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Friday, June 27, 2014

Barry Clifford: But This Behaviour Is Just Not Cricket

It seems Uruguay is in national mourning. Their flesh chomping hero, Louis Suarez, who has a fetish for biting shoulders in particular, has been thrown out of the world cup. One paper bannered their outrage and stated that they are all Suarez, which is a bit up from saying that they are just with him. Maradona asked, “Who did he kill? This is football.” The question should be framed more like ‘who did he try to eat’? Three so far and counting and racial abuse is also on his menu with head butting referees for a possible desert.

Even the President of his country came out in support to greet him at Montevideo’s international airport along with other die- hard fans. All of this had me thinking that football is not just a game and is more than national pride; it represents the victory of battles long past and those yet that have to be fought.

Let us hope football popularity never wanes for at least it can all be decided by a referee and everyone gets to walk away almost in one piece. Though Louis Suarez may have bitten off more than he can chew on the soccer pitch there has been far more outrages happening on that patch of green that would make even him stop in his tracks.

Think back to Roy Keane and it may have been only a game but the sportsmanship was long gone when he deliberately drove at Alf-Ing Halland in a tussle for the ball in a 2001 match, shattering his leg badly. He did not feel the need to even play it down when he said: “I had no remorse. My attitude was fuck him. What goes around comes around. He got his just rewards. He fucked me over and my attitude is an eye for an eye.”  His narrative could have come straight out of a General George S Patton speech rather than one about a dust up over a leather ball. That ‘Fucked me over part’ stemmed from Keane 4 years before, where he injured his own knee in trying to do the exact same thing to Halland. But the last and final tackle pretty much ended Halland’s career and any more chances of earning mouth watering salaries to feed his family.

Of course who could forget Vinnie Jones. Back in 1988 he grabbed Paul Gascoigne by his testicles and not because he fancied him. Mind you picking on Paul is like picking on a poodle with a broken leg. But of course boys will be boys and all that…….  Which brings me back to my earlier thoughts: it is not just a game. But as long as they will always be just playing with a football we can safely say that they will live to fight another day and are the best paid soldiers on any field. But this behaviour is just not cricket.

Barry Clifford

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Barry Clifford: Religious Based Intolerance

It is not religions by itself, which I find irrational anyway, but the religious intolerance of others that they deem to be different from them because of their sexuality, their opposing religion, their atheism or agnostic beliefs. Of course by no choice of mine I was proclaimed a Catholic as a child and any get out clause for me has been shut down by this church in recent times. This enables them to claim for their statistics that I am one of over 1.2 billion Catholic’s in the world. Of course I find this intolerable in a non-caring tolerable kind of way. Still, there has been progress since the inquisitions of days gone by but they have not got there yet. Normally it is the people that they claim to serve but who are really serving them that ends up bending their ear a bit to bring them into the present, and if they were not then the old days would be back with a vengeance because unchallenged power will always corrupt. Their obsession with sex is, as usual, always at the forefront of how they have always thought and acted on those impulses.

The father of all Fr Trendy’s, Pope Francis, is now trying to show a different face to how his tribe sees gay people with an eye to keeping the numbers up as well from gay people’s children. Much ado has also been said about Francis’s comment that ‘who is he to judge a gay man who is searching for God’ though I feel he may be talking only about the Catholic version. On that he is right but does it matter? His cannon law book considers the sexual acts of gays to be morally evil which pretty much calls them evil as well, and should not matter as cannon law has as much weight in civil law as a water pistol against a jihadist trying to cleave your head from your shoulders because he thought you were just an infidel, and never mind that you might be a gay one too; with that wisdom he might cut off more than the head. The Islamic versions that exist in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen one way or the other will give death as the only cure for gay people. Closer to home, as in Ireland, gays are safe from those excesses, but it seems there is no cure anyway or is there for the Catholic Church certainly thinks there is one

But it does matter what religions think of gays if nothing else because of the influence of the messages that they send out to their faithful, and you cannot have it both ways. Here in Ireland, which is 90% plus Catholic, on the one hand the Church decries gay people as evil, depraved, and unless they are wholly celibate, they are all damned to hell as well; and on the other they say it is wrong that they are the objects of violent malice in speech and action. This misnomer of speech itself might have just gone over their heads, and the next attack on a gay person by some cross wielding serial mass-goer with the IQ of a goldfish might be prevented by a more softer message from Pope Francis that sex between consenting adults is really just like food that depends on what you fancy with different strokes for different folks kinda thing best left to themselves.

Barry Clifford  

Cornwall Like you might have not seen it before

America In living Colour Over A Hundred Years Go

You Are Not Lazy, And Still You Are An Idler

Late-1850 Abraham Lincoln’s step-brother, John D. Johnston, wrote to him and asked, yet again, for a loan with which to settle some debts. Said Johnston:

I am dund & doged to Death so I am all most tired of Living, & I would all most swop my place in Heaven for that much money [...] I would rother live on bread and wotter than to have men allways duning me [...] If you can send me 80 Dollars I am willing to pay you any Intrust you will ask.
On previous occasions Lincoln simply would have agreed to such a request. This time, however, sensing an opportunity to impart some wisdom, he responded with the following letter of advice and a proposal.

January 2, 1851

Dear Johnston:

Your request for eighty dollars I do not think it best to comply with now. At the various times when I have helped you a little you have said to me, "We can get along very well now"; but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now, this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler. I doubt whether, since I saw you, you have done a good whole day's work in any one day. You do not very much dislike to work, and still you do not work much merely because it does not seem to you that you could get much for it. This habit of uselessly wasting time is the whole difficulty; it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break the habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it, easier than they can get out after they are in.

You are now in need of some money; and what I propose is, that you shall go to work, "tooth and nail," for somebody who will give you money for it. Let father and your boys take charge of your things at home, prepare for a crop, and make the crop, and you go to work for the best money wages, or in discharge of any debt you owe, that you can get; and, to secure you a fair reward for your labor, I now promise you, that for every dollar you will, between this and the first of May, get for your own labor, either in money or as your own indebtedness, I will then give you one other dollar. By this, if you hire yourself at ten dollars a month, from me you will get ten more, making twenty dollars a month for your work. In this I do not mean you shall go off to St. Louis, or the lead mines, or the gold mines in California, but I mean for you to go at it for the best wages you can get close to home in Coles County. Now, if you will do this, you will be soon out of debt, and, what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But, if I should now clear you out of debt, next year you would be just as deep in as ever. You say you would almost give your place in heaven for seventy or eighty dollars. Then you value your place in heaven very cheap, for I am sure you can, with the offer I make, get the seventy or eighty dollars for four or five months' work. You say if I will furnish you the money you will deed me the land, and, if you don't pay the money back, you will deliver possession. Nonsense! If you can't now live with the land, how will you then live without it? You have always been kind to me, and I do not mean to be unkind to you. On the contrary, if you will but follow my advice, you will find it worth more than eighty times eighty dollars to you.

Affectionately your brother,

A. Lincoln

Lions Led By Donkeys

‘Lions led by donkeys’; nearly a century on, that’s how the British infantry (including tens of thousands of Irish)  and it’s officers are remembered from World War One. I wonder, a century from now, how will we and the current political leadership be remembered? Cast your mind back two years to June 28, 2012 and yet another eurozone summit meeting and the short statement issued on the separation of bank debt from sovereign debt, which included: "The Eurogroup will examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with the view of further improving the sustainability of the well-performing adjustment programme."
Remember Enda Kenny's 'seismic shift' boast? – "I'm a hard grafter and, as some of them found out, they shouldn't tangle with me too often." Remember Eamon Gilmore's 'game-changer' bombast? Two years on, what has shifted, what has changed?

For starters, we've had Michael Noonan's acclaimed promissory notes deal. Notes Michael himself described in an RTE interview as "illegal, totally" but which now sees that €25bn of disputed debt transformed to sovereign bonds.
The first of those bonds is sold this year, €0.5bn. That money is then destroyed by the Irish Central Bank; €0.5bn a year for the next five years, borrowed and burned, then €1bn a year for the following five years, €2bn a year for eight years and finally, in 2032, the last bond, €1.5bn.
A total of €25bn that had been used at the behest of the EC/ECB to bail out two bust banks, now borrowed by this broke and broken country and burned at the behest of that same EC/ECB, all set up by a compliant, obeisant Kenny/Gilmore Government without even a murmur of protest. They didn't even ask, nevermind confront.
Then there's the vaunted ESM from which we were to receive the billions refund of the 'legacy' bank debt arising from the June 2012 statement. The fund has been established and Ireland has already contributed a €1bn share to that, which, of course, we also had to borrow and on which we are now paying interest. What have we received? How much 'legacy' debt relief? Not a cent.
The actual legacy of this Government, the legacy this generation leaves, is debt piled on debt, 40 years of debt-slavery to our new European masters, all uncontested. 
Diarmuid O' Flynn, Ballyhea, Co. Cork

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Barry Clifford: It would be just nice if Alex White just went away

I can’t help it. Anytime I look at  Alex White I think of a dodgy second- hand car sales man or of a man selling snake oil to cure acute arthritis. There are comparisons and pedigree to look at. He spearheaded legislation to remove medical cards from the elderly and the disabled, and then when he saw that the polls were against primarily him, second only to the party that he belongs to, the Labour party, he makes a bid of trying to take over the camp entire. He has proven to be quite capable of using any means at his disposal to get what he wants in that trivial pursuit.

Not long in his ministerial post he tried to strongman Galway University to accept his son as a student via a very short cut. Caught out he did not stumble even when rumbled for he had bigger fish to fry or for them to be eaten alive. Now that he has been rumbled again he would gladly settle for a Cabinet post out of the leadership race. A big salary and an even bigger pension will await him if he pulls this one off and it seems Alex only ever was in it for the money in the first place after realising law was not as good as it used to be so he changed the briefcase. More wholesome Ms Joan Burton would get my vote though if I was a card carrying member of the Labour party for at the very least she seems to be straight if not miss-guided. I hope she knows how to take care of her enemies that are closer to her starting with Alex when she has to.

Apparently the almost 56 year old white haired Alex considers himself the new generation and that the 65 year old Joan and her old generation are past it. That is what we will have to look forward to: Alex spearheading the new Ireland and one where women will not have a place in his vision and soon to be pensioners better beware too, and getting sick and being elderly together already has been proven is something you do not do on Alex’s watch. He considers anyone from the class of  1997 as past it too which  maybe proves he is on a permanent quest to remain young by trying to get rid of anyone older than him.

He might just settle for that bridge he was talking about to the new generation of Labour members yesterday, which by itself is perhaps a tacit admission that he is neither young or old just somewhere in between which still leaves Ms Burton, the old one, no chance of getting in from the cold or getting away from the disease of ageism that just won’t leave her alone. But at least the chances of Alex winning the leadership is now as remote as Vlad the impaler Putin getting it.

But I suspect that Alex is already showing signs of early dementia for he wants not just to be the bridge to the new generation but wants to lead the party in ten years time. Of course math’s may not be his strongest point either rather than being a symptom of dementia itself, but I wonder did he compute in that legal mind of his that he will be 66 years old then and one year older than Ms Burton is now, and be solidly part of the old generation of what he now decries as the reason for the failure of the Labour party today. It would be just nice if Alex White just went away, but like an itch you cannot scratch, this salesman will only go when he is fired and not one day before. 

Barry Clifford          

About my behaviour last Saturday night........

Yesterday, having drunk too much, I was intoxicated as to pass all bounds; but none of the rude and coarse language I used was uttered in a conscious state. The next morning, after hearing others speak on the subject, I realised what had happened, whereupon I was overwhelmed with confusion and ready to sink into the earth with shame.

Written in China in 856

Albert Einstein: God is a product of human weakness

Princeton, 3. 1. 1954

Dear Mr Gutkind,

Inspired by Brouwer's repeated suggestion, I read a great deal in your book, and thank you very much for lending it to me. What struck me was this: with regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common. Your personal ideal with its striving for freedom from ego-oriented desires, for making life beautiful and noble, with an emphasis on the purely human element. This unites us as having an "unAmerican attitude."

Still, without Brouwer's suggestion I would never have gotten myself to engage intensively with your book because it is written in a language inaccessible to me. The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and whose thinking I have a deep affinity for, have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything "chosen" about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual "props" and "rationalization" in Freud's language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

With friendly thanks and best wishes,


A. Einstein

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