March 1, 2016

Idea of grand coalition works well elsewhere

Posted in Irish Independent · 51 comments ·
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Much of the talk in the past 24 hours has been about the inconclusive mess that the election has thrown up. There is no clear winner and any number of obvious losers. Commentators have suggested that political compromises and coalitions will lead to economic instability.

I want to refute the notion that there is something inherently economically unstable about inconclusive election results. In fact, the opposite is the case.

The more political compromises, deals and negotiations a political party has to make, either with real enemies or imagined ones, the more solid it becomes and the less brittle the entire political system is.

In his excellent book ‘Anti-fragile’, the philosopher Nassim Taleb makes this point about the difference between fragile political entities and robust ones, by comparing post-war Italy with Syria. The fact that he made these points before the Syrian war, not after it, makes them all the more prescient.

Italian politics, with its interminable coalitions, has been for years portrayed as unstable, weak, dissenting and fractious. In contrast, Syria, with its one-party dictatorship, bolstered by a massive military that didn’t tolerate any dissent, was portrayed as a bastion of stability in the region. In Italy during the 1990s and early 2000s when small nationalist regional parties emerged demanding that regions secede from Rome, many commentators saw this as the beginning of the end for the Italian state as the squabbles were voiced very publicly in the media and people were forced to take sides. But what happened in the end?

The system compromised, back-room deals were done, someone got a little and others got a bit more, but ultimately the country survived and life went on.

The Italian system, for all its weaknesses, has a core strength – that strength is the ability to compromise, to do deals and to pull back from the brink.

It is essentially a very adult, grown-up country with a very adult political system.

Contrast that with Syria. From the outside, its monolithic, strongman regime was seen as robust but in fact it was very fragile. Without a tradition of doing deals and compromising, the system was unable to deal with negotiations and a small threat to the power ended up destroying the entire country. The same inability to compromise can be seen in all the undemocratic, inflexible Arab countries which saw regimes toppled during the Arab Spring.

These Arab systems that were not used to compromising simply broke apart when faced with big decisions. They were in fact childish, rather than adult.

Italy, on the other hand, with its endless coalitions, is able to deal with its problems in an adult fashion. It makes the necessary compromises to keep the whole show on the road. Italy is an adult country and its political system with all its deals and negotiations is in fact very robust.

This brings me back home to the fall-out from the elections. A ‘grand coalition’ might not necessarily be a bad thing for the country at all, and indeed any coalition of all the colours of the rainbow if anchored by one of the big two, might work too.

The more compromises a system makes, particularly if that is what the people voted for, the better.

The obvious choice is a coalition of the big two parties. This is what the majority voted for, so why not?

The clear template here is Germany. It seems to have evaded much of the commentariat that although Germany is ruled by Angel Merkel, her government is a grand coalition of the centre right Christian Democrats (CDU, Merkel’s party) and the centre left Social Democrats (SPD), and the much smaller, Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU).

Think about it. The two parties that have dominated German politics since World War II, sworn enemies, divided by apparent unbridgeable ideologies, are in bed together. The government is stable and the country works very well. Compromise again. Adult behaviour.

Indeed, a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition might look very much like the present German one without the smaller party.

The CDU controls five ministries in addition to the positions of Chancellor and Chancellery Chief of Staff/Minister for Special Affairs. The SPD controls six ministries and the CSU three.

The six most powerful ministries were divided equally between the CDU and the SPD: the CDU controls the ministries for finance, internal affairs and defence, while the SPD controls the ministries for foreign affairs, economics and energy, and justice and consumer protection.

Inconclusive election results are now the norm in many countries.

Consider the cul de sac the majority Conservative Party in the UK have waltzed themselves up with Brexit?

This is essentially a scrap for the heart and soul of the Conservative Party, which has been allowed to get out of control and presages a once-in-a-generation constitutional crisis in the UK.

Would a coalition with various different parties have ended up with such an all-or-nothing option?

Therefore, rather than agonise about stability based on the false notion that only clear majorities deliver stability, we should look at other examples where grand bargains are struck to the benefit of the majority of the voters.

The majority of Irish people voted for two parties that occupy the middle ground. That is the government that we should get, warts and all.

As well as hoping the politicians will be mature and do what has to be done, people who voted Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have to be equally grown up and realise that the “war is over”. It is time for the great compromise.

The funny thing about compromising whether in politics, business or just in life, is that once you compromise, you typically realise that your supposed core values weren’t so core after all.


  1. This is going to be an EPIC! thread….*popcorn*
    Was there ever a more appropriate song to kick off the party?

    “Tweedledee and Tweedledum” by Middle Of The Road.

    “Do you recall
    Some years ago?
    Up in the mountains that were white with snow
    Inside a cavern
    Mcdougal he was plannin’
    There’s gonna be a showdown with somebody he knows.

    Well he’s been there
    A year or so
    Something will happen very soon I know
    I hear him playin’ his bagpipes every mornin’
    I think that it’s a warmin’
    He’s gathering the clan.

    Soon you’ll hear the sound of people shouting
    You will see the claymores in their hands
    If you knew the reason for their fighting
    You would never understand.

    Oh
    Tweedle Dee
    Oh Tweedle Dum.
    The tune Mcdougal always used to hum
    While he was fightin’ his rival clan Mcgregor
    Dishonour he would never
    The tartan of his clan.

    Do you recall
    Some years ago?
    Up in the mountains that were white with snow
    Inside a cavern
    Mcdougal he was plannin’
    There’s gonna be a showdown with somebody he knows.

    Soon you’ll hear the sound of people shouting
    You will see the claymores in their hands
    If you knew the reason for their fighting
    You would never understand.

    Oh
    Tweedle Dee
    Oh Tweedle Dum.
    The tune Mcdougal always used to hum
    While he was fightin’ his rival clan Mcgregor
    Dishonour he would never
    The tartan of his clan”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9ARcLTcqoA

    • Colm MacDonncha

      ‘And He was in a bind ‘cos he was way behind and He was willin’ to make a deal…’

      The Devil went Down to Georgia, Charlie Daniels Band 1979

  2. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    One very strong reason why it so difficult for FG and FF to forge a coalition is because if those two formed a government, the Irish people might wake up and see that there is no fundamental difference between them, that there is not real left and real right in Ireland, that it is all based on personalities and that the whole political system needs to be build from scratch, like Ms Lucinda Creighton and Mr Stephen Donnelly have been trying (btw, if I understand correctly, all accusations against Ms Creighton appear to have been a smear campaign – so it seems that the system with its oligopoly press fights tooth and nails against any attempts to revamp it).

    As to Sinn Féin, I think they feel more comfortable in opposition (their North record proves it).

    As to demise of Labour (with their Stasi-Soviet unaccounted past – I am talking about people from the Workers Party who should have share the fate of Lord Haw Haw) – hurray!

    As to the Greens – not them lunatics again. Are the Irish people masochists and do they not have enough that the Greens have burdened them with NAMA and the carbon tax?

    • brentan

      I think people might view them in the same way they viewed FG and Labour in coalition. In other words, two different ideologies compromising on some principles to some extent to balance the policies of the other party. Since the election, the possible FG/FF coalition is being looked on as a merger of the two parties into one and the end of the historical difference between them. They might just get into bed together for a few years for the sake of having some power and then resume their historical position later.

  3. stevedublin

    Germany a good example of a successful government? :-o
    Google “Merkel must go protest”

  4. bluegalway

    “This is essentially a scrap for the heart and soul of the Conservative Party, which has been allowed to get out of control and presages a once-in-a-generation constitutional crisis in the UK.”

    To be clear, Cameron thought he’d more or less boxed that part of his part away. The reason there is a referendum on Europe is that Cameron thought he’d have to go into coalition again, and use the excuse of the Lib/Dems inevitable block on having one, as reason not to.

    But the reason he offered one in the first place is for one alone: UKIP.
    The Conservatives were losing votes hand-over-fist in southern English counties, their stronghold, and he assuaged the Euro-skeptic side of his party with the promise of a referendum on membership of the EU.

    He wants in ‘In’ vote to kill two birds with one stone; the ‘Kippers, and his own anti-EU faction. And then get back all those UKIP votes next time round.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      “The Conservatives were losing votes hand-over-fist in southern English counties, their stronghold” – that’s right.

      https://mobile.twitter.com/SonyKapoor/status/704027705952575489

      Btw, I wonder why none of you, even David, have thought that perhaps we do not really know what Mr Cameron got from the rest of the EU? Perhaps there are some other benefits he obtained the press is not talking about lest other countries get jealous?

      Impossible? Conspiracy theory? Well – how many of you know that not only Britain, but Germany TOO have negotiated a rebate in the 80s?

  5. Colm MacDonncha

    Surely a government (democracy) works by a majority consensus on individual items of legislation. A bit like a marriage, where being defeated on a motion does not necessarily entail being kicked out. Party A proposes legislation to let’s say abolish Irish Water,then all TDs vote on it according to conscience (assuming they have one!).If proposed legislation is approved the appropriate departments enact it, and if not the topic continues on as it was before. The guys proposing the legislation go back to the drawing board, and aren’t allowed broach the subject again for maybe a year,and the Dáil resumes its business. Democracy. Majority of peoples’ representatives choose a course of action and life goes on. No need for an election.Maybe a bit simplistic but then good ideas often are…

  6. Sideshow Bob

    Right now, without prior consensus, a coalition between these old enemies is unlikely to happen, I think. For FG and FF supporters such an arrangement would be a shotgun wedding as opposed to a marriage by choice, or even of convenience. It is a matter of identity that extends into the mists of time and reflects the basic tribalism inherent in the Irish mentality.

    Spain is the most relevant recent example of an inconclusive election among our neighbours, and I am surprised the author didn´t reference it in his piece.

    The election there was held over two months ago and there has been wrangling about the formation of a Government since. One option which would have involved a real grand coalition of PP (right) and PSOE (left) for the first time ever, crossing the Civil War divide there, was pretty quickly kicked to touch by the PSOE. The PSOE will not support a Rajoy led Government under any circumstances. I imagine FF will say the same about FG.

    There ,too, the people voted to kick the Government out and even though the PSOE don´t want to cede ground to Podemos, they are not stupid enough to support a Governemnt led by Rajoy and the PP, the implementers of crippling austerity in Spain.

    This wasn´t about maturity and everybody sitting down together as adults, it is about not adding insult to injury to the Spanish people, and the consequences of such for the PSOE next time out if they did so.

    The Spanish don´t take indignity well, and the PSOE know that at least.

  7. coldblow

    The final paragraph is very good – classic McWilliams.

  8. The good news is there’s no hurry. All parties need to take some time to reflect on the electorate’s verdict. We all remember the failures of 81/82.

    Having been based in Switzerland since the late 90s, you get a respect for the fact that ALL Swiss governments are a coalition of 3-4 parties with no party having more than 2 of the 7 top cabinet seats in any 5 year period. And Switzerland although half the geographic size of Ireland has twice the population. And, to David’s point, no-one regards Switzerland as unstable, right?

    So my recommendation to the non-SF parties who don’t fancy five (more) years of Opposition, is think the unthinkable, and accept the coalition mandate from the electorate. Indeed the Constitution doesn’t care how the majority in the Dail is effected, just that a majority agree on a Taoiseach and Tànaiste and take it from there.

    Besides for the big ticket items there’s already consensus: the Euro, the Debt, the need to get out of Austerity. And the Leaders are mostly ex-schoolteachers so surely they can relate…..

    Finally aren’t our politicos paid more than those running the USA? Time to show some value for money at last.

  9. Pat Flannery

    It is interesting listening to the media discourse after this election. The commentary is about things like an “inconclusive” election, “what the people voted for”, one interpretation of which is expressed here as a “grand coalition”. But to borrow one of David’s favorite sayings: “Think about it”! What do any of these phrases mean?

    Let’s start with “inconclusive election”. What is inconclusive about it? We have 158 parliamentary representatives, exactly as the law calls for. That is not inconclusive, unless of course you were expecting something the law does not call for i.e. some pre-agreed agenda, a secret consensus, which is the very antithesis of an open democratic legislative assembly.

    For the first time since the foundation of this state (along British parliamentary lines) we have an opportunity to think for ourselves for a change. The British model has outlived its usefulness in Ireland, both north and south. We are now being forced here in the south to either adopt a D’Hondt method of allocating ministries, like they do in the north, or abandon the British “winning-party-takes-all” mindset altogether.

    It is amazing to me to be hearing discussion about smaller parties’ “speaking rights in the Dail”. What is that all about? To me that is a measure of how far we have strayed from true representative democracy. We don’t even have equality of rights in our Parliament?

    I think it is good that many in the Fianna Fail Party are reluctant to go into a “grand coalition” with Fine Gael, whether Enda is leader or not. It is time that Irish parliamentarians learned the true function of a representative legislative body. It is time our TDs stopped turning to their “teacher” for guidance on everything, as they have been conditioned to do by the authoritarian Irish education system from their first day at school. Subservience is an integral part of Irish education and is hard to shake off.

    So, I personally welcome this “inconclusive” election (which it is not) because it will force a whole new generation of Irish parliamentarians to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own decisions. Those who are hopelessly indoctrinated into waiting for parental/teacher/pastoral guidance in everything have no place in the politics of a new RESPONSIBLE Ireland. Let’s hope they do not miss this opportunity by calling for another election and going back to the safety of an old-fashioned “conclusive” election in a few months’ time.

  10. Ireland:

    Fitch says Irish election raises uncertainty: In a statement, Fitch Ratings maintained its Irish rating at ‘A’/Stable. It said that while inconclusive general election does not alter its expectation that the next government will pursue further deficit reduction, protracted political uncertainty, an unstable government, or reliance on more radical political elements could be negative if they reduced the authorities’ ability to respond to downside fiscal or economic risks.
    Fianna Fail calls for reform in first post-election move: The Irish Times cited remarks by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who called for major political reform to be agreed before the new parliament convenes. The article cited a statement issued on Monday which outlined the party’s much strengthened position with 43 deputies elected so far. The statement set out an argument for immediate reform to be agreed by the parliament itself rather than whatever government is formed after 10-Mar.

  11. Lius

    David,

    A good article except that I disagree with your comment that the “The majority of Irish people voted for two parties that occupy the middle ground”

    IMHO The Majority of Irish people voted to expel the FG/Lab government as can be seen by their decimation. FG’s retention of seats is only due to the natural human resistance to change plus Enda’s dictatorship style grip on power.

    I feel that what the Irish people voted for is a Rainbow government anchored by FF, it is unfortunate that FG held onto so many seats which makes that arrangement unlikely as nobody looks likely to get into bed with SF and SF appear to want to remain in opposition.

    • E. Kavanagh

      Nearly 1/3 of the electorate voted for the the FG/Lab coalition; so it is not true to say what “the Irish people voted for is a Rainbow government anchored by FF”.
      Further the Sinners were clearly not expected to be included in any coalition now, so nearly half of all voters (46%) didn’t vote for an FF-Rainbow coalition.
      Your narrative about why people voted for FG might explain a small number of seats, but not over 25% of the electorate and the largest party in the Oireachtas.

      FG’s vote reflects their core support and the fact that those people, I think, actually are somewhat happy with FG’s performance. Their reduced vote is just a reflection of the loss of “borrowed” voters.

      FF’s increase is just the return of the 2nd tier hardline supporters who are prepared to ignore the fact that FF caused the Irish calamity and that FF has been corrupt for decades.

      The cause of Labour’s 2016 loss occurred in 2011 when they promised that it would not be Frankfurt’s way, and then went into government and immediately began to implement Frankfurt’s way. It was really Gilmore who lost this election for Labour.

      The reason an FG-FF coalition makes sense is that FF’s Lenihan came up with the current solution to 2008, and FG were happy to implement it. Most of the rest of the Rainbow don’t believe in that solution.

  12. McCawber

    The Irish electorate voted for anarchy.
    Because nobody in the new Dail is going to vote for anything that reflects negatively on their electoral chances.
    They just had a clear demo of the consequences of doing so.
    The biggest losers surprisingly are SF.
    The huge number of alternative leftie choices squeezed them badly.
    FF were the big winners.
    Compromise in this instance could be costly.
    It all depends on the types of compo made always bearing in mind that the compo must be good.
    FREE MEALs for everyone in the audience.

    • E. Kavanagh

      I think there is a problem with the phrase, “The Irish electorate voted for anarchy.” An electorate is a collection of individual voters. It is the individuals that do the voting. Oddly, the electorate as an entity didn’t do any voting at all. Anarchy may be the result of the 2MM votes cast (although that is quite unlikely).

      I’m not so sure that the Sinners are the biggest losers, nor that FF are the biggest winners. FF can only win if that manage to put together a Rainbow Coalition and then things go well for them. FF are going to be cursed if they don’t go into government either with FG or a Rainbow Coalition. And if they do go in with FG, it will play into the Sinners hands whether FF does well or badly.

      The Sinners can sit in opposition and try to get the voters to believe they aren’t really murders while making good points and showing that they are the future and only realistic option for the Irish left. So if an FG-FF coalition does badly the Sinner do well in the next election and if the coalition does well, the Sinners would probably still gain seats as the country moves to a more traditional left-right arrangement. And once they get rid of Adams as leader, and get someone more palatable (less rapey and murdery) they might even make inroads into the left leaning middle class at some point. Although they might do better if they changed their name and joined with Labour and SD–maybe the Social Democratic and Labour Party.

      • McCawber

        The electorate is a collective (of individuals for sure)
        But that collective knew from the opinion polls what the likely outcome of the election was going to be.
        SF were expecting the big breakthrough this time. Despite the brave face the body language was one of disappointment.
        It should have happened for them, they were facing probably the most unpopular government on record.
        That’s two most unpopular governments in a row and they didn’t click. Transfers are obviously still a big problem for them. On top of which the non aligned (to SF) left gave non party lefties an outlet to vent their angst.
        FF are the most adroit political organisation in the country, they will figure out a way of staying out of government and the SF policy of doing the same will give them some cover.
        If Tony is right (things may look ok for Ireland at the moment) then their could be some serious unowot coming down the tubes and the government (or Dail) of the day may have to front up rather than hiding.
        The smart game for all concerned is for FG/Labour to remain as a caretaker government until Tony’s day of reckoning comes and the politicians and the electorate are confronted with the consequences of their collective decision.
        Yeah Adams is a real noose around the SF collective neck.
        SDLP – John Hume hasn’t gone away you know. Wouldn’t that be some irony – Nice touch of humour btw.

  13. Pat Flannery

    FF’s Dara Calleary, just now on the One O’clock News, defused RTE’s attempt to induce a major national strike of water payments by misrepresenting Simon Coveney’s comments on RTE’s Primetime last night.

    RTE is a bigger barrier to rational debate than are the political parties. If we are to get through this and achieve Dail reform we must allow our politicians to talk to each other. Dara Calleary and Simon Coveney seem willing to have a rational discussion about water charges. They cannot do it if RTE interviewers arrogantly try to shout them into providing RTE with a sensational headline every day.

    In my opinion we can’t have Dail reform without RTE reform. It’s time to reign in these sensation-seeking attack dogs with national audiences. RTE news interviews have deteriorated to the level of the Jerry Springer Show. The job of news reporting is to provide the public with accurate political and economic information, not dubious entertainment.

    That is one of the first reforms I would like to see in Ireland.

    • Colm MacDonncha

      I’ll second that Pat Flannery. RTPravda.

    • McCawber

      TV3 aren’t a whole lot better.
      Fionnan features regularly on the Vincent show.
      Then one discovers a Ms Power is his spouse.
      That’s not good optics.
      How much air time did Ruth Coppinger or Paul Murphy get in comparison to others? Or the Healy Rae’s whom I suspect got very little national time but I’ve no idea how much local time they got.
      TBH there is a need for a table of air time minutes to be register and made public so that we the electorate can have a transparent view of what is going on.
      The politicians in part box themselves into a “We’re infallabile” corner. But if they did admit a mistake, they are pilloried for it and rubbished by all and sundry. And yet people in their own lives, the media included make plenty of mistakes themselves. There are successful libel court cases against them to prove it.
      We should all remember that “The man who never made a mistake never made anything.”

      • Pat Flannery

        Well put McCawber. Broadcast TV interviewers do not put real questions to get real answers they put trick questions that require trick answers. The politicians therefore have no choice but to be “infallible”.

        The Irish interviewers are a huge part of the problem. Everybody is afraid of them. They have more power than politicians. That is not right. As more and more people get their news online e.g. on social media, perhaps new talent will emerge from there. Where is the Irish equivalent of Max Keiser? Deafening silence. Their teacher wouldn’t allow it.

        • Mike Lucey

          At least TV3 stands on its own legs with no State suport. I resent having to pay €160 p/a towards the OTT salaries of second rate RTE broadcasters.

          I would much prefer that the TV license fee went to community based stations around the country that were controlled / managed by County Councils. At least I feel I would have some kind of an input via my locally elected County Councillors.

  14. mike flannelly

    A major mandate for the 31 st Dail was to deal fairly with the very high debt ratio mortgage crisis.

    E Kavanagh is right about Gilmores hopeless contribution to helping voters with grossly overvalued 2003 to 2010 mortgage debt that needed to be restructured to real debt value ratios via full term interest only restructures and industry best practice restructures. Pat Rabbitte boasting that false promises are what you tend to do during elections, did not help labour either.

    Labours way my arse.

  15. mike flannelly

    Richie Boucher(in the news last week) was in charge of the debt on land banks and development loans for BOI between 2006 to 2009 we are told.
    After 2010 the debt on Irelands land banks was been written down by up to 90% , the values of Irelands apartments were down 65% and the values of Irelands houses were down 55%.

    In fact Irish banks have firesold property for as little as 25% of the original purchase price.

    If property has finally reached its real value(affordable debt value) in 2016, then this means that the debt on Irelands land banks was up to 900% overvalued in the glory days of 2006 to 2009.

    You could forgive a 10% or 20% error in the valuing of DEBT but 900%? I dont get it.
    And dont give me the its the market bullshit. Thats an economists cop out. Up front bonus payments while being a few hundread percent out?

    Last week Richie said that BOI were generating more capital than they can invest in their business and think that they should start distributing to the shareholders.

    We are told that the name your own profit Irish variable rates are costing Irish bank customers 4000euro extra a year than the european variable mortgage norm.

    FOR THE SHAREHOLDER ?

    What are the rules for naming your own profit ?
    To boost share price ?
    What is the role of the financial services ombudsman?

  16. Here is something the grand coalition can get their teeth into. Revoking such legislation may avoid many problems.

    *Bail-In Regulation To Blame For “Bank Turmoil” In EU?

    By Mark O’Byrne March 2, 2016

    The Financial Times recently looked at how the new bail- in resolutions in the EU, U.S. and most of the western world and asked whether they may be leading to “bank turmoil” and increased concerns about banks and the banking sector in the EU. As is typically the case with coverage of the bail-in regime, the important article was little noticed.

    Despite this lack of coverage, we believe bail-ins remain one of the greatest financial risks to investors, savers and indeed companies today. Yet they remain the most poorly covered financial risk and remain largely ignored by financial advisers, brokers and not surprisingly banks. ((and economists and commentators too. –T))

    Indeed, media internationally has ignored this growing and substantial financial risk and the risk that it poses to the deposits of savers, investors and companies and indeed to our respective economies. In a world already beset with huge deflationary pressures, bail-ins and confiscating deposits from savers including the capital of companies would be extremely deflationary and would likely contribute to serious recessions and potentially another global depression.
    This is something we warned of when we first conducted our extensive research on the developing bail-in regimes in November 2013.

    It is interesting and encouraging that the new government in Italy is aware of the risks of bail-ins and looks prepared to go against the new international deposit confiscation rules. Hopefully, it may at long last engender a real debate about the pros and significant cons of bail- ins and their risks and ramifications and contribute to people being prepared for bail-ins.

  17. The world has lost its moral compass. Politicians, Ivy Leaguers. The end justifies the means. Rip off artists the whole lot of scum.

    *THE GREAT CORPORATE EARNINGS FRAUD

    “What are the odds that people will make smart decisions about money if they don’t need to make smart decisions–if they can get rich making dumb decisions? The incentives on Wall Street were all wrong; they’re still all wrong.” ? Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    Corporate earnings reports for the fourth quarter are pretty much in the books. The deception, falsification, accounting manipulation, and propaganda utilized by mega- corporations and their compliant corporate media mouthpieces has been outrageously blatant. It reeks of desperation as the Wall Street shysters attempt to extract the last dollar from their muppet clients before this house of cards collapses.

    The CEOs of these mega-corporations accelerated their debt financed stock buybacks in 2015 as stock prices reached all-time highs and are currently so overvalued, they will deliver 0% returns over the next decade. This disgraceful act of pure greed by the Ivy League educated leaders of corporate America to boost their own stock based compensation is reckless and absurd…

    http://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/02/29/the-great- corporate-earnings-fraud/

  18. “We’re In Trouble”: Alan Greenspan Delivers Stark Warning
    http://www.zerohedge.com/users/tyler-durden Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/01/2016 17:30 -0500

  19. mike flannelly

    Last year the European Court of Justice ruled that EU national courts are obliged to examine the issue of “Unfairness In Contractual Terms.”

    WE ARE STILL WAITING.

    In my oponion we have -

    1. Name your own profit for the state backed stronger party to the contract.

    2. Vague and Unclear interest rates arrangements in the contract.

    3. From 2003 to 2009 the state backed stronger party to the mortgage contracts were misrepresenting banking best practice with regard to debt ratios and affordability. The intelligent professional lenders of debt unbelievably ignored the basic principles of banking while paying themselves up front bonus payments.

    4. Investment mortgage contracts of 2003 to 2009 that were sold for up to 40 times the annual rent had ZERO investment value from day one.

    Michael Mc Grath of FF has been vocal to date on behalf of bank customer voters.

    No More Defering Irish Banking Reform.

    No more excuses

    2016 is the year that Irish constitutional politicians of all political parties must reform Irish Banks for the present and future bank customer voters.

    Or pay the price.

  20. Ireland:

    Fine Gael shows willingness to break impasse: The Irish Times cited Fine Gael leader and acting Prime Minister Enda Kenny who said following last week’s inconclusive election outcome that the party must engage fully and inclusively with other parties, groups and independent deputies to ensure that a government is established. The article reported that other members of Fine Gael suggested this would include talks with main opposition party Fianna Fail, with some members of Fianna Fail indicating a willingness to support a Fine Gael minority government.

  21. Wills

    Similar to a three legged race that in order to advance both parties must coordinate their actions, communicate to each other and stay in step. Any false move and it shudders to a stop. Perfect fix to guarantee cooperation despite how much either parties hate each other. Keeping it real politics.

  22. “Contrast that with Syria. From the outside, its monolithic, strongman regime was seen as robust but in fact it was very fragile. Without a tradition of doing deals and compromising, the system was unable to deal with negotiations and a small threat to the power ended up destroying the entire country.”

    The main difference with Italy as the example and the Arab countries that have been destroyed is that Italy was not infiltrated by “rebels” funded by the CIA, US and backed by the war machine of NATO.

    Libya was destroyed because they suggested to use a currency other than the US petro dollar. Ditto Iraq. They went after Iran for the same reason. They have demonised Putin’s Russia for the same. Syria is required to enable gas and oil pipelines from North Africa to break the back of Russian supplies to Northern Europe.

    Italy is no threat to the Petro Dollar.

    Russia and China have teamed up to prevent the overthrow of Assad

    • E. Kavanagh

      I’d have thought that having a murderous dictator in power for decades is probably more relevant. The US involvement in Syria seems to have been, unfortunately, way too minimal.

      • Mike Lucey

        Washington props up ‘murderous dictators’ provided they toe the line when it comes to how oil is sold. One they, ‘murderous dictators’, start having ideas about abandoning the Petrodollar they are taken out as a matter of procedure.

      • So you have the right to decide that any other country in the world needs a change of government.
        It would appear that a dictator was needed to control the disparate forces now unleashed in fury and destruction.
        It is the equivalent of your neighbour deciding to rescue your mistreatment of your wife and family by knocking down your house, destroying your garden, and throwing your family on the street while you are hanged for your misdeeds on the nearest fencepost, by the neighbourhood vigilantees.

    • Mike Lucey

      The North African and Middle East conflicts are all happening to protect the Petrodollar and nothing else. Its been that way since Henry K set the whole thing up.

      http://ftmdaily.com/preparing-for-the-collapse-of-the-petrodollar-system/

      • E. Kavanagh

        That’s not true.

          • The truth as David Stockman sees it.

            http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-trumpster-sends-the-gopneocon-establishment-to-the-dumpster/

            “It is the bombs, drones, cruise missiles and brutal occupations of Muslim lands unleashed by the War Party that has actually fostered the massive blowback and radical jihadism rampant today in the middle east and beyond.”

            “Yet unlike the nuclear threat posed by the Soviet Union at the peak of its industrial vigor, we no longer have any industrial state enemy left on the planet; we have appropriately been fired as the world’s policeman and have no need for Washington’s far flung imperium of bases and naval and air power projection; and would not even be confronted with the domestic policing challenges posed by highly limited and episodic homeland terrorist tempests had Washington not turned Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and others into failed states and economic rubble.”

            “But a nation tumbling into financial and fiscal crisis will welcome the War Party purge that Trump would surely undertake. He didn’t allow the self-serving busy-bodies and fools who inhabit the Council on Foreign Relations to dupe him into believing that Putin is a horrible threat; or that the real estate on the eastern edge of the non-state of the Ukraine, which has always been either a de jure or de facto part of Russia, was any of our business. Likewise, he has gotten it totally right with respect to the sectarian and tribal wars of Syria and Iraq and Hillary’s feckless destruction of a stable regime in Libya.”

        • Is it not true that Saddam stood and said he was going to sell oil in Euros
          Is it not true that Gaddafi said that he was instituting a Pan African currency based on the ancient Islamic Gold coin, the Dinar.
          Is it not true that Syria is needed as a route for oil pipelines from North Africa to Northern Europe, in order to Undercut Russia.
          Is it not true that Iran was sanctioned after deciding to sell oil in EURO’s
          Is it not true that Russia was sanctioned after defending its interests as the West , NATO, overthrew a legitimate Ukraine government and put a barrage of missiles on the Russian border.Russia also sells its oil in non US dollars.
          Is it not true that Dictators or not that most of the people living in the aforesaid countries did so in peace and quiet.
          Is it not true that all the resources were stripped from those countries in the name of importing “Democracy” to the heathen.
          Is it not true that the people were all better off then than now.
          Is it not true that the migrant problem is the result of the indiscriminate bombing by NATO and that includes your and my governments.
          Is it not True that we sowed the wind and now reap the whirlwind.
          Is it not true that the US in protecting its rights with owning the reserve currency, the Petrodollar, is striking out in all directions as its authority and advantage is challenged from all over the world.

          So now tell me what you think is true!

  23. Canada divests of real money just as inflation starts to appear.

    https://www.dollarvigilante.com/blog/2016/03/04/do-you-own-any-gold-if-so-you-own-more-than-the-bank-of-canada.html

    I went to the grocery store yesterday just to get my favourite trail mix. It is call Vitality mix.

    Prices for weeks have been $1.29 on sale to $1.69 per 100gm. yesterday it was $2.29. That is a 20-70 per cent increase. Inflation for sure and getting close to the hyper range of 100% p.a. Food in general has been going up at 10% p.a.
    Right now an organic cauliflower is $7.50

    The gold Canada just sold at $1600 CAD will soon be $2500. 5 years from now it will be 10,000 and all the fiat currencies will be toilet paper, firelighters, or wall paper. Anytime in the next ten years gold will see $50,000.

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