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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Double taxation claim a cynical ploy

PEOPLE gather round and join my campaign. Today I launch a nationwide campaign to eliminate double taxation.
First on the list is motor tax. Why do we have to pay for the upkeep of the State’s roads when we already fork out through general taxation? I blame the bankers and other assorted villains. Then we have hospital charges. For those of us who are not farmers, or don’t qualify for a medical card on income, we must pay through the nose for every visit to hospital. This is outrageous.
We already pay for the health services through our income tax and Vat, and a whole range of other taxes. Education is another major bugbear. Why should parents have to cough up for books, and uniforms and all else involved in sending children out to an education to which they are constitutionally entitled? Then there’s housing. Our taxes pay to ensure that those who can’t afford to buy their own homes are housed. Yet local authority tenants pay a rent. Surely this is double taxation, as we have recently come to know it?
The system of double taxation is outrageous. People should be out on the streets. Where’s Richard Boyd Barrett when you need him most? Dickie, grab a placard there, horse, and let’s go to work. You and me, we could start a new revolution. Would anybody take such a campaign seriously? So why then has it become a mantra that we are already paying for water, that any plan to impose a direct charge on consumers is an attempt at double taxation? Like much else around the whole Irish Water scandal, that notion does not stand up to scrutiny, but has managed to worm itself into the received wisdom of a nation. The incompetence and cynicism of the Government in relation to water charges has been well aired in these pages and elsewhere. But the political forces of the alleged left which are driving the opposition are also up to their necks in cynicism.
For most establishment politicians, the sole concern around the long-term health of a nation as expressed through its water infrastructure boils down to a single issue: Will it cost me my seat? Or, for those in the upper echelons in the government parties, will it cost us power? Few if any of them could care less about the dilapidation of the nation’s water infrastructure. They will be insulated with fat pensions if and when the water coming out of taps turns brown in the major conurbations. But that does not infer that the political forces driving the protests have any more noble intentions. Groups like the Anti-Austerity Alliance see water, not, as they claim, as a “human right”, but merely a political tool. They’ve got lucky. Justifiable anger has erupted at both the cynicism and incompetence that characterised the setting up of Irish Water, and the fact that some in society — but nowhere near as many as claim to be strapped — simply cannot pay another charge. The AAA doesn’t have to worry about how to pay for water because it has no interest in, or real prospect of, occupying high office. But at least it has been consistent. Sinn Féin is a complete joke on this matter.
Two months ago, the party would not commit to making the abolition of charges a red line issue if it was entering government after the next election. Neither would its leading lights advocate non payment. Then they got spooked by the AAA’s Paul Murphy in the Dublin South West by-election. The people don’t like our policies? We’ll change them. Suddenly, water charges are a red line issue.
Another epiphany was experienced in the Shinner hierarchy in the wake of last week’s mass protests. Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald searched their respective souls and came to the conclusion that they couldn’t, in good conscience, pay the charges. The president and vice president of what, according to last week’s opinion poll in the Sunday Independent, is the largest party in the State, are committed to breaking the law. For what? Protecting the most vulnerable? In solidarity with the poorest? Yeah, right. Base, cynical populism and nothing more is driving their agenda, and it appears to be working. The cynicism of the so-called left is most evident in the alternative solutions being proposed to drag the water infrastructure into the 21st century. The answer is to simply tax that tiny cohort who are apparently invisible, and actually in denial of their true status — the rich. The rich are so small that any populist worth his or her salt can discount them in the knowledge that it won’t cost votes. So let the rich pay for the nation’s water. According to the Department of Finance, the 6% of income earners pulling in more than €100,000 per annum will account for 44% of all taxes paid in 2015. At that rate, it would probably be advisable not to increase income tax for the rich. Instead, the most touted solution is a wealth tax, usually expressed as a tax on assets worth over €1m.
I have no problem with such a tax. There would be dangers of flight attaching, but perhaps that risk might be worth the pursuit of a socially just tarrif. Explain to those from abroad who invest in our open economy that this tax is an indication of how we put people before profit. What would such a tax say about this country? Not that we deem it necessary to better the lives of the 130,000 children living in poverty. Not that we believe such a tax is just in pursuit of housing the growing army of homeless. Not that it is needed to alleviate the severe education disadvantage blighting the most deprived corners of the State.
No, we should, with a straight face, explain to outsiders that in a political culture where the overwhelming philosophy is populism, we must impose a wealth tax to ensure that all citizens continue to use a precious resource as if it were free. If the country simply can’t stomach water charges, a socialist party might propose funding the infrastructure in a realistic and equitable manner. How about means-testing child benefit, and using the savings to pay for water? Or maybe imposing higher charges on university students, who are overwhelmingly drawn from better off sections of society, and who benefit disproportionately at the taxpayer’s expense? Any takers? Naw. That kind of redistribution would be anathema to populism, and it might make some people sit up and wonder whether the principle of water charges is really unfair.
The suspicion is that despite the most cynical efforts of groups like the AAA, the majority of people accept that some charge on water is necessary, with due consideration for those least equipped to pay. That middle ground has now been lost through gross incompetence and cynicism. But don’t kid yourself that there’s any principle involved in opposing the charge. There is justifiable anger. There is a bonfire of all this government’s empty rhetoric about doing things differently.
But double taxation? Give us a break.

The alleged left which are driving the opposition are up to their necks in cynicism

By Michael Clifford

Photo Minute: This is England (Click on photo for best results)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Persecution of Ian Bailey (Round 1)

I wrote this piece last December 2013 and it is interesting to note that the same newspaper that has vilified him many times, The Irish Independent, now report Ian Bailey’s challenge against the state for the vilification of him by them and the media, without including their own contribution to the witchunt and the only evidence against him that “He was a self confessed suspect.” Here is that story: 

**It was never the prosecution of Ian Bailey for the murder of Susan de Plantier back in 1997 but the persecution of Ian Bailey that was ever going to land him in court, the court of public opinion. As many a murder suspect before, even the ‘self confessed’ ones, this was just another trial by media if ever there was one. Rather than citing the plethora of media outlets than jumped on the bandwagon to crush Ian for almost 17 years, for the sake of jury-prudence, I thought it best to write about one particular journalist that represented the biggest selling newspaper in the land at that time, The Irish Independent, or so they said anyway, and who wrote this  article titled: The Trials Of Ian Bailey, almost exactly ten years ago.  The writers name was Stephen Dodd.

Stephen wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter by his many sources starting with the ‘neighbours.  The reader is told by them or Dodd that Ian did not have a wholesome reputation; he was an oddball, an English blow-in that frightened and who beat his lover, and who howled at the moon. Despite being a journalist, Dod thought Ian had only literary pretensions. There was more: Ian was seen by people at night, roaming the lanes with a big stick in his hand; it was called Bailey's 'thinking' stick. 

Brian Jackson, one of the ‘neighbours’, recalled he ‘learned’ that Ian’s hobby was destroying religious artifacts. Apparently Dodd had the neighbours feelings confirmed, and I guess his own, that Ian Bailey was a vicious man, shorn of kindness and compassion, puffed with misplaced pride.  The neighbours were forced out of the closest in a libel action by Ian to stop them, their lies, and the media from destroying what was left of his already tarred and feathered reputation.

It was all to no avail. It also came out that he assaulted his girlfriend, when he snapped while under the constant and crushing yet unrelenting weight of that gossip that he was a murderer, where the only evidence against him was that he was a ‘self confessed suspect.’

She believed the attack of trial by media and neighbours was much worse than the 3 fights they had in all of that time (7 years) Ten years later again he is still with his girlfriend who believed always and ever that he was innocent. 

Ian claimed then as now that he had been “Eaten alive, battered, vilified and demonized by those press reports." When asked did he think the court should award him damages for being told that that he was a prime suspect in the Sophie Toscan Du Plantier murder, even though he was a ‘self-confessed person’ who tried to kill his lover, Ian could only answer sheepishly that "that was for the court to decide." Despite the fact that he did not try to kill his lover and absolutely no evidence that he tried or did murder anyone else, court privilege can let a prosecutor say anything they like but not so the defendant.

Dodd then informs the reader in his piece that the libel trial was not a criminal one without once questioning neighbours moral criminality or character, and especially one like Richard Shelley. With neighbours like this guy you do need a bigger field for your house, with electric fence, CCTV cameras, audio equipment, a moat and some barricades.

Apparently Ian Bailey confessed to Richard of murder and in front of others too at a party. He even showed them clippings of the case just to make sure they knew who he was talking about and that he was indeed a murderer. I know Ian might have thought they were all a bit thick but surely they were not that thick.

And if you have a neigbour like Marie Farrell, then you just better move out altogether, preferably to another country. She stated about the night of the murder this: “I Just saw this man sort of staggering, half walking along the road, his arms were waving and his coat was flying open; like somebody who was half drunk.” Yeah, old Ian again. She also stated that Ian tried to intimidate her later and once made cut-throat gestures toward her.” She went on: “My life was a living nightmare because I couldn’t even stay in my shop. I had to pay 3 girls to stay there all the time because I couldn’t be there, and in the end I just ended up in debt because I was so afraid to stay there because of Ian Bailey.” If that didn’t do it to finish of Ian’s reputation, they wheeled yet another star witness afterwards, who was then a 14 year - old boy named Malachi.

Accepting a lift from Ian, who by then was a suspected murderer or at least a self-confessed one, in his car one evening, Malachi testified he noticed that Ian was anxious, preoccupied, holding his head and cursing to himself, and when he asked him how was work going, Ian replied: “Fine until I went up there with a rock and bashed her  f***ing brains in.” I couldn’t help wonder at this point in Dodds rather colourful piece then, was Malachi Reid a cub reporter now.

Dodd tried to finish his article with a flourish by telling us that Ian Bailey was now adrift, facing the twin disasters of a possible overwhelming legal bill and a civil case taken by Sophie de Plantier’s parents, with the director of public prosecutions also re-examining the case. 

But perhaps the future was laid bare best by Ian Bailey instead when he said: “ I couldn’t leave it behind, this is not going to disappear. Anyway, there were articles written about me in French, Spanish and Italian media, and one piece in America. I also knew that a murder inquiry has no statutory limitations and I stayed to fight and prove my innocence.” That fight, then it its 7th year, would need another decade before the tide would turn for Ian Bailey.

By the time 2013 arrived, Marie Farrell had already re-canted her statements 8 years earlier, citing she had made them at the time because of pressure from the Gardai (which they denied as usual); along with the usual missing files as well, while Ian Bailey got a law degree since and is suing everybody related to his persecution including the ones who got away first time around.

The overwhelming legal bill looks like it will land on us, the long suffering taxpayer, and may be the price that has to be paid if it gets real justice.  

Daniel Toscan du Plantier, Susans husband, who died in 2003, had seen the future too when he said: "He knew the dangers of blaming Ian Bailey. I criticize them (the Gardai) for throwing out his name with such incredible recklessness. Because, if there is one chance in a hundred that he is innocent, it is terrifying.”

The odds have gotten a lot bigger since: Try 99%

Barry Clifford

Monday, November 3, 2014

One Way To Stop A Bully (1/2 min to load)

The Vilification Of Gerry Adams

You either love the guy or hate the guy. I just like him. One thing is absolute: there would have been no peace in Northern Ireland without him while others have tried to claim the fame for it, and not least shifty Bertie and the rabid mad cleric, Ian Paisley. But the vilification of Gerry Adams goes on and that of his party, Sinn Fein, and it will not stop as Bertie Ahern is almost forgotten in what he did.

Bertie Ahern and Gerry Adams are polar opposites. Gerry looks good in a suit while Bertie looks like he lives in one. He keeps the Armai suits for special occasions. Their politics are different. Bertie was always in it for the money, despite having no bank account, that anyone has found anyway, while Gerry was in it to make Ireland a better place. Yes, that sounds insane but it is the truth. Bertie made sure it was a lot poorer place after leaving his party just before he would have been fired, with a lot of work left to do. It was the day the party died too and not just theirs.

He did not even need a digout for his reward for the corruption and bankrupting of the State was huge. A massive €3000 weekly pension and a thank you cheque for over €300,000 on his way out the back door where even tradesmen dare not go. All borrowed money to be repaid by the people he bankrupted. He definitely needs a bank account now. Shifty Bertie indeed, and not a hair on his head touched or a mark on his conscience left. In fact, come to think of it, I hate him. Maybe that was a bit strong but I most assuredly do not like him.

Back to Gerry. He has had numerous threats made against his life and not all of them on the football pitch. Then the threats became real and they did try to take his life, more than once or twice. The threats were, of course, from the erstwhile chums of Ian Paisley along with the RUC and the alphabet soup of all the other soccer hooligans in the hood carrying tattoos on their dense heads with a AK47 in one hand and a pint of beer in the other, in case you had misunderstood or carried a different point of view. Why does he keep going? Yet it looks like Paisley will be made, you just wait and see, a fully paid up member of the Catholic Church and a Saint replete with his own set of wings. What does he do it for? It is not for the pension surely because at the height of the troubles Gerry probably bet he would not be around to collect one.

Gerry has a bank account, well, I don’t really know, but in the interest of fairness and balance, it is at least likely. If he was in it for the money he would have been long gone by now and living safely in some bog neck town where nothing much happens and a bald tyre is a major event, and unless he has a few offshore accounts he is as rich and as poor as the most of us in this green land. You will not find sticky fingers here and he is lucky that he still has them in any case.

Still, he has been accused of child abuse, as an accessory at least after the fact, but the media are still not satisfied and want him to be the actual abuser. They want him to be the rapist of Maria Cahill and will not let truth get in the way of a good story. Still, Gerry soldiers on and any journalist that wants to keep their job wants to put a water pistol in his hands if not the real thing so they can get a pension. Gerry's past though can tell you where he is going.

There is little that has not already been done to Gerry Adams. He is used to being vilified, being threatened, being lied to and being lied about. They say he even has something to do with the dodgy weather. But the lies about him are in meltdown and the people can see it at last because the media is being attacked by the truth like never before for the people themselves are part of an alternate media. He is also above it and has shown support to those that needed it, shown strength when everyone else had left the field, shown courage when it was sorely lacking across this land. He does not need Ireland as much as it now needs him and his party. But Gerry will only go and retire when he wants to, and if nothing else that has been proven over and over again. He is not for turning either.

Gerry Adams embraced the peace and so did everyone else and if he and his party get into Government they should be given the chance to change the fortunes of Ireland. And if they do not succeed where everyone else has already failed, then they should be given the proverbial boot as well.

Our system here is called democracy and it is the worst form of government except for all the other ones that have been tried from time to time as Winston Churchill put it, but it is all we got and it is time for Gerry Adams to step up to the plate or at least be allowed to if he is chosen by the people. And by the looks of things, that is becoming a reality like never before.

Should we be afraid? I am more afraid of my poodle, outside of him there is nothing to be afraid of.

Barry Clifford