lesbiassparrow: (Robin Pointy)
Holy feck, Ireland is totally screwed isn't it?

Watched the Paxman interview with Brian Lenihan. Favourite moment (and a question no one in Ireland would ever dare to raise) was the bit where he said 'wouldn't your assertion [that Ireland will regain its financial health] be rather more plausible were this crisis not entirely a result of your own incompetence."

Sad fact: Cowen, Lenihan, Harney and the lot of them will retire on immense pensions and my sister will have her meagre wages cut further because everyone knows that the public sector is overpaid. Except for the politicians. You can't pay enough for the clowns we have! (Did you know out esteemed leader is paid more than the President of the US?)
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
(This will probably only be of interest to Irish flisters, who are probably sick of hearing about it, but for anyone else who is interested, here's the background.) The Republic of Ireland recently nationalised one of the major banks, Anglo Irish Bank (AIB). Nothing surprising there, as governments have had to this in various countries because of the economic crisis. However, it has become increasingly clear that the bank was in far deeper trouble than anyone said or (apparently) knew. The question is whether the government didn't know out of laziness, stupidity, or incompetence or lied because of corruption. So far it has been disclosed that AIB was lent a massive amount of money by another financial institution to make their books look better; it appears a report was filed and given to our Finance Minister, but he claims he never read it. I'll repeat that: he never read a report about a huge Irish bank which already was in trouble and which talked about them being lent millions of euros by another financial institution. It also has now come into the open that before the nationalisation the bank lent 10 shareholders 300 euros million to buy up stock and thus prop up its price. Of course, now most people want to know who these shareholders are because the government nationalising the bank has protected their investment and taxpayers would like know if there are any connections between this "golden circle" and anyone who pushed this deal.

I give you now this delicious quote from the Tainiste (our deputy prime minister):

Ms Coughlan said the names of the so-called ‘golden circle’ of 10 business people in question had not been disclosed to the Minister for Finance.

“The Minister has no right to that information as a shareholder. It would undermine confidence in the bank if the Minister as a shareholder could obtain information about customers of that bank,” she said.

I have no words to properly comment on the stupidity of that statement. Sometimes I wonder how these people even passed primary school, let alone got into positions of power.

Edited for the right name of the bank. Clearly, much like some of these politicians I don't read things as carefully as I should.
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
Have you ever read something which you know is quite good, which you know that you really should like - but somehow find yourself not liking it? I just finished Robin McKinley's Spindle's End and while there were plenty of things I liked in it, in the end I found myself almost disliking it. And I have no idea why. Very strange. Maybe I shall blame it on there being a character named Narl, whom I thought was about 60 but surely cannot be because the heroine loved him and I don't think I was supposed to be squicked out.

Jezebel has a post post on how people often seem to want to support animal charities (specifically animal charities that involve saving cute things like puppies) over things like battered women's shelters. While I think it's a wrong to have a hierarchy of charitable giving which pits one needy group or cause against another, I do get tired of people who have immense empathy for animal suffering while having none for humans. This may be because I had a job a while back where during Hurricane Katriona none of the people had any concern for the situation until they saw abandoned animals. Then they got outraged and arranged a collection for the SPCA and foster animals, even as they turned down other suggestions of fundraising for other charities and blamed people for leaving behind their animals to save themselves. It was horrifically depressing - how could you have empathy for one set of suffering and none for the other? There is also this horrible story about these women heralded for saving their pets from fires in Malibu who left behind their Hispanic housekeeper because they didn't have space for her.

It is also awfully disturbing how many people on that Jezebel thread are suggesting that battered women are somehow blameworthy for not getting out. I think they imagine that there are more shelters and options available for these women than there are. It's not like you leave the guy and the system goes 'Yay! Here have a place to live and some money! We'll look after you!'
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
I think this calls for a rare political post and profanity:

Blair would grace us all as president of the European council of ministers. If only we'd give him real power to play with

Do. Not. Want. He's like a goddamn vampire in that he will not bloody die a decent political death.
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
Just how much energy do you think it takes Nancy Pelosi not to roll her eyes every five minutes? And why does Cheney always look like listening to Bush is about as much fun as a prostate exam? Feign some enthusiasm, man! He's your bloody colleague.

Plus, is it the law that you have to stand and applaud every time the president mentions the army? If I were him, I'd just fling random mentions in the middle of other things to make everyone get up when they were planning on looking disapproving.
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
I very rarely post anything political on my journal because this isn't my space for that (actually, I don't think I've ever really posted about these things here). So feel free to skip but I couldn't not post.

Everytime I read or hear about Guantanomo I get enraged, not just because I think what is going on there is evil (I'm sorry, there's no other word for treating people like that no matter who they are or what they've done) but because it is also pointless and incredibly destructive to your own civil society and values.

I am also astonished that no one brings up the whole internment without trial debacle in Northern Ireland. Introduced in 1971 to pretty much the same rhetoric which is now being spouted for various terrorist legislation around the world, it was a complete and utter disaster. Throwing people in jail without giving them fair and open trials does not make you safer. Torturing people does not make you safer. Throwing an army onto the streets does not make you safer. If it did then there would have been no terrorism in Northern Ireland after 1971. If it was good for your civil society then the UK would not have ended up with the corruption of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad and endless miscarraiges of justice (not just of Irish people but others whom that squad 'investigated').
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
Sometimes you feel like you have nothing in common with people, in fact, that you have so little in common you wonder if you are part of the same species. And listening to discussions over the Geneva Convention and people trying to justify torture is one of those times. I really don't know how you can think so little of yourself and other people that you would stand up publicly and try and justify what you must know to be torture. And how you somehow decide that the Geneva convention is ambiguous about this? Or that maybe, magically it doesn't apply to your country but does to other people?
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
From The Guardian:

The home secretary yesterday gave the thinktank Demos his strongest hint yet that a new round of anti-terror legislation is on the way this autumn by warning that traditional civil liberty arguments were not so much wrong as just made for another age.

"Sometimes we may have to modify some of our own freedoms in the short term in order to prevent their misuse and abuse by those who oppose our fundamental values and would destroy all of our freedoms in the modern world,"

Read the full story here

And in case anyone was wondering if this sort of thing works, I bring you a quote on the interment without trial that was practiced in Northern Ireland when apparently ordinary laws would no longer work; and we all know how swimmingly that went and how it solved that whole problem of violence in the North and in no way made everything worse:

Brian Falkner said: "The terrorists' campaign continues at an unacceptable level and I have had to conclude that the ordinary law cannot deal comprehensively or quickly enough with such ruthless violence.

"I have therefore decided... to exercise where necessary the powers of detention and internment vested in me as Minister of Home Affairs.

He said the decision had been made to protect life and property and the main target would be members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The act has been described as one of the most powerful anti-terrorist measures on the statute books of any Western democracy but Mr Faulkner said he could not give any guarantees it would bring an end to the campaign."

Link here


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August 2011

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