Mike Huckabee outlines his vision for the GOP and the US.
Friday, November 30, 2007
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
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
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
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.
Below I carry a synopsis of Mike Huckabee's position on abortion. It is taken from mikehuckabee.com
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
STATE OF THE PARTIES:
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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?
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 Sun.com:
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
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.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Much has been made of Hillary Clinton's leadership qualities. In reality such qualities are largely lacking.
- Unfortunately for the Democratic party she is not a conviction politician.
- Each statement is carefully crafted to soothe the sensibilities of the targeted audience.
- Hillary is all things to all men.
- There is no evidence from her statements that she could take hard decisions .
- The 1993 Hillarycare fiasco provides a graphical illustration of her political ineptitude. It was even disowned by fellow Democrats.
- Hillary Clinton wants to run the largest enterprise in the world. She hasn’t run a corner store. She hasn’t run a state. She hasn’t run a city,” “She has never run anything. And the idea that she could learn to be President as an internship just doesn’t make any sense-Mitt Romney.
- Clinton leads on evading questions.
- Clinton leads on planting questions.
- She is confused on illegal immigration. Her latest u-turn on the issue of driving licenses for illegal immigrants proves conclusively that all her pronouncements are tailored to suit the prevailing mood. She cannot take a firm stand on anything.
- She is strongly pro abortion. Yet she tries to reach out to anti abortion voters with anodyne statements. What hypocrisy.
- She is the master of obfuscation in relation to taxation policies. Hillary will simultaneously balance the budget, introduce tax cuts and greatly extend social programmes and health entitlements. This is an attempt to square the circle. Her taxation policies will cripple the middle class.
- Hillary is too thin skinned. She could not take criticism from Obama and Edwards.
- Sending Bill out to bat for her indicates she lacks the toughness required to face down hard men like Putin.
Now contrast Hillary with Mike Huckabee who has clear cut policies on taxation (The Fair Tax) abortion and Iraq. It is a no contest.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
One of the reasons for the upsurge in support for Mike Huckabee is his advocacy of the Fair Tax Plan. The Fair Tax Plan has spawned a huge and mushrooming grassroots movement. Increasingly supporters are swinging in behind the Huckabee campaign.
What Is The FairTax Plan?
The FairTax is a bill before the U.S. Congress—called H.R. 25 in the House and S. 25 in the Senate—that replaces the federal income tax with a national retail sales tax of 23% on new goods and services for personal use, eliminating the following taxes:
- Personal Income Tax (Federal Tax)
- Social Security (FICA) Tax
- Medicare Tax
- Estate Tax
- Gift Tax
- Capital Gains Tax
- The Alternative Minimum Tax
- Self-Employment Tax
- Corporate Tax..............................
Taken from:In summary:
The existing tax code would be eliminated. In order to make up for that revenue, a national sales tax would be payable on all goods sold in the United States. A "prebate" would return all of the money you paid in for taxes up to the poverty line. The taxation code would be simplified the paperwork would be reduced to just a few pages and an army of taxation consultants would disappear. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) would be abolished. Retailers would send in the tax money they collect, and then you would be sent a prebate at the end of the year.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Christian conservative leader Pat Robertson's endorsement of Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani has surprised many conservatives who are mystified at Robertson's decision to endorse a liberal on social issues. Robertson's star has been setting and his support for Giuliani is unlikely to be of major significance.
Mike Huckabee has secured additional endorsements from influential faith leaders across the country, augmenting a strong show of support he received Friday from Southern Baptist Convention leaders.
The new major endorsements include:
· Stephen Strang, Founder of Charisma Magazine – Lake Mary, Fla.
· Rick Scarborough, President and founder of Vision America – Pearland, Tex.
· Jerry Cox, President of Arkansas Family Council – Little Rock, Ark.
· Janet Folger, President of Faith2Action – Dania Beach, Fla.
· Jim Pfaff, President and CEO of Colorado Family Action – Castle Rock, Col.
· Mathew Staver, Founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel – Lynchburg , Va.
· Kelly Shackelford, President of Free Market Foundation – Plano, Tex.
· Phil Burress, President of Citizens for Community Values – Ohio
Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas -who is conservative on social issues and is a former presidential candidate -has endorsed Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Paul Weyrich, cofounder of the Moral Majority, supports former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Fred Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee and prime-time television star has secured the National Right to Life Committee’s endorsement .
Monday, November 12, 2007
Talk may be cheap, but the cost to keep promises made by Democratic candidates could top $700 billion and push individual tax rates above 50 percent for the first time since the 1986 Reagan tax reform, fiscal experts warn.
In fact, a Democratic sweep in 2008 could push America’s tax burden up to 7th highest in the developed world, up from 21st place, according to researchers at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
“If Democrats control everything after 2008, there will be a substantial tax increase,” Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia tells Newsmax. “Most or all of the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire and tax rates may be increased besides.”
The largest hike in federal spending would come from Democrats’ plans to extend health coverage to 47 million uninsured U.S. residents.
Hillary Clinton’s plan, according to her campaign, would add about $110 billion a year to the federal budget. ............................"
The Middle Class will pay for Hillary Clinton's grandiose schemes. Whilst Hillary’s Health Care Plan is conservatively costed at $110 billion per year there is a growing body of evidence which indicates that the cost is more likely to approach $200 billion per year. The tax payer will fund this.
Hillary’s Baby Bond Proposal would give $5,000 to each of the 4 Million Babies born in The U.S. each year, totaling $20 Billion Per Year. This will be funded by increased taxation.
The list of promises goes on and on.....................If Sen. Hillary Clinton could enact all of her campaign proposals, taxpayers would in my view be faced with Financing $860 Billion in new spending over one White House term .
The message for the middle class is patently obvious: Be very very afraid of a Clinton Presidency and a Democratic Congress. A vote for Clinton is a vote for taxation levels which will quickly approach those of countries such as Sweden.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
"Several Christian conservative leaders, troubled by the appearance the movement is divided, are moving toward Republican Mike Huckabee in hopes of making him the consensus candidate of the religious right.
The effort seeks to blunt the impact of recent high-profile endorsements for other presidential candidates, notably televangelist Pat Robertson's support of Rudy Giuliani.
Mr. Giuliani faces stiff opposition from many social conservatives because he supports abortion rights and gay rights.
"What you're seeing is a huge coalescing around Huckabee," said Kelly Shackelford of the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute. "The vast percentage of pro-family leaders in the nation are going for Huckabee."
The Huckabee campaign is expected to announce the endorsement of several social conservative leaders, including Christian radio host Janet Folger and Matthew Staver, dean of the law school at Liberty University founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell........................"
The Sunday Independent carries the heading "I was the victim of a McCarthyite campaign". The Sunday Tribune states that John Crown believes that his exclusion was "censorship by proxy." He told the Mail on Sunday that the decision to drop him "smacks of McCarthyism". He told Newstalk that he feared for his position after remarks made by the Taoiseach.
Some interesting questions arise:
- Who made the decision to drop Dr. Crown?
- Why was this decision made?
- Was there political pressure to drop John Crown?
So far there has been a chorus of denials from Government and RTE circles. The decision to silence John Crown has created a storm of controversy and paradoxically has now given greater prominence to his views. The fall out has tarnished not alone RTE and the Late Late Show but also the Government. There is now a strong perception of Government interference in this decision-whether true or not.
The Late Late was the subject of major political controversy prior to the last General Election. A panel consisting of John Waters, Eoghan Harris and Eamonn Dunphy discussed the General Election campaign. Harris and Waters took a pronounced pro FF line. This helped sway the outcome of the General Election. It damaged the credibility of the Late Late Show.
The Late Late is now on the slippery slope.
Friday, November 9, 2007
There are several reasons for the decline in house building:
- The 2% rise in interest rates has impacted strongly on repayments.
- Many builders were over optimistic in their assumptions in relation to future demand. They are now left with unsold houses.
- There has been an unsustainable rise in house price inflation.
- The Government takes 30%-40% of the cost of a new house in tax.
- The Stamp Duty issue has not been resolved.
- Unemployment has begun to rise.
There is a tendency to scapegoat economists -like David McWilliams- who have forecast choppy waters ahead. Some have gone so far as to blame them for the fall in house prices. This is of course nonsensical.
There are indications that on average builders have up to 10 new houses unsold in some parts of Ireland. In 2008 a more conservative approach will be adopted. Forecasts for 2008 vary widely.It is likely that new house starts will drop from 90,000 to 60,000 in 2008. There is a danger that it could drop to 50,000 as builders must first off load large numbers of unsold houses.
The growth rate for the economy will drop to 3.5%-This is the benign scenario. Government cutbacks rising oil prices and a housing crisis could drag the rate down to 1% or less.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel prices have risen 17.4 percent since October 2006. The cost of mortgages has risen by 34.6 percent over the past year.
Education costs rose 5.2 percent over the previous 12 months, including a 3.9 percent jump over the past month reflecting the start of a new academic year. Food and nonalcoholic beverage prices rose 4.4 percent, including 1.4 percent in the past month.
Bread, flour, milk, butter, rents, electricity all show price increases of more than 10% in the last 12 months.
The Government has turned an anticipated surplus of €1.8 billion into a deficit of €800 million.
It has failed to control public expenditure. Spending is growing at 17.5% - three times the 5.5% rate of growth of revenue. This ensured its re election. It is a major influence on inflation. The Government has sought to blame external factors. External factors are partially responsible however State services and stealth taxes are also major drivers in the inflation rate.
The high inflation rate is impacting strongly on the competitiveness of manufacturing industry.
Today Waterford Wedgwood confirmed that there would be large job losses at Waterford Crystal. It is anticipated that up to 500 jobs may go. Undoubtedly the weakness of the dollar against the Euro is a major factor also. Today it was announced that the Erin's Food plant at Thurles would close with the loss of 95 jobs. There are fears that between 80 and 100 jobs will be lost at the Boston Scientific plant in Galway.
Much nonsense is spouted by Government Ministers about high-value, knowledge-led jobs as the way forward for Ireland. There is a certain validity in this assumption. However countries such as India and China will increasingly challenge Ireland for such jobs.
The rosy picture of the economy- painted by Government Ministers during the General Election campaign - has quickly dissipated.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
"The FVO found:
- The Brazilian State Veterinary Service had no systematic audit system for animal health,
- and no criteria for such an audit established.
- Cold stores in ports dealing with beef destined for Europe were not audited.
- There was a lack of adequate trained staff in the State Veterinary Service.
- Shortcomings that previous FVO investigations had identified had not been addressed.
- The 90-day residence rule on cattle destined for EU was regularly broken.
- Insufficient protection against rodents and insects by food business operators.
- Operation hygiene could not be fully guaranteed.
"Any rational analysis of these finding could only conclude that it is well past time for a ban on Brazilian beef imports. Following the publication of the report the Agriculture Minister can no longer stand over a situation where Irish farmers are subject to a rigorous set of standards while forced to compete with sub-standard and unsafe products from Brazil."
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
The PD party grew out of the split in FF in 1985. This essentially resulted from personality differences between Desmond O'Malley and Charles Haughey. There were also major differences on Northern Ireland. The PDs consisted of anti Haugheyites, a ragbag of independents, some disillusioned FGaelers, carpetbaggers and extreme right wingers. Many of its founders-as FF members -supported the disastrous FF Manifesto of 1977 which was a major cause of Ireland economic difficulties in the 1980s. The party espoused low taxation and liberal policies. In reality income tax rates were reduced through shifting the burden to indirect taxation. Taxation as a percentage of GNP is rising in Ireland. From 2002 to 2005 the burden of personal taxation has risen. The PD input in the last FF/PD Government was negligible. The PDs have consistently formed coalition governments with FF. Haughey and O'Malley have departed the political stage. There are no major ideological differences between FF and the PDs. The PDs no longer have a raison d'etre.
Grealish comes from a strong FF background so it is inevitable that he will return to his natural political home. Apparently he is waiting for the results of an study into the future of the party. PD councillors are in many cases contemplating departure from the party. Many will probably join FF. Others will join FG.
Monday, November 5, 2007
This is the text of the motion:
That Dáil Éireann, noting:
- the estimated 25,000 - 50,000 Irish emigrants living and working in the USA of undocumented status- the difficulties that the undocumented Irish experience because of their irregular legal status and the fear of deportation- the contribution that Irish emigrants make to the US economic, social and cultural life - the strong economic ties between the island of Ireland and the United States and- the growing level of social, political and economic cooperation on the island of Ireland, following the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement
and in light of:
an existing bilateral agreement between Australia and the USA which allows 10,000 Australians work in the US annually while US citizens are granted the same number of Australian visas in return.
calls on the Government to:
ensure that all political and diplomatic efforts are made at the highest level towards securing a bilateral agreement between the island of Ireland and the US which would mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2008 and would
- encourage a deepening of social and economic ties between the island of Ireland and the United States- help regularise the position of the undocumented Irish in the US- establish a system of renewable non immigrant visas between the island of Ireland and the United States- facilitate citizens of the United States and especially members of the Irish diaspora who wish to live or work in Ireland
Michael Ring TD and all Fine Gael Deputies
Sunday, November 4, 2007
This is a momentous achievement for a small club on the Cork border. It is hemmed in by Lismore, Ballysaggart and Tallow in Co. Waterford and by Kilworth, Fermoy , Conna and Araglin on the Cork side. Consequently it has a very small pick. However it has an incredible community spirit.
Since January the team has had 120-130 training sessions in addition to games.
This victory has major significance for Waterford Hurling. The Senior Hurling Championship has been dominated by Ballygunner and Mt. Sion for the last 17 years. It marks a shift in the centre of gravity to the west. This will undoubtedly infuse country clubs with a greater determination and enthusiasm to challenge the might of Ballygunner and Mt. Sion in the 2008 Championship. Clubs such as Abbeyside, Fourmilewater, Lismore, Tallow ,Stradbally and Ardmore will secretly fancy their chances. Whilst in the city De La Salle are capable of defeating Mt. Sion or Ballygunner.
Congratulations to the Ballduff panel and backroom staff. The selectors are Maurice Geary (Manager) Mossie Casey and Paudie Prendergast.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
She was not expected to survive for more than a few hours. Doctors had even decided she should not be fed.
But two months later, after her family refused to let her slip away, Samoa's "Baby Miracle" is clinging to life, despite terrible facial deformities.
Supporters have now launched a campaign to raise money to get tiny Miracle Tina Julie Nanai to New Zealand for a full medical assessment.
Miracle's birth two months ago in a village on the main Samoan island of Upolu was not what her parents had expected.
When doctors handed over their baby, they saw her tiny face was not as it should have been.
Her misshapen eyes were pushed to the side of her face, and her nose and mouth were malformed, preventing her from suckling.
Doctors simply told Miracle's parents that she should not be fed and would die within hours, Tanupo Aukuso, editor of the Samoan Post newspaper, said.
But the family refused to listen, and crept into the hospital to gently drip milk into the baby's mouth, gradually making her stronger........................................."
A website where people can get further information about Miracle and donate money can be found at http://www.babymiracle.co.nz/.
Friday, November 2, 2007
The Government has turned an anticipated surplus of €1.8 billion into a deficit of €800 million.
Stamp Duty, Capital Gains Tax and VAT, the main taxes affected by the property boom collectively, are running €721 million below expectations.
Spending is growing at 17.5% - three times the 5.5% rate of growth of Revenue. Next year Minister Cowen plans to plug the hole by borrowing. Prior to the General Election a succession of FF Ministers including Brian Cowen and Dermot Ahern savaged FG proposals. They managed to convince the electorate that FG proposals were improperly costed. Their analysis of FG policies was fatally flawed.
The folly of over reliance on taxes from the property sector to fund public expenditure is exposed for all to see. The Government was warned by opposition politicians and some economists over recent years to change direction. This it singularly failed to do. It was more important to ratchet up public expenditure to unsustainable levels to win the election.
The Celtic Tiger urgently needs a laxative in the form of prudent financial management and tighter public expenditure. It does not require excessive borrowing.
According to Richard Bruton FG Finance Spokesman "The silky pre-election assurances offered by Minister Cowen proved to be no more than a 'Dance of the Seven Veils' to conceal the reality underneath. We see a boom squandered; high spending without reform; and big increases in bureaucracy, and with poor delivery at the front line.
"Now that the election is over, Minister Cowen has admitted to a massive €5,000 million black hole in the tax projections on which he based his Manifesto commitments. All of the glossy promises will be shelved. The Taoiseach is calling for wage restraint.
"This diagnosis may be correct for the economy, but Minister Cowen won't take his own medicine. The final insult must surely be the cavalier decision by Government Ministers to award themselves a massive pay increase. What sort of leadership is this? Do they take the public for complete fools?
"The Minister is pretending that this year will bring budgetary reform. This too is an illusion. "
Thursday, November 1, 2007
- Fianna Fáil 33% - 9%
- Fine Gael 31%, + 4%
- Labour 15%+5 %
- Sinn Féin 7% +0%
- PDs 2% -1%
- the Greens 5% +0%
- Independents and others 7%+0%
On satisfaction ratings, 37% feel the Government is doing a good job, down 15 points on the last comparable poll.
These results mirror feeling on the ground.The Government's attempt to tighten restrictions on some provisional licence holders and the announcement of big pay hikes for the Taoiseach and his ministers smack of a Government beginning to lose touch with reality.
The attempt to clamp down on provisional licence holders -whilst correct in principle-was ill conceived and unjust. If implemented it would have triggered a massive revolt. Many drivers faced the prospect of ignoring the law if they wished to continue in employment. The tentacles of this law would have extended into most households in the country. Young children, the old and the seriously ill would also have been affected through a lack of transport. It is highly unlikely that waiting lists for driving tests will have been removed in eight months. Expect another u-turn in June 2008.
The pay hikes further cemented the feeling that the Government was impervious to public opinion. Its moral authority has been dented. Ministers who have benefited from large pay hikes cannot with any semblance of credibility seek public expenditure cuts.
Luckily for the Government the next General Election will probably take place in 2012. The electorate may vent its spleen in the Euro and Local Elections in 2009. FF fared so poorly in the 2004 Local Elections that it can hardly fare much worse in 2009.
The challenge for FG is to consolidate its support. It must win 30%-32% of the vote in the next General Election if it wishes to smash the FF grip on power. In this poll it is just 2% behind FF. However it is unlikely that FF will drop to 33% in the next General Election. FG must wrest support from both the Greens and FF if it wishes to lead the next Government. Labour must take support from Sinn Fein and the Greens. The support for the Greens has remained at 5% because they are in a honeymoon period. It may soon wither away.The PD support is abysmal. PD county councillors may begin to jump ship and join FF and FG in an effort to save their political careers.