Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Fairweather Revolutionary

“We’re not taking it any more! It’s time the country be taken back by the ordinary people! Feck the bankers and the political parties! It’s time for a country based on social justice and equality and housing and health and education as rights! Yes to free healthcare! Yes to free education! Yes to…sorry, say that again…you want to pay for free healthcare by doing what?…means testing children’s allowance….now, hold on a minute there…putting Capital Gains Tax on private residences…wait there one minute now…the rich should pay higher taxes, but not ordinary people like me, yes, I know I bought my house for €300k and it’s now worth €500k, but that’s MY MONEY….tax MY profit???….to fund free healthcare and social justice?…….get away from MY money, d’ya hear, that €200k profit is MY money, not yours! Get your stinking thieving hands off my filthy lucre!”

 
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SPECTRE saves the world.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 6, 2014 in Movies/TV/DVDs, Not quite serious., Politics

spectre-posterThe following is the transcript of a meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, by the Grand Council of the SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terror, Revenge and Extortion.

Chairperson: …and with that in regard, let us turn to the December Proposal, prepared by our good friend Tony. We’ve all had time to digest it, and discuss it before this gathering. It is a radical departure from this organisation’s existing objectives. Yet I cannot deny that our friend has made a very cogent argument. Perhaps a short summary?

Tony: Thank you Ernst, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for inviting me today. To make a long story short, as my Irish friends would say, SPECTRE is about making money. The manipulation of power, law, politics and other extra-ordinary means to generate profit for this organisation and our shareholders. Now, what does an organisation need when it has all this money?

Mr. Stromberg: Henchmen? Underwater bases? Sharks?

Tony: Stability. The days of storing one’s wealth in gold or diamonds…

Mr. Goldfinger: (mutters)

Tony: …the days of storing one’s wealth in physical commodities or in cash or art are over. The sums of money are so vast as to make it an unviable proposition. Wealth is stored electronically, which makes it both safer but also more vulnerable. And not just hacking, but from terrorist threats to infrastructure too. After all, the Al Quaeda attack on our buildings in Manhattan seriously hurt our asset base.

Table: murmurs of approval.

Tony: The reality is that SPECTRE is now in the stability business. Our legitimate businesses generate more money than our off-the-book activities. Our late comrade Steve made us more money in five years than we had made in fifty. We need order. But what sort of order? The order that Putin brings in Russia, where your wealth can be confiscated by the whim of the FSB? China, where factions ignore the rule of law and confiscate private property? Then there is the threat of radical Islamic revolt, and the real threat of climate change which is endangering many of our prize real estate assets.

Dr. No: Please Tony, get to the point.

Tony: The point, my dear Dr. No, is that western democracy is the greatest defence available to us. You all saw what happened when we tried to rig the Russian elections. Putin rigged it better and confiscated every cent belonging to our allies. Xi is moving against our friends in Beijing. Only in the west…

Mr. Goldfinger: They’re trying to tax us!

Tony: Better taxes than dead, Auric. It’s an ugly world out there, and the west is our safe haven. That’s why I’m proposing that SPECTRE change its key objective from world domination to…

Mr. Stromberg: to what?

Tony: to defending western democracy. By improving our capacity to destroy the enemies of the west. The west’s enemies are now our enemies. We’ve started this already by taking over some key intelligence agencies.

Mr. Goldfinger: You’re not suggesting…

Tony: Yes.

Mr. Stromberg: What are you talking about?

Tony: Your chairman Herr Blofeld knows that SPECTRE has been running British Intelligence since the late 1980s. Never you never wondered why MI6 hasn’t pursued SPECTRE since then?

Mr. Goldfinger: But that means..

Tony: Yes. Commander James Bond has been working for the people who murdered his wife Tracey for some years now, destroying our enemies, without ever knowing. James Bond is SPECTRE’s single greatest weapon.

 
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Red Office: the story of a daring KGB operation in the heart of Washington.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 25, 2014 in Fiction, Not quite serious.

In late 1988 the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a woman named Winifred Ann Bartowski,  who worked in the Pentagon as a personal assistant to the Secretary of the Navy.

Bartowski had the second highest civilian security clearance available, and was arrested after a Soviet defector had revealed that the KGB had an extraordinarily well-placed source in the Navy Department. After months of surveillance, federal agents had determined that Bartowski had in fact been removing classified documents from her office and leaving them at a drop for Soviet agents.

Upon arrest, agents had been surprised to find that not only was Bartowski not upset at her arrest, but was in fact annoyed at the fact that the federal agents did not seem aware that she was operating under FBI instruction. She was even able to present a document purporting to be issued by the Justice Department authorizing her to break her security clearance and provide the secret information.

This was a common tactic of the KGB at the time, to convince ordinary patriotic Americans that they were not working for the Soviet Union but another branch of the US government which was itself testing the security of their department or organisation, or hunting another alleged spy.

Bartowski agreed to be polygraphed, and during her questioning not only convinced agents that she believed she had been working for her own government, but that she had visited a fully functioning FBI office operating in plain sight in Washington DC, where she had been given her mission and even spoken by phone with Vice President Bush who had assured her about spying on her cabinet officer boss and thanked her for her efforts.

This detail greatly alarmed the agents, because a number of them had recently worked on another counter-intelligence case where a suspect in the Department of Energy had given the exact same details. He too claimed that he had been taken to an FBI facility and tasked by federal agents.

On hearing of this, the Deputy Director of the FBI, Charles Farnsworth III, had requested that a special unit be set up to confirm the existence of this fake FBI operation (designated Red Office)and deal with it. Absolute secrecy was paramount, with the bureau being well aware that if the existence of Red Office became known in Washington circles, other agencies would immediately cease cooperation with the bureau on its investigations. Among the agents assigned to Red Office were Richard Anderson and James “Digger” Farroe, two counter-intelligence specialists. Farroe was the most junior agent assigned, straight out of Qunatico, and had been eager to make his mark. As the investigation begun, agents pored over the details given by Bartowski and Thomas Mellor, the Department of Energy employee who had told a similar story, trying to pinpoint from their evidence a possible location. Both had been blindfolded, and both said that they had driven for at least forty five minutes before entering through an underground car park. Both recalled seeing the Capitol from an office window.  Agents spent hours poring over aerial shots of the city and searching buildings within line of sight of the Capitol without luck.

Late one night, Farroe decided to try a different track, and worked with Anderson to identify comedians and impressionists in the DC area who did impressions of the Vice President. Both men compiled a list, and proceeded, over the following days, to visit the list in the slim chance of finding the man who had spoken to Bartowski. On the second day, Anderson discovered a struggling part-time comedian named Johnny Seary who included the Vice President in his radio impressions, and who had died the previous day from a hit and run.

A search of Seary’s apartment revealed $4000 in cash hidden, with no clear identity as to its source.

The investigation had run out of ground when a second Department of Energy employee, Steven Parker, contacted the FBI. He produced a document similar to Bartowski’s and reported that he had, by chance, heard a radio station that had hosted Seary replay an old sketch in honour of his passing. Parker immediately recognised the voice, and suddenly had doubts about his secret FBI recruitment. Speaking to Farroe, his story was almost identical to the first too, save for one detail. On his blindfolded trip to the Red Office, he recalled the vehicle stopping and the loud cutting of an electric saw into wood. He also remembered flashing lights so bright that they penetrated his mask.

Farroe wondered as to whether this had indicated a tree that had fallen on a main road and was being removed by emergency services, and using the date given by Parker, proceeded to question both the DC Police and the Virginia State Police. The VSP came back quickly, confirming that a number of trees had been brought down on a road leading from Washington DC to Harrisonburg.

Farroe, not willing to wait for his partner, proceeded to visit the road, coming across a facility protected by unidentified security officers. On identifying himself as a federal agent, the security guards detained Farroe at gunpoint.

When Anderson, searching for his partner, visited the facility, he was shocked to find a large warehouse with an underground car park that housed a de facto movie set of an FBI office with false windows and lighting. Farroe was unconscious but unharmed, which the FBI later attributed to an unwritten rule that neither the US nor USSR kill each other’s operatives.

The FBI were never able to determine how long the Red Office operation had been active, nor how many agents it had recruited. The facility had been forensically cleaned, denying the FBI even the fingerprints of possible visitors.

Three weeks later, White House FBI liaison Paul Harris, who had been briefed by Farnsworth, resigned quietly, after he realised, studying photos of the facility, that he himself had been a Red Office operative, and had inadvertently tipped off the KGB to both the search for the Bush impressionist and Special Agent Farroe’s search of Virginia. Harris only revealed this fact on his death bed in 1994.

He also revealed that he had been ordered to direct the FBI towards a CIA operative named Brian Kelley who was believed to be a KGB spy but was in fact totally innocent. It later emerged that the Kelley operation had been created as a deliberate distraction to protect the KGB asset in the FBI Robert Hanssen, who was uncovered in 2001.

 
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Cameron promises a crackdown on witchcraft.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 25, 2014 in British Politics, Not quite serious.

The prime minister, Mr. Cameron, has launched an initiative aimed at reducing the number of witches operating in Ye Olde England. Speaking in Parliament before Lords and Commons, he didst promise that “Ye days of ye foreign witches coming t’fair land and spreading dropsy and Baker’s Knee ’bout place willst come to an end, and I have a three point plan to makes it be!”

Mr. Farage didst question him, declaiming that the prime minister is under the thrall of foreign witches and three, and that he does lie with them and engage in despicable practices involving pesto and fresh fennel and a selection of artisan breads, all alien to these shores. “Not liketh me, who enjoys a tankard of ale as much as the next yeoman, and wenching until the long hours whilst the prime minister doest speak like a Frenchman!”

The prime minister pledged solemnly to increase treasury coin towards the Office of The WitchFinder General.

In other news, the leader of his majesty’s (Gentlemen be upstanding!) loyal opposition is to be attended upon by physicians after become gravely ill whilst attempting to eat a jellied eel sandwich and trying to prove that he too didst enjoy roistering and hullabaloo.

“We have prescribed a course of leeches,” a physician said. “He should recover. Assuming he does not attempt to eat them too.”

 
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Kenny orders entire cabinet to watch “Outbreak” on DVD in response to Ebola.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 17, 2014 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

outbreakThe Taoiseach has ordered immediate action by the relevant state officials to prepare the state for a possible case of the Ebola virus. Speaking through a keyhole in his office, Mr Kenny told reporters that he was not overly concerned but had ordered ministers to watch the 1995 film about an Ebola variant, or indeed “any film with Kevin Spacey in it. He’s so watchable.”

The government has also moved to appoint a semi-state body to be ready to deal with the situation. “An Bord Aggggh! is being assembled as we speak. I’m told the Attorney General’s office is fast-tracking the necessary legislation to clearly define the salaries, expenses, bonuses and pension entitlements of its new employees, and any other stuff it’s required to do.”

The government has begun to draw up a list of appropriate appointees, including a former Fine Gael Councillor who had “a terrible dose last Christmas, couldn’t shake it at all, got into me chest and I had to go on the antibiotics. Over the Christmas!” and a nephew of the Taoiseach’s who has “seen every season of The Walking Dead and that Jude Law film which someone said was quite good.”

 
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An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The difference between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Repost: This post I wrote 18 months ago has suddenly started gaining hits. Recent poll, maybe? Thought I’d post it again. And yes, I know it upsets some in FF. Your objections are noted. As ever, the offer to write a reply stands. And no, you can’t reply anonymously so stop asking! I’ll happily post your criticisms but you have to make them in public.

There is probably no activity as entertaining in Irish politics as watching a member of Fianna Fail and one of Fine Gael debating the differences between their parties in front of a non-partisan audience. Curiously, it is a rare enough event.

Stage 1. Both sides nod solemnly in agreement that there is a huge difference between their parties.

Stage 2. When asked about what values separate the parties, the Fianna Failer is first in with “republicanism”. A request for definition is met with a vague candyfloss enunciation, normally with the phrase “social justice” thrown into the mix. The Fine Gaeler claims the declaration as an accurate description of FG values. FF immediately launches an attack along the lines of “well then why did you cut X?” followed by FG saying “sure, what about when you cut Y in government?”

Both sides are broken up and returned to corners.

Stage 3. A second attempt is made at values. A commitment to a United Ireland is mentioned by FF as being “deeper” in FF. FG lists out everything from the declaration of the Republic to the Anglo Irish Agreement. Another fracas ensues with pointed references to personalities in other parties.

Stage 4. A foriegn member of the audience asks for a comparison to conventional parties in continental Europe and elsewhere. Both sides unite to point out that Irish politics has no comparison to any other political system in Human history. “That’s for fucking sure” a voice from the audience remarks loudly.

Stage 5. Economic values are questioned. Both parties immediately descend into a nit-picking “you did this in government” row. FF claims to be a party of the working class and small farmer. FG claims it has support amongst both classes. Both parties dispute being pro-business compared to other parties. An audience member points out that both parties received most of their funding from business. The audience member is personally attacked for having “an agenda”. The actual question about who funds the two parties is deliberately ignored.

Stage 6. Both parties are asked to cease referencing past events and address the future, with a simple declaration of the values that will shape the parties in the future. Both make statements about the future which mention dignity, employment, social justice and prosperity. They are pretty much the same statement. When challenged on this, each points out that the character of the other party means that the other party does not mean what he says. Both then launch into a point-by-point historic nit-picking contest.

Stage 7. Both particpiants take to Twitter and Facebook to attack the event as biased against one party and obviously run for the benefit of the other, accusing the moderator of “bashing” their party. Both are quick to stress that no one cares about this stuff except people “obsessed” with historical events and this has nothing to do with “real” politics.

 
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FBI raid on Willy Wonka slavery, child torturing ring. Chocolatier killed in escape attempt.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 8, 2014 in Cult TV, Movies/TV/DVDs, Not quite serious.

Willy WonkaFederal agents raiding a chocolate factory have uncovered evidence of the massive psychological torturing and poisoning of a small group of children at the direction of confectionary billionaire William Wonka. The world-famous candy manufacturer, who recently donated millions to the Republican party in opposition to “over-regulation in the workplace” was found to have drugged a number of children with experimental poisons. One child was transformed into a state of obesity and also suffered extreme skin pigmentation changes. One small boy was bombarded with radiation, and later died of cancer.

Files also revealed a shockingly casual approach to workplace safety, with one German national falling into an unguarded liquid chocolate manufacturing process and being sucked through industrial vacuum tubes. The child in question is still in residence in a leading German psychological facility. Two other individuals narrowly avoided being cut to pieces by a high speed fan. Another fell into a nut de-shelling device.

Federal agents expressed shock at the number and conditions of over one thousand pygmies, natives of a small African state, being held as an unpaid workforce. The pygmies had become discoloured by exposure to chemicals in the workplace, and had been turned a “grotesque” orange hue through daily exposure. Translators revealed that the pygmies had been told by Wonka that their homeland had been eaten by a giant monster. The state department is making arrangements for their return.

Wonka is believed to have perished later when he escaped in a glass sided rocket powered aircraft of his own design which, after failing to comply with instructions to land by federal authorities, was shot down by scrambled air force jets.

 
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Mayor Power will see you now, Deputy Martin…

Posted by Jason O on Oct 5, 2014 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

Averil powerMeanwhile, in an alternate universe…

Micheal Martin is sitting nervously in a small waiting room in North Dublin, a battered jotter with “Election 2016 strategy” written on the front cover in his best copperplate.

“The mayor will see you now,” the young official says, and leads him into the modern glass and timber office of the first directly elected executive mayor of Dublin Fingal. A number of whiteboards are dotted around the room, with budget projections and policy concepts scrawled on them. Behind her, on very full but tidy bookshelves, a picture of her and Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York sits between reports on urban renewal and poverty reduction. The county flag, Dublin flag, tricolour and EU flag all stand behind the desk. It’s all very The West Wing.

Her office is nicer than his.

Averil Power offers him a seat, and a cup of green tea. He comes to the point quickly.

“I need you to run in the general.”

She grimaces.

“Micheal, I’ve only been in office for a year, since Big Phil brought in elected mayors. And you know the Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It law as well as I do. I’d have to resign as mayor first, in order to run.”

“Yes, well, I know, but…”

“I like being mayor. I control a budget of €215 million. We’re doing really interesting things here. Breakfast clubs for low income kids, commercial-rate free enterprise zones, more social housing. It’s not like the Seanad at all, Michael. I don’t have to sit with aul fellas banging on about Garth Brooks or seagulls or listen to Norris talking about people’s fannies. I get to have quiet meetings with the county manager and experts and we calmly discuss our options and make actual decisions that matter. Decisions that actually matter, Micheal!”

“That’s great but…”

“And anyway, you know damn well Big Phil put all the mayors 100% in charge of the Local Property Tax. My face is actually on the bill people get through the letterbox. My face! It’s the law! I set the property tax rate, and Big Phil has made sure everybody knows.

Someone told me recently that he’s so devious, Micheal, that he’s started making witty asides to himself in a southern US accent. The point is, there’s no guarantee I could actually win a seat anyway. At least if I serve my full term I can show people how I spent their property tax…eh… Micheal, are you crying?”

“Please Averil! Nobody will run. Hanafin wouldn’t even let me into her office. I had to shout through a letterbox. Then when I got into the office she wouldn’t let me out of the headlock until I called her Mayor Hanafin. Look, I’ve still got the teeth marks on my ear.”

Martin slumps back in his seat.

“I was talking to Gerry, and the Shinners are the same. All his lot are loving being mayors too. He’s actually thinking about running his teddy in Dublin South, and a cardboard cut-out of Spiderman in Cork South Central! This was Big Phil’s plan, you know. Let us win all the mayoral elections and lose all our best candidates. And every time we try to bring up the Property Tax in the Dail Enda starts telling us that it’s our mayors that set it. I’m wandering around the country pleading with people to run. Last night I was so tired that I ended up in a drive-thru McDonald’s in Roscrea! A McDonald’s! I asked the young fella taking my order had he ever considered seeking public office. He turned me down, Averil, he turned me down! Bwaaaaaaa!”

“Here, take a hankie. They’re recycled from decommissioned landmines. Hillary gave me them. Come on, you’ll ruin your lovely shirt. Don’t wipe your nose on your sleeve!”

“Why didn’t those bastards in the government just keep talking guff about political reform? Sure nobody ever really asks on the doors about it anyway, I mean, I’ve never been chased away from a solid Party List using D’Hondt house! Have you? But no, they went and actually brought in reform, and look what it’s done to us and the Shinners. All over the country all our best candidates are runnin’ things and making decisions and now you’re all too good to be TDs!

But someone’s got to sit on the backbenches, Averil, someone has to sit behind me besides Willy. You know how bad it’s gotten in the PP? I’ll tell you. Two of them are dead. Dead! One of them died in his sleep, and the other one tried to read that Thomas Piketty book by accident. We’re carrying them in and out of the chamber like “Weekend at Bernies”, and storing the cadavers in a freezer behind that huge pile of McGrath’s unopened Economist magazines. Sure, nobody’s noticed, and the Irish Times praised their debate attendance records, but it can’t go on Averil, it can’t go on!”

 
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Enda Kenny blames Hogwarts Sorting Hat for State Board Nominations.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 3, 2014 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has announced today that the recent scandal involving party nominees being appointed to state boards has been caused by a magical sorting hat in party headquarters. Journalists were led into a room in the party’s headquarters and shown a large hat which the party claims dispenses suitable names for appointment in compliance with legislation. The Taoiseach, when questioned, expressed his confidence that the hat was very well informed about the requisite regulations in “at least as much as headwear or, say, Heather Humphries, can be in this regard.”

During the press conference, one journalist pointed out that there was a large hole cut into both the hat and the table it was sitting on. The Taoiseach suggested that the building had a particularly virulent rodent problem. Looking under the table, it was revealed that the aforementioned mice seemed to enjoy reading a copy of the Fine Gael membership list.

Micheal Martin, leader of Fianna Fail, attacked the government’s reliance on an inanimate object to make decisions. When he was challenged to prove that he himself was not an inanimate object, he quickly fled from the room. Raised voices were later heard from another room, including a Corkman pleading with a “Miss Hanafin” to “Please, not the wicked stick again, no, not the face, not the face!”

 
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Republicans demand that US Ebola victims only be cured of Ebola.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 2, 2014 in Not quite serious., US Politics

Rick PerryThe leadership of the US Republican Party has warned the Obama administration that it will not tolerate the recent potential outbreak of Ebola in Texas being used as an excuse to promote “socialist” medicine.

“We know how this works. The president and his communist cronies, after finishing their daily prayers to Allah, will tell federal medical officials to not only treat possible infected people for the Ebola virus, but any other illnesses they might have acquired previous to catching the virus,” J. McAdoo McAdoo III, the RNC spokesman, told reporters. “Suddenly, ordinary Americans who had been getting through life with untreated ailments get a little dose of Ebola and then socialism is the answer to everything. It’s very simple, you can go through life with an all-American open and weeping sore oozing puss, like our daddies did during the war, or you can find Big Government leaving you fit as a fiddle like some sort of Frenchman. Hell no!”

Texas governor Rick Perry has taken the lead on the matter. “I understand from medical advice that it is not really possible to treat Ebola and not cure other pre-existing illnesses. Now, before good God-fearing folk think I’ve turned into some sort of atheist homosexual or scientist, let me assure them that I have consulted scripture on this. That is why I have instructed the Texas Department of Health, having cured these people of Ebola, to inject them with a good old fashioned plague of the sort mentioned in the Bible. Then let them get that treated in any one of the many fine private sector medical practices available in this great state.”

President Obama responded to the GOP leadership by loudly banging his head repeatedly  on his desk in the Oval Office.

Copyright © 2014 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.