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The Atheists Hymn


To the tune of “To Be A Pilgrim”:

v1. I read a book today
“the God Delusion”
It said that I can say
Religion is illusion
There’s no discouragement
Shall make me once relent
My first avowed Intent
To mock religion.

v2. Who so beset me round
With fairy stories
Do but themselves confound
My obstinacy the more is
No faith shall stay my might
Though I with straw men fight
I’ll tweet all through the night
And mock religion

v3. On Sunday I shall go
To my mum’s for lunch
I shall not mention this
She would not like it
Then Atheism flee away
I’ll fear what she would say
To an avowed intent
To mock religion.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Commentariat

 

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The Irish Are Mystifying


A report today shows that the Traveller community in Ireland has 85% unemployment.  Cue a lot of hate and vitriol from the “settled” community about the travellers.

But the report also shows that the Traveller community is only 0.5% of the population.  It’s like one person in 200 is fair play for being subject to all the hate for the other 199.  How can that ever be acceptable?  Say you lived in a village of 200 people and one person there was the subject of constant hate and abuse.  Would that be OK?  What if you were that person?

But what’s mystifying is this exists within the Irish penchant for taking offence (see various previous blogs.)

the Irish are a people who will on the whole take offence at the drop of a potato … often dragging in this whole “800 years of oppression” nonsense … but given half a chance many of them will turn on the traveller community with a malice that defies understanding … and so the formerly oppressed have become the oppressor… unless …

Unless there’s a reason for this malice.

As travellers this community have avoided the property crash and the extensive negative equity gripping the “settled” community.

Could this be a simple case of jealousy?

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Commentariat

 

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Hey Let’s Make Lots Of Little Echo Chambers!


There’s more talk today of the dangers and risks of online bullying, highlighted by Leo Traynor’s troll (Read this blog, seriously, read it) and the recent unfortunate death of another teenager driven to suicide by similar online bullying.

One of the general knee jerk reactions to this is, of course, the removal of anonymous accounts for commenting.  Obviously, I cannot agree with this.

I’ve been online commenting and playing as Damocles for about 20 years and I stand over anything I’ve said or done as Damocles in context in that time.  Including standing over certain people’s xpilot bases and shooting them as they respawn, you deserved it … really you probably did … or I’d been drinking … and let’s be fair we’d all been drinking.

But now people are saying we can’t be anonymous online, and we can’t because some people abuse online anonymity.  Some people also abuse alcohol (I’ve had my moments) … shall we ban alcohol?

So what do we lose if we lose online anonymity and force all accounts to be linked to a readily identifiable person?

We lose the whistle blowers, we lose the ability to ask and discuss without being identified, we lose controversiality, what if you had an embarrassing ailment and you wanted to discuss it without letting people you know in on it (chronic athlete’s foot if you must know)?  We lose, in fact, necessary anonymity.

On controversiality we’d all suffer.  I, for one, know I hold some opinions that others will disagree with.  I also know that some of those people are idiots, often stupid, mindless, violent idiots.  Now, if I say something that I believe to be true, like suggesting as I did this morning that the UK has a duty to retain Northern Ireland as long as the people there indicate by self-determination that they wish to do so, some people might be moved to violence.  If I say this as Damocles what can they do?  Hit a red thumb button, complain at me a bit (to which I’ll respond if their point of debate is of interest) and then move on.  If I do this as a readily identifiable real life person what can they do?  Oh, they can look me up in the phone book.  Great.

So no one would be able to be even a little bit out there because it just takes one idiot with a phone book to over react.

So where would be then?  No debate, no discussion, just lots of little echo chambers with no one daring to speak out.  Again … Great.

Still, what to do about unnecessary anonymity and the trolls and the haters and the bullies?  Well what do we do about them in the real world?  Oh yes, we pursue, prosecute, and censure them and we keep our loved ones alert to the dangers and we protect them and help them.  Let’s do that then.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Commentariat

 

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Ban Ki Moon: Freedom of speech has limits


Ban Ki Moon has provoked a certain amount of anger from some commentators by saying that “Freedom of speech has limits”.

“All of this freedom of expression should not be abused by individuals. … Some people abuse this freedom. This effort to provoke, to humiliate others by using (religious) beliefs cannot be protected in such a way.”

Basically, some people use freedom of speech as a sort of virtual armour to go around winding people up for religious and other reasons.

Next, the people who were the intended victims of this winding up get angry.  We all know by now that if you insult Islamic people some people in the Islamic world will use this as motivation to stir people up further and get a bit of violence going.

When that violence kicks off who does it hit?  Does it hit the initial instigators?  No.  Does it hit the people who stir up the other Muslims?  No.

It hits other people.  The two stirring groups are unaffected.

Then the commentators ‘doze in with the “Oh well, people should be able to say what they want without there being violence, it’s not their fault.”

I disagree, it is bloody their fault, and it’s their fault without their responsibility and now you’re defending them.

Look.  If you want to defend freedom of speech go right ahead but don’t defend people who go and deliberately being arseholes in order to cause dissent.  Such people do not merit or care about your sympathies.

If you want to defend someone, defend Ahmed the Egyptian Grocer who was quietly going about his business before a mob stormed down his street incited by an idiot on the internet who knew he’d never have to suffer the repercussions of his actions.

At the end of the day if people use freedom of speech to offend then leaders will instigate limits.  Those limits won’t make a great deal of difference to people dicking about online, but they will make a difference to ordinary people who have to take responsibility for their words and actions.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Irish People, They No Happy


Irish People, they no happy.

German woman, she make nasty article about Irish People in Swiss paper.

Cork 96FM, they translate article.

Irish People, they read translation.

They no happy.

You see, people like to herd themselves into groups and then they like to comment on other people in other groups and they often say nasty things about these other groups often based on certain typical behaviours.  Now the people in the groups being commented on, they tend not to like that.  So what do they do in response?

Exactly the same thing.

So we have a German person saying nasty things about the Irish in a Swiss paper and then we get the Irish people, in turn, saying nasty things about the Germans and Swiss.

I could get quite pissy at this point.  I could point to a number of things that have happened to me and my family while in this Emerald Isle that point to the stereotypes that people have about the Irish and I could be very very pissy about it.

But I won’t.

Because I don’t believe that the answer to someone being an inconsiderate arse hat in my direction is to be an inconsiderate arse hat back.

I think that’s childish.  It’s about Give and Take, ultimately.  If you don’t want to take it don’t give it out.  And if someone gives out to you, just take it.  Otherwise we lead to escalation.  And it all gets out of hand.
Do we need the two most neutral countries in Europe, Switzerland and Ireland, fighting each other?

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Commentariat, Newsy

 

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Strategic Offence Taking


Yesterday, the Essex Lion.
If you missed it a lion was reported loose in North Essex.  Cue massive police presence, helicopters, thermal imaging, journalism gone wild and inevitable stereotyping of Essex.

Now I’m from Essex, North Essex, not far from where the lion was purported to be, born and raised.  I don’t conform to those stereotypes.  Most people I know don’t conform to them.  The people who do tend to be from the London overspill part of South Essex and from London overspill generally, or if you watch Channel 4’s “Come Dine With Me” everywhere.  To apply those stereotypes to the rest of Essex is like applying stereotypes based on Summerhill and Ballymun to the rest of Dublin; Incorrect and deliberately offensive.

Over the last few weeks there have been a few offence taking incidents from the Irish, the Daily Telegraph incorrectly said that Katie Taylor is British, cue massive Facebook and Social media hysteria and a quite honest apology from the Daily Telegraph which did little to allay the hysteria.  Daly Thompson suggested that someone who had a tattoo that spelt “Olympics” incorrectly was Irish cued similar hysteria.  An Aussie journalist implied that the Irish were synonymous with drinking … again with the hysteria already.

So you stereotype the Irish or you play with the Irish stereotype and all hell breaks out, but the Irish stereotyping Essex is apparently quite alright, which seems rather hypocritical.

So I took offence, deliberately, much as the Irish did when faced with the stereotyping described above.

Needless to say it didn’t go down well.

“Get a life”

“Lighten up a bit”

“Get a sense of humour”

When it comes to stereotyping of my great County I do find it rather tedious, I tend to ignore it.  Stereotyping like this is pointless and childish and comes from the same minds that give us ordinary racial, religious and other cultural stereotyping and bigotry.  I reserve the right, as always, to dismiss pointless, childish, bigots.  The Irish people who took this route can just be considered Stupid Micks.  Those who didn’t aren’t.  Can I say that?
If not, why not?

Anyway, pause for thought.  If you dislike stereotyping against your own why do you think it’s okay to do it against others?

The lion got away.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Commentariat, Newsy

 

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Household Charge Groundhog Day


As we have the same conversation about the Household Charge every single day on the Journal I’m just going to stick this here so I can get to it when I need it, and save me having to find it, copy it and repost it:

 

Someone always wheels out that tired old line “If you didn’t register you don’t have to pay.”

It’s simply not true.

When this was mentioned in February all the relevant organsations, on both sides, said that this wasn’t true.

“Why then”, asks the tax evader, “were we asked to register at all (at all)?”

Well it’s simple, the state didn’t have a registry of of the ownership status of every property in the State. They could have gone through a long process of determining it but they decided to ask people thinking, incorrectly as it turns out, that people are basically law abiding.

The next line is “An ESB bill doesn’t prove that I own a house”, maybe not but when you sign up for electricity, or gas, or a phone you are asked what your home owner status is. So you’ve already given that status to a state run authority, they are simply collating ownership claims you’ve already made.

Finally we get, “I didn’t get a first letter.” Well if you read the articles and press releases you’ll see that the first wave of letters was targeted mainly at landlords, are you a landlord? The second wave, the harder to determine wave is targeted at home owners.

I’m not quite rolling in money but I can afford 2 euros a week, can’t you? Are you sure you don’t have any expenses you can’t get rid of? Your internet connection? Your TV? Sure there’s nothing worth watching anyway.

And it’s “unjust”, apparently. Well Morality is a nebulous concept. I’ll leave it to the churchmen and the philosophers, but what else might be unjust?

What if the millionaire says “Well I contribute a lot to society and I pay plenty of income tax, but a lot of other people pay nothing and take a lot out, that doesn’t seem very just to me. I’ll with hold some of my taxes.” Is that OK? Or if someone says “I don’t like what this government is doing, it’s unjust, I won’t declare my income, pay not tax and still take social welfare.” Is that OK?

Everything’s unfair or unjust to someone.

And apparently the rich don’t pay enough tax, well according to news reports on this site in 2010 tax revenues from high earners resulted in an average effective tax rate of around 30%. The OECD tax database shows that the average tax burden on wages from “All-in average personal tax rates” comes to about 16.5%. Now it’s been a little while since my maths degree but 30 is more than 16.5 still, isn’t it?

Then someone will start off about sheep or “sheeple”, well studies show that sheep are smarter than previously thought (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8335465/Sheep-are-far-smarter-than-previously-thought.html). If people are like any mammal found on a farm then they’re like a party of small schoolchildren on a day trip to that farm. “Wah ‘snot fair! Don’t wanna!”

Does that cover everything? No, not quite. Massive savings could be managed by wholesale public services reform. And that’s true, perfectly and utterly true, but to do that you’ll need to get the Unions on board and they, these unelected self serving officials, will never stand for it. If you can get them on board then I’ll be very impressed and will look at any reforms with great interest.

So what if they raise it next year by a factor of 100? A 10K Household charge? They won’t.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Newsy, Politics

 

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