Monthly Archives: May 2009

John McGahern Documentary

Three Days In Summer

Documentary on Irish author JohnMcGahern

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Where are they now?

Dan McLaughlin. Remember him? Yeah, sure you do! You know, the economist guy with the Bank of Ireland who became one of the cheerleaders of the ‘celtic tiger’. Dan was a great man for figures and abbreviations. A few years back when the party was in full swing all RTE had to do was point a camera at Dan and he would let off a volley of CAPITAL LETTERS, percentages, numbers, and statistics to reassure us all that said party would not be coming to an end any time in the near future. The housing market was sound. The economy was in fantastic shape. Ireland was a world beater! Dan the man!  Dan the Bullish Man!

Funny thing is that if you add a t to Bullish and then move the sh in front of the i you come up with possibly a more suitable and descriptive word for Dan. Go on. You know you want to try it!

Of course Dan the Bullish Man was only doing his job. And a bloody great job he did too. Talking up the property market, talking up the economy, talking up the bank that paid his wages. Sure what else would you expect him to do? Anyone with an ounce of wit would know that right? Anyone that is, apart from the mandarins in RTE who seemed to hang unquestionably on his every word.

One has to wonder at the wisdom of paying too much attention to the bullish outpourings of someone who clearly had  a vested interest in talking up the economy. Nonetheless, Dan had his day. Bullishly telling us from TV screens, print and internet media, how wonderful life was. Always dapper, always well versed, Dan oozed positivity and confidence so that we all could feel good about ourselves as we spent our way to nirvana.

Then, one day, without warning or fanfare, Dan the Bullish Man, disappeared. Disappeared before our very eyes he did, and since that day not a trace of him has been found. RTE in particular seem to have great difficulty in finding him. Apparently a huge search was conducted within the RTE campus for him. Every basement, disused studio, props department, and costume cupboard  was thoroughly searched but they found no sign of the man. Many RTE staff and personnel were asked to check the outhouses and sheds of their houses in the hope he might have followed them home, but alas, nothing. Some say he has taken himself to the desert to live the life of a hermit in an attempt to reshape his vision of the world. Others claim to have seen him in many places around the world, yet none can pin him to one location.

It seems that Dan the Bullish Man has completely slipped off the radar of the Irish psyche and having blazed a trail during the boom years, has finally been put out to grass.

I wonder why?


How to escape from Plasti-cuffs.

This is something our bankers and politicians will never have to worry themselves about.


Funny Libertas Add

Love them or hate them you have to laugh at this clever add, though I think it could do without the end bit.


Video: Did Obama mislead Dems?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Video: Did Obama mislead Dems?“, posted with vodpod

After 100 days in power poor Barak Obama discovers that he in fact does not run the country as ‘Yes we can’ turns to ‘No you wont’ overnight.


Yes we can! No you wont!

If a week in politics is a long time, then three months must seem an eternity as poor Barack Obama just found out.  His first 100 days were indeed Presidential, and full of promise. He was going to change the world and he was going to start in the good ole USA.He would out torturers, he would close illegal military courts, Guantanamo would be no more. The USA would become a Camelot for human rights and justice.

Balance would be restored to the universe.

But then, on day 101 Barack discovered that he in fact does not run the country and ‘Yes we can’ quickly became ‘No you wont’. His reversals on the most fundamental things such as human rights abuses, torture, rendition, and illegal military courts have swung him from Martin Luther King like hero, to a feeble ‘Uncle Tom’ overnight. The excuses given for these U-Turns are as pathetic as any the Bush administration ever gave us. At least with Bush, Cheney et al, we knew where they stood. With Obama we don’t even know that now.

Once again we see America, that great custodian of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, pulled down and laid waste by the vested interests in the military and political cabals that really run the show, a process which has dashed the hopes of millions in the USA and around the world who really believed that ‘Yes we can’ meant exactly what it said on the tin.

It seems they were wrong, yet again.

God bless America!


Europe, Vincent Browne, and Me

Poor Vincent Browne. What Faustian deal did he make in his life that gave him that eternally perplexed look. Complimented by his raised eyebrows, crusty the clown haircut, and sad resigned sighs, it was very prominent on Monday night (11th May 09) when he had Euro Candidates Marian Harkin, Pascal Mooney, Jim Higgins and Declan Ganley on his panel. And who could blame him? Having sat for an hour through the ‘discussion’ I am, as he apparently was, no wiser as to why any of them should be paid hundreds of thousands of euro to ‘represent’ us in Brussels. Fianna Fails Pascal Mooney informed us that he wanted to be in Europe so he could win friends and influence people. He read about this kind of approach in a book, he told us.  Jim Higgins of Fine Gael said that he wanted to position Ireland in the ‘slipstream’ of France and Germany’s financial recovery. Not much of a plan if you ask me. A rather shrill Marian Harkin seemed hell-bent on ripping Declan Ganley’s throat out and Declan Ganley spent so much time defending himself against the other three that one has no idea what he wants apart from democracy and accountability which is hardly a revolutionary call. For some reason Padraig McLaughlin from Sinn Fein wasn’t at the table.

Vincent I’m afraid did not do too well in the chair, allowing the debate/discussion to plunge into  a chaotic cross talking cacophony of raised voices, accusations, and shouting matches, ending with Marian Harkin telling Mr Ganly somewhat childishly that ‘You started it!’

Somehow it all seems so distant. So irrelevant.

But then when I look at the powers which Europe has increasingly taken upon itself to run our lives I get a little nervous and suddenly it doesn’t seem so distant or irrelevant. For example why does nobody see Europe’s recent comments on our budgetary measures and on how our Government is running the economy, as tantamount to outside interference in our economic and political affairs? Are our budgets drawn up for the Irish people, or for a group of unelected mandarins in Europe? If these mandarins did not accept our budget would we have to draw up another one? One that is perhaps more suited to Europe’s interests than Ireland’s?

The lack of interest by the electorate in Europe is a dangerous thing and no doubt suits the politicians. It allows Europe to forge ahead with its plans without scrutiny or accountability. Ireland has a population not much bigger than the average European city. Four million out of a population of four hundred million means that we are at a numerical disadvantage and as such we run the risk of being swamped and trampled on by the vested interests of the bigger, more influential countries. It is for this reason we need to pay attention to what is happening in Europe and who we elect to represent us. Every day we seem to cede more financial and political power to Brussels without as much as a whimper. Our own Government seem to increasingly need the permission of Europe before they can pass any legislation in our own so called sovereign parliament. If our role in Europe has been reduced to ‘winning friends and influencing people’ then what can our expectations be from it? Playing along unquestionably to Europe’s tune as long as there’s a few bob in it? This would not be new. After all we played along with our friends in Boston when they needed a place to fuel planes for their illegal war in Iraq and turned a blind eye to rendition, and there was a nice few bob in it too.

There is no doubt that our future lies with Europe, but that future must be based on equality, respect for our vote, our independence, and our right to determine our own future.

If that is not in the mix, we might find that eighty years after our war of independence, we are in real danger of losing our voice and becoming little more than subdued vassals of a European regime we have no control over.


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