Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney has upped the ante in the race for the White House by pledging that if he is elected president of the United States he will sponsor a constitutional amendment to require, by law, that Israel can nominate the US secretary of state. “Let Israel know that it will have no truer more loyal friend in the White House.”
Already, Governor Romney was attacked by Likud leaders in the Knesset for not showing enough commitment to the middle eastern state. One source said: ”Mitt Romney is only a fair weather friend of Israel. If he were a real friend he would pledge to introduce a bill to ensure that only citizens of Israel can hold the office of president of the United States. That’s what a real friend of Israel does.”
Romney has already issued an apology this morning for suggesting that he might put the interests of the United States ahead of those of Israel. “I’m sorry for making that remark, because it was a dumb remark. The interests of the US and Israel are the exact same. How could they not be? After all, they’re both decided in the same building in Tel Aviv.”
Some supporters of Israel remain unconvinced, with one source suggesting that Romney show his commitment to Jewish voters by disappearing into the bathroom with a packet of razor blades.
It’s a hard wired genetic response, whether it is to exploiting natural resources offshore or fracking or even postcodes. A section of the country just can’t help itself, and comes out in opposition to everything. There is even a standard pattern:
1. A proposal is made by a company or body. The benefits in terms of revenue or employment tend to be so over-hyped as to trigger scepticism everywhere, even amongst people in favour of the project. Why do we have to oversell everything?
2. In the area concerned, muttering starts, normally led by a local nut who votes No in every referendum and disconcertingly mentions the Bilderberg Group and fluoride in every conversation. But he’s retired with time on his hands and is a wiz with mail merge, having the database from previous local campaigns such as “Stop Dublin stealing our clouds!” and “No to WiFi near St. Enda’s. There are children there for God’s sake!”
3. The usual malcontents, Sebastian from South Dublin, furious with Daddy for running away with Olga from Olgastan and making Mummy cry and tell them that “they have to be the man of the house now” after a bottle of Tia Maria during Murder She Wrote, arrive to “smash capitalism” (Daddy was a capitalist) and stand up for the “ordinary people” in the area.
4. The local opposition TDs and councillors start calling for an independent public inquiry because that’s what they always call for, and it’s not like they have to fund it out of their expenses, is it?
5. The planning process gets bogged down in court injunctions and walkouts and demands for a tribunal into the planning process. Vague allegations of corruption are applauded by the usual paranoid mob. The integrity of the process hinges entirely on whether it agrees with the No side.
6. Planning permission is granted. It is appealed to An Bord Plenala. They approve it. It is appealed to the High Court, then the Supreme Court, then the European Court. Judicial corruption is alleged every step of the way. Huge legal bills are run up by the protesters who then complain of being economically ruined by huge legal bills they ran up travelling through a legal system they “knew” to be corrupt in the first place.
7. The opposition wins the general election, and sets up a public inquiry because it has nothing better to do. The opponents of the project do not contest the election declaring the political process corrupt and “exclusionary to ordinary people”. You know, like voters. On polling day a group of young protesters meet to beam positive energy at the ballot boxes as they are carried out by the Guards.
8. The public inquiry approves the project. The protesters accuse it of being corrupt, and announce a campaign of civil disobedience, which seems to involve a lot of interpretive dance and giant Macnas style heads. One protester sprains his wrist when a giant Che Guevara head falls on him. He sues the state for not banning giant heads of South American communists.
9. The project starts with much civil disobedience, delaying the project’s completion by years. When it is completed, and starts providing tax revenue to the state much later than planned because of the delays, the people who delayed it are first in the queue with demands as to how the money should be spent.
10. 20 years later, when the project is no longer viable, the people who originally opposed it demand it be subsidised by the state as a vital contribution to the local economy.
Christopher Nolan’s third installment in the Batman trilogy is, arguably, the greatest superhero movie yet made. Simple as that. And yet, and here’s the funny thing, the movie is not as much about a superhero as the effect he has on a city. Watching it, one gets the feeling that there is more talk about Batman and his symbolism than him being actually onscreen, and it is curiously a better film for it. For example, there is a scene when he finally returns, and one of the older cops, recognising the tell tale signs of a Batman entrance, advises his younger partner that he’s in for a treat. In short, Batman is as much part of life in Gotham as the buses.
Unlike say, The Avengers, which is a hugely enjoyable film, TDKR gives a almost realistic idea as to the reality of living in a city where an extraordinary individual affects daily life. If anything, TDKR is closer to The Bourne Supremacy or the much underrated Bruce Willis movie The Siege than The Avengers or Iron Man.
The cast is excellent, with Tom Hardy shining as the thuggish yet curiously charismatic villain Bane (speaking in what sounded to me like a Sean Connery impression), and Michael Caine as a very touching Alfred Pennyworth. But for me, the real breakout characters were Joseph Gordon-Levitt as beat cop John Blake and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, who crosses over as an actress in this movie from being that pretty girl next door to seriously sexy. Both showed real onscreeen charisma.
The action scenes are very nicely put together, with some of the set pieces nothing short of spectacular. Nolan is proven right not only about not bothering with 3D but also moving away from the ultra-quick jumpcut style fight scenes of the last 15 years, where the viewer can’t actually see anything but a blur.
The plot is very much of its time, although nowhere near as political as some reviewers are making out, and it wraps up the trilogy in a very satisfying manner. There is a clear route, and an interesting one, to continue the franchise, but one would be afraid that someone other than the Nolan brothers could make a balls of it. After all, look what Warner Bros did after Tim Burton. Having said that, isn’t it time Christopher Nolan was asked to do a Bond movie?
The controversy about massive taxpayer losses in the semi-state Western Seaboard Exploration Company (WESEX) has continued with the publication of the Smythe Tribunal report yesterday. The tribunal’s sole member, Mr. Justice Archibald Smythe, has concluded that close to ten billion euro of taxpayer money has been spent exploring for oil and gas in the Corrib field, and that given the amount of oil and gas discovered, after extraction costs, the amount spent will almost certainly never be recouped by the taxpayer. Judge Smythe was particularly critical of decisions of successive governments to insist on the taxpayers carrying the cost of the exploration when the risk could have been passed onto private operators in return for tax write-offs.
Sinn Fein and the United Left have been quick to criticise the entire WESEX affair, accusing the government of nationalising the liability and costs of exploration in order to shield “their Golden Circle friends in the oil industry.” A ULA TD told us: “It’s the same old story. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour could have forced private companies to pay for the exploration themselves, but instead they forced the taxpayer to carry this massive white elephant, transferring billions of taxpayers hard earned cash to the oil industry, for nothing in return. How many schools or hospitals could have been built for that money? Dublin could have a light rail system or a Port Tunnel now if they hadn’t insisted upon the taxpayer nationalising the exploration costs.”
If I were the defence counsel for a certain high profile business person, I would try the Haughey Defence, that my client has been so demonised in the media that a fair and impartial jury is impossible to assemble.
That’s why the government should introduce emergency legislation to move such trials to the Special Criminal Court immediately. If they don’t and the trial collapses, Enda and Alan Shatter should resign, because if I can foresee something like this, with no legal training, so can they.
It’s not like it isn’t hard enough, being in one’s mid-teens, struggling to deal with raging hormones and physical changes and whether that boy you like actually likes you. Then SHE enters into the mix. My God, she’s in her forties! That’s nearly a hundred! Yet she dresses to show off her curves and legs and don’t even get started on that cleavage. For God’s sake Mum, put them away! No one wants to see them! Except they do, and that’s the problem. Not just the old farts hanging around the bar in The Lep Inn who watch her off every reflective surface and nearly cry into their pints. But the young guys too, including the ones she fancies! SHE always insists on coming over to the table with her and her friends, and even though the talk is always about school and how the rugby is going, the daughter can see the effect her mum has on the boys. They can barely speak to her, some reddening in the face, shifting uneasily in their seats, all struggling to keep eye contact with her and not drift southwards.
The daughter sighs, and hopes that what ever it is that allows her mother to send boys into a frenzy with a single arched and well manicured eyebrow is hereditary.
The Gemini Agenda. Coming soon to an iPad and Kindle near you.
Some of you will have noticed that I am not posting as much recently. My apologies, but I am in the final draft with my editors as to my new eBook, “The Gemini Agenda”, which will be available on Amazon very shortly.
Normal service, that is, ranting angrily at our modern age and its Kardashians will resume thereafter.
In the meantime, here’s the blurb for the book:
It is the slightly-near future. NATO agents Oscar Stephoe and Darcy Jones are racing to locate the codes to an orbital weapons platform.
Billionaire Honorius Plenty lll, great grandson of the man who actually sunk the Titanic, is plotting to take over the world before someone else does.
Celebrated writer RJ Salter, the woman who discovered who really killed President Kennedy, is trying to find out who murdered the world’s most powerful media mogul.
A group of world leaders are working on a plan devised in the wreckage of the Second World War to change the world.
And someone wants to make wooden legs fashionable.
President Chelsea Clinton of the United States of America and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada have expressed disappointment at President Rick Perry of the Constitutional States of America’s decision to quit talks between the CSA and the North American Union. The summit in Montreal had hoped to finally resolve the cross-border trade, taxation and customs disputes following the amicable breakup of the United States in 2017, with the North East, Great Lakes and West Coast states remaining in the USA as the remainder left to form the CSA.
Since the formation of the CSA, two very distinct cultures have developed, with the USA returning to the moderate religious and economic values of the 1950s coupled with social tolerance for religious and lifestyle differences, whilst the CSA has seen the rampant dismantling of former federal laws and agencies in its territories and the effective adoption of Judeo-Christianity as a de facto state religion in a loose confederation of mutually cooperating states with a weak central government.
Under the terms of the Paul Act of 2017, US citizens had been given 36 months to decide which state they wished to become a citizen of, which led to mass migration as minority groups moved to the USA, and social and religious conservatives moved to the CSA.
Although taxes were markedly higher in the USA to fund its universal healthcare programme and infrastructure programme, the CSA found itself in serious fiscal difficulties as CSA senior citizens demanded that social security and medicare entitlements be carried over from the USA, farmers and agribusiness demanded subsidies be continued, and states insisted on funds no longer flowing from Washington for local projects be replaced. The attempt by President Paul to create the CSA as a tax haven for the world’s rich ran into huge difficulties when the USA and European Union agreed a common tax treaty which taxed profits and earnings shipped out of their joint jurisdiction. That, coupled with his plan to build a vast manned wall between the CSA and the United Mexican States, resulting in a National Security Tax, led to his impeachment. Paul’s successor, former Texas governor Perry, had hoped to conclude a joint defence pact with the US to allow for savings in defence spending, but President Clinton had vetoed the deal “as long as gay and non-Christians cannot serve their country in the CSA defence forces.” The president had been reacting to comments from the US Joint Chiefs of Staff about US soldiers being uncomfortable about serving alongside “segregated” forces.
The Bishop of Houston has announced that he shall be endorsing former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his choice for nominee of the American Party to succeed President Perry. The endorsement is seen as vital for Palin’s hopes in the primaries. In the Congress of the CSA, meeting in Tallahassee, a bill requiring non-Judeo-Christians to register with local law enforcement agencies has passed the Senate, and will now go to the House of Representatives. A bill barring non-Judeo-Christians from holding public office passed the Congress and is now before President Perry. A spokesperson has said that the bill will be given serious consideration. The board of Mercedes Benz has said that if either bill becomes law in the CSA, the company will have to reconsider its investments in Alabama.
In other news, the English Prime Minister, Mr Farage, admitted that the his party could not assemble a majority in the House of Commons to agree a common market with the CSA because of the CSA refusal to grant travel visas to English citizens of the Muslim faith. He looked forward, however, to negotiating only a modest fee increase with European Union President Salmond for English access to the European Economic Area.
1. Abolish the Seanad, reduce the Dail from 158 to 120 seats, and reduce every county council to between 7 and 15 members, depending on population. We can use the money we save to fund the following:
2. Elect a full-time executive mayor and County Ombudsman in each county, paid the same salary as a TD. The mayor will have the the power to direct the county manager. The County Ombudsman will deal with social welfare issues, etc. Both are barred from seeking election to the Dail in the immediate election following their leaving office. Neither can contest Dail elections whilst in office. Civil servants will be barred by law from dealing with individual cases raised by TDs.
3. Make election manifestoes legally binding, with elected members capable of being personally sued for up to half their salary if they do not deliver on the specific promises in them. You’ll see candidates pay real attention to what goes into their manifesto.
4. Issue every voter with an annual statement as to how much they pay in tax, what they receive, and what proportion of their taxes are spent on what.
5. Allow 100,000 ratified voter signatures trigger a referendum at the next general election to amend the constitution, except on spending.
6. Introduce term limits for politicians of no more than four terms.
7. Elect the Dail based in constituencies allocated according to the month one is born. Overnight, every TD is a national TD with constituents in every city and parish in the country. Each constituency must ensure that 40% of the members elected are a different sex from the remainder.
8. Directly elect the Taoiseach and allow him/her to appoint the cabinet. Bar TDs from holding seats in Cabinet.
9. Ban All political donations, and require the Revenue Commissioners to contact every voter every year offering to make a €10 donation to the party/candidate of their choice.
10. Merge election and referendum commissions into an independent Voter Information Agency with a statutory obligation to analyse and evaluate for accuracy party manifestos.