May 5, 2014

Tax games of phantom firms

Posted in Behavioural Economics · 50 comments ·

Years ago, in 2006, this column coined the expression ‘ghost estates’ after a drive from Castlebar to Dublin, where I saw row after row of these estates being built outside provincial villages. That year, over 90,000 houses were built in Ireland. I had no idea that this expression ‘ghost estate’ would find its way into the sorry lexicon of the era, but it did.

I wonder will the notion of ‘ghost companies’ have the same ring to it? A ghost company is a phantom legal entity set up with the explicit aim of avoiding taxes. It is the spooky, empty headquarters’ of a large company set up in Ireland which isn’t the headquarters of the company in reality but serves the purposes of having headquarter-style basic infrastructure, headed notepaper, a few exiled executives and a skeleton staff.

For the sake of the natives and good corporate PR, the ‘ghost company’ will make a minuscule jobs announcement – safe in the knowledge that this will be picked up by the national press and will disguise the real motive.

It may well have board meetings here. Sure, why not, since the hotels are nice, the golf is good and Dublin is a happening city with decent restaurants and great bars. The company may even spend a few quid to list on the Irish Stock Exchange and raise a bit of cash, if it feels like it here. But, in essence, the company is no more domiciled here than it is in Timbuktu. It’s a ghost company set up to pay a global tax game.

Earlier this week, the Financial Times published a brilliant article about how large companies, and particularly pharmaceutical companies, are avoiding billions of dollars of taxes by domiciling themselves in Ireland and then deploying the talent of smart Irish lawyers and accountants to set up grubby little arrangements that allow to them route profits through Ireland, the Netherlands and Bermuda, taking the mickey out of the US tax authorities in the process.

These are Ireland’s ghost companies.

Obviously the lower the tax these companies pay, the higher the return to their owners. (Of course, the revenue they pay this low rate of tax on is itself coming, in huge part, from taxpayers’ money in the form of state healthcare spending.)

If real countries were serious about getting these ghost companies to pay their fair share of tax, they could debar their health services from buying their medicines from the most egregious tax avoiders. I suspect this would put manners on them in jig time.

In time, the US authorities, needing the revenue, will act against these ghost companies but for the moment, let’s focus on what is happening in the huge pharmaceutical industry and how this is a microcosm of the global economy, exacerbating the equality dilemma.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you’ll be aware that the latest manifestation of the global stock bubble is that pharmaceutical companies are using their overvalued stock prices as currency. They are buying other companies with this currency.

There has been an unprecedented merger and acquisition binge. Companies are buying up targets either to domicile themselves abroad and thus avoid paying US corporate taxes, or simply to buy up assets before someone else snatches potential targets, in a classic case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) move. This mania is the corporate equivalent of getting on the property ladder. The sale of Elan last year was part of this process.

Here are a few highlights of the current deal frenzy.

  • US giant Pfizer, in an apparent u-turn on organic growth/rationalisation, is potentially looking to buy the Anglo/Swiss pharma company AstraZeneca for $100 billion. The strategy is rapid growth via acquisition.
  • The French company Novartis and Britain’s Glaxo are merging in a deal said to be worth $25 billion.
  • The Swiss giant Sanofi is looking to offload $7-$8 billion of its older drug portfolio assets.
  • Valeant, with private equity backing, is bidding around $50 billion for the fake boob and botox maker, Allergan. (Incidentally the original ghost estate column was written following a visit to Allergan’s factory in Castlebar.)
  • Meda has rejected a $6.5 billion all-stock offer from Mylan.

And while this acquisition spree is a boon for shareholders, with the euphoric market rewarding both target and acquirer by sending their stock prices immediately higher, it is also great news for investment bankers, lawyers and accountants who are putting these deals together.

However, there is one group that is getting shafted: employees.

As the WSJ reports, when it comes to drug mergers, the stock price may rise and fall, but one thing is certain: layoffs. Take the case of Pfizer. According to the Wall Street Journal, since 2005, Pfizer has eliminated more than 56,000 jobs worldwide – a number roughly equal to the population of Limerick city.

And if indeed Pfizer pulls off its proposed headquarters-shifting acquisition of AstraZeneca, which is set to be the largest pharma M&A deal in history at $106 billion, then the total workforce of the two companies is sure to be far smaller than the sum of the parts.

Pfizer said last week it would achieve “synergies” with the AstraZeneca deal if it comes to fruition, including in the combined companies’ businesses in cancer and cardiovascular drugs. Pfizer didn’t quantify the expected savings.

Pfizer has squeezed cost savings out of past megamergers. After its $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth in 2009, Pfizer closed six of 20 research sites worldwide, including in New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. In Ireland, Pfizer currently has more than 5,000 employees across 13 sites.

Pfizer is not alone. Job cuts also could result from other recently announced deals, including an exchange of assets between Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis’s plan to sell its animal-health division to Eli Lilly.

The bottom line is that since 2009, the pharmaceutical industry has announced more than 156,000 job cuts in the US alone, according to Challenger Gray & Christmas, a company that big firms hire when they’re laying off employees, to help them find new jobs.

And what else is threatening employees? Why, the Federal Reserve, of course. How could this be?

The trillions of dollars of QE have bypassed the economy entirely but made their way straight into the stock market, pushing up share prices, driving up the great M&A currency. In addition, thanks to very low rates, the cost of debt is so low that if stock is not an attractive purchase currency, the buyer can simply fund the deal with ultra-cheap debt.

This has enabled shareholders and management teams to jump headfirst into the merger and acquisitions frenzy, in the process laying off thousands.

It’s not hard to see that a combination of tax avoidance, aided and abetted by QE, is leading to mass lay-offs, making the shareholders richer and the taxpayers and workers poorer.

This is a process which is exacerbating inequality and is masked by the corporate phantoms that are Ireland’s ‘ghost companies’.


David McWilliams writes daily on international economics and finance at

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  1. Subscribe – where are you Adam?

    • That’s twice in the space of a week now.

    • Morning Oscar, very busy at the moment!

      • US Corporate lobby machines triggered the ‘debate’ in their client ‘governments’ about international tax rates under the spoof of ‘competitiveness’. They triggered the global arbitrage on international tax rates just as they triggered the ‘race to the bottom’ on labour costs. The goal is to force US corporate tax down to a level that the oligarchs/plutocrats can bear. Ireland is a useful trojan horse, nothing more.

        The FT article is misleading as many corporations massage the headline Irish tax rate down from 12.5% towards a floor of 2.5%. No doubt they’re lobbying for 0%.

        Having been one of the chief enablers of this trend, what has Ireland Inc achieved other than political castration and financial concubinage for the next few decades?

        Meanwhile absurd ‘rebel’ clowns emerge to supposedly challenge the mainstream globalisation narrative whilst slavishly mimicking it. Is Europe the problem? Or politicians as a Class? You couldn’t make Farage up:

        “Nigel Farage opened an offshore trust fund in a plan to slash his tax bill,”

        We do not live in a sane world. Do not expect any meaningful progress on this stuff until the next blow-up when the corporations once again come cap in hand for a tax-payer dig-out. Tax-Payer Funded Crony Capitalism. In health-care, banking, taxation and everything else. Ridiculous.

  2. Grey Fox

    David as you know the IFSC is polluted with these shell companies, number 5 Harbourmaster Place must be a modern day “Tardis”.
    Ireland is now well known as a Tax Haven, up there with Bermuda, Virgin Islands etc… with roughly 1 Trillion in US Multinational funds sloshing around outside the US in fear of the US Domestic 35% tax rate, see a recent post on ZeroHedge.
    We are also alerted to Apple who have had to issue bonds in the USA due to there cash position while they sit on approx. $55-60 Billion in accumulated profits off-shore.
    Our world is gone mad and these corporations do exactly what tey want when they want and to who they want….

  3. Another symptom of how the relationship between Capital and Labour in C21st is becoming terminally parasitic, rather than symbiotic.

    As the antics of the 1% reach a crescendo, “health-care” will become an unaffordable luxury for most people, yet the plutocrats/oligarchs will continue to reap the rewards of decades of health research which was made possible by the aggregate demand and tax contributions of the 99%.

    Health-care is another broken market. The same corporations that benefit from the health and sickness of ordinary citizens paying taxes to buy their drugs seek to exclude themselves from an honest accounting of their profits and an appropriate contribution to tax.

    Yet in Ireland, the complaint media and party propaganda machines still try to frame the debate about health care costs purely in terms of individual citizen taxation rates. Whether this is conscious or not, it performs a useful service for the corporations. If corporations paid Ireland at the supposed rate of 12.5%, rather than at the whittled down rate of 2.5% then an entirely different set of possibilities would emerge. The fact that the various lawyers and accountants arranging these heists are probably shafting their own families future health-care is a toxic irony. We’ve seen this movie play out in America.

  4. [...] Tax games of phantom firms | David McWilliams [...]

  5. Taxation

    We need to understand the primal meaning of this word to make a good decision in the present void .

    Taxation from its primitive origins in jungle economics means to capture and bring back to the village the spoils of the hunt .It would have been consumed immediately . In those days the victim was usually a wild animal .No animal was allowed to escape the claws of the hunter once caught . This is what fiscal taxation is today when the Minister delivers the Demand to pay ,

    Subsequently primitive man evolved into husbandry and farming where the death and consumption of the animal was postponed to a future date and or provided periodic benefits during their lifetime eg Milk to consume and new life .

    Our Finance Acts need to reform to include more aspects of fiscal husbandry to entice the a better farming of the nations finances and to allow proper wealth bearing companies to make contributions in a more social context to the community it remains with ie domiciled.

    Jungle economics before religion did not practice the adoration of its victim because it would have been expensive to maintain .The State should do the same .

    In our secular state the division with religion is coded in law to separate the two . Likewise the State should continue this practice in economics and prevent the practice of adoration of false gods ( Inversions ) that will only contribute to our nation to be lost in a desert for a long time.

    • 1789tpaine

      This is the free market at its best. Capitalism will encourage companies to continually seek product improvement and cost reduction -all to the common good.
      What needs change are the artificial arrangements and restrictions in drugs pricing and distribution so that consumers can benefit.

  6. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    “Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you’ll be aware that the latest manifestation of the global stock bubble is that pharmaceutical companies are using their overvalued stock prices as currency. They are buying other companies with this currency”

    That is the most important paragraph you have published on this blog for as long as I have been reading it. You inadvertently show the solution to Eireuba’s problems even though you weren’t discussing the issue at all. More about this in a minute.

    The article is an excellent continuation of your writings in recent times and adequately demonstrates how the primacy of capital(Friedman’s ideology) is demonstrated again and again and how unbelievable havoc is being unleashed on the world as a result.

    To bring it home to Eiruba we currently have in Aer Lingus a row between labour and management over pensions and whether the workers fund gets sorted or not. The chief executive however had an enormous top up to his pension added recently no quibble at all. Why? He is a person who can live with the consequences of knowing his behaviour is systematically destroying the pay and working conditions of one worker and by extension family depending on the income from the job. He recently described his ideal worker as a student looking for a part time job on a year out from college!

    The paragraph I highlighted above got all my bells ringing because it corroborates what I have been saying all along; No citizen or business is forced to use worthless Fiat currency in their transactions if they don’t want to. In the case highlighted by you above shares were used as currency. I’ll say it again; SHARES WERE USED AS CURRENCY. Now David the solution. We know gold is being manipulated in price even though there has been massive default in physical delivery (Germany only got 5 tons back last year a rate which will take 700 years to repatriate the gold) so what do we do?

    We create an ETF of a basket of commodities which are used in all walks of life and issue shares in this ETF to be traded on the stock market. We also simultaneously sell options on the fund to derive income! If the scumbags manipulate the price down of the underlying commodity the yield rises. If they buy the ETF the yield falls but the commodities rise in Price.


    You don’t have to split banks, the thorium atom or the skull of any Psychopath in charge of a world financial institution to free yourself you just have to understand and act. That is all. There are a number of funds that trade on the various stock markets which do this for investors already!

    I really hope this helps and I would sincerely love to see the idea get some traction.

    Yours sincerely,


    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi David,

      Gerald Celente Psychopaths and Sociopaths in charge. Oh and the Russians will never be beaten;

      • Tyler


        While i do appreciate your imagination in attempting to devise a sounder money of sorts, won’t you see that your suggestion is just more monetary magic tricks.At best you’re only gonna invent another game for the casino floor.You are continuing to play by the rules of the rigged,bankrupt casinos,that brainwash us all that money has an intrinsic value.Money is just ‘a construct’ within empire’s Matrix…it’s not Real !

        Try to forget the subject matter of money altogether, in ALL it’s forms,as playing a determinant role in humanity’s mission of futurity.Money is an evil axiom,so view money as you would crystal meth or cancer …you don’t these invite these into yourr life,right?! Then we won’t build our future on pecuniary motives either..We already have Vegas !It’s the obscenity of speculation that needs to change and in our minds first !

        It’s the indoctrinated monetarist mindset (from which i too suffer terribly!!!) brainwashing us that REAL VAUE can be found in some piece of paper or weight of metal and to add to the absurdity,the notion that growth will spontaneously appear from such paper or metal… the summa cum laudae graduates from illusionists college couldn’t perform that sleight of hand! Money is indeed a false god !An oligarchical/Zeusian principle !

        True Value comes from our creativity of wilfully enhancing our environment to higher and higher states of energy flux density – the increase of the creative powers of human productivity and the policy of practice which distinguishes scientists from shlaves,and human beings from sheep !

        With science driver policies directed at our physical economy,an evolutionary and revolutionary change in our economy will take place and then all the internal relationships will change too,as a function of the introduction of this new axiom!! and as a result,we grow,because we direct the flow of all our creative human activity – the process of combining our technologies and resources – towards the creation of increasing to higher states of energy flux density of the physical economy,the REAL economy, which will return a REAL dividend for Joe and Jane Bloggs,in jobs and hope for a future!

        [And for the record,we won't split Thorium,we will fuse it!]

        here’s an educational video on Thorium and Helium 3 showing energy output of different reactions

        maybe watch for 5mins from 12mins in,or would that be a strain?

        • jaysus

          Good comment but you lost me towards the end.
          Whats “energy flux density”

          You need to brush up on your nuclear physics too. For the record:
          Thorium is bombarded with neutrons to produce fissile (meaning splitting) U233 which doesnt involve “fusing” with any other element.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Tyler,

          As usual you miss the point completely. What’s not clear to me is it because you suffer from the blinding clarity of a madman or do you intentionally ignore that which your one dimensioned view of the world prevents you from grasping.

          There is no connection at all between a casino and a wealth creating activity. The mathematics of a casino have an inbuilt edge for the house in a win/lose game whereas a farmer producing wheat has an inbuilt mathematical advantage in his activity to create a surplus in a win/win game.

          Humanities role in futurity? What a load of gibberish.

          We didn’t build anything on monetarist madness the fed and Friedman did. We can choose not to play their game if we so choose. We don’t even need money. My suggestion was to create a sound trading unit if a sound unit was needed to facilitate trade.

          What separates humanity from other life forms is our capacity to understand moral concepts of right and wrong which are NOT concepts present in a totalitarian top down system like communism for example.

          A machine can be programmed to solve simple or sophisticated logical problems. Do you think a machine could be programmed to self sacrifice itself for a higher purpose since in order to arrive at such a decision it would have to understand value and that arriving at such a decision requires a life form capable of being able to decipher that such sacrifice maybe necessary even though such a sacrifice like when Jesus died on the cross for example would be on the surface the most illogical act of all?

          Did the though ever cross your mind that life itself converts the physical matter in the universe into a higher density output by converting the food in your body into thoughts of love and happiness or conscious contemplating?

          Take care,


          • Tyler

            So you didn’t watch Tracie Harris then? Might your penance for doing so,have been too great?

            Morals stem from our evolution and not everyone agrees what is moral.Humanities (oops Humanity’s)role in futurity,is that we humans,as distinct from beasts, cook our own food using fire and wilfull intention to create and organise our environment to successively higher and higher states of efd where technology /machines become a function of the human individual’s power of intent to affect action on our physical-economic decline in physical terms of productivity, per capita.We use,wield machines/technology/Chemistry/Physics/FIRE,as a tool for enhancement.

            You don’t reject Science when used in engineering and construction ,so why then REJECT science in economics? Have you read of Alexander Hamilton’s 4 principles?Have you read of the vile satanic Bertrand Russel?

            maybe you ought to,if discovering Truth actually matters to you…

            You speak of wealth creating activity. What is wealth exactly?Is bankrupt Wall St wealthy? C’mon!Feic it there’s no point in high five-ing ourselves over a mirage of wealth creating activity that doesn’t enhance our real economy?!Again,that Vegas and Wall St.

            “Money is indifferent to mankind!” -Can’t you see that?What are you scared of Michael?…that you might be wrong in your beliefs?Its ok to be wrong,but it’s the not caring is when it becomes concerning.

            ontological !

            Adrian understood that we must believe in ourselves,sans fear!


          • Tyler

            If the politicians that come knocking on your door can’t engage with you about the principle of physical economy and Alexander Hamilton’s work on scientific economy,then do yourself and your country a huge favour and unceremoniously slam the door shut in their faces!

            Yes you’re right,that’s a whole lot of door slamming,but the thinking that got us into this god forsaken mess,will certainly NOT get us out!!

            We need change! and in our own understanding first as ONLY asking the RIGHT questions,do we get the RIGHT answers !

            Or do we give up and acquiesce to the status quo,the same as it ever was?

            We all have an obligation to seek Truth.

            This is a great starting point[ it's not easy reading,but what in life is worthwhile and easy?]


            The world is going ‘to hell on a barrel’ and Ron Paul is straining at the leash with his “free market in money” !!lol

            Economic Science & Productive powers of labour vs deluded monetary obsession is our war!

            Science v. Monetarism… CHOOSE!

            Welcome to the Revolution !!

          • Tyler

            “The race is long and in the end its only with yourself”


          • michaelcoughlan

            Wealth can be defined as;

            “the annual produce of the land and labour of the society”

            “an abundance of valuable possessions”

            “a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing”

            “an abundance or profusion of anything”

            YOUR the one fixated by money.

          • michaelcoughlan

            “Why do you reject science in economics?”

            I haven’t. You just said I did and carried on as if I had creating a delusional fictitious fantasy to suit your own view of the world.

          • michaelcoughlan


            Truth ISN’T attainable in any sphere of human existence for two reasons according to the world’s top philosophers;
            1) No human brain is created so perfect it can conceive the perfect solution to any variable in all circumstance,
            2) Since w are in a constant state of evolution the capacity of the brain to conceive what is truthful is in a constant state of motion meaning no one solution can be derived which can be described as definitive.
            Point 2 alone demonstrates the nonsense of the posts of you and your mates who repeatedly state that you’re ranting and ravings offer absolute truth to the difficulties before the world absolutism being something you would identify with in your top down ideology.

            Take care,


          • Tyler

            When in the past i’ve watched nuclear detonations on tv or youtube,i’m quickly jolted / reminded of mankind;s POWER over the physical world…the ascending mushroom rings and simultaneous laterally expanding black grey clouds ,with thundering FIRE building inside…Buildings being disintegrated, huge trees bending over backwards in the shock waves alone, before the annihilating blast catches up on itself.

            This is Mankind’s current use of thermonuclear fire,with a directionality to cause harm and with evil intent !

            Then we can again imagine POWER of even greater intensity,but humanity choosing to purposefully and wilfully master and then wield thermonuclear fire,[as mankind’s energy source, power, efd!]but to the enhancement of the entire system of life,and yes,naturally in a top down manner,but with the common good as the focus. [e.g. 21C NAWAPA ]

            Think of the HEALING power for our planet’s Biosphere and the resulting HEALING of our physical economies!And think in what direction it would take us

            …certainly not the status quo of growing casino economics –

            so there you have it

            but “i may as well go stand upon the beach,And bid the main flood bate his usual height” i’m thinking??

            maybe a seed sowed?

          • michaelcoughlan

            “mankinds POWER over the physical world”

            Really? Let me spell it out for you; The exact OPPOSITE is the case.

            When human beings have ceased to serve the purpose of the supreme creative force which created eveything we too will be discarded like so much other cosmic detrius.

            As for Nucler reactors the only one which concerns me is the Sun.

            Take care,


          • Tyler


            i’ve heard of Pavlov’s dogs,but your conditioning must be the quinessential example of the Pavlovian response to Science

            so you’ve chosen your side then!

            and i have chosen mine ..

            Prometheus unbound!!

          • michaelcoughlan


            Pavlovian Conditioning.

            It’s Not What You Think It Is.

          • Tyler

            you FEAR Science

  7. Shane F

    Subject is also topical on Bloomberg today, May 5th.

    ” U.S. Firms With Irish Addresses Get Tax Breaks Derided as ‘Blarney’ ”

    Despite all the commentary including FT last week, it still has’nt come to a head.
    Will it receive more attention this time ?

  8. Had the previous FF administration in power consulted good wordsmiths and professional economists they could have invented a different tier currency reporting system of national reserves in units to be held as collateral against the Bonds owed by the State at the time thus delaying and or preventing these monies departing our shores and instead allowing them be traded in special Bond Reserve Markets pegged with the ECB and lead the world with their original insight .This would have allowed the State to channel these funds to develop the Oceans and Lands we own and exploit their resources .

    Everything would have been so different then .

  9. CorkPlasticPaddy

    Everything would be different if the Irish electorate stopped voting for the incompetent clowns that this country have for politicians. The Mandarin’s that are running the civil service at the moment also need to be replaced, and quickly too. In just under 3 weeks time we’re going to have the local and European elections and now is our chance to show our politicians that we’ve had enough of their incompetence by voting for non-party and other non-mainstream party candidates in these elections. It’s time for a complete change in thinking. If the message is not sent out now then you’ll never get the change that’s required.

    • The message is being sent out loud and clear Sir, and there will be a larger protest vote than normal but most people will still vote for the usual muppets.

    • DB4545

      There is a way to make politicians and their cronies pay attention in the next three weeks. It worked in the last century and it just might work in this one. It’s called a Boycott. We had a gentleman called Brian Cowen in charge when the Country went tits up not so long ago. Brian is in receipt of a healthy State pension which we fund with our hard earned taxes. We appear to have no choice with that so we have to suck it up. I thought three grand a week after helping to bankrupt the Country would keep most people happy. But Brian (along with the former head of AIB remember those guys?) has just been appointed to a non-executive position on a posited 100,000 grand a year with Topaz. I no longer bank with AIB. Since reading the article in the Sunday Times I’ve decided not to buy any products in Topaz. I can’t stop Brian’s State pension but I can certainly make my small contribution to help reduce his private sector salary. Denis O’Brien can hire who he likes but my business has gone elsewhere. I’m acting with my wallet. Anyone care to join in the fun?

      • jaysus

        How could any business hire Cowen after him demonstrating his gross incompetance, incredible. Fully with you on the boycott. Last time I ever fill up at topaz. Still boycotting shell and esso too,Im running out of petrol stations!!

        • DB4545

          I’ve no idea Jaysus why anyone would hire someone like that in those circumstances. I’m a bit iffy about a boycott hitting low paid employees who are barely getting by. I just can’t reward a company that insults its customers in this way. There are people up and down this country who have been affected by the reckless actions of these incompetent buffoons. A generation has been lost to emigration, people have lost homes, lives have been wrecked and the economy decimated. I think if enough people start voting with their wallet business will pay attention. Look at what happened in the US when that idiot made racist remarks. The sponsors ran a mile. We’re the sponsors. How could anyone phone their children and grandchildren in Sydney, London or Alberta and then drive onto a Topaz forecourt to top up the 3000 Euro pension of a person who reckless incompetence sent their children to the ends of the earth?

          • michaelcoughlan


            “How could any business hire Cowen after him demonstrating his gross incompetance, incredible”

            I’ll explain it to you. It’s very simple but you must first try and understand how a sociopath thinks.

            The people who hired Brian KNOW he can be trusted to LOOK THE OTHER WAY when his employer want’s to do somrthing ropey. Example; The CEO of JP MORGAN Jamie Diamon had his salary INCREASED to 20m last year AFTER his bank had an eye watering 14bn Fine levied on it for Fuc*ing it’s OWN customers.

            Next example; the former head of BOI was hired last year by an asset recovery business to go after the assets of the BOI customers now in distress! Its like hiring a Nazi who was promoted to General for waging genocide to tell you where the bodies are buried AFTER the slaughter is complete.

            There is NO BROWN ENVELOPE. The SALRY IS THE BRIBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. redriversix

    Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen..

    Elections ?

    These are a illusion of choice..a illusion of freedom..nothing more ,nothing less.Their hasn’t been any choices in a long time…you have the illusion of choice…but no choice.

    Adam is right when he states their will be a protest vote..but alas it will be small…but I live in a hope….

    Corporations get bigger..more profitable & have less regulation.Have lots of Dollars , yen & euros to throw around…Money to invest in a politicians future…more relevant in the U.S now..but what happens there , eventually comes here..

    You , I ,they or us do not have Government since last “elections” . Civil Servants & Banks run this show , E.C.B , the FED or the Oirish Central Bank with their excellent professional record in Keeping an eye on our Banking Buddies.

    This is a good article was your last one..but its all just optics really.

    People need to learn,question , study , ask questions..ask Why..alas.. most wont.

    Bottom line ?

    Banks failed

    Banks are more powerful than ever

    Banks acted in a corrupt manner & got away with it

    & will continue to get away with corruption & fraudulent behavior.

    Media and Government are complicit in turning Neighbor against Neighbor..

    strategic defaulters

    social welfare fraud

    criminalizing those on benefits or whose business failed or who cannot pay their debts.

    But if a couple of Bankers run Anglo in to the ground & a Judge DIRECTS A jury to dismiss/disregard/find not guilty by direction anything to do with the Quinn Group 7 the final sentence considered is community service..? what are we getting excited about ?

    The deck is take care of your family , yourself & those who ask for help..

    Milton friedman & his Chicago Boys are playing a blinder in the West & right here in your back garden.

    Communism is dead , Democracy is dying..Corporatism is the New God.

    Have a great week & stay out of trouble except you David..need you to get into lots & lots of trouble..!!!!


  11. mediator

    I’m afraid communism isn’t dead – just rebranded

    EUSSR /

    Look at the amount of central planning we live under both here and increasingly even in the USA

    Look at how much free choice we have vis the following



    communism is alive and well and we don’t even realise it

    frogs and water and all that stuff

  12. Adelaide

    Elections? I recently watched an excellent TV3 reconstruction of the 1916 Rebellion. I had not known that the Rebels fought both British and Irish soldiers in British uniform. Irish vs Irish. And that the locals actively sabotaged their Rebellion. After all the Rebels were radical-Radicals in extreme polar to the general population who were happy to take the King’s shilling. Perhaps that’s the truth, British Rule was actually quite pleasant all things considered, 800 years of genial relationships. Till these idealist Radicals messed it up for everyone by provoking the British authorities. Were it not for this unfortunate episode we would be deciding in our upcoming election whether to vote Tory or Labour rather than FG or FF and I think the Irish people would be quite content with that, 900 years of British Rule, thank you very much. God Save Ireland and The Queen.

  13. Adelaide

    I hope they died for an ideal rather than for their grubby fellow country men.

  14. Tyler

    “The trillions of dollars of QE have bypassed the economy entirely but made their way straight into the stock market”


    and with no Real,‘quality’ alternatives of investment opportunities available in the now uncertain commercial battleground of stocks and shares, it’s the ‘steady’ Pharmas that get [over] fed !

    Is Ireland’s future economic growth model and strategy linked inexorably to ‘bubbleicious’ Tech and [Bio] Pharma sectors? For sure FDI is currently playing ‘the lynch pin’ role in our economy, but what are Ireland’s long range growth policies? Will we still have to RELY so heavily on these ‘private’ companies like Eli Lilly/ Pfizer and Twitter/Facebook to play such a pivotal role of sustaining our economy and essentially giving us life! That’s hardly autarkic ?

    As we all know,pharma stocks can be volatile too, especially when patents fall off ‘the patent cliff’.Then the copy-cat discounters enter the fray and the Pharmas are not one bit interested to partake in a ‘generic’ feeding frenzy (resulting in a price drop,from maybe ~$10 to ~$1) as the Pharmas have acquired an exclusive taste for caviar,and dining alone!!

    While these companies[of reveeerrred 'intellectual property'] have many formulas in the pipeline,few will receive FDA approval,or just won’t ‘make the cut’, for a myriad of factors.It’s the gargantuan proceeds from hugely successful Lipitor, Botox, Cialis drugs that finance their R&D,so if,in the eventuality of the so called blockbusters’ running thro a dry spell’, what might be the ramifications for Ireland? Tumbleweed and Ghost communities ?!

    Yes,we’re SO lucky,’blessed’ some might say,to have these hi-profile companies on our shores now and sector investment reported recently is v.reassuring,but we’ve too many eggs in this one basket and this is “exacerbating the equality dilemma.!”

    With all this POWER,what if these private owners and boards of management [of false shoulder squeezing bonhomie] choose to give the Govt’s shnaffle a jolt ? It’s just more master/slave dynamics and with all the pharma synergies,they ‘disguise the real motive’ of acquiring more POWER,with spin of being centric to the common good – of delivering lower prices to end users. yada yada.

    Clearly our Gov’t has zero real-world,big-decision making influence in determining a future path for a private company, so we are resigned to always REACT, especially in a crisis. With a vision of Ireland into 2035, is it smart policy to pin so so much of our Future hopes on these [sometimes volatile, ergo unpredictable] corporations to deliver our much needed growth??

    [And lest we forget - the corporation tax debacle hasn't gonne anywhere,right?...and i think there's no way in god's earthly world thayt we'll maintain that 'competitive edge' for toooo much longer …. ]

    “there ain’t no money in the cure,the money’s in the medicine!”


    • Tyler

      “…O true apothecary!Thy drugs are quick.Thus with a kiss I die…”

      (Romeo and Juliet, V ii)

      In the so-called drug war,it’s not just all heroin addiction out there in the big bad world yunno… please don’t swallow that MSM rhetoric! The silent epidemic of legal /prescription ‘uppers’,'downsers’,pain management meds etc do often become life-long addiction! Believe it! Modern medicine can often be a – medicate,medicate,medicate approach and this naturally can [and does far more often than is reported!] result in a life-long drug deppendency!

      Have a news read of The U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention and maybe check out the impressive Prof David Nutt on youtube telling the Truth about various drugs and related findings from extensive SCIENTIFIC studies..truly fascinating stuff!

      maybe we ought to start listening?

      [and needeless to say,we don't have to look too far beyond the poppy fields of Bagram - in order to discover the Truth !]

  15. Tyler

    Tyler D with a frightening graphic here

    As the intention and directionality of the 9/11 attacks was implicitly that of taking lives en masse, creating widespread fear, chaos and conflict,”fiscal consolidation” [code for grinding austerity] is gonna get worse and then we have the Single Resolution Mechanism,[the functional equivalent of letting rats into a granary]will sooon result in bail-in /or direct confiscation of bank deposits,to keep the heinous monetarist financial system (empire!) alive.

    it'll never get that bad and wont happen here,right? Just wait!

    The principle of life is to grow,to develop and any policies that are not growth ,is a fundamental violation of Freedom

    We need competent modern statecraft.

    [A single drop of blood was a check mate move against Shylock's vengeful intention and Glass Steagall 2014 repudiating the derivative toilet paper of BANKRUPT Wall St,will be our move to check mate satanic oligarchy !!]

  16. Tyler


    shatter the minister of injustice exits stage left eh!

    Well i’m off for a shower anyway…my stopwatch is set for 5mins …yea,a ‘quickie’-in order to have some spare water in case i need to flush the toilet for a 3rd time today !!!

    What a shaaam!

    We’re being fed to the wolves!

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