Google+ Followers

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Photos: Out and about in Galway

By Barry

Barry Clifford: The people: the taxpayer, the honest employer and employee, and entrepreneurs with integrity will all lose.

John Devitt, chief executive  of Transparency International Ireland has said this about Ireland: “If investors believe government decisions are being swayed by political  or private gain, it could have a harmful effect for our economic recovery. Small, open economies are much more exposed to reputational risk than their more powerful counterparts. Risk- averse  and political aware investors will also look elsewhere when deciding where to locate or do business if they suspect that favoured businesses and government are in bed with one another.”

Political and business Bed hopping is a favourite pastime here and Ireland got a little look through the peep-hole of one such romantic encounter  with the musings and declarations of sweet nothing's between one business guy, Dennis O’ Brien, and another minister, Michael Lowry, linked to clandestine payments between them. The problem with their sweet nothings, it has already cost this country a lot more than that which has already ran into the tens of millions of euro and still counting in tribunals that spanned over 15 years. Middlemen at the trough who speak for both sides with nothing to say are the barristers and solicitors that claim to represent justice but who really are the only winners along with the combatants of a pantomime stage.

The people: the taxpayer, the honest employer and employee, and entrepreneurs with integrity all will all lose.   

Mr Devitt said it best about our past and whatever tattered future we may have:  
“…..Our failure to hold people to account for wrongdoing is also having a negative impact on international perceptions of Ireland. There appears to have been very little action taken on foot of the Moriarty Tribunal report, while the prime Minister decision to make appearances with Denis O’ Brien after the publication of the report will have done little to our international reputation no favours.

As of the beginning of 2013 Ireland was seen to be more corrupt than Uruguay, Chile, and the Bahamas.  The only reason it has risen slightly in the rankings since is directly influenced by it’s lack of transparency, lack of prosecutions between politicians and business, and it’s lack of any kind of real accountability and all whistle blowers better beware. The pit bull is in the room and it’s back to business as usual until there is no business left, for what passes as that now is Ireland’s ability to only borrow money rather than generate wealth, social inclusion, or any confidence that it could ever be anything but institutionally corrupt and morally bankrupt until it is financially so.

By Barry Clifford   

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Irish Law Society-is it a corrupt one?

Irish saying: "It is better to know the judge than know the law."

A solicitor Thomas Byrne, who had served 12 years for theft and fraud, had removed over €500,000 from a client’s account without the client’s permission.
The Director General of the Law Society Ken Murphy then described this sum as ‘not a huge amount’ and proceeded to defend what Byrne had done.
“It wasn’t a huge amount, it was made good immediately, there was no client loss; it was down to poor book keeping by Byrne.”
In 2012 postmaster Derek Tierney removed €4,000 from a client’s account without the client’s permission.
Tierney claimed he took the money to cover shortfalls in the daily cash flow. The full €4,000 was returned, there was no client loss.
The full force of the criminal justice system was brought to bear on Tierney for his crime. He was quickly brought to court, sentenced to four months jail, lost his job and was publicly disgraced.
The judge in the case said Tierney had been in a position of trust and he had breached that trust.
In 2005 solicitor Byrne removed €1.7 million from a client’s account without the client’s permission.
The Director General of the Law Society, Ken Murphy, made the following excuses for Byrne’s actions.
“His bookkeeper had died, his records were in a mess, the loss was made up immediately; there was no loss to the client.”
On this occasion the Law Society decided to act, presumably because Byrne had moved on from removing ‘small’ half-million sums from his client’s accounts to somewhat larger amounts.
Byrne was not dragged through the public courts as postmaster Derek Tierney was.
Instead he was brought before the Solicitor’s Disciplinary Authority. This ‘court’ is, effectively, a private ‘justice system’ for solicitors and is, effectively, conducted behind closed doors.
Byrne was fined a paltry €15,000 for illegally removing the €1.7 million from a client’s account.
Remember, postmaster Tierney got four months jail and lost his job for illegally removing a mere €4,000.
The Director General of the Law Society, Ken Murphy was asked did he expect Byrne to be struck off for his actions.
“There would need to be evidence of dishonesty and theft really before somebody would be likely to be struck off, to lose their livelihood.”
Independent of the Disciplinary Authority, the Law Society appointed a forensic accountant to keep an eye on Byrne.
This accountant was required to report to the Law Society on Byrne’s activities every two months.
Apparently, under the ‘watchful’ eye of this forensic accountant Byrne went on to rob and defraud his clients of another €54 million.
The Director General of the Law Society is a past master in waffle and the art of doublespeak but neither he nor his fellow solicitors can deny the disgraceful reality:
The Irish Law Society is, to a large extent, a discredited entity and as such its members should not be trusted.

By Anthony Leavy

Article: The speech that was never delivered by Franklin D Roosevelt April 12 1945

April 12, 1945, was a beautiful day in Warm Springs, Georgia. Franklin D. Roosevelt relaxed inside his woodland cottage, the “Little White House,” and was having his portrait painted. But during lunch, a bolt of pain shot through the back of his head, causing him to collapse. By 3:35 pm, doctors had pronounced the president dead of a cerebral hemorrhage. A speech sat in FDR’s study, unread.
Roosevelt had edited the speech the night before. It was an address for Jefferson Day, a celebration of Thomas Jefferson, and was supposed to be delivered April 13 via a national radio broadcast. Here’s an excerpt of FDR’s last words never spoken to the American people:
“Let me assure you that my hand is the steadier for the work that is to be done, that I move more firmly into the task, knowing that you—millions and millions of you—are joined with me in the resolve to make this work endure.
The work, my friends, is peace, more than an end of this war—an end to the beginning of all wars, yes, an end, forever, to this impractical, unrealistic settlement of the differences between governments by the mass killing of peoples.
Today as we move against the terrible scourge of war—as we go forward toward the greatest contribution that any generation of human beings can make in this world—the contribution of lasting peace—I ask you to keep up your faith. . .

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.

How to call the police when you're older, and don't move as fast anymore

George Phillips, an older gentleman, from Walled
Lake, Michigan, was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left
the light on in the garden shed which she could see from the bedroom
window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that
there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in
your house?"

He said "No," but some people are breaking
into my garden shed and stealing from me.

Then the police dispatcher said "All patrols
are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one
is available"

George said, "Okay."

He hung up the phone and counted to 30. Then
he phoned the police again.

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago
because there were people stealing things from my shed.  Well, you don't
have to worry about them now because I just shot and killed them both, the
dogs are eating whats left" and he hung up.

Within five minutes, six Police Cars, a SWAT
Team, a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic, and an Ambulance showed
up at the Phillips' residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the Policemen said to George, "I
thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was
nobody available.

The moral of this true story is: Don't mess with the older generation.  


Article: Sadly, the tiger bubble is still bursting...

The embers of the past sparked into flames over the last few days, as tales of ordinary madness reminded us, once more, of just how demented were the bubble years.

The hangovers paraded through the public square illustrated how some have won, most have lost, and a few have been stripped of their basic decency.

How did Francie O’Brien transmogrify into a callous blackmailer? O’Brien was a public representative of 30 years, when he cravenly attempted to use his position to shake-down a public official, in a plot line that could have been lifted from The Sopranos TV show.

A vet, from the Department of Agriculture, who had transgressed in a small way, came to O’Brien for advice.

The vet feared for his job, and, in the great Irish tradition, went to a man of standing within the community, to see if things could be straightened out.

O’Brien, a Fianna Fáil senator, from Monaghan, until 2011, used his position as a confidante to put the arm on the vet for up to €100,000.

In cahoots with others, O’Brien conveyed to the vet that if he didn’t cough up, evidence could be produced to land him in even bigger trouble. The ruse displayed the kind of callous instinct that violent thugs use in protection rackets.

The vet eventually went to the cops, in despair, and a sting operation was set up. Now, O’Brien has begun a two-year prison term, at the age of 70. The work he did over decades, in farming organisations, in the community, in public service, has been washed away with a prison term for plumbing the depths of indecency.

What drove him? No doubt, his perilous finances contributed to his fall. He was a big chum of Michael ‘Fingers’ Fingleton, and a beneficiary of Fingers’ tendency to use the Irish Nationwide Building Society as a hedge fund for his buddies’ notions. O’Brien built up a portfolio of ten development sites and six rental properties, mostly financed through Fingers’ fast-track facility.

In recent years, O’Brien has been up to his ears in debt, as his former buddy scurried off to enjoy an obscene pension. Such a fate can do strange things to pride, and, in O’Brien’s case, the pressure exposed his moral fibre in a harsh light.

It is possible to have sympathy for one who has fallen so far, but it should be viewed in the context of the suffering of people of far lesser means or social standing.

They have carried often heavier burdens, without succumbing to any impulse to prey on fellow humans.

Elsewhere, during the week, the fate of Newbridge Credit Union threw into sharp relief just how crazy things got back in those allegedly halcyon days of the Celtic Tiger.

Having performed a bailout for the banks, where the greed was at its zenith, the Government felt compelled to do the same to save the credit union, by backing it into Permanent TSB.

The figures in Newbridge illustrate just how crazy things were in the bad old days. In 2001, there were 6,961 loans outstanding, to a value of €54m.

By 2008, just an extra 818 members had loans, but the value had increased two and a half times, to €140m. One loan was for €3.2m.

What cloud of illusion smothered the people in charge of what is supposed to be a community-based organisation that aids members in providing for necessities and small luxuries? What madness took hold? The citizens at large will now foot the bill for the €54m in losses suffered by Newbridge.

But while most people have seen their standard of living fall, to a greater or lesser extent, some are insulated.

The ruling in a high court, last Wednesday, to allow €9,000 a month in living expenses to the wife of a bankrupt developer harks back beyond the Celtic Tiger years, all the way to the Big House days of the aristocracy.

Christine Connolly’s husband, Larry O’Mahony, is a former partner of the notorious developer, Tom McFeeley. O’Mahoney has been discharged as a bankrupt, after relocating to the UK for twelve months, to do his penance and cleanse himself of all debt.

Now, he is back and laying claim with his wife over €1m, which originally came in a loan from Anglo Irish (now the people’s bank, or, more appropriately, the mugs’ bank).

While that dispute is in abeyance, his wife requires €9,000 in living expenses, to pay fees for private schools for her children’s education, and golf-club membership, and, presumably, a weekly shop many miles from any discount supermarket.

Most notably, she requires €3,500 a month to rent in salubrious Ballsbridge, after the family home, in Shrewsbury Road, was repossessed. The judge obviously agreed that these folks shouldn’t be expected to slum it beyond the boundaries of desirable Dublin 4.

A few months back, a row broke out over guidelines in the new Personal Insolvency Act, about whether or not people availing of it should be permitted allowance for cable TV. The act is designed mainly for the ‘little people,’ who can’t pay mortgages taken out on family homes.

While the ‘little people’ are expected to lower their basic standards of living, those who bestrode the property bubble are allowed to carry on as if the illusory wealth had never vanished into thin air. That this kind of stuff is sanctioned by a court should be a matter of concern.

But if it’s winners you’re after, look no further than the adult offsprings of Charlie Haughey.

Last week, it emerged that the former family home, Abbeyville, had been bought for €5m by an overseas buyer. The Haugheys got out at the top of the bubble, pulling in €45m when they sold it, in 2004, to a house-building firm.

That’s about €11m a skull for each of the four siblings, money that they inherited from a property their father maintained like a feudal landlord while living on a politician’s salary.

We now know that he owed his good fortune to benefactors, who supported him while he double-jobbed as a tribune of the people and secret agent for a tiny elite of benefactors. His offsprings have inherited wealth that has moral foundations of quicksand. With it comes the usual power that accrues to the wealthy to shape society as they see fit.

The world may have been turned upside down since the heady days of 2006, but the more things change for some, the more they stay the same for others.

Let’s look on the bright side, though. We are waving goodbye to the Troika. This is presented as a matter of national pride, but caution should accompany any such notion. Considering the record of governments of all hue over the last 30 years or so, there may well be a case for asking outsiders to hang around and keep an eye on things. Left to our own devices, it seems likely that the madness will return again to do its thing.

Keep the head down.

By Michael Clifford

More Original Photos From Galway Ireland (Between May And June 1913)

Taken in Spiddal on the 31 May 1913

    Taken in the Claddagh on the 30 May 1913 

  Taken in Claregalway 29 May 1913

                                 Taken at the Galway Fair near Henry St on the 29 May 1913

                                              South Connemara taken on the 29 May 1913

Ross Abbey in Headford taken on 29 May 1913

                                        Ross Errily Friary in Galway taken on 31 May 1913

                                        Round tower in Oranmore taken on the 27 May 1913

Original Colour Photos Of Paris During The Nazi Occupation 1940-1944

Barry Clifford: To Have Right Against Might Makes The Cause Easier To Fight Or Even Die For.

On November 1939 Russia attacked Finland on one of the coldest winters on records, some 50 degrees below zero.

Four soviet  armies, 21 divisions, thousands of tanks and planes, and half a million soldiers attacked on the first day alone. It was three times larger than the combined allied forces that landed in Normady on D DAY. They then threw yet another million soldiers against Finland along with thousands of more aircraft and hundreds more of tanks shortly afterwards.

The Finns on the other hand had over two hundred thousand men, with just a few rifles in their hands, and a few Molotov cocktails in their arsenal between them. 

The Finns fought with incredible bravery, skill, and with respect for the living and the dead, including that of the enemy. After all it was the only the Finns that buried the Russians. The battle lasted just 105 days.

At its end a million Russian soldiers lay dead from bullets, bombs, frostbite, starvation, brainwashing and stupidity. The still living ones had abandoned the others still trying to cling onto life, and had resorted to cannibalism of the ones that were dead and the meat of horses on their way out the exit door. 

The finnish however were still standing.
They would have fought longer and harder still except for the fact that their closest geographical neighbours, along with other promised allies, had abandoned them in other to save their own skins. Their skins because of that action were not saved.

In the final peace treaty Finland did concede some territory in order for Russia to protect its borders from their admitted fear of the Germans, at least this is what the Russians claimed. The Finnish people though kept their country and independence to this very day.

The reality of this war is one where David did slay Goliath but has deeper meanings. The finns respect for life, liberty, sacrifice, and love of freedom helped win that battle. They had come together not only as a nation but as a large close-knit family in great peril, and lived not only to fight another day but also to tell their story. 

For me herein lies a lesson and an inspiration: There is always a way within the unity of sharing and that can make a singular part, that when it is moulded, becomes the driving engine of a much larger force. It also helps to have right on your side against might that makes the cause easier to fight or even die for.

By Barry Clifford   

Article: The Difference If You Marry An Irish Girl

Three friends married women from different parts of the world.....

The first man married a Filipino. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning.
It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man married a Thai. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking.
The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from Ireland . He ordered her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal.

He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he still didn't see anything either but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has some difficulty though when he pees.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Article: ...and words are all I have to take your heart away.

Henry VII to Anne Boleyn
“But if you please to do the office of a true loyal mistress and friend, and to give up yourself body and heart to me, who will be, and have been, your most loyal servant, (if your rigour does not forbid me) I promise you that not only the name shall be given you, but also that I will take you for my only mistress, casting off all others besides you out of my thoughts and affections, and serve you only. I beseech you to give an entire answer to this my rude letter, that I may know on what and how far I may depend. And if it does not please you to answer me in writing, appoint some place where I may have it by word of mouth, and I will go thither with all my heart. No more, for fear of tiring you.”

George H. Bush to Barbara Bush
“This should be a very easy letter to write — words should come easily and in short it should be simple for me to tell you how desperately happy I was to open the paper and see the announcement of our engagement, but somehow I can’t possibly say all in a letter I should like to. I love you, precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you...”

Napoleon to Josephine
“Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart. When, free from all solicitude, all harassing care, shall I be able to pass all my time with you, having only to love you, and to think only of the happiness of so saying, and of proving it to you?”

Beethoven to his "Immortal Beloved"
“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, Be calm-love me-today-yesterday-what tearful longings for you-you-you-my life-my all-farewell. Oh continue to love me-never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”

Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich

“I can’t say how every time I ever put my arms around you I felt that I was home.”

Article: Tribute To Dogs

George Graham Vest - Tribute to Dogs speech in 1855 in the prosecution of a case against a man who killed a dog; a case in which the man accused was found guilty.
Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to that faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. 
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.

A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.

He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert you, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. 

If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. 

And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death. 

Photos: A beautiful predator

Golden Eagle at work

Barry Clifford: Roderick

Things were going badly for Roderick.  A shy and awkward slightly
built teenager, he was in more than a few  dead end jobs, literally:
first preparing a burial place for the dead; and later preparing the
dead for a burial. It would and could not last.  After that, he decided to
travel abroad, but that did not work out either for he was deported
from Spain for being a bum and a vagrant.

Back in England, he tried singing with a rock and roll band but was
quickly dropped and became very disillusioned. Now he found himself in
London on a cold January evening, drunk, and propped against the wall 
of a subway station platform playing a harmonica. A very tall man, called
long John ( he was 6’ 7” in height) came to be passing by and liked what
he heard. They talked a bit, sang a bit, and promised they would meet 
again and did. The tall man eventually became his manager.
That was in the year of 1964.

By 2013, Roderick had already sold over 100 million records and had a
personal fortune of over £130 million pounds. By then, everyone knew

him as Rod Stewart.

By Barry Clifford

Photos: Do Not Trespass Here !!!!

Article on words that move.....

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce - On Surrender to US Army (1877)

Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever. 

Chief Joseph - Thunder Traveling to the Loftier Mountain Heights – 1877

Oliver Cromwell Speech - Dissolution of the Long Parliament
Dissolution of the Long Parliament by Oliver Cromwell given to the House of Commons, 20 April 1653
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.  

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

 Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!

Julius Caesar Speech to Brutus by Cassius
(Cassius is trying to persuade his friend Brutus that Julius Caesar is a tyrant)

 Why, Caesar, he doth bestride the narrow world 
like a Colossus, and we petty men 
walk under his huge legs and peep about
 to find ourselves dishonourable graves.
 Men at some time are masters of their fates:
 The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
 but in ourselves, that we are underlings. 
Brutus and Caesar; why should that name be sounded more than yours?
 Write them together, yours is as fair a name; 
sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
 weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em and Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar. 
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
 upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
 that he has grown so great? Age, thou art shamed! 
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
 When went there by an age, since the great flood,
 but it was famed with more than with one man?
 When could they say till now, that talk'd of Rome,
 that her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
 Now, is it Rome indeed and is it room enough,
when there is in it but one only man.
 O, you and I have heard our fathers say,
 there was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
 the eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
 as easily as a king.