Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Manufactured outrage

by Frank Schnittger Fri Sep 17th, 2021 at 06:16:18 PM EST

The  President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, raised a storm of manufactured outrage yesterday when he decided not to attend a church ceremony in Armagh with Queen Elizabeth II to mark the centenary of partition and the creation of Northern Ireland. Chief among the outraged was DUP leader, Geoffrey Donaldson, who has recently pulled his party out of all north-south ministerial meetings as required by strand 2 of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, in protest at the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.

It is difficult to know whether Donaldson would have been even more outraged if the President had decided to attend the event, as he typically decries southern "interference" in northern affairs. However, his claim the the President's decision is a snub to Queen Elizabeth is just another attempt by him to draw attention away from the DUP's complicity in Brexit and the Protocol. In reality unionists are desperate to normalise the creation and status quo of Northern Ireland and extremely sensitive to any suggestion it doesn't have universal support.

My thought's on the matter have been published by The Irish Times (see below).

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Denmark: Solidarity and Trust to Beat the Pandemic

by Oui Wed Sep 15th, 2021 at 09:18:33 AM EST

The territorial impact of COVID-19: Managing the crisis across levels of government | OECD - Nov. 10, 2020 |

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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The chattering Irish Europhile class

by Frank Schnittger Wed Sep 8th, 2021 at 03:58:41 AM EST

Eoin Drea, a researcher at the EPP affiliated Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels, has a go at the "The chattering Irish Europhile class" in his piece entitled "Ireland is no longer viewed as a credible voice on key issues in Brussels"(Sadly, subscriber only). In it he castigates Ireland's failure to sign up to the nascent OECD corporate tax reform involving a minimum 15% tax rate but totally misreads the Irish Government's reason for doing so.

Almost everyone in Ireland regards global corporate tax reform as desirable and inevitable and the proposed 15% tax rate is hardly a precipitous increase on Ireland's current rate of 12.5%. But as always, in tax matters, the devil is in the detail, and that detail will be determined in large measure by Biden's slim majorities in Congress, all the more so as many Democrats are as sceptical as Republicans about anything that might displease their major donors.

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DUP decline continues

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 29th, 2021 at 09:35:01 PM EST

It is not my practice to write stories based on a single opinion poll, but polls in N. Ireland are few and far between and are currently of additional significance because they give a snapshot of the parties current standing ahead of Assembly elections which must take place by next May. The next assembly is due to vote on the continuance of the Northern Ireland Protocol in 2024, and so its significance extends to Ireland and the EU in general.

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Vaccine hesitancy and public trust

by Frank Schnittger Sat Aug 21st, 2021 at 01:08:10 PM EST


Professor Dolores Cahill of University College Dublin

Anyone perusing the internet will find it littered with anti-vaxers and conspiracy theorists many of them from the extreme far right of the libertarian fringe. Fragments of scientific research become hoisted to gospel truth without reference to what may be an overwhelming mountain of countervailing evidence. All sorts of conspiracy theories involving George Soros or Bill Gates are re-purposed to support the anti-vaxer cause. One such theorist is professor Dolores Cahill of University College Dublin  who has just had a warrant issued for her arrest in London for organising a protest gathering during lockdown.

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The dog that didn't bark

by Frank Schnittger Thu Aug 19th, 2021 at 10:44:56 PM EST

For most of the summer British Ministers Brandon Lewis (N. Ireland Secretary) and Lord Frost (Brexit Minister) have been hyping up the risk of violence in Northern Ireland if the Northern Ireland protocol isn't radically re-negotiated. But strangely their dog whistles have fallen on deaf ears. So far, the marching season has passed by without major incident.

The fiasco of the election of Edwin Poots as DUP Leader and his replacement after a few weeks by Jeffrey Donaldson has kept the political focus firmly on the DUP. Even the dogs in the street know that Brexit in N. Ireland is largely the creation of the DUP and their erstwhile ally, Boris Johnson. So, who are the rioters supposed to be rioting against?

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Afghan Transfer of Power to Taliban

by Oui Sun Aug 15th, 2021 at 10:31:56 AM EST

As smoke billows above US Embassy, diplomats and staff exit by CH-47 Chinook Helicopters ...

BREAKING NEWS:

The Taliban has ordered its fighters to enter the Afghan capital Kabul to prevent looting after local police deserted their posts, a spokesman for the militant group said on Sunday.The statement by Zabihullah Mujahid came shortly after a leading Afghan peace envoy said President Ashraf Ghani had left the country for Tajikistan.

Ghani Resigns, Transfers Power to Taliban

Follow-up from earlier diary ...

Iraq War Crimes and  Impending Loss of Kabul

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Art for progress's sake [Updated]

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 1st, 2021 at 01:46:12 PM EST

The Irish Museum of Modern Art is putting on a four part programme of exhibitions to celebrate it's 30 years of existence. Funding for the arts in Ireland has always been minimal, and even more so for avant garde, innovative, or progressive modern art. And yet many Irish artists have contributed significantly to the social revolution that has happened in Ireland over the past 30 years. I must declare a personal interest as a close personal fiend, Pauline Cummins, is one such artist who will be featured in a later phase of the programme.

The Irish Times Arts and Culture Editor, Hugh Linehan, has seen fit to publish a hatchet job on the programme, having to date only seen some promotional material for the launch of the programme. Many people find the verbiage that accompanies much of modern art hard to take, but that is not a reason to condemn a whole generation of artists who have contributed so much to the development of Irish art and positive social change with very little official encouragement whatsoever.

I have sent the letter below to the Irish Times as my riposte to his vitriolic condemnation, although I doubt it will be published as the Irish Times has a track record of not publishing any letters critical of its journalism. [update 2] Letter Published 3/8/21 with a critical response published August 6th. and my riposte published August 10th. [End Update]

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Israel Cyber Mercenaries Become Assassins

by Oui Sun Jul 18th, 2021 at 07:17:07 PM EST

Throughout the years I've covered every aspect of Israel's Unit 8200 and the private corporations such as the NSO Group doing the dirty work for dictators and authoritarian regimes ... they do murder journalists, activists, opposition voices and eco-volunteers across the globe.

Silence in Joe Biden's White House ...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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No need to cheer for England

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jul 16th, 2021 at 09:33:09 AM EST

It's becoming tiresome reading all that guff about Ireland really being closer to England than the EU, and that therefore anyone who supports anyone but England is being hypocritical or an extreme nationalist. And yes, this is coming from an Irish columnist living in England who voted Tory last time out.

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UK plans amnesty for war criminals

by IdiotSavant Thu Jul 15th, 2021 at 12:45:40 AM EST

England's massacres in Northern Ireland during "the Troubles" are just another in its long list of colonial crimes. And like their other colonial crimes, they plan to sweep them under the carpet, with an effective amnesty for their colonial criminals:

All criminal prosecutions relating to the Troubles and future attempts to take civil actions would be blocked under UK government plans that have united Northern Ireland's parties in opposition.

The proposals, which are also opposed by the Irish government, were announced by Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, who told MPs it was a "painful truth" that criminal investigations were unlikely to deliver successful outcomes.

Instead, the plan envisages the establishment of a new independent body, likened to South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission and intended to help families find the truth about what happened to their loved ones.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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LQD - Long Term Covid: The Brain

by ATinNM Tue Jul 13th, 2021 at 03:10:19 PM EST

We are finally getting some information regarding the affects of Covid-19 on the brain.

The news is horrible.

How COVID-19 Affects the Brain

COVID-19 has resulted in more than 120 million cases and 2.6 million deaths to date. Respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms are accompanied by short- and long-term neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPs) and long-term brain sequelae.

Some patients present with anosmia, cognitive and attention deficits (ie, brain fog), new-onset anxiety, depression, psychosis, seizures, and even suicidal behavior. These present before, during, and after respiratory symptoms and are unrelated to respiratory insufficiency, suggesting independent brain damage. Follow-ups conducted in Germany and the United Kingdom found post-COVID-19 NPs in 20% to 70% of patients, even in young adults, and lasting months after respiratory symptoms resolved, suggesting brain involvement persists.

Entering through angiotensin-converting enzyme receptors, SARS-CoV-2 can damage endothelial cells leading to inflammation, thrombi, and brain damage. Moreover, systemic inflammation leads to decreased monoamines and trophic factors and activation of microglia, resulting in increased glutamate and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and excitotoxicity. These insults induce new-onset or re-exacerbation of preexisting NPs.

[emphasis added]

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Say No to Racism

by Oui Mon Jul 12th, 2021 at 12:51:57 PM EST

Euro's, COVID and political footballs: Diplomacy on and off the pitch

Boris Johnson refuses to condemn fans booing England taking the knee

Backtracks a few days later FWIW

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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England surrenders to Covid

by IdiotSavant Fri Jul 9th, 2021 at 02:54:25 AM EST

Boris Johnson is officially surrendering England to Covid:

Boris Johnson will revoke hundreds of Covid regulations and make England the most unrestricted society in Europe from 19 July despite saying new cases could soar to 50,000 a day before masks and social distancing are ditched.

In a sign the government may reimpose restrictions this autumn, the prime minister warned the public against going "de-mob happy", however. He said opening up - including the lifting of all limits on sports events and nightclubs - would be safest during the school summer holidays and did not say the changes would be irreversible.

Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: "We must be honest with ourselves that if we can't reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, we must ask ourselves: when will we be able to return to normal?"

And apparently, you get to "normal", when no-one died of Covid, by having masses and masses of people die of Covid. The sociopathic toffocracy in action!

Frontpaged - Bernard

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UK Menaces Ireland

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jul 7th, 2021 at 12:13:56 PM EST

Draft letter to the Editor:

A Chara, - The article by [former Irish Taoiseach and EU ambassador to Washington] John Briton in response to UK EU negotiator Lord Frost and NI Secretary of State Brandon Lewis is well argued and well put. (John Bruton, UK ministers need to read the NI protocol they signed, Opinion, 7th. July). The subtitle sums it up nicely "No hint of contrition or constructiveness in article by Lord Frost and Brandon Lewis . . . just menace."

(continued below the fold)

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Midsummer crisis in Sweden

by fjallstrom Fri Jun 25th, 2021 at 12:54:26 PM EST

Monday the Swedish parliament vote against the current PM, starting a political crisis the end of which is still not clear.

The vote was a straight up vote of confidence. If a majority of parliament rejects the PM, the government falls. Sweden is right now in caretaker government, led by the same PM. The PM has until Monday to either call a new election (which would mean a special election this fall, and a regular election next fall) or the speaker will get three attempts at presenting an acceptable PM.

Frontpaged with minor edits - Bernard

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Sinn Féin to lead Ireland? Poots resigns

by Frank Schnittger Thu Jun 17th, 2021 at 11:50:15 AM EST

A crisis in the formation of a new Executive in Northern Ireland was averted last night when the British government agreed to bring forward legislation supporting the status of the Irish language and Ulster Scots dialect next October if the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly has not done so by then. The commitment to support minority languages had been included in the 2020 New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) agreement which enabled the return to devolved power sharing after three years of direct rule from London caused by the collapse of Power sharing due to increasing tensions between Sinn Féin and the DUP over this and many other issues.

A failure to reach an agreement could have resulted in snap Assembly elections and/or a return to Direct Rule as the Good Friday Agreement requires the largest party in both the nationalist and unionist traditions to nominate a First and Deputy First Minister for a power sharing executive to be formed. Sinn Féin had refused to do so in the absence of progress on the issue. Both the DUP and Sinn Féin had lost votes at the last Assembly elections because of public impatience at their failure to form an Executive and operate the structures set up by the Good Friday Agreement.

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Memorial to Great Britain

by Helen Sun Jun 6th, 2021 at 01:46:26 PM EST

There was a sitcom on UK TV back in the 70s called "Whatever happened to the Likely Lads". A revival of an early 60s comedy show, showing how the 2 original young men were adjusting to early middle age and their changing responsibilities.

The Theme song went;-


Oh, what happened to you?
Whatever happened to me?
What became of the people
we used to be

Tomorrow's almost over
the day went by so fast
the only thing
we look forward to's
.....the past

Frontpaged with minor edits - Bernard

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The new Trump

by Frank Schnittger Sat Jun 5th, 2021 at 01:21:51 PM EST

Irish Independent, Letters: Edwin Poots's decision to stir trouble with his own `facts' is straight from the Trump playbook

The rhetoric from DUP leader Edwin Poots, about the Irish government, does little to promote peace and harmony. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne, June 05 2021 02:30 AM

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Denmark's traitorous spies

by IdiotSavant Sun May 30th, 2021 at 11:24:01 PM EST

Denmark has been spying on Germany for the NSA:

Denmark's secret service helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a European media investigation published on Sunday revealed.

The disclosure that the US had been spying on its allies first started coming to light in 2013, but it is only now that journalists have gained access to reports detailing the support given to the NSA by the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE).

The report showed that Germany's close ally and neighbor cooperated with US spying operations that targeted the chancellor and president.

The then chancellor candidate for the German center-left socialist party (SPD), Peer Steinbrück, was also a target, the new report disclosed.

As the article notes, we'd known they were cooperating with the Americans to spy within the EU since 2013. What's new is the targets, which are explosive. And its not just Germany that was targetted: the article says they also spied on politicians in  Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and France.

The good news is that the Danish government sacked the entire leadership of the FE last year over this. But the fact it even happened is highly disturbing, and really makes you wonder who the EU's spy agencies are really loyal to: their own European governments, or their American "allies".

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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