Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prayer For The Unborn by Pope Benedict XVI

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.

Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Video: BBC Newsnight Report on Medjugorje by Allan Little

This BBC Newsnight Report on Medjugorje by Allan Little focuses largely on the political situation in Bosnsia and fails to address the spiritual significance of apparitions at Medjugorje. Perhaps he should return and look at the spiritual dimension in more detail with an open mind.
Perhaps he should consider why Our Lady chose Medjugorje:

Why did Our Lady choose Medjugorje?

Our Lady gave a message on June 26, 1981, stating:
“I have come because there are many true believers here. I wish to be with you to convert and to reconcile the whole world.”

Our Lady also gave a message on March 21, 1985:

“…I love you and in a special way I have chosen this parish, one more dear to me than the others, in which I have gladly remained when the Almighty sent me…”

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Debt-For-Equity Swap Solution to Irish Banking Problems

A debt-for-equity swap (bondholder haircut) appears to be the most realistic approach to tackling the Irish banking crisis. US Economists such as Joseph  Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs have advocated this mechanism in relation to the subprime mortgage crisis. They argue (correctly) that there is no reason why taxpayers should bail out bondholders and share holders. Bank debt levels can be reduced by converting debt into equity. Converting debt into equity via bondholder haircuts MUST be the way forward for Ireland. By this means debt and interest payments are reduced whilst equity is simultaneously increased. Investors can then have more confidence that the bank is financially sound. This would address the bank solvency issue. Irish economist David McWilliams is advocating this approach also.

How would this work in practice in relation to an individual Irish bank ? Lets call the bank the Irish Ranchers Bank. Suppose that it owed bondholders €50 billion
A 25% haircut would reduce this debt by €12.5 billion. This would lead to the creation of €12.5 billion in equity. Thus the bank would be significantly recapitalised.

However for this to work it is a sine qua non that the Irish government pass a law (urgently) which compulsorily converts the existing creditors of the banks into shareholders thereby liberating the Irish taxpayer. As of now Ireland has no such law. Such a bank resolution law would protect depositors with an ECB-backed deposit insurance scheme.
Recalcitrant creditors tempted to overthrow the new arrangements would undoubtedly resort to legal action. On balance it is likely that they would lose out in the Irish courts.

 The IMF’s involvement here means that Ireland will not return to the bond markets for three years. We NOW have a window of opportunity to resolve the banking crisis. NOW is the time for the government to take the bull by the horns and adopt this approach. It may not make us too popular in some quarters. Politicians are generally thick skinned and can wear this unpopularity.  The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Irish Politics: Greens, Healy-Rae, Lowry clown acting threatens government (22/11/10)

Today the Greens have announced their intention to withdraw from government but have pledged to support the budget due in 15 days time. John Gormley, party leader and environment minister, said he wants an election held in the second half of January 2011.

The behaviour of the Greens is inexplicable. They must have known that a political crisis would ensue once an announcement was made to withdraw from government(even if that withdrawal is not until January 2011). The Green Party could have kept its powder dry until a budget was passed. Then it could have announced its intention to withdraw. Now everything is thrown up in the air. There is a strong likelihood that the budget will not pass as the two independents- not to be outdone by the Greens- have cynically withdrawn their support from the government.

The two Independent TDs Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry have withdrawn their support from the FF/Green government. Mr Lowry said that it was highly unlikely that he would support the government's budget proposals unless FG and Labour were given an input into the formulation of the budget and supported it. Mr Healy-Rae said that it was very unlikely that he would support the budget.

These two Independent TDs have used their political leverage to secure concessions for their constituencies. Now that the well has run dry they seek to put the onus on the opposition to support the government. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.

Lowry cynically speaks about "the duty and responsibility and obligation of FG and Labour to support the budget", conveniently ignoring his own obligations. No wonder the Irish electorate is disillusioned.

Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry give the government a majority of 83-79 when they vote in its favour however Sinn Fein may win the Donegal SW by-election on Thursday next. In that event the government would most likely fall on the budget. However that is not the end of the story. Healy Rae has left some wriggle room and could yet vote for the budget. He is demanding fairness in the budget. This just adds to the uncertainty. On balance I believe Healy Rae will support the budget. After all he comes from the FF gene pool. He  has stated that he would have to see what was in the budget before  deciding to support it.

Today we have witnessed political clown acting of the highest order on the part of the Greens and the two Independents. Clowns are figures of fun but certainly should not be elected to the Dail.

Healy-Rae's remit never seems to extend outside the South Kerry constituency. Almost every sentence uttered by him includes the words South Kerry.
The country is on its last legs  with negotiations ongoing on the EU/IMF rescue package. Yet the Greens, Lowry and Healy Rae appear determined to play political games. Shame on them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ireland: Video of Cowen and Lenihan Press Conference on Bailout-21 November 2010

A video of the Cowen /Lenihan press conference on the bailout is available here
It requires Real Player. A free version may be downloaded here

Irish Government Statement on EU/IMF Bailout, 21 November 2010

European Central Bank Press Release on Irish Financial Aid Request- 21 November 2010

21 November 2010 - ECB Governing Council welcomes the request of the Irish Government for financial assistance

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) welcomes the request of the Irish Government for financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union and euro-area Member States. The ECB concurs with the Commission, Ecofin Ministers and the Eurogroup that providing assistance to Ireland is warranted to safeguard financial stability in the European Union and in the euro area.

The European Union and euro-area financial support, together with the IMF financing, will be provided under strong policy conditionality, on the basis of a programme negotiated with the Irish authorities by the Commission and the IMF, in liaison with the ECB.

We are confident that this programme will contribute to ensuring the stability of the Irish banking system and permit it to perform its role in the functioning of the economy.

European Central Bank

Directorate Communications

Press and Information Division

Kaiserstrasse 29, D-60311 Frankfurt am Main

Tel.: +49 69 1344 7455, Fax: +49 69 1344 7404

Internet: http://www.ecb.europa.eu

Reproduction is permitted provided that the source is acknowledged.


Ireland: Co. Waterford link with George Osborne British Chancellor of the Exchequer

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has pledged that Britain would support Ireland's attempts to stabilise its banking system. It is anticipated that this could involve a loan of £6 billion. Osborne is part of the old Anglo-Irish aristocracy and has links with Co. Waterford (in Ireland). He is the heir to the Baronetcy of Ballentaylor, in County Tipperary, and Ballylemon, in County Waterford. His father Sir Peter George Osborne succeeded to the title of 17th Baronet Osborne, of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon, Co. Waterford  on 21 July 1960.

The Osborne Baronetcy, of Ballentaylor in Tipperary, and Ballylemon County Waterford , was created in the Baronetage of Ireland on 15 October 1629 for Richard Osborne.  He was M.P.  for Co Waterford between 1639 and 1649. He was also  M.P. for Co. Waterford between 1661 and 1666.

Sir Richard Osborne, second  baronet  held the office of   M.P.  for Dungarvan between 1639 and 1649.   He held the office of High Sheriff of Co. Waterford in 1671.

Sir John Osborne, 7th Baronet sat as an  MP  in the Irish House of Commons for Lismore between 1719 and 1727 and for County Waterford between 1727 and 1743.

The eight  baronet  Sir William Osborne held the office of High Sheriff of County Waterford in 1750. He held the office of M.P.  for Carysfort between 1761 and 1768.  He was M.P  for Dungarvan between 1768 and 1783. He was invested as a Privy Counsellor  in 1770. He held the office of  M.P. for Carysfort in 1783.
Sir Thomas Osborne the ninth Baronet sat for Carysfort  and also held the office of Sheriff of Waterford .
Sir  Henry Osborne, 11th Baronet  was MP to the Irish House of Commons for Carysfort in 1798 and for Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, in 1800.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ireland: Waterford Collr. John Halligan misrepresents FG policy

Wateford Today carries a report titled Colr. John Halligan to run as Independent.
"Independent councillor John Halligan declared his nomination to contest the Waterford constituency at the earliest opportunity. Whether it is the by-election which is pending or a general election.."

Ex Workers Party member Clr Halligan targets FG unfairly

His comments in relation to the FG party can be taken with a grain of salt.
He states "that in spite of all the promises about public radiotherapy by both the major parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael it has not materialised."
His criticism of FG is nonsensical as FG has not been in power since 1997 (13 years ago). This is a fine example of silly politicking on Halligans part.
Would Halligan care to explain how FG could have provided radiotherapy for Waterford?
In relation to FG he is also quoted as follows:
"They had also just announced that they would cut 30,000 public service jobs which would devastate communities. He reminded the audience they were talking about gardai, nurses, care workers, and teachers."
This is more poppycock from the ex Workers Party member. The Workers Party is a far left political party.
Once more he MISREPRESENTS the FG position. The redundancies are to be achieved voluntarily and by natural wastage. NO COMPULSORY REDUNDANCIES are involved. The redundancies are targeted at administrative positions in the public service. Gardai, nurses, care workers, and teachers are SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED.
Halligan is all things to all men with plenty of populist sound bytes. He is a typical parish pump politician. He has provided no explanation as to how his plans could be funded. Does he support the   far left approach of a massive nationalisation of the means of production a la North Korea.
All and all this is a very poor start by John Halligan. Halligan needs to realise that the the neo-Marxist analysis  has long been discredited.  Extreme left wing policies offer equality of poverty. This is something for John Halligan to contemplate.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Statement by the Eurogroup concerning Ireland after Brussels meeting (16 November 2010)

The Eurogroup welcomes the significant efforts of Ireland to deal with the
challenges it faces in the budgetary, competitiveness and financial sector areas.

The Eurogroup welcomes in particular the announcement by the Irish authorities that their four-year budgetary strategy will be frontloaded by € 6 billion in 2011 on a total consolidation effort of € 15 billion.
We have full confidence that the four-year strategy to be announced by the end of the month will be thorough and detailed and will firmly anchor the 2014 target date for the correction of the excessive deficit. This strategy will also ensure that the public debt ratio will be put on a firm downward path.

Together with the structural reforms that will be announced in the strategy, this budgetary adjustment should allow Ireland to return to a strong and sustainable growth path while safeguarding the economic and social position of its citizens. We nevertheless invite the Irish authorities to include an annual review in their strategy that will allow them to cope with the implications of less favourable macro-economic developments were they to arise.

We welcome the measures taken to date by Ireland to deal with issues in its
banking sector, via guarantees, recapitalisation and asset segregation. These measures have helped to support the Irish banking sector at a time of great dislocation. However, market conditions have not normalised and pressures remain, giving rise to concerns that further reforms and stabilisation measures may be appropriate.

We welcome the determination of the Irish government to engage in a short and focussed consultation with the Commission, the ECB and the IMF in order to determine the best way to provide any necessary support to address market risks, especially as regard the banking sector, in the context of the four-year budgetary plan and the upcoming budget.
We confirm that we will take determined and coordinated action to safeguard
the financial stability of the euro area, if needed, and that we have the means available to do so.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Video: Medjugorje Inspired Pro-Life Art

JoAnne Von Zwehl describes how she was inspired to paint pro-life art as a result of a miraculous photo she took in Medjugorje. JoAnne Von Zwehl also wrote this beautiful pro-life poem

My Silent Plea (Pro Life Poem)

Today I had nightmare,
It was scary as can be.
From inside my mothers womb
I was taken so violently.
No longer would I live and feel Gods life in me.
I knew it was a nightmare.
That was not Gods plan for me.
He wove me in your womb.
So I may be a blessing to all humanity.
I feel, I touch, I am alive.
Mammy tell me it cant be.
Today I had a nighmare.
I would be taken from thee.
Let me stay another day.
Let me grow to be me.
God so loved me.
He gave me life.
Please don’t take my life from me

Photograph of Ireland at Night taken by Douglas H. Wheelock NASA Astronaut, STS-120, Expedition 24/25

Click on image to enlarge

As requested.. Ireland at Night. Sorry for the problems with ... on Twitpic

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Video of Medjugorje Film Gospa (The Miracle of Medjugorje) in English with Spanish subtitles

US: Former Chief Economist of the IMF Claims that the finance industry has effectively captured the government

The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, has claimed that the finance industry has effectively captured the US government in a quiet coup.
Here is an excerpt from the article titled the Quiet Coup written by Simon Johnson:
The Quiet Coup

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you. Typically, your “clients” come in only after private capital has abandoned them, after regional trading-bloc partners have been unable to throw a strong enough lifeline, after last-ditch attempts to borrow from powerful friends like China or the European Union have fallen through. You’re never at the top of anyone’s dance card.

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don’t want to hear. I should know; I pressed painful changes on many foreign officials during my time there as chief economist in 2007 and 2008. And I felt the effects of IMF pressure, at least indirectly, when I worked with governments in Eastern Europe as they struggled after 1989, and with the private sector in Asia and Latin America during the crises of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Over that time, from every vantage point, I saw firsthand the steady flow of officials—from Ukraine, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, and elsewhere—trudging to the fund when circumstances were dire and all else had failed.Read ahead at the Atlantic

Video:Sand and Water sung by Beth Nielsen Chapman (With Lyrics)

All alone I didn't like the feeling

All alone I sat and cried

All alone I had to find some meaning

In the center of the pain I felt inside

All alone I came into this world

All alone I will someday die

Solid stone is just sand and water, baby

Sand and water, and a million years gone by

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns

I will hear you in the sound of the waves

I will know you when I come, as we all will come

Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I heal this heart of sorrow

All alone I raise this child

Flesh and bone, he's just

Bursting towards tomorrow

And his laughter fills my world and wears your smile

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns

I will hear you in the sound of the waves

I will know you when I come, as we all will come

Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I came into this world

All alone I will someday die

Solid stone is just sand and water, baby

Sand and water and a million years gone by

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Video: Fr. Schiffer and seven other Catholic priests survived Hiroshima by praying the Rosary daily

Eight Jesuit priests survived the searing hurricane of blast and gamma rays during the atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. They were in a rectory only 8 blocks from the blinding center of the nuclear flash. Although everyone within a mile radius perished, all survived and they attribute their survival to the Rosary and living the Fatima message.
Full story here

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Volcanic Eruption at Mount Merapi, Indonesia on November 10, 2010

CLICK on Image below to enlarge)

A thick plume of ash rose from the Merapi Volcano on November 10, 2010, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this photo-like image. The image provides the most cloud-free satellite view of the eruption to date. A dark brown streak down the southern face of the volcano is ash and other volcanic material deposited by a pyroclastic flow or lahar.
Though still erupting and dangerous on November 10, the eruption was quieter than it had been the previous week. The ash plume caused flight cancellations in both Jakarta and Yogyakarta, reported CNN. As of November 10, the eruption had killed at least 156 and displaced about 200,000.
(Image and Text-NASA)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Irish Economy: Bloomberg Programme Comments Misleading and Incorrect 9/11/10

On Bloomberg this morning it was stated by Mark Grant managing director at Southwest Securities Inc that Ireland had only three months funding left to run the country. This is utter nonsense. The country is well funded until July 2011. In addition it has 24 billion euro left in the Pension Reserve Fund which could be tapped in an emergency. Mark Grant was talking through his hat.

The Government of FF and the Greens together with Ireland's main opposition party FG are in agreement with the EU on the TARGET of a €6 billion adjustment in the upcoming budget-on November 7- comprised of tax increases and public expenditure cuts. On Bloomberg this morning it was further stated that Ireland was going bankrupt. Whilst Ireland has very serious economic problems this is somewhat of an exaggeration.

The big bang approach of a major sharp budget adjustment carries risks but on balance it is probably the correct approach. However it must be accompanied by an economic stimulus package as advocated by FG.

If consumers feel that most of the heavy lifting is out of the way confidence will return.
One of the major problems is that consumers are afraid to spend.

In the interests of fairness Bloomberg needs to correct the mistaken impression conveyed this morning. It should first ascertain the facts from the NTMA before disseminating half-baked economic data in relation to Ireland.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ireland: New FG Policy Document- Reinventing Government to protect frontline services

One hundred ideas to protect Front Line Services

“Among the actions set out in Reinventing Government to make Fine Gael’s vision of Government a reality are:
· The abolishing of over 145 state bodies and companies including the dismantling of the HSE and FAS and their replacement with better, more cost effective alternatives;
· Saving over €5billion, or 1 euro in 10 spent by public bodies, by confronting waste, duplication and inefficiency;
· Externally recruiting new high level specialists in banking, taxation and macro economic forecasting to improve the Dept. of Finance’s capacity to deliver on key tasks;
· At least 1/3rd of all appointments at a senior level in the Public Service (above PO level) will be made from outside the current system for a period of 5 years;
· All lobbyists will have to be registered with the Standard’s in Public Office Commission and recent restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act will be reversed.
· We will establish an Independent Fiscal Council to advise Parliament on issues such as borrowing levels, debt reduction and taxation planning. The Fiscal Council will be accountable to the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

“Unless there is a fundamental change in the way Government does its business, it will continue to be part of the problem rather than the solution. We need a Public Service that is smaller, better and one that gets things done. Through the systems and plans outlined in “Reinventing Government”, Fine Gael will make that happen.”
Full Document Here

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Italy: Video of Medjugorje Visionary Marija at Brentino on October 28, 2010

Nearly 2000 people turned out at Brentino (VR) on October 28, 2010 to hear and see Marija. Here Marija is speaking in Italian.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

US: Five Things We Know About the Catholic Vote (via Catholic Advocate)

By Deal W. Hudson
The polling results released by the New York Times last week do not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the recent history of the Catholic vote.

The NYTs poll found that the percentage of self-identified Catholics favoring GOP candidates has risen 34% since the 2008 election.
In fact, Catholic voters moved the most toward the GOP among all the groups being polled, including women, college graduates, independents, West region, 30-44 year olds, suburbanites, and families with under a $50,000 income.

Catholics are a powerful swing vote in American politics, but that dynamism is easily misunderstood.

Between 1999 and 2004, as Chair of Catholic Outreach at the RNC, I led an effort that successfully helped to move 15% of self-identified Catholic voters from supporting the Democratic presidential candidate to voting for the Republican, in this case, George W. Bush. (In 1996, Dole won 37% of Catholics compared to 52% of Catholics who voted for Bush in 2004.)....
Continue reading at Catholic Advocate