Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Noel on Hillary

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Noel Rock is a very good friend of mine who I know for years now. For the past few summers he’s worked as an intern for Hillary Clinton and was one of the folks that recently campaigned for her in Iowa, in between studying and doing exams back in Ireland. As you do. I’ve been pestering him for months now, perhaps even years at this stage to do a guest blog post here to explain his thoughts on Hillary and he finally sent them on. He’s also just started his own blog so head over and subscribe. I expect great things from Noel in a few years (and told him so now theres loads of pressure) and he’s already done extremely well for himself for someone barely in his twenties. I’m really proud of him. (Further pressure). Noel no Hillary:

Hillary – our nominee?

A tantalising question mark looms over the once inevitable candidacy of Ms. Clinton right now though, for many both here and in America, an even more tantalising question mark looms over Ms. Clinton herself: just who is she?

I’ve travelled across fourteen states in the last year – spent a night in a Ron Paul youth camp, sat beside an elderly man smuggling drugs across the border for him and his wife and met a cacophony of people representing the length and breadth of American opinions. I’ve really tried to get in touch with what people were thinking and why and, at this stage, I’d imagine I’ve talked to well over a thousand people representing a real spread of American interests, values, thoughts and beliefs. Some Republicans, some Democrats; yet all are united in their discontent with where America is and where it seems to be going.

In such situations, the topic invariably shuffles as to why I’m in that particular state since I’m Irish, far from home and completely inappropriately dressed for whatever climate I happen to be in and – without effort – Hillary comes into it eventually. Without fail, upon the mention of her name, people tend to volunteer an opinion and, indeed, I’ll bet that you may also have had an opinion from the outset of this piece: I’m not out to change your opinion, there’s no hard sell here or heart-jerking stories, just my own experiences during the last two years on and off the Clinton bandwagon.

Having grown up with only a vague interest in American politics, I’m now indelibly linked with Hillary as you have probably guessed, yet it wasn’t always this way. In the never-repeated (and with good reason) words of Jackson Browne, people need some reason to believe and – for me – it was my first experience interning in her Senate office in 2006 that made me commit to her.

The first thing that really struck me, upon spending a few days in the office, is the incredible amount of constituency work that takes place. As a Senator for New York, she is responsible for the welfare of nineteen million Constituents: no mean feat and, perhaps tellingly, she has a huge staff to correspond with them.

Yet, whether it’s a new bridge being constructed in Buffalo, farming issues in upstate New York or crime in a local community on Long Island, she seems to be aware of it all. She’s keen to keep an eye on New York even while she’s campaigning and – consequently – has still shown up to a raft of Senate votes while on the trail. This consistent attention to detail during her Senate termwas rewarded aptly with a 68% re-election rating, something which is not as inevitable as many would believe as – in the last three decades – there has generally been at least one Republican holding a Senate seat in New York. It isn’t thrilling, it isn’t flashy; it’s just good, solid policy work – and she gets it done. That’s the first thing I think America needs: an industrious President who knows what needs to be pushed through in order to create lasting reform.

Obama has talked about ‘change’: it’s the bedrock of his campaign and, I’d like to talk about that for a moment because – for me – change isn’t some spontaneous act. Much like patriotism, I don’t believe it can be expressed in a sudden way if it is to be in any way effective: rather change, when it is real, lasting and meaningful, marches to a slow beat and – in that sense – I think the change that Hillary provides is one that is more useful for the situation that America currently finds itself in.

Moreover, an absolute expert in international relations, diplomacy and someone who is at the top of her game in every field: she had nuance and expertise on a wide, wide variety of topics and always seemed to be eager to learn more and add to her depth and range of knowledge. This was particularly illustrated to me one day when – during one of our short but pleasantly insightful conversations – I mentioned to her the issue of nuclear power in America and, after a little back-and-forth, she broke in “well, it’s an issue at home for you too? You don’t want to build any plants yet you import most of your own power – and then there’s Sellafield…”. I found this to be stunning and, the notable thing was that I introduced the topic of nuclear power, not her. There was no conceivable way she could have prepared for the conversation, yet she had insight and nuance. There are so many more examples of such knowledge that I could share.

Indeed, it was perhaps telling that, when Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley visited Ireland, they requested to see Senator Clinton after all she had done for the peace process. I was sitting in a conference with Mr. McGuinness once and she came up and, it was quite insightful what he had to say, as he stopped to note what an instrumental role she had played in that process by “knocking their heads together” and “making them realise they had to wise up”. And that was without a mandate as First Lady. Goodness knows how well she’d apply those skills to a Presidency.

Getting back to the office itself though, it was a fierce environment and an intimidating prospect: being joined by over thirty fellow interns from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Brown and Columbia among others, I was working with some of the most academically gifted young people that America had to offer and, in order to get meaningful work, you had to – in Hillary speak – ‘dare to compete’. And, thankfully, I did: I got to collaborate on two speeches: one on farm policy (“You’re Irish, you can do this!) and one on foreign policy (“You’re foreign, you can do this!”) but – to be honest – the most enjoyable job for most interns was the most mundane-sounding one: giving tours of the Capitol. Maybe it was because I just liked walking and talking too much. I don’t know.

One thing is for certain, whatever bit me during the first three-month stint in her office has kept me coming back and, some twenty thousand miles later, after working through the humid urban swamps of D.C. and the freezing plains of Iowa, I am most definitely hooked on Hillary.

Did Tony Gregory violate privacy for the sake of the anti-hunt lobby?

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Update thanks to the Limerick Blogger: He did it to others too.

via Treasa is this Irish Examiner article about Tony Gregory passing on details of a pro-hunting campaigner that emailed him. Tony passed the details on to an anti-hunting group who in turn complained to the chief executive of her company.

The Irish Council against Blood Sports confirmed it made the complaints after being passed the correspondence by Independent TD Tony Gregory, who is the organisation’s vice-president.

It is unusual for politicians to distribute an individual’s correspondence to a third party — particularly a third party opposed to that individual’s view.

and more:

Within hours of the woman making her representations, the council emailed her employer, complaining directly to the chief executive of the company.

In the complaint, the council drew attention to the fact that the woman had used her work email account to write to the TDs.

Win! Irish Student gets parody vids on YouTube Restored

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Owen Gallagher was the student that did the Bertie on Dragon’s Den parody video and also Enda on American Idol. He also did a few more parody/remix vids as part of his college project. Anyway, the Beeb, Paramount and 20th Century Fox took exception with some of the videos, claimed copyright infringement and his YouTube account was suspended.

Owen filed counter claims and the BBC were the only ones to reply, his pleaded his case with evidence and they agreed to let the video be seen. Paramount and Fox never replied and so his appeal was upheld. Account is live again. Hooray for the small guy.

Here’s Bertie being Bertie:

TD and Senator Expenses for 2006-2007

Monday, January 7th, 2008

In a zipped archive these are the expenses and wages of the various TDs and Senators from 2006 until the end of 2007. The main word doc is 300+ pages. Have fun going through that…

Green Party HQ Leaving agressive and fake comments on blogs?

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

This is who they are now.

Nobody picked up on my sarcastic blog post a while back about the fact the Green Party are more obsessed about their press and what is said about them online then most other parties. Good that they are progressive about the web, bad at the attitude and sneakiness about it. You cannot should not be a Green Party member or employee and defend them without disclosing who you are both to the blog owner but also to their readers. It’s deceptive, it’s dishonest and it’s worrying. First there was this blog post with a very aggressive comment from a person in Green Party HQ and then another is left on Keith’s blog followed by one from a “Dave” from the same IP address. No comments left on Shane’s blog.

I’m sure there’ll come a reply that other parties do the same but they do it less so. This is now the standard mantra of the party and their hired guns. “best result achievable”. Is astrturfing the “best result achievable” when it comes to interacting with people online? Is u-turning again and again? I don’t care what the other damned parties do. The Greens only jumped over half a cliff wheras in 1982 Labour jumped off 3/4 of a cliff. Whoop de doo.

Judging by the frequent visits here, I wonder could the answers to the below questions get answered on the Green Party Blog, which doesn’t appear to allow comments. Goose and gander.

Is it party policy to leave comments on blogs and NOT disclose your bias/employer?
Is it party policy to “engage” in a deceptive manner with those making comments about the party?
How do the Greens monitor the blogging community and why do they?
Is it part of the job of salaried employees of the Green Party to defend the party on blogs?

This is dedicated to the Green Party:

Green Minister “Sandal John” U-Turns on Stag Hunt

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

A little birdie told me that Sandal John* (That’s John Gormley to you not with it cool kids) got into a heckuva lot of trouble with his FF counterparts about even suggesting banning the Ward Union Hunt. In short and possibly four letter words, good ole Sandal was told you can’t ban the Hunt and withold their licence. So no surprise today that he is allowing the hunt but in a “limited capacity. Yeah right. “limited capacity” or “attached conditions” = total u-turn with facesaving gofasterlikestripe political accessory. Another another Green U-turn. At least we still know who the real bosses are and it seems at the cabinet table John and Eamo are reminded of this, a lot. Though it seems Eamo is even laughing at the FF in-jokes now. Bloody shame that Myers was right though.

I’m sure there’ll be a redefining of what a u-turn is now. They’re redefining everything else. How’s about: “Redirecting of resources to face down rather than run with the existing momentum.”

*Yes, like a Green Minister’s lies, say it and believe it enough and the thing will stick.

The Ireland Caucus

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Richard Delevan has released The Ireland Caucus, a place where Irish people can gather and discuss their preferences for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. While most Irish can’t vote, we can influence and the way recent elections have been, every single vote will count. America might be over there but they have a hell of a lot of influence on us over here and the rest of the world.

As Richard says:

But despite being directly affected by the result, 95% of the world’s population is, of course, disenfranchised. Shouldn’t you get a vote too?

So head over to The Ireland Caucus and bookmark it. Nice one Richard.

I’m blogging about John blogging about me about me blogging about him

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

It had to be done. Never mind the sandals, here’s John Gormley. Day Two in Bali and John pokes me about poking him about his sandals. We’re rooting for John in Bali though. We’re shit at soccer and rugby on the International stage, perhaps it’ll be “our John” who’ll beat the French, the English and the South Africans at this event. Oh, right, it’s not that kind of event? Still, c’mon Sandal John!

Sandal John Gormley and his environmentally friendly rothar

Which drug are you? Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne is Cocaine

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Gotta love this. So you’re a Fianna Fáil councillor. You’re on Facebook, like we all are.

Malcolm Byrne

You install a Facebook application your mates sent which asks you what drug are you and it says you’re cocaine. Jesus, imagine if anyone saw your public profile and you left that there, they’d blog it or something. Fucking bloggers. And now we throw in the default joke about Fianna Fáil always loving their Charlie. You know, this may not be best time to do that quiz.

Malcolm Byrne is not a narcotic

Above is what it looks like and below is the text.

I’m “Cocaine”!

You’re a smooth talker and a straight shooter and other cliches used by business men in the 1980s. You like the nightlife, and the morning life, and even the early afternoon life. You are upset your friends can’t party as long as you can. That’s okay – you can just buy new friends.

Saying that though, Malcolm’s mates say he is the most trustworthy of all of them. Oh and he drinks the most:

Malcolm Byrne can be trusted

Fianna Fáil – Never Resign

Saturday, November 17th, 2007