Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn

Recent Articles

Entitlements…and Enlightenments

This piece appears in Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’ for September, 2016.   I want to stay away from negative news this month, so let me get my disappointment with Senator Billy Lawless out of the way.  Notice I say ‘disappointment’, not ‘surprise’.  Once a person has become a politician they have moved beyond surprising me.  Word came of his confirmation in the Sunday Business Post at the end of July that he would be claiming the full amount in expenses that he is entitled to — €29,565 – for travelling between Chicago and Ireland. Of course, this is disgusting. And of course it’s gone down like a lead balloon over here. I didn’t expect him to travel for nothing, but yes – I think that it was hoped that he would take on some of the costs, given that these are unusual circumstances.  And of course, since he’ll be claiming this obscene and ludicrous maximum, he does appear to be rubbing it in a little by saying that he’ll pay out of his own pocket for anything over thirty grand. Somehow I don’t think that we’ll EVER be going over that figure. It is almost half his yearly wage AGAIN and is as much as many people earn in a year – for working, not sitting their asses on a plane.  I guess that’s what you get when you do favours for Enda Kenny’s daughter. And please, this nonsense from the Senator that he can’t understand the fuss over the fact that he gave her a job three years ago. (“Why wouldn’t you look after a friend’s daughter if they’re coming out?”) If this guy can’t see that it looks bloody awful that you rub the Taoiseach’s back and the next thing, you find yourself in the Seanad on a... Full Article →

“…a Kind of Insanity.”

“I worked, long ago, in New York City, in construction, like many young men of the Mohawk Nation.  I found that whites were often like us, and I could not hate them one at a time.  But they do not know the earth or love it. They do not speak from the heart, usually.  They do not act from the heart.  They are more like the actors on the movie screen.  They play roles. “And their leaders are not like our leaders.  They are not chosen for virtue, but for their skill at playing roles.  Whites have told me this, in plain words.  They do not trust their leaders and yet they follow them.  When we do not trust a leader, they are finished.  Then, also, the leaders of the whites have too much power.  It is bad for a man to be obeyed too often.  But the worst thing is what I have said about the heart.  Their leaders have lost it and they have lost mercy.  They speak from somewhere else.  They act from somewhere else.  But from where?  Like you, I do not know.  It is, I think, a kind of insanity.” Native American in the novel  The Eye in the Pyramid by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, 1975. Full Article →

There Was a Crooked Man…

There Was a Crooked Man…     This article appears in the August issue of Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’. Since writing it a couple of weeks ago nothing much has changed, although we have learned that Creepy Conman Kelly can’t even tell the truth about his own sister’s suicide.  He is still swanning around with his dopey-looking Ned Flanders moustache and still wearing a smirk that says:  ‘Go to jail?  Me?  But I’m a white-collar crook and this is Ireland’.  He’s also looking for several thousands of ‘his’ money to be unfrozen so that he can pay the mortgage on his mansion – which I in my innocence had thought would belong to those he had swindled. Yeah.  I keep forgetting.  Ireland.  White collar. And Big Angie Kerins is still putting away two lunches and three desserts before heading off to the High Court to see who she’s suing today. It’s a great little country to do criminal business in.   The gorgeous Ashford Castle in County Mayo was singled out last month by ‘Travel + Leisure’ magazine as the best hotel in Ireland and the UK.  And apart from the fact that it’s true I don’t think that even the most cantankerous individual would begrudge the success of an estate that employs 365 people, mainly locals.  There are literally whole generations who work there and it’s nice to mention a genuine Irish success story. However, one of the jokes that accompanied the announcement is that you would have to be as wealthy as a charity Board member to stay there.  And like most of the jokes that I find funny, it is one coloured with bitterness and anger.  For the sad fact is that in the last month the charity sector has – once again – covered an already... Full Article →