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Irish Left Review - Déar Feabh 11, 2016 13:09
Margaretta cordially invites you to the Launch of her book Ireland?s Guantanamo Granny
Paula Meehan poet and playwright will launch the book. Her commitment in her work "To give voice to the disenfranchised everywhere?
East Essex St,
Feb 13th Saturday 3pm
It is a book of both questions and answers: what is a peace-loving Irish granny to do when she finds that her supposedly neutral state is allowing her local airport to be used for war and torture by the Americans? What is she to do when the Irish state refuses to listen to her concerns about breaches of neutrality and international law? Margaretta D?Arcy?s answer is to open a conversation with the state by any means necessary.
Ireland?s Guantanamo Granny is a first-hand account of D?Arcy?s struggle to open a debate on the misuse of Shannon Airport. It takes the reader on an inspiring and often bitingly funny journey from the author?s roots in the peace movement, to discovering Ireland?s dirty little secrets, through to direct action, courtroom drama and imprisonment.
'Irelands Guantanamo Granny' published January 2016 is a first hand account of my struggle to open a debate with the Irish State on the misuse of Shannon Airport in the Ireland by the U.S. militarily. Thus breaking Ireland's neutrality laws. This led to my imprisonment in two Irish jails as well as causing alot of international media attention. I am 82 years old, a veteran of Greenham Common and an original member of the Committee of 100.
Michael Taft - Déar Feabh 11, 2016 12:51
There are assertions that Ireland has a very costly health service; that we spend a lot but get little to show for it. This post will look at claims that we are high spenders when it comes to health. The fact is that we are not extremely high spenders but that shouldn?t be interpreted as meaning that our problems are automatically due to lack of resources.
The CSO has adopted a new methodology for categorising health expenditure: the System of Health Accounts. Since it was published in December of last year, a number of commentators have used the data to claim that we are one of the highest spenders in the OECD. In yesterday?s Sunday Business Post it was claimed:
Depending on the number used this is either true or not so true. That?s the problem with such statistics ? it can tell you a whole number of different things at the same time.
We spend considerably more if we take the total level of spend ? both public and private expenditure. The latter includes out-of-pocket expenses (GP visits, prescription medicine) and health insurance payments.
The above measures spending on a per capita basis using PPPs (to better compare for living standards and currency movements). It does appear, using total public and private expenditure, that we spend a lot ? the fourth highest in the EU-15, well above the average; nearly 20 percent higher.
However, when we isolate public spending, the situation looks a bit different.
Ireland falls to mid-table, still above the EU-15 average. However, we are now 8.7 percent above average. Of course, if you squeeze public spending ? especially in the context of an increasing population and a rising elderly demographic ? you will get a rise in private spending. This is all the more the case with the rising costs of health insurance.
Communist Party of Ireland - Déar Feabh 11, 2016 11:58
The February Issue of Socialist Voice is now online.
The current election campaign and the election of a new Dáil present new challenges and opportunities for the working people of Ireland.
Within the European Union and the United States and other advanced capitalist regions they say competition is king. Competition is what gives the modern market economy its legitimacy. It?s taught in second-level and third-level educational institutions, in departments of economics, business, and law
Hillary Benn, the British Labour Party?s shadow foreign secretary, made a striking statement in the House of Commons in the debate on British intervention in the civil war now taking place in Syria. He compared the situation to that of the Spanish Civil War;
Tomás Mac Síomóin
Des Derwin - Déar Feabh 04, 2016 23:15
The journal.ie reports (2nd February) that there are ?premature poster erections all over Ireland?, many of them from government party candidates.
Three days before the official date for postering (23rd April 2014) for the European elections I was putting up posters for Paul Murphy in the Blackrock area, along with another supporter. (The Fianna Fáil candidate had already put posters up elsewhere.) About an hour into the postering a Garda van pulled up beside us. The Gardaí were obviously responding to a call from their base about the postering. They asked some questions, were we working for Paul, etc. The two Gardaí were polite and good humoured throughout. I inquired whether they wanted us to stop postering. The Garda who engaged with us said yes, that it was against the Litter Act. They departed and we decided to call it a day.
In the following days there were newspaper reports about Paul Murphy putting up posters too early (in various areas). Paul was ordered to take posters down and he was fined for 70 posters at ?150 per poster. (I don?t know how many of these fines were eventually paid.)
Since early January, long before an election was even called, Fine Gael candidate for Dublin North West, Noel Rock, has festooned the lampposts of Drumcondra with large posters carrying his name, image and the exhortation to ?keep the recovery going?. (The election or candidacy isn't mentioned, but the slogan is one of Fine Gael?s election battle cries.) In recent weeks Fine Gael and Labour have been organising Potemkin public meetings as a way of getting their candidates up on posters legally. Noel Rock?s posters have no connections to a public meeting or event. (Even in these cases permission from Dublin City Council is usually required.)
So, did the litter wardens get on to Noel Rock? Did, as sometimes happens, Dublin City Council workers take down the posters (eh, no)? Will he be fined ?150 per poster? Did the Gardaí drop by to tell him to desist from postering? I wonder. Were there raised-eyebrow pieces in the papers about early postering? Not so far. The journal.ie?s stern report on the new batch of ?premature erections all over Ireland? may herald some now.
Michael Taft - Máirt Ean 19, 2016 23:21
The 1-percenters are back in the news with the Oxfam study showing that the world?s richest 1 percent owns more wealth than all the rest of the planet put together. So what about our own 1 percent? How are they doing? Let?s have a look at how that 1 percent and other top earners have been getting along in the crisis.
What follows is based on the EU?s Survey of Income and Living Conditions measurement of income (there may be trouble with the link ? go to Eurostat Database/Population and Social Conditions/Living Conditions and welfare/Income and living conditions/income distribution and monetary poverty/distribution of income/the first table). It is a different concept from what Oxfam used: wealth. Wealth ownership refers to assets ? real estate (buildings, land) and financial property (shares, bonds, cash, equities, pension pots, etc.). Income refers to the annual flow, whether it is employee or self-employed earnings, investment income, pensions, etc.
Income is only one measure of economic power and influence in the economy. Profits levels, the relative strength of labour and capital, degree of financialisation, place in the production process, social status, ownership of assets ? it could be argued that income is the result, not the cause, of unequal power relationships in the economy. But it?s an informative measurement and can reveal something of what is happening around us or, in this case, above us.
Prior to the crash the top 1 percent held nearly six percent of the share of national income, above the EU-15 average. This fell to 2011 ? primarily due to losses in capital and self-employment income arising from property and speculative losses in the crash. However, since 2011 (and the current government), things are on the mend with the 1 percent trending upwards. Still a ways to go to pre-crash levels but with a little time and a few tax cuts, normal business should be be resumed.
Michael Taft - Máirt Ean 19, 2016 22:40
Remember at the beginning of the recession when we had all those letters to represent the likely course of the economy. There was the V-shape to represent severe decline followed by an immediate bounce-back; a U-shape to represent severe decline, a bit of lingering at the bottom and then a bounce-back; and the L-shape with severe decline followed by flat-lining as the economy stagnated. Between 2008 and 2013 this best fit the economy.
Now the economy is back in recovery mode but under the Government projections we are not going to bounce back to pre-recession levels of living standards. Lower your expectations, sisters and brothers, the recovery is setting in.
Let?s take a historical look at two indicators of living standards. First, consumer spending:
Then the recession hit and consumer spending fell by over 10 percent. However, as always happens, the economy recovered. In the textbook alphabet, there would be a burst coming out of the recession, representing pent-up demand, and then things would settle back down to past trends. If the Government projections come true, this will not be the case.
Michael Taft - Máirt Ean 12, 2016 15:15
The Taoiseach says he wants a US-style tax system. What does he think we have already? Here?s what the EU Ameco database tells us. Ireland data from 2015 comes from the Government?s own budgetary projections.
Ireland already has a US-style taxation system ? if we use general government revenue as the benchmark. Before the crash Ireland was awash with revenue from the speculative boom; revenue that quickly evaporated. Since then, Irish government revenue has been steadily falling. By 2017:
A few things stand out in this. First, we are already at low US low-levels of taxation. Second, we are certainly not at European norms. We?d have to raise taxation by a mind-boggling ?26 billion to reach the Eurozone average. Even with the demographic benefit of having fewer elderly (which is substantially negated by a higher level of young people) we?d have to increase taxation massively.
Third, the Government projections foresee revenue falling even further out to 2021 when it will be below 34 percent.
And here?s the kicker: this doesn?t factor in tax cuts that a future government may introduce. For instance, Fine Gael wants to abolish USC. That will drive tax revenue down further, potentially falling behind US levels.
When measured as a percentage of GDP, Ireland is at the bottom of EU tables ? fighting it out with Romania and Latvia for the rock bottom prize. Nods towards quality health and education services, childcare and eldercare, public transport, pensions and incomes supports are made, but these are little more than nods; perfunctory gestures in a debate that effectively excludes the social.
What the Taoiseach really wants is for Ireland to be a basement-without-a-bargain economy where public resources are squeezed, investment is starved, and the energy bulb frequently cuts out without any window to let in the light.
John Ross - Luan Ean 11, 2016 18:52
Present negative trends in China's financial system and economy were accurately predicted by me three years ago as occurring if there was any influence of policies of the World Bank Report on China.
While China has made major steps forward in areas such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Silk Road ('One Belt One Road') unfortunately in some areas World Bank policies did acquire influence. As predicted they led to present negative trends.
There should also be clarity. China has the world's strongest macroeconomic structure so these trends will not lead to a China 'hard landing'. But they are a confirmation that no country, including China, can escape the laws of economics. As long as there is any influence of World Bank type policies, which are also advocated by Western writers such as George Magnus and Patrick Chovanec, there will be problems in China's financial system and economy.
The article I wrote in September 2012 which was published under the original title 'Fundamental errors of the World Bank report on China' is republished without alteration.
* * *
The World Bank's report China 2030 has, unsurprisingly, provoked major criticism and protest. I have read World Bank reports on China for more than 20 years and this is undoubtedly the worst. So glaring are its factual errors, and economic non-sequiturs, that it is difficult to believe it was intended as an objective analysis of China's economy. It appears to be driven by the political objective of supporting current US policies, embodied in proposals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Listing merely the factual errors in the report, of both commission and omission, as well as the elementary economic howlers, would take up more column inches than are available to me. So what follows is just a small selection, leaving space to consider the possible purpose of such a strange report.
The report has no serious factual analysis of the present stage of China's economic development. On the one hand it is behind the times and "pessimistic", saying China may become "the world's largest economy before 2030". This is extremely peculiar as, by the most elementary economic calculations, (the Economist magazine now even provides a ready reckoner!) China will become the world's largest economy before 2020.
On the other hand, the report greatly exaggerates the rate at which China will enter the highest form of value added production. As such, the report calls for various changes in China, and bases its calls on the rationale of "when a developing country reaches the technology frontier'. But China's economy, unfortunately, is not yet approaching the international technology frontier, except in specialized defence-related areas. Even when China's GDP equals that of the US, China's per capita GDP, a good measure of technology's spread across its economy, will be less than one quarter of the US's. Even making optimistic assumptions, China's per capita GDP will not equal the US's until around 2040, by which time China's economy would be more than four times the size of the US's! Put another way, China will not reach the technology frontier, in a generalized way, for around three decades, so this rationale can't be used to justify changes now.
Communist Party of Ireland - Luan Ean 11, 2016 13:11
Terrorist attacks on Western soil will inevitably spark hyperbolic responses from the European establishment, and these very human tragedies are often manipulated, for a number of reasons.
Robert Navan and Seán Edwards:
The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela was the greatest challenge to that domination since the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
Dónall Ó Briain
On Saturday 12 December 2015 a very interesting Frank Conroy Commemoration
That Corbyn and his supporters would consider doing so is hardly surprising in the light of the hysterical and vitriolic campaign waged against them by Britain?s press and broadcasters.
(Part 1 was published in Socialist Voice, January 2013)
Seán Sheehan - Luan Ean 04, 2016 13:58
Depth of Field, Walker Evans (Prestel)
More than anyone else, Walker Evans made the vernacular a respected field for photography, taking the documentary style of newspapers and magazines to the level of art, holding a mirror up to ordinary life. This book is a retrospective: not just his classic, dispassionate work of the Depression era but material from before and after those years. He managed to do nearly all his work as paid assignments, a remarkable achievement, and his famous New York subway project was a rare exception.
This book is packed with photographs that cannot be forgotten, like the ?Alabama Cotton tenant Farmer?s Wife? that captures dignity and goodness in the scrubbed face of a woman standing against a wall of her clapboard house. Her willingness to pose so unaffectedly is more understandable in the light of knowing that Evans spent three weeks in Hale County, Alabama getting to know people and win their trust. He was there with James Agee on a writing assignment for Fortune magazine and looking at the photos Evans took it comes as no surprise to learn the magazine declined to publish them.
Evans? early work is more formalist than the photography he became famous for in later years but it is also reflective. In New York in the late 1920s and early ?30s, he took to capturing the presence of Brooklyn Bridge, the barges moving below them and workers taking lunch on the streets and people on the sidewalks. Faces interest him but in his search for what he called ?contemporary truth and reality? he photographs people not just for their unique individuality ? he likes them to look straight into the camera -- but also for the social semiotics they embody. This shows in his Cuba photographs of 1933 and it never leaves him although he finds meaning also in buildings, gas stations, billboards, the interior of a barber?s shop. Middle-class suburban life has little interest for Evans.
The New York subway work, lasting from 1938 to 1941, came after Alabama but there are many sections in Depth of Field that bring less well-known projects to our attention. In 1941 he was photographer for a book called The Mangrove Coast: The Story of the West Coast of Florida but five years later he is back on city streets doing what he likes best, taking unposed pictures of working people going about their lives, and it continues into the 1950s. Formalist concerns return in his late work of the ?60s and ?70s when he sets about celebrating ordinary hand tools??the fine naked impression of heft and bite? in a wrench or ?the beautiful plumb bob??and in more of his own words he says something about them that extends to his achievement as a whole: ??small tools stand, aesthetically speaking, for elegance, candor, and purity?.