Friday, May 30, 2008

Irish Housing Market decline continues

Irish house prices fell by 9.2% on the year in April, compared with a 8.9% decline in March, according to the independent think tank Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI), and Permanent TSB bank. The average price paid for a new house in April 2008 was EUR 280,981, while that paid for a second hand house was EUR 278,987. The equivalent levels in December 2007 were EUR 290,296 and EUR 284,608. The full story appears here

  • The 2% rise in Euro interest rates has has taken the fizz out of the market.
  • The failure to radically reform Stamp Duty is a further drag on the market.
  • According to figures provided to Fine Gael by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, people under 35 now make up more than half (52.9%) of the total number of people who were added to the Live Register in the past year. The figures also show that there are now 97,071 people under the age of 35 who are on the live register, the highest figure recorded since records were fully computerised in 2003 and that the number of people in the 20 to 34 age group who are unemployed has increased by 45% in the past twelve months.

  • Almost 220,000 houses and apartments are lying vacant across Ireland
    New housing starts are expected to drop to 45,000 as confidence has ebbed away. Indeed this figure may be optimistic.

  • House price inflation skyrocketed in recent years. Houses have been priced out of the reach of large segments of the middle class. The salaries of teachers, guards and nurses are insufficient to purchase houses.

The correction in the market has not completed its course. There is evidence that many potential house purchasers are holding off confident in the expectation that a further sizeable reduction is in store. Indeed with EU inflation rising to 3.6% -up from 3.3% it appears unlikely that the ECB will reduce interest rates in 2008.
2008 is developing into the annus horribilis for the Irish property market.

MOZART.Symphonie 40.W.DE LOS RIOS.depende949

Thursday, May 29, 2008

200 jobs at risk at Cappoquin Chickens as feed costs and labelling loopholes hit hard - Creed

The following is the text of a statement issued by FG on the financial situation of Cappoquin Chickens. It is full of common sense and has realistic proposals to address the problems faced by Ireland's poultry industry. Is any one in Government circles listening? Will the Government stand by and allow the destruction of the poultry industry which can have a bright future if buttressed by realistic Government policies.This Government has adopted stone age Green Party policy on the importation of GM feed. It has also failed to address labelling loopholes.

FG Statement:

Fine Gael Agriculture Spokesman, Michael Creed TD, today (Thursday) raised in the Dáil the financial situation of Cappoquin Chickens which is under examinership. Deputy Creed said spiralling input costs and competition from cheap imports, which can take advantage of flawed labelling laws, were eating into farm profits and threatening agri-sector jobs.This Government has adopted idiotic Green Party policy on the importation of GM feed

"200 people are employed at Cappoquin Chickens and for them the news that an interim examiner has been appointed will be devastating. The wider implications for the agri-food industry are alarming. "The Government has failed to heed warnings on the impact of rising feed costs on the poultry sector and it is now clear just how hard these costs are hitting agri-business. CSO figures this week showed all farm inputs increasing in cost, with feed up 20%.

"The fact is daft Government policy on the importation of GM feed, introduced as a sop to the Green Party, is costing the industry up to €160 million a year. The new Agriculture Minister will be keenly aware of the closure of Grove Turkeys in Monaghan just a few months ago and, with Cappoquin now in trouble, he must undo the damage done by his Government's GM policy shift.

"We are also seeing the real impact of quality Irish product being undermined by loopholes in our labelling laws. The 'substantial transformation' loophole allows produce which has had minimal processing in Ireland, like the addition of breadcrumbs, to be passed off as Irish. Coupled with mislabelling this means Irish produce and cheap imports are not competing on a level playing field.

"Fine Gael's campaign on labelling laws has fallen on deaf ears in Government so far but the plight of Cappoquin Chickens is a grim wake-up call. As well as the closure of the 'substantial transformation' loophole and the tightening and strict enforcement of existing labelling laws, Fine Gael wants to see the introduction of a Green Ireland label. This single, recognisable brand would help Ireland capitalise in overseas and domestic markets on its reputation as a green, healthy, quality food producer and help secure a premium price for Irish produce and Irish farmers."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Marian Apparitions in Medjugorje -The Message

Obama has mystical powers:He sees dead people in his audience

In a Memorial Day speech on May 26, 2008, in Las Cruces, NM, Obama says "on this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes--and I see many of them in the audience here today." Another gaffe by one of the most gaffe prone politicians in American history.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Questions and Answers debates Irish Agriculture

Maeve Dineen Editor of the Farming Independent and Presenter of RTE’s rural life programme Ear to the Ground was the star panelist. She was articulate and direct in her answers. She displayed a clear insight into farming problems and the threat posed to Irish farming by the WTO.

Journalist Eamon Delaney is apparently a strong supporter of Brian Cowen. He emphasized that Ireland has benefited immensely from free trade. This is fine as far as it goes. He obviously supports free trade in food. Unfortunately he failed to refer to the dangers posed by imports -of food products such as beef from Brazil- which often lack traceability. Is he not concerned with the health implications? Is he not concerned at EU hypocrisy on the environment? Apparently the EU is determined to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. Yet it is prepared to increase beef imports from Brazil. Much of these will come from the destruction of the Amazonian Rainforests. The burning of the forests will increase the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Eamon Delaney's support for free trade in food fails to take account of the necessity to ensure security of supply.

Padraig Walshe of the IFA emphasized the dangers poised by the WTO. He stressed that 50,000 farmers would disappear and that a further 50,000 off farm jobs would go.

Eamon Gilmore and John Gormley were largely supportive of Irish farmers. Will John Gormley push for the use of the veto if necessary? Will the Government use the veto to rein in Peter Mandelson who appears to have gone beyond his brief at the WTO.

Icy, Patterned Ground on Mars-Phoenix Mars Lander

Click on Image to enlarge
This image shows a polygonal pattern in the ground near NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, similar in appearance to icy ground in the arctic regions of Earth. Phoenix touched down on the Red Planet at 4:53 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53 p.m. Eastern Time), May 25, 2008, in an arctic region called Vastitas Borealis, at 68 degrees north latitude, 234 degrees east longitude.

This is an approximate-color image taken shortly after landing by the spacecraft's Surface Stereo Imager, inferred from two color filters, a violet, 450-nanometer filter and an infrared, 750-nanometer filter. The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lisbon Treaty: Sunday Business Post/Red C poll on Referendum indicates an electorate in a state of flux

  • STATE OF THE REFERENDUM (Since last poll)
  • Yes 41% (+3)
  • No 33% (+5)
  • Don’t Know 26% (-8)

The high level of dont knows indicates a large degree of confusion amongst a sizeable segment of the electorate. However this may not be the whole story. Increasingly there is unease within the country with what is perceived as meddling by EU bureaucrats in the internal affairs of Ireland. There is a suspicion that the EU will tamper with the 12.5.% Corporation Profits Tax. There is a fear that abortion will be foisted on the country. The WTO threat to Irish farming is a huge issue. There may be a temptation to make a protest vote. Many of the don’t knows may be unwilling to declare their real intentions of voting no. This would be a nightmare scenario for the Yes campaign.

It might be helpful if pollsters attempted to elicit more information from the don’t knows. The Yes campaign powered by FF, FG and Labour will in all probability succeed in convincing the electorate to accept the Lisbon Treaty. However many voters are highly suspicious. The electorate wants clear-cut answers on the range of issues alluded to above. Failure to address the electorate's concerns could be very costly for the Yes campaign

Luckily for the Yes campaign the Anti campaign has failed to use articulate spokes persons such as Caroline Simons very effectively.

The latest Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll shows major parties support on a par with 2007 General Election Result

  • STATE OF THE PARTIES (Since the last poll)
  • Fianna Fáil 40% (+2)
  • Fine Gael 28% (-1)
  • Labour 10% (no change)
  • Greens 5% (-3)
  • Sinn Féin 9% (+2)
  • PDs 2% (no change)

  • Inds 6% (no change)

This poll confirms that FF has recovered support since the accession of Brian Cowen as leader. It is now just 1.6% short of its 07 General Election result.
This is statistically insignificant and within the margin of error. Similarly FG at 28% is 0.7% above the 07-election result. This is again within the margin of error. Labour at 10% has the same level of support as that obtained in the 07 election. The Green Party is just 0.3% above its 07-election result

Essentially the four parties now hold the same level of support as at the 07 General Election.
Sinn Fein bucks the trend and is 2% above its 07 General Election result. This may be a temporary bounce fuelled by the oxygen of publicity afforded by the parties leading role in the referendum campaign.

The PDs at 2% are 0.7% below their vote in 07 General Election. The party is becalmed.
The Irish electorate is essentially conservative. Will the developing economic downturn alter this mentality?

Rugby Union at the Millennium Stadium: Heineken Cup Final-Munster defeat Toulouse in a Titanic Struggle

Munster displayed skill, grit and panache to secure their second Heineken Cup triumph in three years, defeating a wonderful Toulouse team by 16-13.
This game -attended by 80,000- was an epic and epitomised everything that is best in Rugby Union. It was a wonderful advertisement for the game.

The atmosphere was electric. The intensity was far greater than that of the Southern Hemisphere’s Super-14.

Toulouse dominated the opening quarter and exerted extreme pressure on Munster.Yet the men from the South of France had very little to show for their efforts. Elissalde missed an early penalty kick but scored a drop-goal after eight minutes. He failed with a second drop goal attempt.It is arguable that Toulouse’s failure to register more scores in this period cost them the game. Byron Kelleher was caught with his hands in the ruck. Munster now launched a ferocious attack, which went through many phases. Denis Leamy went close to scoring but the TMO ruled correctly that he failed to touch the ball down.In the resulting scrum the Munster forward power came to the fore. Toulouse buckled and Leamy was driven over the line for a try. O’Gara now converted. Sustained pressure for about eight minutes from the Munster pack had yielded dividends.
O’Gara converted a penalty. Elissalde converted a penalty for Toulouse just before half- time -Quinlan having infringed.

In the first five minutes of the second half Paul O’Connell twice saved Munster. He stole a line-out metres from his own line. He also stole a ball from a maul as the Toulouse juggernaut trundled towards the Munster line. Today O’Connell answered his ill informed critics in no uncertain manner. Doug Howlett crossed the Toulouse line but the score was disallowed for a forward pass.
Fabien Pelous was sent to the sin bin for a kick to Alan Quinlan’s backside.
O’Gara kicked the penalty and Munster now led by seven.

Toulouse now rose to the challenge and Cédric Heymans took a quick line-out throw to himself inside his own half and instigated a wonderful move. Heymans crafted a beautiful chip, which he gathered and then outwitted two Munster backs before kicking. Yannick Jauzion kicked the ball forward. Donguy finished this stunning move by touching down for a try. After 62 minutes a fine Toulouse move broke down when Elissalde kicked the ball over the Munster goal line. This was a seminal moment as Toulouse had come forward in waves and looked likely to score. After 65 minutes O’Gara scored a penalty. The Munster forwards maintained the high intensity level required. Toulouse- the team of all the talents- was beaten.

All Munster players were heroes. O’Connell, Quinlan , Denis Leamy, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi and Ian Dowling in particular stood out. Cédric Heymans was man of the match for Toulouse.
Declan Kidney, Jim Williams and the backroom staff have masterminded another stunning success.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We'll Be Alright (or Lisa's Song) sung by the inspirational Anne Johnston-Brown

Anne Johnston-Brown performs this original track, set to inspirational video footage that will enlighten the senses and open the heart to God's goodness.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ireland- Taoiseach Brian Cowen losing out in Dail exchanges

There is increasing evidence in Dail exchanges that Brian Cowen is prepared to adopt a more aggressive approach to the opposition than Bertie Ahern. Former Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said in 2003 that "asking the (former) Taoiseach Mr Ahern a question is like trying to play handball against a haystack. You hear a dull thud and the ball does not come back to you. It goes all over the world, but it certainly does not come back to the person asking the question". In marked contrast Cowen is more combative.

Prior to assuming the mantle of Taoiseach Cowen had been quite dismissive towards Kenny. In a Dail exchange in February Mr Cowen-then Tanaiste- attempted to belittle Kenny on the issue of Mr Ahern's finances and the Mahon Tribunal when he said "You are neither qualified nor able to evaluate that evidence”. This may yet come back to haunt him. The personalised nature of the comment has energised Kenny.

Political journalists assumed that Cowen as Taoiseach would destroy Kenny in exchanges. This is not what has transpired.
In the Dail yesterday (Tuesday) Enda Kenny raised the HSE announcement last week that it was contacting more than 4,500 patients whose x-rays and CT scans at Our Lady`s Hospital, Navan, and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, might have been misread. Cowen injudiciously attacked Kenny and alleged that he was attempting to make political capital out of the issue. He came off second best in the exchanges.

Today in the Dail a row erupted when Mr Kenny questioned the Taoiseach about health expenditure.
In reply Cowen claimed that Fine Gael had not backed a single initiative aimed at improving health services. This comment drew howls of disapproval from the FG front bench.
Mr Cowen told the Fine Gael spokesman on Health, Dr James Reilly, that if the heckling continued, he could ensure that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny would not be heard in the chamber again.
This was a bad lapse in judgement.

Mr Cowen was then tackled by Labour leader Eamon Gilmore on price increases and on the alleged failure of the National Consumer Agency and other bodies to act.
The Dail microphones picked up a comment made by the Taoiseach to Tanaiste Mary Coughlan : 'We need to get a handle on this, will you ring those f***ers.'
The use of the F-word although not used in the Dail exchanges was a further embarrassment for the Taoiseach.
All in all a bad week for the Government and for Mr Cowen.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Burma: On the ground in the Irrawaddy Delta -The general and current situation of Laputta hit by Cyclone Nargis as seen by an Eyewitness

"The whole town was devastated and all the buildings were falling down without rescue. The majority of locals living in Laputta lost their homes and businesses and everything belonging to them. As well there are shortages of food on a daily basis.

A few days after the storm, the victims who lost their families and villages in closed area of Laputta town began arriving in Laputta to rely on rescues and demand their needs in the refugee camps. Some victims have walked across along the farming fields filled with dead bodies for two or three days.

Seriously, when arriving the Laputta, there are no proper places- for the victims -prepared by the authorities. Presently, there are three main refugee camps recognized by the local authority. At least, more than ten thousands victims are staying contemporarily there, sleeping on the wet ground under the miserable roofs in the camps of the monasteries and pagodas areas and some victims are staying outside in the rain. They have no proper toilets and enough water for drinking and cleaning up. People don’t have vaccination forthcoming-soon diseases like diarrhoea. Most of the victims are patients who are suffering with diseases infected before.

The volunteering clinics have not enough medicine for patients. Only the hospital is full with the patients and it can't accept next new patients because of lack of medicine and free beds. Volunteer doctors are concerned about the victims because of the air, ground and water pollution because the toilets are pouring with human waste and flowing near by local areas. So they want to build the healthy toilets to prevent the diseases.

Each victim just gets a little rice for a day from government. Most of the children (Orphans) need to get nutrition, enough hygienic foods, cooking pots, plates, spoons, clothes, mosquito-nets, temporary-roof and toilet."

(Taken from MBA student with thanks)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Real McCain/Rubin Interview shows that John McCain has not flip-flopped and is consistent in his stace of no unconditional meetings with Hamas

In an article in the Washington Post titled Hypocrisy on Hamas, James P. Rubin-who served in the Clinton Administration- recounts an interview which he conducted with McCain for Sky News. He quotes selectively as follows and misrepresents John McCain's position: "I asked: "Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?"

McCain answered: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

Rubin in his article omitted several key sentences including the following "......It depends on how Hamas acts as a new government". This proves conclusively that John McCain has not flip-flopped and is consistent in his stance of no unconditional meetings with Hamas.

Shane Coleman in Sunday Tribune compares FF and FG support in opinion poll

In today's Sunday Tribune-in an otherwise good article- Shane Coleman states: "FF is at 42% in the opinion polls...... Fine Gael has slipped back to a core vote of 20%. Why is Coleman comparing FF's share of the vote -after the redistribution of dont knows- with FGs share of the vote prior to redistribution of dont knows.

After redistribution of dont knows FF is on 42%, FG is on 26%. FG is down just 1% on the 2007 General Election result.

Undecided voters stood at 15% in the Irish Times/MRBI poll of 16th May. This makes interpretation hazardous.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

As a Mega Catastrophe unfolds it is time to implement the UN's "responsibility to protect" doctrine and invade Burma now

UN's "responsibility to protect" doctrine calls on the international community to invade any country if its government is not protecting its people. This doctrine was agreed by the UN to ensure that no further Rwandas would occur.

So far the UN estimates that c102,000 Burmese have perished; some 220,000 are missing; and close to 2.5 million are in dire need of clean water, shelter, food and medical treatment. The British-based charity Save the Children Fund says that 216,000 Burmese died in cyclone Nargis and its aftermath, just 9,000 fewer than died in of all 11 countries hit by the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The paranoid regime has rebuffed most offers of aid from the international community and appears determined to keep out relief workers on the pretext that they might incite revolution amongst a hungry and cowed populace.The Burmese army has seized much of the aid, which has got through and distributed it to soldiers or sold it on the black market. The government has even obstructed the distribution of rice by some citizens.

Britain, France, Spain , Canada and the EU have been strongly critical. The criticism may be gaining in intensity but the reality is that the international community is too tardy in its response.

China as usual this week disgraced itself and obstructed efforts at the UN to pressurise the Burmese generals. Extreme pressure must be exerted on China to use its undoubted influence on the generals to ensure delivery of aid to a stricken populace. China must alter its policy of support for the Junta at the UN.

The US, Canada, Britain and France amongst others must implement the UN's "responsibility to protect" doctrine immediately and ensure the delivery and distribution of aid by military means. The time for diplomatic niceties has passed.

Many thousands have already perished because of the obduracy of the Burmese Junta. The world has a Mega Catastrophe on its hands.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Burma: China blocks UN aid plans for victims of Cyclone Nargis

The official death toll from Cyclone Nargis in Burma has risen to 78,000. This is probably a conservative figure, yet the country's military regime continues block aid from reaching 2.5 million survivors. Diseases, such as cholera, dysentery and malaria, are spreading.

So great is the scale of the disaster that it is impossible for Burma to deal with the crisis on its own. Burma's Generals are shunning the world's offers of help. They fear that aid workers would sew the seeds of rebellion in the minds of starving people. So great is their paranoia that they are prepared to sacrifice many hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens.

China has the capacity can make the generals change their mind. China is prepared to accept international aid for the victims of the devastating earthquake in its southwestern region yet the Burmese regime continues to block aid efforts.

China has a very strong trading relationship and friendship with Burma's generals. It supplies them with armaments, economic assistance, covert security advice and protects them at the UN Security Council. This weekend China blocked moves at the UN for a Security Council resolution telling the generals to let aid in. How can China justify its decision to accept international aid for its own victims and yet obstruct aid for Burma?

Responsibility for the huge loss of life rests not alone with the Burmese Generals but also with Communist China.

Please email China and demand that they stop blocking UN action. Your email will be sent to the Chinese representatives at the UN and in the UK.
Please send an email now here:
The Burma Campaign UK

Obama, Chamberlain, and Iran

Putting President Bush's words about appeasement in context .

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Irish Times /TNS mrbi poll shows FF support has returned to General Election levels as FF benefits from Cowen honeymoon

The adjusted figures for party support, compared to the last Irish Times poll in January, are:
  • Fianna Fáil, 42 per cent (up eight points);
  • Fine Gael, 26 per cent (down five points);
  • Labour, 15 per cent (up three points);
  • Sinn Féin, 6 per cent (down two points);
  • Green Party, 4 per cent (down two points);
  • PDs, 1 per cent (down two points
  • Independents/others, 6 per cent (no change).

Undecided voters stood at 15% .

The results of this poll are distorted by the avalanche of positive publicity received by Brian Cowen since his election as FF leader. In fact there was saturation coverage. It was inevitable that FF would rise sharply from the 34% in the last poll. FF support is now at the same level as that obtained at the 2007 General Election. One expected that a photograph might appear showing Brian Cowen piloting an aeroplane. The adulation reached levels that are unsustainable in the long term.
FG support is at 26% just 1% below that obtained in the 2007 General Election. This is within the margin of error. In contrast to Cowen, Enda Kenny has been subjected to an ugly campaign of vilification by some elements in the media. Nevertheless he must become much more forceful on economic matters.

Both FF and FG are broadly speaking on the same level of support as obtained by both parties in the 2007 General Election.

Since this poll was taken last Monday, much gloomy economic news has seeped out in relation to building and construction, gas and electricity prices. In addition further serious problems have appeared in the health sector.

The ESRI report has a positive spin. Nevertheless when analysed there is little certitude in relation to the Irish economy. The report was a case of live horse until you get grass. Independent newspapers and the Irish Times emphasized the positive elements in the report as did RTE.
Soft publicity will not insulate the Government when public expenditure cuts bite sharply. An electorate spoilt by the unsustainable rise in government expenditure-13% in 2007- will inevitably feel withdrawal symptoms.

Labour is up 4% on its General Election returns -probably at the expense of the Greens and Sinn Fein.

It is time to wind up the PDs.

John McCain exposes Barack Obama's lack of foreign policy experience

Obama calls reporter Sweetie and refuses to answer her question on how he would help Detroit auto workers

Here Obama patronizes a female reporter who asked him how he proposed to help autoworkers in Detroit, Michigan. Barack displays his usual smugness and arrogance which puts him at odds with blue -collar voters.

It is an echo of his bittergate comments in San Francisco "You got into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," .................................they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Obama as usual avoided the hard question. He has no solutions to the problems of the Michigan autoworkers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Burmese (Myanmar) survivors of cyclone Nargis in danger

With a repressive regime thwarting foreign aid efforts, Myanmar survivors face a slew of dangerous issues that may cause the already colossal death toll to rise. Allen Pizzey reports

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Burma- It is time for Military Intervention by the US, UK and France to ensure delivery and distribution of humanitatian aid

Almost two weeks have passed since Cyclone Nargis struck Burma. But aid and relief agencies forecast that less than 30 % of victims are reachable and that less than 10 % of foods and aids have been distributed. Millions of survivors are still waiting in the flooded swamps crippled by disease and starvation. Meanwhile the international community is still waiting at the gate to donate money and foodstuffs.

Today EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said before an emergency meeting of EU ministers in Brussels that the international community should use all possible means to deliver aid to victims of the Burma cyclone.
He also stated that the United Nations charter could be used to facilitate the delivery of foreign aid to Burma if as seems likely the Burmese Junta continues to obstruct delivery of foreign aid.

Nearly three years ago at a summit celebrating the UN’s 60th birthday, 171 nations agreed that they would intervene, forcefully if necessary, if a state failed to protect its own people. So the UN promised that- if a government abused or neglected its own people-it would step in. Apparently there would be no more genocides such as those witnessed in Rwanda.
Unfortunately the UN has failed to fulfil its promise and Javier Solana's comments are too little too late. The time for talking has ended.

It is now time for the US, the UK and France to intervene militarily to ensure delivery and distribution of foreign aid. The Bush regime would go out on a high. This would mark a high point in the Bush Presidency. It would also help negative much of the bad publicity emanating from Iraq. It would be a win win situation for the US and the people of Burma.
It is now or never.
As the following illustrates the Butchers of Rangoon are beyond redemption.
According to Mizzima News

"military rulers imposed new restrictions on foreign and Burmese aid workers trying to enter the country's cyclone-hit Irrawaddy Delta. They have also banned journalists and the use of cameras.The secret order was told to Burmese businessmen – who are assigned to help with the reconstruction of Rangoon and the Irrawaddy Delta – on Tuesday by Prime Minister Lt-Gen Thein Sein during a meeting at the Rangoon Military Command.A source close to the military told Mizzima, "Thein Sein yesterday stated that no foreigners will be allowed to go to the delta. Even for these [Burmese] companies, no cameras will be allowed."…………

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Burma-Callous Regime is impervious to plight of victims of cyclone Nargis. It is time for international intervention

One week has elapsed since cyclone Nargis devastated the heavily populated Irrawaddy Delta and on up to the capital Rangoon. Little foreign aid has reached the country testimony to the obduracy and paranoia of a regime which fears that foreign aid workers might contaminate the minds of a cowed populace.

The death toll from the Cyclone is estimated at 60,000 to 140,000 lives. Oxfam, which has staff on the ground, has witnessed the early outbreak of disease amongst the displaced population. It estimates that the death toll could rise to 1,500,000 in the coming weeks if immediate action is not taken.

The border has been opened for one overland convoy, but the regime is still blocking the delivery of the bulk of desperately needed medical and food supplies.
The tyrants of Rangoon have systematically stymied efforts from the international community to provide humanitarian aid to the estimated two million cyclone victims.

China a staunch supporter of this discredited regime has behaved irresponsibly and has done little to ease the situation. Chinese influence could ensure an immediate policy change. Unfortunately Chinese foreign policy- in relation to countries such as Burma and Sudan- is governed by the need to advance Chinese economic interests at all costs. A death toll of 100,000 means little to China- a country whose foreign policy lacks a moral base. It is time to treat China as an international pariah unless it alters its policy in Burma and Sudan.

The US, UK and France amongst others must use whatever means are necessary to ensure humanitarian aid reaches the affected areas. If military intervention is deemed necessary so be it. To hell with the junta. Is the world prepared to stand by and allow 1,500,000 people to perish?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Obama wants to be like FDR, Truman and Kennedy and shows his ignorance of history

Obama should return to school and study history before stating that he wished to be like FDR and Truman. FDR did not meet with Hitler and Hideki Tojo Prime Minister of Japan. Both men ended up having to conduct massive wars that outlasted their Presidencies. In the case of FDR it was World War Two. Truman pursued World War Two with vigour. He authorized the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki . The Korean War was Truman's War . It outlasted his Presidency. He failed to seek Congressional approval for the War. JFK escalated US involvement in Vietnam. And had Kennedy lived he would have had the Iron Curtain to contend with.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Irish inflation at 4.3% for April remains stubbornly high

The fall in the annual rate of inflation for Ireland from 5% in March to 4.3% in April is no great cause for joy. Indeed the rate of inflation is likely to rise in May as higher mortgage rates feed into the system- the inevitable consequence of the credit squeeze.
In contrast UK inflation stands at 2.5% in April- no change from March. German inflation fell to 2.6% in April. This is down from 3.3% in March.
Annual inflation in the eurozone dropped to 3.3 % in April. This is down from 3.6 % in March.

The Irish inflation rate is out of line. The failure of the Government to tackle inflation has led to an erosion of competitiveness and spawns demands from unions for large pay rises to compensate for price hikes. It is time for urgent Government action. A laissez-faire attitude is no longer acceptable.

In the words of Richard Bruton Fine Gael Deputy Leader and Spokesperson on Finance. “ It is extraordinary that inflation is still an issue when both the dollar and sterling have fallen by 17% against the euro in the last year. But the problem lies squarely with the Fianna Fáil Government. Ministers have turned a blind eye to consumers' needs, and have failed to enforce adequate levels of competition in the retail and wholesale sector. Irish consumers are furious that identical goods cost more in Ireland than they do in other countries.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Democrats Dilemma as Obama moves closer to nomination

The outcomes of the North Carolina and Indiana primaries have further weakened Clinton's prospects of securing the Democratic party nomination.

The Party is now on the horns of a dilemma. Obama is winning in terms of the popular vote and delegate count. As North Carolina is a larger state than Indiana, Obama has moved further ahead in the delegate count and popular vote.

However there is increasing antipathy towards him amongst a large section of the white Democratic electorate throughout the US, which has plumped increasingly for Clinton. The Rev Jeremiah Wright issue has severely damaged Obama.

The 30% African American electorate in North Carolina has to some extent blunted Clinton's success and handed the state to Obama.
Obama’s victory in North Carolina is a major blow to Clinton who had hoped to secure knock out successes in both states. Such an outcome would have rocked the super delegates and possibly stampeded them into the Clinton camp.

Obama’s success does not alter the fact that if he secures the Democratic nomination-as is highly probable- he is likely to lose a sizeable section of Reagan Democrats to John McCain.
It is probable that Clinton as Democratic candidate would hold a higher proportion of the conservative Democrat vote. She will target super delegates with this message in a final effort to detach them from Obama. It is important to remember that Clinton has adopted an increasingly conservative posture to win white working class votes. This has camouflaged her liberal policies. It is a political stunt, which has worked well for her.

She will also endeavour to secure voting rights for the Michigan and Florida delegates. Will the Democratic nominee be chosen by only 48 of the 50 states?
A resolution of this issue could help Clinton.

If the super delegates were to move towards Clinton and deprive Obama of the nomination the Democratic Party would be torn asunder as African Americans walked out at the Convention. This is unlikely to happen.

Delegates are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. This is music to the ears of John McCain who needs every break that he can get.

Today McCain reassured conservative voters on the issue of the appointment of conservative judges. This is an astute move, which will appeal to Reagan Democrats and will help consolidate GOP support.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spineless and Gutless Clinton and Obama support partial birth abortion-It is time for Christian voters to express their abhorrence

In this particular interview Clinton squirms on the abortion issue. She attempts to sanitise her pro-abortion stance. She favours the culture of death over the culture of life. Obama behaves in a similar manner. Both profess to be Christian yet the fifth commandment merits not a mention. God is ignored. Both candidates have a record of shame on the issue. Both are weak-kneed politicians lacking the moral fibre to stand for the truth. Catholics or other Christians who vote for Clinton or Obama are complicit in the destruction of the unborn child in the womb. As such they commit a grave sin.

Clinton's abortion record is as follows:

  • Supports Roe v Wade

  • Strong defender of partial birth abortion

  • Recommended by EMILY's List of pro-abortion women

  • Rated 100%by NARAL.This indicates a strong pro-abortion voting record

  • Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions

Barack Obama's record is as follows:

  • Supports Roe v Wade

  • Strong defender of partial birth abortion

  • Rated 0% by the NRLC indicating a very strong pro abortion stance

  • Obama is even more extreme on the abortion issue than NARAL Pro-Choice America

  • Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions
  • In 2002, as an Illinois legislator, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, which would have protected babies that survived late-term abortions.

Hopefully Christian voters will stand by their faith. The law of God takes precedence over individual "rights".

Friday, May 2, 2008

McCain-Huckabee Video:Behind the Scenes-Little Rock, Arkansas

Here is behind the scenes campaign video of Sen. John McCain on Day 5 of his "It's Time For Action Tour," where he went to Little Rock, Arkansas, and spoke at Arkansas Baptist College.

Mike Huckabee is a staunch supporter of McCain and should help deliver the evangelical vote to the GOP candidate. McCain stated that "millions of Republican voters voted for Governor Huckabee" in the primaries, and that he wanted the former Arkansas governor to play a prominent role in his campaign. McCain noted that Huckabee still has a 65 percent approval rating in Arkansas.
John McCain has begun to energise the base of the Republican Party.