June 26, 2015

It could have been any of us on the balcony

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 55 comments ·

The first days on the J1 were like the Gaeltacht with dollars. On the first night, loads of young Irish students from all over the country were thrown together in the New York YMCA with no real idea of what to do next, desperately trying to figure out where to live, who to hang out with, where to find work and how to make the few hundred dollars in your back pocket last until you got sorted.


Even though this was the era before GAA jerseys, the distinction between us Dubs and the culchies was very evident. The culchies seemed to have everything organised. They had aunties in Yonkers and Flushing, we didn’t. They had numbers of friends of their cousins who were landlords in Sunnyside, who would fix them up for a few weeks. They chatted confidently about security guard jobs in Jersey that would pay over $1,000 a week, or friends of their uncle Pascal who could sort them on the site in Hoboken, under the table. Why couldn’t I have a useful uncle Pascal?

The mass exodus to Boston began on day two or three as the rumour mill of jobs aplenty in places like Hyannis Port in the Cape began to filter through, together with horror stories of the price of deposits, even in the well-dodgy Alphabet City.

This was the New York City of Ed Koch – it was alternative, exciting and edgy. It’s hard to appreciate now when New York is a tourist heaven, but back in the mid-1980s crime rates in were peaking. Since the early 1970s, violent crime rates in the city had more than tripled from 325 to 1,100 violent crimes per 100,000 people annually. By 1985, when we Irish students touched down in JFK, the crime rate in New York was over 70 per cent higher than the rest of the United States.

Racial tensions were dramatically heightened by the Bernard Goetz subway killings earlier in 1984.

More than half of New Yorkers surveyed said crime was the worst thing about living in the city; about a quarter said they or a family member had been a victim of crime in the last year and two-thirds said they would be willing to pay for private security for their building or block.

Into this urban dystopia waltzed thousands of nonchalant Irish students. Most of us had hardly ever been out of Ireland, nor seen a black man and had no idea what was waiting for us. But we didn’t care. We lived in places whites wouldn’t dare go, we worked in kitchens with Colombians, Nicaraguans and Jamaicans bonded together by the universal language of football and reggae in the transient, semi-legal world of the temporary visa holders.

We lived 12 to a room in the Village and bedded down where ever we could find a space on the floor in roach-infested dives where one girl had a signed lease and the other ten sublet – kind of.

Some were lucky, breezing into jobs waiting tables on tips of $100 a night with a room over the restaurant thrown in, but for most of us it was a series of hit and miss cash jobs, most of which lasted a few weeks at best.

I actually started as a chambermaid. Yes a chambermaid, you read right, making beds, cleaning loos, hoovering rooms, plumping up pillows – and yes I was called a chambermaid by the other Haitian women whose macho ideas of masculinity were forever damaged by their first encounter with the Irish male.

My stellar career included being the only white, English-speaking dishwasher in Manhattan and then, in September, heading up to the Cape when all the American students had left to turn my hand as possibly the worst gardener in New England.

But the J1 was a coming of age summer. We were on our own in a foreign country, in the most exciting city in the world, far from home, miles away from parents, independent for the first time ever.

We bonded together, worked together, partied together and saw for the first time that life didn’t have to be like it was in Ireland. Even my America, of sweaty kitchens and double busboy shifts, was a land of possibilities. New York was like the movies. As an 18-year-old, just to walk up Fifth Avenue, hang out in the Red Lion on Bleeker Street or even head over to the East Village was freedom.

These were formative months for me and for the rest of us. New York was everything Dublin, Cork and Castlebar was not.

But we Irish travel well, we mix well and we get on with things. At the time you have no idea of how many dodgy situations you are in, how many dive bars you fall into and how lucky you are to get out of them at times. But you develop a sense. This was growing up. From the relatively cloistered world of Trinity College and south Dublin, you end up squatting with a bunch of proper illegal lads from Donegal who are never going home. You hear their stories, listen to their dreams, smoke their weed and rob their pints.

The J1 was one of those seminal, brilliant summers where everything was possible, where a little bit of America was there for the taking. It was a summer of short flings and long nights, of dollar bills, reverse charges telephone calls and of course, the first of many things which seemed to be more, let’s say, readily available on that side of the Atlantic.

Most of all it was about us, a bunch of Irish mates released into the wild, finding our way and growing up in the process. Some of us went back time and again, some of us never left and stayed in the States, coming home for weddings and christenings years later, reminiscing about the scams, the nights and the craic.

The J1, like the Gaeltacht, is what we do. It’s national service for the relatively privileged. Over 160,000 of us have done it. Maybe this is the reason that Berkeley tragedy affects us so profoundly. It could have been us, any of us, on that balcony.

  1. [...] “The first days on the J1 were like the Gaeltacht with dollars. On the first night, loads of young Irish students from all over the country were thrown together in the New York YMCA with no real idea of what to do next, desperately trying to figure out where to live, who to hang out with, where to find work and how to make the few hundred dollars in your back pocket last until you got sorted …” (more) [...]

  2. Wills

    Boston MA, security guard, conventions!

  3. Never been and done that which you subscribe.

    I simply emigrated to Canada as a farmer (qualified with enough points) and no trade and high school.

    Arrived in fort Nelson BC on 2 Feb 1967. It is 4pm, dark gently snowing, no wind and -20 F.

    I had the name of a man I had but spoken to once on the phone and never met.

    ” Don’t worry, call me when you come, I’ll sponsor you.”

    I took him at his word. I had 7 dollars in cash and a phone number.

    Bob Angus, finally, turned up at 6 pm. Never blinked an eye and my first night was spent in a log cabin in the bush, a foot of snow and smoke gently curling from the chimney.

    I never returned home except to visit.

    That is one of the reasons that my home whatever it is, is open to a stranger from a strange land or the next door neighbour. Just let me know if you are headed this way!!!!!

  4. Polish airline LOT cancelled twenty flights after hackers jammed their computer system that generates flight plans. CNN 2015 Jun 22

    now who would do a thing like that?

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      What’s interesting, the reservation system was left intact. The main parts of the system which had been attacked are related to flight control.
      To guess who did it beyond the ken of mortals like us. Poland is the most infiltrated country in the EU by foreign intelligence and columnist Rafal Ziemkiewicz had written about 2010 Smolensk plain crashed which killed Polish President and 96 top military people:

      “Telescopes at our disposal are unable to show anything. There must be something as showed in Apsidal precession. But it is not visible, we can only guess and assume. The astronomers call it the “dark matter” and they are in a more easy situation inasmuch “the dark matter” does not have handsomely paid law offices at its disposal which would sue the astronomers and the dark matter is not being tapped by secret service building files on it or otherwise bothered”

      Obviously in the wider context of events where the stakes are high in the Ukraine and no one is really innocent the first suspicion would be Russian intelligence (incidentally, Russian comedians took the mickey out of the Smolensk crash the first day after the new President Duda was elected – and bear in mind, between the first round of the election – President Komorowski let himself to be known via his actions as a staunch representative of Russian interest – and the second round the media press staff of the US embassy is Warsaw increased from 3 to 17 people – embassy’s media and PR personal are everywhere, in every embassy a link between the embassy and secret service).

      But it might have been… Polish secrete service too. Though I do not think it is very likely, I would not exclude it.
      The tapes scandal showed that Polish Ministry of Interior Affairs would have rather burned Russian embassy than allow right-wing parties to emerge (incidentally, the more right wing a party is in Poland, the more are they against supporting the anti-Polish current government of Ukraine):


      BND is another option

  5. The US is sending commandos and heavy combat equipment including 250 tanks, machine guns, and aircraft into six countries that border Russia. [The US says that it is protecting these countries in response to Russia's provocations in Ukraine.] CBS News 2015 Jun 23

    Who is provoking whom?

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      “Who is provoking whom?”

      There is not one side who is provoking… Everyone who starts from the US and Germany (their national interests diverge) overthrowing legally elected President Yanukovich did not do his homework because to understand what the conflict in the Ukraine is all about one has to go back at least to President Obama’s reset and place it within the wider geopolitical context of the global fight for dominance with China.

      Sadly I do not many attempts on this blog to see the Ukrainian coup d’état in that context, including from David, and most people here see as black&white and think that either only the US (or Germany) are the villain or (minority) only Russia.

      What was Obama’s reset? In simple terms – admonished by the HomeCountiesGirl I’ll try to put it more simple terms at a cost of backing my statements with more facts – Obama’s reset was a policy to withdraw from Europe and totally leave Eastern Europe politically, economically and militarily to the alliance of Germany-Russia.

      The German-Russian alliance was a start of diminishing the role of EU institutions (the latest example would be the President of the European Council was not invited to Minsk) and Germany emerging as the only “legitimate” representatives of the EU in talks with Russia.

      Everyone here who writes about “Brussels” appears to me 2 years behind – there is no center of decisions in Brussels anymore, the EU is now totally ruled by Berlin and its cute hoores the French, with Poles, Dutch, Austrians, Finns and Irish as a decoration.

      Some (not all) Germans may have cartoonish stereotypes about other nations but their politcians are not stupid, quite the opposite. They monopolized proceedings in the EU Parliament where it is important and they developed a systems of bribes and punishments. Sometimes, in crisis moments, their edifice of deception crumbles down and we see a German politician saying “we, as the natural leaders in Europe” on Maybritt Illner show.

      President Putin have outfoxed President Obama who gave Russia most of what Russia wanted (such as gas monopoly in Eastern and Central Europe) and Syria showed real weakness of the US empire in general and Obama in particular.

      When it comes to military expansion, until installing the puppet government in Ukraine Russia was by far the more provoking side. For example in 2009 Russia engaged 30,000 soldiers for military operation exercises focused on landing operations in Poland and nuclear attack on Poland, and this was even before Smolensk crash, in which Russia might or might have not – I do not know – have been involved (anyway, all significant opponents of Gazprom in Poland had been killed in that crash which was followed by Poland writing off all Gazprom’s debts and agreeing on their energy monopoly).
      This was followed by Germany imposing censorship on debates about Smolensk crash in the EU parliament.

      Then China entered the stage and they signed a contract renting huge chunks of Ukraine’s chernozem (the most fertile soil in the world) to alleviate their food imports problem.
      The next step of China was to intercept high-tech military factories in Ukraine and trade routes in Crimea.

      The US prevented it by installing Yatsenyuk. Germany weakened Yatseyuk by installing Poroshenko. Russia thwarted their further expansion by rigging referendum in Crimean and annexing it.


      At this stage the German-Russian alliance started to crumble and it was finally replaced by German-Ukrainian alliance. Germany used the naivety of Polish politicians to support the Ukrainian military while quietly promoting the most anti-Polish elements in the Ukrainian government, who for a while were refraining themselves from commemorating and awarding anti-Polish and anti-Jewish Ukrainian Nazi-collaborators.

      When Poles realized they had been duped by the new Ukrainian government, it was already too late. Meanwhile Germany eliminated Polish, Finnish, Swedish and Baltic states products on the Ukrainian food market. Sanctions imposed on Russia hit Poland’s agriculture more than Russian agriculture – in fact thanks to sanction President Putin will be able to diversify Russia’s economy and implement hard reforms he otherwise would not have been able to implement (funny enough, Russian-US trade has actually increased by 4pc last year).

      When Russia retaliated and imposed sanctions on importing certain products, like apples, was it German fruit growers which had hit the most? Not really, Polish fruit and vegetable farmers have been the first to lose out from Russia’s tit-for-tat sanctions: Poland lost €840m from trade with Russia and the situation of Polish orchardists have in fact become so dramatic that there was an action initiated in Poland to buy Polish apples in order to prevent the fruit growers from bankruptcy::


      Now as to the US sending heavy combat equipment, to readers chagrin, even though I am against calling the Ukrainian government legitimate and I see potential dangers in allowing neo-Nazis to government, I strongly support creating the US military bases in Poland for only the presence of the US soldiers who might die in an attack would be any hope of stopping Russia from its further expansion.

      Yous guys are writing about 250 US tanks in Poland as if you did not know that there is 811 tanks and nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad enclave bordering with Poland training aggressive attacks and it is not a defensive response to the US military expansion in Poland because these plans were developed and implemented before the US and Germany planted their stoodges in Ukraine and that it was Russia to withdraw from anti-nuclear treaties first and not the US.

      And you seem to think that Russia will attack Swedish vessels laying down energy cables (which they did) but somehow they will spare the Irish fishermen (the same may be expected from Germany, except that Germany does need to bully Ireland or Poland or Greece military when they can do it economically thus not undermining their image).

      All in all, both the US and Russia achieved most of what they wanted in terms of militarization of the conflict, Germany and France achieved what they wanted in terms of eliminating competition from other countries industries and China seems to be a loser in that game. But for how long?


      • So let me get this straight Grzegorz:

        Provocation, the US, Germany, the Ukrainians, Yanukovich, a coup, Obama, China, Germany again, Russians, the EU, the Poles, Brussels, Berlin, stereotypes, Obama again, Syria, miltary operations, the Poles again, censorship, Smolensk, China again, Gazprom, the Poles again, China again, Yatsenyuk, the Ukrainians again, Putin, the Russians, Apples and Oranges – Oh sorry, I mean Apples and Orchards, neo-Nazis, the Ukrainians again, Germany again, Greece and China again.

        Damn why didn’t I see it before?!

        It was right in front of my very eyes! You’ve joined up the dots for me in a most lucid fashion.


        Come off it mate, this is all guesswork – you haven’t got a clue what’s going on and if you did you wouldn’t be spilling your buts on an insignificant blog like this. You’d be off lining your pockets somewhere – and you’d be right.

        But like I said before, 10 out of 10 for entertainment.

        It’s called ‘flight of ideas’ Grzegorz – a psychiatric term – slow down a bit man and breathe.

        Best wishes for a speedy recovery,


        • spilling your ‘guts’.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            Of course my remark about “not reading anything” was not related to you – judging from the links you attach (and your most interesting comment about Lend Lease, which I agree with) – but to vast majority of our population. I even knew a secondary school teacher who did not read anything for 5 years and was only interested in GAA. Sad but true

          • Yes fine, I know you were not being personal. Even if you were I wouldn’t take offence. What others say or think of me is of no importance – and I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way.

            It wasn’t me who made the comment about the Land Lease (or Land League) – not as far as I recall. It’s not something I know a lot about beyond what I learned in school – nor am I particularly interested in it.

            I believe you about the GAA teacher for sure.

          • Lend Lease, whatever, not sure what comment you mean – doubt it was me though.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            Please have leniency and understanding that sometimes – in my shorter comments – I respond on my way home and cannot have all discussion threads open when travelling. In fact I just wanted to be pleasant to you. Nonetheless, yes, it was not you with lend lease, my bad. I sincerely apologise

          • Yes don’t worry about it Grzegorz.

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          If you saw and understood my quote from Ziemkiewicz about dark matter you would mellow down :-)

          Of course one can say we all have no clue and no knowledge of anything and everything from my comments, through David;s comments about Poland trying to isolate Russia and ending up with political analysts from various institutions have no better or worse knowledge about politics, economics or international relations than someone who does not read anything about anything.

          To be honest, that hypothesis of yours – which is a pure speculation which is, unlike my speculations, not backed by any facts, seems to be far more crazy.

          Best wishes and start reading more


          • I know what dark matter is Grzegorz, astronomy would be something I am interested in.

            I read plenty, it’s fine to speculate but to attempt to draw so many inferences or conclusions from such a vast array of (often times unrelated) variables and to subsequently present them as factual isn’t the best use of your abilities – in my opinion.

            The facts are before me, there’s no basis for you making so many specious connections – many of them retrospective. I don’t need to read 1000 books to see that – you can change around the names – for example change ‘Germany’ to the ‘US’ and vice versa etc. and it still won’t make sense. You’re trying to insert too many variables into a moving equation and they just won’t fit. If you have a supercomputer or super network of computers (try the blockchain haha), then maybe, just maybe it will work – or if you are the great Hari Seldon himself. But not like this.

            Nevertheless, speculate away Grzegorz. All the best. Adam.

          • StephenKenny

            I enjoy reading your entries, but I agree with Adam Byrne, they don’t seem to me to be very credible.
            They’re a huge screeds of implication, selective quotations, baseless extrapolation – and all from a very particular political standpoint.
            But for all the strong Polish centric political view, they always seem to lose focus, and blur every issue, to the point where the huge long pieces inevitably seem to conclude “it’s sort of everyone and no one, and who knows anyway”.

            The idea that the US/NATO aren’t on the offensive in their ‘war’ with Russia, relies on, quite frankly, bizarre interpretations of geography, recent history, recent economics, and the general state of the global economy.

            The current attempted US/NATO coup d’etat in Armenia is case in point. It’s almost a replica Ukrainian one, so of course, just as with Ukraine, it’s receiving almost no coverage at all, and what there is is as misleading as it was with the Ukraine. Or Libya. Or Iraq. Or Venezuela. Or Argentina, Or Brazil. Or Iran. in fact, there’s so much evidence as to be almost embarrassing.

            It makes perfect sense that western intelligence services have repeatedly stated that they employ considerable human resource to interpret, redirect, misinform, and discredit, online discussion forums.

            The national media openly state that in many areas they simply print what they believe the government wants them to.

            Online discussions is all there is left – so it’s understandable that they want to disrupt them. If the truth shall set you free, our own governments seem determined to enslave us.

          • “it’s sort of everyone and no one, and who knows anyway”.

            Well ‘funnily enough’ this part is true StephenKenny so he gets his final conclusion correct every time – what are the odds?!

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            “The idea that the US/NATO aren’t on the offensive in their ‘war’ with Russia,”

            Ah no Stephen, that’s mis-interpretation. I wrote:

            “until installing the puppet government in Ukraine Russia was by far the more provoking side. For example in 2009 Russia engaged 30,000 soldiers for military operation exercises focused on landing operations in Poland and nuclear attack on Poland”

            “Until” changes the whole sense of my comment and your reply. Right now NATO is I’d say more on the offensive and definitely coup d’etat in Kiev was aggressive.
            But bear in mind this is partly regaining ground lost after reset. You cannot deny the fact about those military exercises, Nord Stream and nuclear treaties. You can find them in Eussian sources too.

          • StephenKenny

            Oh come on Gregorz, you’ll have to do a lot better than that! An exercise with 30,000 troops, and that’s it?

            NATO broke it’s agreement with Russia and expanded into Eastern Europe; who was it who woke up and armed the Chechens? US/NATO have spent 15-20 years years building an ‘anti-missile’ shield, with the national medias trumpeting that it’s against North Korean missiles, or perhaps Iranian! An anti-missile shield in eastern Europe, countering North Korea? it’s so preposterous that I expect to see it in a Tony Blair speech on the BBC.

            The US & NATO countries media have now persuaded us that overthrowing a democratically elected government, is absolutely fine – where the hell did that idea pop up from? What was the first action of the ‘popular’ uprising in Libya? To privatise it’s central bank. What sort of action is that for a popular ‘liberator of the people’.

            US troops are now stationed in over 120 countries, many bordering on Russia.
            How many countries on Russian borders have offensive NATO forces on? Probably easier would be how many don’t. How many countries on US borders have offensive Russian & allied forces on?

            The west is trying to start a war, consciously or sub consciously, because after economic collapse, that’s often, what happens.

            With everyone running massive, and increasing, budget deficits, interest rates lower than they’ve been for over 350 years, the reality is that the seeming wealth of the west is to a large extent a mirage. No politician can deal with that, so a war is the next, best, alternative.

            War has two benefits: It distracts the population and excuses hardship; and you can grab power and rob other countries of their savings & wealth.

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          “insignificant blog”

          Insignificant? Do you know of any more significant economic blog in Ireland in terms of entries? Would you share this knowledge?

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          Adam, I know you know what dark matter is. I still think you do not quite my quote about our position from which we can (or cannot) infer various things.
          The purpose of the quote was to make a distinction between events we can verify (like the US embassy increasing staff or Russian military exercises) and those we cannot (like who stands behind what). As Stephen points out, disinformation is in the arsenal of intelligence services.

          Sometimes I wonder if disinformation is not a part of your advertisement of bitcoin. Let explain to us how come it is good to buy Bitcoin at that exorbitant price (and considering its past volatility in price) and how come it is not a bubble right now, in 2015.

          I try to come up with arguments pro and against (like in my analysis of London Debt Agreement used by David).

          You only come up with links and arguments in favour of Bitcoin.

          I am not questioning your better knowledge of Bitcoin, just giving food for thought

          • Grzegorz,

            I have written a bit about Bitcoin on this blog (and elsewhere) but not a massive amount – not to goldbuggery levels shall we say.

            I simply don’t have time to rehash what I’ve written, besides there are more eloquent writers out there who you can look up to get a fuller picture.

            The best way to learn about Bitcoin is to use it – to ‘do’ Bitcoin – as opposed to talking about it interminably. I’m a man of action, not a man of words. DO, don’t TALK (too much).

            If you want to know my own experience of using Bitcoin you just have to ask me a specific question about it and I’ll try to give you a straight answer – that’s the most I can offer at this juncture.

            I’m not interested in forcing anyone to use Bitcoin, it’s their own choice – it works for me though and I believe it can and will work for many others in the near future.

            “how come it is good to buy Bitcoin” – never once did I advise anyone to buy Bitcoin – again it’s their own choice.



      • Grzegorz Kolodziej


        I said I welcome constructive criticism so following your comment I am responding with brevity at the cost of paucity of references to links and sources.

        „an exercise with 30,000 troops, and that’s it?” […] “How many countries on US borders have offensive Russian & allied forces on?”
        No, that’s not it, that’s just one example.
        Other examples would be:
        -Increasing defence budget in 2012 by 16pc while European countries had been decreasing their defence budgets at that time (except for Greece) which made Russia the only country in the world apart from the US which was spending 4.4pc of its GDP on rearmament.
        -Changing military doctrine from defensive into offensive.
        -Withdrawing from USAID
        -Withdrawing from Nunn-Lugar
        -Rejecting US proposal to reduce nuclear arsenal during the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland. President Obama renewed his proposal in Berlin and again President Putin rejected it.
        -Building gas pipeline bypassing Poland and then monopolising gas trade in Europe.
        All of that happened before coup d’etat in Kiev.
        After Maidan Russia captured a NATO officer from Estonia. Did NATO capture any FSB officer from Russia recently? Did NATO sent warship to stop Gazprom as Russia did with Lithuania and Sweden?

        How many countries on US borders have offensive Russian & allied forces on? Your knowledge of geography tells you that the only serious countries in question might be Mexico and Canada (in fact, Russia did deploy nuclear weapons in Cuba, but that was a long time ago). No, they do not have Russian forces deployed in Canada as of yet though if we look at their endeavours in the Arctic they would love to. But perhaps by US borders you mean NATO. In that case are you telling me that it is aggressive from NATO to plan on having 250 tanks and no nuclear weapons in countries bordering with Russia while it is not aggressive from Russia to have more than 3 times as many tanks and nuclear weapons on NATO border (in Kaliningrad?) for the last few decades?

        “NATO broke its agreement with Russia and expanded into Eastern Europe; who was it who woke up and armed the Chechens?”
        What agreement? What are you talking about? If you mean joining Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, this was agreed with Russian President. If you mean the Baltic states, there was no agreement but unilateral declaration. By the way, Russia broke the Budapest Agreement and did not respect the integrity of Ukrainian territory (and do not even start me on the rigged referendum and “spontaneous” separatists movement – President Putin had been playing a fool for while pretending he was not sending any troops from Russia until he admitted it).
        Who armed the Chechens? Mostly the Arab League. Personally I was against Polish support for Chechenyan independence due to potential threats from Muslim terrorism so do not take it on me. And who was arming the IRA?

        “An anti-missile shield in eastern Europe, countering North Korea?”
        An anti-missile shield countering nuclear weapons Russia has gathered in Kaliningrad enclave, modernised and expanded before coup d’etat in Kiev.
        Tell Russia to take away their nukes and military bases from Kaliningrad (way, way bigger than anything what the US is planning) and allow Polish ships travel through Vistula Spit as Russia agreed (and broke that agreement) and then come back to me on US bases in Poland the Baltic States.

        Anti-missile shield.
        No, it’s not against Morth Korea, it’s against the nukes Russia has in Kaliningrad.

        President Obama’s withdrawal from anti-missile shield was a result of the report he received from think-tank Centre For Strategic And Budgetary Assessments in which he was informed that should there be a war in west Pacific the US would lose the first chain of islands within first few weeks. That’s why he resigned from SM-3 IIB missiles in Poland and Romania and invested that money in the so called pivot on Pacific. In return for withdrawal from Eastern Europe he got Russia’s support in UNESCO for sanctions on Iran and Russian agreement on ISAF transit to and from Afghanistan. He even tolerated affronts from Putin such as having to wait 20 minutes on G-20 summit in Los Cobos in June 2012 and forcing him sit far from him on G-20 St. Petersburg summit.

        “The west is trying to start a war”
        True. Polish Finance Minister Rostowski warned 3 years ago in Brussels that there was going to be a war in Europe, but no one listened to him. War is a way of hiding bankruptcy. It worked for Hitler and it worked for Roosevelt.

        “With everyone running…”
        Address this to David. I am against budget deficits, he is in favour. I am against QE, he is in favour.

        “There’re a huge screeds of implication, selective quotations, baseless extrapolation”
        And yet those huge screeds formed a basis of what was to be one of David’s best articles in Sunday Business Post, for which he received accolades from people like Eddie Hobbs and even yesterday from Declan Lynch, more than a week after its publication – without giving me any credit for it (but that’s fine, I am not vain).

        “they always seem to lose focus”
        Maybe. I must work on that then.

        “it’s sort of everyone and no one, and who knows anyway”
        Leftover from my academic background. I agree, it can be irritating sometimes. Personally I burst into laughter when I red that just criticism.

        “they employ considerable human resource to interpret, redirect, misinform, and discredit online discussion forums”
        Who is they? But you are right, I have noticed one person on David’s Twitter account who is paid by RT. I am must be an idealist then.

        “the current attempted US/NATO coup d’etat in Armenia in case in point. It’s almost a replica of Ukrainian one”
        But there is no joined US/NATO interest anymore. I gave a good example of Germany outfoxing the US in Romania. The European Army is also an attempt to create a structure independent of the US (supported by French nuclear weapons).

        • coldblow


          The agreement was made between the US and Nato on one hand and Gorbachev’s Russia on the other and was that NATO would not expand eastwards pm the clearly implied understanding that the Soviet empire would be dismantled peacefully. This agreement was broken by the West.

          It was never committed to writing but was nevertheless understood by both sides (or so I understand).

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej


            I’ll answer your question but I must say I cannot believe what we are just discussing – whether Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic and then the Baltic States should be independent countries or whether they should have to ask Russia how to run their foreign policies and ask Russia which structures they can join.
            Your knowledge of history is so big that I do not have to say anything of Russia’s relations with states who do not have a strong army, particularly the Baltics in 1940.
            And you probably know that the Estonians in particular are the least linguistically and ethnically related nation to Russians, them and Finns/Hungarians.

            Even the Irish share more DNA with the Russians than some of them Baltic states people (for example Tá leabhar agam has the same deep grammar structure as ? ???? ???? ????? (U menja est’ kniga) which predates Germanic languages and Latin – lit. “by/at me there is book and asan in Irish is pronounced very similarly to osiol in Polish).

            Would you rather have Poland or Baltic states NOT sovereign if their independence was going to annoy Russia or would you be willing to sacrifice their independence to appease Russia? What’s in for Ireland anyway? Should Ireland not rather stick with the Brits (who are cosying up to China, Russia’s superior competitor?).

            How would you feel if Ireland’s EU or Commonwealth or NAFTA membership was to be decided between German, English or American leaders (in my imaginery scenarion I am not even talking about not having a referendum, just imagine that Merkel does not invite Kenny to talks with Cameron and she decides that from now on Ireland is not an EU member because that’s what Cameron wants, but it is obliged to be a part of the European Army because that’s what Merkel wants)?

            Now brush all of what I wrote aside :-)

            A legally minded person could argue about promises given to head of state that no longer exists – as you know, Germany showed middle finger to paying their war reparations – but here is the answer:


            I think there was a written agreement too, I would have to spend time looking for it.

            Gorbi is overrated in the West. I could never understand his popularity in the West. He introduced reforms, but he had little choice after they realised they were not going to cope with the US (President Reagan had a spy and had very detailed information on USSR military before he came up with his Star Wars bluff).
            He never intended to dissolve Soviet Union, he just lacked imagination as to consequences of his actions.
            At the end of the day he chose the wrong way – political reform before economic reforms, unlike China.

            For a change the biggest Russian politician of the 20th century, Pyotr Stolypin, is virtually unknown in the West…

          • coldblow

            The Irish government would also obey without question whatever Angela and David tell them, unless Barack says something else. Then it would get confused and dizzy trying to tell who is His Master’s Voice. Here we are a hundred years on and it’s still Germany and Russia.

        • My understanding is that the Black sea was left as a neutral zone which was violated by the US. Russia sent a plane that shut down all the electronics of the destroyer. It then carried out mock bombing and torpedo and strafing runs that the Americans had to sit and watch.
          It would appear that Russia, Putin, is being very restrained.


        • coldblow


          I am not criticizing the Poles and the rest for wanting to integrate with the West, rather I am arguing that the West (or rather the US) has greatly enlarged its sphere of influence in relation to Russia in recent years. It is arguable but it seems that the eastern Europeans (and how much does this term apply to Poland – Kundera used to be taken aback to hear Czechoslovakia described as ‘eastern’ (rather than ‘central’) European) have no choice but to find a way of living within the gravity of a superpower neighbour, just like Ireland has to get used to living next door to England. As the catchy theme tune to that Polish language course goes: ‘Jestesmy sasadami!’

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            I was able to check that link only now.
            Surprisingly remote place. Must be free from hassle and nervousness of big cities.

            Perhaps you might think of immortalizing your moving story for future generations by enlarging it and publishing online.

            One day wandering around Dublin bookshops (in times when I was still buying books) I came across what was one of the most moving books I have ever red with stories similar to yours:


          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            Basically I agree with everything you said.
            I am sure you have heard of Niall Ferguson and his book Colossus. In it he analysed all major empires in history and why they collapsed.
            He offered an interesting thesis: the difference between the US and British Empire is that the Brits were brought up to go to a country and occupy it (or sent poor souls there ) while the Americans since neo-cons do not want stay there, but rather they have this “safe” doctrine of bombing countries from the air, overthrowing governments, imposing democracy and human rights which are buzzwords created to justify the US or EU aggression and then they leave (and leave chaos behind them). He points out that how the US can be able to successfully control their colonies if only 80pc of Americans have passports, let alone they would bring up their kids in places like Iraq.

  6. Mike Lucey

    The designers, builders and inspection authorities must answer for this tragedy. It can be clearly seen (from photos) that the method of actual construction was ‘cowboy’ style as there appears to have been no consideration of or protection against inevitable water ingress.

    May the victims of this tragedy, Ashley Donohoe, 22, Olivia Burke, 21, Eimear Walsh, 21, Eoghan Culligan, 21, Niccolai Schuster, 21 and Lorcan Miller, 21, Rest In Peace.

    • http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/17/five-irish-students-killed-in-berkeley-balcony-collapse-mourned-in-ireland

      Sorry if previous entries were insensitive. The attached news item escaped attention in this part of the world. We were covered extensively with other “atrocities in foreign lands.

      My apologies to all.

      “”The designers, builders and inspection authorities must answer for this tragedy”"

      There are millions of other such balconies built in the same style called Western Canadian, platform style construction. All built of wood, much in temperate rain forest climates.


      How about the stupidity of inebriated students packed on a balcony designed for maybe less than half the number of people. It reminds me of why I do not venture to balconies of any type. Call it fear, fear of heights, self preservation.

      The same restrictions are on all elevators. One would not pack one with double the people designed and not expect to hit bottom hard.

      It is a fact of life that people expect to be protected by rules and regulations when a little common sense would pay greater dividends all around.

      It is especially true of the overall economy. A debt based economy spends today what should wait for tomorrow. People have spent so much and are in such debt that there is no tomorrow for many.

    • DB4545

      In relation to the J1′ers it’s an absolute tragedy.I worked there in 1986-1988 without the benefit of a visa but nobody cared. I walked through JFK airport and a nice Italian American customs guy said to me “Welcome to my Country”. I’d spent the previous four years travelling around Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia being scrutinised by various shades of passport control so it was a pure joy to meet a Government representative who was friendly and welcoming. I handed over my Irish driving licence in Yonkers and the kindly black lady told me to smile while she took my photo and gave me a nice shiny New York State licence in return. I called the phone company and was told my phone line would be connected the following day. This from a time in Ireland when you had to send begging letters to ministers and could wait for up to two years for a phone line. I was f**king astounded. I even had the ridiculous job in Florida of vetting Latin American workers to ensure that they were legal. I met one guy in New York who bullsh**ed his way onto Wall street by telling them that he’d been to Trinity. Partly true he’d worked as a porter there for a year. I met another guy who girlfriend was walked off a flight from Ireland by a particular branch of US law enforcement who shall remain nameless and straight past Immigration. Why? She was going to work as a nanny for some well connected socialite. Only in America.

      It was pre 9/11 and it was front row entertainment for two years. I met every social class and nationality that it was possible to meet from Columbian illegals to Georgia rednecks to Boston brahmins to trust fund kids. I even worked on an estate in Palm Beach where the residents were so rich they wouldn’t allow one of the Rockefellers to buy a house there because they thought it might attract too much publicity. They’d make the residents of Dalkey look like Ballymuners. I wasn’t really there for the long haul I just wanted to see the place and viewed it as a working holiday.

      I’m sure my son will be going through that right of passage in a couple of years and I hope I never have to experience the heartbreak of those families and the survivors some of whom have appalling injuries. When you think of the hopes and dreams for your kids and those kids stepping up a few gears and starting to explore and experience what life has to offer. Then having to return with the body of your child on father’s day of all days as if life couldn’t be cruel enough. It put’s the minor difficulties of life into perspective. May they rest in peace.


    • Thanks Adam
      Refreshing to see a government official deferring to public opinion. Varoufakis even seems to respect the opinion of his electorate. What a novel idea.
      It paints the IMF. ECU and the EU government as elitist and unconcerned about the people themselves. Correctly so!! Just like most institutional
      Governance these days.

      • DB4545

        I made comments here a few weeks ago about Austrians being a bit more laid back that Germans. I’ve just read a comment from the Austrian finance minister stating that Greece “can’t” leave the Euro without the “permission” of other member States. I get real nervous when I hear an Austrian telling the world that another Country can’t exercise sovereign power. If someone tells you that you can’t voluntarily leave a trading arrangement it’s clearly no longer a democratic agreement among equals it’s morphed into a dictatorship. It kinda reminds me of another little Austrian from the last century who got too big for his boots. I hope the Greeks promptly tell the arrogant little Austrian as**hole to go f**k himself and pull the plug on the Euro.


        • I read that there is no provision in the rules and regs for any state to leave the EU or the EURO.

          “Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly”

          What responsible politician would encourage membership in a club from which there is no returning. Does it not equate to biker clubs or mafia attitudes?

          That is the nature of the new trade agreements and the association of the European states. Once you join you are committed for life as it is “death” to leave.

          Not only is national sovereignty lost but individual sovereignty too.

          Is that what you voted for? Is that what you expected? Is that what you want? do you care at all one way or the other?

          All your institutions are bereft of honesty, devoid of empathy, totally corrupted and concerned only with self survival. That is your government. All big business is aligned with such government and equally corrupted.

          All statistics are manipulated to lie to you. All markets are manipulated to misinform you. All events are under reported, ignored, manipulated or propagandized by the pressitutes as Gerald Celente named them. Truth is ridiculed and denied.

          Do you feel confused?? do you not understand? you are not alone. It is by design. Are your moral standards subverted by new normals? Do you find that what you believed in is now ridiculed or denied, and what you used to not believe in is now advocated as “the way”.

          There are no standards any longer, just attitudes. No integrity any longer, just compromise. There is no Justice anymore, as I was told by a judge,”Do not stand on a matter of principal. I have not the time for that. Make a settlement. Truth is not relevant”

          Human rights legislation in Canada maintains that Truth is no defense if some minority feels slighted. The laws of slander and libel are ignored in many cases. It is a political tool to shape public opinion. It sues with the power of the state to financially ruin any speaker of an unwelcome truth.

          Still, don’t worry , the government is here to care for you!!


          Any government big enough to give you anything you want is also big enough to take everything you have including your life.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            As to provision, it is a complex thing. There is a provision as a matter of fact, but it would take me ages to track it from tons of the EU law. It works like this: you can leave the EU (Greenland did), but countries have to agree (the EU law is changing constantly I do not know if unanimously). If they don’t you can still leave but there is 2 years of cooling down period. Meanwhile there is a provision that if democracy, human rights and blah blah blah are not observed there might be various sanctions (vide Heider, Orban). That’s why Germany/France want the EU army – that would help to change governments, would it not?

  7. michaelcoughlan


    “It could have been any of us on the balcony”

    Yes in fact if it was me a couple of years ago I was such a fat fu%k I would have broken it all on my own. I was in fact so fat I would have probably bounced!

    It could have been any of us on the BEACH;


    One an accident an one a premeditated barbaric act. World is getting madder and madder.


  8. Remember the Malasian passenger jet shot down in Ukraine.
    At the time I read and saw utube showing the bullet holes. No sign of a missile, but lots of reports of Ukrainian fighter jets shadowing the plane.

    I was ordered to that route by Kiev I believe, 200 miles off normal course.
    Turns out the paint job was similar to a plane, a Russian transport, often used by Putin.

    The suggestion was that someone was gunning for Putin and erred.


  9. http://investmentresearchdynamics.com/dont-panic-the-fed-is-control-of-the-markets/

    …when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. – Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”

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