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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

Read more... (105 comments, 758 words in story)

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]

Read more... (11 comments, 687 words in story)

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

Read more... (37 comments, 512 words in story)

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.

Read more... (5 comments, 349 words in story)

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

Read more... (5 comments, 296 words in story)

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

Read more... (29 comments, 275 words in story)

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

Read more... (31 comments, 805 words in story)

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

Read more... (27 comments, 425 words in story)

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)

Read more... (40 comments, 1472 words in story)

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

Read more... (20 comments, 531 words in story)

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.

Read more... (35 comments, 1047 words in story)

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

Read more... (24 comments, 603 words in story)

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

Read more... (28 comments, 410 words in story)

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

Comments >> (15 comments)

Intergenerational Justice, Part 2

by Frank Schnittger Sat May 29th, 2021 at 06:32:25 PM EST

Further to the discussion in Intergenerational Justice - Updated 15/5/21, the Irish Times has published another letter of mine trying to move the debate forward:

Read more... (449 words in story)

Submission on Ireland Climate Action Plan 2021

by Frank Schnittger Mon May 24th, 2021 at 12:01:46 AM EST

The Irish government has issued a call for expert evidence in preparation for  the Climate Action Plan 2021 that it committed to as part of the programme for Government negotiated by the three parties in the coalition government: Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party.

I had not intended to write a submission, as I do not consider myself to be a climate science expert.  However I came across a submission written by the climate change sceptic Irish Climate Science Forum and decided that it required a response. Their submission is not yet published on-line, and I will link to it when it is. However in summary, they contend that:

  1. There is no scientific basis for declaring a climate change emergency

  2. The government has not seriously considered the real implications of the proposed 2030 climate mitigation targets

  3. Ireland cannot afford the likely costs of meeting those targets.

Read more... (7 comments, 1420 words in story)

Poots to lead DUP - where?

by Frank Schnittger Fri May 14th, 2021 at 06:33:41 PM EST

Edwin Poots has defeated Jeffrey Donaldson 19-17 in the first ever vote for the leadership of the DUP. Previous Leaders - founder Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster had been elected unopposed. The electorate consisted of elected DUP MPs and MLAs (Members of the N. Ireland Legislative Assembly) following a campaign which consisted of no public interviews whatsoever and just a 10 minute speech to a closed meeting of the electors. Apparently this was because the DUP considered the election an "internal matter", but it confirmed just how inward looking the DUP has become.

After his election, Poots promised to reach out to other leaders of Unionism in order to see unionists working together better. There was no mention of reaching out to nationalists or the growing numbers in N. Ireland who self-identify as neither unionist nor nationalist. His political priority is to end the N. Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement because it has created a customs border down the Irish sea, although he is all in favour of such a border when it comes to not implementing UK laws on homosexuality and same sex marriages.

Read more... (20 comments, 1025 words in story)

Intergenerational Justice - Updated 15/5/21

by Frank Schnittger Tue May 11th, 2021 at 10:10:53 AM EST

Letter published by the Irish Times today under the heading:
Older people have never had it so good

A chara, – Several of your esteemed commentators have written letters bemoaning ageism and their perceived victimisation by society at large, and yet many older people have never had it so good.

Ireland's life expectancy continues to increase, and older people are consuming an increasing proportion of Ireland's ballooning health expenditure.

Older people have been favoured by earlier access to vaccines despite many younger frontline workers being more exposed to potential infection.

Unemployment is hugely skewed against younger people in our society, with 59% of people aged 15-24 currently unemployed.

Read more... (31 comments, 1148 words in story)

Goodbye Arlene Foster

by Frank Schnittger Thu Apr 29th, 2021 at 01:49:02 PM EST

Such has been the DUP's reputation for incompetence under leader Arlene Foster that many might make the mistake of seeing her departure as a positive development. However what finally broke the back of her support within the party is not the many scandals under her tenure - the collapse of Northern Ireland's power sharing executive in 2017, the loss of the unionist majority at Stormont, or the intense scrutiny of a judicial inquiry into her stewardship of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. It was her decision to abstain rather than vote against a Stormont motion condemning "gay conversion" therapies that ensured her demise.

Read more... (39 comments, 800 words in story)

Why Fear Deficits?

by ARGeezer Thu Apr 29th, 2021 at 03:21:10 AM EST

Depressions usually start with a contraction of the money supply. In 1929 that contraction occurred in the fall, just when money needed to come out of the stock market so it could be used to transport crops to market. But the stock market was in a speculative bubble and this demand to sell stocks for cash caused the bubble to collapse.

 In 2008 there was a massive bubble in securities backed by real estate. When it was discovered that the assets backing most of these securities was only worth 60% of their face value, and that most banks and financial institutions had lots of these securities on their books all confidence in the financial system collapsed. Banks would not lend to other banks. Money Market funds 'broke the buck', letters of credit needed  for the export market ceased to be honored and the entire payment clearance system in the USA and the world froze.  

Frontpaged with minor edit - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (25 comments, 1498 words in story)
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News and Views

 December 2021

by Bernard - Dec 1, 83 comments

Your take on this month's news

 November 2021

by Bernard - Nov 1, 191 comments

Your take on this month's news

 Winter 2021 Open Thread

by Bernard - Nov 2, 33 comments

Winter is coming...

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