied to the media about being struck down in a hail of bottles that never happened. They lied to the media about copies of 'Mein Kampf' being put through letterboxes. They lied to the media about the involvement of a who's who of far right organisations. Not a word of any of it was true, but the media lapped up the headlines and repeated them unquestioningly.

There is a Polish shop on that street, but no Poles came out even for a minute to show solidarity with either the bussed-in Socialist Workers or the Roma. However, plenty of Romanians could be found protesting AGAINST the Roma.

How so? Well, who knows the Roma better than their compatriots? Who suffer more from being confused for Roma than other Romanians? Who are most upset at the good name of their country being dragged through the gutter by the behaviour of Roma gypsies than Romanians? And so Romanians were also involved in the protest against this particular clan of gypsies.

Where are we now? The world's base opinion of Northern Ireland is once again confirmed thanks to the clever media spinning and lies of a tiny coterie of crazy Trots. A bunch of thieves who should be facing charges are instead hiding in churches and claiming to be the victims of racism, while they await free flights home.

The losers are the good people of South Belfast, and a special neighbourhood that always accommodated everyone, even at the height of the Troubles. They have been maligned, and libelled, and lied about.

The winners as always are the Roma. More free food and clothes and accommodation and someone else to pay for their flight home from the squalor they've made in yet another foreign town.

And in two months time, they'll be back, in Belfast or Dublin or Galway or Leeds or London or Paris or Naples or Munich or Valencia, squatting in a house they don't own, fifteen or thirty of them, living like animals and creating a hygiene problem for the neighbours, who they will threaten with their big knives even as they beg from them and steal from the local shops.
Until once again, either the authorities will take their children into care and arrest them or deport them. And so the merry-go-round spins again.

The people of South Belfast are not the problem. Romanians are not the problem. Racism is not the problem. Far right organisations are not the problem. Policing is not the problem.

The Roma are the problem, and that problem was deliberately and disgracefully compounded by the pondlife of the Socialist Workers Party, a political movement of such extremity that they do not dare run candidates in elections.

Belfast has suffered many pogroms in the past. My own family were burnt out of an area in the Seventies during one of the most dangerous ones. The Thirties also saw some horrific pogroms too.

And of course, in the furore about the rights of thieving foreign gypsies to intimidate local communities, we have all seemingly forgotten how a Catholic man was kicked to death in Coleraine, his wife and a pregnant woman assaulted too, only a few weeks back.

That's a REAL pogrom, but 'Loyalist bootboys still murdering Catholics for kicks' isn't as sexy a headline as 'Race riots in Belfast' even if it has the benefit of being true.

But this week saw a new chapter being written in Belfast - the pogrom that wasn't. Despite the lies and the headlines, I think that's progress.

Related posts here and here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moonlighting for the Irish Left Review

At the request of the Irish Left Review, I've done some in-depth analysis of the Dublin Euro election and the Dublin Central by-election and the Dublin local authority elections.

The story of the transfers reveals both crisis and opportunity for the many-headed hydra that is the Dublin political left.

Read more here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Elections 09 - Parsing the Prelude

As even the bookies are now offering only 1-2 odds on a general election this year, it seems we have entered dead government walking territory.

Hence, these local and European elections aren't just a referendum on the government's performance, they are a prelude to the main event of a general election.

As I write, the three Dublin seats have been filled, with sitting MEPs Eoin Ryan and Mary Lou McDonald making way for Socialist leader Joe Higgins. In a sense, that tells half the story of these entire elections: a slump in support for the government parties, Sinn Fein disappointment and the rise of protest Independents.

We saw the power of support for protest independents on Saturday at the Dublin Central by-election too, where Maureen O'Sullivan, the 'Gregory' candidate, managed to parlay her friendship with the late Tony Gregory into a Dail seat.

And the government slump has seen the Greens hardest hit, cut to the very bone for dancing with the Fianna Fail devil. Their organisation is now reduced to a handful of councillors, their MEP candidate lost her deposit and came in behind Independent Green Patricia McKenna, and now no Green Dail seat can be considered safe.

Fianna Fail themselves must look hard for positives. The backwoods of Westmeath and Roscommon offer a starting point. They actually improved their representation in those areas. And given the trend among some nervous FF-ers to go independent in order to ensure election to local authorities, Fianna Fail will find their numbers boosted as the likes of Tony Fox return to the fold. So this is not quite the tsunami that it initially looks.

There is further upside for Fianna Fail in the return of some dozen former PDs to local councils as independents. The PDs may be gone as a party, but as the cart which led the FF horse for over a decade, the working relations of PDs with Fianna Fail remain strong and ideologies remain compatible. FF are therefore boosted by their presence too.

Fine Gael's Christmases have all come at once. Historic is actually the word for it. George Lee elected first count in a by-election, 3 Dublin South TDs for the first time since the early 80s, the biggest party in the state for the first time ever.

No wonder Enda Kenny spent much of yesterday evening in the RDS grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

But the downside is that even if FG can maintain momentum into a general election, their simple lack of political nous means that they will not maximise their representation in Leinster House.

Tomorrow, Enda Kenny will overshadow the Dail debate on the Ryan report into clerical abuse by tabling a motion of no confidence. This is exactly the sort of politico-nerd behaviour the public despair of in the FG leader, and it is why Fine Gael should still consider thanking Enda for his great work so far and promoting Bruton to leadership in advance of a general election. But they won't.

The biggest winners of all appear, paradoxically, to be Labour. I say paradoxically, because one might have assumed it was a poor election for them, what with losing both Dublin by-elections and having a stiff race in the Ireland South European constituency.

But their representation across the country means that they, rather than the now-stalled Sinn Fein, are the main left challenge pretty much everywhere. If they had only fielded more candidates, they'd have maximised their representation even more. Labour for the first time in a generation have a national base to build on. And with a soft Fianna Fail vote there for the taking, Labour may well feel they can make it a three horse race in future.

What does this mean for any possible general election? Well, if the bookies are right and we see one in the next six months, it is fairly certain that Enda Kenny will be Taoiseach of a FG-Labour coalition.

The Greens can expect to be annihilated in their current form, while former Greens like McKenna and Maher could end up being the eco-representatives in Dail Eireann.

Sinn Fein appear to have reached their glass ceiling of 10%. Mary Lou will get a seat next time out, but they won't grow their vote until they outgrow the dodgy Northern leadership that too many Southerners find toxic.

The heart will be out of Fianna Fail campaigners for another election. They were anonymous on the ground this time and will be even more so in a general election. This is an opportunity for Fianna Fail to rid itself of much dead wood.

Perhaps they will be especially smart and de-select some of their sitting TD cohort in advance. Why bother running what the electorate wants shot of? Run the young candidate instead, give them a base from which to build. But FF are ultimately a party of gombeens shafting each other, as Mary Fitzpatrick could tell you, so don't expect this to happen. It's too sensible for them.

When will we see this election? Very soon. The Green leadership is panicked, trapped in power with their party and their voters deserting them. They're actively looking for the exit.

And Brian Lenihan is promising another hairshirt budget to punish the electorate for voting against Fianna Fail. That is likely to be the catalyst to bring people onto the streets to demand the removal of this government, which clearly now has no mandate left.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I'm voting against Fianna Fail today

In the locals, in the by-election and in the European elections.

I will carefully arrange my preferences to insure my vote doesn't come within an arse's roar of benefiting any Fianna Fail candidate.

Thankfully, given the abysmal candidates they have offered me, there is no confliction whatsoever for me in doing so.

Were Seamus Brennan Sr running, for example, there might be a slight twang of regret at putting his preference bottom, below non-entities like George TV and kerazees like that O'Gorman punter.

But thankfully they've made it oh-so-easy for me to punish them completely and properly for their corrupt mismanagement of this nation to their own selfish ends by running some of the most unqualified, shirking, gombeen eejits one could ever dread to meet.

These people are the wannabes (or in Eoin Ryan's case the hasbeen) in an institution that has lined its pockets and those of its wealthy benefactors at our expense.

They are the party that beggared the nation, who destroyed the economy for generations, and who are still doing so. A party so bereft of morality that, far from apologising for their many, many corrupt and shady deals in government with developers, rapist papists, and giving away our natural resources, they are still in utter denial of having done anything wrong.

These are the people who stole our gas, who let rapists away with it and paid for their sins with our money, who puffed property to the sky for their developer funders so that ordinary couples are now in debt for generations with only a shoebox in a dormitory burb to show for it, who took brown envelopes to rezone sites of national heritage for motorways.

Vote Fianna Fail LAST. Give them the very dog-end of your preferences.

Go right down the ballot, past the fringe parties, past the Shinners, past the single issue candidates, past the kooks, the loons, the anti-immigration nutjobs and the psycho Catholics, past even the Green lapdogs all the way to the end. And then vote Fianna Fail with your bottom preferences, or no preference at all.

It's time they were held accountable for their crimes. Let it start on Friday with a ringing rejection of all they've done to us. Let's get off our knees and kick the gombeen bastards in the bollocks.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tiananmen: 20 years of silence and oppression

We have to remember Tiananmen Square.

It's two decades to the day since the Chinese people demanded their freedom from the despotic, mass-murdering junta that rules their nation.

It's twenty years since they stood in Tiananmen Square and sang songs and demanded that the Communist dictators quit power.

It's twenty years since the power-hungry psychotics turned tanks on their own people and murdered them for asking to be free, killed them, jailed them, sent them to re-education gulags where they were tortured horrendously.

It's twenty years in which more terror has been inflicted on the people of occupied Tibet, the Uighur nation, and the other minorities within the Maoist monolith.

Twenty years in which the hypocrites of the West facilitated China's leadership by hiring their slave labour, buying their bloodstained products at dirt cheap prices, handed back free Hong Kong and Macao into their anti-democratic hands and helped them block the internet from reaching their people, and let them hold a propagandist Olympics that will go down in history as stomach-churning as Hitler's Berlin Games in 1936.

Twenty years in which their template for terrorising their own people has been exported elsewhere, to other stubborn juntas who will not countenance democracy or liberty or freedom of choice, in places like Burma.

It is not anywhere near as long since I was in China. But the people there still yearn for freedom.

We cannot allow the Chinese government to exercise their blanket control over information. We cannot let them rewrite history. We cannot permit the spirit of Tiananmen to be ignored.

Because one day, the proud Chinese people will be free from the sixty year nightmare of Maoism, and they will legitimately say:

"Yes, for much of that time, we bowed to the terror and let ourselves be ruled. But one day we rose and sought our freedom, and we were brutally beaten down. And you in the West did nothing. Rather than insist on our freedom as you did for the people of South Africa, you instead rewarded the Communist cadres and made them millionaires."

Remember Tiananmen. Remember what they did.

Remember how democracy was stillborn in China twenty years ago, and how we still trade with the murderers.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Stop the taxpayer bailout of Anglo-Irish Bank

Are you annoyed that 4 billion euro has just been added to the national debt in order to bail out the big property speculators and Fianna Fail funders who owe around 7.5 billion in bad debt to Anglo-Irish bank?

Do you feel sickened that your grandchildren will still be paying taxes in order to save the asses of a small golden circle of ultra-rich elite?

Well, then it's time to ask the EU to block the deal. Brian Lenihan cannot go ahead with this robbing of the taxpayer to bail out his cronies if Europe blocks it.

So, let the EU know what the Irish people think of this shoddy backroom backscratcher of a deal.

Send an email to this address, SG-PLAINTES@ec.europa.eu , and highlight your feelings about the bailout NOW. Tell Europe you object to this deal and believe it is a betrayal of the Irish people.

Because it is.