Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Jesus, what does it take to get this guy to shut up? Resoundingly rejected by the electorate during the European elections, still under a cloud about the mysterious funding for that campaign and the first Lisbon vote, the guy lives and works in America, so what the fuck does he want coming to Ireland and spouting off about democracy?
His first interview on the second Lisbon vote, the very very first interview, before anyone else, before he even announced coming back, was to the Wall Street Journal. What does that tell us, people?
That Ganley’s only concern is business in the United States! And what’s good for US business? A weak and divided Europe, of course.
The Treaty in plain English
Just today, Ganley is again spouting any ould rubbish to scare people, banging on about a consolidated tax base.
That RUBBISH, people. The French and Germans have been trying that for years and years, and the Brits and Irish are always shooting it down. The EU does not, and will never have, any say in how the Irish goverment taxes it’s people and industries. Never.
Because the Irish corporate rate of 12% is hugely lower than the big EU countries, and that’s why all those American firms came here to set up – Intel, Google, EBay, Yahoo, etc. etc. etc.
If you ask someone who’s voting “No”, why, they’ll say “Oh, abortion..” or “Tax!” or “Defense”. But the Lisbon treaty doesn’t affect any of those issues at all. 100% BS. Rubbish. Lies. Misleading. Crap. The Lisbon treaty says that on the issues that concern the EU
- we’re changing how we vote
- in the future, we can change again without having to pass new treaties
It doesn’t give the EU new powers over ANYTHING that the EU doesn’t already have power in.
- Tax policy – no change
- Health policy – no change
- Defense policy – no change.
So what does he want?
Ganley wants a No vote because America doesn’t want a unified EU foreign policy. Doesn’t want a unified EU trade position. Doesn’t want a unified EU anything! Furthermore, Ireland outside the core EU will be more reliant on the US. We’ll need their investment more than ever. Good trade deals. Even less tax. More incentives.
Of course the US-based Ganley (with $7m contracts to the Pentagon) wants a No vote. It’ll be good for HIM.
But an absolute fucking disaster for the rest of us.
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Just back from an interview in Dublin, so I had some time to think on the bus. I came up with some pretty good ideas for the No Campaign against the Lisbon treaty. I reckon that, seeing as how they’re all such awe-inspiring arguments, they need a common slogan to tie them all together. I’m going for;
Then there’d be “I’m with Stupid” above said yokel, and the obligatory “Vote NO for Lisbon” underneath.
I think it’s a bloody great idea.
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I’ve just finished this book and one major thought jumps out at me… dude, where’s the ambition???
I mean, seriously, one doesn’t become POTUS by accident. Especially if you’re black. I mean, seriously.
The book is a great read by the way, but it comes across sometimes as a road-map to political power, especially when read together with “The Audacity of Hope”. The whole “community organiser” thing – I didn’t even know what the hell that was until I read this book. And seeing that a lot of “The Audacity of Hope” was about how clueless Obama was about fund-raising – dude, where did the budget for all your organising come from? Manna from they sky? Or were you laying it on a bit thick in the second book, playing the ‘awe-shucks’ country-boy routine? It’s clear from “Dreams from my father” that Obama was already a slick political player in Chicago, and that was before the shark-infested waters of Harvard law school.
The bit about the trip to Africa seemed bolted on to the rest of the book, really, more about establishing his black bone-fides than it was about exploring more who Barack Obama is, was, or might be. I mean, being president of the Harvard Law Review might lead people to be doubtful about the man (the other famous black lawyer is Clarence Thomas – one of the trio of extremely-right-wing justices on the Supreme Court!). Best get those African roots in the book then.
Still, a decent book and well recommended for anyone who wants to know a bit about Barack, although one could skip “Dream of my father” and go straight to “The Audacity of Hope” for a better look at where his politics are.
Go out and buy it now.
So the Indo today has an article saying that the government has capped banking salaries at €500k, leading to cries of outrage from the banks, who are used to paying their (largely useless) managment salaries with 6 zeroes after them, instead of only 5.
“However, one senior banker warned the fact that the report calls for “adequate headroom” between the salaries of chief executives and subordinates “will likely lead to a mass exodus of senior management over the coming months”.”
And I say – bloody fantastic! As someone who has had experience dealing with banks and senior banking figures, I can admit that I was never impressed by Irish bankers on the whole, who are too old and too conservative and muddle along from bad decision to bad decision, making up the outragous losses they incur by screwing the Irish consumer, and thus turning in huge profits.
I mean, let’s be clear here – the issues facing Irish banks today aren’t the same one that have crippled American banks, by and large. It wasn’t the Irish coming up with fancy new ways of making money, of repackaging debt, finding new markets. No no no no no.
The Irish banks are screwed because they lent far too much money to Irish developer friends. You think that these big developers make detailed business plans and put up security and all that stuff, like a normal house-buyer? Do they fck!
What they actually do is meet their banking buddy on the 18-hole golf course in Portmarnock, the K-Club or Druids Glen, and come to a nice agreement and then the banking guy goes back and tells his managers what the deal is.
And then picks up millions of euro in a salary.
“Mass exodus” of senior management? I say – good riddance! Give the young guys a chance.
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A friend of ours, a graduate in Law, went to Milan last week for the magistrate selection board. A full week of exams and bureaocracy, a long way from home.
For those unfamiliar with the Italian (and indeed, French and Spanish) system, the magistrates are a mix of prosecution, investigator, and judge. A magistrate has a lot of power in Italy, to authorise search, survellience, wiretaps, arrests, confiscation of property, etc. The magistrate guides and controls investigations, interrogates witnesses and suspects, and prosecutes the case in court.
Magistrates also act as judge and jury (Italy by and large has non-jury trials), although there are procedures in place to prevent conflicts of interest. All this power is kept in check by a governing council which tries to stop magistrates abusing their power, although if you listened to Burlesconi, all the magistrates are raging Commies out to get all honest people, and him in particular.
You can always tell a magistrate in Italy, because they are invariably accompanied by armed bodyguards, fast cars and loud sirens. A standing joke in Palermo used to be that Judge Falcone caused most of the traffic jams with his 3-car convoy racing around. That joke fell flat when he (along with his wife and several bodyguards) were killed by a massive IED installed in a drain under the 4-lane motorway at Capaci. (Unanswered even after 15 years is ‘how did Brusca, “lo scannacristiani“, know Falcone was coming to Palermo, unannounced and in a private jet, on that particular day, at that particular time?)
It got even less funnier when Borsellino met the same fate a few months after, along with his entire escort.
Anyway, by now it should be clear that any young Sicilian wanting to be a magistrate is probably, counciously or not, trying to emulate these great Sicilian heroes and bring a little honesty to this corner of the world. But first, they have to get selected.
And that’s not easy – 500 posts nationwide, and 5,600 applicants. Obviously, you have to be very, very good, to get selected. A lot of stress, and a lot of study.
Obviously it’s impossible to remember the entire Codice Civile, so students can bring a plain copy of the Civil Code into the exam, and maybe an Italian dictionary. You have to be able to demonstrate understanding of the code, of precedent, all that good stuff that goes into turning dry legalase into everyday judicial decisions.
Before we get to “or”, let’s put some light on a few irregularities…
This year, the exam venue was changed from Rome, where it has always been held, to Milan. Probably because Bossi, the leader of the right-wing Northern League (despite a corruption conviction) wants more business for the north.
The second irregularity, is that the guy responsible for the selection process, Antonio Gialanella, resigned from the post a week before the selection. Why? As one applicant quipped, maybe his phone was broke from all the phone calls. One can imagine a situation similar to that of Messina – “If the son of ‘so-and-so’ doesn’t pass, we’ll chop your fucking legs off”.
Andiamo avanti, as they say here, to the start of selection week. The students have to go and get their books checked for illegal markings etc. Banned are expanded copies of the Code, which are sort of “dummies guides” to the law, and explain a lot of things. Obviously book with lots of scribbles or inserts are banned. Basically, only the basic, plain, unexplained and un-commented Civil Code is allowed. Each book gets a stamp to show that it has been checked. On average, 10 minutes per book, as the checker leafs through looking for anything dodgy.
And thus to the exams. And the first day, 25 appllicants expelled. It’s not quite clear if those expelled were cheating, or in fact where honest students complaining about cheating going on unchecked.
What’s that? I hear you ask…
Yep. Students who complained about cheating were threathened with expulsion for interrupting a civil service exam. The cheaters were left unmolested. At most, the offending items were taken from the cheating student, who then continued the exam.
And what were the offending items? Palm Treos with the Codice Civile? Whisphered conversations into bluetooth headsets? Scribbled answers on forearms?
Please, this is Italy. Things are far more sophisticated here.
The offending items were fully annotated copies of the Civil Code, duly marked with the official “this book has been checked and is ok to use in the exam” stamps. That’s right, someone had marked these annotated, scribbled on highly illegal books as perfectly ok to use in the exam. How they got that stamp on these illegal books, remains to be answered.
Actually, it’s easily answered, but this is Italy and if I said what I thought, I’d be sued.
Check the video. At min 2:30 and on, you’ll see people coming out of the exam, walking past with armfuls of books. I’ve seen the Civil Code, it’s about the size of a family bible (depending on how small the print is, of course). It’s not an armful of thick books. How the hell did they get those books into the exam? How the hell were they able to use them without the examiners raising hell?
Fecks sake, when I took an exam on wireless communcations with OU, I had to write down the model number of my scientific calculator on the exam paper, and the examiner CHECKED IT! When I took out my copy of a manual, the examinar came by to see what it was, and flipped through it. THAT’s what an examiner does.
Not in Milan though! The cheating was so blatent, this applicant has admitted that he asked his neighbour for a loan of his annotated copy. As did the applicant on the other side…
Applicants protesting were warned that they were interrupting a civil service exam and would be reported to the police if they continued!
And what did the chief invigilator Maurizio Fumo (that’s the guy incharge of the exams) say to all the applicants complaining about the cheating – faced with applicants shouting out that he was a fool and a collaborator in the cheating, what did this high-ranking magistrate have to say?
“If you’re not happy, you can leave and sue us!”
No, seriously, this was his response (at 2:27 minutes in the video).
What power did that guy think was protecting him and his commission, when he could respond like that to a roomful of law students?
Basically, ‘piss off and sue me!’.
Outraged by the blatent cheating, and seeing that they had no chance of one of the 500 places, many applicants walked out and immediately laid charges with the police themselves.
Now there’s an investigation. The minister of Justice is banging on about introducing new laws. The chief invigilator and all the examiners seem to have been fired (though I’m not sure if that was just the Minister saying he WILL fire them, or he HAS fired them).
Strangely though, the TV news stations are steering clear. On Annozero this morning, they were talking about a similar problem in Messina, but when one member of the audience wanted to mention Milan, the host cut him off saying “Oh we can’t talk about that, as there’s been no judgement…” But there’s no judgement in Messina neither, and they’re talking about that?
I’m just glad that the applicants have managed to get their story out about this whole farce. Hopefully the selection will be annulled and held again, and all honest applicats will have an equal chance at securing on of those coveted positions in the Magistrature. And hopefully, those honest applicants will become honest magistrates and help clean up Italy, which badly needs it.
p.s. on Annozero, one of the guests loudly asked “Why don’t the students do SOMETHING about this? Why aren’t they protesting in the STREET?”
A student from Messina answered, and then said “And now, wait and see, now I won’t graduate because of what I’ve said here”
And the host told him to shut up. “You’re responsible for what you just said, not us!”
In other words, Annozero likes to ask questions, it just doess’t like to get honest answers. Won’t be watching that wanker again.
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I remember spending holidays in Derry as a kid, and watching the soldiers poke around in the bushes in my grandmother’s garden looking for arms caches and whatnot. Passing through army checkpoints with the young squaddies peering at you over the sights of their S80s. Walking through the gate in the city walls which had an army bunker built into it, wondering about the guys on the other side, invisible but watching.
All changed now. You can even wander about the Bogside taking pictures and no-one will even bother you.
In other news, I’m debating whether I should bet on McCain winning the election. Sure, everyone babbles about how they love Obama, but as the BBC is pointing out, it wouldn’t be the first time a black politican had trouble turning polls into votes.
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So Veltroni is saying the pact between his PD and di Pietro’s “Italy of Values” is dead. Apparently because di Pietro doesn’t want Italia di Valori to be subsumed by the PD.
In classic di Pietro style (I’m liking this guy more and more!) he dismissed the whole affair by saying that Veltroni was just a ‘collaborator’ with the government.
As usual, a short, sharp, and 100% accurate putdown from the former Tangentapoli magistrate. Bravo!
This after a previous clash when Veltroni parroted di Pietro about the lack of involvment by Napolitano (the President of Italy) in day-to-day politics, and the next day di Pietro was asked if he agreed with Veltroni, to which he replied;
“Veltroni says today what we have said previously – and now you’re asking me if I agree with what myself and ‘Italy of Values’ have been saying from the beginnning?”
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How’s this for a laugh? In March, Berlusconi kicks Air France/KLM in the teeth for daring to try to buy Alitalia, for Eur 139m, plus buying up all the available stock, plus taking on all the debt – all Eur 1 BILLION of it.
Having knocked that one back, Berlusconi hands the job of finding a buyer over to the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo. Intesa Sanpaolo duly report that, very sorry, can’t find anyone willing to take on this company, but here’s a consortium of Italian companies willing to put a billion euros into the company. With conditions – that the Italian state take on all the built-up debt. Remember, that’s 1 BILLION euro of it.
For how much? Oh, about Eur 300m.
What a deal! Cancel all the debt, grab all those airplanes and routes, for a piddling 300m euro?
Along comes CAI, a consortium of Italian businesses, who suggest that if the government take on the debt, they’ll invest 1 billion euro in the new, debt free company. And who ends up being in CAI?
Intesa Sanpaolo. Now how’s THAT for a conflict of interest???
The bank given the job of selling Alitalia tell the government it can’t find any buyers and recommends a plan to sell the company to itself for a knockdown price!
So the unions reject the deal. CAI walk away. The Italians ask Air France/KLM if they’re interested, and what’s the response?
No, not now, not ever.
Why not? Is it because Berlusconi is hostile to foreign ownership of Alitalia?
No, it’s ‘cos now Air France/KLM can get their hands on the company for a lot less by buying part of CAI! They’be be STUPID to buy into Alitalia now, with all the conditions that have been attached, when they can share the spoils behind the scenes.
So now CAI is the only deal on the table, because all the foreign airlines aren’t stupid.
Unlike the unions who rejected the Air France/KLM deal and are now a lot worse off!.
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Well now that the sick charade of the Olympics is over, time for the daily papers to start on about how they really feel about the Beijing Bumf$ck, as I think we’ll call ‘em.
Starting with the Scotsman, somewhat late in revisionist editorialising that the spirit of the Olympics is sadly lacking.
This, of course, after full coverage, blow by blow, of the entire event.
One word. Blah.