Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari assumes leadership of PPP-Can the party remain united?

The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has named Benazir Bhutto's son Bilawal, an Oxford University student, as its chairman.
Asif Zardari Benazir’s husband will act as co-chairman. PPP vice president Makhdoom Amin Fahim and the party's Punjab province president Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi will serve on an 'advisory council' for the new leader.

This decision is fraught with difficulties. Bilawal is only 19 years old and lacks maturity and political experience for such an onerous task. To all intents and purposes it appears that Zardari is the new de facto leader until such time as Bilawal is groomed to assume the leadership. Zardari has numerous critics in Pakistan. He is unpopular amongst large sections of the electorate and probably lacks the magnetism necessary to woo sceptical voters. Can he work with the advisory council? It is doubtful if the party can remain united in the long term.

51 years old Sanam (Benazir’s) sister is popular amongst PPP members but is unwilling to take over the leadership. She is probably best equipped to maintain party unity.

Ireland-Willie O'Dea TD suffers from amnesia in his diatribe on virtual/ "Sat Nav" politics

Willie O'Dea in an article in to days Sunday Independent savages blogs and discussion forums. He conveniently forgets -that through the medium of his regular Sunday Independent column- he gets priceless publicity to vent political spleen on the opposition. Kilnascully in print. His columns are biased and skewed. Today -as usual- he lambasts the FG party. I see no right of reply in the Sunday Independent for FG . Whether Willie O'Dea likes it or not Blogs and Bloggers are here to stay. They play a major role in US politics and have brought to international prominence atrocities in Burma and elsewhere. Their influence will continue to grow.

Blogs and discussion forums are essential to ensure the maintenance of a healthy democracy. They provide alternative view points especially if these are excluded by the regular media. Politicians such as Mr O'Dea cannot muzzle them-once they adhere to the laws of libel. Hence the hysteria.

This is the politician who claimed that he was concerned at the loss of the Shannon to Heathrow service. In a Dáil debate on the issue O'Dea remained silent despite his continuous criticism of the Government decision in newspapers and on TV. He voted with the Government in the Dail to consign the service to oblivion. He forgot to include this in his opinion piece. He is obviously suffering from a loss of memory. Me thinks he doth protest too much.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Huckabee is a progressive conservative who looks to the future

Mike Huckabee supports the Fair Tax. A President Huckabee would be a tax cutter. The Fair Tax will instantly make American products 12 to 25% more competitive because the cost of those goods will no longer be inflated by corporate taxes, costs of tax compliance, and Social Security matching payments. The alternative is the status quo, which will ensure Chinese dominance within 20 years.

Huckabee faced a $200 million shortfall in 2002 in Arkansas. He left a surplus of nearly $850 million, which he urged should go back to the people in the form of tax cuts. Students made real achievement gains - not just on state tests but also the more challenging National Assessment of Educational Progress - during his term as governor. He worked hard to secure badly needed improvements to the state's highway and road infrastructure. Mike Huckabee was a Republican governor in a Democratic state, with a constitution that restricted the power he could wield on his own. He did exceptionally well.

Bob Novak criticized Mike Huckabee for a “47 percent increase in state tax burden.” But during Huckabee’s years in office, total state tax burden — all 50 states combined — rose by twice as much: 98 percent, increasing from $743 billion in 1993 to $1.47 trillion in 2005.[Source for this statistic –Dick Morris]

Read article titled Mike Huckabee is a fiscal conservative by Dick Morris at:

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Bhutto family -a family accursed?

Benazir Bhuttos mother, Nusrat-now 78 years old - has lost her husband, elder daughter and two sons in tragic circumstances. Just one daughter, Sanam, survives.

Benazir Bhutto was the eldest child of
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Begum Nusrat Bhutto . She had two brothers and one sister. Her father Zulfikar was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s

Mr Bhutto was imprisoned by Gen Zia ul-Haq in 1977 following a military coup and charged with conspiracy to murder. Bhutto argued that the army had fabricated the evidence. Two years later he was executed.

His son Murtaza Bhutto fled to Afghanistan after his father's fall.
From exile in 1993 he won a seat in the assembly governing Sindh province. He returned home soon afterwards. On 20 September 1996 in Karachi, he was shot and killed along with six supporters during a clash with the police. Benazir Bhutto rushed to the city when told about the encouner. Begum Nusrat, mother of Murtaza, was in London.

Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister of Pakistan at the time of Murtaza Bhutto's killing. The brother and sister were political rivals at the time.
Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari has spent a total of 11 years in prison on various charges without ever being convicted.

The youngest of the four Bhutto children, Shahnawaz, was also politically active.
He was found dead in his apartment in southern France in 1985. He died in mysterious circumstances.

Benazir, the eldest Bhutto child, had already survived an attempt on her life when she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile in October.
c 130 people died in the twin suicide bombings targeting her homecoming rally in Karachi. Finally the assassin murdered Benazir in Rawalpindi on December 27th and succeeded in destroying the Bhutto political dynasty . It is difficult not to argue that a curse has befallen the family.

Pakistan torn by Violence as Bhutto is Buried

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto -Video showing supporters reaction to the announcement of her death

Reuters Video-Murder of Benazir Bhutto

Assassination of Benazir Bhutto shocks the world

The murder of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in the city of Rawalpindi has shocked the world. She was killed by bullet wounds to the neck and chest. The suicide bomber then blew himself up. A suicide bomber killed nearly 150 people in an attack on Bhutto on Oct. 18 as she paraded through the southern city of Karachi after returning home from eight years in self-imposed exile. These attacks were probably the work of religious extremists though Bhutto supporters blame the Government.

It will of course be argued that Benazir failed to take sufficient precautions to ensure her security. Nevertheless she argued with some justification that that it was necessary reach out to the electorate. According to Pakistan Peoples Party supporters the Musharraf government failed to provide jammers. These would stymie suicide bombers. Musharraf now faces even greater international odium. This attack reinforces the impression amongst many in the international community that Pakistan is a pariah state. This is most unfair as the overwhelming majority of the electorate is moderate in outlook. Her charisma drove the Pakistan Peoples party forward. She was a symbol of moderation and modernity. Benazir is a martyr for Pakistani democracy.

Earlier today Thursday at least four people were killed ahead of an election rally that Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was preparing to attend close to Rawalpindi. Nawaz Sharif is leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N). This attack has received little coverage but is also highly significant.

This is a dangerous time not alone for Pakistan but for world peace.
Serious questions arise:

  1. Can the Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) recover from this shattering blow?
  2. Will the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) unite or collaborate strongly to restore democracy?
  3. Whilst both parties represent different constituencies can they sink their differences in the interests of Pakistani democracy?
  4. Could Pakistan plunge into civil war?
  5. If so will terrorists get their hands on some of Pakistan's nuclear weapons?
  6. Will the armed forces remove Musharraf?
  7. Will elections -due on January 8th- be cancelled?
  8. Was there collusion between some elements in the military and the terrorists?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Renée Fleming-O Holy Night

The power and beauty of Renee Fleming's voice as she sings this song which is an aria from an opera by Adolphe-Charles Adam written in the 1800's.

Oh Holy Night-Words and music by J.S.Dwight & A.C.Adam, 19th Century.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth!

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees,O hear the angel voices!

O night divine,O night when Christ was born!

O night divine, O night,O night divine!

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.

So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,

Here came the wise men from Orient land.

The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,

In all our trials born to be our Friend!

He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger;

Behold your King!Before the lowly bend!

Behold your King! your King!before Him bend.

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother

And in His name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

Let all within us praise His holy name!

Christ is the Lord,Oh praise His name forever,

His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim

His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Beach Boys - Sloop John B (Original Video)

This is the original Black & White music video of Sloop John B with excellent sound quality.

Mike Huckabee-A True Progressive Conservative

Mike Huckabee is conservative on both social and economic policy. He has consistently opposed abortion. He supports the Fair Tax.

So President Huckabee would be a tax cutter. He would abolish the IRS. He has clearly thought out policies on all major issues. He has oomph. Great leaders engender enthusiasm in the electorate. Mike Huckabee empathizes with the voters. He speaks their language. He articulates their concerns.

He is a progressive conservative. The US is facing an increasingly assertive Communist China-a country which will threaten US economic and political leadership of the world. A fresh approach is needed on the economy. The Fair Tax has the potential to unlock greater economic creativity. The old ways no longer assure US dominance.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ireland- Marian Finucane and the differences between Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism

Listening to Marian Finucane on RTE radio this morning I was amazed to hear her state that there was very little difference between Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism. She was speaking in the context of Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism.

Whilst both religions have much in common there are some major doctrinal differences:

  • In relation to the Eucharist most Anglicans believe in the doctrine of consubstantiation. Roman Catholics believe in Transubstantiation. Concerning belief in the Eucharist the Roman Catholic position is " that the substance of the bread and the substance of the wine are changed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ [at the consecration]. It is not simply a symbolic change, but a real and actual change so that the Blessed Eucharist is truly an object of divine worship and that it is Christ Himself we receive in Holy Communion." This contrasts strongly with "what is commonly known as the 'black rubric' of the Book of Common Prayer which reads '... the sacramental bread and wine remain still in their natural substances and therefore may not be adored." [See] However even within Anglicanism there are differences on the Eucharist.
  • The Roman Catholic Church does not accept the validity of Anglican ordinations.
  • Anglicans dispute Papal Authority.
  • Both Churches differ on the Virgin Mary.
  • The Roman Catholic Church has seven sacraments.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mike Huckabee- Roaring Entrance in Ames- Iowa

A crowd of over 350 in Ames, Iowa wishes the Governor a Merry Christmas and chants "Huckabee!" upon his entrance.

EU Restrictions on Brazilian beef-unanswered questions

The EU's Food and Veterinary Office in its missions to Brazil has encountered chronic abuse of production standards as has an IFA delegation. The US, Australia, Japan and South Korea have banned all imports of beef from Brazil yet the EU has only introduced a partial ban. Why is the EU insisting on higher standards of traceability from its farmers than from Brazilian farmers?

The EU Commission appears to have an agenda to restrict production by indigenous farmers and to sell out on agriculture. The Commission is determined to increase access to the Brazilian market for manufacturing industry. As a quid pro quo it will allow access to Community markets for Brazilian beef.

The EU has lambasted the US on its emissions of Greenhouse Gases. Yet the EU Commission is prepared to accept imports of Brazilian Beef from ranches in Amazonia. These ranches have been created through the burning of the rain forests. This practice continues and is increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Why has the EU Commission chosen to ignore damage to the environment caused by ranchers in the Amazon Basin?

Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan had refused to support a full ban on beef imports from Brazil. Then 24 hours before the EU announcement of a partial ban she called for a full ban. Why the about-turn?

Michael Creed the FG Spokesman on Agriculture has stated that "Brazil should face a total ban until it is meeting the production standards that Irish and European producers are obliged to meet and EU consumers are entitled to expect." In this he has been totally consistent unlike the Minister.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Christianity-The Contradiction

Increasingly Hillary Clinton has begun to use religion as a vehicle to enhance her election prospects. In The Christian Science Monitor Zac Wright, spokesman for Clinton's South Carolina campaign is quoted as saying that "The senator's faith is something that's very personal and dear to her, but it's reflected in all things she does and all aspects of life, so it's a natural part of the campaign." She states that she is a practicing Methodist.

She has begun to use a more sanitised approach to issues such as abortion. She is now attempting to muddy the waters. Speeches on the abortion issue are laced with compassionate expressions and phrases. Silken words cannot cloud the fact that Hillary Clinton supports abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America gave her a 100% pro choice rating. Abortion is the destruction of the unborn child in the womb. This is the very antithesis of Christianity. The fifth commandment states that thou shalt not kill. Yet Clinton defends the barbaric destruction of the defenceless unborn child in the womb.

She speaks of prayer as battle against Satan, evil, and sin. Unfortunately Hillary's prayer does not extend to the evil of abortion. The pro abortion movement is an agent of Satan."No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt 6:19-24 RSV)
Hillary has chosen to oppose God's will on abortion. Therein lies the contradiction in her Christianity.

A vote for Clinton is a vote for abortion. She is unworthy of the Presidency. Just remember that 45 million unborn children have been slaughtered since Roe v. Wade. Consider the excruciating pain that many suffer when they are torn apart. Remember Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party support this. Shame on them. They are the enemies of Christianity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mike Huckabee-What Really Matters

Ireland- Embarassing u-turn by Government on schools water rates

Fine Gael Education Spokesman, Brian Hayes TD, has described as embarrassing the u-turn by Mary Hanafin on school water charges saying that he welcomes her belated recognition that schools shouldn't pay these charges until the crisis is sorted out. He said that the latest climb down is a fine example of Ballymagash politics.

Under the Government proposals primary schools were classed as "businesses" so they could be charged water rates.Yet schools neither manufacture nor sell goods or services for profit, nor register for VAT. The groundswell of opposition nation wide spearheaded by FG Labour and the INTO has finally shaken the Government out of its lethargy. It is probably safe to assume that Government proposals have been sufficiently neutered to ensure that the flat rate -now proposed by Bertie Ahern- will be of minor significance. It is estimated that under the original proposals up to €10 million would have been paid by a national school system which is already grossly underfunded.

This Government has become increasingly accident prone. The opposition has already scored direct hits on the cancer care crisis and now on the schools water rates issue and on the childcare subvention scheme which also saw a Government u-turn today. In times of economic boom the Government could increase public expenditure to smooth the sensibilities of the electorate. Public expenditure has increased in 2007 by 13%. This was sufficient to mollify a sizeable segment of the electorate.

Now however The FF/Green /PD Government is hoist by its own petard. The chickens are coming home to roost. Efforts to curb public expenditure and to impose stealth taxes will inevitably result in more serious political miscalculations.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Huckabee-Rock the Vote

This is a powerful video made by a Huckabee supporter. His charisma and substance shine through.

Green Party TD Paul Gogarty tries to have his cake and eat it on schools water rates issue

So Green Party TD Paul Gogarty is strongly opposed to the imposition of water rates on primary schools. Why then did he vote for the Programme for Government? He now seeks to distance himself from the inane decision by the FF/Green/PD Government to impose water rates on primary schools. The Green Minister John Gormley has remained strangely quiet whilst Mr Gogarty a supporter of the Government is adopting a stance which is close to the position adopted by FG and Labour. The Greens wish to deflect responsibility. Paul Gogarty seeks to act simultaneously as a Government TD and as an opposition TD. Unfortunately Mr Gogarty cannot have it both ways. He is either a supporter of the Government or he is not. He emphasized on RTE radio this morning that he had no intention of voting against the Government. By their votes in the Dail you shall know them.
Mr Gogarty endeavoured to criticise the opposition on Morning Ireland this morning. The opposition has come up with worthwhile proposals to resolve the issue unlike the Greens.

Joint Statement by FG Education Spokesperson Brian Hayes TD, and Labour Education Spokesperson, Ruairí Quinn TD.

Labour Deputy Ruairi Quinn and Fine Gael Deputy Brian Hayes have tabled a joint motion for tomorrow's emergency meeting of the Joint Committee on Education on and Science.
Government Party Chairperson, Paul Gogarty, TD has convened a emergency meeting of the Committee with representatives of the Departments of Education and Environment to explore ways out of this new budgetary fiasco.
The Taoiseach and Minister for Education and Science have attempted to blame the European Union for a new charge imposed by Minister John Gormley's Department, through the Local Authorities, on primary and secondary schools.
At an average cost of €5,000 per school this new stealth tax will gather €21,500,000 for Brian Cowen's tax raising budget.

Fine Gael and Labour are totally opposed to this dishonest and excessive tax charge. Our motion, if passed, will solve the problem in an environmentally responsible way.
The Government must act to solve this cash crisis for schools who have now been inundated with additional water charges.
Opposition deputies Brian Hayes and Ruairi Quinn will press their colleagues on the all-party Oireachtas Committee of Education and Science to move quickly to solve the surprise financial burden of new water rates which have fallen on schools across the country.

Text of Motion:
That this Committee acknowledges the current financial crisis schools are facing with mounting bills for water charges and calls on the Government to;

1. Recognise that the Water pricing provisions of the Water Framework Directive do not fully come into effect until the end of 2009,

2. Immediately instruct local authorities to defer payment for outstanding and pending water charge bills to schools in anticipation of a resolution of this matter,

3. Introduce such a new scheme only when a Water Meter has been installed in all schools,

4. Introduce a fair and equitable solution to the problem whereby each school is given an generous and realistic water allowance based on a per capita basis, and all water usage over that allowance be paid.

5. Introduce a once off capital grant to schools to allow for water conservation measures in schools and to prepare schools, in a fair way, for the introduction of the Water Framework Directive.
- Deputy Brian Hayes and Deputy Ruairi Quinn.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

UN Climate Conference fudge

The United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia ended with a compromise deal to move forward on negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. No specific targets are included in the "roadmap" document. In reality this is a fudge which commits countries to negotiate. Under the deal it is proposed that a new treaty should be negotiated by 2009 to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The portents for a new treaty are not good. Watery promises from China and India to tackle CO2 emissions mean little. At the conference China and India emphasized their determination to pursue aggressive economic development policies. Coal will continue to play a major role in power generation in India, China and Russia and the US. Yet all the emphasis is on the US as the villain of the peace. China appears to have overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest total emitter of CO2 because of its huge population, strong economic growth and heavy dependence on coal to generate electricity. China creates 25% of the worlds CO2.

Any new treaty- without binding commitments from China , Russia, India and Japan- is practically worthless.
Such a treaty must address the destruction of the Amazonian Rain forests. The EU must alter its hypocritical stance whereby it imports beef produced on ranches carved out of the rain forests. Perhaps Al Gore will now savage Chinese environmental policy. This is unlikely to happen as Gore is more interested in embarrassing the Bush administration.

Governor Huckabee and Bob Vander Plaats review the Iowa Caucus process and seek support

This fascinating Huckabee campaign video provides an insight into the operation of the caucus system. Republicans Independents and Democrats can vote in the Iowa caucus. This will be held on Jan 3 2008. If Independents or Democrats wish to vote they must register as Republicans on the night. Here they can show their support for Mike Huckabee who is the consistent conservative. He has focused on the issues and avoided name calling. As a social and fiscal conservative he will appeal not alone to Republicans but also conservative Democrats and Independents. Opponents have huge financial resources which are being used to distort the Huckabee record in Arkansas. It is time to vote against negative campaigning and support Huckabee who is a positive campaigner and a breath of fresh air.

Ed Rollins, best known for managing Ronald Reagan's sweeping 1984 presidential re-election is Mike Huckabee's new national campaign manager. For Republicans nostalgic about the Reagan era this provides further evidence that Huckabee has inherited the Reagan mantle.
"Ed is an unparalleled strategist," Huckabee said in a statement. "Ed's experience and track record of building winning coalitions within our party ... makes him a good fit for our campaign."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Al Gore and Global Warming Hypocrisy

Negotiations are deadlocked at the UN conference on global warming being held in NUSA DUA, Indonesia. At the conference Al Gore told delegates in a speech that “My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali.” “Over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now,” Mr. Gore said to loud applause. “You must anticipate that.” Gore is playing domestic US politics. He cannot resist a swipe at Bush and the Republican Party.

Gores approach is blinkered and hypocritical. China’s representative Su Wei said that there was absolutely no reason for China to do anything about its C02 emissions. He argued that China was a poor country with a large population and needed more time to develop economically. In essence the Chinese have told Al Gore to get stuffed. They realize that he is a wimp. The Russians and Indians are no more accommodating. If Gore were consistent he would have launched blistering attacks on China, India and Russia.

The EU is apparently unhappy with the US approach also and has threatened to boycott separate talks proposed by the Bush administration in Hawaii next month.This is a fine example of EU hypocrisy. The EU favours large scale importation of beef from Brazil. Expanding cattle herds in Brazil contribute to global warming. The Methane level increases. There has been large scale burning of Amazonian rain forests to make way for cattle ranches supplying the EU market. This increases CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Germany imports Russian gas. It cynically turns a blind eye to Russian excesses on the environment. At the EU conference it is a case of the kettle calling the pot black.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

EU Commission fudges on Brazilian beef - Creed

Fine Gael Agriculture Spokesperson, Michael Creed TD, has said the EU Commission is bending over backwards to give Brazil every opportunity to stay in the European market with its recent proposals.
Deputy Creed said this is in sharp contrast to how the Commission deals with European beef producers who breach EU production regulations.
"This is not equivalence in terms of production standards that Irish and European producers are obliged to meet and EU consumers are entitled to expect. This fudge does little to instil confidence in the Commission's handling of this matter as it appears there is one law for Brazil and another law for EU producers

Former PD Cllr Mary Mitchell O'Connor joins the Fine Gael Party

The PDs have long fostered the illusion that they were a distinct party. In reality they were a loose coalition of carpetbaggers, independents,anti Haughey FFers and some discontented FGaelers. They adopted the mantle of tax cutters.

Their main strongholds were Galway, Cork City , Waterford City, Limerick and parts of Dublin south of the Liffey. Throughout most of the country PDs were as scarce as icebergs in the Sahara.Gradually PD support melted away in Waterford Cork and even Limerick-home of PD founder Desmond O'Malley. The PDs resorted to drafting in high profile personlities to stand for the party. This damaged the slight prospects the party had of organic growth in some constituencies. The departure of Charlie Haughey removed another obstacle to future reunification with FF.

It is glaringly obvious that the PD party has been in terminal decline since the 2002 General Election. It got a temporary reprieve in 2002 when FG fought a very uncoordinated campaign. In desperation some FG voters drifted to the PDs to stymie FF efforts to secure an overall majority. After the election much nonsense was spouted by some journalists about a reverse take over of FG by the PDs.

To all intents and purposes Ireland was ruled by an FF government from 2002 to 2007. Both Harney and McDowell brought the party closer to FF. Prior to the 2002 General Election the PDs were part of a government, which cynically ratcheted up expenditure to unsustainable levels. This was the party, which supposedly favoured curbs on public expenditure and low taxation. After the 2002 General Election the FF/PD government introduced Stealth Taxes and failed to index tax bands and allowances. They supported the huge rises in public expenditure again in 2006 and 2007.-prior to the 2007 General Election. The FF/PD Government (2002- 2007) presided over huge waste in public expenditure. PPARs and the electronic voting fiasco are monuments to waste. The PD input was nil. FF had killed the PDs with kindness.

In the 2007 General Election the PDs dropped from 8 seats to 2. Party leader Michael McDowell- having replaced Harney as leader- lost his seat. Once more Mary Harney assumed the leadership in a temporary capacity. The party has been unable to find a credible leader. Ex TDs Liz O’Donnell and Tom Parlon saw the writing on the wall and departed.
Mary Harney will not stand in the next General Election and Noel Grealish has already had contact with FF. The PDs are now rudderless. Thoughtful PD councillors will move swiftly to join FF or FG . This would ensure that many of them would hold their seats in the Local Elections of 2009. The decision of Cllr Mary Mitchell O’Connor (Dun Laoghaire) to join FG was inevitable.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Huckabee surges in CBS News/ New York Times Poll

The huge upsurge in support for Mike Huckabee has amazed many political pundits.It is all the more remarkable considering the fact that his campaign is run on a shoe string. According to the CBS News/ New York Times Poll Huckabee and Giuliani are now neck and neck. This is in sharp contrast to the corresponding poll on 10/07 .
  • Giuliani 22% (-7% )
  • Huckabee 21 (+17%)
  • Romney 16(+4%)
  • McCain 7 (-11%)
  • Thompson 7 (-14%)

Huckabee has made huge gains among conservatives, white evangelicals and those who attend church weekly. Both Giuliani’s and Thompson’s standing among those voters has declined. Romney receives support from those who attend religious services weekly (43% of Republican primary voters), and ties Huckabee among this group of voters.


Huckabee's compassionate conservatism has struck a chord with GOP voters. Now some Democrat strategists fear that Huckabee's conservatism on social and fiscal policy could pose major problems for their candidate. He has the capacity to win African -American votes and also votes from Independents and conservative Democrats. Huckabee has clear cut policies on major issues. What you see is what you get. He supports the Fair Tax so he is a tax cutter. He is strong on the Federal Deficit. He is implacably opposed to abortion. He stresses the importance of God. Increasingly support from Fred Thompson appears to have gravitated towards Mike Huckabee.

Mitt Romney has targeted Huckabee. It is estimated that Romney is spending $85,000-plus a day on TV ads. Huckabee lacks the financial muscle to compete with this war chest. However he could win sympathy votes from an electorate which has become increasingly cynical about massive spending in electoral campaigns. Hopefully the Huckabee campaign can amass sufficient funds to counter negative advertising from opponents.

Renee Fleming sings "Ave Maria" by Schubert

This Concert at Mainz Cathedral was Conducted by Trevor Pinnock. The Choir Was The Mainzer Cathedral Choir ( Boyschoir) and the Orchestra was The Bremmer Kammerphiamonic Orchestra. Renee Fleming is an American soprano who sings mainly opera and jazz. She is one of the world's leading sopranos.Renée is famous for her high, floating pianissimos (the money notes).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Northern Lights

This video combines the song "The Northern Lights", by the band Renaissance, with images from the cartoon movie "Balto". Northern Lights, reached #10 in England during the summer of 1978. The single was taken from the album A Song for All Seasons.

Rugby Union-Will Deans coach Wallabies?

NZRU has reappointed Graham Henry as All Blacks coach for another two years. This is a rather surprising turn of events considering the bloodletting that ensued in the wake of the All Blacks failure at the World Cup.

Robbie Deans coach of the Crusaders was one of the favourites for the New Zealand position. He also won the New Zealand Rugby Coach of the year award in 2002. John Mitchell appointed Robbie Deans as his assistant when Mitchell became All Blacks coach in late 2001. Deans held the position until Mitchell was replaced after the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Under Mitchell and Deans the All Blacks won the 2002 and 2003 Tri-Nations titles, as well as the Bledisloe Cup in 2003. He has expressed a strong interest in coaching Australia.

The Australian Rugby Union’s manager Pat Howard has contacted him.The selection panel will interview Deans early this week. It is expected that the new coach will be chosen by next Friday. Other candidates include radio broadcaster Alan Jones, NSW coach Ewen McKenzie, Brumbies boss Laurie Fisher, Auckland's David Nucifora and Wallabies assistant coach John Muggleton .

If Deans is chosen he will become the first non-Australian to coach the Wallabies and will continue to coach the Crusaders in next year's Super 14 competition before turning his attention to the Wallabies.

Deans was a fine full back and won five All Black caps. He is regarded as a superb coach. There has been some criticism within Australia of the decision to interview him. At this juncture he appears to be the favourite to secure the position.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

EU-Africa summit-Merkel launches blistering attack on Mugabe

Today German Chancellor Angela Merkel launched a blistering attack on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at an EU-Africa summit being held in Lisbon. She told representatives from 80 EU and African states that "the current situation in Zimbabwe damages the image of the new Africa". She said that "the situation in Zimbabwe concerns us all, in Europe as in Africa. We don't have the right to look away when human rights are trampled on."
Mugabe sat impassively through her keynote speech. He is banned from the EU but has received a special visa from the Portuguese government to attend the summit. This followed pressure from African nations. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown boycotted the summit because of Mugabe's presence.

The decision to give Mugabe a special visa -to attend - was the correct one. He can gauge the strength of European public opinion which is nauseated by the barbarism of his regime. He has crippled the Zimbabwean economy. The eviction of the mostly white farmers has been largely responsible for Zimbabwe's worst famine in living memory. Zimbabwe was once the "bread basket" of Southern Africa. It is estimated that about two thirds of the 11.6 million people face severe food shortages. Hyper inflation has rendered Zimbabwean dollar practically worthless. Inflation runs at c15,000%. Many political opponents have been tortured and imprisoned.

Undoubtedly Mugabe will return to Zimbabwe and attempt to turn criticism at the summit to his advantage. He will argue that former colonial powers are anti African and hanker after their colonial past. He is impervious to criticism. In addition the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is riven by dissensions. All in all he is unlikely to be too worried by European criticism.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sweden's ABBA museum to open in 2009

According to the heraldsun
FANS of Swedish group ABBA can dance down memory lane when their museum opens in Stockholm, featuring costumes, instruments and rare memorabilia."We're going to open the ABBA museum from June 3 to 7 (2009). It will be an inaugural week," said Ulf Westman, who masterminded the world's first ABBA museum along with his wife, Ewa Wigenheim-Westman. "It will be an international museum with a lot of technological and multimedia aspects," he said, adding visitors will be invited to take part in various activities related to the group's heyday in the 1970s.

ABBA stars Bjoern Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faeltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad became international sensations with hits such as Money, Money, Money, Waterloo, Fernando and Dancing Queen. All four members have given their backing to the project and will provide clothes, instruments and music, though they are not formally involved in the creation of the museum. Visitors will be able to take the microphone and record their own version of Take A Chance on Me or Voulez Vous in a model of the Polar Studio in Stockholm where the quartet recorded their hits. .........

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ireland -FF turns €4bn surplus into €2bn deficit in 3 years

FF has turned €4bn surplus into €2bn deficit in 3 years. To plug the gap Brian Cowen has resorted to borrowing and stealth taxes in budget 2007.

RTE has painted a very positive picture in relation to the budget. Its analysis is myopic. This budget is laced with booby traps.

It has marked similarities with the post election budget of 2002. Stealth taxes are back with a vengeance. The increase in Motor Tax represents a direct stealth tax of €82 million hitting every household and every family. This is painted as a green tax. It is nothing of the sort. It is a sly raid on the pockets of motorists who are regarded as soft touches. There is an increase in stamp duty on cheques. Tonight we had the announcement of a whole range of increases in health charges. Contrary to what the Minister states there is no full indexation of tax credits and bands in line with wage inflation. Consequently more taxpayers will pay tax at the higher rate.

As petrol prices have risen this year the Government has benefited strongly from the increased inflow of VAT and Excise Duties. It is well to remember that motorists have not benefited from EU membership.

Just look at the following examples. There is a price difference of c€3,000 between a Fiat Grande Punto in Ireland where the pre-tax price is €10,707 and Hungary (€7,756) and over €3,400 difference on the price of a Renault Megane (€10,683 and €14,103). An Audi A8 sold in Ireland last year for €65,000 pre-tax and in Britain for €56,450. Those who purchase a cheaper car outside Ireland will find the price difference disappears when they import it into the country, with punitive rates of Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) of up to 30%.
This is contribution enough to the environment by the Irish motorist. Green Ministers and Brian Cowen please take note.

Alterations in today’s budget further discriminate against wives who to choose to remain at home to rear their children. This inequity is so great that it threatens the family unit.

Business rates, water rates, waste charges will increase as Local Authorities are starved of an adequate government subvention.
Experts on RTE when analyzing the alleged benefits do not factor in stealth taxes and increased charges.

Health Expenditure is projected to increase by 8%. This is down from c13% for 2007. The health service is facing huge unrest in 2008.

Of course there are some good measures in the budget. The Government has finally u-turned on the Stamp Duty. Richard Bruton has been vindicated on this issue. This change of heart by the FF/PD/Green coalition has been six months too late to avert a housing crash. Social welfare measures are in many cases reasonable.

The budget fails to tackle the child care issue. Most of the promises in the Programme for Government have been binned. Stealth Taxes and increased charges will bite in 2008. The budget is skilfully constructed to conceal the booby traps.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mike Huckabee is the true inheritor of the Ronald Reagan mantle

Mike Huckabee balanced the Arkansas state budget every year he was governor. It is a requirement under Arkansas state law that the budget is balanced. He faced a $200 million deficit in 2002, but ended his term with a $844.5 million surplus. That's a billion dollar plus turnaround. It was his desire that this money was returned to the people as a rebate or as a tax cut.

Huckabee is the true inheritor of the Ronald Reagan mantle. He supports the Fair Tax. In the words of Ken Hoagland Americans for fair Taxation spokesman “anyone who advocates for the fair tax is definitely a tax cutter and a tax reformer.'' Mike Huckabee is a true fiscal and social conservative.

Here are his views on the federal deficit:
I believe that our massive deficit is not due to Americans' being under-taxed, but due to the federal government's over-spending. Achieving and maintaining a balanced federal budget is an important and worthy goal necessary to our long-term economic well-being. To achieve a balanced federal budget, I believe the President should have the line-item veto.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Early Show - Huckabee interview 12/3/07

The results of the poll in yesterday's Des Moines Register show Mike Huckabee leading Mitt Romney by 29 % to 24% and provide further evidence that momentum is building behind his campaign. Huckabee’s strong anti abortion stance has attracted powerful Evangelical and Catholic backing. His support for the Fair Tax has won him many new admirers. He is a most accomplished media performer (as this video clearly portrays). He has a clearly defined position on all major policy issues. Mr Giuliani scores just 13% in the Register poll. Mitt Romney holds a small lead over Mike Huckabee in other polls in Iowa. However at this juncture the trend is towards Huckabee.

Mr Romney - has spent $US7million ($7.9m) in the state on campaigning, against just $US324,000 by Mr Huckabee. The Huckabee campaign needs financial backing urgently if it is to succeed nationally.

newfoundland scenery

This video has a beautiful combination of scenery and song. The song refers to happier times when the fishing industry was strong. Newfoundland suffers from the curse of emigration especially since the collapse of the cod fishing industry. The music has Irish influences. Newfie music has undergone a major renaissance. Traditional Irish groups have toured Newfoundland.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Eoghan Harris-an FF/PD apologist

Eoghan Harris is no mean exponent of the pen. Unfortunately his political analysis leaves much to be desired. In his Sunday Independent column he is prepared to defend the indefensible if necessary as he strives to promote the Governments record on Health. He is rapidly developing into a political apologist for the FF/PD Government. Come back Pravda. All is forgiven.

In the Irish context he states that Mary Hanafin, Beverly Flynn and Mary Harney are courageous politicians. Interestingly all three are from the FF gene pool. He mentions Hillary Clinton. Obviously Harris knows very little about "Hillarycare." In the words of Mitt Romney: "She hasn't run a corner store. She hasn't run a state. She hasn't run a city. She has never run anything."

He then denigrates Dr James Reilly (FG). He conveniently omits to state that FG health spokesman, Dr James Reilly put down the question -at the Oireachtas Health Committee meeting- which elicited the response that 97 women who had breast ultrasounds at Portlaoise Hospital were to be recalled for surgical review. Harris should listen to James Reilly. He might actually learn something about the reality of life for women suffering from breast cancer.

He raises the issue of bi-partisanship on the health issue. The Government has a 13 seat majority(including Ned O Keeffe). Is this not sufficient to reform the Health Service? No Harris is concerned to protect the Government from flak ensuing from unpopular decisions in the Health Service. The Harris motto is: Tie in the opposition parties and insulate the Government.

There is now a strong opposition. It is the duty of the opposition to ask the hard questions. This is a sine qua non if our democracy is to flourish.

The last FF /PD Government -with Mary Harney as Minister for Health-established the HSE. It is a bureaucratic monster that is gobbling up valuable financial resources but cutting back on front line services. In the words of Harris : " Harney is fighting the good fight". Unfortunately this is of little benefit to seriously ill patients. Eoghan Harris needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

Newfoundland Scenic Tour -ljp

This video shows some of the stunning scenery of Newfoundland. Newfoundland is the most Irish part of the world outside of Ireland. Approximately 50% of the population is of Irish extraction-mainly from Co. Waterford, Wexford, South Tipperary, South Kilkenny, Carlow and parts of East Cork.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ireland-Exchequer Deficit Blues

Ireland will have a deficit of €1.62 billion this year, compared with an Oct. 2 forecast of €1 billion, according to the Department of Finance. This contrasts with a budget surplus of €4 billion just a year ago.

The Government must bear much of the responsibility for the deterioration in the public finances. In 2007 there has been a 13% growth in the rate of public expenditure as FF and the PDs wooed the electorate. This paid political dividends as the FF/PD government duly returned to power with the support of the Greens and Independents. Already many of the FF election promises have been binned. Prior to the 2002 General Election the FF/PD government allowed public expenditure to escalate out of control. In the immediate aftermath of the 2002 General Election FF Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy set about reigning in public expenditure and introduced a raft of stealth taxes. He failed to index income tax allowances thereby pushing large numbers of PAYE tax payers onto the higher tax rate. Prior to the 2002 Election FF and PD Ministers denied that there would be public expenditure cuts.

A similar scenario to 2002 has now unfolded in 2007. The Government will once more cut public expenditure and introduce stealth taxes. Over the next 2/3 years it will build up a a financial war chest. As the anticipated 2012 General Election approaches public expenditure will once more mushroom. Brian Cowen and Dermot Ahern -during the 2007 election campaign -strongly berated Richard Bruton(FG) Finance Spokesman when Bruton drew attention to both waste and rocketing government expenditure. He can now claim retrospective vindication. Many in the media have spoken of Cowen in messianic terms.

In less than two years the ECB has raised Euro interest rates by 2%. This has knocked some of the fizz out of the housing market. Stamp Duty receipts have slumped and lay offs in the building industry are increasing rapidly. This crisis has been exacerbated by the failure of the Government to reform stamp duty. House prices are falling and negative equity looms on the horizon. Mortgage debt in Ireland is now €136 billion. There is also an astronomical level of credit card debt.

New house starts may fall to c 55,000 in 2008. The huge slump in property tax receipts looks set to continue in 2008. In addition a tightening up of bank/building society lending policies will further restrict the amount of credit available to house buyers. For too long the government has been over reliant on taxes from the property market to boost public expenditure. One eighth of the workforce is employed in construction. 20% of private sector workforce depends on construction.

Rising energy costs will reduce economic growth.This has implications for unemployment which is already rising. Rising unemployment will further depress tax receipts and damage consumer confidence.

For FG and Labour this was the election to lose.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Huckabee Wants God in America

Mike Huckabee outlines his vision for the GOP and the US.

Mike Huckabee Life, Death & Jesus

Whilst I do not agree with the death penalty, this clip from the CNN/YouTube GOP debate in Florida, clearly illustrates the power of Mike Huckabee as a candidate. He would make a wonderful President. He won the debate quite easily with a performance embellished by clarity of thought. Without doubt he is a fiscal and social conservative.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No confidence motion-Government TDs and Independents chicken out

The Government has won tonight's no confidence motion in Minister for Health, Mary Harney, by 83 votes to 73

Cork East Fianna Fáil TD Ned O'Keeffe voted to support the Government amendment to the no confidence vote in Minister for Health, Mary Harney.
However Mr O'Keeffe said that he had neither confidence in the health system or in Ms Harney as minister. On this basis he decided to abstain on the no confidence motion itself.
It is an open secret that Ned has been disenchanted with the direction taken by the party in recent years. On several occasions he has referred to the fact that the party is losing contact with working class voters.
Mr O'Keeffe has resigned the Fianna Fáil whip.

Essentially Ned has adopted a compromise formula to express his unhappiness with the present health imbroglio. Supporting the Government amendment ensures a quick return to FF ranks if he so desires. It also ensures an FF nomination - to contest the next general election -for his son. He may decide to return when Bertie Aherne retires as party leader.
The present crisis is so severe that he should have supported the no confidence motion.
This would shake the government out of its complacency. FF in Cork NE requires an O'Keeffe on the ticket to ensure a second seat. This allows him huge freedom of action.
At least Ned has backbone.

Junior Health Minister Jimmy Devins opposed government policy in Sligo and tonight supported it in the Dail. Other government back benchers adopted a similar approach. Unfortunately such cynical posturing is of little benefit to cancer sufferers.

Finian McGrath’s decision to support the government may cost him dearly in the next general election. As a Socialist he has strongly supported Fidel Castro in Cuba. He is now propping up a government, which has co-location as one of the cornerstones of its health policy and has presided over a shambolic state cancer care service. Of course Finian expressed disquiet but then chickened out.
The Green Party has dispensed with most of its core principles in the interests of power. It has sold out on cancer care, incineration and co-location. Green TDs mouth the usual platitudes to mask their u-turns. The Greens have now morphed into Fianna Failers.

Beverley Flynn, Jackie Healy Rae and Michael Lowry dutifully supported the government.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Clinton machine engages in knuckle-duster politics as Zogby Poll shocks Hillary

The Zogby Poll is a national poll of nearly 10,000 people. It is about equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, with about one-quarter independents. The results of the latest poll have certainly rocked the conventional belief that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate best placed to defeat the GOP nominee. The survey shows Democrat Hillary Clinton of New York would lose to every one of the top five Republican presidential frontrunners. Earlier in the year she lead all likely Republican contenders. This is a huge boost for the GOP.

The Clinton campaign has become increasingly nasty in recent weeks as Hillary's lead has shrunk both nationally and in states such as Iowa. There is mutual loathing between Obama and Clinton. Clinton has savaged Obama's health policy. However Obama has pinpointed huge deficiencies in her health policy. In addition he stated "She's not being straight with the American people because she refuses to tell us how much she would fine people if they couldn't afford insurance."

There have been bitter clashes between both on campaign finance and foreign policy experience. Elements of the Clinton machine are suspected of orchestrating an ugly whispering campaign against Obama.

The Clinton machine has now resorted to knuckle-duster politics.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ireland-The Government has the responsibility to rule-not the opposition

The FF/Green/PD government with the support of 4 Independents can muster 89 votes in the Dail to the opposition's 76. The Ceann Comhairle will give his casting vote in favour of the government in the event of a tie. In essence the government has a majority of 13 seats. Interestingly in recent weeks a new current of opinion -set in motion by some journalists- is beginning to flow.
Shane Coleman has floated the idea in the Sunday Tribune that there should be all party agreement on health reforms. Essentially the opposition should get the government which has a 13 seat majority off the hook because it lacks the resolve to carry through its policies on health. Shane must be joking.

Today's Irish Examiner editorial floats the idea of a new Tallaght Strategy. It states "After all, we cannot keep going the way we are". The editorial writer essentially argues that FG should bail out a government with a 13 seat majority . This argument is nonsensical. If the government cannot take the hard decisions it should resign. Government ministers have the merks and the perks. Surely they can absorb the pain fortified, by the huge pay rise granted recently.

Thankfully there is a strong opposition. Ireland requires a vigilant opposition and not a one party state . It is the duty of the opposition to oppose in a constructive manner and to keep the government on its toes. The health of our democracy requires as much.

US Presidency-Mike Huckabee proclaims the sanctity of life

Below I carry a synopsis of Mike Huckabee's position on abortion. It is taken from

It spells out in an unambiguous manner Mikes total opposition to abortion. In Mike Huckabee the Christian right has a pro-life hero who will not sacrifice the unborn to attain power. How refreshing to have such a principled politician. None of the Democratic candidates is standing on a pro life platform. The Democratic party is now the Abortion Party of the US. It supports the right to choose.This is a euphemism for the destruction of the unborn child in the womb. It also regards choice-the slaughter of the innocent child in the womb- as a fundamental constitutional right. Hillary Clinton supports the Democratic Party abortion policy in its entirety. A vote for Clinton is a vote for abortion.

Mike Huckabee and Abortion:

I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned.

I applaud the Supreme Court's recent decision in Gonzales v. Cathcart forbidding the gruesome practice of partial birth abortion. While I am optimistic that we are turning the tide in favor of life, we still have many battles ahead of us to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and so it is vital that we elect a pro-life President.

I first became politically active because of abortion, when I helped pass Arkansas' Unborn Child Amendment, which requires the state to do whatever it legally can to protect life.

As Governor, I did all I could to protect life. The many pro-life laws I got through my Democrat legislature are the accomplishments that give me the most pride and personal satisfaction.

To me, life doesn't begin at conception and end at birth. Every child deserves a quality education, first-rate health care, decent housing in a safe neighborhood, and clean air and drinking water. Every child deserves the opportunity to discover and use his God-given gifts and talents.

I believe in using existing stem cell lines for research, but I do not believe in creating life for the sole purpose of destroying it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ireland-FF crashes in Sunday Business Post/Red C poll

FF support has collapsed in the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll. It is now down 11% on its general election result and 7% on the last Red C poll.


  • Fianna Fail 32% (-7)
  • Fine Gael 31% (+4)
  • Labour 13% (+3)
  • Greens 9% (+2)
  • Sinn Fein 7% (-1)
  • PDs 2% (no change)
  • Inds 7% (-1)

There are a number of reasons for the decline in FF support:

  • The large pay rises awarded to the Taoiseach and government ministers have ignited public indignation. They have undermined the governments moral authority as it seeks public pay restraint and attempts to control public expenditure.
  • The cancer debacle at Portlaoise General Hospital has shocked the general public. The HSE which was set up by the last FF/PD government to streamline the health service has failed abysmally to get to grips with the problems. The general public is now apportioning blame to the FF and PD parties.
  • Unemployment has begun to rise. There is an incipient crisis in building and construction with forecasts that new house starts may drop from 90,000+ in 2007 to 50,000-60,000 in 2008. There have been lay offs in the building and manufacturing industries. Job losses at Waterford Crystal are the latest.
  • Government finances are deteriorating sharply with a likely deficit of €1.3 billion for 2007.
  • The collapse of share prices on the stock market has further fueled a feeling of insecurity.
  • House prices are falling. So there is now a fear of negative equity.
  • There is a perception that the Government misled the electorate on the state of the economy-prior to the election

It is probable that the rise in Green Party support is temporary. Some disillusioned FF supporters may have moved their support to the Greens. This is likely to return to FF in any General Election.

FG support has risen sharply on the back of a strong performance by the new front bench. James Reilly, Charlie Flanagan, Richard Bruton and Brian Hayes amongst others have performed very strongly. The party must consolidate this support and continue to expand its organization. It must aim to replace FF as the largest party.

Labour has also performed strongly. However Eamon Gilmore realises that much more is required.

The PDs are becalmed. Realistically the party has little future. Sensible PD councillors will melt back into FF or join FG.

The drop in support for Sinn Fein and Independents is within the statistical margin of error.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

RTE Radio News Headlines-ommission of Olwyn Enright's contribution to Saturdayview

Today Saturdayview featured Olwyn Enright (FG), Jan O Sullivan (Lab) and Martin Cullen (FF). There was a very passionate discussion -expertly stewarded by Rodney Rice-on the breast cancer debacle at Portlaoise hospital and on the HSE in general. The role of Mary Harney featured also.

I was impressed with the contribution of both Olwyn Enright and Jan O Sullivan . They clearly articulated women's fears. As women they understand the terror of breast cancer. Martin Cullen spoke about restructuring the HSE. The contribution of Olwyn Enright was in my view her finest ever on either radio or tv.

Interestingly the news headlines -which followed the show -gave sizeable coverage of Martin Cullen's comments. There was a brief reference to Jan O Sullivan's contribution. No reference was made to views expressed by Olwyn Enright who represented FG the second largest party in the Republic of Ireland. Why?

Friday, November 23, 2007

US- Mike Huckabee campaign ads

Demand that Mike Huckabee come speak in your city.

Mike Huckabee Ad:

Mike Huckabee is a conservative hero. This authentic Christian conservative has come from no where. His campaign for the GOP nomination is built on a shoestring. He is anti abortion and promises to overturn Roe V Wade. He supports the Fair Tax. He is strong on security. He has a vision for the eradication of poverty. He plays the bass guitar and loves the music of Aerosmith. He is closing in on Mitt Romney in Iowa. Mike is now rapidly coming to the forefront nationally. This conviction politician is a breath of fresh air. He has the potential to become a truly great leader of the US and western world.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ireland-Dr James Reilly (FG) exposes major deficiencies in cancer detection at Portlaoise Hospital

FG health spokesman, Dr James Reilly, called for Mary Harney’s resignation following the revelation today that 97 women who had breast ultrasounds at Portlaoise Hospital are to be recalled for surgical review.
This devastating news was revealed on foot of a question he put at the Oireachtas Health Committee rather than through direct contact from the HSE. RTE television News in its report failed to credit Dr Reilly with this question.

Dr Reilly stated "These reviews of ultrasounds were taking place at the same time as the review of mammograms. This means that the HSE has had three months to inform women of this need for a surgical review as it emerged, but failed to do so."
He said that while 97 women had so far been recalled, and claimed that with 177 clinical cases still to be reviewed, the probability is that more women would be recalled for review.
Dr Reilly said that more women might have been given false all clears, in addition to the nine already identified as having been misdiagnosed following the review of mammograms at the hospital.
"The Minister was alerted to the problems in this area two-and-a-half years ago and failed to take control of the problem and simply passed the buck."

Dr Reilly is one of the star performers in the Dail.He is highly talented,articulate, forceful and well briefed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Neil Diamond and the secret of Sweet Caroline

Sweet Caroline as sung by Neil Diamond has always been one of my favourite songs. I have often wondered about the identity of the real Caroline. Thankfully Neil has now told the full story behind the song and unlocked the secret.

He has revealed that President John F. Kennedy's daughter was the inspiration for the smash hit.
Last week he performed the song via satellite at Caroline Kennedy's 50th birthday party - and told her that she had inspired it.
Diamond, a "young, broke songwriter" said he was struck by a photo of the president's daughter, then "a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony on the cover of Time magazine.It was such an innocent, wonderful picture, I immediately felt there was a song in there."It took him one hour in a Memphis hotel to compose the song.
What a lovely story.
Hopefully Neil will visit Ireland again in the future

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ireland- Greens in incineration storm

In the Dail today John Gormley and the Green party came under sustained attack from FG and Labour on the incineration issue.

The decision of An Bord Pleanala to give the go ahead to the Poolbeg incinerator has exposed the Green Party to ridicule. John Gormley and other apologists for the Green Party have endeavoured to wriggle out of the problem. They are trapped by their own political promises and by their failure to negotiate a Programme for Government that would scupper incineration as a tool of Government environmental policy.
The Programme for Government is at least 95% FF policy with a few sops to the Green Party.
FF has successfully emasculated the Green Party. The Greens in opposition would have savaged FF on this issue. FF cannot believe its good fortune.

The following is taken from John Gormley's website:
“The record shows that the government voted down a Green Party motion to stop the incinerator. We have been very clear that in government this incinerator will not go ahead.
“I believe that the planning case against this incinerator is unanswerable. The site selection process was flawed, the traffic impact would be disastrous and, most importantly, there is no need for this massive facility. However, in the past we have seen cases where the An Bord Pleanála’s inspector recommended against the project on planning grounds, only to have this decision overturned by the Bord on the basis of ‘government policy’. This is what happened with the incinerator at Ringaskiddy, and more recently with the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road stadium.

“A recent independent report on waste management in Ireland found that our reliance on incineration is in fact a major impediment to meeting our targets under the EU Landfill Directive. This report, by leading European environmental consultants Eunomia, found that alternatives to incineration could be put in place more quickly and at less cost. We urgently need a change in Government policy, otherwise we will be lumbered with a collection of massive incinerators, which, in the words of Dr Dominic Hogg, the author of the Eunomia report, will ‘crowd out recycling options’.

There is a big grin on FF faces. Incineration has gone through with the Green Party in power.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bangladesh-Cyclone Sidr death toll nears 3,000

The following is taken from the Concern website:
Monday, 19th November 2007

Four days after Cyclone Sidr tore through the southern coast of Bangladesh, government sources have confirmed that 2,471 have died so far. There are fears that this figure will rise as it may take several days to determine the final number of dead and missing.

Sidr swept across the country hitting the Khulna and Barisal coastal belt most severely. Winds of 240 kph and torrential rain smashed through villages, tearing off roofs, ripping trees from the ground and wiping out vital crops awaiting harvest. Many people were killed by flying debris while others were washed away by tidal surges.

Rescuers are still trying to reach survivors in remote areas but their efforts are being hampered by roads blocked by debris and disrupted telecommunications. Tens of thousands of houses have been destroyed leaving thousands without shelter and basic facilities.
Cyclone Sidr comes just a few months after floods
devastated the north of the country. It is the most destructive storm to hit southern Bangladesh since 1991.
Donate to Concern's emergency appeal

What Concern is doing
Concern now has a relief programme underway to the value of €600,000 benefiting 23,000 families. Dry food, temporary shelter and drinking water will be urgently needed for people displaced in the aftermath of the cyclone.
In the run up to the hurricane Concern’s partner organisations in the coastal belt took measures alongside local government, Red Cross and Red Crescent to issue community warnings and evacuate people in vulnerable areas to shelter in cyclone shelters. These early warning systems have been credited with saving many lives.

Ireland-The Green Party sells out on incineration

The relative powerless of the Green Party in Government is illustrated by its capitulation on co-location and on incineration.

The following is taken from the Green Party policy on waste:

“In Government the Green Party will place a moratorium on the incineration of waste”.

Yet the Greens agreed a Programme for Government with FF, which did not preclude incineration.

It is risible to listen to John Gormley articulating an anti incineration policy. He is a member of a Government, which has incineration as one of the key planks of its environmental policy. John Gormley realises quite well that the era of incineration is nigh thanks to the failure of his party in its negotiations with FF. In October he said that Ireland required no more than two incinerators to deal with waste, which cannot be recycled or processed, rather than the eight that are currently planned.

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the incinerator at Poolbeg in Dublin. If the Green Party had insisted on the ditching of incineration - as a key precondition of its participation in government -residents of Dublin SE would not face an uncertain future. The Green Party has dispensed with many of its core principles to secure seats at the cabinet table. It has lost its way.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bono's calls for talks with Al Qaeda misguided

In an interview with Rolling Stone Bono calls for negotiations with Al Qaeda.

Bono should steer clear of international politics. His views are simplistic and naive.

There are major differences between the IRA and Al Qaeda. The IRA is indigenous to Ireland. It had a tight command structure. Channels of communication between Irish and British politicians were opened with Sinn Fein the political representatives of the IRA. They clearly represented the IRA point of view. British and Irish politicians knew this.

The IRA campaign had political goals and was not generally driven by religious fanaticism. By the 1990s IRA leaders realised that they could not win a united Ireland by violence. Constitutional Northern Irish politicians such as John Hume of the SDLP convinced people such as Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein) to try and move along the constitutional road. Also they realised that the Catholic element of the population in Northern Ireland is growing rapidly. It is now approx 44% of the population. This demographic change moves the prospects of Irish unification forward.

In marked contrast Al Qaeda is a massive international conspiracy which aims to destroy the west-especially the US and Britain- in the name of Islam. It is driven by a frightening political and religious fanaticism. The IRA and Loyalists used bombs and committed terrible atrocities but Al Qaeda uses suicide bombs an even more extreme form of terrorism.

Also Al Qaeda is not a homogeneous unit. It is an umbrella for numerous Islamic terror groups. Who exactly would Bono negotiate with?

Obama and Clinton at war

The fault lines in the Democratic Party have begun to open. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are now at war. Democratic unity has been fractured.

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak reported Friday that "agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information" about Sen. Barack Obama.

Robert Novak claims that the details emanated from the Clinton camp. The allegations have not been substantiated by Clintonites. This smacks of a policy of "Give him something to deny." It has the advantage of putting Obama on the defensive as he seeks to defend his integrity and distracts him from the main issues. It smacks of ugly and dirty politics.

According to the Baltimore

Noting that Novak was preparing his column "at the very same time" that Clinton was complaining about "mud-slinging" by other candidates at Thursday's Democratic debate, he [Obama] said, "In the interest of our party, and her own reputation, Senator Clinton should either make public any and all information referred to in the item, or concede the truth: that there is none."

“She of all people, having complained so often about ‘the politics of personal destruction,’ should move quickly to either stand by or renounce these tactics," Obama said...........................

"...................Later, the Obama camp released a statement from campaign manager David Plouffe accepting the Clinton campaign's explanation but arguing that Obama right to respond aggressively to innuendo against him.
“The Clinton campaign has admitted that they do not possess the ‘scandalous information’ in question and we take them at their word. But what we don’t accept is their assertion that this is somehow falling for Republican tricks," Plouffe said.
"This is exactly the kind of smear politics, Democrats need to fight back on........................"

This fiasco will weaken the Democratic Presidential campaign if- as seems likely Hillary Clinton wins the nomination. The Obama wing has been alienated. Clinton and Edwards have major differences. Clinton is now a major divisive influence on the party. In addition the party is an uneasy coalition of Liberals, far left, Socialists and a shrinking number of conservatives.
Will Al Gore enter the race as a unity candidate?

A GOP candidate would represent the interests of the majority far more effectively

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ireland-Bill Clinton fund raises in Dublin

The former US President Bill Clinton will mingle with Ireland's business elite at a fundraising function on Saturday night.

The 1,600 euro (£1,145) a head dinner is in aid of his wife Hillary's presidential campaign fund .

Perhaps some of those present might care to question Bill and Hillary Clinton on their strong support for abortion and on proposed corporate tax changes enunciated by Clinton advisor Lawrence Summers. These will have devastating consequences for the Irish economy.

264,943 abortions were carried out in the US in 2005. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for abortion. It behoves all Christians-whether Republicans, Democrats or Independents- to vote against Clinton. As an apologist for abortion she does not deserve to become President.

“In the past three decades of the Abortion War, nearly 40 million children have been brutally murdered in the womb in the United States alone. This has been possible, largely, because of the effectiveness of an insidious propaganda campaign that has succeeded in convincing millions of Americans that the defenceless, unborn child is not a baby, a human, a tiny person, a gift from God, but merely a depersonalised blob of 'tissue', to be disposed of if it interferes with one’s life plans or career trajectory.” — William F. Jasper, The Survivors .

For Ireland changes in US tax provisions -as proposed by Hillary Clinton's economic advisor Lawrence Summers - have serious implications for we will lose not just the US subsidiaries, our most important economic drivers but also the basis of our present economic strategy.