August 1, 2016

Vulture funds rub salt into the carcass of this country

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 74 comments ·
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Last week, my colleague Jack Horgan-Jones revealed in this paper that vulture funds, leveraged outfits that have already benefited enormously at the expense of you, the Irish taxpayer, are now using a loophole to pay no tax at all on their earnings here.

 

As you shoulder some of the highest marginal rates of taxation in the western world, consider that the foreign funds which swooped on the carcass of this country are now paying nothing and squirreling their Irish earnings out of the country.

 

Wounds and salt come to mind.

 

Sometimes you could be forgiven for feeling that the best qualification to participate profitably in this Irish recovery is not being Irish. Nama has sold off large chunks of the Irish economy, billions of euro of assets, cheaply to foreign funds. And at every stage of these transactions, the Irish taxpayer has lost out. Now, we discover that rather than paying tax on their earnings here, these funds are using a loophole to avoid tax.

 

A question worth considering today is whether Nama sold to these funds knowing that the funds would use a loophole to avoid tax? This is impossible to answer, but it’s a question worth asking.

 

In order to give you a feel for what is going on, let’s create a fictitious but very realistic example in order to follow the money because following the money is what this is all about.

 

So let’s go back to the beginning, to 2007.

 

An Irish developer borrows €100 million from an Irish bank to build an office block in Dublin. He builds a high-spec block which is part of his property empire that also encompasses development land, houses and apartment complexes. He’s a big fish.

 

The bank books the €100 million as an asset on its books and the interest as revenue. The bankers are smiling. The bank’s share price rises. High-fives all around.

 

Then the crash slams into this trade. The banks didn’t have the money in the first place, they had been borrowing the money they lent to yer man from a German bank by issuing IOUs to the Germans. Once the Germans get windy about Ireland, they panic and refuse to roll over the credit. They demand their money back. The bank doesn’t have it. The developer is approached for margin cash because the banks need to get money somewhere. Property prices are falling and suddenly what was regarded as an isolated case turns out to be systemic.

 

The price of assets fall and the bank’s balance sheet implodes.

 

The office block is now worth €50 million. There is a €50 million hole. Nama is created to make sure that these assets are sold to someone who has the cash and is prepared to take a risk on Ireland. This is where the funds come in. They buy up the asset for €50 million. However, the difference between the price they pay and the original sum lent to the bank goes on to the national balance sheet. The taxpayer is already in a hole for €50 million.

 

Now consider the income on the office block. Let’s say there was a rent roll of €10 million on the building in 2007. This dips a bit but not much and by 2010 is back up to €10 million. Now the vulture fund is making €10 million annually in its €50 million investment. This is a 20 per cent return. The fund is in clover. More high-fives!

 

This is how capitalism works.

 

Whoever takes a chance when everyone else is nervous or broke or both, wins. We should not complain because this is the system, but typically the taxpayer doesn’t subsidise this trade. But we did via the bailout. The banks’ losses were transferred onto the national debt.

 

That’s the first loss for the taxpayer. However, had the banks been allowed to go bust straight away, the run on the banks would probably have wiped out more of people’s deposits. Once you allow your banking system to get out of control and wreck the national balance sheet, the choices faced are not between bad and good, but between bad and awful.

 

But let’s follow the new money.

 

The rent from the building paid by companies doing business in Dublin goes to the new owners, the vulture funds. If the landlord were a normal Irish company, the owner should pay tax. Therefore, the tax man would get his cut.

 

But this is where the Irish taxpayer loses out again.

 

Several large vulture funds are using this structure called section 110 to avoid paying tax on revenues from their Irish operations. The S110 was set up in 1997 to enable IFSC companies avoid tax, quite legitimately, on revenues which were gathered elsewhere in the world. It is usually done via a profit-participating note, a type of funding advanced by a parent company or a lender controlled by a parent company. Repayments on this loan are garnered from repayments on the underlying asset, and shifted offshore.

 

But the repayments in the case of the vulture funds/landlords operating in Ireland are Irish income. These are rents paid by Irish businesses and tenants to their new landlords and the money is leaving the economy directly. The Irish state gets nothing.

 

The problem with this story – apart from the lack of fairness of it all – is that if these funds are allowed to move their money out of the country, the Irish tax base gets narrower. When your own state actively narrows the tax base, if the state wants to maintain the level of public services, it has to tax those who can’t avail of these tax avoidance schemes much more.

 

Therefore, you pay twice. During the bailout because the national debt rose. Now that the economy is moving along at a decent rate, the foreign fund owner wins again because he gets another tax break. You end up paying more.

 

How does that make you feel?


    • Mike Lucey

      “How does that make you feel?”

      Pissed off!
      I think nothing will be done about it (law) as it suits the Banks and the Banks (currently) are in control.

      Off topic but I remember a discussion here on the transit mess in the Dublin area. I suggested smaller cars but it was pointed out (rightly so) that it would not really solve the problem.

      I now see that the Chinese have launched the TEB ( Transit Elevated Bus) on a test track, here, http://www.treehugger.com/public-transportation/straddle-bus-exists-fer-reals.html#14702290305821&action=collapse_widget&id=0&data=

      The interesting thing is that the system costs a fifth of a subway system and can be installed much quicker.

      Maybe Dublin folks should have a good look at the TEB before extending the LUAS and starting their subway system.

  1. Great revelations and well written . Maybe you should also include that the notary bank charges against rental income can often be what was on the original 1st bank loan agreement and that high rate of interest in that original loan agreement and is not paid be the Vulture .

    It even gets worse and vomitus but I wont go there ….not yet .

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      “Great revelations and well written”

      Well written, but no great revelation. Mr Jack Horgan-Jones did not reveal anything, he just took from my blog entry – in March I wrote on this blog:

      “What things make Ireland an ideal location (in the EU that is), when it comes to sucking out profits generated in other countries?
      .
      .
      .
      1. FINANCIAL VEHICLE CORPORATIONS (Ireland has 742 of them).
      (Stewart, (2013), Low tax Financial Centres and the Financial Crisis: The Case of the Irish Financial Services Centre).
      2. SECTION 110 of Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.

      According to said Mr Stewart, in 2011 the IFSC investement was over 17 times the size of Ireland’s GNP. Arthur Cox describes Section 110 as a tool to for SPEs “to engage in an extensive range of financial and leasing transactions in a “tax neutral” manner”. In other words, to shift profits earned in other countries. In 2011, the Minister of Finance headed by the mumbling Minister Noonan stated that

      - there was no specific statistical code for companies that use Section 110

      - nor it was possible to provide any information on any audits carried out on such companies

      - nor their tax yields.

      The explanation provided by Mr Noonan was as disarming as it was daft – he cannot provide a definitive response in respect to those questions about SPEs because the Irish law does not have a specific definition for SPEs.

      An Irish solution for an Irish problem, but now the Anglo-Saxon world – supposedly friends of the Irish Atlantic race – has said they have enough.

      3. IRELAND HAS NOT COMMITTED TO A PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE REGISTER OF THE BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP OF COMPANIES.

      4. IRELAND DOES NOT REQUIRE FROM MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS TO PROVIDE AN ANNUAL PUBLIC ACCOUNT OF THE TURNOVER, NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES, SUBSIDIES RECEIVED, PROFITS MADE, AND TAXES PAID.

      5. And there is the DOUBLE IRISH of course, a scheme used to channel payments through Ireland.

      So what should the Irish government do?

      They should point out that a country like Germany uses loopholes like

      1. GOLDFINGER (bringing the tax of German companies to down to zero by establishing partnerships and buying precious metals. Some of those loopholes were closed in 2012, but not all.

      2. Transferring loses of subsidiaries in Germany to the parent company and allowances to carry losses forwards and backwards to reduce their tax liabilities by imputing loses of previous years to current profits, as described in Henn, M., Mewes, S., Markus, M. [2013], Schattenfinazzentrum Deutschland – Deutschlands Rolle bei globaler Geldwaesche, Kapitalflucht und Steuervermeiduing, p. 29.

      3. Although, unlike in Irish law, SPEs are defined (the Handelsgesetzbuch speaks of SPEs as “companies or certain other legal persons or legally dependent funds that underlie a directly or indirectly controlling influence by a parent company”, while the Kreditwesengesetz defines SPEs as “entities whose principal purpose is to raise money by issuing financial instruments or shifting economic risks without entailing a transfer of ownership rights”.

      4. Germany allows bearer shares and Treuhand funds (FATF, [2014], Mutual evaluation of Germany – 3rd follow-up report, p. 36.

      5. Germany has not ratified the Amending Protocol to Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (OECD. [2014] Status of the convention on mutual administrative tax matters and amending protocol and had been postponing (until recently) the ratification of the UN Convention Against Corruption.

      6. DEUTSCHE BANK, COMMERZBANK AND HYPOVEREINSBANK have all been charged with money laundering in other countries (Henn, p. 15).

      7. German government HAS BLOCKED FURTHER PROGRESS IN THE COUNCIL OF THE EU ON THE ISSUE OF PUBLIC REGISTRIES OF BENEFICIAL OWNERS as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD).

      8. German government HINDERED THE NEGOTIATIONS FOR STRICTER REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPANIES ON THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES.

      9. GERMANY WAS THE MAIN OPPONENT OF DISCLOSING COUNTRY BY COUNTRY REPORTING INFORMATION THROUGH THE NON-FINANCIAL REPORTING DIRECTIVE.

      10. As a result of that legislation, German companies have been stealing over 10 billion euro a year in unpaid taxes in Poland alone.

      Here is then what the Irish government should do:

      1. Use Germany’s example as an argument on keeping Ireland as a money laundering haven.

      2. If the EU attacks Ireland on that, but does not attack Germany, use those arguments against Germany.

      3. Pay me a small fee for my financial advice.”
      .
      .
      .
      I think the Sunday Business Post should seriously consider employing me as their columnist…

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      Same with the “refugee” crisis: before it seriously began, I had taken a public stance that we should not close our hearts to refugees, but that most of those people are not real refugees and that there are terrorists among them (that turned out to be true – now almost everyone, including Mrs Merkel, is saying that:

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-extremists-merkel-idUSKCN0ZR1AH

      and bear in mind, the purely social-democratic/Green German government would be even worse), and I had urged to support Mr Victor Orban in his efforts to defend the European civilisation and adhere to the EU law (Dublin Regulation).

      At that time David McWiliams’ stance on refugee crisis was that the eastern European countries are against immigrants mainly because as you travel through Poland, you do not see many non-white people, so the whole immigration thing is rather new to them (actually no other continental European country has a longer history of immigration, including from Germany, Netherlands and Scotland, than Poland) they are not against immigrants and refugees as such – Poland has received over a million refugees from Ukraine, so the same proportion as Ireland has received Polish immigrants; by the way, pre-partition Poland was the only example of a country whp received Muslim immigrants and assimmilated them: the Polish Tartars, one of the biggest patriots in old Polish armies; everywhere else Islam moved into Europe it made those countries worse, using their old tactic of being compliant and tolerant when they are in minority – unlike Christianity, Islam does not actually consider deception and lying as a sin – and ruthless when they are in a majority – this is the reason I think it is inevitable that France will sooner or later collapse as a state, a food for thought for those who would like to ally with it): but those eastern European countries are against murdering pregnant women on streets with machetes like in Reutlingen – something which even the Nazis had initially not been doing to the Poles and Jews – and against welfare tourism (i.e. those refugees that Slovenia had taken said on their TV: “we do not like this country, it is poor” – and Slovenia is actually wealthier than Portugal).

      Either Ireland wakes up to that (these are/were friends of Sinn Fein, who should also wake up) and enables citizens to defend themselves:

      http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/man-who-shot-thief-raiding-his-fathers-home-warns-homeowners-not-to-confront-intruders-34927774.html

      , rather than drawing, in solidarity with victims, flowers and circles with crayons on pavements like those people in France, as if they had escaped from a mental hospital):

      https://twitter.com/markhumphrys/status/498548746414985216

      or it would share the deserved fate of cowardly (WWII!), duplicious France (which, as you might remember, proposed – this was before 2004 – that instead of enlarging the EU east – so the only part of the EU that defended Europe from Muslim terrorism – EU should “deepen” south to include countries like Tunisia, Marocco or Algieria; whereupon they had ingnited the Middle East because Mr Sarkozy did not want to repay a $50m election loand to Mr Gadaffi).

      Which brings me to a solution I have came up with as to how to solve the civil war threat in Northern Ireland should Ireland reunify – if, heaven forfend, there are acts of terrorism in Ireland like we see in France, this would unify the real IRA, UVF and all EU/Commonwealth immigrants on the island of Ireland in no time.

      Of course, I’d rather have no terrorist attacks in Ireland and no reunification along those lines – but say not I haven’t warned you.

      Look, the important issue is not who took what from whom, and not what we write here. The only thing that counts is what we do about it, and therefore I propose a national reflection on 2 questions only:

      1. How come the Irish intelligence services (and those who are against it) allowed the flag of Jihad on Dublin streets? A thorough review of the Irish intelligence service in the Dail is needed (so far the are more secretive than Mossad, and their recruitment process is perhaps the least transparent in Europe).

      2. Why there are no think-tanks in Ireland, like in the US, Russia or Germany, which would filter through their analyses to the government? If someone says: because the Irish governments are not interested in public debates and professional advice, then this prompts a second question: why do we allow that?

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      This was in May:

      http://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/bulgaria-asks-eu-for-plan-b-in-case-turkey-abandons-the-migrant-deal/

      And now we have August and scenes on French streets (a lorrie running over people) as if taken from a daily life of Poland 1940 during the first European Union project

  2. Finally to all the Romans and sundry on the site that can remember me I can conclude that my book is written and is for sale :

    http://www.eprint.ie/Book_of_Muckross

    • SMOKEY

      Comhghairdeas John, it looks interesting. Will consult with my 93 yr old father in law about it, he has edited local gaelic history books for years.

  3. Reality Check

    So all that has to happen is for the law to be changed on the section 110s i.e.tax Irish earned income by foreign companies but it won’t because there is a chance it might put an unfavourable spotlight on the secret operations of NAMA.
    Insiders v outsiders again Am I right?

    • Daithi7

      To be fair to revenue and the Dept of Finance, the reason the section 110 loophole hasn’t yet been clouded is that they don’t want to imperil the IFSC operations it was initially provisioned for.

      I don’t know about the technicalities of this but surely the trade off for Ireland inc is in now taxing the vulture funds versus facilitating some tax avoidance dodge in the ifsc.

      A really irritating part of all of this is that the Chairman of Nama, is the former head of the revenue commissioners and apparently was a director of Anglo in 2008. I.e. he was 1 of the directors who signed off on fraudulent accounts to the tune of 7.2billion euros. In most other countries, he’d probably be in jail along with a few of his other co-directors.

  4. Deco

    We are gobsh!tes for tolerating it.

    We are idiots because our parasitic “leadership” is clearly immune from any feeling of solidarity with the people who are paying 50% direct tax, on overtime work.

    Our obedience is our weakness, that has enabled this. And it is EU rubber stamped.

  5. Deco

    I did some thinking about the previous article. And I have posted my comments.

    Beware those that have attached themselves to a destiny, that places them in a very special position, in return for very little effort. Often indicated by a rejection of people of wide, open learning, an appreciation of the arts, of scientific discovery, and moral principle. Especially, be wary of total approaches to living that have a special contempt for Jewish people, and that advocate their murder on the basis that they exist the ambitions of tose chasing a “special” destiny.

    Beware those who declare to find truth in submission to a violent supremicist political ideology masquerading as the source of goodness. All sorts of moral problems emerge. All sorts of military adventures emerged. Young men are turned into violent, evil killers. Young women into machines to service the miltary expression. Grievance is given a special place of reverence, so that it can harbour a code of revenge. Frankly, the whole thing is very dark at it’s core, and completely unfulfilling. But, it can produce a psychology that will fight to the death, rather than change.

    This sort of thing has a tendency to re-emerge in the most curious guises, never the same twice in outward appearance. But often similar in it’s conceptual content, and it’s rejection of morality. And often is met by comfortable, lazy people, who really do not want to find courage, but who will dismiss the evidence and instead opt for appeasement, absurdity and accomodation.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      Deco,

      I read your comments, but the main reason why France is now (according to Israli institutions) the most antisemitic country in Europe is because they (French and Swedish elites, and that also included Jewish elites – bear in mind, in contrast the Jewish elites in Israel behaved very rationally on that and on the ‘refugee’ issue):

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jl-OJJVAEg

      http://www.whyileftsweden.com/?p=198

      ) have decided to let radical Islam into their country. It is a simple as that.

      Btw, I do not know the recent data, but around 10 years ago they were actually more attacks on Catholic Churches and Christian cemetaries in France than on synagogues – but no one was worried that, here or in France – it is only when you have Muslim or Jewish religious symbols attacks, then it is racism (or as Prime Minister Theresa May would say, ‘wacism’).

      • Deco

        It is supremicism that is the problem. Racism is a form that has been thoroughly dismantled. Unfortunately another form is emerging as a threat to humanity.

  6. Daithi7

    Just read Brian Carey’s (business editor) piece in yesterday’s Sunday Times. Apparently the structures used by the vulture funds are in place in loads of other jurisdictions also e.g. UK, Netherlands, etc, so even if the Irish authorities closed the loophole here, the vulture funds could merely re register and channel the monies tax free thru those jurisdictions instead. Tough, hard to to take, but that’s international business for you.

    P.s. this kind of thing is surely the kind of stuff the Oecd tax probe should looking at to get all countries to change their tax laws simultaneously such matters.

    • McCawber

      So it’s all set up the rich.
      Well now that is a surprise.
      The OECD, yeah they’ll get to bottom of it alright. Expect the final report signed off by all its “members” in about somewhen.
      Cynism not sarcasm is the lowest form of wit because it’s used on the lowest form of human.

  7. Tull McAdoo

    If the taxes derived from the so called “vulture funds” were the only source to pay the salaries of the boffins in the Dept. of Finance, then I am fully confident that changes to section 110 or any other section of any other previous legislation would be made with immediate effect.

  8. redriversix

    Dear David

    I wrote about vulture funds ,securitisation & bonds etc over 5 years ago.

    Again I say …nobody cares…people are sheep,you could pretty much strip them of anything now & they will shrug and say “ah,it’s grand”

    And when we see what Banks & ” Governments ” have got away with since 08…what chance will the next generation have as the chase Pokemon off cliffs ?

    Somebody should start a campaign to

    “SAVE THE HUMANS”

    Leave whales & snails alone for awhile.

  9. redriversix

    Perhaps Tull

    Some say

    “drama keeps people going.its hope that kills them “

  10. Deco

    Greg,
    The objective of the EU is to reduce Poland to a Vassal state, who will bend it’s way to please speculation capitalists. This also applies to other countries. Anybody who thinks otherwise is believing in a carefully crafted illusion. Ireland is a prime example of a sociiety that is in a massive illusion.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      Deco,

      Why do you keep saying that this is the objective of the EU, when it is becoming more and more clear that this is the objective of the hard-core EU, which I call the “Carolingian Europe” as it more or less covers the old Carolingian Empire (so Germany, France and Benelux), and that the hard-core of the EU have hijacked the European project to transform it from the European Economic Area into a super-state project, which benefits that core?

      To me this is becoming more and more obvious from looking at any area of either the economic or legal activity, from trade balance, via the EU with its loopholes, ending up with the use of solidarity, budget deficits and state subsidies principles, strained by Germany when it suits them (so i.e. Polish taxpayers subsidies to Polish shipyards were bad – that was even before the accession!, German taxpayers – that is recycled EU consumers trade inbalances – subsidies to German shipyards are good; Germany and France breaching of deficit rules are good, Portugal or Ireland are bad; Ireland’s corporation regime is bad (and I am not saying the multinationals in Ireland should not be paying more), but German supermarkets declaring near zero profits in Poland thanks to tax loopholes that only Germany and Luxembourh are allowed are good).

      That’s why I am urging the foreign ministers of Ireland (present and future) to start having a real foreign policy and build new alliances in Europe (and be ready to change it is the situation demands), rather than rely on cute-hoorism and naive assumptions that whatever the weather, Ireland will always be in a win-win situation, because it is a special case.

      Even Mr Kevin Doyle begins to understand it:

      http://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/hollandes-hand-of-friendship-is-very-welcome-but-we-should-be-wary-too-34905968.html

      Why cannot the Irish government understand it (or most of it – I would exclude, i.e., Minister Frances Fitzgerald from that philippic, but definitely include our President, summed up by The Spectator magazine after the election: “he is 70, but he looks older. And he talks. A lot”), sending the Taoiseach when he is not needed (Brussels), and having him missing when he is needed (this week’s Bulgaria’s dramatic appeal to the EU to send helicopters and ships to protect the EU borders from the new wave of “refugees” from Turkey)?

      • Deco

        Frances Fitzgerald is an airhead with an expensive education. She “expects” to become the next FG leader, and by default the next Taoiseach. It will be Clintonesque. Somebody who sells herself as pro-equality, but looks down on the rest of us, getting to rule. She is a PR managed incompetent.

        It should be abundantly clear that the political leadership of Ireland consists of certain core abilities

        - be a local authority councillor

        - be pliable to large scale corporate interests ranging from mncs who will pay 1% corporate taxes, to hedge funds, to D4 banks

        - sell out the working population, and tax them repeatedly

        - ignore the various scams being run by charities, non-voluntary sector, sports bodies

        - buy off the neo-Marxist element

        - engage in all sorts of sell outs to please the media.

        - make all sorts of speeches warning about what happens if any politician breaks any of the rules above.

        Regarding Merkel’s refugees, I recommend that everybody views internet commentary from Christopher Hitchens who died before it occurred, but whose analysis is very insightful. Prof. Tom Holland also produced an interesting documentary that indicates that there are a series of extremely critical discrepencies in what is believed and in what really happened. A pre-medieval version of Mormonism has spiralled out of control. What is causing it to spiral is somebody who thought that he found the “true version” in present day Saudi Arabia.

        It has always responded to external criticism with violence, that is designed to maintain a patriarchical control, over a dominated populace, who are deemed moral if the submit, and immoral if they don’t. In a moment of crisis, they revert to very dangerous behaviour. This produces deep problems in the controlled people. A classic example is the Florida night club shooter, Mateen. He did what was forbidden, and then went to war with a version of himself, because ultimately he needed to submit to beleive he had any goodness.

        The right to freedom of thought and freedom of speech is far more important than the right to any system based on the primitive, anger based, possibly hash fuelled delusions, of a deeply dysfunctional gang of murderers.

        The Western Enlightenment is under a far greater threat than it was under Fascism, or Communism.

        And that threat grows with every year. Do we respond with liberating argument, and free open logic ?

        Or with a Merkel propensity to turn every problem into a disaster, and every disaster into a full scale crisis ?

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          Interesting and well structured comment, Deco.

          As to Minister Frances Fitzgerald, I will forever have a candle burning in my heart for her for going against the flow with this statement:

          http://www.independent.ie/world-news/war-on-terror/nice-attacks-fitzgerald-pledges-to-deport-jihadists-here-without-trial-34891796.html

          I only hope that with that comes action:

          finding out what goes on in Dublin mosks (and why the Muslim community got a charity status in Ireland, which I know from my own experience is now very difficult to get even if you are trying to do something useful), plus gaining for cooperations those from the Irish Muslim community that are willing and able to penetrate and report from the Jihadists in Ireland (I am sorry to say, but it would appear years of Sinn Fein’s wrong foreign policies have contributed to that) – that requires having a solid and professional counter-intelligence service with transparent recruitment procedures (we do not have such, so it is time to build it, instead of talking about fetal abnormalities and gay referenda).

          What do you think Deco of Pope Francis and his statements, I think that this is very worrying – either he is not getting anything about the “refugee” crisis or it is a sabotage from him.

          No wonder the bravest man in Europe was removed from his office after:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regensburg_lecture

          • Deco

            If the Pope wishes to depart from reality, then let him off on his own trajectory.

            In Ireland, “charity status” is equivalent to saying “scam artist status”.

            There are deep divisions within the Muslims resident in Ireland. These will solidify, and after that point we are in trouble – because then the trouble makers now that the rest are not able to watch them.

            Our police are inadequate. We are walking into another EU approved abyss.

            I attach no value or meaning to anything that Frances Fitzgerald. She is an incompetent behind a PR front.

  11. Deco

    The welfare state is now a carcass that is being stripped bare by carrion.

    The entire thing is a scam.

    • AlfieMoone

      93

      Vultures. Chickens coming home to roost.

      The original hope & purpose of granting the IFSC it’s myriad exemptions, loopholes, ‘creative accountancy’ off-balance sheet scams & schemes was that it would turbo-charge the Irish economy, acting as a magnet for international Capital which would then be used to cascade industrial, economic & social development across the entire Republic. I think any rational person can now see that was a delusional fantasy.

      The vulture funds represent karmic justice. A country that allows itself to be ‘re-imagined’ as a balance sheet, as an accounting entity entitled’Ireland Inc’, a country that turns itself into the most egregious Tax Whore of them all, that competes to out-sleveen the rest of the fluffers to International Capital, can hardly complain when the invited guests turn out to be singularly disinterested in the fate of the Nation beyond asset-stripping it and moving on to the next gormless ex-nation state foolish enough to back-stop Casino Capitalism with the citizen’s tax base.

      Is anyone seriously suggesting that the higher-paid help who set up NAMA didn’t brainstorm this as a possible/likely outcome? And decided it was a price worth paying as part of the general strategy to make good all the gambler’s debts at the expense of the taxpayer.

      ‘had the banks been allowed to go bust straight away, the run on the banks would probably have wiped out more of people’s deposits.’ David McWilliams

      That’s not what happened in Iceland….and even if it had happened, most real Irish people had very little on deposit & they’d have had the yoke of mortgage debt peonage lifted from their shoulders, not to mention saving their descendants from financial serfdom.

      ‘This is how capitalism works.’ David McWilliams

      It’s the exact opposite of how Capitalism works. NAMA was set up to deliberately thwart and frustrate the Creative Destruction of Capitalism. These ‘vultures’ took very little risk as they knew the Irish ‘government’ was ready, willing and able to sell it’s citizens to the lowest bidder and they held out until they got exactly the firesale deals they demanded before engagement.

      Now the next scam is simmering as the siren calls to relax mortgage lending criteria rise as citizens are once again duped by the manufactured pseudo ‘animal spirits’ of Leprechaunomics into clamouring to ‘get on the housing ladder’ in Dublin at any price to avoid commuting to Dublin from Laois. The hoarded land-banks are primed, the ‘artificial scarcity’ of land scam is up and running again and the banks want to spin the wheel again to the next sucker generation, knowing that, as always, the fake ‘soliders of destiny’ or their indistinguishable opposition will backstop Casino Capitalism at any price.

      From 1916 to 2016: you….could….not….make…it…up….when I explained all of this to Michael Collins in Cork last weekend he went absolutely ballistic, then pleaded with me to organise a secret revolutionary army to banjax The Globalist plan to destroy Ireland and reduce his memory to that of a comic-book super-hero cartoon figure. I’m still thinking about his request. I’ll get back to you all on that one. In due course.

      A .’. A

      93 93/93

      • george

        Well you know what Jesus said;”you cannot serve God and Mammon”. Good luck with your project, if you decide to go ahead with it!

      • AlfieMoone

        Meanwhile, those on variable rate mortgages continue to ensure the financial recovery continues to provide rich pickings for the ‘vulture funds’ and the Vulture Irish Goverment which eats it own. Yeats. Sow. Farrow. And on and on it goes and repeats in slo-mo. Until the cycle finally turns, interest rates rise and the next crisis begins to herd another generation onto the rocks to be picked over by vultures…repeat until Ireland becomes a fully-fledged province of Greater Germany at the end of the next leg of the financial crisis, having been forced to abandon it’s Atlanticist history to comply with it’s debt compliance obligations to the gallant EUro-pean allies of the Troika.

        ‘variable rate mortgage holders are being gouged to prop up the banks.’

        ‘Currently, such mortgage holders pay on average 2pc more than their EU counterparts – equivalent to an additional €2,500 per annum. Compared to those on trackers, they pay on average €6,000 more a year on a €200,000 mortgage.

        Whenever the plight of these 300,000 households is raised in the Dáil, Finance Minister Michael Noonan wrings his hands and points to historic problems that continue to beset the banks and militate against decisive State intervention.
        Speaking recently, he said a 2015 Central Bank report concluded that “the mispricing of risks in historical lending continues to be a significant contributor to weak profitability, as evidenced by the continued high level of non-performing loans (23pc as at December 31, 2015), the prevalence of very low-yielding tracker mortgages (50pc of the value of all outstanding mortgage loans in Ireland), and low net interest margins.”

        These are all reasons, apparently, that banks must be allowed to set exorbitant standard variable mortgage rates – the question of why the banks’ balance sheets are still in such a dire condition nearly a decade after the crisis that almost wiped them out is never answered.

        http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/colette-browne/the-really-stressful-issue-for-our-banks-is-nonperforming-loans-34931029.html

    • george

      Deco, The scam has been socially engineered, and now it’s called democracy.

      • Deco

        I suppose we could call it monetary engineering. The power of money trumping the power of the electorate.

        There are two points on the electoral spectrum.

        One is populism. The other is corporatism.

        Populism is deciding policy on the basis of the population’s opinion.

        Corporatism is deciding policy on the basis of the concerns of connected corporate interests.

        Often, when we hear media commentators attacking populism, it is because they want a result for corporatism.

  12. Pat Flannery

    This might be a good time and place to wonder aloud (for the first time in public) what Michael Noonan was doing in California in early April 2015 – unaccompanied and unreported.

    I was waiting to board the Aer Lingus non-stop flight to Dublin from San Francisco when the Irish Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan, was the first to emerge from the arriving jet. He was travelling alone without any staff and was met by a lone male.

    Having flown up from San Diego I had the gate area all to myself, reading my book, with two hours to kill before my departure time to Dublin. Even if there had been others at the gate nobody would have suspected that this single arriving passenger was an important member of a foreign government. His Dublin staff would have known that normally their man would be safe from recognition provided he was first off the plane and could be whisked away quickly.

    But for me, who just happened to be there and easily recognized him when he passed within five feet of me, it seemed very odd that such an important personage was travelling alone and that there were no consular officials waiting. He was just Michael Noonan, private passenger, travelling alone, being met by one individual.

    During the following days in Ireland I looked in vain for any mention of Noonan’s mysterious trip to California. Nada. Is this common? Can key members of the Irish Government slip in and out of the country at will, incognito?

    Obviously the Aer Lingus pilots and at least the first class flight attendant knew who they had on board. They made sure he was first off the aircraft and could make a fast exit. His waiting host could have been a relative, a consulate official, anything, but he knew what to do. They seemed to know each other and hardly broke stride in exiting the gate area together.

    But why no media report in Ireland afterwards on the purpose of the Irish Finance Minister’s trip to California? Was a compliant media told not to report it? Even if the trip was private it should have been reported. He was on a direct flight from Dublin, obviously a single purpose trip, not a general American promotional tour.

    The worrying thing is that Ireland’s media seems so completely muzzled and compliant. You can’t keep a job in RTE, Aer Lingus, or anywhere else for that matter, and be a tell-tale? Is that it? You learn all that in Catholic school, to be complaint, don’t ask don’t tell?

    My free-thinking suspicious mind on the other hand immediately thought NAMA. ‘’There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold…’’ Who said this is not a conspiracy theory site? If it really is, any ideas on this one?

    • Deco

      That is interesting. The main business in San Francisco is the Tech sector. Perhaps the FIRE economy (Finance, Investment, Real Estate) is the number 2 sector.

      And Noonan is MoF for a country that has a large IT sector, connected to “the valley”. And also is a location of a lot of FIRE economy “funny business”.

      Concerning, the Irish media, a few years back I decided to stop watching RTE television, as a New Years Resolution. About one month in, I suddenly realised that my judgement, of what is going on became far more realistic, and I was better able to see everything for what it is.

      I have recommended to others, that they do the same.

      RTE can force us (against our freedom) to pay for Ryan Tubridy, Brendan Bore O’Connor, etc… but they cannot force us to watch.

      • michaelcoughlan

        “Concerning, the Irish media, a few years back I decided to stop watching RTE television, as a New Years Resolution. About one month in, I suddenly realised that my judgement, of what is going on became far more realistic, and I was better able to see everything for what it is.”

        Yes. I overheard it last night;

        An endless listing of murders and bombings going on all over the world. If people like you and me are tuning out how are the ratings rising as surely the reason it’s all murder and carnage on the TV is the result of someone basing a decision to air this stuff on the belief that that’s what people want to watch?

        • Deco

          Most of the time, they air this stuff to convey the impression that they are serious.

          They then follow it up with state propaganda like GDP up 15%, bumper harvest, minister opens facility (when such events are actually wasting state money driving the minister to a photo shoot), and mouse found in a chimney.

          It is all about “gravitas”. Then they can spoof to their pleasing.

    • Sideshow Bob

      Hi Pat,

      You will have your conspiracy site in a few days if Mick Wallace gets his way:

      http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/wallace-i-have-40-sources-all-claiming-nama-wrongdoing-34925129.html

      However, I would be slow to repeat what he eventually reports as he is regularly venturing into actionable defamation territory (particularly if he starts making his comments outside of the Dail) and some powerful people are out to get him. From what Constantin Gurdgiev repeats of Wallace’s prior outright accusations and murmurings on NAMA a good chunk of it is at best inaccurate and illogical and at worst, the downright ignorant and stupid prejudices of an embittered failed developer.

      On CG I will note that regular economists reporting on property economics ( development ) tend to get it very wrong when they move past the big picture and into the detailed picture. The more they move into it the ”wronger” they get.

      • Pat Flannery

        Sideshow Bob: nevertheless I look forward to seeing Wallace’s new Namaleaks site. It is interesting that he says it is ”being structured by an organisation in America”. I wonder what that means.

        I hope it means that the FBI will use it to collect information on any illegal activities by American companies operating in Ireland, such as vulture funds, because the Garda Síochána is a toothless tiger.

        • Sideshow Bob

          “I’ve seen stuff I shouldn’t have seen that has gone to the Gardai from other people. I can tell you it’s pretty damning. If anyone thinks the guards are not being kept well informed about what’s going on in Nama, that’s not true”.

          ( Mick Wallace, from the above linked article )

          Yeah, you could well be right about that particular “toothless tiger´´ being bypassed at this point. Maybe, Mick has the FBI involved.

          In the case of FIFA and corruption in world soccer it was the American authorities who made the first move there. None of the authorities in any countries who are world soccer powers and have also hosted recent FIFA/UEFA events like Brazil, France, Germany, etc made any move and have had people from their national bodies implicated. It was quite visible too, that the Swiss were not willing to upset the apple cart.

          P.S. Sorry about the punctuation in the reply above. It was simply atrocious.

          • Pat Flannery

            Sideshow Bob: Even the U.S. is becoming a toothless tiger in face of wimpy political correctness. The reality is that human beings are vicious animals and the world needs to be understood that way. Anybody who does not see that has not heard of WWI and WWII. Violence is in our DNA.

            Watch the link below to an interesting global perspective by the hawkish Dick Cheney. And keep an eye on his daughter Liz. I believe she will challenge Hilary for a second term just as Ronald Reagan successfully challenged Jimmy Carter.

            Thank goodness Hilary is not as naïve as Jimmy was. Hilary knows that it is a tough world out there and will be more feared than Obama was by those who wish to challenge America’s hegemony.

            Somebody has to be the world policeman. That means a hegemon. I would prefer it be our hegemon i.e. America, rather than Russia or China.

            Watch the Cheneys and let me know what you think.

            https://www.c-span.org/video/?328100-1/dick-liz-cheney-exceptional

          • Sideshow Bob

            Hi Pat. I couldn´t get to it today will come back and take a look in a few days.

          • Sideshow Bob

            Hi Pat,

            I finally got to finish this today.

            Yes, the viewpoint on show was scary. It is the stuff of empire building and myth making. Very sobering in a way, and we don´t see it much here.

            It struck me though, at its heart as being a long PR speech for the American military-industrial complex. There was almost a lie or untruth repeated in each line in it which justifies the hegemon position. Eisenhower said about the military-industrial complex just before he retired that “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience…. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.´´ Purposely enough in the video though they have the gumption appropriate his name in promoting their hawkish agenda, as if he would be totally on board with them, and not, as he would more likely be, against them.

            I think, too, if Ms Cheney is going to challenge Hilary she will need to come out of her Dad´s shadow first. I don´t know anything of her though, that be said. The Republicans seem to be suffering a big blow to their credibility. Have you heard about the theory of Foxification?. http://www.salon.com/2016/02/08/paul_krugman_marco_rubios_hilarious_repetition_is_the_result_of_the_foxification_of_the_republican_party/

            America is an Empire, and Obama has carried on its policies like all of the dutiful Emperors before him. He has bombed twice as many countries as Dubya, and all Muslim too, and Americans are STILL not being killed by the truckloads by Islamic militant terrorists somehow.
            He has a better public profile. Things have not changed. No mere President can usurp the policies of an Empire. He understood this, as Hilary does now.

            As for the hegemon idea: Britain set itself up as the original world policeman to disguise its exploitative and expansionary Empire. America took the crown after Germany challenged it. I think it is a Protestant thing, they can´t deal with the hypocrisy inherent in building an Empire and make up this moral enforcer role to deal with it. The Spanish and the Portuguese and the French had no such pretenses at any point. they wanted to get on with business. Perhaps Catholics are better equipped to deal with contradiction in their day to day lives and don´t need a BS construct to operate inside of.

            Islam on the other hand might be interested in the position. Good thing they never built decent ships, eh?

            I am not sure Russia ever wanted such a role, I think Russian global aims were defensive and reactionary more so than expansionary. China definitely never tried it nor is interested. They have enough people to deal with internally.

            If America´s military is becoming weaker now than it has been in the past it is because the unit spend on dubious technology championed by the likes of Cheney (stealth fighters / non CATOBAR carriers) has gone up hugely. This means in the future the US will have less individual units and each of them will be of an inferior quality of technology in the future (take the F-35 as the prime example). Which is fine as long as they are fighting poor militants armed with AKMs in caves.If they ever fought a well equipped enemy, say Russia now or maybe China in the near enough future, they could have some problems.

          • Sideshow Bob

            Sorry, I omitted a line just above (about Ms Cheney):

            The Republicans seem to be suffering a big blow to their credibility at the moment ( i.e with Trump as their Presidential Candidate ). She will have to overcome this too which is a tall order.

  13. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    On another (but not completely unrelated to Carolingian Europe) note, today’s Farming Independent (part of the newspaper undeservedly skipped by readers from what I see on buses and in the bins, as it actually contains the most professional, no-nonsense journalism in Ireland) brings two interesting pieces of information.

    First (by Mr Chris McCullough):

    “Germany benefits the most from the CAP and receives the highest amount of direct payments from Brussels (also, what MrCullough might not be aware about, Germany and the Netherlands have a rebate to their EU membership fees, which they do not include when they talk about how much they contribute – G.K.), totalling €5.1 bn in 2014)”.

    At the same time, as the Author writes, “current milk prices are hovering around the 20-25c/l, but fixed costs alone are 30c/l on many German farms”.

    2 conclusions from that article:

    1. As I have been saying since always, subsidies generate costs and are detrimental to national economies in long term, bringing the prices up and reducing purchasing power, except for the small lobbies who benefit. But even David McWilliams would not propose a radical and, at the same time, fair and common sense solution, which is to do away with CAP which benefits 1pc. That would increase the purchasing power of our wages.
    2. Now you can see why Mrs Merkel wanted to import one million of cheap labour (she naively thought they would work rather than slit throats) from Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., call them all “Syrian refugees” – to bring down the cost.

    Last year I wrote that interestingly enough they were escaping from ISIS persecuting Christians, but none of them were Christians and all of them were Muslims, mostly radical), cherry-pick the best and dump the rest on neighbouring countries “by force” (I quoted the President of the EU Parliament, Herr Schulz, known for his lack of hygene and Leaving Cert).

    Another interesting piece from today’s farming is from “Experience of a lifetime in Japan” by Ms Claire Mc Cormack, in which she writes about Mr John Smith (agricultural graduate) from Co Meath on placement in Japan (owned by an Irishman – go figure why is it easier for him to live from farming in totally foreign Japan, which additionally imports efficient Asian labour, than in CAP Ireland – love? destiny? madness? ardent act?).

    Mr Smith says, “the grass here grows much quicker than at home so you’re constantly topping and sharpening your blades. There are rice farms everywhere and they are all based beside rivers because they have to flood them. (…) it’s all old people working on them. [...] From December to April, the place was covered in two feet of snow. But, unlike Ireland, everything keeps going there” – show that article to any Irish (not to mention Dutch – who rely completely on subsidies and foreign labour – or French – who rely on tractor terrorism) farmer who complains his life on a farm is too hard.

    And my favourite excerpt:

    “Another big challenge has been driving a tractor in slippers. The Japanese tradition is you take off your shoes when entering a house (same as Polish tradition, but we do not do it in tractors because, why like? – G.K.) [...] Everything has a value here, no matter how battered. That’s what I will bring home with me, a greater appreciation that anything can be recycled”.

    Here a personal reflection if you do not mind. My parents used to have a small tailoring shop in the socialist 70s/80s Poland, where they would have made exquisite suits (we even had one client from Belgium and one from Western Germany). Rich they were not because of the taxation and hostile activities of the state which hated those who did not work for it, thus they were constantly called to my school to do some free work, taxed ruthlessly and we had a spy visiting us once a week to check if they weren’t listening to BBC or Voice of America, for which you could go to jail (they were, but at night) – the purpose was of course to arrest someone, threaten with jail and try to talk him into being a police informer for avoiding jail (sorry for such trivial explanation, this was for those who do not understand how those states operated) – but the small business was sustainable.

    Paradoxically, it would not have been sustainable today (neither in Poland nor in Ireland!) because:

    1. Cheap clothes made in China.
    2. Because they are so cheap, fashion changes more often.
    3. Because of that, people are not interested in good quality/materials/practicality of clothing.
    4. As a result, you see in Brown Thomas that most of their trousers are very badly and cheaply made (I still were some of the clothes they made for me 20 years ago, Armani trousers I bought in Brown Thomas in 2007 for €200 (I thought they would last longer) were ready for the bin after a few months, but they look nice, have good label, and people nowadays know neither how the properly made trousers should look like inside nor what the real ham or egg should taste like (I cannot buy REAL eggs in Ireland, no matter how organic – real eggs should be twice as big than the “organic” and have much more vitellus and much less egg albumen – some people say they had them in Ireland 50 years ago – can someone please tell where I can get real eggs in Dublin).
    5. So last but not least, these are the examples of good quality jobs that you could do 30 years ago but not now because of: fashion industry, commercials and big chains of shops; Asian growth; people willing to pay lots of money for crappy food and crappy trousers (I saw a jacket in Brown Thomas discounted from 1,000 euro to little over €300 euro – and it still was not well made – what kind of a vain person pays €1,000 for a jacket anyway with so many good things you can do for that money for yourself or for other people? – sickening).

    • Grzegorz

      “clothes make the man”

      I always turned up to my boxing venues dressed in a 3 piece made to measure. I was recently contacted by a man living in Exeter who remembered me from the 1960′s as being different from the other boxers so many years ago. Was it the suit or my record??

      I still have a made to measure, in 1962, dark suit (funerals and weddings and important occasions) that I can still wear. I recall it cost me 40 Pounds or 4 weeks wages. It is still on my rack. It was made to last and came complete with the intention of being able to be “let out” when and if I put on weight. I have looked after it and I stayed fit enough to be able to wear it any time. For a while it was snug but I have now shrunk again!!!

      I have two pairs of cavalry twill trousers , Made to measure over 35 years ago now slightly thread bare in the fashion of a poorer country gentleman. The pockets have been replaced with tough material. I have four pairs of shoes bought 35 years ago on sale in Somerset while on a visit. All good value and lasting. In addition, my car now 20 years old is viewed by many as nearly new. It is regularly serviced, the correct high grade fuel used and like it’s owner has been well maintained for longevity.

      By organic from certified farms!!!!

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        You went against a flow, Tony, and did not yourself being talked into believing that you need new fancy-shmancy garment every 6 months, which inevitably turns out to be a schlock anyway (I know it’s different for girls, but it is hard to tell the difference between boys and girls anyway).

        Two things strike me when I think of this century – there never has been so much waste (buying things that you do not need) and so much gimcrack at the same time.

        And the youth in whole Europe, eastern and western, is nowadays is, I think, much more conformist than in late 80s socialism Poland (of course, a look back at 1950s Soviet Union would have yielded different conclusions, but I am just saying this to provoke thought).

        And you know, I could perhaps understand if someone bought himself a jacket in Brown Thomas for a 1,000 euro once in a lifetime because, I do not know, he worked hard for that and wanted to have one thing nice looking or as a present for someone.

        What I cannot understand is if someone is spending a grand on it and is not actually checking the materials, technology in which the jacket was made and quality – people spend that much only because of the label and because they want to communicate to the world that they are better than the others, and because often they would have got themselves in a position to do so not on merit, but because of their social circle, the only way they can do it is by a 1,000 euro jacket and 4,000 handbag – because they actually are not, otherwise, better in any other respect.

        I should perhaps explain to you what Brown Thomas is: it is a nice looking, relaxing the most expensive clothing shop in Ireland, nice overall, but for snobs.

        Some of their product came literally from the same factory than their equivallents in shops 10 times as cheap and differ only in label, some other are really nice indeed, but almost none are well made (apart from some suits).

        None of them jackets are waterproof for example (that’s why I bought mine from the US Army).

        In 25th century there will be still handcraftet things left from 18/19th century (like children toys) – there will be no such things left from 21st century (and that includes houses and almost all pop-music).

        After all, Paris in 13th century had in fact 200,000 people (as George Duby wrote), but most of that were slums, so we have nothing left from that.

        It will be the same with our pop/fashion culture

    • Sideshow Bob

      Two stories to buck the trend…

      1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zara_(retailer)

      Please read the article above focusing on production (keeping jobs in Europe or nearby) and the interlinked design / sales / distribution / advertising strategy. The clothes are rubbish and the jobs are relatively low paid but that is beside the point.

      2) I have a cousin who, while attending college in Dublin, once found a nice Louis Copeland sports jacket for sale in a second hand shop. The lining of the jacket was in bad condition but the rest of it in quite good shape. So, he promptly paid over the fiver requested for it and then made his way around to the nearest branch of Louis Copeland´s and there he made a polite complaint to the manager expressing surprise about the quality of the lining of this otherwise fine garment, but obviously not revealing he had purchased five minutes beforehand. The manager was terribly decent expressed his dismay and organized to replace the lining gratis and even had the jacket dry cleaned for my cousin on his return to the shop.

      And that is how you do it!

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        Hmm, I knew about Zara (they now have shops in Poland too), but was not aware of the interesting history of that company, particularly that

        “Zara needs just one week to develop a new product and get it to stores, compared to the six-month industry average, and launches around 12,000 new designs each year”.

        The Louis Copland story is something I would not be able to make up – necessity was the mother of invention, although one of course question whether it was a necessity :-)

        Of course, some Irish woolen scarves have world leading quality (they say Ireland, Shetlands and New Zealand have the best grass for ships) – I bought one (with a harp symbol), but it was so expensive that I do not wear it because I am scared to lose it…

        As far as eggs in concerned, the thing is that by opening the EU application process Poland had to adopt lower EU (or European Communities back then) food quality standards (especially all the Dutch vegetable taste absolutely diabolical)- it is amazing that when in 1981 shops run out chocolate, they introduced this chocolate-like product that children hated – someone reproduced that historical taste, attached it to Polish edition of Newsweek and it turned out that… it tasted exactly like Cadbury); the entry of German supermarkets (which were exempted from paying income tax for 10 years, unlike local shoppers) done the rest of the damage.

        As a result, ham or eggs in Polish supermarkets are exactly the same as everywhere else in Europe (that is eggs taste like cotton-wool and ham like dirty water), but you can still buy a real stuff in markets directly from farmers, who travel up to 100km (my mum for example had, before her second (lung) cancer took away any appetite from her, knew one farmer who would come to her town every second Saturday and bring veal; as far as eggs are concerned, she was buying it from her neighbour who was buying it from a 80 year old lady in the mountains).

        I have found one type of good quality chickens in a supermarket – a 10 euro chicken from a Supervalue, wrapped up in a box and with the certificate. It’s too expensive to buy it more often than once a month maybe (and I am not a fan of chicken anyway), but I made a fantastic soup called rosól from it for Christmas Eve and this is the only chicken that it tastes well with – in fact you would not buy such a good chicken in a Polish supermarket.

        Other than that, there was a series of culinary journeys around Ireland made by Polish TV a decade ago (a part of culinary journeys around the world) and the starring chef discovered an outstanding quality family farm in Co Wicklow that also sell meet, but as the program was made a long time ago, I do not know if they still exist – I asked people here and no one heard about them.

        Sadly, there is no English subtitles on their program, but a glimpse at 10.53 allows to see the farm and their products – he was in seven heaven:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_iESLM26AM
        As far as swastika on Zara’s bag is concerned, I think that they genuinly meant it as Buddhist symbol; whether that was wise – probably not, but swastika is still present on a few national flags and on mobile phones in Asia:

        http://www.phonearena.com/news/10-peculiar-weird-and-plain-ugly-cell-phones_id33199

        not to mention Swastika Laundry in Dublin that run until 1980s (btw, the Nazis had this misconception that swastika was an “Aryan” symbol from India, but it is even older than that: the earliest swastika symbol was found in Ukraine and carbondated to 15,000 years.

        ?

        There is this astonishing hypocrisy that you cannot use Nazi symbols, but you are free to use Communist symbol (in Dublin it is even cool, I have the impression from my travels that in rural Ireland people are less prone to brainwashing), even though the death count is of course higher on the Communism side. Here the Polish law was more consequent (one of the very rare examples where Polish law is better than the Irish law): you could go to jail for up to 2 years for both swastika or red star (art. 256 of the Criminal Code) – I say was because in 2008 the Tribunal in Strasbourg deemed that this breaches art 10 of Human Rights (for very inquisitive readers:

        http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/9040).

        There is also my polemic with Prof. Kinsella (Ray, not the brilliant Stephen) in today’s Indo – I do not know, this is the second time he published a completely unresearched opinion (with all due respect, what does he know about military?!) and he even used the same phrases as previos time, and so did those who supported his opinion – it all rather sounds as if they were writing from the same script.

        I did not think Indo would be brave enough to publish it, only pity they inserted the ‘word’ allegedly to my piece when I wrote about the Estonian officer – there is no allegedly, the abduction was confirmed by Russians themselves – sure they put him to hail for 15 years.

        • Sideshow Bob

          The swastika pattern is to be found all over classical architecture, and neo-classical. There is even some on the GPO up high beside some columns.

  14. Deco

    The Ballyhea protest is the most noble concept in Irish politics.

    I am surprised it never got infiltrated by FF.

  15. McCawber

    “How do you feel.”
    When the Bertie horse bolted obviously Official Ireland were unaware that the horse was with foal, subsequently to be named NAMA.
    NAMA, when set up, was given the best cloaking technology the Romulans could provide.
    What worries me is this.
    Are there any more foal (future or present) of which “Official Ireland” is blissfully unaware and about which they couldn’t care less.
    I will not be surprised
    NAMA’s stewardship has provided a lot more questions than answers and that 23rd century technology shows absolutely no evidence of being penetrated.
    The first annual report from NAMA should have at the very sounded a warning bell.
    Nobody’s that good and nobody cared
    The only lesson that I’ve learned from all of this is that sh!t only flows down.
    So far I have only got the smell which has been unpleasant enough but, of late, the smell has been getting worse, a lot worse.
    Is that the whirring of a fan starting up?

  16. Deco

    Certain scenes come to mind in respect of the MoF.

    His publication of the [REDACTED] print on the sale of assets to a promoinent FG aligned oligarch (who does not pay taxes here, and who should be in jail for bribing a politician ]. Coverup job.

    That cringe moment in Shannon when Trump showed up. And the media gave Trump great coverage because that was before Trump took on the Tamanny Hall machine.

    Bridget McCole.

    The Noonan meltdown of the FG vote, when he was party leader.

    Showing up at an event for JP’s horse.

    The fawning he gave Christine Lagarde (who is out of her depth).

    Driving the national debt through the roof.

    He gets enormous respect in the Irish media though. In direct contravention to the evidence. I suppose he has served the oligarch well, and no journalist will dare criticise him that must be feared.

  17. McCawber

    http://m.rte.ie/news/business/2016/0803/806629-bitcoin-hack/
    BITCOIN hacked.
    Not the first time there have been “issues” and it won’t be the last.

    • michaelcoughlan

      @ Adam.

      Surely Adam if every bitcoin is unique there should be no trouble tracking them?

    • AlfieMoone

      McCawber

      Did you read the article?

      Bitcoin has NOT been hacked.

      The Bitfinex trading platform was hacked. Same situation as Mt Gox.

      If somebody robs a physical £ bank, they get away with some physical £’s but they do not ‘hack’ the physical £ as a store of value, etc. The exact same applies to Bitcoin.

      No doubt Adam will opine when he’s got time inbetween scaling mountains on the Isle Of Man trying to forget about the fork’d up Dow situation….*popcorn*

      “…the breach did not “expose any weaknesses in the security of a blockchain”, the technology that generates and processes bitcoin, a web-based “cryptocurrency”"

      “The attack on Bitfinex was reminiscent of a similar but larger breach at MtGox, a Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange that was forced to file for bankruptcy in early 2014 after hackers stole an estimated $650m worth of customers’ bitcoins.”

      http://m.rte.ie/news/business/2016/0803/806629-bitcoin-hack/

  18. McCawber

    “confirmed that risks within the banking sector are manageable at a system-wide level”.
    The above was a comment made by the Irish CB governor yesterday.
    A carefully scripted phrase no doubt.
    What does manageable mean? My savings should be enough to cover the bond holders perhaps?
    System-wide. Are some banks more equally worse than others?

  19. As mentioned the biggest vulture of all is government. promising one thing and delivering another.
    Promises to reign in inflation and provide prosperity to all.

    However it allows the central bankers and the affiliated commercial bankers to issue money as debt when government could just as easily issue money debt free. Why does nobody talk about this. I guess it is so simple it is unbelievable.

    The interest on this debt gnaws at the economy or to use the current analogy the vultures swoop to peck away at the carcass. As all the new money is loaned into existence the debt is piled high. Interest rates are forced lower by the production of unlimited credit but even at low or zero rates of interest no more extra payments can be afforded. Debt saturation has arrived.

    In addition the frugal are penalized and having saved, find the returns on their money reduced to near zero. Pension funds can no longer find a return in the money market. Where to invest. Bonds pay nothing, pension funds have to get a return or the fund is broke or the payouts dry up. Dividend paying stocks.? Values are driven up so yields are dropping and there is lowering profits in industry . How long will the dividend be paid.

    All this is the result of central bank policy as allowed by government.

    At least government could issue money on their own behalf . No debt required and no interest charged. All the beneficial policies touted like ample income and no student loans can be accomplished at the stroke of a pen. The nations debt and state debt and municipal debt and student debt and even personal debt can be paid off tomorrow by government issuing its own money, free, to do so.

    No debt is a start but there would be rampant inflation if this policy continued. Ultimately why not have the government print enough money to issue as income to all people as a guaranteed wage. Nobody need work again. The down side is nothing would be produced or done so there would be nothing to spend the money on so the economy would collapse.

    What to do?

    Fire the central banks.
    Ban fractional reserve banking.
    Issue government money directly from Treasury at no cost, debt free.
    Repeal the legal tender laws.Let people use what ever money they wish.
    Allow coins to be issued at a consistent weight and purity, and allow them to find their own value (No denominated value) in the market place.
    The issued coins be allowed to circulate along side government money.

    http://www.tonybrogan.com/?p=25

    This competition would force government to curtail the issuance of government money in order to retain a value to the currency. Unlimited printing is the inflation of the money supply that destroys its value.

    Eventually money production would come to a halt (except for replacement of worn out script) Interest rates would find a market value and the economy would stabilise with gentle ebbs and floes rather than the extreme volatility now being seen. Boom and bust would recede to memory long past.

  20. What is NOT manageable is the real inflation rate. As we are all aware the “official” inflation rate bares no relationship to reality except in one area. Inflation is the who amount of currency inserted by central and commercial banks into the economy, resulting in financial bubbles in the bond and and stock markets (good says the government) but mysteriously absent everywhere else.
    The one place inflation is forced and regulated is in government payouts and pensions. They, if you are lucky, increase with the ascribed rate of inflation. Thus my purchasing power diminishes significantly every year.
    As I have quoted shadowstats many times here, I’ll use it again. http://www.shadowstats.com/
    Here you can see that the real inflation rate is at least 3% higher than the government states.
    The Burrito index (rather like the Mac index) Shows an even higher rate of inflation.
    Sure there are vultures picking our flesh even before we are dead and it is not a few funds. The biggest vultures of all are the government itself as it enables the predatory practices of the banking and money system.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-01/burrito-index-consumer-prices-have-soared-160-2001

  21. part 2

    The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to invest and save in Precious Metals and if you can handle the volatility the PM stocks.
    As the PM bull market resumed in January, participants have roughly increased their savings by (in Euros) 25% in gold bullion, 47% in silver bullion, and PM shares in the HUI index (USD) are up 180%.
    Because the sector is under attack from government and the bankers it is discredited all the time. The PM have had a tough 4 years but despite the best efforts of the criminal cartel is breaking out again. The suppression was so severe the PM shares lost 90% of their 2011 high but are now bouncing back with a vengeance. Even a 180% gain in the shares is only putting the shares at 50% below their last highs so there is a long way to go yet. It was last at the current level in 2008. The train is leaving the station but if you run it is still moving slowly along the platform and you can jump aboard. This is the express train and there are very few stops before it reaches its final destination where the prudent will disembark before the train reverses its journey.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/%5EHUI?p=%5EHUI

    Do your own due diligence before investing. The above is my personal opinion and of course I an notably unreliable.{:-)

  22. McCawber

    Dead on and f^ck the begrudgers and mockers.

  23. Can capitalism function efficiently at the zero bound?

    No. Low interest rates may raise asset prices, but they destroy savings and liability based business models in the process. Banks, insurance companies, pension funds and Mom and Pop on Main Street are stripped of their ability to pay for future debts and retirement benefits. Central banks seem oblivious to this dark side of low interest rates. If maintained for too long, the real economy itself is affected as expected income fails to materialize and investment spending stagnates. –Bill Gross

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