Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How did it come to this? (Caution, Rant ahead!)
April 8, 2010

Lo folks. Ive spent most of the last two days grinding my teeth over this unholy sh1tstorm that has blown over us. €75 Bn in loans to absolve the gambling debts of organizations representing the highest number of Sociopaths in the nation. And the majority of this is being poured into a Bank in is now almost synonymous with Celtic Tiger era excess and shady Political connections.

How the hell does a nations debt double? We did not come under attack from a hostile nation. We were not afflicted by a cataclysmic natural disaster. Yet here we are. No one has at the time of writing been identified by our courts as guilty. No one has gone to prison. Somehow, we lost a decade of progress, a generation once again considering their options abroad and the looming specter of mass Privatization just to pay the National heating bill.

How in FUCK did it get to this? Its not like Nama or the Bank recapitalizations crept up on us. They have been two years in the making on the back of a Worldwide recession, itself a further two years in the making. We have had plenty of notice. I started this thread to have a discussion on what exactly allowed our Government to make the debts of Privately owned, Privately funded and Privately run Financial Institutions at a stroke become our problem and our children’s problem

– Ignorance. To be clear, the word does not mean Stupid or daft. Its just plain unaware of whats going on. We do not have any meaningful subjects or even discussions on Politics or Economics at the Primary school level. By the time it reaches Secondary, and it may be different where you were, Civics was a very watered down National Discussion and Business subjects were things you had to apply to do. There is no way that these subjects were thought to us the same way English or Geography were. Too bad, as they have always had the most bearing on the way our Nation and World are run.

Is that Deliberate? Better to keep us uninformed and ignorant of what we see on the 6 o clock news every night? Or are we just thick? To be sure, its one hell of a complicated subject. I got an education myself since all this has blown up. Fractional reserve banking, the IMF, CDCs, subordinated debt….sounds very boring until you research the subject and realize, Holy Shit! this is exactly how the world has been run since I was born. Why am I only finding out about this now? Ive known people who have owed Thousands of euro to companies who charge APR at 22%. Ive had a sizable Credit card debt myself at one point, a reason why i would never demonize someone who has landed themselves in stupid debt. Its easy done if your not aware of the pitfalls.

No one, bar our parents maybe, ever kicked our backsides hard enough over the dangers over not knowing what we do with our money or what we do with our vote. Growing up in the 70/80s, I was constantly subjected to the dangers of eating before swimming. I never ever had an ad tell me of the perils of Hire Purchase.

Am I too Cynical or does that just suit certain agendas….?

– Respect of Authority. “You should Respect your Betters!” Martin Manseragh once told an FG senator who dared questions Bertie Aherns Finances. In our current political system, Representative Democracy, we vote for our Government and then let them off the leash for a period of 5 years where we cannot touch them. Whatever they decide, goes. A lot like living with your parents actually, where Mammy justified my early bedtime by saying “Because I said so.” Recent revelations about the Catholic Church have shown a side of this country that few of the younger generations can get their heads around. Women incarcerated in Labour camps for the crime of having a child outside of wedlock. And no one uttered a word of protest for generations. Now Thats power. Thats Authority.

I find this particularly disappointing. We revel in our history of Brian Boru, The Earls, Wolfe Tone and the United Irish, Daniel O Connell, Michael Davitt, Michael Collins, James Connolly et al. People who fought for our Freedom through Peace and Violence. And after 800 years, we pushed out our occupiers and allowed the home-grown variety to rules us in exactly the same way.

Does it continue to this day? We seem to take an awful lot for granted from our “Betters”. Election Manifestos are treated as Legal Contracts. We assume that Brians Cowen and Lenihan have our best interest at heart. Again, I have friends and neighbours who quote their assurances verbatim, as if no Politician has ever gone back on a commitment or bended the truth. Or told an outright lie, safe in the knowledge that they would not be challenged.

On one hand we seem to have a healthy distrust of all authority. So why do so many seem willing to take the word of a badly discredited crew? Do we elect our National lawmakers and Legislators based on their Local Politics ability? ( I know of one good friend of the family who had voted for a former PD TD for two elections in a row. They reported a large pothole outside their house. A week later, said TD arrives with the county engineer. Pothole is fixed and votes are assured for a decade. )

Maybe the way out of this mess lies in the realisation after 2010, no Authority can be trusted to do whats right for the people. We need to take a more active role in our own lives and our Communities. We can only save ourselves, not much will happen if we sit on our collective holes waiting for them to be rescued.

– Capitalism. I remember listening to the Ryan Tubridy show about a year ago. He had a few young folks on discussing life in the recession which might not have been as apocalyptic back then. he read out a text he got at the end of his show from someone in their fifties who recalled the Recession before this one and the one before that. I was struck by that. I had forgotten it until recently. I heard Bill Cullen air his views on the current situation and he used the word “Cyclical” to describe it. Then a couple of weeks later on Rte, I heard one of the Investors of Dragons Den say the exact same thing. Cyclical. What a word. It implies that whats happening right now is perfectly natural. Like the Seasons, Our rotation around the Sun and Hailey’s Comet. Bound to happen. Nothing anyone can do.

I call BS. The whole Boom-Bust cycle is completely artificial, the logical conclusion to Free Capitalism. Everyone chases the easy money rather than actually work for it. Things get inflated beyond proportion and eventually it collapses. This “Natural” occurrence has some unfortunate side effects such as mass unemployment, family breakups and people losing the Roof over their heads. It is of course completely Avoidable. But the prevailing mantra is Free-market economics. No rules or Regulations, just let em at it. The market will find its level, Invisible Hand, Trickle Down etc.

Too bad. We almost had a discussion on this. For a time, Capitalism was finally being discussed, not the side effects but the system itself. It seemed to die off though and once again Normal service has been resumed. Now we can only talk about fixing our problems within the context of the system that has brought it about.

Karl Marx commented that History repeats itself, first as Tragedy then as Farce. How many more of these “Natural” occurances will we go through before we finally shout stop? Have we resigned ourselves to “Shit Happens” and lets just deal with it and get on with. Does anyone seriously believe that this is the last time we will see this kind of Crash?

– Rank Corruption. Dodgy, this one. No direct proof exists of course. But stil….Anglo : Nationalization of a Bank with feck all branches around the country that dealt almost exclusively with major Property developers. Why do we own them? Whats ever happened to that Garda raid that no one seems to talk about now? How have You and I wound up the owner of a Bank that has just posted the largest loss in Irish Corporate History? Why is it that you and me are about to pour €18Bn into it?
– Apathy. Of the two marches against Nama that took place in Dublin last year, the second and larger one was officially reported at 5000. Thats 5000 people who made up their minds to spend a Sunny Saturday afternoon, 2 hours in total, making a statement that they did not want the National debt doubled simply to help out the most Powerful institutions in the land. The same number was attributed to a Pro-hunt rally In Waterford.

Do we really believe that its only worth fighting over small local issues? that the big ones that have the most influence over our lives are totally out of our control? I got a real sense of this during the run up to the second Lisbon referendum. I voted No as did so many I talked to. However, by the time the second vote came around, many had decided not to Vote at all. I cant blame them. Michael Martin, on the very Evening of the first Lisbon vote would not rule out a second attempt when directly questioned. A repeat of the Nice referendum.

Of course it just instaills a complete sense of powerless-ness in people. Who cares how they vote, they will be asked again until the right answer is given. Then you have conscientious TDs like Ned O Keefe who states “I’m a member of the Fianna Fáil party and I will vote with the party”. So there it is in Black and White. The wishes of the electorate be damned. Whatever the Brass decide, I shall follow. The party whip will make sure of that.

I was listening to Newstalk this morning, around 9am Tom Dunne comes on. He told us to stay tuned : he would have a financial expert on to tell us about the ramification of Tuesdays happenings. Very little coverage or Financial experts in recent weeks, even years while all of this was building up. Nobody seemed bothered to do anything about it while we had a chance. Its much better to rave about it now that its done. Then listen to some chart music.

So thats me. What say ye?

BrendanGalway  2.4.2010

Our New Forum –
February 16, 2010 , our new forum, has opened today.  You’re invited to register here as a Founder Member.

C Flower

Moving from Tok! to February 2010 – Join Us in the New Forum
February 11, 2010 is open for discussion of National and International politics and economics –  Hurry over there now……………………….

C Flower


Same Difference? – Bertie Ahern and Gerry Adams
February 8, 2010

Bertie Ahern was one of the most popular Taoisigh in Ireland, winning three Election victories, and was the second longest-serving Taoiseach in Ireland.   Reigning Ireland at the height of the Celtic Tiger, and a massive property boom in Ireland, he cemented the trust of the people who agreed with him, when he blasted those who warned the boom could not last,  as ‘begrudgers’. When Bertie told the people the “Boom was getting Boomier” they believed him.  And while some may have been aghast at his suicide comment they did not argue that those who criticized him or were predicting a massive bust, were “sitting on the sidelines cribbing and moaning

Bertie’s longevity was further enabled by the loyalty of his party members who refused to question Bertie, no matter what he said or did, and from the public who were mindlessly devoted to him. They believed he was just like them, the guy next door who liked a pint and watched the football. Bertie the “Teflon Taoiseach”, seemed immune from the financial allegations against him.  We all know that Teflon have great non stick pans, until you start using steel cooking utensils on them.

And so it was with Bertie in the end, death by a thousand steel spatulas.  As the financial allegations against Bertie Ahern continued he claimed “I have done no wrong and have wronged no one“, but the spatulas kept scrapping away at the Teflon until he resigned in May 2008.

So can similarities be drawn between Bertie Ahern and Gerry Adams?

There is no doubting Gerry’s popularity especially in West Belfast where he has consistently been reelected as MP since 1983 until today, apart from one fall from grace, when he lost his seat to the SDLP in 1991, regaining it again in 1997.  He is harsh on his critics, accusing them, as does Bertie, of being begrudgers.  Gerry goes further to label them also as dissidents, or of having a political axe to grind.  The recent allegations of child abuse by Sinn Fein members, not least Adam’s brother Liam, and the subsequent allegations of the covering up of child abuse, have been met with a stony-faced denial that he has done anything wrong, much as Bertie claimed, followed by counter-accusations that “political opponents have also very cynically sought to exploit this personal family trauma in a most offensive way.

Gerry Adams told UTV’s Insight program that he believed his niece, when she told him how her father had abused her since she was four years old. Yet Aine claimed in the same program that she felt that Liam was turning into the victim, and that Gerry had said ‘It was hard to know, who stole the apples from the cart”.   Who could forget Bertie Ahern imploring people not to “upset the apple tart” ?

Gerry’s followers and Party Members are all too willing to trust him; their mindless devotion to him won’t allow them to question the glaring inconsistencies in his timelines regarding his actions towards Liam after the child abuse disclosure was made by his niece. Not unlike Bertie’s followers who refused to believe the financial allegations against him, no matter how thick and fast they were coming in.

When Bertie Ahern reassured the people that the “boom was getting boomier” despite all evidence to the contrary, his followers did not question him, and those that did where “begrudgers

Gerry Adams’ followers similarly believe what Gerry tells them.  When he stated “The time has long passed for the transfer of powers on policing and justice. There can be no preconditions to that. Not on the Parades Commission; not on marches; not on equality and partnership government”  His followers agreed: yet when Sinn Fein  come out of the negotiations with the scrapping of the Parades commission,  not to worry, this has already been packaged up and sold as a victory for Sinn Fein and the people or Party Members do not question him.

By the end of the year there will also be the transfer of powers from London to Belfast to deal with the issue of parades. Key to this is agreeing a framework that provides for local solutions. Sounds good doesn’t it?  But Gerry Adams previously stated that “They (The DUP) want the scrapping of the Parades Commission and progress on the ground – in other words marches through Catholic areas.”

For those who dare to question why Sinn Fein gave in to this precondition, or might be worried about possible outcomes of the scrapping of the Parades Commission, Gerry Adams has the answer   “No one should feel nervous about any of this” Wasn’t he the one that was telling us previous to this, that the scrapping of the Parades Commission would equate to marches through Catholic Areas?

Woe to anyone who would criticize Sinn Feins negotiation skills or wonder why they conceded to the DUP, rather than call an early election where the faithful followers believe Sinn Fein would become the Largest Party in Northern Ireland.  “Of course, there will be some who will rail against it. The naysayers and begrudgers will study the detail of the agreement seeking points of criticism. But they are the minority. The vast majority of people in the north and on this island want this process to work. Public opinion in recent weeks has overwhelmingly favoured a deal” said Gerry Adams in his most recent blog.

The failure of Sinn Fein to ‘go nuclear’ as promised, if preconditions on Parading where insisted upon by the DUP, could be an indicator that they have no appetite for an election at this stage.  Gerry should keep watch for those steel spatula’s, but it is my guess that much like Bertie who was gone before the extent of the toxicity of the Irish Banks became known and the cosy relationships between Bank Manager, property developers and  Fianna Fail was exposed, he will be  gone before the  full extent of the failure of the Good Friday Agreement is realised by the masses.

Two Party Leaders who would like to be remembered by the History books for their contribution to the Peace Process, are in real danger of being remembered instead for personal allegations against them.  It remains to be seen if Gerry Adams will suffer a similar fate to Bertie Ahern.

Mutley    8. 2. 2010

Haiti – Eternal Punishment
January 17, 2010

Eternal Punishment

Until a few years ago I didn’t know much about Haiti. I had grown up with histories about Duvalier and the Tonton Macoute, and I knew about voodoo from popular culture. In a nutshell, a barbarian country with barbarian customs.
That changed in the Argentinean Patagonia, a place where natives, the Mapuche, are the workforce for the descendents of European immigrants, brought there to implement an agricultural project of British capital, a concession related to the railway that enabled a genocidal military campaign of “pacification” against the Mapuche.    An impressive monument to the leader of that campaign, Gen. Julio Roca, whom later would become Argentina’s President, was built near Choele Choel, facing south – the direction of the conquest, and Roca’s statues are omnipresent throughout Patagonian cities, one is even named after him.  It was there that an Agronomist told me some of the details of that campaign, how the soldiers were paid against the presentation of the dead native’s testicles.

He recommended a few books on Argentina’s History and one of them was Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America.” That book gave me the basis to understand what happens in that part of the world, and it was in it that I first glimpsed at the true History of Haiti.  Eduardo Galeano is a man I immensely respect and I try to keep up with his writings. One of them “The White Curse” was written by the time of the last US invasion of Haiti to oust President Aristide. It is a short timeline of Haitian History, and I would like to share with you it’s beginning and end:

“On the first day of his year, freedom in this world turned 200. But no one noticed, or almost no one. A few days later, the country where this birth occurred, Haiti, found itself in the media spotlight, not for the anniversary of universal freedom but for the ouster of President Aristide.  Haiti was the first country to abolish slavery. However, the most widely read encyclopedias and almost all educational textbooks attribute this honorable deed to England. It is true that one fine day the empire that had been the champion in the slave trade changed its mind about it. But abolition in Britain took place in 1807, three years after the Haitian revolution, and it was so unconvincing that in 1832 Britain had to ban slavery again.”
“On the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, there is a large sign that reads: Road to Ruin.  Down that road, everyone is a sculptor. Haitians have the habit of collecting tin cans and scrap metal that they cut and shape and hammer with old-world mastery, creating marvels that are sold in the street markets. Haiti is a country that has been thrown away, as an eternal punishment of its dignity. There it lies, like scrap metal. It awaits the hands of its people.”

The first time Hugo Chávez met Obama he offered him “The Open Vein”. There was some hope, then, that things could change. Honduras showed us that those hopes were vain. The marines are once again on the way to occupy Haiti. Obama’s peculiar “Humanitarian Help” proves the only difference to his predecessors is just a matter of pigment, nothing else.

Estouxim   17 Jan 2010

The Nine Plagues of Ireland
January 11, 2010

The Nine Plagues of Ireland

  1. The Banking Crash
  2. The Budget Deficit
  3. Personal Debt
  4. The Fish Stock Collapse
  5. The Agricultural Crisis
  6. Unemployment
  7. Institutionalised Child Abuse
  8. The Floods and The “Cold Snap”
  9. Our political and union leadership.

There is some biblical quality about the scope of disaster visited on the Nation of Ireland but the sightings of shivering sun, moving statues and tree stump miracles have dried up it seems.  Objective solutions and calm, timely reactions are what’s needed – but have we got it in us at this stage to find them ?  Are we waiting for the Irish Sea to part, so we can trudge across to Holyhead ?

C. Flower     11.1.2010

About Tok Blog
January 10, 2010

Tok Blog started Sunday 10-1-2010.  It is a satellite of the Irish discussion forum, members are welcome to submit blog posts for Tok Blog, which is linked to the Tok forum. Members are also invited to suggest blogs to be linked, to provide links to their own blogs and to nominate longer posts on the Forum they feel deserve to be highlighted.

The blog will also be used to make announcements about and as a contact  point for members when the forum is off line for technical reasons.

Some Recent threads on Haiti on our Forum   –

Haiti – Hurricanes, Earthquakes and What Else ?

14 January 2010 – Haitian Earthquake

You’re Damned if You Do – Pat Robertson on Haiti

The militarisation of US Aid to Haiti

Memoirs of an 18th Century Haitian Democratic Leader

The Devil Writes to Pat Robertson

(C. Flower)

Welcome to Tok Blog!
January 10, 2010

Please send any blog posts you would like to submit for inclusion and any suggestions for links to this blog by email to     @