Tuesday, 27 November 2012

European Far Right Update #1

Going to be an update on the blog once a week on the far right with a few links and notes on what they are up to in Europe...

Ethnnos in Greece reports on the lack of investigations on the links between far right Golden Dawn and members of the Greek police force. (http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=22768&subid=2&pubid=63743076 - links in Greek thanks to Ephilant on Politicalworld for the translations) . Despite the lack of investigations there is a lot of claims (in the hundreds) of police brutality.

Meanwhile in France, Sarkozys party are deeply divided over the leadership for his former position as head of the party. Daily Mail (or wail?) reporting on the divisions in the party

Would love nothing better than to see the French party of Sarko implode...

Turn Letterkenny into "An Irish Amsterdam"...

Donegal at the moment has the record as the county with the highest amount of unemployment at the moment. As it stands the rate of unemployment stands at 26.2 % compared to roughly 12% in 2006 in the boom times (Source:http://www.donegaldemocrat.ie/news/l...2011-1-4269190) . On top of this there is a lot of NAMA property in the area (http://www.donegaldemocrat.ie/news/l...egal-1-2923504) so the area is a prime area where there is going to be a high rate of emmigration and lack of opportunity. Im proposing the following.

The population of Letterkenny is approx 19,500 thousand people and there is an airport in Derry (1/2 hr away) and there is Donegal Carrickfinn Airport (1 Hour away). Killybegs could also be used as a ferry service. A series of co-ops could set up businesses and seek the legalisation of cannabis and weed, prostitution and the setting up of some more pubs and accommodation however all in the control of local people under a co-operative model. Using abandoned NAMA buildings we could create a strong theatre scene, arts scene, film scene and a base from which to explore the area surrounding which has a national park and a base from which to explore the surrounding area.

A part of the locality could be used to create a University with links to insitutes around the world for looking at nanotechnology, renewable energy, genetic engineering, food production. There are strong swells around the coast that can be used to look at membrane technology and the land surrounding is perfect for looking into crops that are to grow in hardy conditions. The whole town could be self sufficient through heaters and greenhouses powered by solar energy.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Women getting a bad deal from the courts....

I just wanted to look at the over all picture in the Irish justice system in light of some recent cases. Recent cases have seen perpetrators of attacks being let go with suspended sentences, paying fines or partially both with the Lyons case being the most famous one. In one instance there was a case of an alleged rape victim being arrested for not testifying in court (this even made the headlines in the Guardian).

Anthony Lyons was told to pay a €75k fine and then told he was only serving six months of a six year sentence as he was at low risk of offending. In November of this year gone by Eamon Harkin beat his girlfriend badly and only refrained from it during the ninety minute beating so he could have a glass of water. Harkin got 240 hours community service in lieu of a two year suspended sentence.

The most shocking however comes from three cases which were presided over by a judge Martin Nolan and all three cases IMO the attacker gets a lenient sentence. The first involved a Graham Griffin was a 29 year old from Louth who attacked a 17 year old girl. Griffin told the gardai that he was under some sort of "magnetic force" and blamed the hormones . He was handed a suspended four year sentence. The second case involves a Thoms Finn who attacked his neighbour while her deah elderly father was inside his house. The victim lost conciousness and when on the ground Finn continued on kicking the victim and was later told that he could escape jail if he paid the victim €3000 compensation which was described as "a token of remorse". Lastly a Jane Ruffino told the media she felt down by the media after her attacker escaped jail when he was told to pay €5000 and this would mean he would get a suspended sentence.

The above clearly shows that the justice system is letting down women and not only that the political system to boot but the former is not as noticeable as the latter. We have a male orientatied establishment that seems to take no notice of how women are treated and women can still be considered second class citizens in this country. We need to change the system and do a root and branch clear out of the judicial system . Nolans sentences are not satisfactory at all IMO, something that I, if I were a woman, would take issue with.








Many thanks to Alison at IFN for her help on this

We Need a General Strike - NOW!

There does come a time when the workers here need to assert themselves and take back what is rightfully their's. The anti-austerity march yesterday was the start or perhaps should be the start of something that we can build upon. Everyone from trade unions to single parents to unemployed to travellers groups all got out and showed their displeasure with the current situation and the need to fight back. On the back of the sentiment at the moment we should be calling for an all out general strike.

Following on from Irish Revolutions suggestion on twitter I would ask people to start supporting a general strike with the hashtag #generalstrike on twitter and get it trending. Once we have support for a general strike we can look into organising a date perhaps in January . Grassroots movements such as community organisations and unions work to have their members mobilised and staff do not attend work. On Monday there will be a motion at my unions AGM calling for a general strike and would urge anyone else in the same position to do the same. Regardless of political affiliation there is nothing employers can do if whole work places down tools and fight as one unit to battle against the cuts being imposed on us by this government, we have to fight or continue to struggle going from one week to the next , pay packet to pay packet. Some of you have already been driven out of your homeland, your parents and families, your kids and friends. A lot of us are struggling to make ends meet and what for? Our indifference will lead to our downfall.

Here is what to do.

- Use the hashtag #generalstrike to call for a general strike
- Link to this thread
- Raise the issue with unions and at your agms
- Get local communities involved.

We need to fight this. If you are in anyway critical at least make it constructive

Update:Union will not support the using of money ear marked for delegates expenses for CAHWT. No motion for general strike....


Friday, 16 November 2012

Airbone Transmission Ebola

Scientists studying the latest outbreak of Ebola have discovered that the new strain in Uganda may be airborne. An experiement placed eight monkeys seperated by a cage with a pig that had been infected with Ebola Zaire nearby. After a couple of days, the monkeys had contracted the disease with the only transmission path being via the pig itself. It had been thought that the virus was present in the wild in its natural reservoir, the fruit bat.

A similar scenario was played out in the film "Outbreak" with Dustin Hoffman, read more here on the BBC News site...


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Death of Savita Halappanavar - An Indictment of Irish Society

The death of Savita Halappanavar brings into the fray urgent legislation to legislate for the X Case but not only that raises a number of issue at the centre of Irish society most notably religious extremism, lack of adequate governance from the ruling coalition, a failed health system and the oppression of women in Irish society. All four of these aspects are featured from this case and this blog post will explore all four aspects in some detail.

Savita Halappanavar died in October 2012 in Galway Roscommon Univerisity Hospital as a result of scepetcimia which she contracted. Three days earlier Savita had visited the hospital in pain and to seek the termination of the foetus which had been causing pain . Doctors listened to the heartbeat of the foetus and as it had a heartbeat it was deemed to be alive and therefore no medical procedure could be carried out. Three days later, after several examinations of the foetus it was found to have died and the resulting body was removed. During this it had been found that Mrs Halappanavar had a dilated cervix and was leaking animotic fluid . The Guardian takes up the story here (
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/14/savita-halappanavar-medically-unnecessary-death) and summarises what happened:

She died of septicaemia and E Coli. She died after three and a half days of excruciating pain. She died after repeatedly begging for an end to the pregnancy that was poisoning her. Her death would have been avoided if she had been given an abortion when she asked for it – when it was clear she was miscarrying, and that non-intervention would put her at risk.

Savita Halappanavar did not have to die in vain. The government and past successive governments since the X Case have failed to legislate adequately for such an occasion . The X Case was brought before the courts when a 14 year old girl, known only as X, was brought to court to prevent her going to England for an abortion due to a pregnancy from being raped by a neighbour. The Attorney General at the time,Harry Whelehan successfully got an injunction at the high court but this was turned over on appeal at the Supreme Court by a majority of four to one. It was ruled that a woman was entitled to an abortion if there was risk to her life but not to her health. As X was suicidal, this criteria was deemed to be constituting a risk to her life so X was allowed to go to England for an abortion. Since this, the governments of successive years have failed to legislate for the case and as such may be in breach of European law.

Part of the reason that the government has not legislated for it is that there is a certain conservative element within the Irish government, most notably in Fine Gael whom are still rooted in old school conservative Ireland in their politics. Only recently 15 TD’s spoke out against any proposals by the government to liberalise any of the laws on abortion and sought assurances from the government that such legislation would never pass. There is no question over certain members attitudes to abortion within the party when you consider that people like Gay Mitchell have made remarks (which they later say they regretted) which compared abortions to the Holocaust. In statements that were again brought under the microscope before the recent presidential elections, Mitchell was reminded of remarks he had made in 1998 in which he said (speaking of concentration camps) “children [were] poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses” to which was added ““could easily apply to the millions of abortions which needlessly take place year after year”. This religious element is not only to be found in the government. Savida’s husband told the media that when his wife sought an abortion, he was told that they could not give one as Ireland was a Catholic country. Youth Defence even at the time of writing this article are quick enough to hop on the bandwagon, according to thejournal.ie (http://www.thejournal.ie/savita-youth-defence-abortion-674078-Nov2012/) (in what surely must be a fairly ironic)

Youth Defence said that journalists – whom they did not identify – had been “rushing to pre-empt those investigations when they are not in full possession of the facts”.

Its statement said: “According to the information that is available, it seems that a delay in administering antibiotics may have been the cause of the septicaemia which tragically led to her death.

In other words they are telling us that journalists are not in full possession of the facts and they must be by telling us that it seems the antibiotics not being administered may have been the cause? Do Youth Defence not think they should have the full facts also?

The health system itself, being badly managed due to lack of clear direction and grey areas over the law could have done a lot more to address the situation that Savida found herself in. Doctors in similar situations in Ireland may be worried about the possible legal implications regarding carrying out such an abortion in the country. With no legislation or guidance in place, doctors are more or less left in legal limbo as to what direction to take on the matter. A young woman lost her life as there was no clear instructions in what to do in such a situation, which brings me to my last point.

Savida was denied the opportunity to be in control of her own body. The state has no business telling a woman what she can or cannot do with her body up to a certain point when it is carrying a foetus. Savida has requested a termination of the foetus to alleviate her suffering but this was ignored and in retrospect, this was a breach of her rights as a woman to do what she wanted with her body. Considering the gender quota that is in place at the moment in government, it is mostly men that are making the decisions,scary thought that men are mostly making the decisions for a woman and how she should live her life .

It is quite clear that the government, the health services and other agents of society that are meant to protect a womans life failed. To what extent is not quite clear but what is clear is this, there is one grieving husband looking for answers.








Friday, 9 November 2012

Correlation Between Religious Belief and Education

From http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/cen...tire%20doc.pdf

See page 13 and the following paragraph...

Persons with no religion (including Atheists and
Agnostics) had higher levels of education than the
general population, as illustrated in the graph on the left.
They were more than twice as likely to have a
postgraduate degree or diploma compared with the
general population (17.1% and 8.2% respectively) and
more than half (56%) had a third level qualification
compared with 35.5 per cent of the general population.

What would this say to you? Im not commenting as my bias is well known but just to open the floor for comments. ....

If we take into account that perhaps there is no link at all between the two at all and that access to education was limited in the sixties at the peak of the RCC golden age. Now that we are aware of the abuses of the church and that there is a lot more people going to college it may have been a skewered interpretation that some people took when looking at the data. Its fascinating the two topics in themselves, the correlation between the data and what is the conclusion, does religion itself come with a low standard of education (Its inconclusive) and the other seperate topic of how a preconceived notion will mean that different inferrences are drawn from the data.

Belarus - Inside Europes Last Dictatorship

Reporter Brian Whelan has written some extensive articles on fascists and right wing extremists here and in the UK and Europe. In line with that he has written an excellent article on the dictatorship of Aleksander Lukashenko, often referred to as Europes last dictator who has been in power since 1994. Opposition parties are banned and gatherings are tightly controlled, even handing out opposition literature is frowned upon and can result in jail sentences. The regime has a lot of blessing from Russia with a lot of Russian owned businesses in the region and these have become a target for anarchists. Recently at a punk gig, a hundred fans were arrested in a development that does not seem to have hit main stream headlines. Anarchists are being treated like scum and sent to labour camps for speaking agianst the autocracy. More information here...