October 13, 2010

Debt forgiveness is our only chance of recovery

Posted in Debt · 314 comments ·

EVERY month in the United States, something called the ‘non-farm payroll’ numbers is watched closely by the financial markets to get an idea about where the US economy might be headed. The Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) measures the national monthly payroll of all industries except farming.

Last Friday, it was revealed that 95,000 fewer Americans were on the national payroll than the month before. This outcome was worse than most analysts had expected. Yet by the close of business on Friday, the S&P 500 share index in New York had reached its highest level since May.

On the face of it, this makes very little sense. The numbers show that the recovery in the US is under threat, yet shares (and, in fact, all asset classes, including gold) rallied on the news.

The reason is because financial markets don’t know what is going to happen in the future. They call it — euphemistically — ‘poor visibility’. But the markets know that the government has poor visibility too. So the market players are asking themselves: “What would I do if I was the boss of the Federal Reserve?”

Using this logic, the market looked at Friday’s disappointing NFP numbers and decided that the authorities would kick off a second round of ‘quantitative easing’. This expression is shorthand for printing money.

More freshly minted dollars will be coming on to the market, pushing asset prices higher. Therefore, it is sensible to buy assets now — even if successive statistics show that the economy is still weak.

There are lessons in this for us. For Ireland at the moment, the policymakers whose reactions matter are not in Dublin, they are in Brussels.

Any investor looking at Ireland will have learned by now that policy decisions and announcements from our Government are quickly shown to be either overly optimistic or just plain wrong.

It is the European Commission in Brussels and the ECB who are now making the decisions that will decide our fate. So it is quite unfortunate for us that recent ECB policy changes seem to point to less support for our banking system.

Over the weekend, ECB executive board member Juergen Stark even raised the spectre of interest rate rises by the ECB to quell inflation worries in the broader eurozone. Obviously, either one of these, if they were to come to pass, would be disastrous for Ireland’s economy.

If the ECB reduces the generous support it currently gives our banking system, then we would quickly find ourselves back in the position we were in on the night of the guarantee.

The banks would be unable to refinance their debts in the market. Furthermore, this time, another guarantee would be useless because the creditworthiness of the State is very much in question at the moment.

An ECB interest rate hike would be disastrous for Ireland’s already-struggling mortgage holders. But it is not only ECB interest rate decisions that will be putting pressure on mortgage holders.

The fact that the commission requires us to reduce our deficit to 3pc of GDP by 2014 is likely to have the same effect. There is only one place where people will be hit by the coming Budgets — and that is in their disposable income. Even if interest rates don’t change, government austerity measures must ultimately lead to income tax hikes. In addition, the Government is sure to increase indirect taxes, such as VAT.

In the US, policy decisions are expected to lead to increased liquidity measures. This will further devalue the dollar, but may keep that country out of a second great depression. This outlook also implies a rise in the euro against the dollar.

For Ireland, the decisions with which we are faced, urged on by Brussels, seem to be designed with one thing in mind — to ensure that we spend a decade in a zero-growth and zero-hope economy.

It is difficult to see how things can turn out better. We have a massive credit contraction, along with a huge fiscal contraction and a currency that is rising significantly against those of our main trading partners.

If we were a similarly sized state in the US, we would have one national labour market, where Irish people would move to another prosperous region of the union. That doesn’t happen to us in Europe.

Also the American fiscal system would make sure that our dole and welfare bills would be paid by the other US states. That doesn’t happen in the EU.

Finally, we’d probably have very little trade outside the dollar area, so the exchange rate wouldn’t matter hugely. The opposite pertains in Ireland.

So what are we to do? If we want to get the public finances under control quickly, we will push the economy over the cliff. This appears to be precisely what our Government intends.

A boss man from Standard and Poor’s (or should it be called ‘Sub Standard and Riches’, given the agency’s lamentable forecasting record in the boom and the huge fees it continues to extract in the bust) said yesterday that Ireland would keep cutting. So the people who screwed up, this Government and the rating agencies, are telling us there is no alternative!

Our other choice is if we don’t get the Budget under control, the borrowing of the State will spiral and we will be straight into the European Stability Fund, with the EU and IMF officials running the show.

The single biggest problem in our post-bubble economy is private debt and that is not addressed either by the slash and burn or do-nothing options. Traditionally, the way economies get out of a mess like this is through huge debt forgiveness and mass debt renegotiations. This is what Roosevelt did in the US in 1935. History reveals that most major economies have experienced debt forgiveness — from the US to the UK and all the continental countries.

Without comprehensive debt renegotiation — both personal and institutional — Ireland will not get out of this hole. The idea is called ‘co-responsibility’, where the debtor and the lender are both responsible for the debts they have jointly created.

Co-responsibility is the centre of modern commerce. Without mutual responsibility, no agreement between parties can work. Debt forgiveness is not radical; it is the way the world works.

David McWilliams has designed and will teach a diploma in economics called ‘Economics without Boundaries’. This is the last week to enroll at www.independentcolleges.ie.

  1. adamabyss


  2. mogrady14

    The problem here is not private debt. The problem is corruption. Strange tendering for example. In Ennis, the county council office cost £30 million euro- that is £10,000 per square meter of land developed. Gama was hired to build the Ennis bypass despite only paying workers 2 euro an hour and the land under the bypass was the most expensive purchased for road use in state. One guy got 18 million euro a piece of land. Even today, its still going on despite the recession. No matters who applied for state jobs, the jobs went to the relatives of the people already in the job. What is going on at Shannon Airport?
    In many chain stores other than management few Irish are working. Is it that “No Irish need apply” in Ennis? The council zoned land for hospital use and the government seems to be happy to pay for 90% of the funding cost of private hospitals but won’t pay for a public hospital here in Ennis. The department of finance during the boom were either stupid or corrupt. Either way, they should be fired.
    Those who pay tax must be disgusted at the way their money is siphoned in institutional corruption.

    • Deco

      { The problem is corruption }.
      I agree.
      Corruption/Deceit is at the heart of all the bullshit that circulated that accelerated the debt buildup.

    • Deco

      Hold on there….The Ennis by-pass still has not been finished….

      I suppose it is in competition with the M50….for the title of most mismanaged road building project ever….

      • Colin


        Ennis Bypass is finished, a god job may I add. I presume mogrady14 is referring to the culture of handing millions to landowners elsewhere in this wonderful country which has not finished.

        By the way, I hope those landowners blew all their millions on Anglo Irish Bank Shares.

        • Deco

          Colin – why do you wish bad luck on people ? This is not healthy. If they sold on a compulsor purchase order, then they had no choice. Chances are they never heard of Anglo – and if they bought bank shares it would be either AIB/BoI.

          Learn to be a bit more positive.

          • Colin

            Fair enough Deco,

            How’s this……I wish those poor misfortunate landowners who received some financial compensation for the destruction of their beloved fields which they lovingly tendered like Lionel Messi’s contact with a football, used their money wisely and shrewdly by creating employment, developing products, exporting to the world, bringing in great wealth to the country.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hello Colin,

            You can rest assured they did as agriculture is one of our most important exporting industries.

          • Colin

            Its a good job from an end user point of view. I can get to Lahinch from Limerick in 45 mins now, before the completion of the bypass it would take sometimes double that time. Of course, people are free to use the old road if they do not like the quality of the work on the bypass.

            Regarding minor remedial works, this is typical in large civil engineering works. Its called snagging. Remember the hysteria about the dublin port tunnel leaking? Its since been fixed.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Colin,
          I agree with you wholeheartedly that it was a success from the narrow perspective of an end users point of view. I am sure you will agree it was an unmitigated disaster from the point of view of the workers who were paid a defacto wage of €2.20/hr and still had the misfortune to be working for a company who fucked up so totally they lost €45m on a €123m contract whilst paying their workers €2.20/hr in a country like ours. If a companies’ senior officers can fuck up so totally building roads and bridges it certainly calls into question the quality of the work which cannot be seen to the travelling public irrespective of what it may look like on the surface.

    • Deco

      Story from County Dublin.
      A farmer decided to go into Bio-fuels. Let’s call him Bob. He invested an enormous amount of money to produce BioDiesel from rapeseed. He grew large amounts of the crop. He followed all the guidelines. Bob meant business concerning BioDeisel. He was planning to produce a product of real relevance to the public.

      The Department of the Environment refuced to give him a license to produce his BioDiesel. They told him that his facilities were not up to their requirements, but never told him why. Therefore he harvested the rapeseed. And he sent it North – to NI. This means the UK will get the carbon credits. (I don’t know how carbon nuetral that is-especially of the BioDiesel is sent back to Dublin for retailing).

      Another man got a licence to produce bioDeisel. But this man who got the licence, has no rapeseed crop, no machinery, no facilities, no plant. No experience in the area at all. And he got the licence. Political connections work wonders….but I cannot say anymore…

      The Green economy is a just another methane emmision…more about saving our cronies than saving the planet. I presume that ‘Bob’ will be getting onto the media, the IFA, councillors from other parties, etc…

      Ireland is a very crooked country, when it comes to dealing with officialdom. This is why people get out. Because their hearts are broken with all their efforts to make a go of life here.

      • Tim Johnston

        I lot of countries have strict rules about fuel production. Mostly you can make your own biodiesel but you can’t sell it. A lot of people in Britain make their own.
        That’s a sad story, and I’m sure there are thousands of similar cases where lack of political connections stopped some good businesses in their tracks.

      • Political connections work wonders….but I cannot say anymore…

        With respect Deco, I disagree!

        Only by naming those involved, and i understand that should be done with consent of Bob, or better done by himself, we can start to expose what and who is wrong and involved. From the little fucker of a crook ion a county council – excuse my french but I had my own dealings with them as well – to the highest positions in the EU, commission Oettinger, they need to be put into the spotlight.

        The CO2 trade is a EU commission baby, and it was born with a cigar and a cheque book, already looking like Al Capone before it even let his first fart.

        I agree, this green scam is MASSIVE and will be with us for years to come, and is my main motivation that I started:

        http://www.greentechbubble.com three week ago.

        • Deco


          There is a law or set of laws concerning the “right to good name and character”.

          Basically it means that the local gombeen fucker can threaten to sue anybody who threatens to tell the truth about what he is like….even if it is true..

          It is a load of nonsense and should be scrapped. I mean compare the timidity of the Irish media to the media of just about any other country. Look at the gardai giving nicknames to known criminals, so that criminals cannot claim that their rights are being impinged.

          It is a serious block to transparency.

          • Civil courage starts when we understand that certain laws are only designed to protect the inner circles.

            At the end, it is a matter of numbers. if 100 people refuse to pay the 5% PSO levey that subsidizes Biffo’s Turf-> electricity constituency, they may end up in jail.

            If 10,000 people refuse to pay this, they have a problem!

    • Those who pay tax must be disgusted at the way their money is siphoned in institutional corruption.

      Those who pay tax must be encouraged to consider civil disobedience!

      • Deco

        Alright. You are correct.

        I was talking to a man earlier today who was participating in a campaign to without commercial rates, because his area was neglected by the local authority. Street were a mess. Nothing had been done. And then suddenly his group managed to get on the front page of a local newspaper.

        This week, the said local authority has several lorries out working on the roads, pavements – even putting in a cycle paths (and nobody using them). Previous to that the local authority did nothing in six years. They just collect rates from tbe businesses. And gave nothing back to the people in return.

        Basically, by saying that a group scared the wits out of the local authority councillors. So they got what they were asking for so as to keep other small business owners and traders from getting involved in a more widespread protest. But, hey, word of mouth is spreading :)))

        Er…Ooops….just told loads of people that if local businesses threaten to have a ‘rates strike’ local authorities will start listening to their needs…..This means it will spread…

        • I started to attend several public council meetings, and I ask questions, very hard questions. It is evident, they are not used to it, and i can only encourage people to spend the few hours on an evening and go there, sit in, listen ask questions, make your voice count.

          The quicker they understand that the policy of closed doors is not longer accepted, the better. It is the public that needs to stand up and state their demands, loud and clear.

          The other thing is to consider civil disobedience on a large scale.

          I remember when some people went to jail over ridiculous bin charges. the group was tiny, the support they lacked. This needs to change, we live in civil servants nepotism culture that needs to be eradicated once and for all, this is not Ireland alone, but the entire EU.

        • My buddy tried this and got the “Big Stick” treatment from Dublin in court. Lucky to escape 6 months inside. Of course, totally underreported by the print media and ignored by Pravda.

    • coldblow


      The following comment posted by Michael Hennigan of Finfacts on the irisheconomy.ie website may interest you:

      “49. Michael Hennigan – Finfacts Says:
      August 1st, 2010 at 1:07 am
      The case that the planning system should be examined and reformed with the same seriousness that is being given to the banking crash, is very strong.
      It was inevitable that in a small country with 88 planning authorities and a culture where conflict of interest is almost an alien concept, there would be serious consequences for the economy and much of the population, when there was a spike in demand for development land.
      Development land is the main driving force of corruption across the globe and Ireland has been no exception.
      In Ireland, the rezoning system has been used to create an artificial scarcity of land and during the boom site costs as a proportion of the cost of a house jumped and a small number became immensely wealthy from the system.
      Restrictive planning is a big factor in house price inflation and in England, Tory controlled shires have traditionally restricted housebuilding to preserve the so-called green belt while in the cities, it has been in the interest of the Labour Party to keep populations hemmed in to preserve their core support base. In one year in recent times, there was no new house built in David Cameron’s constituency!
      In Ireland, local government power had been transferred to county and city managers to reduce the opportunities for corruption but local councillors were left with the power to rezone agricultural land for development. It gave the often uneducated elected officials, a powerful means of raising funds, ostensibly for election campaigns.
      RTÉ’s Prime Time programme in Nov 2007, disclosed statistics about the involvement of elected representatives in the land development and property business.
      A total of 22% of councillors dealt in or developed land through their day jobs as estate agents, landowners and builders. In Mayo, that figure rose as high as 45%, in Offaly it was 44% and in eight other counties it was 33% or more.
      Prime Time found that in Clare, declarations of interest showed that 97% of elected members had no beneficial interest even in their family home. In ten counties, two-thirds or more of the councillors had not declared an interest in the family home.
      In Scandinavian countries, if a councillor intervened behind the scenes to influence a planning or rezoning decision it would be considered corruption – a criminal offence – but in Ireland, it’s the norm.
      So in a country that is estimated to be 4% urbanised and despite the huge rise in new stock, Ireland has poor housing conditions compared with other countries with similar living standards, with floor areas per person of around a fifth less than the western European average, even though a large number of dwellings (45%) are detached houses.
      The UK’s Policy Exchange think tank, argued during the boom that the Irish planning system creates too many ‘starter homes’, of often mediocre quality on monotonous estates, and allows insufficient quantities of larger, better quality properties. The lack of better properties has fuelled house price inflation, it argued, so that the high headline housebuilding figures gave a misleading picture of the true supply situation.
      The quality of some apartments built in Dublin during the boom is a national disgrace; occupiers have not only to deal with negative equity but very limited storage space and poor soundproofing. In the Gas Works development in South Dublin, bicycles have to be stored on balconies. At least they don’t have to worry about storing coal in the bath – that’s if they have one!”

      Can anyone enlighten me as to the significance of this sentence:

      “Prime Time found that in Clare, declarations of interest showed that 97% of elected members had no beneficial interest even in their family home.”

      Is that to evade debt repayment, to be able to take part in planning decisions which would boost the value of their home and claim that they have no personal interest, or what? I’m still a novice in the ways of the world.

      MH’s missile is well worth careful reading – it seems to contain four or five warheads!

      • uchrisn

        Thats an good article.
        Question is why wasn’t this reported on and highlighted in the media?
        I keep saying that legislation and regulation to comtrol the housing market is nessecary. I was saying it during the boom years too and was mainly ignored. Surely its evident now.
        How about if people were not allowed to charge any more for development land than agricultural land?
        There would be no 100,000 grand made over night by re-zoning.

        • coldblow

          Re limiting profits to be made on land, I think it all comes to private property rights (Crotty identifies the institution of property rights in land as the root of all our evils).

          Re the media, they were just useless, no: worse than useless. There’s so much to remember, but let’s remember that fact too!

          What do you think of my question re the significance of the councillors declaring or having “no beneficial interest even in the family home”?

    • seamus1972

      A lot of what you say is true Mogrady, but I strongly disagree with ‘In many chain stores other than management few Irish are working. Is it that “No Irish need apply” in Ennis?’ Irish people can’t have their cake and eat it. These were the jobs that only a few years ago Irish people were turning their nose up at as they were too good for those type of roles. The immigrants were brought in to fill the jobs that Irish people no longer were willing to do. Do you want the foreign nationals that still occupy these positions to resign now that the Irish person is on the dole? The problem was not the immigrants coming in, it was the lack of planning or control on the governments part. In planning for the future, there has to be something more concrete in the longterm rather that just bringing in half a million people because there is a shortage of people to fill the positions. This will obviously lead to disaster once the economy turns, and this is exactly what happend. But don’t shoot the worker, shoot the people that govern over this! They are a joke and must go now!

  3. Deco

    Print-Baby-Print (Bernanke, Rubin, Obama, Krugman).

    Excellent article. Krugman says that the cure for a deflating bubble is a new bubble. I disagree. A new bubble merely adds a layer of resource misallocation which reduces the productive capacity of the economy.

    Print-Baby-Print is a promise to the poor that delivers for the rich and sucks out of the middle 70% of an economy.

    Reading Matt Cooper’s “Who Really runs Ireland” at the moment. The business elite in this country is loaded with people who at some stage renogiated bank debts. They have already destroyed the reputation that is Brian Lenihan’s persistent pre-occupation. What reputation ?, I ask….Ireland is loaded with businesses that go bust, and that renegotiate with the banks and then get back into business.

    Michael O’Leary did it after taking over as the boss of Ryanair. Larry Goodman did it after going bust in the mid-1990s. Fixed investment holders have already been stung by the Irish private sector. What is that dumb fool Lenihan trying to preserve our reputation for ? This is what happens when you have lawyers in charge of an economy…they are more concerned with how problems are described than actually fixing them….Muppets…..would you ask a baker to fix your car ?….

  4. Malcolm McClure


  5. slimjim

    The bank bailout has financially crippled the state. Its tough enough to stomach the thought of paying for this over the next 20 or so years without having to bail out every other Tom, Dick and Harry as well. No thanks. With actions come consequences, there must be personal responsibility. Irresponsible lending there may have been but hand-in-hand with that was irresponsible borrowing. People who bought a modest place with a big commute miles away from everything to avoid this very situation will now bail out the irresponsible greed of the big houses and the glossy brochure dart/luas line apartments. No thanks. Unfortunately its becoming clear the next election may bring this idea to reality.

  6. Tim Johnston

    How much of a problem is private debt really? excluding mortgages, that is. Could we get some stats?

    It might be worth mentioning that I recently did a deal with my bank over a loan from student days and it really is worth talking to them. But persist – the first time I “rescheduled” the loan, they bumped the interest from 8% to 12% because it was technically a “new loan”.

    Anybody remember back in ’99/2000 when banks were sending letters to homeowners explaining how rich they now were and would they like some free money (to borrow)?

    Debt forgiveness is a great idea on paper, but which borrowers would you forgive, without creating moral hazard?

    • Lending to the private sector went from 60% of GDP in 1997 to 200% in 2008.

      Can you hear it?

      tic tac tic tac tic tac

      • Deco

        It gets worse if we use GNP. There is a substantial difference between the two in the Irish economy. I think I have heard Constantin Gurdgiev say that GDP are practically useless as an economic statistic in the Irish context. But the DoF/RTE/Gov’t never use GNP, and always say GDP or sometimes ‘growth in the economy’ which is a very loose term.

      • Tim Johnston

        does that include mortgages, Georg? in any case, it’s huge…

        • Including!

          Futher, we need to look at howe that worked. The german banks have us by the balls, and it is them we need to show the finger, like Iceland did!

          To put that into perspective, German Banks lent around 3K per Greek, 2K per Italian and Euro 42,000 per Irish resident! That is why we ARE more to be compared with Iceland than Greece or Italy, in contract to DoF propaganda that Ireland is different than Iceland.

          Effectively, out fiture activity is entirely dependent on the treasureres if german financial institutaion.

          Now…. this is important!!!!

          HOW the Hell did these both countries get joined by the Hip?

          It is easy, and blatant obvious. Depfa, and the trail of german county banks, commerzbank, Sachsen LB and so on who started to play Citi Bank and gambled , they all came to Dublin. The famous IFSC is the epitome of fraud in Dublin!

          Need I say more?

          Again, The DoF spin is ‘The difference is, we are Irish’ when you compare us with Iceland, but this is really only spin.


          Each citizen in Iceland owed round about 9,0K to the UK after their banks went bust plus 4,0K to dutch banks. We know what our courageous neighbors did! They told them to shove it and get lost. These debts were made by handful of crooks and not by the people of Iceland.

          The same Situation we have in Ireland, tell the german banks to shove it is the only way, or they agree to debt forgiveness. On Top, ECB and our very central bank are good friends, guess why Klaus Regling came here in the first place?

          Our politicians agreed to that, thanks so much! Regling now is the head of the EU bailout fund.

          Mr Regling is a member of the Issing Commission, appointed by Chancellor Merkel in 2008 to advise the German Government on the reform of financial regulation. The Committee completed its work in March 2009.

          From 2001 to 2008 he was Director General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission. Before that, he was a Director General in the German Ministry of Finance where he worked for more than a decade on Economic and Monetary Union in Europe. He also worked in the International Monetary Fund for more than a decade.

          • P.S. Regling was the head of the banking inquiry commission, before Nyberg took over.

            This whole thing is a fucking joke! A joke played on the taxpayer of course!

          • sorry for typos, I am typing too fast when upset.

          • Deco

            { German Banks lent around 3K per Greek, 2K per Italian and Euro 42,000 per Irish resident! }

            Unbelieveable. Authority in Ireland managed to bullshit the German banks, and the Irish people – whilst giving themselves massive pensions…

          • coldblow

            I was surprised, even a bit dismayed, when I learned of the German banks’ exposure to Irish property. I remember reading a Hutton a few years back (about 4 yrs) where he discussed the pressure the US and GB were putting on the EU to adopt their own ‘superior’ model, but I had thought that the Europeans, being social democrats or whatever, would put up a decent fight to resist it. But no, it turned out that their banksters had joined the free for all too. Or am I misreading it?

          • Tim Johnston

            thanks for the info Georg!

    • adamabyss

      What percentage did they discount for you Tim? So as we have some indication as to how far they will bend…

      • Tim Johnston

        I paid 60% of an 8,000 euro debt.

        • adamabyss

          Good discount, well done.

        • Colin

          Well done Tim,

          Come on then, spill the beans, tell us the story from the very start to the end. How did you manage to get them to forgive 40% of your loan? What do they get in return?

          • Tim Johnston

            Sure, colin.
            After a year of so of late and missed payments I emailed the bank saying I had no money, no job and no assets in the state. I said plainly that I was emigrating and good luck trying to get a cent, basically (but more politely).
            I said that a relative had offered to pay half my loan and would they accept this in settlement. They replied saying that they would accept 5k, under condition that I pay immediately, my account would be closed with BoI, and I understood that for five years my credit rating would have the settlement recorded on it – which is NOT the same as a default.

            So, what they got in return was badly needed cash that they thought they might otherwise have to write off.

  7. Global Co- responsibility is required!


    my thoughts are going into the same direction since spring, and I wonder about this on a global scale, we should consider to push the reset button (debt forgiveness), clean up the mess (rating agencies / too big to fail / Retail & Investment /Central Banks etc., the list is much longer of course), and most of all decelerate, decelerate, decelerate!

    Most of it is bits and bytes anyways.

    So what would such a step require? The political will of the G20 for example, but I am afraid they have rather been proven to be spineless and destructive rather than constructive.

    No one in his right mind should have an interest in conflict escalation, but at the moment everything points exactly into this direction.

    The entire market system itself is flawed, it is manipulated and abused by the same forces who caused the last bubble deliberately. DTT, PwC, E&Y and KPMG are fleecing the system, so do law firms such as Maples and Calder, these are inherent design flaws that enable certain players to practice legalized extortion, let aside our too big to fail who write their own legislation in favor of themselves, and if politicians fail to be lobbied, I really should say bribed, they will be black mailed.

    Naturally, all this brings us to the IMF, Worldbank and even more so to Switzerland and the BIS. Basel III puts a band aid on the victim, only the victim has severe internal bleedings.

    The consecutive failures of G20 meetings of late are a clear indicator that the entire system needs to be reset, rapid deceleration, and this can only be achieved by consent, but I am afraid, the structures and fears of the G20 people, and yes, there are just people at work, are not sufficient and gave evidence over and over again that they will bow to the Overlords in Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Paribas, UBS, Credit Suisse etc.

    In a way, I think your example of Roosevelt is somewhat romantic, because he was a politician of a certain caliber, so was Genscher for example in Germany as a foreign minister, but I think the area of great politicians has long been surpassed by an area of a mediocre at best civil servants culture. In tiny Ireland, it is naturally worse, and mediocracy is not even achieved here, and people rightly point to the utter ineptness of our politicians.

    Political will requires politicians of a Roosevelt caliber, and when I look to the European Commission for example, the who-is-who and how they got there, I despair. Berlin uses Brussels as a dumping ground for political persona non grata, and not only Berlin. McGreevey was one of the most disliked Commissioners under colleagues in the EU, they even tried to mob him out which was a first.

    Enormous political will would be required to change this system for the better and wellbeing of the nations and their people, and it can be done beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt, but to date I fail to see the people who could carry this.

    I think that this is equally reflected in the Stuttgart 21 demonstrations, attracting 150,000 people and getting more, every monday. People who have a brain worth a cup of tea are fed up with ineptness, corruption and governments that dance to the tune of Banksters like Ackermann.

    Social cohesion and stability is under threat on a global scale now, time is running out for those who define policies to come up with the right solutions and medicine, to think outside of the box, to cut umbilical cords to Bankster and step up to the plate.

    Failure to do so leads only into one direction, conflict escalation…. war.

    • Julia

      This is so depressing. And frightening.

      • Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water…. – Bruce Lee -

        Gweebarra River, County Donegal:


        • Deco


          I bought a book a few years ago called the Philosphy of Bruce Lee. A lot of very intelligent commentary there by Lee. He actually studied philosophy. He was also a very shrewd and creful observer of life around him, and of human nature.

        • Julia

          Yes, of course you’re right Georg. People always adapt. And one of the ways people adapt is by ignoring what they feel helpless to change. I’m thinking of the young ones working in my local hairdressers. They live on tiny wages. They will never be able to afford to buy a house. Some of them didn’t do the leaving cert. They are not the young greedy up and coming well educated entrepeneurs. They will always be working for the entrepeneurs. They read HEAT magazine(don’t knock it -it’s great fun). They watch X Factor and go binge drinking at the weekend. Meanwhile their medical cards entitle them to fewer medical benefits than before, they can’t go to the dentist unless their mouths are rotting away. God forbid they should suffer a pychiatric problem. They and their families better adapt to that because the state won’t help them. They will be adapting to more hardship than any of us posting on this site. What do you bet the Govt. will reduce the minimum wage in the budget? Who lives on that wage? Cleaners -washing the floors of the banks. The people employed to put free gifts into newspapers and through doors. People picking strawberries in Wexford. They will all adapt as their lives change. They will be water.
          Anyway, I know what you mean. Like everyone else I’m just angry that the selfishness and greed of a few is causing so much harm to so many.

          • My friends son is 8 years old, and had an accident today where he fractured a bone in his foot. It got swollen badly and she drove him to the local hospital. The receptionist refused her access to the doctor, stating that she needs to see her local GP. She explained that she was at his place, but he was not in the clinic.

            She still refused her access to the doctor.

            Then she explained that her son is in pain, the foot is badly swollen and well…

            She still refused her access to a doctor and told her to drive to Letterkenny instead. She gave up and did the drive.

            As a result, her little son was 4 hours in pain before a Doctor would even see him. I was speechless, and this does not happen often, when she told me the story tonight.

            I will never adapt to such unjust and idiotic behavior. The Lady is very gentle and calm she never gets angry, but in this case i wish she would have unleashed Hell onto that receptionist.

            Unreal…. :o(

          • uchrisn

            Julia, In my opinion the root of the problem you described for those girls is the price of housing compared to their wage. Legislation should be brought in to stop property speculation and bubbles. There are many ways this could be done. There was no property bubble in Italy. Why? They have a law that states that one person can only own max two properties.
            Basically against this you have so many people/interests who do not want lower house prices. Most current property owners, banks, the creditors in the banks who want their money back, estate agents, newspapers, most politicans, developers, anyone who works in an area related to construction.
            This is democracy. The majority rules. The same majority pushed the property bubble ignoring the needs of the minority, that is the young people you described.
            This also happened in the States, England and Spain.
            These interests are still being held up in Ireland. Housing prices are being artifically propped up by all the bailout money invested into the banks. If the banks were to be let fail the property prices would go down. Property owners know this bailout is benefiting them too. This is why there has been no concerted public opposition to the bailouts by the people on the streets.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ uchrisn – interesting note on property ownership, I know someone who has 15-20 properties, always thought it wrong that people are paying his mortgages because they couldn’t afford their own homes, hopefully that will change now and I wonder how he will manage when the tenants rightly bugger off.

    • Hi Georg. I remember the cold war and there was a US air base 35 miles from where I lived. As teenagers we used to speculate on what would happen if the Russians sent the missiles over. There was an old air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden but a fat lot of good that would have done :-)

      Then we began asking why this base was right on our doorstep. The cold war was psychological warfare and we knew it would not end up with the Russians and the Yanks at war. It was too far fetched and it would have destroyed the world. We were more afraid of that psycho Thatcher than the Ruskies.

      I think perpetual war is inevitable because the people who benefit the most from it are the bankers and they are the people who are the arch manipulators pulling the strings. The same banks funded both sides in WW2 in the hope that they would both destroy themselves.

      The people of Iran are not my enemy and I have no quarrel with them but the yanks are determined to start another war over there to help them achieve full spectrum domination implemented using shock and awe military tactics. Whoever gains full control of the south coast of the Asian Continent will wield huge power in the future.

      I wish more people educated their sons not to be used as cannon fodder for the wars created by the bastard freemason bankers.

      To Julia. It is depressing but the thing I find most frightening is the incurable Irish trait of back slapping gombeens and other peddlers of corruption and disinformation. My grannie was from Sligo and she told me never to trust the Irish because you would never get to the bottom of them with a large spoon. They are now proving her right.

      • Hi Pauldiv & Julia

        I know, I said that before, but we can no longer afford to be brave citizens only that do as we are told. Matter of fact is that the strong german export for example has reasons.

        They doubled weapons export in the past five years alone. Put that 60 billion weapons deal US-> Saudi Arabia into context, declining resources, exploding unemployment, disintegration of social cohesion, strengthening of political extremist position, the war of words between China and the West etc. and a picture emerges….

        The war that is taking place at the moment uses financial WMD’s and currencies.

        Our global dependance on the US Dollar and the reserve Bank needs to come to an end. The yanks are dictating what they see fit. Cooperation is none of their interests, not in climate talks, and not in this currency war.

        The global economy could collapse with the current debt deflation, this is why they prepare QE round two now. They are only concerned about this effect, nothing else, Rest of World is none of their concern, this is one reason for capital flight into emerging economies and Gold.

        • coldblow

          See my comment just below. It seems that the American QE is aimed at refloating the domestic economy and mending the banks. The banks however are staying clear of the domestic economy and using the funds for lucrative investments abroad and even more lucrative currency speculation. (Hudson again) It’s just mad.

          Who’s the US private in Catch 22 who gets involved in global capitalism, while still on active service, and ends up supplying and profiting from both sides in the the war? Milo Minderbender or something? At the time I thought that was just fiction.

          • martino

            I think his name was Yossarian. Good book, made me laugh out loud as I was reading it. Not so funny now that I realise he was reporting on life and not writing fiction.

          • Julia

            Sorry, what is QE?

          • coldblow

            No Yossarian was the central character, a pilot. I think he ends up escaping to neutral Sweden. I’d love to see a follow up to see what he made of that country (and vice versa).

            Quantitative Easing is where, if you have your own currency, you print more money. This floods the economy and the hope is that it will get activity going again where credit is tight. It devalues the currency of course. Hudson’s arguemtn, the US dollar being the de facto world reserve currency, is that the Amercians can get away with QE because the world has no choice (or feels it has no choice) but to accept it. He further argues that the rest of the world has few options when it comes to using the dollars it acquires by means of global trade than to invest it by buying US debt (bonds). So the US discovered after they set free thier currency from gold in the early 70s that they could print away and run up a massive national debt and everyone else has to just grin and bear it. He calls it their free lunch. That’s my reading of it anyway. Apparently there was a stand off in the 70s (the time of the oil crisis, and US grain export controls (I think)) where the US dared the rest of the world to go away and devise their own reserve currency if they didnt like it – apparently the rest of the world blinked first. (I need to read up on that.)

          • adamabyss

            Might be a stupid question but if a country has lots of US dollars, why don’t they spend it on importing millions of tons of steel, equipment, cement, usefull goods, etc. etc. ad infinitum – then improve their own productivity (and the lives of their citizens), instead of just putting it back into useless US debt (bonds)?

            Eventually (in theory), if they have a better society, they’ll be far ahead of the Yanks. If they get that much money from the Americans for the commerical trash they sell to them, they could turn their whole country into a renewable energy leader, start a space program or whatever and lead the world in research and development. Wouldn’t work on a large scale for Ireland because we don’t have much of anything (cheap) to sell to the US (apart from in small quantities) but this must be China’s long-term plan (something they are the leaders in – long term planning) if they can get through the horrible upheaval and environmental destruction of their present hyper-industrialization. Or am I completely wrong?

          • coldblow


            Thanks for the response. You make valid points and it’s something I’m trying to get my head round. Here’s some rapid random thoughts.

            I think a lot of the dollars in circulation come from US military expenditure which is huge.I think the Chinese have been acquiring strategic resources in Australia and elsewhere (DMcW wrote about this a while back). They can’t spend their dollars in acquiring key US industries or infrastructure because the US won’t allow it. There is news recently about barter or rather bilateral deals between countries, eg Turkey and China. If our infrastructure is flogged off to cut down a bit on the deficit there is plenty of money sloshing about out there to raise the cash. I also think the Americans are in a strong position in terms of control of intellectual property etc although the Chinese try to steal them. If countries try to sit on dollar surpluses, according to Hudson, it drives up the value of their own currencies and makes them uncompetitive in terms of exports. If you think of each dollar in circulation around the world being a tiny IOU issued by the US Govt. – they can keep issuing them, their debt spirals: who cares, watcha gonna do about it? I’d welcome any enlightment.

          • Gege Le Beau

            On China, interesting because Al Jazeera (really producing terrific reports, was back reporting in Haiti as well which has been completely dropped by the Western media even though the situation is dire), had a report at 2am on China last night on this topic.

            The Chinese have come up with a new term called ‘inclusive growth’ in an attempt to bring in the poorer elements of Chinese society (which are considerable), a form of redistribution but whether this will happen is unlikely given their economic model. North East Asia is the world’s economic powerhouse undoubtedly and China according to the report is seeking to increase its own domestic production for domestic consumption given the growth in the Chinese middle class and the huge savings it has amassed, Chinese products (imitations of Western luxury goods) are deliberately cheaper undermining Western imports, there are a whole range of other issues leading commentators to point out that a ‘trade war’ is increasinly likely.

            The US also did a bit of 19th century gunboat diplomacy and held naval exercises off the Chinese coast recently, you can only imagine if China did something similar off the coast of Miami. Clinton said that there was an ‘open seas policy’ and that they had every right to conduct those exercises, an insight into the Imperial mentality if ever there was one. Again something you will not hear on RTE-PRAVDA.

            I would urge caution on ideas such as ‘making people’s lives better’ etc, power systems do not work like that, they prefer to concentrate capital, decision making and money in the hands of the very few, the population serve the needs of ‘economic growth’ and are catered for only to prevent social discontent.

            Al Jazeera Report on China’s new 5 year plan

    • coldblow

      +1 Good effort at a summary of the big picture, Georg. Not sure about the last line, but you could be right there too.

      From my Hudson link in the last article:

      “Finance has become the new form of warfare – without the expense of military overhead and an occupation against unwilling hosts. It is a competition on credit creation to buy foreign real estate and natural resources, infrastructure, bonds and corporate stock ownership.”

      • Who is Hudson coldblow?

        This statement Finance has become the new form of warfare — without the expense of military overhead and an occupation against unwilling hosts. is 100% correct!

        • coldblow

          I knew nobody was reading my links!


          His articles tend to restate the same central ideas in various ways, but I have no problem with that at all – it’s called consistency (as with DMcW as it happens). Hudson is also a bit of an expert on ancient civilizations, at least the economic/ usury end and this all seems quite appropriate in the present circumstances.

        • coldblow

          As to who exactly IS he, I haven’t really discovered. There’s some biographical material in his article The Long Descent of the Chicago School (Sept 2008).

          “Today, the Chicago School is known for its censorial intolerance. The first thing the “Chicago Boys” did in Chile after 1974, for example, was to close down every economics and social science department in the country, except at the Catholic University where they had a foothold with “the brick”, ie Friedmanite doctrine.

          All this was foreshadowed at the Lab School in the 1950s. Its social science teacher Curtis Edgett posted a long banner up in his room saying “Give ‘em all what the Rosenbergs got”. I thought he meant communists, but on talking privately with him, some of my classmates and I discovered that he meant Jews.

          In class, he regularly called me a “commie”. (One of our texts was Mein Kampf.) There was a real Stalinist in the class. We always argued, and he called me a fascist. It was in fact at the Lab School that I recruited a number of leaders of the Young Peoples’ Socialist League (Shachtmanites). It was the only time in my life where I was the voice of reason in the middle.

          The Lab School at the time stopped at 10th grade, and students went directly to the college. However, I wasn’t accepted in 1954 to the university on graduating from 10th grade. I was told that Mr Edgett had turned in the names of myself and a number of my friends to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI(as “commies” and sent copies to the college.

          There was a ruckus, and the Lab School added on an extra grade to help resolve matters, and I was accepted to UC the following year, and took the “comprehensives” to skip the first two years, so no time really was lost. But one of my schoolmates chose to enroll in Shimer, a secondary college that UC set up. About a decade ago, when he managed to get his FBI file, it turned out that Shimer’s dean continued to file regular FBI reports on him, his friends and classmates.

          My own field changed from chemistry to history and German literature, and I never took an economics class there. I believe that professors Tugwell and Krueger were in the political science department, not the business school. Although I never went near the Business School in my four years at UC, although I subsequently took a PhD in economics elsewhere, I do remember that the business school students I met were about the only students who regularly wore suits and neckties on campus. They had the reputation for being somewhat dense. One encounter in particular is memorable. There was a party, and one of business school students was coming on to an attractive woman.

          The next day or so, I asked him how things went. “She was so dumb,” the guy said. “She even gave me the wrong phone number. It turned out to be the Fire Department.”

          “What was her name?” I asked.

          “Martha Washington, she said,” he replied.

          To me, this was one of my first examples of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out): the unthinking acceptance of anything as a fact.”

          See? You should always read my links as they are often quite good!

          A good summary would be his article Neo-Liberalism and the Counter-Enlightenment (May 2010).

          • coldblow

            The reference above to Rexford Tugwell reminds me of when I was (briefly) studying the Roosevelt years and my fave quote, from Al Smith (D. Kennedy “Freedom From Fear”:

            “Other former allies had already parted company with Roosevelt. Al Smith told a Liberty League banquet in Washington’s Mayflower Hotel in January 1936 that he would probably “take a walk” during the November elections. He compared the New Dealers to Marx and Lenin as well as to Norman Thomas. He accoused Roosevelt of handing the government over to dreamy professors and bleeding-heart social workers. “Who is Ickes? Who is Wallace? Who is Hopkins? And in the name of all that is good and holy who is Tugwell and where did he blow from?”"

          • Gege Le Beau

            Hudson always provides strong, clear and honest analysis.

      • adamabyss

        Good report on China. Very interesting and very concise. Slogans (buzzwords) like “socialist countryside”, “harmonious society” and “inclusive growth”.

        • adamabyss

          Looks like the whole world will be Chinese by the dawn of the 22nd century – if they can avoid being nuked by the Yanks that is.

  8. Conclusion
    It has often been said, but it cannot be repeated enough that the structural problem of the Eurozone is the absence of a sufficiently strong political union in which the monetary union should be embedded. Such a political union should ensure that budgetary and economic policies are coordinated preventing the large divergences in economic and budgetary outcomes that have emerged in the Eurozone. It also implies that an automatic mechanism of financial transfers is in place to help resolve financial crises. Mutual solidarity cannot be avoided in a monetary union, even if it implies solidarity with the sinners.


  9. Great article. David writes ‘It is the European Commission in Brussels and the ECB who are now making the decisions that will decide our fate’

    I think this is the kernel of our problem. This is why debt renegotiation, default, co-responsibility, debt restructuring is not on the table.

    We have become a vassal state with orders/policy that must pass through the ECB clearing house of Ollie Wren & Co. EU will not countenance default from a member of the EMU that could trigger a domino raid on the Eurozone with Greece, Spain, Portugal in danger of similar default.

    FF policy to save the polluter Anglo, for example, gets a back stop from the EU. Furthermore, the alliance of cronies in league with FF for a dig-out, by extension get a backstop also from the EU. Currently this is in the form of NAMA euro bonds and calls for austerity and frugality.

    I find the backstop intriguingly empty of real support. Frugality is a mantra that can save you getting into debt, but its of no use when frugality damages the economy and the ability to pay back. To me, the message is, ‘Ireland Oink Is Toast, Let them roast’.

    As long as the markets do not burn FF for their failed economic policy and through them the financial elite they’ve infiltrated over the past twenty years, they’ll continue to make matters worse until we default as taxes/cut backs cut into our ability to grow and survive.

    The struggle of FF and its ‘croney elite’ as it makes efforts to make pigs fly is a sad betrayal of Irish taxpayers.

    Ironically, our deteriorating market default situation inside the EMU as a result of failed fianna economic policies, could possibly turn out to be our greatest bargaining position.

  10. So if Ireland can’t renegotiate it’s private and public debt then it is in queer street

    Why did Ireland give away the Corrib oil and gas for nothing? Not a whimper has been made about this issue in recent months yet the potential revenue would have solved the budget defecit and gave Ireland something to bargain with next time the oul flat cap is held out in Brussels

    Instead all we get is single mother bashing and the boot stuck into those who are not too enthralled about working for some gombeen for 3 quid an hour.

    The more I hear about the inner workings of this place the more I realise how strange and corrupt it really is

    Good luck to us all.

    • Colin

      We’ve Rambo Burke to thank for giving away our natural resources. The root of this comes from a deep inferiority complex – which David highlighted recently. Irish establishment seems to be automatically programmed to defer to foreigners.

      Regards the single mothers, I suggest you listen to the Paddy O’Gorman interview on Pat Kenny’s radio show recently to find out why they aren’t flavour of the month. One mother interviewed, she was looking for more welfare (taxpayers money), because she hasn’t got two pennies to rub together after sending each of her kids out with €9/€10 in their pockets each day for lunch, and going to the pub to get so drunk she gets impregnated by strangers and can’t/won’t track down the daddy of her children, who she then indoctrinates the man-hating bile into.

      • It is easy to cite single mothers like Karen Mathews in the UK as an example of deplorable mothers but there are many single mothers who are sober and make heroic efforts to ensure that their children grow up to be productive members of society. You are being programmed by the media if you resort to kicking the less well off sections of society. Then again there are some people who get off on that sort of thing and they are called bullies.

        • Harper66

          Hi Pauldiv & Colin, Your comments seem to represent both sides of the debate on the “single mother” issue.
          In my line of work I come into contact with a lot of women claiming lone parent benefit. Being honest and enjoying the anonymity of posting under a user name, here is my expierence of “lone parents”.

          I think the system is utterly flawed and is creating the biggest poverty trap the state has ever seen.The notion of a support system for women who find themselves in the postion of raising a child on their own is wonderful. I spent the better part of my 20′s working (or volunteering) for charities who worked in this area. However the system is totally abused. It has become a career path for some people.

          The pendulum swings both ways and I can see a time when “the mob” turns on the single mothers and the benefit will be done away with, thus negating the genuine good it was doing.

          In a percentage of cases children are being born to provide payments to the parents. The standard of care the children then recieve is apalling. This thought alone genuinely disturbs me.

          I think a woman should only be considered for one child for lone parents, after that personal resonsibility should come into play. The support should not be for 18 years. Also the childs fathers name should be required for a claim to be processed.

          Having said that I know of a huge amount of lone parents who had a child in their late teens and in the intervening years created a wonderful home for thier kids went back to school, retrained and excelled in the work place.

          Bottom line I believe the benefit is being destroyed for the deserving cases by the fraudsters. And this is being facilitated by those in the media and political who would not even allow a debate on this isuue.

          I think you be surprised how many peole working in the social care area who feel are very angry at the system at present and feel very strongly that huge reform is need in this area.

          • coldblow

            “those in the media and politics who would not even allow a debate on this issue”. A telling line. We don’t really do debate in Ireland – all too often it seems that a line is drawn (by who?) and there’s a rush to stand on it. For example, where was the, er, property debate a few years ago?

            I was at my German conversation class last night and yet again I was struck by their ability to think through issues. All right, it has gone a bit haywire on occasion… Colin is right to raise the issue and it should be argued on its merits not shouted down. If people can’t debate matters of concern while there is the leisure to do so then the risk is that these things will be decided in a hurry, under pressure and without much regard for fairness, later. Y’know, a bit like the bank guarantee.

          • Colin


            Good point. Here’s the thing. You raise an issue, and you get labelled by your opponents, the most common is a right wing nut…..is a left wing nut superior to a right wing nut? You get labelled a racist if you question immigration from a certain part of the world, you get labelled a bigot if you question multiculturalism (something I don’t remember a referendum passing), you get labelled a homophobe if you do not support gay marriage, you get labelled a misoginist if you think children should be preferably raised in the home rather than a creche, you get labelled a polluter if you drive your car even though there’s no alternative, you get labelled antiquated if you think children should be raised by their mother and father…..I could go on….. but this is why I’m not in politics.

            And no, I’m not a neo-liberal, I don’t own property, I’m on the dole, I don’t have any savings, I don’t have good job prospects at the moment, but at least I’m educated.

          • coldblow

            Been there. Many times. Oh, many times…For an easy (easier) life I sometimes feign deafness, make an attempt at love and understanding every now and then. But I store it up in my memory!

          • Dorothy Jones

            Second last paragraph: Agree, the possibility to hold a balanced debate on the issue would be welcomed by many people. This is a thorny issue and perhaps in some way, the same principle to which you have referred to, in relation to demonstrations applies. People are reluctant to appear ‘on the wrong side’ and therefore stasis results.

        • Colin


          That’s outrageous for you to claim that I’ve been programmed, and therefore cannot think independently for myself.

          I know not all single mothers are the same. At one end of the spectrum you have women who have been abandoned/divorced by their husbands/partners through no fault of their own, and these women do a sterling job raising their children in difficult circumstances. These women deserve society’s support in my opinion. And then you have the likes of the woman interviewed by Paddy O’Gorman at the other end of the scale. Needless to say, we should not be supporting and funding these lifestyle choices. I suggest you listen to it and tell me afterwards if you can defend her position. Can you honestly not tell me you cannot send a child out the door with a packed lunch for less than €9/€10?

          • Harper66

            I think you have started a debate that is well worth having.

          • I am an outrageous kind of guy Colin and I say what I think no matter who gets upset. I was not in any way attempting to upset or offend you personally. Ireland needs more people like that instead of tip toeing around important issues less someone takes the hump.

            Nothing will change unless people debate. Debate should not be seen as a contest like it is in high falluting university debating chambers where the objective of the debate is really to intellectually destroy your opponent at all costs. There ego gets in the way of humility and nothing much is learned.

            I don’t need to listen to that radio show. I know the type of person you are talking about because I have lived and worked in places where there are people who would make your hair stand on end.

            I am concerned about why Britain and Ireland tops the EU league for single parent families. Ireland is approaching a level where 20% of families are headed by a single parent.

            We should be asking why so many people are in this position and taking more of an interest in the children concerned. Then again Ireland is hardly a banner for equality and human development.

            The link below contains stats illustrating that the majority of those living in consistent poverty or at risk are single parent families. When you are poor there is nothing more demoralising to your hopes than listening to well of people who know nothing about poverty sticking the boot in.


          • Colin

            I knew you would choose not to listen to it. You are the one programmed into the bleeding heart liberal leftie bullshit agenda.

      • uchrisn

        I heard there are 100,000 single mothers claiming welfare in Ireland. The system was set up with the best intentions of helping out women who sere being physically abused etc. However it is now the case where it is financially better for couples to live seperatly and the mother to receive welfare. There are couples living together who pretend they have broken up to claim welfare. This is not encouraging families or stable relationships which generally are of benefit to a child. Young mothers have no incentive to rise to the challenge of making their relationships work when issues come along. They can just say -’why do I need to put up with him’ and run to the State.
        This welfare system certainly needs to be re worked.

        • uchrisn

          On the subject of womens issues, I would love to see much more women involved in politics and regulation in Ireland. Statistics show that girls generally outperform boys in school. Girls are also less likely to engage in corruption, again in General. In fairness to Mary McAleese who basically fingered men with her ‘testostine’ quote for our economic crisis, she has a point.
          The Dail seems like the typical ‘all boys clubs’. Do you see one womans name among the list of developers? A woman in high office on the banks? A woman swaying decisions in the county councils?
          What about the Irish Athletics scandal where a Bertie appointed unquailifed crony, got rid of a competent talented young Irish woman through bullying and harrassment. Fo example he publicly called her a b###h at a high level meeting. She took a court case, was going to win easily, and they settled out of court with tax payers money for fear of the details getting out. The other boys in the club – like John Treacy just looked shamefully on thinking about their jobs pensions. This is a woman who got nearly max points in her leaving, had a very succesfull career before that and was actually earning less to give something back to Irish Athletics. What happened to the boys? A few uncomfortable minutes before an all boys oreachtas committee.
          Lets see our smart, competitive responsible women start to take a much larger role i managing Ireland Inc.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi uchrisn,

            There is one woman on the boards of an Irish Bank. Her name is Gillian Bowler of Irish Life and Permanent and guess what? Her bank dosen’t need to be recapitalised or need to “sell” any assets to NAMA. You make an excellent point.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Is this the same Bowler who resisted calls to resign by ILP’s shareholders?

            This issue transcends gender. McAleese is on an absurd salary as President, plus pensions, €3 million in costs for Aras dinners and banquets, and what has she done?

            The presidency is more to be seen not heard and rubber stamping government deicisons, did she challenge NAMA for instance?

            Look at Harney, Hanafin, Coughlan? I rest my case, think we need a reality check.

          • coldblow

            Gege, “Parklife”.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Why should she stand down when she succeeded where other bank managers have failed?

    • Gege Le Beau

      They have a file with a list of ‘usual suspects’ for deflecting people, they include single mothers, immigrants, social welfare fraudsters, lazy inefficient public servants (excluding politicians of course) and so on……….

      But there is no problem doing gushing articles on right wingers who call for a cut in the minimum wage and longer working weeks for no extra pay.

      It is also pretty vicious but then there is big money involved.

      • coldblow

        You are right, Gege. Never forget the bigger picture.

      • Groups like the British conservatives and the Republican Tea Party are responsible for a lot of the nastiness.
        In Ireland we have our own share of nasty people who are pathologically terrified that someone somewhere might be getting something they are not.

        • Julia

          Paul, once upon a time I worked a lowly job in the taxes investigation branch of the Revenue Commisioners. We dealt with big business – builders and pub owners at the time. Plus ca change…… I say we, I was licking envelopes and making cups of tea for inspectors such as Derek Quinlan who now lives in Switzerland. wonder why. Unemployment was big in those days too and the poor were turning on each other. We got letters in every day reporting women who took in washing but didn’t pay tax on the money they made. I used to tear them up and put them in the bin until I was caught and stopped. But thats how it is now. We’ll all be squabbling down here for ages while the really truely rich organise their finances, speak in terms of funding, hedges, debt for equity, bonds etc. Divide and conquer. It has worked before and will work again.

          • We got letters in every day reporting women who took in washing but didn’t pay tax on the money they made. I used to tear them up and put them in the bin until I was caught and stopped.

            ROFLMAO !!!!

            Fair play to you Julia, this was the funniest thing I ever read here! Thanks, you just made my day with that, brilliant! :o)

            It is a disgrace is that they target now those who already have next to nothing. Unemployed people are NOT the problem for crying out loud…. unemployment is!

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Julia – A wonderful act of resistance.

            It is interesting that Quinn, Quinlan, Dunne and all the rest were feted by the media day-in, day-out.

            I remember being stuck in traffic when RTE had a report on Ireland’s billionaire entrepreneur, Quinn, I imagine I was not alone when I thought ‘why am I struggling with the bills every month’, we now know a lot more.

            I would really like an apology from RTE-Pravda for such misleading reports/programming.

            I think there should also be a 5 year block preventing politicians entering private business, this should also apply to those in banking and private business trying to enter the ‘Public service’.

            Think also TDs should be investigated for any potential conflict of interest between their private businesses/property/banking interests and voting on related legislation, also TDs who are insolvent can no longer sit in the Dail, I wonder if there are a few of them.

          • coldblow

            Julia, well done for binning them!

          • Deco


            You did the correct thing in binning them.

            I remember, in the 1980s, hearing various stories about small shopkeepers going out of business because of the strong arm tactics the revenue would employ to screw as much as possible out of them.

            And at the time the wealthy elite had billions hid in the Isle of Man, and Jersey. And the Revenue did nothing about it. Because the bosses of the Revenue were instructed by the politicians (CJH, Rambo) to leave the cronies alone.

            You did the right thing in the circumstances. If CJH had the money he would have blown it on his mistress, and his cronies.

    • Julia

      Paul, you’re taking the words right out of my mouth.

  11. Just reading in the Spanish press that:

    “the Irish Government tried at the meeting of the Council of Finance Ministers last week for support of the rescue fund in the eurozone. The amount claimed Dublin amounted to 130,000 million in several years. The EU ministers had to reject the bailout, given the current situation of the Stabilization Fund of the Euro, after the aid to Greece. Raised in Ireland, as an alternative, to abandon its policy of tax incentives for investment and increase their levels of taxation”

    Expansion, the main Business paper, had it on their front page.

    “Irlanda pide un rescate de 130.000 millones y la UE lo rechaza por falta de dinero”


    I like this bit too: “European authorities with the involvement of ministers of all countries, “decided to keep it secret.”

    The Greeks only needed 110Bn

  12. paulmcd

    Extract from last Sunday’s Indo:


    “When it published its half-year results on August 4, AIB revealed that, after transferring about €23bn of bad loans to Nama and the disposal of its Polish, American and UK interests, that it would have a loan book of about €81bn.

    This loan book will include €27bn of Irish residential mortgages, €32bn of business banking loans, €16bn of commercial and SME loans and €6bn of personal loans.

    Over at Bank of Ireland, the composition of its expected post-Nama and disposals loan book looks remarkably similar to that its great rival.

    Bank of Ireland is expecting to have a total loan book of €82bn of which €28bn will be Irish mortgages, €31bn of non-property lending to SMEs and other corporates, €24bn of property and construction lending and €4bn of consumer lending.

    Meanwhile, Irish Life & Permanent’s mortgage banking subsidiary Permanent TSB, which has transferred no bad loans to Nama and has not had to be bailed out by the taxpayer, had a €38.7bn loan book at the end of June which included €27.6bn of Irish residential mortgages, €8.1bn of UK residential mortgages, €2.3bn of commercial lending and €1.5bn of consumer lending.”

    • paulmcd

      Perhaps someone would like to do the maths on either AIB or BoI, and add the cost(s) to my minimum projected cost of 60,000 million euros for Anglo, over a 12-year time horizon, assuming average 6% rate for marginal funding which should be calculated as a compound rate and not a simple rate for reasons I have explained in recent comments.

      I also assumed, in my best-case scenario, that the assets contributing to the original pre-NAMA loan balance of 72,000 million euros in Anglo would be 100% realised for cash. (Don’t ask me where that cash is going to come from! I don’t want the figures to get out of hand. Do any of you have friends who are rich oil sheiks willing to pay gazillions for fields covered in concrete?)

      • gquinn

        Close to my original estimate that I said last year on this forum that the banks will cost the country close to €1 Trillion.

        Everyone has forgotten that during the boom years AIB was known as the ‘Developers bank’. We have not even seen the tip of the iceberg with AIB and BoI. In short you aint seen nothing yet.

        Also Anglo Irish Bank was a small time operator compared to our bigger banks of AIB and BoI, they could not give the money out fast enough :-) LOL

        • Deco

          ‘our’ bigger banks ???

          They were majority owned by US and UK pension funds when the crisis emered.

          Why are Irish taxpayers (this means PAYE because the “tax Diaspora” are not included) paying for this nonsense ?

          • coldblow

            They are like international rugby teams. Solicitors and merchant bankers have more in common with each other than with the plebs in their homelands.

      • paulmcd

        Based on the figures given above and the lack of accurate predictions to date, it is plausible, to expect at least another 60-70 billions bailout cost for the 2 main banks to cover the past 2 years and the coming decade.

        I am convinced that the bailout will cost at least 130 billions and our Government is being less than honest and grossly disingenuous when suggesting a worst-case scenario of 50 billions.

        Society at large will not begin to perceive my figures as a possibility until THE AIB DRIP FEED gets under way

        It is regrettable that the political parties are not calling for a reconciliation between the Government’s 50 billion figure and S&P’s 80 billion costing.

        If I was a betting man, I would put the eventual cost at 160 billion assuming no further deterioration in Ireland’s cost of debt.

        More realistically, at a considerably lower cost to the taxpayer, I would prefer count on a DEFAULT SOONER, with the hope of staying within the Euro zone, rather than LATER with an additional obligation to exit the €.

        • paulmcd


          S&P costing for bailout is €90 billion.


          “S&P said it expects Ireland will need to spend 90 billion euros to support its banking system, up from its prior estimate of 80 billion euros including capital used to improve the solvency of financial institutions and losses taken from loans the government acquired from banks.”

  13. For The Record ( only )

    The following was submitted by me to Limerick Leader and part of was published on city week end edition 1st October 2010 and which a radio interview was recorded live 7th October 2010 and that interview had its internet recording deleted .


    The National Crime Forum was established by the Irish Government in February 1998. Members of the Forum were appointed by the Minister for Justice. The Forums brief was to canvas comment assessments and suggestions on crime and crime related issues from the general public and from national and international experts.

    The Forum held nine public hearings at various locations around Ireland. As a result of this an advisory report was completed and published and sent to the Irish Government.

    During their sitting at Civic Hall, Limerick on Wednesday 29th April 1998 I, John Allen in my capacity as an Independent Registered Auditor and Accountant and Qualified Professional Taxation Practioneer made the only presentation, after written invitation, relating solely to Irish Banks and Crime Investigation. I had this presentation filmed by a professional film crew in the Civic Hall for my own protection.

    In summary my submissions on Irish Banks included the following:

    The defective Code of Ethics promulgated by the Institute of Bankers in Ireland that I criticised submitted and published in the Irish Times in July 1996; and

    The institution of Irish Banks and their Management versus the Accountant and the Righteous Professional and Business Persons – Spunklaw ; and

    Zero Tolerance for serious bank crimes ; and

    Garda Fraud Bureau

    During this presentation I explained the following:

    1 Concept of the Mullah and the Magi — an excerpt

    The Mullahs (bank directors/managers) are enveloped in a ‘Cuirass of Impenetrable dogmatic Secrecy in a Sterling Sanctuary’………. A depressing, stifling, choking influence which drives less confident accountants and unqualified and inexperienced business people into crime or persecute the righteous honourable public.

    The banks are legislated but the Bank Managers are not and neither are the employees to any reasonable transparent or accountability for their mistakes and wrongdoings.
    Page 2

    On the basis of current evidence, bank manager’s gridlock is set to strangle the pastoral energy of the honest independent professional and business men.

    Banks continue to defy its own prominence.

    Legislation does not penetrate the abuse of their privileges thus creating a maelstrom of incestuous discourse against the common good and State Public Policy .

    2 Spunklaw

    Because of it’s self proclaimed prominence, the Institution of Banks is insulated from self scrutiny and comfortable argue that the world of crime has gone wrong and not the bank thus ordinary business people and independent qualified professionals just can’t hack it.

    The affect of such phenomenon is that the institution of banks is allergic to change and unable to listen to dissenting voices.

    The institution of banks may claim to support democracy outside its own walls but its mandate to represent its customers within the democratic process has little basis in fact.

    Concerning Irish Banks the civic righteous victim is shown by the forces of law and order as a device shadowed by conviction and not as a person of conviction upholding State Public Policy or as stated by Aristotle “the field of public honour” .

    I requested the Minister for Justice to implement ‘Zero Tolerence’ , in this State for Serious Crime committed by Irish Banks and to remove the judicial adversary system and the game of baccarat a righteous messenger is forced to play with his life .

    I expressed my complements to the Garda Fraud Bureau for their expertise and professionalism in dealing with difficult and dangerous situations and that we are fortunate to have such a body of able people to serve our society well.

    Page 3

    In my written conclusions I predicted within ten years the following:

    a) That the economic trend in Irish Banking today as we know they, will not be the same in ten year time; and

    b) That shareholders of these banks will be different by then too. But the customers will not change and will continue to be you and I; and

    c) That the Bank Management need to be legislated to protect the stakeholder……..the customer………..the good neighbour……………the civic and righteous; and

    d) That the currency of Irish Banks should include proper governance of the responsibilities and duties of management and licensing of all management personal; and

    e) That the cavalier use by the Irish Banks of the genuine trust of righteous civic persons and their contempt for the truth and common honesty of the people needs to be legislated against. The anthromorphism of banks and its iconisation has led to a contagion of collapsing moral in Irish Society today that can only lessen the virility of the Irish Punt ( now the Euro ) sooner rather then later.

    Page 4

    Conclusion :

    In the report issued by the National Crime Forum Irish Banks and their management were not mentioned and the report is obsequious. This vacuum created enough spunk for all Irish Banks to realise that the World of Crime continued to be seen to be outside their walls and that their Sanctuary continues untouched by the Irish Government for the foreseeable future.

    The Minister for Justice , subsequently following the issue of this report and my separate submissions to his office ,did not reform any laws concerning proper bank management and his refusal to consider or acknowledge my requests is liken to another Broken Treaty in Limerick.

    Today, we as citizens and electorate are now living in a Bankocracy and have lost our Democracy and Community Spirit we once knew and we only see a Vortex into a deep black hole. We are loosing our Sovereignty and our children and we must be seen to do something before it becomes too late.

    John J. ALLEN


    • Harper66

      “Today, we as citizens and electorate are now living in a Bankocracy and have lost our Democracy and Community Spirit we once knew and we only see a Vortex into a deep black hole. We are loosing our Sovereignty and our children and we must be seen to do something before it becomes too late.”


    • Deco

      John, You should meet Senator Shane Ross and tell your story to him.

  14. @Georg,

    It wasn’t simply a matter of Icelanders telling the
    foreign banks to shove it, there was more finesse to it than that. Icelanders had already brokered a deal with the Dutch and the UK, the question the referendum addressed was whether a previous deal should be adopted over a better deal that was already on the table.

    If we weren’t a vassal state bowing to impossible EMU demands and and puppet poodle politicos from our strutting peacocks, for austerity and repayment reparations , we should be doing what the Icelanders did!

    This is negotiating a form of debt forgiveness that
    David is also advocating above.



    “By pushing so hard, the British and the Dutch might push Iceland into bankruptcy and get no money back at all,” said Jon Danielsson, an expert on the Icelandic economy at the London School of Economics. “Without the deal, the government is facing a debt burden of 140 percent of G.D.P. With the deal it goes to 200 percent, giving Iceland one of the highest debt burdens in the world.”

    The above should also be our bargaining position.

    OT hope the parties don’t get lured into accepting the poisoned chalice of consensus. The only consensus the country wants is to get FF out of office. The EU perhaps also appalled at the economic policies followed by FF in recent years are advocating closer scrutiny of our finances/budgets.

    Our final bargaining position with our EU loan paymasters should be around the question of staying within the EMU or leaving the EMU with an orderly withdrawal.

    A bigger problem than the above for us is the fact that the intelligence required to visualise, negotiate, maintain and argue these negotiations, would more easily be found in the monkey house of Dublin zoo, than in the present FF leadership tainted as it is by croneyism/elitism and the sad corruption of ideas we see in NAMA!

    • I know that Colm.

      There are no balls in Irish Politics, they are brown nosing the EU commission and IMF, that’s all there is to it.

      • Deco

        Yes. The term “grovelling” comes to mind. We have very fixed hierarchies contolling the parties. Witness the handover from Ahern to Cowen, or from Rabitte to Gilmore. Everybody is expected to be subservient to HQ. Arselickers need only apply.

        This proves my point that we do not need a new political party-we need at least three new political parties. I expect that any new parties will get truckloads of venom piled onto them by the media, at the behest of IBEC/ICTU/local speculator cliques, who control the current parties and use them as proxies to get whatever they want.

    • Peter Matthews proposes executive action team sit with bondholders to give them true facts on cost of restructuring the banks plus negotiate/agree a formula for reconstruction. He reckons losses for Anglo should be more accurately set at 65% write down rather than current 50% , this would bring losses at €42 bn for Anglo, total €64 bn across bank sector. Recapitalisation total of €11 bn zero coupon required from Irish state in return for majority share in the banks. Bondholders take €25 bn bill writedown at a 40$ discount.

      Something along these lines makes absolute sense to me.


      Our choice is something like the above or stupid austerity formula aimlessly sending the Irish economy into destruction.

      Paulmcd, why don’t you send peter matthews your figures to review, your perspecive re compound interest on loans outstanding should only bolster his arguments?

      • Deco

        Strangely enough, mass protests, rate payers strikes, etc.. would actually make the bondholders more prepared to negotiate….

        • Sad but true! Better for all concerned to come to an orderly and structured resolution before that happens! Brains before bullets!

          Who knows maybe we’ll yet see the remnants of Ireland Oink sitting down with representatives of the Sicilian Mafia or the columbian cartels to negotiate a 40% haircut on their Anglo bearer bonds:)


  15. Deco

    A peice of inspiration.


    Even Mountainous South American countries are ling up to overtake Ireland, and the cliques that run Ireland are responsible…

    • Gege Le Beau

      I presume this ignores the historical exploitation of Chilean miners, the slaughter of the indigenous population who were worked to death (population in South America dropped from 70 million to 3 million), the alleged criminal acts of the company involved, the absence of proper government regulations, enforcement of health and safety and other issues highlighted by the International Union of Miners.

      If we are focusing on a snapshot manipulated by a billionaire president then we have learned nothing.



    • Deco

      That’s nice. They only ever pick people with excellent track records in economic prediction…..he will be in good company with all the other ‘Uncle Alberts’ in there…

      Eh… hold on a minute…

      • Not fair guys on Jim OLeary guys.

        He actually once resigned from something on principle(benchmarking committee). He actually did ask himself how if he could have done better when part of tghe AIB board (the Summers school apologia) + He actually does have qualifications for the job.

        I met him once and had a long conversation with him. He is not as much of an insider as you might think

  17. I remember in the 80′s seeing many hundreds of Russian Promissory Notes for sale for pennies in Green Park and Covent Gardens in London and these documents were so colourful in design and texture that they were even beautiful to frame in an office even if they were worthless .I now sometimes think is that what our Bonds will be like in the 2020′s and therafter and our country run by an authoritarian ruler of some kind with all laws intact .Will the wheel turn over to President Kim Jong 3rd residing in Pyrodublin and all the state pension funds obliterated with an official ( furrylugs )government stamp showing : naid ona naid a bhuic ( correct my spelling ) .

  18. ‘from nothing comes nothing’

    • Deco

      That would be lesson Number 1, concerning the entire episode of the Binge Era. No mention of it very much. In case people suss out what the whole thing was a load of hot air and hype….we cannot have people learning….they might learn to be independent of the euphoric episodes that periodically grip this country….

      • It is my belief that when all our government bonds and state pension funds become worthless it will be the end of the English Language in Ireland .What tongue will be thereafter well thats a currency question me thinks.

        • Gege Le Beau

          Many sites in Ireland were photographed by the Nazis, see Operation Green, invasion beaches were picked out, Cork’s lower harbour was completely shot from the air, with targets picked out for bombing, the SS had a list of the country’s Jews.

          A German bomber during the war lost its way and crashed in the Kerry mountains, its crew have a plaque in rememberance at the base of one of the Kerry walks. Mein Kampf before the war filled a bookstore window in Cork city while the mayor refused to meet the captain of a visiting German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, out of protest at the treatment of the Jews.

          Ho Chi Minh commented on the death of the hunger striker, Terence McSwiney that a country with citizens like that will ‘never surrender’. Gandhi drew inspiration from Irish independence, and so on and on. We may be down, we are not out nor can we be unless we accept it.

          The people have yet to play a major role in the unfolding drama, last time I checked we were a country, something of a democracy, not ‘Ireland Inc’ as some neoliberals would have us believe.

          As Tennyson said ‘the world is a terrible place but worth fighting for’, the same can be said of Ireland. Despite Drumm’s bankruptcy, despite seeing a blind student in my canteen whose benefits no doubt have been cut, I have not given up hope, ‘the darkest hour is often before the dawning of the day’.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Well said.

          • Pedro Nunez

            Well said!

            Leonard Cohen says; there’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”,

            We’ve got FF dry rot, wet rot and spine/keel rot in every crack in our sinking ship, 90 yrs after WB Yeats’s ‘a terrible beauty is born’, we need to finally excise, chemo and irradiate the gombeen culture, cancer & its culpable ‘characters’ that has delivered this nation to this abyss.

            Will us lemmings revolt or turn back?

            ‘dal dire al fare c’e di mezzo il mare ‘

  19. Deco

    Interesting clip from marketwatch.com….

    Watch the reason given for Deirdre de Burca leaving the government. no mention of the sustained effort at getting into MGQ’s EU cabinet office, to get on the EU gravy train. No mention whatsoever of the electorate of Dublin telling de Burca where to stick her patronizing rubbish.

    But not a whiff of that on international TV. Instead, we now have de Burca, who failed at nepotism in a party that excels at it, in a country that practices it continually, making the point that she is some sort of conscientuous objector to government policy. (She was fine with it, until she needed an excuse to register her disappointment with not getting on the EU gravy train).

    de Burca also gives us some economic commentary. It is quite common nowadays to have clowns who know nothing about economics give economic commentary on the media. de Burca tells us the Eurozone is heading for some sort of break up….Anyway, I expect that Phoenix Magazine will make a cut at all of the above at some point in the future….

    there is also something that resonate with what David said in a previous article concerning recovery being local….

    Towards the two thirds point in the clip, there is an architects co-operative in Dublin working on a reduced rent based building. This clip focuses on the construction sector, and ordinary people, and the coping culture that we are seeing. It is mild compared to the life that most of us know is occurring currently.

    anyway these architects mean business. Unlike the politicians, trade union politicians, IBEC lobbyists, etc… the architects and many other ordinary people are getting on with it.

    Let’s do what de Burca’s old pals in the GP would do….let’s sucker them with more stealth taxes…

    • Deco,

      Deirde is one of the few politicians I had respect for, hold on , in deed the only one.

      I had some private conversations with her, and I know a little bit more about her reasons to leave than the press would have reported, in parts falsified.

      You know, she was a councillor in Wicklow, and recorded a meeting with a dictaphone in her handbag where dodgy deals were made re zoning amongst council members, and she exposed them afterwards.

      She had too much integrity and honesty to be able to stay beside spineless Gormley and others.

      Her leaving the political stage was a loss.

      • Gege Le Beau

        I don’t doubt the sincerity of your words, but her timing could have been better as it looked like she got the hump after getting rebuffed for a euro job, now this is possibly not the case, but as you well know, perception is reality in politics, and politics is a tough game especially for people of honesty and integrity and I know this from first hand experience.

        • Of course it contributed that she was dumped out of the promised Euro Job, something she worked towards for a long time, but equally, if not more so, the fact that Gormless kept a lid on Dublin Docklands scandal, and other things, like the Greens selling out core principles to gain more power and status quo.

          I mean, a lot of water had to run down the Liffey for her Deirdre to state “I consider the Greens to be unelectable from here on!’

          Deirdre stood for more direct democracy and more political participation and transparency, and she was not willing to compromise here core principles.

          • Gege Le Beau

            The Greens were finished once they said yes to Fianna Fail, I suspect some saw the twilight of their careers, disliked opposition and took the jump, they lost a third of their members on that deal alone and proved themselves ineffective in controlling FF who have run rings around them.

            Just as well however there was no grand coalition, otherwise Labour and FG would be blamed for the current debacle and not those who created the crisis.

            Opportunity lost for ‘green politics’ in Ireland, once I saw Ryan on the six-one news saying people should go for more walks in the Dublin mountains while Mary White showed up recently on Newstalk saying she was a sailor, who was turning the ‘Titanic around’ (a mixed metaphor if ever there was one) well, think it is obvious that they are finished as a political force, politically naive and removed from the reality of people’s everyday lives, certainly the perception.

            Bertie, like him or hate him, was savy enough to return from trade missions to Dubai and be out canvassing in Drumcondra that night.

  20. Alan42

    If crony capitalism is a merging of the political and the business class , what is the incentive for the forgiving of private debt ?

    The only way that they would do it is for those in negitive equity for the sole purpose of getting houses moving again . It will be laden with red tape and will focas solely on the buying and selling of houses .

    Leaving aside the fact that cheaper housing is a must if we are to reduce our costs , where will the credit come from for these new mortgages ?

    The government don’t see themselves as crony capitalists of corrupt or incompetent . They just see it as a normal way to do business .

    I am reading a book at the moment called ‘Meltdown Iceland ‘ by Roger Boyes and it contains a great joke about how crony governments view the taxpayer .

    ‘ A cannibal is flying first class . The fight attendant brings the menu with several options . The cannibal is quite polite , as cannibals often are upon first impression . The cannibal scans the menu and then says to the flight attendant , ‘ I don’t see anything appetizing on the menu . Would you be a dear and fetch me the passenger list ? ‘

    • Tim Johnston

      Indeed what is the incentive? And how to we avoid creating moral risk? A lot of the private debt was money borrowed to consume rather than invest. Why should this be forgiven? Are those borrowers going to give back their shiny new cars, expensive holidays, overseas homes and new kitchens?

      Many people are in negative equity and that’s bad. But it doesn’t really affect them unless they want to move house. It means they can’t borrow so-called equity anymore, but that’s good, as it was doing that that got a lot of people into trouble. It also means that property is cheaper for the rest of us (unless NAMA succeeds in keeping prices high).

      There would need to be a case made for which debtors need to be forgiven and which need to just live with stupid decisions.

  21. Tim

    Contributors interested in meeting:

    I have met with wills and our kind Host;
    Furrylugs;(John ALLEN came, but we missed him, somehow.);

    I have had frequent phone contact with PaulOMahonyCork, wills and some with Macholz;

    Online contact with Irishdebate and email with Martinho, Macholz, Malcolm McClure, PaulOMahonyCork, wills, Furrylugs and almost daily contact on Twitter with Constantin Gurdgiev, Our kind Host, Brian Lucey, Michael Taft, wills, LorcanRK, Liam, Furrylugs and occasionally Adamabyss.

    I have also, on a number of occasions, posted my address, home phone number, mobile and email on this site and arranged meeting places/times. I have still only met wills, Furrylugs and David.

    If anyone has an idea that may be more successful than my efforts, I’m all ears (and will go to serious lengths to turn-up!).

    These days, though rather ill, I am easiest to contact at:


    Feel free to contact.

    We are all circling around, trying to find the best solution. Perhaps, if we all “get into one room” and hammer-it-out, we might find it?

    Best regards to all who are trying, whether we may disagree or not.

  22. Tim

    Folks, RT @chiarraigrrl: “oh, wouldja look whose home address is still freely available on d’interwebs…”

    http://short.ie/drumm #drumm :)

    …Just in case some of you might like to write to the poor man and express how you feel……

  23. paulmcd

    We learned on Prime Time tonight that Abramovich is earning 13% on his Irish Nationwide Subordinated Bonds. It is gross negligence on the part of the Government to allow these “coupons” to be paid.

    FF however is capable of an even greater injustice and will likely seek to pay back a discounted capital sum for bonds, which were issued for private, INBS, development purposes and are essentially WORTHLESS.

    FF decided on an extended Dáil break when they could have been working on the same kind of legislation which the UK Government enacted to halt the payment of coupons to Bradford&Bingley bondholders.

    • paulmcd


      1 Finance houses which are on the Interpol list of institutions suspected of money laundering

      2 Tax evaders

      3 Property developers, some of whom are certainly bankrupt

      4 Various money launderers using funds of dubious and likely criminal origin

      These BEARER bonds are in use by themselves to facilitate criminal transactions.

      In 1982, the US Government outlawed dollar-denominated BEARER bonds.

      • paulmcd

        FF/G expect us, as taxpayers, to bail out all of the above with coupon payments, and buyback of these zero-rated instruments at so-called discount prices.

        I reiterate that the Department of Finance must ensure that all known details collected about those who present coupons for payment should be compiled and laid before the taxpaying public for inspection BEFORE any further taxpayer contributions are made.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Ireland seems like a massive financial clearing house. God knows what went on, what money passed through and who the bondholders are (convenient there is no list), the more I learn about how this game works the more amazed I am at people who defend it.

  24. Tim

    Folks, this might be a good opportunity to meet, with purpose on 30th Oct. (as discussed on Vincent Browne’s TV3 show tonight):

    To find out more about Claiming Our Future and book a free ticket


    • adamabyss

      What time is it on? I’m working in Whelans that night and the night before doing the door for my brother who is promoting the New Model Army 30th anniversary tour -

      “Rolling up tab ends that the baby’s collected
      Waiting for the number that clicks on the wall.
      It’s open season on the weak and the feeble
      Their meagre ambitions, their impotent fury
      There’s bullet proof glass in case there is trouble
      No doors in the building between this side and that side.

      I’ve tried to wrestle some unbalanced nightmare
      Tell myself over that I don’t really live here
      But the boys run away leaving blood on the pavement
      And a little crowd gathered to watch you pick yourself up
      Joining the queue at the video library

      To watch ninety five minutes of simulated torture

      The conference hall rings to the standing ovation
      The people in blue ties rise from the podium
      Crazy with power, blinded by vision
      The mass-chosen leaders for a brutalised nation”

      Anyone ever heard of the band?

      Sorry to be so off topic.

      • Dorothy Jones

        Used to see them in the old days in Berlin. Didn’t realise they are still touring. It should be a great gig!

    • adamabyss

      Sounds like a plan, it’s on all day to 5.30pm.

    • Colin

      Yeah, I’m there, had to write in “Non Halal” into the dietary requirements box….never thought I’d see the day…..

    • Gege Le Beau

      They got to try to get out of Dublin, hard to get to, expensive etc, know it is convenient for some (large population etc), but a more central location would be a good place to start especially when it comes to notions of equity.

  25. Morning,

    Thnaks for the the cooments and suggestions. I am away for a few days, can someone tell me what was discovered about Abramovich and the yield he is getting on INBS bonds?

    Thanks David

    • Gege Le Beau

      Prime Time reported Abramovich was getting a 13% interest rate for investing in Irish Nationwide,

      Today’s Irish Times has breakdown of Budget (€4.3 billion), with potential banking bailout of €81 billion.

      Here is the Prime Time programme with background on the man from the East.

      • michaelcoughlan


        At 13% yield compounded he will have his capital returned to him by us and our kids in somewhere between six and seven years. It really is disgusting. Abramovich himself accumulated all that money from raping the natural resources of the former failed Soviet States. In order for us to survive what our establishment is going to visit upon us and our kids we must first define the reality of our situation as it is instead of what we would like it to be. The reason all of those failed personalities in charge of our banks and regulatory authorities are put into those position is to protect the status quo. The following personal characteristics are needed to succeed in such a position: first and foremost you must have the very disgusting belief that because you have an obnoxious salary, a title called CEO, Chairman Regulator etc. it makes you a better person than everyone else. You must have the utterly obnoxious belief that the whole of society exists to serve your needs. You must wholeheartedly believe that the most important thing to do in your position is to maximise your opportunity for personal gain even if your bank and all around you gets ruined in the process. You must lack empathy, sincerity, compassion etc. You must ideally be extremely short-sighted which will protect you from the psychological consequences of the damage and ruination you will visit on all around you and ultimately yourself. This is the enemy we are dealing with. Perhaps some of this exists within us ourselves. There is no way Ireland, this great Republic, this great Nation, will turn the corner until we identify this, confront it and form a very definite vision of what it is we want to replace it with. Happy brain storming, windbags!

        • Gege Le Beau

          He gets his yield, more than likely has any investment secured (insured perhaps?) & then hints at suing the government, some operator……

      • http://bit.ly/cPqSul

        Very interesting, this report was on Oct 1 and refers to Lenihan’s announcement re new legislation to be a vehicle for this, havn’t seen/heard anything in the news about this, has Lenihan back tracked following Abramovich dissent:

        “From CreditSights’ Simon Adamson:

        “… The mechanism for subordinated debt burden sharing is not clear. We had thought it would be achieved through a deeply discounted tender offer, but it now seems it will be via new legislation … This would mark a new chapter in European banks for the treatment of subordinated debt – particularly in Lower Tier 2. As a reminder, at 30 June 2010, Anglo still had €1,742 mln of Lower Tier 2 and €705 mln of Tier 1 and Upper Tier 2 notes outstanding, despite a tender in August 2009 in which it repurchased €2.5 bln of bonds …”

        In other words, some sort of bank resolution/reorganisation legislation – though the mechanism for this is unclear and it would need to be done without triggering an event of default for bondholders, or a credit default event for the Credit Default Swaps.

        All the uncertainty meant there was still some price action in Anglo Irish bonds, even if prices were already depressed. Here, for instance, is the 8.19 cents move in Anglo floating rate subordinated bonds due in 2016, now trading at 24.05 cents on the euro:”

        • As a non expert in this area, I’m very curious about the ‘new legislation’ referred to above.

          For example, suppose I had €.5 bn free in my pocket, saw the legislation was naming a discount of 30%, that would be a nice opportunity to pick up an instant 5% plus profit by buying the stuff at 24.05 cents on the euro?

          Am I being stupid here and missing something else I should know about this?

          Plus the whole idea of legislation as some sort of localised regulation of the banks peculiar to Ireland Inc, is this a delusion or not?

          • paulmcd

            If the face value of the bond is 100 and it is perceived as “distressed” so that you can buy it in the market at 25, then any subsequent decision by the issuer to purchase the bond back at 30 would mean a (5/25)*100% = 20%, “profit” for you.

            If the issuer is a profitable organisation in its own right and can buy back bonds through its profit-generating capacity, it seems, that in accounting terms, it can record a further “profit” of 70% through the buyback.

            The above example is not real world. Our Government was not the issuer of our banking bonds. The banks are broke and bondholders, who took a calculated risk, should not receive a cent.

            Any attempt to represent a discounted repurchase of bonds in INBS or other zombie as a PROFIT would be a misrepresentation of the reality that the money to repurchase would have to come from the injection of taxpayer funds.

            Repurchasing, therefore, represents a 100% loss of the taxpayer funds so used.

            The bondholders, if professional investors, ought to have insured against DEFAULT, so it is their problem.

          • Note above the phrase ‘credit default event for the Credit Default Swaps’

            Shouldn’t Elderfield or Lenihan come clean to taxpayers and state what exactly is the CDS exposure of Anglo?

            It would seem the most taxpayers can expect to get from the banks is the well worn DoF phrase ‘constructive ambiguity’ from the secretive world of socialism for the banks versus the taxpayer vassals.

            What information can we expect from our ‘errant schoolboy’ Lenihan who ‘sofar’ has gotten it wrong ‘sofar’ ‘so often’ as he runs messenger errands between the banks, the Dail and PAC(Public Accounts Committee)

            Can nobody say what is really going on? We need more documentaries, books and probes to uncover the dark truths of Anglo. Roger Boyes to do a Meltdown Ireland and map the bondholder/depositor/politico tree.

            How come Anglo did not protect itself with insurance schemes such as CDS. What is the exact nature of the CDS it has on its own books.

            Here’s some amazing info from Karl Whelan covering the decision not to pay coupons on tier one debt and how this has triggered CDS insurance.


            How the crap can the government stick to a policy of not burning bondholders when they turn out to be
            CDS insurance companies and individual bondholders get saved by this insurance?

            Re Abramovich what’s his position re CDS?

          • FYI Karl refines his post with the following:
            “My presumablys were perhaps a bit presumptious. Commenter Eoin notes below that this is not (yet) a credit event. I have checked this elsewhere and am informed that the “reference” obligation that defines a credit event for Anglo is indeed a failure to meet Tier 2 obligations.”

            Above was 2009 but we still need clarity on this today!

          • Gege Le Beau

            Precisely, I presume it is possible to take out insurance on any potential baking/investment losses……….especially when you are a massive player in the market….

          • @paulmcd

            Thx for that. Could you further explain Karl’s statement here which to me on the face of it seems to suggest that a credit event defaulting on tier 1 would not trigger CDS, when, intuitively, you might expect the opposite, ie that defaulting on tier 2 might not be a credit event but that defaulting on tier 1 certainly would:

            “I have checked this elsewhere and am informed that the “reference” obligation that defines a credit event for Anglo is indeed a failure to meet Tier 2 obligations.”

  26. My Name is Issacvitch and I am in Petersburg and today the 15th October 2030 I have purchased actual Irish Government Bonds worth 250 million Euros for pennies issued a long time ago in year 2010 and they are with a promissory note attached .I am a second generation Irish living in Moscow and my parents fled here after the great Bank Trade War in 2010/ 2011 and the downfall of the rogue state.I am unable to return to Al Hamdu Eerlandi ( the new Iranian sponsored state ) as my parents were civil servants and bank employees then.
    I would like to cash them sometime and would welcome any information when you know that might happen.

  27. Gege Le Beau

    Business run society where the ‘rabble are kept in line’

    I got a fine for parking outside my apartment block, I left my car for 15 minutes on double yellow lines as I had returned home from work a bit distracted by my father’s cancer news, I wrote to the local authority explaining there were mitigating circumstances, that I moved my car and asked that some compassion to be shown and the fine waived.

    I got one letter telling me the fine had been increased from 40 euro to 60 euro because of non-payment (I had heard nothing back in relation to my fine), I then got a letter the following day telling me that my appeal had been rejected and payment was being sought for the offence at the original fee of €40.

    I also got my second fine of €6 for not paying the toll heading back from Dublin airport (I did not know how to pay, apparently it is done online), so €12 in fines for that trip plus the two tolls in both directions, so €8 approximately. €20 to travel a road our taxes paid for and not a service station in sight, no, you have to go into one of the villages and towns for that, deliberatly arranged I suspect.

    I mentioned my health experience, a public appointment was sent out to me for the 15th of June 2012, when I rang the doctor’s office and told them I had VHI cover, I got an appointment in 5 weeks, saw the consultant for around 12 minutes, cost: €120 euro, €10 euro roughly per minute. Handy work if you can get it.

    These are the things killing the country.

    • michaelcoughlan


      This is an absolutely outstanding post because of the link it contains. I would appeal to everyone to read at least the few seconds around 2:48 where the speaker says that the Large Corporations in the US are required by law to be run by pathological personalities. He also clearly again and again and again makes the point that what we have now is not capitalism it is totalitarianism of corporate entities. He says that Adam Smith who wrote the wealth of Nations would turn in his grave looking at what is going on now and even said Smith thought that the idea of free movement of capitalism (Globalisation) would be a very bad idea. God only knows where all of this is going to end.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Professor Noam Chomsky and others call it the dictatorship of the market, and in political terms Chomsky points to a business run society where one business party masquerades as two/three political parties.

        Chomsky also has long been highlighting the socialisation of risk and priviatisation of profit, the financial liberalisation of the Western economies since the 1970s, outsourcing of jobs and manufacturing, destruction of the labour movement and the all round attack on working people (wages have held firm or declined since the early 1970s when taking into account purchasing parity etc).

        Chomsky is also scathing in his attack on education which he sees as primarily a tool of indoctrination, used to dumb students down so they work compliantly and don’t agitate, while the media serves to manufacture consent, distract etc.

        Chomsky sees Western democracy as working in an increasing totalitarian manner where, like in corporations, which he considers to have a fascist structures, orders come from the top, elections are mere events (in Ireland you have referenda until the ‘right decision’ is arrived at).

        He discusses at length the democratic deficit where the population is removed from decision making and in economic terms especially during recessions become surplus to requirements, what is known as the ‘superfluous’ population, I won’t even go into his analysis of US foreign policy, the world economic order etc – Chomsky must have about a hundred books out, and innumerable articles, there is a ton of stuff on youtube on him and his critiques of neoliberalism and the political economy can be found at http://www.chomsky.info/

        Chomsky is regarded as the most influtential academic in modern times, and ranks as the most quoted living thinker (and eighth overall), according to a 1992 tabulation of sources from the previous 12 years in the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, which keeps track of journals and scholarlywork. He also comes out on top among current intellectuals in a survey of the Social Sciences Citation Index done by the MIT library.

        1. Marx
        2. Lenin
        3. Shakespeare
        4. Aristotle
        5. The Bible
        6. Plato
        7. Freud
        8. Chomsky
        9. Hegel
        10. Cicero

        • Vichy Regime a’ l’Irlandaise

          by Petain Lenihan

          • Gege Le Beau

            I’ve thinking about Brian Lenihan, reflecting on the man, on his values, on his soul.

            We know some things about his background, who his father was, his private education, legal standing, lecturing position in Trinity, into Fianna Fail etc etc

            Lenihan was in the doldrums of the party for quite a while, rumours that Bertie saw him as a threat etc, he held junior ministries (one for children etc) and had to push to get recognition. Then with a changing of the guard in 2007, he saw rapid promotion to the most senior ranks.

            Has shown himself to be an eloquent, capable and intelligent man, found of history, quoting JFK in particular. He has pursed some ridiculous policies, said he did not fully read the Price Waterhouse Cooper report, a very poor budget followed by almost North Korean style standing ovation from the party, and then a quick u-turn in the face of massive organised opposition to the medical card deal for old age pensioners, a patriotic call for unity when Fianna Fail did almost everything to destroy community and solidarity, inflated a boom (which Lenihan was largely only involved in by association as a member of FF) but who now is trying to do without doubt the hardest job of any European Finance Minister or in Irish history bar the war years when I think there was a government of national unity. Then in the midst of it all he has this personal health crisis. Again, the most able operator by far on the media front, with many in FF wishing he could become de facto leader over the ‘haunted and shaken’ current incumbant.

            Lenihan comes across as sincere (too sincere on some of the off the wall economic policies) with a love of country, but I wonder is he out of touch (does he not hear of the struggles of average people in his political clinics (I remember a testy time on Pat Kenny’s show when irate listeners let him know loud and clear their thoughts), would he not have seen it as he emerged up through the political ranks)?

            Then there is the FF family connections with O’Rourke and his brother Conor (kebab comment and disdain for Joe Higgins), I just don’t know, does he actually believe in the right wing neoliberal agenda or is he constrained by the party elders like Bertie and others, who supposedly influence things from behind the scenes and by international forces (hidden hand of the market).

            David McWilliams met him in person, and we know somethings in relation to their public spat, I just wonder what kind of a man is he, capable but so off track that he just does not see it?

            I cannot abide what is being done to the country, especially by wealthy politicians, but I do wonder what goes on in the Lenihan’s soul.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Gege,

            Very insightful observation regarding Lenihan. I have never met him but I do find that he never engages in hyperbole or allows himself to descend into the negative shit throwing antics of the rest of them just for the sake of it. From your post I would think you are a lecturer of some sort probably history and sociology etc. When you asked the question of yourself when you were sitting in traffic why you were struggling I presume you had in mind the thought that the sociopaths in charge of our failed institutions seemed to have it made and your comments made me think. I consider people like you and the other commentators here are the ones who have it made because you and the other commentators have the intelligence and vision to see what is happening, the fortitude to rail against it and the integrity not to be corrupted by it. I do feel we are however in a substantial minority but to achieve change in our great Republic we must first believe we can do it, then form the vision we are trying to achieve and act upon it. This will allow us to achieve the type of society we want to achieve in a renewed Republic. Perhaps Lenihan and a few more are in a similar minority in the Lion’s den. I can assure you Gege that in another few years after a long and successful career which will have taken longer to achieve than the quick buck merchants who have laid Eire low you will reflect on a very successful life lived well. This will be in stark contrast to the disgraced sociopaths who now aren’t even free to walk the streets of our Republic without enduring the contempt of the citizenry. You will then be confident and assured of your contribution to Eire. And you know Gege you will be perfectly correct in your assessment of yourself.

          • Harper66

            Your compassion for Lenihan speaks volumes for you and is in stark contrast to the gross lack of compassion Lenihan has shown for the people of this country.

            Regardless of his percieved humanity,this mans policies has brutalised and demoralised this country. His policies directly attack lower paid and vunerable and protect higher earners. Look at how he has allowed a witch hunt to be visited upon the lower paid in the public sector while protecting the higher paid such as politicians, judges. It is almost as if he has a vested interest in maintaining the pay levels of our legal system…..

            Consider the sham that is Fas…no one held accountable for anglo.. and worst of all the mess that is the bank bail outs and even more baffleing WHY the all the bank bail outs?

            I have a four year son. I wonder what future my boy has in this country thanks to lenihans actions. All I can do is clench my fists.

          • Gege Le Beau

            I am not sure what it is, compassion? Curiosity? Just trying to get inside the mind of a man who is at the crossroads and delivering so much of this economic madness. I thought my comments might provoke a few responses and thanks to you and Michael Coughlan for the warm and generous responses.

            Lenihan intrigues me because he is intelligent enough to know the impact of his policies yet not strong enough or interested enough to curb the worst excesses as you have pointed out, I mean his 2009 budget has to be one of the worst and most politically naive of any in recent memory. Maybe the repression, the inner struggle has caused some of his health difficulties, but I understand people’s rage, believe me, I share it, but instead of calling people lunatics, or nuts, I am more interested in teasing out in an effort to arrive at a better understanding so these people can be tackled or spotted earlier so they can be battled from day one.

            He does strike me at times as a sincere man but as one writer pointed out, when you can fake sincerity you truly have it made. I did hear that Brian Lenihan had respect for Joe Higgins and treated him decently when Higgins lost his seat, but I never had that confirmed, not that it is a big deal, but could be insightful of the man, he has also crossed swords with Cowen and Ahern publicly and clearly criticised the practices at the top and in the Department of Finance during their tenure as no 1 and no 2 in government (again Lenihan was kept in the background during this period).

            But I take people’s points that what is going on is sheer lunacy. Chomsky has a nice line about this, the person might be pleasant, you may even consider going for a beer with them but you can never forget that they are part of a monstrous system.

            I think that thought is very appropriate for this discussion.

          • paddythepig

            Brian Lenihan has one problem that none of our armchair commentators have.

            He is the man in the hot seat. The buck stops with him. If he can’t find the money to pay the teachers, the guards and so on, he is the man they will all turn on.

            While he is at the coalface dealing with the reality of trying to borrow the money to pay for all this largesse, we have bloggers who say they’d do this and they’d do that instead, and that Lenihan is the devil incarnate, and he’s destroyed the country, and so on.

            How many of these bloggers were willing participants in the Celtic Tiger insanity. Plenty I bet. Do they ever look in the mirror? It’s much easier to project their own guilt onto a figurehead, than face the truth about themselves.

            Not that Lenihan is perfect. But when you get a hospital pass, would anyone else have done any better?

            What if the entire financial infastructure had been left collapse in 2008? Where would we be now?


          • tony_murphy


            Has Lenihan acted with Integrity? Honesty? I for one don’t think so!

            I can only imagine a card carrying member of FF or another who has a politicans mentality would agree with you and him.

            I live in the real world, honesty and integrity is what works

            If you ask me, Lenihan has destroyed the country playing political games. My view on that hasn’t changed since September 2008


          • Harper66

            “Lenihan intrigues me because he is intelligent enough to know the impact of his policies yet not strong enough or interested enough to curb the worst excesses…”
            why do you presume that Lenihan is a victim of his actions? Consider the possibility that every decision Lenihan has taken is in fact achieving the outcome he wants.Why excuse him as being inept or conflicyed in some way? I think he should be judged by his actions alone.

            ” The buck stops with him. If he can’t find the money to pay the teachers, the guards and so on, he is the man they will all turn on. ” The problem I have is that he says he cannot pay the teachers, gardai,nurses etc while he will pay for ministerial cars, over paid judges, politicians etc.

            “If you ask me, Lenihan has destroyed the country playing political games”

          • Colin


            Did you bother reading the link in the previous article from Gavin’s blog, detailing all the lies Lenihan has told up until 2009, not even including 2010?

            Look, I’ve been over this ground with you already regarding benefiting from the celtic tiger. I didn’t, in fact these years accounted for more stealth taxes.

            Lenihan was a squad member, he then got onto the pitch, and may have accepted a hospital pass, but he has gone down his own half of the pitch and passed the ball to the opposition (banks and bondholders) and allowed them to score easy points against team Ireland. If Lenny is so clever, why doesn’t put a stop to the dreadful job he’s doing by resigning, and letting the people of Ireland choose a new government. Anyone who’d listen to David McWilliams would have done a better job. In fact, the question which should be asked is could anyone do a worse job?

          • paddythepig

            Colin, you seem to think I’m pointing the finger at you every time I make a point about ‘the majority of people’ or ‘many people’. If you didn’t benefit, I believe you, I never stated ‘everyone benefited’ or ‘we were all involved’ ; I’ve always been careful to qualify my remarks.

            On Gavin’s blog, for a guy who spent so much time providing contradictory opinions to the Governments, you’d imagine he would zone in on the number one problem facing the country, and comment on it – the fiscal deficit. But interestingly, he never once mentions it. Not once. I His article contains some truths, and some rather dubious opinions. I wouldn’t take Gavins blog as gospel.

            The dole is still being paid, so are the public service, and every other state expense. Imagine the social unrest were the dole for example to run out of money. Are you sure all the alternatives would deliver continuity of payment to the unemployed in the real world?

          • Colin


            Fair enough regarding pointing the finger.

            I reckon the reason gavin’s blog hasn’t mentioned the fiscal crisis is because he blogged that piece back in September 19th, 2009. The fiscal crisis has only come to light this year. I do agree with you that there should be cuts to wasteful spending, such as axing quangos, cutting rent supplements paid to landlords who house those on welfare. I’d like to see the corporation tax raised to 25%, for 3 years only, call it corporate solidarity with the people. I’d also like to see property taxes for large homes only, raising the 2nd home tax to €1000 per year and also bringing in a 3rd rate of income tax of 55% for those earning more than €100k.

        • Julia

          Chomsky is wonderful. And he certainly must have read and no doubt met Ivan Illich who I’ve mentioned before. He was writing in the 70s about the same issues, expressing the same views. Illich gave a lecture in the RDS once. A tiny notice was printed in the papers and my mother, a brave, private feminist went. There were huge crowds at the lecture, many of whom stood outside listening via extra speakers erected when the organisers realised there wouldn’t be enough room for them inside. Ireland was a very conservative country then in the 70s. The cold war was in full swing. It was a country full of Catholics and ‘non-Catholics’. The relatives in the States were afraid of Reds under the beds. There were regular ESB strikes and bomb scares. The local chemist refused to sell the pill and got away with it. The bishops and Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael ruled and fought the civil war again although we had just joined the EEC. Maybe Illich could come to Ireland because we had joined something bigger than ourselves. His books were what started me thinking as a teenager.
          Regarding a business run society, I’m very much afraid that this is exactly what Fine Gael will be running in the next Govt. Labour will agree to all their demands just in order to be in power. Are they left wing at all any more? Were they ever? Its sad to notice that not one politition ever talks about philosophy or ideals. Just reality, and thats always harsh. Education is an industry. Health is an industry. Religion is to be run along industrial lines.(Actually of course it always was-we just didn’t notice) Credit unions are to become banks.
          Everybody has to be qualified, certified, accredited and tatooed with EU quality assured birth mark. Remember Azimovs Brave New World. Are you an Alpha or a Beta? Its all crazy. I’m off to bed.
          Night night.

          • adamabyss

            Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, although Azimov was a fabulous writer too. I’m not surprised you mixed up the two. Night night to you too.

          • Gege Le Beau

            I agree. We see the commodification of all aspects of life during the boom, people boasting of their Celtic Tiger where both parents HAVE to work to service debt repayments on house(s), car(s) and creche (good for the socialisation of children, but I have my doubts, why have your children raised by strangers).

            Now these people (and I met them during the boom) who were celebrating over a drink securing vastly inflated mortgages (will I ever forge that day with them egged on by the equality indebted), are facing at the very least reduced wages, higher taxes, rising interest rates, job insecurity and/or unemployment – classic debt trap (reminds me of the mouse trap game from long ago).

            You describe the Ireland of previous decades (I was but a pup in the late 1970s), which I don’t think I could have survived as I think this society is in bubble wrap with infotainment, RTE~PRAVDA and TDs putting on thick country accents to keep in with the country electorate (I like Oscar Wilde’s line on this: I prefer the theatre it is so much more real than life).

            I am scandalised by a political system that allows full time and extremely well paid politicians have property empires and multiple private concerns (just have a look at the TDs interest document that come out every year with those who don’t trust their wives having to declare while the cute ones list 0,0,0,0,0 all the way down the list). The message this corruption sends down the line to society only encourages more corruption and cynicism (I see it all around me), a poster mentioned it previously that ‘everyone is out for themselves’, this is not entirely true as I know a lot of people who serve and serve well for little money but are having their backs ridden by people on mulitples of their income, and the government talks of public service reform which is highly ironic when more often than not it is their politically appointed cronies who are carrying out the most corruption and are the least efficient.

            Varadkar (who I was watching in order to come to an opinion) called for the ‘front loading’ (the language employed is quite appalling, almost as bad as the idea) of cuts, some €7 billion, I think this guy should be kept far from the cabinet table, and is one of the reasons why Labour is surging ahead, the last thing the electorate needs is more ‘shock doctrine’ style disaster capitalism (see Naomi Klein).

          • You are all elucide in your observations of BL .Somehow you do not go deep enough to understand his real persona better .
            He is liken to Radon Gas an element that you cannot see but is fatal to all of you and your families .You can live with him and raise a family around him and feel good about him, and still he is fatal and distructive and your senses do not feel it .It is this ‘ghostlike virus’ that he is about us that we fail to recognise and unable to describe that gives him that added edge to be perceived to remain ahead of the pack .
            There are only certain words in the english language that will cause him to falter in the public spotlight and so far his critics have failed to find them.

        • Deco

          Well, I hope in the intervening years, more intellectually gifted individuals are being quoted, than some of the problem-makers on that list….

      • coldblow

        From Michael Hudson “Neo-Liberalism and the Counter-Enlightenment”:

        “I find it remarkable that nobody has pointed out that Adam Smith did not say what neoliberals repeat when they count him as their patron saint. His aim, like that of subsequent classical reformers, was to free society from privatized land rent, monopoly rents, and financial interest and fees.”

    • Whenever I point out in conversations that we don not have a democracy, but a totalitarian bureaucracy instead, that is represented by a phletora of at best mediocre intellects I hit a wall of ‘Impossible!’.

      Frankly, I give a rats arse about Mr. Lenhians’s soul, this guy is nothing but a twisted mind, and the executioner of European and IMF interests. Statements like ‘He is a honorable man’ make me laugh out loud, and remind me to the Stockholm syndrome.

      Many seem to think that Gilmore would be a good leader, many seem think that Lenihan would be a good leader.

      What can I say? There were lesson to be learnt, looks like the students missed the class. Fuck it!

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi Georg,

        If you accuse a fellow of having a twisted mind let us see your arguments to support your hypothesis. Please be specific regarding Brian Lenihan Himself.



        • Hi Michael,

          Coming from the background of a nixonesque Irish political dynasty that started in the early years of this Republic and provided the ideological DNA whereby the ethical DNA is dominated by base pairs of an elitist attitude.

          The highly infectious disease of nepotism in Ireland is comparable with the effects of Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, which hit the headlines in Ireland over and over again, and I remember vividly the report by a Prof. from Switzerland who had to explain the authorities here that there is a need to educate health staff from nurses to surgeons in Irish hospitals to wash their hands!

          By common sense hygienic measures MRSA can be reduced by 95%.

          I remember this so vividly, because at the same time when this report was broadcasted on RTE, a friend of the family who had a minor eye operation, was fighting since 1,5 years for her life after contracting MRSA in a stinking filthy hospital, and in this week was undergoing brain surgery as a result. She was the caretaker and only supporter of her little family and these events and impact were truly beyond comprehension.

          The Authorities in Ireland should have been embarrassed to the maximum, and these results should have political consequences to the highest levels, but well, Mary Harney has the political quality of Japanese knot weed, you can not get rid of it, you can not even burn it, it will just reseed itself even quicker.

          Political Hygiene does not exist in Ireland, on the contrary and as a result, you find the Lenihan dynasty like a red line since 1902 in Irish politics. This form of political inbreeding has a long standing tradition on Ireland, and we know what happens to the human DNA in the process, genetic disorders, and the offspring of consanguineous relationships are usually showing higher autosomal recessive disorders.

          So does the Irish Republic.

          In a way, the Irish political system suffers from decades of consanguinity, hence Ireland political landscape is incestuous. It might be interesting to draw the Irish family tree of political incest from 1919-2010 in that respect.

          x x x x

          But, I believe you were asking me why I consider Mr Lenihan to display certain levels a twisted brain.

          I guess I can spare you the list of statements concerning the state of our economy or the cost basis of his decisions, that had to be updated every 8-12 weeks as Banks saw fit to drip feed their hidden debts into the public realm. I guess I can spare the dsitaerous decision, or better the lack of, that can only be described as a policy that drives this country over the cliff and straight into the hands of the IMF, who already pulls the strings behind the curtain in conjunction with the European Commission representing the Interests of German financial institutions. I guess I can spare the recent history of decision concerning Anglo Irish bank etc, invisible bondholders and Austerity measures that ares sold to the public as There is no other way just in line with the elitist DNA described above.

          However, I believe there is no definition what a twisted brain is, and I probably should clarify what I mean by that.

          Someone who is disconnected from the reality of his own people that he claims to act in the best interest of, someone who runs a department that is totally inefficient and rotten to the very core, someone who implemented NAMA, someone who claims we will have the cheapest banking bailout in the world which now has emerged to be a 50 thousand million Euro cancer, for now that is, someone who tells the Irish Nation that he will restore AIB to it’s former greatness – gasping for air as I write this – in deed, someone who dares to speak of the Irish banking GREATNESS at all, considering the consecutive decades of tax frauds, overcharging of Irish citizens, obscene payments to Banksters, and someone who then fails to implement a public inquiry into the Irish Banking system on purpose, to hide matters behind a curtain of secrecy and gagging orders, protecting party and vested interests, and I shall leave it at that although the full diagnose is even longer, yes Michael, this is what I call a twisted, deluded and clueless brain.

          But I am probably all wrong here as members of the Lenihan dynasty are immune to errors or failure, as we know.

          Last not least I have to deeply bow to TD Conor Lenihan as well, who is about to rewrite the entire human history with his insights on Darwin and evolution. I guess we have to be grateful to have such excellence amongst us, and we should consider a Lenihan statue to substitute the Dublin Spire with.


          • At least, such a statue would be most pleasant to look at…. when dogs take a leak at it.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Georg,

            Thank you very much for this response. First of all I don’t know Brian Lenihan or anyone involved with Fianna Fail so I am not here to defend them.

            You could add to the point you make about the state of Irish Hospitals the fact that a pensioner who turned up in a hospital in the midlands with a bleeding stomach ulcer was falsely told that no bed was available for him and he subsequently bled to death, the fact that a wrong kidney was removed from a child in a Dublin Hospital or the fact that a Down Syndrome man perished in Leas Cross nursing home in dubious circumstances and I am sure a whole load of other appalling tragedies too numerous to mention here.

            But I can tell you this in my view Brendan €500k per annum Drumm is responsible as CEO of the HSE for these failures and The Health minister is responsible for not removing him for such failure.

            Regarding families in Irish Politics. In many professions skills and experiences are passed from one generation to the next so there is nothing out of the ordinary here as these people still need our votes to get into the Dail.

            Regarding your point on Nama other countries have adopted similar policies to solve their failed banks. Bank boards in Ireland and lazy shareholders are responsible for the obscene salaries enjoyed by banksters.

            Connor Lenihan pulled out of the press conference regarding the book you are referring to knowing the inconsistency that could be derived from him launching the book.

            Finally George in my view the failure and twisted thinking lies with us as we failed ourselves and our Republic for allowing this mess to happen on our watch. Nothing will change until the citizenry ourselves are cajoled into taking personal responsibility for the mess we are in.

            I just don’t think that all this mess can be explained away by saying that Brian Lenihan has a twisted Brain.

          • call a spade a spade Michael, and it is Lenihan who is serving crooks and calling the shots, not you, not I, not those you claim are responsible in this society.

            This is not about explaining this mess away, but acknowledging political responsibility, and this lies predominantly with Lenihan and his decisions that he pushes through a corrupted political system. Simple as that.

  28. FAiken

    Has anyone read this?


    The Center for Public Inquiry seemed like a good idea. It’s amazing how easily it was taken out.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Not the only one, Combat Poverty was nailed because they were doing that, combating and highlighting poverty and causing discomfort for the government.

      192 bodies in the UK will go, the ‘era of transparency and good governance’, so you know its the opposite.

  29. Gege Le Beau

    1.25 Trillion Euro held buy Irish residents abroad (and not fixed assets!), could this be tapped, or taxed in our hour of need?


  30. Gege Le Beau

    Matthew Elderfield seems to be doing a good job, making the right moves and sounds, been impressed, one good thing that has come out of the debacle, but then maybe it took the crisis for radical and correct action to be made, whoever recommended should be thanked.

    Next thing is an election which can’t be far off, Gilmore looked ike a Taoiseach on six-one last night, again, a clean sweep with a new broom. Cowen increases looks like something from a by-gone era.

    • Deco

      well…why not ? We are not fucked up enough as things stand ? let Gilmore-Ditherer 2.0 in to be Taoiseach.

      ILP economic projections, financing and budgetary projections have more holes than a giant sized sieve….the 18 billion Euro loan to compete with existing state banks being a classic case of the type of big stupid ideas that Gilmore comes up with…..no thoughts given as to where the money come from….”sure we’ll borrow it”…. And more NEDs for the ICTU fat cats…and you can all pay your stealth taxes so that the new ILP activists can get state positions….

      We need three new parties to replace the existing three. You are right we need a clean out. A complete clean out.

      • “A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.”

        Niccolo Machiavelli

        Or, Deco, as Lear said in imitation of my good self;

        “Nothing can come of nothing: speak again.”

        Translated to our own tongue;

        “Náid ona náid a phioc. Bí ag caint arís”

        What will we replace this Triumvirate of Tomfoolery with, since the whole gene pool has been poisoned by 90 years of the gombeen? FF, FG & ILP sound like a Bang & Olufsen boombase unit in the Gobi desert. Loud and entirely useless.
        The rump of what remains as independent or minority cry for scraps at the masters table through some form of coalition or other. Scavenging on the scraps of what once was a Republic.

        Everything that should be done has either been flagged by David McWilliams et al, or has been adequately discussed here by sage commentators.

        The sad fact, if one steps back for a moment, would appear to be that this Ireland is not yet ready for full self determination. It will come in time, provided that democracy as we understand it continues to exist, but that sense of community, responsibility, self belief and pride in the value of our freedom will not come now in my lifetime.

        We had a glorious chance to take our place among the nations of the Earth but unfortunately allowed the nations, or at least some nations, to buy and sell us like common trollops.

        I’ve moved on because David can’t say any more than he has already. Neither can Constantin Gurgiev nor any of the other academics. The country was rotten, remains so and will remain so for some considerable time to come.

        It’s all crying about spilt milk, after a fashion. They, those insiders, have a death grip on the country and they ain’t going to let go.

        Only a massive surge by our young people will cause tangible change but, sadly, emigrants can’t vote.

        • Malcolm McClure

          Furrylugs: Well spoken with true nationalistic pride and passion. Trouble is that the Irish nation is a figment of our collective imagination. We are the products of a melting pot, just like America, Canada and Australia. Our best people have always gone abroad since the days of Columcille, Columbanus, Disibod and Gall. Our most enterprising continue the genetic imperative and in response some of the the enterprising of other countries come here, as has happened since the Celts, the Normans, the Roman church and the Plantation. All of these left a positive legacy of ideas and constuctions, which we now celebrate as the essence of our Irish Heritage.

          We’ll never get anywhere in this discussion if we don’t recognize this reality and move on.

          “We had a glorious chance to take our place among the nations of the Earth” you say. —Okay then Furrylugs, let’s all emigrate and leave some enterprising folks from elsewhere come and sort this place out? 5 million chinese would love to live here and mother Ireland would be the richer for it?

          • Thanks Malcolm.
            Damned if I’m going though. I’m back to stay now even if temporarily ineffective.
            The common trend amongst all our emigrés is their disappointment in the Irish tribalism masquerading as Democracy.
            In that respect David was correct in that we should be attracting our diaspora home to roost.
            Not very realistic at present but if we wait long enough in the long grass, who knows what may happen.

            A word of caution to those who advocate anything other than peaceful change.

            Who’s going to bell the Cat?

          • Dorothy Jones

            There is article in today’s Irish Times on age 13 entitled: ‘How forced migration can spark revolution at home’, by Andreas Hess and Gerard Boucher. The amplification of East Germans’ citizens’ voices caused by emigration is compared to the current irish situation where the authors describe the irish voice as ‘quelled’.

            The authors further add:

            ‘It is indeed amazing to see that the polotical culture in this country is still pretty much informed by a Malthusian argument in which massive exit is seen as a potentially healing device and for the Irish economy and for those who remain.

            Such a view amounts to truly to a declaration of intellectual bankruptcy since its core argument depends very much on the suffering of those who have to leave against their wishes. Not only does such a position prolong dated views of emigration, it also presupposes that private options of exit are beneficial for the public good.

            The apparently very widespread acceptance of such a notion is a demonstration of how cynical political culture in this country has become’ End quote.

            This criticism is not untypical of the point of view held by some parts of the European media.

            So what to do?

            Perhaps one course of action is to form a group and hold an initial brainstorming session. The various ideas can be collectively implemented using the diversity of backgrounds, contacts etc. Publication and / or demonstrations would occur in parallel.

            Tim has already started this process earlier on this blog by suggesting a meetup at the Alternative Ideas Fair on 30 October. It is a good initiative, and could be the beginning of a really positive step forward.

        • Deco

          { They, those insiders, have a death grip on the country and they ain’t going to let go. }

          Very true, very true.

          Maybe the internet might undermine them even the slightest bit. The ideas and commentary flows, almost in real time, in reaction to events as they happen. No more of this nonsense about reading the same views on the same news, with a glance towards ‘our advertising sponsors’.

          The internet is freedom from such influences and control. Like the Guthenburg Printing Press, the internet might free things up a bit….

          • Deco and Dorothy,
            I am humbled many times b the responses to my simple posts. I speak merely from the heart and my soul and my love of this homeland.
            When one spends the best part of ones life away as a second class citizen and comes home to a time warp where all the mistakes are being replicated, it’s difficult to make sense of it.
            Crookery explains it all.
            Do not ask me to lump all the Irish into this.
            They were not wrong.
            A short fat bastard in a cupboard sold this country into penury.
            Hold that thought.
            It’s all a bit of craic and any one who didn’t get on the bandwagon were losers. Anyone who wasn’t cute enough to cover their arse were eejits. Anyone who hadn’t a getout clause gets screwed.

            Anyone who isn’t a gurrier, a jackeen, a feckin tramp.

            Go commit suicide.



      • Gege Le Beau

        I agree but I don’t see a new political party appearing on the horizon, at the moment Labour is the best of a very bad bunch.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Gege,

          If Labour is to get my vote they will have to start articulating credible alternatives rather than hurling shit at the government parties. Perhaps they might listen to people like you since there seems to be a dearth of effective left wing foresight as far as I can see.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Yes, that is under consideration :-), there is another way, and it doesn’t have to be the kind of way that frightens the be-Jesus out of the Irish middle classes, first step is new government, then looking at the real books, then come up with a credible plan which should be communicated to the people with regular updates (news bulletins so people feel a part of this national effort)give people some dam hope and stop terrorising them with ‘cuts, and pain, and tough decisions’.

            Any money that can be found should be drilled into bringing down unemployment, I also think our universities which sit idle most of the year need to be opened up, teaching hours looked at, people on €85,000 for 100 hours teaching or less need to put the shoulder to the wheel.

            I would also slash public sector pay for people on 100,000 plus, starting with senior civil servants and university presidents. In this economic emergency, TDs should lose expenses and everything should come from their 100,000 salary, they can close their clinic offices and go back to the local pub/hotel format and stop sending campaign material courtesy of the public purse.

            The poorest, sickest and most disadvantaged have to be protected, I would re-examine the major capital projects to see if there is another way (no point in having major transportation projects if the deficit is out of control and unemployment continues to rocket).

            I would put an 18 month hold on house repossessions and setup a cross party committee to look at them on a case by case basis, if we can gift the banks tens of billions with no strings we can keep people in their homes for Christmas and beyond.

            Evo Morales, when he became President of Bolivia, took a 54% cut in salary, like a Roy Keane tackle in the Dutch match that sent Marc Overmars into the stand, I think that kind of move would set the down, a 54% cut in Taoiseach’s pay would still be many times the average industrial wage and would give people confidence in the system.

            I think the President shoud see at least a 60% cut in salary, and 2/3 cut in entertainment budget of 3 million per annum. The Dail should have two weeks holidays (one in summer, one in winter), the minimum wage should not be cut by a cent, nor old pensions, nor benefits for carers, the blind, the disabled etc

            Just a few things, that came flying out, there a million and one things that can be done to restore confidence, the essential ingredient to any recovery. I think export led growth should also be examined, and there should be refocus on Irish startups with the acceptance that most will fail, we need to employ ourselves not be dependent on multinationals that can relocate at the drop of a hat.

    • Julia

      “Matthew Elderfield seems to be doing a good job” He does indeed. But did you hear the reporter on Primetime telling Miriam O C that the Regulator’s Office is still depending on the banks to tell them what is going on, what their figures are etc. So what has changed? They aren’t sending in inspectors. We still can’t be sure if they are telling the truth. Rules usually aren’t followed unless they are policed and enforced.

      • Or to quote my buddy again Julia;

        “It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.”

        Niccolo Machiavelli

      • Gege Le Beau

        Yes relying on the banks is not good, however, he did make some intersesting moves regarding insolvent TDs, a move which I think was spiked by the higher ups, he also has talked of changing the bankruptcy laws which seem medieval in Ireland especially for individuals and he has also reached out to people struggling with their mortgages, word has it that something will have to be done because a large number are the sons and daughters of middle class voters, the voters all mainstream parties appeal to, so if some kind of moratorium on repossessions or some mortgage suspension deal (say 12 months followed by a review) can be struck it could be useful politically, I suspect Labour may capitalise on this as a way of showing their bona fides, and cementing supoort among a section of the population that is weary of ‘left’ politics (if only they knew what that really was).

      • I would caution on that hype re Elderfield. It made me skeptical from day one how he was introduced here and is played in the media landscape.

        Fact is: A report prepared by the UK Commons Treasury Committee found that the UK regulatory authority, which Mr Elderfield was working for, had been guilty of a “systemic failure of duty” over the Northern Rock crisis.

        Mr Elderfield was one of three ‘Head of Departments’, or HoDs, who oversaw Northern Rock’s supervision from January 1, 2005 to August 9, 2007.

        A spokeswoman for the Irish Financial Regulator’s declined to comment further on Mr Elderfield’s role in supervising Northern Rock, or on the findings of the UK report.

        Since he arrived on the Irish scene in January, Mr Elderfield has been hailed as bringing a new level of rigour to Ireland’s financial regulation.

        • Malcolm McClure

          In Gege Le Beau’s useful link Elderfield says on debt forgiveness:
          “the cost of any support will need to be borne by the taxpayers or by the banks and therefore, in many cases, effectively the taxpayer as well, and this raises questions of fairness for taxpayers who are not in debt”.

          Good point. Perhaps each household could be given €100,000 to be used for debt reduction REDUCED BY the total amount of income tax paid from 2003 to 2007 inclusive. Thus the higher paid would receive less and the poorly paid would receive more.

          • crossroads

            Re Malcolm’s suggestion, “Perhaps each household could be given €100,000 to be used for debt reduction REDUCED BY the total amount of income tax paid from 2003 to 2007 inclusive. Thus the higher paid would receive less and the poorly paid would receive more.”

            Alas Malcolm, I fear that your formula might actually reduce the benefit to the poor versus the rich as the poorer PAYE earner didn’t earn enough to take part in the encouraged activities which caused the mess and shelter their income from tax in property-related reliefs.

          • Malcolm McClure

            crossroads: Thank you for considering that possibility. Funds given specifically for debt reduction would be accountable against witnessed agreements. Most of those would be with banks so the money would perform a socially useful service before reaching the bank’s coffers.

            Your point about tax shelters is a valid one but that component could be excluded from the calculation on the grounds that it was a benefit already received.

            It is interesting to read the ESRI’s review of household debt at end 2007.

            This suggests that at end 2007 Irish households were thought to owe roughly €200 billion but they also held over €330 bio of financial assets and had houses worth an estimated €630 bio.

            Where is that €330 billion of financial assets now? Vanished in the bank crash?

            Presumably the houses are still worth about €200 billion in spite of the crash. If the government sequestered and sold off the site of every household, assigning it a value of 25% of the assessed value of the house, (reasoning that this step was necessary because of the national emergency), then sale of those leases would raise about €50 billion. The householders would thereafter have to pay ground rent to the purchasers at a fixed rate of 4.5% of the sale value per annum.

            So a person with a house worth €200,000 would pay 4.5% of €50,000 ground rent or about €2250 per annum which could be tax deductible. They would be allowed to buy out the ground lease after 10 years at its initial cost.

            Just tossing out a few ideas.

        • Gege Le Beau

          Thanks for heads up on Elderfield and Northern Rock, for the files.

    • paddythepig

      If failing to answer the question is the criteria for Taoiseach, Gilmore will make an excellent one.

      And God help us if Joan the Moan becomes Minister for Finance.

      • tony_murphy

        Now I agree with you Paddy regarding Gilmore and Joan Burton and the rest of the Labour.

        They would be an absolute disaster.

        George Orwell – “The Road to Wigan Pier” gives a insight into those who are part of the Socialist parties and organisations.

    • Well, looking at the german side of it…. at a glance It appears genuine to me.

      Why am I not astonished. Deka, Hypo…. ah well…. nothing new under the sun.

    • Deco

      Georg. Well retrieved. Finally, the one piece of information that every citizen has been asking about.

      Everybody needs to look at that list. Make it one of the best hit upon sites from Irish IP addresses. Embarrass Clowen and the Clowns….

      And, look at that….G-Sucks shows up on the list.

    • Gege Le Beau

      ECB money bailing out European banks who played the game and got burnt but aren’t prepared to adhere, want their money back. Very interesting case study indeed.

      The Irish taxpayer ultimately picks up the hit, quite a game these people run, on both sides of the deal, like the bottlebank site in Dublin, that way you ensure you get your euro no matter what happens.

      Quite a few calls must have gone in from Berlin, Paris and Luxembourg to good old Baile Atha Cliath.

      • it was the same with the so called ‘Greek Rescue Package’, money went straight into french and german banks.

        Concerning the lack of adequate reactions from the Irish public, I am loosing my patience. Those who do NOT know by now, are totally ignorant, imposed a self inflicted censorship, or belong to the political cancer that is the establishment in Ireland. If you deduct the above from the total, and you would have to deduct a severe 25-30 %, that leaves 70 % of the population to make a choice.

        The choice to shut the fuck up and hide in total submission, sipping “Anti Freeze Jacobs Creek’ with a bag of crisps while staring at the Idiot box.

        If this is Ireland October 2010.

        So be it….!

        • Gege Le Beau

          Don’t be too hard on them, there are stages people go through, shock, denial, anger, frustration, depression, anger again and possibly at the very end action.

          If you look at a historical analysis of social upheavals, contrary to perception, they do not happen over night, the French Revolution was simmering over a long period until finally people were so squeezed that they felt risking their lives was less of sacrifice than the constant struggle (the ‘let them eat cake’ mentality is alive and well in elites and we see it on a daily basis in our body politic). Situations can be quite fluid, currently people are talking, angered at the daily stories but yes, most are trying to survive, finding a way to pay the bills and look after the kids (the black economy is back because people know the system is fundamentally unjust, just look at the expense scandal). We just had a 10 year boom turn over 2 years to the worst bust in the Western world, it is early days in some senses.

          People will either express their frustration democratically at the next election which I think will be next year or they will make life difficult for the government, like the go slow within the public service. The Unions as in the UK may also play a role if they can get their act together, because their members are really feeling the heat.

          People are watching and waiting and if given an opportunity soon they will extract some price from Fianna Fail, to such an extent that I think they could be finished for the next 8-10 years, depends how Labour plays its cards, if it can capitalise on the anger, which to be honest, apart from Gilmore and Joan Burton its been a poor enough show as a party, holding seminars in 5 star hotels for instance is hardly the way, nor taking on former PDs when they should be connecting with the disgruntled 500,000 unemployed and seeking fresh candidates untainted by the bull from the past.

          I’d ask Gilmore, is it power for power sake or power with principle?

    • Deco

      the fact that GS is on the list means that

      Suds will be mightily embarrassed about this.

      In fact that list might even Shut Suds up :)

      And I think ‘Johnny Cash’ no stranger to embarrassing moments might also be indirectly fingered by the inclusion of one high profile name on the list….

      • Deco

        Is Suds still in receipt of an annual pension from one of the Anglo Bango Bondholders ?????

        Well, Suds, have you got a conflict of interest ?

        (not that we take him seriously anyway)…

      • paulmcd

        Well done Georg and well spotted, Deco, on Sutherland connection.

        Dukes would have us believe that such a list does not exist, because the bonds are BEARER.

        Lenny the Liar would have us believe that the list consists of Irish pension funds and Credit Unions.

        Where the list of subordinated bondholders is concerned, I have already surmised what kind of people or institutions might be on this.

        • I am trying to get in contact with this Guido chap, he stated that he can back up his claims if Dublin Authorities would contact him.

          If authenticity can be verified, there is no doubt that this will hit the Public sooner than later.

          • Deco

            No, he must not contact the authorities. That would ensure a complete coverup. The authorities are carrying out an investigation into Anglo, and they seem to be sitting on their hands a lot of the time….Does anybody on this site trust the authorities in Dublin ?

            If he wants transparency he should contact somebody like Joe Higgins MEP, or some renegade media commentator who let it out.

            Or maybe somebody like Prof Brian Lucey.

          • Deco

            Georg – if you remember the Morris Tribunal and the way that the government threatened Jim Higgins MEP, and Brendan Howlin, TD with jail if they did not reveal their sources.

            In Ireland the crime is telling the truth to the public about lawbreaking.

            Ask John Allen – he will tell – never go to the authorities, because it results in an effective cover up.

          • Deco : I reported to the senior management of the Bank of Ireland and afterwards they set me up for doing so because in their written words to me afterwards they advised me to sue the Gardai for negligence to detract me from sueing the bank .The banks believe that inside their holy sanctuary they are to be seen to be above the law no matter what the gardai say or do.Even where kidnapping is a security concern with the Bank of Ireland as recently seen to have happened.

          • Deco : Even the bank of ireland attempted to stop my adoption of my daughter who is now 18 and who sang solo for President Mc Aleese earlier this year and who is playing the part of Snow White in Christmas Panto at university hall limerick from 28th dec .This bank continues their malicious tirade doing this every week of every year since 1993 .She is a Laurel Hill Prefect .I can handle them and they are afraid of me .

  31. I guess David can not check /comment on this being at the DEW in Kenmare. However, I sent this info to a bunch of other people as well, If someone else here can verify the authenticity of this list…. go ahead.

  32. paulmcd

    Alas! It makes me sad. Some of you may have seen this housing estate featured on RTE as a step along the way to a carbon neutral future:


    And to think . . . I was so sure that this development which is not for from the Institute of Technology would have already sold out that when I embarked on a mini-tour of the local ghost estates, during the summer, I purposely omitted it from the itinerary.

    I will need to revisit my estimates for the cost of the banking bailout.

    • paulmcd

      I have re-visited the above development. When the scheme was launched in 2007 by Minister, Éamon Ryan, the place was being overrun at weekends by home hunters and the curious like my wife and my good self.

      I am stunned. The photo in the paper fails to convey the magnitude of the horror at the scene. The 4 home-owners in the estate will have to live with this desolation, for decades, probably.

      I am reminded of an article, about 6 months ago, concerning homes in Florida which were selling at $200,000 at the peak but had, by that time, collapsed, below building costs, to $40,000 and were expected to fall even further.

      These home in Dundalk were priced from €225,000. It would seem, that for 3 years, they have not been selling. A fire sale of the properties would have realised building costs if this had happened at least 18 months ago.

      With grass growing on the paved driveways they would have to knock the price down to €30,000 to get me interested and this is only because of the proximity to the Institute.

      I think if Éamon Ryan visited again, he would finally decide, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”, and have the Greens bring down the charade of FF/G misgovernment.

      • paulmcd

        The lack of fire sales in the Irish property market should be of grave concern to those who wish to minimise costs to the taxpayer.

        There is an ongoing roll-up of developer interest charges and a compounding of the costs of finance which are directly or indirectly related to the situation.

      • adamabyss

        Eamon Ryan would do no such thing. He doesn’t give a toss about what’s going on out there. He’s only interested in staying in power as long as possible and getting his fat pension. He’ll stay as far away from the place as possible.

        • Deco

          I think this is an accurate assessment of the situation.

          A few weeks ago he came out with the phrase “rebalance” concerning the ESB showing the bulk of the price increase onto domestic customers, and the hassle IBEC and the MNCs were giving the government. Ryan said that the plan to get more juice out of the people would proceed, but the price increases would get a rebalance, to the detriment to the standard ESB customer (provided that IBEC and the MNCs did not use their advertising budget to get the media to attack Ryan). He is a silver-tongued mild manner schemer.

  33. Gege Le Beau

    @ Moderator

    Wish the format for these posts would read across, so hard to follow the thread when they go into long narrow format, not user friendly.

    Also would be useful if comments could be deleted or indicate approval as on facebook.

    • adamabyss

      The format is rubbish on here – no offence. I’ve seen better interfaces way back in 1999 when I first started working in Internet Gaming.

  34. adamabyss

    Here’s a funny story. I just got back from football with my cousin’s husband. He’s an air-conditioning installer. Gets sent to different locations around Dublin and even had to go to Enniskillen for three months recently for the work despite having 5 kids to worry about.

    Anyway, he’s a great bloke and a really hard worker for his family so it’s all good. This week he said his boss sent him to ‘somewhere called NAMA’ in town to finish off one of the floor’s air conditioning. He had no idea what NAMA was; had never even heard of it! I gave him a brief synopsis. Just shows you how blissfully unaware most people are of the biggest financial scam / heist (as wills would say) in the history of the country, if not the world.

    My ‘cousin-in-law’ says that he was observing the comings and goings through the front door one particular day. Apparently (he says) there was a constant, almost non-stop coming and going of taxis and men in suits, in and out of the building all day without cease.

    I told him (only half in jest) that he’d be doing the country a great favour if he burned down the place.

  35. jandal

    Why isn’t the Irish media covering the naming of Anglo bondholders?

    • Zero Hedge certainly is:

      Are Irish Taxpayers About To Bail Out Goldman? Is Peter Sutherland Stealing From His Own People To Give To The Vampire Squid?

      Both barrels are unloaded on the well fed Mr. Suds..

      “Because his wealth is certainly not due to his skill at anything related to his actual career”


      • @joehas

        Great to see others looking at Sutherland more closely:

        Surely Suds is too compromised even to be listened to. Even he had any amount of decency he would declare publicly just how compromised he is and stay out of debate surrounding bondholders bailed out by Irish taxpayers


        Combine Sutherland views expressed above with the advice being given directly by Merrill Lynch and Goldmann to the DoF and we really see how foolishly compromised the decision to bail out bondholders is.

        Fox among the chickens, or pigs led to the slaughterhouse come to mind…

    • Gege Le Beau

      //Why isn’t the Irish media covering the naming of Anglo bondholders?//

      Conspiracy of silence; all know which side their bread is buttered on. Perfect example of internal discipline required not to report the ‘news’, easier to setup a camera outside a hospital or court house and call it ‘reporting’, kills off the hour and prevents a whole lot of more important material from making the air, also cheaper so more can be spent on the ‘stars’. There was more than a property bubble, there was a media bubble, a political bubble, a general economic bubble, bubbles by their very nature are unreal and as we have seen they have a tendancy to burst, media bubble goes on though as it was not as exposed as the others, in a sense even more deceptive and cunning, as it makes money reporting the boom and the bust, but the internet is having an impact and hurting those commercial media enterprises, the net, like this page, is giving people a voice, a means of expression and also a tool for learning, picking up stuff and meeting people.

      Over in the UK staff in the big media stations are reported to be increasingly annoyed at the big stars on multi-million contracts, while they have to work 15 hour days getting the shows ready with no job security and for peanuts in comparison. Interesting times when the system increasingly is laid bare.

      Tony Benn gives an example of someone trying to burst the bubble

      Tony Benn on something you may have heard of but not seen too much

      • jandal

        Thanks Gege, I have always had a lot of respect for Tony Benn – he is a courageous man.

        Re the “conspiracy of silence” the “internal discipline required not to report the ‘news’”

        As a commentator on Order-order.com wrote:
        Ireland is the new East Berlin

        • Gege Le Beau

          Just think during the boom elites were able to get away with shoddy practices, people patted themselves on the back, some talked of the knowledge economy (look at broadband access/infrastructure, 40,000 students in prefabricated buildings), elites talked of world class universities (head of Intel said the graduates weren’t up to scratch), world class health service (why the need for privatised, American controlled hospitals?)……..people talk of a property ponzi scheme, well there was an intellectual ponzi scheme and those doing most of the talking (or blowing hot air) were awarding themselves enormous salaries on the back of this ‘talk’ and look where all that talk has got us (look at the increase in TD salaries, in leading civil servants, in university heads and their vice-presidents, the top people in the semi-states, while the vast majority of people work for peanuts).

          I watched the frontline entrepreneur programme and most of the people complained about the lack of service from Enterprise Ireland. Now the guy from Enterprise Ireland could have said ‘I take onboard what has been said here tonight, will go back to my organisation and see how we can do things better’, instead he defended Enterprise Ireland’s record, meetings organised, this and that, while there in the audience were business people telling him things were not right, and it wasn’t one person, it was the majority of the audience.

          We have a issue in accepting reality, denial and not taking full responsibility are back in vogus, just look at the Minister for Health, transport ministers and a €13 billion overspend on the NRA – people dodge the bullet and yet dish out unemployment and talk of reform (yet more talk). Pat Kenny then praised some guy for building a private hospital (I presume as part of colocation), trumpeted the creation of 500 jobs etc when the real issue is about building a proper health service based on need not money, the last thing we need are private hospitals, which will will cherry pick the best staff and leave the public service even more crippled and who suffers? Those without the financial resources yet again. The private hospital concept got a big round of applause from the audience, I poured myself a brandy and toasted the further end of the republic.

      • Tony is great there on Gaza thx but he’s too narrowed down on democracy:

        Democracy has a long history of gestation going back pre Rome/Greece to Mesopotamia, the ancient Sumerian states that gave rise to the fantastic epic of gilgamesh. This was a long time pre
        1789-1799 French Revolution. Or the American constitution which incorporates influence of the american people’s the Iroquois on the ideas of Jefferson and Franklin…

        Wikipedia does a good effort here http://bit.ly/96vuV2

        “The túatha system in early medieval Ireland. Landowners and the masters of a profession or craft were members of a local assembly, known as a túath. Each túath met in annual assembly which approved all common policies, declared war or peace on other tuatha, and accepted the election of a new “king”; normally during the old king’s lifetime, as a tanist. The new king had to be descended within four generations from a previous king, so this usually became, in practice, a hereditary kingship; although some kingships alternated between lines of cousins. About 80 to 100 túatha coexisted at any time throughout Ireland. Each túath controlled a more or less compact area of land which it could pretty much defend from cattle-raids, and this was divided among its members.

        Perhaps we need a new Irish equivalent to the Magna Carta to limit the powers of the ‘elected ones’ in Ireland to impose tithe/taxation obligations on future generations as well as upon their own!

  36. jandal

    Great article, what about the Irish Sunday newspaper coverage, RTE, radio? I’m not in the country so its hard to tell but I can’t see anything online. The lack of investigative journalism in mainstream Irish media is astounding.

    How much more epic can the “big story” be..

    “Anglo-Irish Bank did not represent a systemic risk to the Irish economy, it wasn’t a high street bank like AIB or the Bank of Ireland. If it had been allowed to go the way of Lehmans the only losers would have been shareholders and bondholders. The Irish state stepped in and nationalised a bank that was basically run by crooks lending to property speculators. The Irish people are taking losses that should rightly have been shouldered by bondholders.”

    I Facebooked the link to the Order-Order.com Anglo Bondholders list and got some reaction from friends in Ireland – you know, I honestly think they haven’t a clue/don’t understand/haven’t bothered trying to understand what is happening here – its absorb, absorb, absorb “sure everything works out in the end”.

    I’m well and truley ticked off and don’t get me started on the students who must be either self medicating or else are being sedated via the ventilation systems of education establishments.

  37. Deco

    News is spreading around about the Anglo list. By next week the official media will have no choice but to downplay or diminish this. Good job it appeared on a Friday, and in the UK, as the authorities have not yet shut it down.

    Politics.ie, thepropertypin.ie,thestory.ie, are covering, and they are much longer established and seem to have more bloggers than here.

    Here is an interesting comment. It verifies what David, Matt Cooper and Senator Shane Ross have been saying for the past five years or more. Ireland is run by a clique.

    Do a search on the word ‘Tiger’ on this link -


    It provides details from somebody in the Accounting profession who is detailing who exactly runs Ireland.
    It sounds like it resonates with a lot of what is written in Matt Cooper’s Book “who really runs Ireland”. They were referred to as “The Eye of the Tiger” by themselves.

    The IBEC corporate governance model, with proxy politicians to pretend that old fashioned redundant concept called democracy still exists, and the people being consulted once per five years, at the end of a six week long period of saturation advertising. And the clique consulted continually.

    I am convinced that Ireland is about the enter “Watergate” territory, with resignations of senior government figures, and much much more. It is practically inevitable.

    The danger is that it will not change a damn thing, that it will only replace IBEC first and ICTU second, with ICTU first and IBEC second, some variation that ensures more coverups. Once RTE realise that the game is up, they will start promoting Gilmore so as to make sure that this ‘switch’ occurs, and that RTE is not sold off.

    • Gege Le Beau

      I agree with your RTE/PRAVDA comment and the treatment of Gilmore, it already has changed and he is potential Taoiseach in waiting if his numbers keep going up.

      People know which way the wind is blowing, I noticed on the lunch time radio news recently when one commentator basically said to Dermot Ahern ‘if you had been doing your job correctly, the situation in Mountjoy would not have happened’, the tone and the line used spoke volumes. The boot is being put in but they gave them an easy ride for 13 years and worse, encouraged the boom with property porn.

      We need independent media, not subject to government or commercial funding. Maybe it can from public donations or the lottery, some mechanism that allows something like Democracy Now in the US to appear on our landscape.


      • Deco


        I do not understand how paying Marian Finuicane (FF), Tubbers (FF), etc.. half a million Euro per year to talk about ‘the financial difficulties’ is “public Service”.

        I mean if they were slogging away in the Accident and Emergency, in a hospital in Limerick or West Dublin every day of the year, dealing with drug addicts, drunks, accident victims, burn victims, then I might be persuaded.

        They are favouring Gilmore because he is the best hope of preserving the Gravy train.

        No comment from the media about Joe Higgins. I don’t always agree with him, but for a while Higgins and Eddie Hobbs were the only effective opposition in this country. In the last general election there were People before Profit candidates taking votes from more established ILP candidates, despite all the money that the ILP got from SIPTU.

        Basically, we are seeing ‘institutionalism’ – with the primary objective being the survival of the institution and the preservation of it’s priveleges. we will see a lot of this in coming years as politically connected cliques in the various quangoes make noise to preserve their gravy train.

        We need to decide what exactly constitutes the Welfare State. FF/ILP seem to cast a very wide net, covering many activities that should be done in the private sector so as to allow more taxes be diverted to where they are needed. RTE know this.

        • Gege Le Beau

          @ Deco

          There is an element of stuffing their mouths with gold, the point is to kill off the media as a source of opposition (the license fee is the sword of Damocles if they really get out of control), sure you get the odd bit of challenge here and there, stuff gets through, the odd bank exposure etc, is these exceptions that proves the rule?

          Maybe it is different with the international news, Bird was based in Washington for a year, if you were to do a report check on the number of times he mentioned the word ‘neoliberalism’ I doubt you would find one solitary reference. That RTE post is known as the ‘Washington Correspondent’, which illustrates the focus, the rest of the ‘Americas’, including Latin American (with about 569 million people) is airbrushed out of existence, even though it is the most dynamic place politically on the face of the planet, Bird went to Cuba once and we got about 2 minutes 10 seconds, and Haiti of course (so big a story it could not be ignored, but he didn’t go to Haiti before the quake to talk to the long suffering people, and hasn’t been back since). The coverage of the Chilean miner story was another example, little to no context, certainly nothing like this

          RTE-PRAVDA have ‘where in the world?’ (on at around 11 o’clock when most people are hitting the hay) and a couple of other things where they travel with Goal, Concern, or via the Simon Cumbers fund (Irish Aid – these also fund the odd article in Irish print media), but it is tokenism at best and often coloured by the aid industry seeking more money.

          Have a look at Concern and Goal’s annual reports, go to their salary sections and see the number ’1′ and look across at the amount of money number ’1′ takes in (lower than RTE stars by far). Now some are ok with this, they feel you have to pay for the best, just like at RTE-PRAVDA, but do we really?

          It is about the culture in a society and we know where our culture has led us, to the greatest fiscal crisis in Western Europe, does it seem like it when you look at the Dail? Does it seem like it when you open the papers? For the 500,000 unemployed some of whom show up on Frontline, which does have a bit of energy about it, it is a very real crisis, a crisis created by others or insiders as McWilliams likes to point out.

          Just on Joe Higgins, he didn’t get a look in before his MEP campaign and whenever he did he was told it was hopeless, well the people decided otherwise. I too don’t agree with everything he says but he is speaking up for people who need it.

          Profile of Higgins by the Irish Times (which charges for archived material :-)

      • Deco

        Yes. Clear evidence.

        Whoever has that USB stick is probably scared stiff…I mean how do you report anything in Ireland to the authrities.

        You are always better to let it circulate as a rumour, and keep your mouth shut…

  38. Have a gander at this especially if you are not familiar with Plato’s allegory of the cave.


    Now take a look at the drummer boy story here:


    The horrifying part of the Indo story is that Drumm appears to blame the Lehman’s led world recession for the collapse of Anglo.

    Drumm: “My last year at the bank was 2008 and we produced a set of results for 2008 which showed about €800m in profits and a net worth of around €4bn to €4.5bn. …

    No acknowledgement there of the thin ice those figures stood upon!

    Drumm refers to a decision in 2004 to reduce our land and development exposures, particularly in Ireland, because right at that time we saw intense competition coming in from other banks, we saw land prices going up at a ridiculous rate, and we made a conscious decision to pull make from it. We failed to execute on our own plan, and we never pulled back.”

    The fact he did not pull back in 2004 shows his incompetence and his lack of realisation of the dangerous waters he was sailing into.

    Drummer Boy lived in a cave of shadows. Drumm must have believed the shadows cast of rising land/property prices for Anglo were market driven fed by local and global economic issues, not Anglo. He failed to realise the role of Anglo as the fire creating those shadows.

    Drumm was not competent/experienced enough as a banker to realise that by far the greatest proportionate influence in Ireland governing the Loan to value decisions made by his bank; for example, the decision to lend out nearly €.5 bn for the useless glass bottle site, was driven by the fire of Anglo firing out cheap loans to developers.

    With this money developers competed against each other thus bidding up the cost of land/property in a self perpetuating, self reinforcing property bubble fed by its own madness.

    From his statement above he would appear to claim to be aware of the risk in acknowledging competition among banks themselves to fund developers.

    Competition among banks must have taken the form of one bank offering more at better terms in a ‘fools rush in’ scenario for a given development thus driving up the amount available to pay for even higher valuations.

    Drumm points out the policy was approved by the central bank and politicians. They stimulated the market with tax breaks.

    Perhaps Drumm in hindsight sees now the truth of his delusionary actions.

    Whether he cooperates with media/inquiries in a whistle blower account of the ‘gold rush’ years naming names,describing with detail Anglo transactions, will determine whether he’s learned anything, or indeed whether any crumbs of salvation can be obtained from him from the whole sorry saga and mess!

    • Deco

      Drumm and Drummer. Hilarious that he seen land as overvalued in 2004 – but obviously the brain was not able to relay the message to the rest of Drumm and Drummer, so he did not get to stop making those loans.

      What a complete turkey !!! And this ws the hero of the Irish corporate world, Seanie Fitz’s trusty sidekick..

      There is something badly wrong with the concept that is Irish management. It seems blind to all sorts of logical analysis, and engaged in continual PR gimicks….

      • He was probably a stooge of ‘the invisible hand’ who told him to shut up, turn a blind eye, look the other way and sure ‘everything will be alright’.

        Was it because he was ‘a stooge’ the puppet strings could control, that he got his job in the first place? The answer is, very probably yes.

        He can still stand up for himself and spill the beans and earn some sort of redemption! But probably ‘omerta’ code of silence has already assured he won’t.

  39. Malcolm McClure

    The news from America this weekend bears out David’s contention that:
    “ Without comprehensive debt renegotiation – both personal and institutional – Ireland will not get out of this hole.”

    What alarms Americans is that they could be watching the complete demise of the capitalist system, which has always depended on trust supported by documentary evidence. These pieces of paper, when signed by the interested parties, form contracts that are accepted as evidence in courts of law.

    Contracts can be reassigned to third parties, so long as each carefully drafted link in the chain of paperwork is endorsed, signed and countersigned by the interested parties.

    American banks have apparently just realized (Thanks, John Mauldin) that this essential paper chain is irreparably broken in most of the Sub-prime mortgages issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

    As everyone knows, the loans were ‘bundled’ into REMICs (Real-Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits, a special vehicle designed to hold the loans for tax purposes), and then “sliced & diced”…split up and put into tranches, according to their likelihood of default, their interest rates, and other characteristics.

    To handle this complex negotiation Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac established MERS…the Mortgage Electronic Registration System.
    which was the repository of the digitized mortgage notes that the banks originated from the actual mortgage loans signed by homebuyers.

    However, legally…and this is the important part…MERS didn’t hold any mortgage notes: the true owner of the mortgage notes should have been the REMICs. But the REMICs didn’t own the notes either, because of a fluke of the ratings agencies: the REMICs had to be “bankruptcy remote,” in order to get the precious ratings needed to peddle mortgage-backed Securities to institutional investors.
    So somewhere between the REMICs and MERS, the chain of title was broken.

    When a homebuyer signs a mortgage, the key document is the note. In order for the mortgage note to be sold or transferred to someone else (and therefore turned into a mortgage-backed security), this document has to be physically endorsed as assigned to the next person. All of these signatures on the note are called the ‘chain of title.’
    The note can be endorsed as many times as you please…but you have to have a clear chain of title written on the actual note. If for whatever reason any of these signatures is skipped, then the chain of title is said to be broken. Therefore, legally, the mortgage note is no longer valid. That is, the person who took out the mortgage loan to pay for the house no longer owes the loan, because he no longer knows whom to pay.

    American banks are in trouble because, if they’ve been foreclosing on people they didn’t have the legal right to foreclose on, then those people have the right to get their houses back. And the people who bought those foreclosed houses from the bank might not actually own the houses they paid for.

    What happens if American mortgage-paying homeowners realize that they may be able to get out of their mortgage loans and keep their houses, scot-free? Discovering faulty paperwork is a good reason to halt payments and tell their American banks to take a hike.
    This is a major crisis for American banks because 10% of the 2008 mortgages are behind with their payments and four and a half percent of that total are already in foreclosure.

    The hot news is that Bank of America has just halted all foreclosures, nationwide.

    • Wow, does this not also mean the actual properties subject of foreclosures, do not belong to their owners because MERS can’t uphold their title? Are properties not worth the paper they’re written on? Are property owners able to demand any money they’ve paid for them back? Nice reversal of fortune in that:)

      Properties going for a tulip anybody…?

    • Gege Le Beau

      Big fear for the boys in the West is ‘contagion’, that economic collapse could move around/lower confidence (domino theory), that ideas around political/economic independence might be picked up or that we would throw off neoliberalism/Western capitalism entirely (stop the commodification of all aspects of Irish life, end the privatisation of the health system, prevent the corporatisation of education etc).

      So no, the idea is take your medicine but stay in the game, certainly no way Ireland would be allowed to try an alernative means of socio-economic development (neither the US nor EU would tolerate that), we are over a barrel with the current rate of borrowing, so best that can be expected is some middle road with Labour where resources are better distributed, more accountability, and greater regulation of the financial sector.

      But still that €80-100 billion banking debt will have to be paid down, that is the troubling issue, I always thought joining the euro was a bad idea.

      • I think you are a bit lost in the haze of abstract theory when you say we might not be allowed ‘throw off neoliberalism/Western capitalism entirely.

        We were/are presented with choices within the mould of western capitalism just as Sweden, the Nordic countries, Ecuador, Argentina were in their situations.

        Our problems are strictly local in spite of what Drumm, KOWing, Lemming and others maintain. We had a financial/political elite that got greedy and got burnt through incompetence, croneyism and nepotism.

        Their policy since then has been a Custer’s Last Stand to try and maintain the grip they once had. They’ve also embarked on a vain attempt to preserve their status quo with NAMA and save their banks.

        We could with more enlightened policies have gone a different direction and still remain in neoliberal capitalism.

        You may believe the best that can be expected is some ‘middle ground with Labour’. What we’ll probably get is a ‘consensus’ alliance between FF and FG where both represent the same cronies that before belonged only to FF.

        • I should clarify insofar as we did not exercise our options but instead got into bed with the EMU/ECB, our options were narrowed considerably.

          We then became a vassal state, a pawn in a game of contagion played by the EMU and the DoF advisers, Goldman and Merrill.

          OT I heard Noonan today drop the info that a team from the EU were poring over the budget plans line by line.

          What the heck, what do we need a Dail and Senate for, we have the EU and the European parliament for that. How much would that save?

          • Deco

            CB-some valid points there.

            It really is none of Brussels business what we do in our budget.

            The Dail and Seanad could read the budget, but they would only be interested in the opportunism presented by it to pretend to be defender of something or other.

    • wills


      I remember bringing this to your attention 18 months ago.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Wills: Granted, we knew the broad outlines of the problem long ago.
        What has changed since then is that the banks hired ‘foreclosure mills’…law firms that specialized in foreclosures to handle the massive volume of foreclosures and evictions that occurred because of the housing crisis.

        The foreclosure mills, as one would expect, were the first to spot the broken chain of titles so some of them faked and falsified documentation, so as to fraudulently repair the chain-of-title issue, thereby ‘proving’ that the banks had judicial standing to foreclose on delinquent mortgages. Some foreclosure mills might have even forged the loan note itself…

        Alarm bells started going off when the title insurance companies started to refuse to insure the titles. In every sale, a title insurance company insures that the title is free -and clear …that the prospective buyer is in fact buying a properly vetted house, with its title issues all in order. Title insurance companies stopped providing their service because they didn’t want to expose themselves to the risk that the chain of title had been broken, and that the bank had illegally foreclosed on the previous owner.

        Last week, the banking lobby persuaded the United States Congress to sneak by the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act. They wanted to shove through that law so that their foreclosure mills’ forged and fraudulent documents would not be scrutinized.

        president Obama had to veto it…if he’d signed it, there would have been political hell to pay, plus it would have been challenged almost immediately, and likely overturned as unconstitutional in short order.

        As soon as the White House announced the pocket veto…the very next day!…Bank of America halted all foreclosures, nationwide.

        If this debacle were to continue it will bring the entire system down. Who would want to buy a mortgage that is in a securitized package with no clear title? Who will get title insurance? Some judge somewhere is going to make a ruling that is going to petrify every title company, and the whole thing grinds to a halt.

        If the Americans cannot securitize mortgages, there is no mortgage market. They cannot go back to where lenders warehoused the notes. It would take a decade to build that infrastructure. In the meantime, US housing prices are devastated and the economy rolls over.

        • http://bit.ly/a9ysqp

          BOA claim it’s only postponing foreclosures presuming resolution of authenticity.

          ‘banking industry had used “robo signers,” people who sign hundreds of documents a day without reviewing their contents’

          What are the bets the standoff will end with the announcement of 10,000 jobs in the financial services ‘foreclosure mills’ to authenticate docs, a new extended ‘grandchildren buy or lease mortgage deal’ for home owners, to end foreclosures.

          Then business as usual?

        • Deco

          Wall Street might be bunched from a legal viewpoint, but the Obama Administration is full of Banking Sector (F.I.R.E.) Executives, to the same degree that the Bush Administration was loaded with Oil industry executives.

          In other words, this will be reversed. Just wait and see. There will be a “Housing Sector Reform” bill.
          And it will include all sorts of pork barrell spending, hidden clauses, amendments, and a change to the above policy.

  40. wills


    I reckon that while the *capitalist* system is imploding its always helpful to denote that the implosion is a POnzi scam built on a fraudulent paper scam engineered and implemented by the private banks control over the money system.

    The *free enterprise* system is pulsing away underneath the goop and fakery and scamarama ding dong doo private banking derivatives pyramid Ponzi scam.

    • Deco

      Wills – capitalist failure is a part of the system. These capitalists who fail, should simply shut and let the rest of the population get on with it.

      Instead they have strapped themselves to the state, first in the UK, then the US, and then Ireland. And they are preventing the rest of us from getting on with it. And they have pretenscious soundrels like Gordon Brown, Henry Paulson, and Dan Boil to make saving the banks, in an unreserved manner, the ultimate policy objective. And loads of unknowing clowns like Osborne, Geithner, Lenihan who simply know no better than to proceed with the stupidity.

      Where is that electrical wholesalers ad from years ago with the slogan “THIS MADNESS MUST END”.

      Allow the inept capitalists to fail. The political leadership cannot do this because they simply do not trust the people’s response.

      • wills


        To a degree I agree with your essential point.

        Capitalist failure is particular to capital.

        But, capital is not the be all and end all.

        Capital is generated by free enterprise.

        So, capital and its gambling industry may implode and damage free enterprise but free enterprise still keeps going and going and going.

  41. Off topic: SPLASH

    This is Ireland… This is why I love it here…
    October 17th, 14:39PM Gola Island / Donegal.


  42. Debt Forgiveness & Multicuralism :

    I was asked on Radio Limerick Live 95FM ( that has been banned on the internet archive 7th Oct recording ) – ‘where will Ireland be in a few years time ‘ , I answered ‘ Ireland will not move it will remain where it is , it is the people who will move .We will have new neighbours ‘.

    Read my lips , Merkel has just anounced that ‘multiculturalism has failed in Germany’. So, I wonder where they have in mind to deploy their mistakes. Does debt forgiveness have a qualified condition attached it ?

  43. I was asked on Radio Limerick Live 95FM ( that has been banned on the internet archive 7th Oct recording ) — ‘where will Ireland be in a few years time ‘ , I answered ‘ Ireland will not move it will remain where it is , it is the people who will move .

    LOL :o)

  44. adamabyss

    Pat Kenny ‘Do we try to find the Celtic Tiger and make her roar again?’! What planet is that plonker on?

    • Gege Le Beau

      Planet: I-make-so-much-money-it-doesn’t-matter-what-the-hell-I-say-I-still-get-paid.

      • To be fair Gege, much as I believe Pat Kenny is a plonker, of recent times, perhaps because he got so burnt himself in the property crash, he’s like a corpse they’ve just found a pulse in!

        The question he poses is one raised by Malcolm and discussed indirectly by myself and Deco above re foreclosures in the USA. The question as put by Eric Janszen in his book ‘The PostCatastrophe Economy’ is how America can be rebuilt and how the next bubble can be avoided.

        Janszen illustrates the problem p12 ‘The financial and financialized companies that our government throws billions at are a dysfunctional part of the U.S. economy. It’s over. The effort to bring it back is consuming precious financial resources. Japan made a similar error when it tried to restart its own dysfunctional economy, and for the same reason: lack of political will to repudiate debts built up during Japan’s credit bubble era. Japan began in 1993 to reinflate its version of the FIRE(Financial Insurance Real Estate) economy when the nation’s public debt stood at 68% of GDP, very close to where the United States was at the beginning of its misguided attempts to move the private debts of homeowners to public account, with government lending and employment programs, starting in 2008. In 2010 Japan’s debt approached 200 % of GDP, twice as high as Jamaica’s and nearly as high as Zimbabwe’s, yet after decades of fiscal stimuli and 0 % interest rates its economy is unable to sustain growth without stimulus; when policy makers attempt to reduce stimulus by raising interest rates or reduced spending, the economy quickly falls back into recession.”

        Yuo’ll have to read Janszen book to see his TECI way forward:)

        Think of it, though, our poodle puppet government has gone the FIRE root, pay all debts, launch NAMA designed to save the financial class and restore property prices. They busted the place leading to our collapse, now they’ve busted the recovery model.

        OT how Obama handles the mortgage Fannie MAe, Freddie Mac issues arising from Bank Of America mortgage mills and related support of the FIRE economy in the USA will define his presidency. Hopefully the USA won’t go the way of Japan!

        http://bit.ly/brXqz2 In Ireland per capita we carry external debt of approx $.5 million dollars each. Halleluyah…Halleluyuyah!

        • http://bit.ly/cSxSrY

          “Mr Varadkar said while the party backed the Government’s plan, it will not be bound by any specific details it contains.

          He said as a principle the party was talking about a 3 to 1 division in terms of cuts in public expenditure and new taxes and for every €3 the party intends to save, there would be €1 in tax increases.

          The Fine Gael Deputy says that roughly equates to €7.7 billion in spending cuts over four years and €2.5 to €3 billion for the exchequer in new taxes over the same period.”

          Welcome to Poverty Ireland…above should certainly remove any green shoots and help the weeds to grow better!

        • paulmcd

          From above link:

          “While the U.S. is number 20 on the list and Greece comes in at a respectable 16th place, the winner by a wide margin is Ireland where external debt totals 1,267 percent of GDP, a figure that converts to a whopping $567,805 per person.”

          Scary stuff!

          We are exceptionally vulnerable because so much of our debt is being raised in the international bond markets.

          Japan’s debt is different to ours in that it is raised INTERNALLY.

          It is better for Ireland to DEFAULT today while still in the €, before more billions have been cast into the financial black hole, rather than being forced into a THANKLESS DEFAULT while trying to complete the bailout and find ourselves forced out of the €.

          • paulmcd

            The point I am making is relevant to anyone who is wondering why Japan does NOT figure on the List.

          • paulmcd

            CB’s 1st link again:


          • paulmcd

            I am bewildered by above figure.

            Do debts held by financial institutions based in the IFSC count in this figure?

            If so, are we liable if one of these institutions goes belly-up?

            Regardless of above questions, we are in a bad enough state as it is. Am thinking now . . . “We should default YESTERDAY!”

        • Gege Le Beau

          Yes, didn’t realise Kenny got burned by the property downturn (suspected it but never heard anything definitive, thought going through the courts with his neighbour ill conceived from a PR point of view). To be fair he has injected a bit of pace into Frontline but to my mind drops the ball from time to time.

          Once heard him on the radio that he didn’t know what the term ‘neoliberalism’ meant, for a man that prides himself on his knowledge I found that hard to swallow. Also towards his last days on the Late, Late when the downturn was just starting he had a segment which started with something like: ‘with the property downturn, prices falling, is now a good time to buy?’, this was followed by an estate agent more or less saying ‘yes it is’, it seemed like an attempt to defy the global markets and re-inflate an awful bloody mess, ridiculous.

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