Net Neutrality is a bit like economics: it’s something that affects the core of how we interact with the world today but also seems incredibly dull and apparently irrelevant to the majority of people until something gets shaken up. And it just so happens that things were shaken up a couple of weeks back when Tom Wheeler the chairman for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US proposed changes to the future of regulation online. This is something that is being heavily lobbied and supported by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) whilst simultaneously being decried as a death knell for the internet as we know it by the companies of Silicon Valley and a huge amount of people online. Whilst this particular proposal only directly impacts the US, its effects would certainly be felt globally and on top of this there are forces at work attempting to impose similar regulation in Europe.
Director John Michael McDonagh has returned to the big screen with another small-town Ireland caper Calvary, the story of a righteous parish priest Father James Lavelle played by Brendan Gleeson. Standing alone against the moral decay of his flock, Lavelle is informed during confession that he will be murdered in one week by a disgruntled parishioner who we are told was the victim of child abuse at the hands of the clergy. From this premise unfolds a suspenseful, archetypal who done it or rather who will do it murder mystery.
“The GAA hierarchy are like the pigs in Animal Farm. Repeating the mantras of volunteerism & community while doing the opposite.” Joe Brolly in the aftermath of the GAA’s deal with Sky Sports.
It was a measure of the changing nature of Gaelic Games that if a story of the GAA selling television rights to Sky appeared in the news ten years ago on April Fools’ Day it would have been instantly recognised as a trick for the day that’s in it. But not anymore, the fact the GAA had already made a deal with Setanta in previous years, the fact that Sky have become incredibly aggressive in the Irish market in recent times and of course the fact that the deal was cynically flighted to the press a week ago to try and restrict the fallout, all meant that once the official announcement came, we all knew that this was no prank. Sky are here and as is their wont they are here to stay.
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus, being punished for his deceitfulness, was compelled to roll a boulder uphill for eternity only to watch the rock slide down the slope every time he reached the summit. If you want to similarly creatively chasten an Irish person, you could arrange that they must watch the frantic denouement to Ireland’s 2014 Six Nation’s campaign over and over without ever getting the relief of Steve Walsh’s final whistle.
It’s one of the oddities of sport that high stakes occasions like the one we saw on Saturday in Paris (for the invested viewer anyway) is probably one of the least enjoyable experiences there is. The wait while Walsh tried to find any reason to allow France’s late score in the corner was particularly tortuous. Nerves ruin the experience of actually watching the contest. With that much on the line, it’s all about the pay-off once the right result is secured.
Professor William Black joins Greg McInerney to talk about his own background in fraud cases in the US and how the US and Europe are dealing with the financial crisis in different ways. As well as austerity in Ireland and Europe and Germany’s role in all of this.
Greg McInerney: This is Greg McInerney here for the meltingpress.com. This is episode three of our Alternative Voices series and we are joined today by Professor Bill Black. Bill is a former bank regulator, a professor of law and economics and also the author of the brilliant book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. Bill thanks so much for joining us today.
The Irish economy contracted again last year on the back of a sharp fall-off in net exports linked to the so-called pharma patent cliff. Preliminary figures published today by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.3 per cent last year
The government continually talks about austerity bringing about growth despite the fact that any decent economist will tell you that growth through austerity is impossible, hence more stagnation for the Irish economy. Our GDP figures are misleading as huge multinationals like Google, Facebook and Microsoft book their international sales through Ireland but this type of transaction is not tangible wealth. GNP has been similarly distorted by foreign companies without operations in Ireland, locating their headquarters here for taxation purposes.
A Mexican drug lord, Nazario Moreno who had reportedly been killed in 2010 has died after clashes with Mexican police on Sunday morning.He had previously been reported being fatally shot during a 2010 shootout, however no body had been found.This time however fingerprints were matched confirming the drug lord’s death. This alongside the capture of Joaquin Guzman last month, has been earmarked as a major victory for the government in its war on drugs.
The International Monetary Fund has backed economists who argue that inequality is a drag on growth in a discussion paper that has also dismissed right wing theories that efforts to redistribute incomes are self-defeating. Backing analysis by the Keynesian economist and Nobel prizewinner Joseph Stiglitz, it warned that inequality can also make growth more volatile and create the unstable conditions for a sudden slowdown in GDP growth.
The IMF is basically an offshoot of the U.S.treasury. Since the Second World War it has wrecked Africa, Latin America and now Europe with its commitment to “economic liberalization”, essentially looting countries of their wealth in the service of multinationals and the financial industry. This report is a bit like a serial arsonist discovering that petrol is highly flammable.
This is the first episode of our new “Alternative Voices” interview series, where we talk to people who give us a different perspective on all manner of topics.
Our first guest is Professor Michael Hudson, a research professor of economics at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and the author of two books “The Bubble And Beyond” and “Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy Of American Empire”. He talks to Greg about austerity in Ireland, how US economic policy has affected Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world as well as how the various political parties in Ireland have mishandled the economic crisis.
Without further ado the first episode, along with the transcript and a link to download the episode from soundcloud, is below.
It’s clear to anyone of sound mind that the Irish police force has become corrupt and unaccountable. What may have started as a fairly trivial investigation into the systemic erosion of penalty points has underpinned what many have believed for some time now, the Gardaí are above the laws they purport to uphold. Here is a brief summary of the important, inter-linked issues to date.
Penalty Points – The Gardaí have been wiping people’s penalty points from their licenses as personal favours on an enormous scale. At first glance, a typically Irish brand of parochial corruption but the story goes much deeper.