Monday, May 31, 2010

Madness in the Mediterranean

I have not yet had the opportunity to properly digest the events that occurred in the early hours of the morning off the coast of Gaza that appear to have resulted in the tragic deaths of several peace activists. I am not the type to jump to conclusions so I will wait until I have heard all sides and consulted several different sources before I post on the issue, at which stage I will do so in a fair and balanced way. There is a demonstration in Dublin city center at six this evening. I will attend, take a few snaps and make some conclusions of my own. I will do a detailed post on the days events at about ten o clock tonight.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jews on Israel

How do non Israeli Jews feel about Israel ? I would speculate that about 10% of international Jewry are fanatical supporters of Israel. A further 10% are fanatical critics of the Jewish state. The 80% in the middle I believe have a deep concern for the fate of Israel that can vary in intensity. Ireland doesn't have many notable Jews. Actor Daniel Day Lewis and Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter are the most well known. Shatter has always defended Israel where as as Day Lewis is I believe a critic. Another less well known Irish Jew is Israeli born Trinity College sociology lecture Dr Ronit Lentin (pictured). Dr Lentin is a left wing professor who lobbies for a multicultural Ireland as well as fiercely criticising Israel. Pro Israeli Jews refer to someone like Dr Lentin as a "self hating Jew". To me, all her stance on Israel proves is that Jews, like everyone else are politically diverse. Some are liberal, others are conservative. What say ye ? What are her motivations and why is she so disliked by many in the Jewish community.

Below is an abstract from Dr Lentin's column in Metro Eireann.

On 19 January I attended the Holocaust lecture in Trinity College. The lecturer, Dr Nicholas Stargardt of Oxford University, spoke about Jewish children hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. I happened to sit next to a stalwart member of the Dublin Jewish community. When I greeted her, she looked through me. I asked if she is not talking to me and she said: “I am disgusted by you.” She was referring to my opposition to the war in Gaza, and she could clearly make no connection between the death of children in the Holocaust and in Gaza.

Taking an oppositionist stand against Israel's devastating invasion of Gaza has been fraught – many members of Ireland's Jewish community were wholly supportive of Israel's action, buying the argument that it was Hamas, not Israel, who was the aggressor.
I do not want to get into that whole argument here. Let me just say emphatically that opposing Israeli militarist policies and Zionist ideologies – a position I share with tens of thousands of Israelis in Israel and abroad, and many Jews throughout the world – makes me neither anti-semitic nor a 'self hating Jew'. I am a proud Jew and declare my Judaism on every occasion, and have written extensively about anti-semitism.
I do not want to labour the point, nor do I want to focus on police attacks against Israelis who continue to hold vigils and demonstrate in Israel; several thousand of whom (including many Israeli Palestinian citizens) are still in jail. That’s because the focus of the struggle is still freedom for Palestinians and Palestine.
In the aftermath of this horrific war – which saw 1,300 and 1,400 Palestinians killed (including than 400 children) with 5,000 injured, compared to the deaths of 13 Israelis, three of whom were civilians – we must focus on the issues clearly and politically.
Both Israel and Hamas declared victory. So be it. But it is clear that without dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian elected leadership (which currently is Hamas) and without addressing the return of Palestinian refugees, there will be no peace.
I keep thinking about the children left for four days beside the body of their murdered mother. Will they grow up to thank Israel for its 'intervention', or will they be the first to join the armed struggle?
Irish people have been wonderful in their support for the Palestinians – so much so that Israel has targeted its propaganda machine at changing political Ireland's view. Immediately after the ceasefire, Israeli Minister for Education Yuli Tamir, a politics professor and founder of the 'Peace Now' movement, visited Ireland to speak with the Government and the media, and attempt to justify the atrocities.
It is important to name what happened as what it was – a war crime – and take Israel to account. It might not be easy – the Israeli army has prohibited the publication of names of officers who served in Gaza, fearing they will be charged with war crimes.
Israel also knows that the world will not remain silent in relation to its use of white phosphorus bombs, and is proposing to 'investigate' their use. The fact that the use of white phosphorus (not strictly illegal, but not permitted for use directly against a civilian population) causes people with even minor burns to die suffices.
It is not sufficient for Israel to merely investigate – the world must hold Israel accountable.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Photo of the Day

The Pope's Cross in the Phoenix Park Dublin. This cross marks the spot where Pope John Paul 2nd said mass in front of 1 million people in 1979.

Interesting random piece of History 1

I am starting a new weekly post on Gubu World entitled "Interesting random piece of History". My first installment is about a truly fascinating phone conversation I found on YouTube between President Kennedy and former President Eisenhower. The conversation is taking place on the 22nd of October 1962, right in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis. Kennedy is asking the former supreme allied commander (during World War Two) and President (1953-61) for advise on how to handle the Soviets.

President Kennedy phoned all three living former presidents to keep them abreast of the situation. Although it is clear from the tapes (all of which are on YouTube) that his calls to former presidents Truman and believe it or not Hoover (yes the Great Depression President was still alive then) were mere courtesy calls. However JFK clearly desired Eisenhower's opinion on the situation. What Kennedy really wants to know from the conversation with Eisenhower is will the Soviets invade West Berlin or possibly even launch a nuclear strike against the west if the US invades Cuba. None of Kennedy's advisers, including Eisenhower as we can hear, thought that they would. Everybody wanted JFK to invade Cuba. It seemed the best way to make sure the Cubans would never be able to obtain a nuclear capability and it would also end the Cuban threat in its entirety. JFK was under enormous pressure to at least bomb Cuba. But he refused opting instead for a military blockade to prevent the nuclear war heads from reaching Cuba.

The blockade was a success and the Soviets backed down even though a secret deal was done to remove US missiles from Turkey. However what is most astonishing about this whole episode is that many years later it became known that the Soviets already had delivered some nuclear war heads to Cuba meaning that the Soviets/Cubans were fully armed with nuclear missiles. What if Kennedy had listened to Eisenhower and most of his advisers and taken the safe option which was an air strike or an invasion of Cuba. If he had of, we might not all be here today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photo of the Day

Ireland defend a corner during Tuesday nights friendly match against Paraguay at the RDS in Ballsbridge

It could have been Omagh 2

The Gardai raided a bomb making factory north of Dundalk last Saturday. Two Prominent dissident republicans were arrested and a "very large" bomb was dismantled. It is believed that the men were preparing to launch a major bomb attack across the border this week. Maybe they would have bombed a PSNI barracks. Or perhaps they would have phoned in a warning and planted the device outside a government building. Or maybe they might have done what they did in 1998 when they expressed their opposition to the Good Friday Agreement by slaughtering 31 civilians.

Gardai take away evidence from the bomb making factory in Dundalk.

I will never forget that day in August 1998. It only took about an hour but it was a frantic hour until my family made contact with my Aunt and two cousins from Omagh to make sure they were all safe. Thankfully they were although several friends and neighbours of theirs had been wounded in the atrocity. The family most affected were the Monaghan family. Avril Monaghan (30) died along with her 65 year old mother Mary Grimes and her 18 month old daughter Maura. Avril Monaghan was seven months pregnant with twins. She left behind a husband and three other small children. It is truly unbelievable that the murderous bastards who did this are still out there trying to plant bombs on our streets. Thankfully for the first time ever the Irish and Northern Irish police are working effectively together. Also it seems clear to me that former provisionals who have backed the Good Friday Agreement are now willing to take action to prevent further attacks. I wouldn't be surprise if it was in fact former IRA men who informed the Gardai of the whereabouts of the factory in Dubdalk.

The Real IRA murdered 31 civilians, including ten children at Omagh.

I am a constitutional republican who believes strongly that the border dividing Ireland should be removed and that the two traditions on this island should be brought together under one state. I believe that British soldiers have no place in Ireland. Sometimes, just sometimes I think that the continued existence of dissident republicans serves a purpose as it illustrates that the only way to ever completely eradicate militant republicanism is to unite Ireland. But then I think of Omagh and I remind myself that the full resources of the Irish state should be dedicated to crushing these treasonous huns.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Photo of the Day

My legs, my feet, the Phoenix Park and the Dublin Mountains.

Liam Egan is a Sleeveen

In Ireland we sometimes refer to an untrustworthy, sly and sneaky person as a Sleeveen. Liam Egan of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee is such a person. Obviously myself and Liamo do not see eye to eye on, well anything. But this is not the source of my accusation that he has leprechaun like characteristics. I have a site meter on my blog as do most bloggers. I use it to see how many hits I get on a daily basis. Using the site meter I can also see how people become aware of Gubu Word and how they came to be on it. I can see the words they may have googled or the blog roll they may have linked to. Knowing this helps increase traffic. Yesterday I received a hit on my site meter from the usual spot that Mr Egan logs on from. He had googled the words "Leddy, Jewish origin". He was obviously trying to find out if Leddy was a Jewish name, as if this would invalidate my opinions somehow. I would however never have become aware of this had he not, after googling the words, been unable to resist the temptation to immediately click on to my site to read a previous post of mine which showed up in the search entitled Is Zionism racist ?

Anyway, so far all he has done is try to find out if I'm Jewish. That's fine. I have probably done the same with some people out of curiosity. However when I confronted him on his site about this during a debate about expelling the Israeli ambassador from Dublin over the forged passport controversy, he proceeded to delete that section of my comment. My comment appeared on the MPAC.ie site as

It would be excessive to expel the Israeli ambassador. If it can be determined conclusively that staff from the Israeli embassy in Dublin were involved in the forgery of Irish passports then the appropriate staff should be expelled. It is however entirely possible that this was all done in Jerusalem in which case a firm protest would suffice.

Ted Leddy


What was missing was

By the way I see you were trying to find out if I am Jewish. Next time try asking. For the record I was born a Catholic just like you. I am still a Catholic. I have no Jewish connection what so ever. I do however have the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. I know that anti Semitism, homophobia and actively working to bring about a deterioration in relations between Muslims and non Muslims is bad. Where as respect and working to improve relations between races and religions is good.


Egan deleted the second part of my comment admitting that he believes in "knowing thine adversary". And this is why he is a Sleeveen. The lowest thing a person can do on the blogosphere is to altar a person's comments in order to suit their own point of view. A website set up by some real Irish Muslims who appose Egan's extremest views delightfully described him as a Wahhabi Goebbels. What a perfect description. And that is exactly what he is. He deletes the comments of the vast majority of Irish Muslims who log on to his site to express their displeasure at his radical agenda. I also suspect that some racist anti Muslim remarks that are left on his site are in fact fabrications by Egan to portray the Irish people as Muslim haters. When I confronted him about this last night, he, you guessed it, deleted my comment. This is undoubtedly, the carry on of a sleeveen.

Other examples of a Sleeveen include

Ronan Keating has been cheating on his wife for the last 6 months. Sleeveen !













John Terry has been cheating on his wife with the girlfriend of his England team mate Wayne Bridge. Major Sleeveen !



Fictional Sleeveens

Matt Damon's character in The Departed was a super Sleeveen. He was tasked with finding the informers in the Boston Police. He was the Informer.



Danny Devito's character in Mars attacks tried to make a deal with the all conquering aliens. What a sleeveen !


Historical Sleeveens

Benedict Arnold was an awful Sleeveen. He fought for the Americans in the revolutionary war but half way through changed sides and fought for the British.







Attila the Hun was a Sleeveen for obvious reasons.
















When Charlie Haughey wanted Brian Lenihan out of the way he spread a false rumour that President Patrick Hillery had a love child with a mistress. The hope was that he would be forced to resign leaving the way for Lenihan to become President. He was the king of the Sleeveens.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Photo of the Day

Summer Time, The Phoenix Park

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Muslim Protest in Dublin

Downloaded from MPAC.ie

There was a protest by Muslim groups outside the Belgian embassy in Dublin yesterday. It was a demonstration against the recent Belgian decision to ban the full veil (Niqab/Burqa). It appears that the fascist Muslim Public Affairs Committee was one of the principal organisers. This from Mr Egan.


The lions of Ireland stood resolutely against the onslaught of kufr today and sent a strong message of unity toward their brothers in affliction. Despite intimidation and fears of reprisal, a strong throng of believers stood shoulder to shoulder praising and extolling the mighty name of Allah, castigating the hypocrisy of democracy and warning against the consequences of oppression and repression.

Never before had Donnybrook witnessed such a sight, never before had the glorious struggle for Islam resonated in such indomitable tones and NEVER AGAIN would we allow ourselves to be silenced.


I don't have a problem with Muslims protesting against the ban in Dublin even though I think its a bit odd to launch a demonstration aimed at "warning" the Irish government not to follow suit when I have heard nothing to indicate they are even considered something similar in Ireland. What I do object to is the MPAC's leadership of the protest. Its like listening to a communist complain about workers rights or a fascist about immigration. I believe in workers rights and that the EU Immigration system should be reformed but I have no interest in listening to a right wing racist or a leftist revolutionary lecture me on these issues. Their radical views completely invalidate their opinions on what would otherwise be more reasonable grievances. The same is true with liam Egan and the MPAC. Egan does not care about the Muslim Veil, it is a deliberate distraction. It is an attempt to throw sand in everyone's eyes. He has called openly for an end to Irish democracy. Nothing else matters in my opinion. This is all that counts. His leadership of this issue is entirely fraudulent as the true agenda is much much much more sinister.

Photo of the Day

An image I took from the Garden of Remembrance in Island bridge

Friday, May 21, 2010

Irish Troops Return Home

The last of the Irish troops stationed in Chad arrived back in Dublin airport yesterday. Thankfully there was no fatalities during the two year UN/EU mission among Irish troops either from combat, accidents or illness. The principal objective of the mission was to protect Chadian refugees in the district that the Irish occupied. It appears this was a success which was not easy considering the area under Irish control bordered Darfur, meaning the troops had to deal with refugees from the Civil Wars in both Chad and Sudan. However the wisdom of only serving in overseas operations that are UN sanctioned has to come into question given that the mandate in this instance was quite weak compared to our last major mission in Liberia. In addition the Chadian government no longer found it politically advantageous to have UN troops in the country and has thus asked us to leave. The reality is that the regime of Chadian dictator Idriss Deby appears to no longer be in danger of falling to the rebels so he does not desire our presence any further.

The fact that the French backed Deby regime had its own agenda does not in my opinion invalidate the mission as a whole because protecting the refugees from potential harm was always a noble goal, despite what the leftist synics say. However, one must question the wisdom of participating in a mission that is subject to the whims of an African dictator. That being said, the logistical challenged faced by the Irish forces were probably the most difficult faced by the Irish Defence Forces since they began participating in UN peace keeping operations back in 1955. The lessons learned will certainly do no harm in future missions. This from The Irish Times.


The final batch of 186 Irish troops from the United Nations mission in Chad returned to Dublin airport this evening.

For the last two years members of the Defence Forces protected more than 400,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) occupying refugee camps along the border with Darfur.

A UN delegation which visited the Chadian capital N’Djamena in April was unable to persuade the Chadian government to allow the peace enforcement mission, Minurcat, remain after the current mandate expired on May 15th.

The regime told the UN its force was no longer required and that it would not be granted permission to stay. Under national and international law, the Irish troops cannot remain in any overseas posting without a UN mandate.

Despite the Chadian government position, the UN wanted Minurcat to remain on to provide safety for hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons who have fled fighting in the region and are now living in camps in Chad.

The decision to bring the troops home was made after a deadline passed for any change of policy regarding the withdrawal.

Acting Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Major General Dave Ashe welcomed the 186 soldiers at Dublin airport. The final contingent of personnel travelled from the Irish base in Goz Beida to N’Djamena, where they boarded a chartered flight to Dublin.

A major logistics operation has been underway since the decision was taken to withdraw the main body of Irish troops from the mission. The majority of Irish equipment is now in N’Djamena, after travelling some 800km across the desert from Goz Beida.

The next phase of the operation will involve an air, road and rail move to get the equipment the 1500km from N’Djamena to the Cameroonian city of Douala and then onwards to Dublin by ship, a further 9,000km.

The equipment is due to arrive in Ireland at the end of July.

The mission to Chad represented one of the most challenging logistical operations ever undertaken by the Irish Defence Forces.

Chad, which is approximately twice the size of France, has little or no infrastructure with Goz Beida almost 2,000km from the nearest seaport in Cameroon and 800km from the nearest international airport in N’Djamena.

Over the course of the deployment phase 139 vehicles and wheeled units and 269 containers were moved to the Irish camp in Goz Beida. The operation also required 21 cargo flights, 14 road convoys and eight rail convoys
.

An Irish soldier at Dublin airport yesterday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Photo of the Day

The River Liffey Dublin, from Chapilizod Bridge.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Dail Protests: Updated

I took this footage on Tuesday evening outside the Dail of some scuffles that broke out between the Gardai and Republican Sinn Fein.
video

I don't often cover domestic Irish issues but I want to make an exception such is the gravity of the situation. After Iceland, Greece and the Baltic states Ireland's economy has been hit probably the hardest in Europe although Spain, Portugal and the the UK are in similar situations. We have a 22 billion Euro deficit. The protest outside the Dail yesterday was against cuts to the public sector. There was barely a mention of the hundreds of thousands of private sector workers who have lost their jobs altogether. It was all about the public sector wages being cut.

Let me be clear. I am not Maggie Thatcher. I do not want to destroy the public sector. But government finances have been decimated since the recession began so obviously the government have to make cuts, major cuts. Anybody who doesn't get that really isn't in this debate. I agree that some cuts are wrong. The elderly and children (particularly children's health) should be off limits but everyone else is fair game under the circumstances. I am not denying the peoples right to be angry. Even though I believe that the public sector is over sized and inefficient the workers would not be being having their wages cut if it were not for the bogus economic model that Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern favoured. That is where my real anger lies. Frankly I don't think Cowen has done too badly since becoming Taoiseach, it was his tenure as Minister for finance for which he should feel embarrassed and ashamed. The ridiculously inflated property bubble, the collapse of which has decimated the public finances, clearly would not have happened had it not been for the cozy relationship between Fianna Fail, the banks and property developers.

This is why so many people say, how can we bail out the banks and let the people take the hit. This is understandable. But the banking sector has to be stabilised. Maybe the NAMA approach is wrong. Maybe the Fine Gael idea of creating one workable national bank would be better. Truthfully I don't understand many of these complex financial issues. However I am fairly sure that the far left suggestion of making a list of Ireland's 1000 richest people, and seizing half their assets (which is basically what they propose) as a way out of recession is a non starter. Frankly I have no interest in listening to many of these protesters. The pushing and shoving in the clip above was led by the Socialist Workers Party who believe in a workers revolution and Eirigi, Republican Sinn Fein who are opposed to the Northern Irish Peace Process. I don't believe myself that either of these groups really have the best interest of Ireland at heart. And that is putting it extremely lightly.

Below are a few snaps I took at the demo.

My favourite, the muppets and Homer.

The large crowd on Molesworth Street

After last week when 7 or 8 Gardai were nearly overwhelmed at the gates of Leinster House the Gardai were taking no chances. There were mounted police manning the gates and a Garda helicopted hovered above the whole time.

Gardai form a ring around the entrance to the Dail

Gardai and members of Republican Sinn Fein and the Socialist Workers Party go eye to eye.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where I stand on Israel

Where does Gubu World stand on Israel. People have said to me recently that they are confused by my stance. They do not know if I am pro or anti. It seems timely to address this because in recent weeks I have been called a Jew hater on Seraphic Secret and a Muslim hater on MPAC.ie. Obviously I am neither as anyone who reads this blog knows. My readers know that I believe in a secure Israel and a viable Palestine. I have also posted regularly on the dangers of Israeli and Palestinian supporters taking more militant views on the conflict than the actual parties themselves. This moderate stance that I take generally leads to accusations from both hawkisk camps that I am anti their side. I am used to this. It is nothing knew. However I do accept that my fierce criticism of Jewish settlement policy combined with my equally fierce criticism of Arab rejectionism might lead to confusion.

In my view there are three ways of examining the Arab Israeli conflict. The first is to look at the Israelis and the Palestinians simply as two tribes fighting over land. Forget Islam and Judaism and all the other international and historical factors at play. In such a scenario it is the Israelis who are primarily to blame. It is they who seize land and occupy the largely powerless Palestinians. It is they who divert water from the river Jordan and expand Jewish settlements in order to invalidate the future viability of a Palestinian state. And it is they who are prepared to use extraordinary levels of military force to combat the terrorism which a reasonable person might say is inevitable given the circumstance just outlined.

The second way to view the conflict is in the wider Arab Israeli context. In this case it is the Arabs who are clearly at fault. It is they who have consistently rejected all efforts at peace. Only two nations of the 22 member Arab League currently recognise Israel's right to exist. It is difficult to expect Israel (particularly give 20th century Jewish history) to let its guard down when twenty of its neighbours don't recognise its right to breath. The Arab Nations, all of whom are dictatorial in nature constantly use Israel as a domestic tool to look tough in front of their people. They continue to promote the deeply rooted anti semitism that exists in Arab/Muslim. When these nations inevitably underachieve economically due to corruption and incompetence they generally play the anti Israeli card to get themselves out of trouble. Their strange mixture of belligerence and indifference contributes greatly to the prolonging of the conflict.

Of the 22 Arab Countries, only Egypt and Jordan recognise Israel.

The third perspective is the most important because unlike all the issues above, it is not a tangible issue that can be openly solved. This is the issue of conflicting values that stem from two different civilisations. Western Christian civilisation and Eastern Islamic civilisation have been clashing ever since Islam was founded in the seventh century. Up until the Christian reformation in the 16th century both sides were as bad as each other where bloody crusades and counter crusades dominated the Middle Ages. Today that clash has taken the form of the current tension we see between western Liberal democracy with its Judea Christian values and Eastern Islamic religion and culture. Their compatibility is clearly the issue. Can a democratic form of government with its liberal society coexist with Islamic nations who favour a totally different form of government. Their coexistence has been brought into focus in the second half of the 20th century with the foundation of Israel, and globalisation which has seen the spread of liberal values into conservative Islamic states. However it is the existence of Israel, a Jewish state, a liberal democracy right in the heart of the holy land that is the ultimate symbol of this clash.

The crusades lated 300 years.

Many people in the west believe that the western system with its parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, human rights and individual liberty is the superior model. I am such a person. Hence, I believe Israel as a political entity is worth defending. I don't want it to win outright. I don't want them to succeed in expelling the Palestinians (as some hawks want to) in order to fulfill the biblical prophecy of a greater Israel. However, as a democracy that has maintained its democratic principle despite enormous pressure I think it should be admired. I believe that if the Arab/Muslim extremists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran were to succeed in their goal of ending Israel's existence it would be a massive victory for Eastern Islamic Values over western democracy. And, it would only be the beginning of it. Those that believe the west should take a tough line against Israel in order to calm the Arab/Muslim world fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the conflict. There are many in the west that do not support Israel because they believe it is an illegitimate state. These people are always far left Marxists who do not believe in western democracy. They therefor do not believe it should be defended. If you look at Ireland, Israel's fiercest critics are hard core leftists like Richard Boyd Barrett and Kieran Allen. If you read their literature they actually believe the Irish sate is illegitimate and should be overthrown. If they don't think the Irish sate should be defended its hardly surprising they are less committed to Israel.

So I hope that is clear ! Gubu World will continue to criticise many aspects of the occupation as well as the methods in which Israel conducts its wars. The legions of Arab and Muslims nations and groups that oppose peace with Israel under any terms will also get an earful from me. However Israel and the case for the Jewish state in the Middle East to thrive and survive will continue to be made on this site.

Taking the Piss

With all the controversy over the recent South Park Prophet Mohammed cartoon and the Comedy Central I.S.R.A.E.L video I think its time that everybody chilled out a bit. Gubu World is an unapologetic fan of politically incorrect humour. Sometimes you got to just take the piss:


Of the Palestinians


Of the Jews


Blacks and Christians


And the Irish


And some more on the Irish

Sunday, May 16, 2010

70 Years Ago Today 16/5/40

Western front: The war is going disastrously for the western allies. Two days ago on the 14th Holland surrendered after the Luftwaffe launched a heavy raid on Rotterdam in what would become one of the most publicised atrocities of the early years of the war. The Belgians too are getting pulverised and will not last much longer. The German army have broken through the French lines at Sedan and are now in a position to launch an all out attack on France. On this day 70 years ago newly appointed French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud contacted Winston Churchill and famously informed him that they have "no military reserve left". It was a virtual admission that it is only a matter of time to the fall of France.

The Dutch city of Rotterdam after it was bombed by the Luftwaffe. It is the second European city of the war after Warsaw to suffer heavy bombing. Approximately 1500 people died in the raid.

Photo of the Day

A Lovely green field. Trim Co Meath.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not so Hunky Dory

Bock the Robber posted this picture in response to the recent controversy surrounding the Hunky Dory ad campaign.



Good one Bock !

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lars Vilks Attacked

Swedish Cartoonist Lars Vilks was attacked earlier today. The Daily Dish reports.

Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist whose sketch of the Prophet Muhammad enraged many Muslims, was head-butted today while giving a lecture about freedom of speech. Vilks, who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog in 2007, said he was assaulted by a man sitting on the front row as he spoke at the University of Uppsala, about 70 kilometers from Stockholm. A spokesman for the Uppsala police said about 20 people tried to attack Vilks after interrupting his lecture, adding that the police had to intervene to stop them.


The aftermath of the assault was caught on tape.



The incident above is not the only attack on Vilks. There were other more serious attacks at his home not to mention the alleged plot to Kill the Swede involving seven Irish based Muslims. These attacks highlight the insecurity that many conservative Muslims have over their religion. Politically moderate Muslims, even those who are deeply devout have long since gotten over any initial displeasure that they felt at the cartoons. It is only the likes of Liam Egan's Muslim Public Affairs Committee and other militant groups that continue to promote this as an issue with the inevitable consequences that we saw today.

Dail Disturbances

The usual gang of eccentric leftists tried to ruin things for everybody yesterday when they attempted to storm the Dail after a legitimate and dignified march in protest at the cutbacks and government handling of the economy. The socialist Workers Party led the way in the attack on the Irish parliament in a weird and vain attempt at "playing the Bolshevik" 1917 style. Sorry lads but this is Dublin, not St Petersburg. The funny thing was they had the cheek to claim Garda brutality when seven or eight unarmed Gardai prevented them entering Leinster house. Of course the Gardai drew their batons. What the hell else would they do when 50 yobs try to storm the parliament. The SWP used the familiar tactic of provoking the Gardai while having cameras at the ready to film their reaction in the hope of cathcing a Garda in the act of lashing out. It was a total propaganda failure for the SWP. Champion of the left Vincent Brown was on the scene and defended the Gardai on his TV programme last night. On this occasion, the SWP failed in their attempt at framing the Gardai of brutality. The video footage below makes it clear who the aggressors were.




David Cameron and Nick Clegg ?????

How young do these two guys look ?.

I wish Cameron and Clegg the best of luck. I don't fear a Tory government the way I did five years ago when I was concerned that an arrogant administration might be insensitive to the complexities of the Northern Ireland peace process. This concern of mine re emerged briefly a few weeks ago with the talk of a Tory Unionist pact. A British government in debt to the unionists would not have been good for the Belfast Assembly. Anyway this did not happen so I welcome the fresh face and the conservative message.

Cameron's speech impressed me yesterday. His talk of a responsible society where it is stressed that every citizen has responsibilities to themselves, to their families, to their community and their country is a strong message, one I would like to see replicated in Ireland where "What has the state ever done for me" has become the dominant theme. Generally though, Cameron and his conservative lite agenda does not impress me and I doubt whether his coalition government will last long. David Miliband will win the labour leadership contest and the Blairite will be a formidable foe to a weak and divided government. My prediction is that within a couple of years Britain will have in Miliband, the first Jewish Prime Minister since Benjamin Disraeli 1874-1880.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photo of the Day

O'Connell Street Bridge, earlier today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

70 Years Ago Today 10/05/40

Western Europe: On this day 70 years ago Germany invaded Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Paratroopers landed and seized key targets, stuka dive bombers inflicted heavy damage on the defending armies and tanks and infantry crossed the border and entered all three nations.

London: Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister. Neville Chamberlain's position became untenable as a result of the immense criticism he received from all sides over his handling of the German invasion of Scandinavia. On this day 70 years ago Churchill was summoned to Buckingham Palace by the King to from and lead a new all party government.

Winston Churchill leaving 10 Downing street on becoming Prime Minister on this day 70 years ago.

Bill Maher Comes Good

One of the reasons I got turned off left wing politics was the inability or unwillingness of the left to recognise Militant political Islam as being a highly dangerous right wing philosophy that is utterly repugnant to western democratic values. This became so clear to me after spending one month in Iran conducting research on the democratisation movement in that country. When I came back the idea of Blame Bush/Blair/Bertie for everything seemed completely hollow after seeing what the young people of Persia have to put up with. I began to feel that the blame the west for everything politics of the left is like a spoilt teenager being cheeky toward their parents because they know they can. Gradually I actually became quite appreciative of the virtues of western style liberal democracy and quite proud of the fact that I live in a free country.

However I do get great satisfaction on the odd occasion that a lefty decides to put things in perspective and call it like it is. HBO's Bill Maher is probably the most left wing person on American TV. Still, the comedian has the good sense to make it clear that for all the failings of the catholic church and eccentricity of the christian right, they got nothing on the Taliban. He also stipulates that when it comes to conservative Muslims living in western democracies, there are some things that are non negotiable.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Photo of the Day

Not great photography by me as you can't see the second Irish Wolf Hound very well, still what an amazing animal. This lady I saw walking her two dogs in the Phoenix Park told me I was the third person that asked permission to take a picture in fifteen minutes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Boring British Election

The British election bored me. I never got excited about it. Brown's sheer lack of charisma probably shouldn't have been the reason, but was that turned me off the labour party once and for all. Cameron doesn't convince me and I could get excited by about a quality Tory government but there is little worse that a politician who tries to please everyone. Conservatives are supposed to be hated by a significant section of the population. He shouldn't shy away from key but controversial conservative values. Britain could do with a Thatcher right now, not a Ted Heath. William Hague is the only Conservative man I believe could have led the Tories to an outright victory. As for Nick Clegg I always suspected the Lib Dems would ultimately under perform. All we can do now is wait and see who is best at making backroom political deals to from the next government.

The only issue that really concerned me and still does is the possibility of a Tory DUP pact which would result in a Westminster government in debt to the DUP. That would bring too much of a risk of destabilising the Stormount assembly for me. The other big news is that First Minister Peter Robinson lost his seat no doubt thanks to the recent Mrs Robinson affair, literally. However this may not be the end of Peter Robinson, a man I must say I have come to admire, as he is still a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Stormount where the power sharing government sits. The most positive news from the north for me was the defeat of rejectionist Unionist Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice who lost out to Ian Paisley Junior in North Antrim. Thankfully the MEP's anti agreement crusade appears to be running out of steam. This from Slugger O'Toole

Friday, May 7, 2010

Silly Versus Sensible

Watch below as the election results come in to the BBC.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photo of the Day

Every business premises that I passed during my recent trip to the Cavan Fermanagh region had a sign in support of the Quinn group and Sean Quinn (Ireland's richest man), and his battle with the financial regulator.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Violent Extremists or Islamic Terrorists.

I watched a debate last night of Fox News between Bill O'Reilly and conservative pundit Monica Crowley. In the wake of the attempted bombing in Times Square the issue of war terminology has reared its head again. Ever since Obama took office his administration has not used the phrase War on Terror, preferring instead the term Overseas Contingency Operations. Administration officials have also been instructed to use the term violent extremists instead of Islamic Terrorists. This tactic is being increasingly criticised by the Republicans especially since this latest attack is considered to be the fourth attempted attack on the US since Obama took office in January 2009.

Pakistani American terrorist Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square

The general narrative from the right is that you cannot defeat something if you are unable to identify it. I would generally go along with that. However I have seen no indication in a practical sense that President Obama is unsure where the might of American military power should be directed. He has utterly decimated the Al Quaeda and Taliban leadership with UAV drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If he uses softer language in order to avoid unnecessarily angering the Muslim World then what possible harm can come from this. The only harm I can think of is that flag waving pundits like Crowley and Hannity are denied the use of soundbites which make them look tough.

The key phrase is Unnecessarily. Why would any supporter of the American campaign against global terrorism want to unnecessarily anger the Muslim World. There are times when it will be necessary to be blunt and this can't be helped but the pundits and politicians that get some sort of Joy or are attempting to score brownie points with the public by subtly insulting the Islamic world should be put in their place. Constantly referring to Islamic Terrorism after every incident can have a negative impact on relations between America and the Islamic World. Using the phrase achieves nothing.

I know people will argue that the Muslim World is always angry and a minor change in terminology will not alter this. Perhaps but it occurred to me recently that the difference between the most prominent hawks and liberals regarding terrorism is actually very simple. Hawks believe that terrorists hate America because of what America is, Liberals believe it is because of what America does. That's it, that's the difference between a George Bush and a George Galloway. I think a reasonable person should be able to admit that the truth lies somewhere in between. The Muslim World can be unnecessarily antagonised. If it has to be done then it has to be done, but to do so when it achieves nothing is counterproductive.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pictures from the Erne

Over the bank holiday weekend I sailed along with my brothers and cousins from Belturbet in Co Cavan to Enniskillin in co Fermanagh. It was a short and beautiful trip up the river Erne with lots of spectacular views of the numerous lakes and hills along with the inevitable mix of politics that comes with a journey across the border into Northern Ireland. Below is a sample of pictures I took.

You have to love the name of our craft.

Its a truly lovely part of the country.

An ancient Round Tower, somewhere in Co Fermanagh

As we pulled into Enniskillin I noticed a man with the longest fishing rod in the world

As I walked around Enniskillin I was reminded that Thursday's general election in Britain, also effects Ireland. Although I can't quite work out what this poster is trying to say.

The war memorial in Enniskillin. I took this picture because I thought it was the site of the remembrance day atrocity in 1987 in which 11 people were murdered by an IRA bomb. On doing research on the issue this morning I have learned that it is not. The bomb occurred at the cenotaph in another part of the town. The bombing as well as being a tragedy for the innocent victims was also a PR disaster for Sinn Fein and the IRA. They had always tried to portray themselves as fighting a legitimate campaign against the occupying British military. But the Enniskillin bomb was a blatantly sectarian attack. It was also a dagger through the soul of the Ulster Unionist. It was their bloody Sunday.

On the road home from Enniskillin I snapped this picture of the peace monument on the border between North and South. Its message is perfectly simple. Peace for all.