Yeah the title really says it all. Not much of interest here, but if you're reading this then you already know that.
What picques my curiousity is not whether or not PIRA carried out the bank robbery, but why? This has been something that has been conspiciously overlooked in most analysis. Most commentators were falling over themselves to smear shit on Sinn Fein. But it's like trying to teach Brer rabbit a lesson by throwing him into the briar patch. The Northern Bank job and the execution/murder of Denis Donaldson raise some questions that I have not seen fleshed out elsewhere, so I'll do it here.
After the first failed hunger strike in 1980 Margaret Thatcher stated that the IRA had, "played its last card". Suffice to say we all know she was wrong. It was not because they won that particular fight, they did not, but they kept going for almost another thirty years (with varying degrees of "success"). The point is that "secret armies" do not have the ability to come out and argue a case in the light of day. Like the subaltern (I am truly annoyed that I even know that word btw), PIRA for all of its sophistication in military operations and criminal activity must act out in order to find a "true" voice. We must also remember that in years preceeding this action and in the years since, the Provisionals were/are accused multiple times of having "sold the family farm" so to speak due to their inability to continue the armed struggle. Political careers and informers forming the corner stone of this political analysis. The Provos went out with a bang in '98 in order not to go out with a whimper like the ETA or the FARC have since then. To me the Northern Bank job was a statement from the Provisionals, more to the Republican community than to the various governments.
Because doing a massive bombing or sending a few boys home in union jack draped coffins was most definitely too taboo circa 2005, an extraordinarily complex and unprecendented "operation" would send the message to both the dissidents and the respective governments that PIRA was most definitively still in "business" or at least capable of pulling off things that were head and shoulders above anything that the dissidents could do at that point in time (or even now for that matter). But like my ironical use of "malcontent" while hanging off of some rebar twenty foot plus up it was met with blank stares as the message was lost on those for whom it was intended. The dissidents simply dismissed the operation as more financial opportunism from the Provos. The governments viewed it as either a sign that Grizzly had no intention of changing his stripes or that he had lost control of the army. In either case something that was intended strengthen their position did the opposite. Also of interest in the wake of this and then the "official" winding up of the armed campaign was Sinn Fein's "asks" in return, which was the Irish Language Act. This struck me as quite a shift in stead of dealing with the bread and butter issues of "On The Runs". Not that they didn't try this along the way, but that the ILA was the major issue. I don't know, just a thought.
As for Denis Donaldson. His murder obviously raises many questions. Questions which quite frankly very few want answered, either in the Republican community or the security forces.
Well it's time to wrap up another year. We're still in a recession. It's getting worse, not better for most of us and I'm now back on concrete. But I have a job, (for now) so fuck it. But on to a deadly serious topic, video games. There were a bevy of great/solid games that came out this fall alone. I've got one semi-video post under my belt and it's odd that in my second outing I'm speaking almost exclusively about sequels to those games. This is in my mind indicative of the creative bankruptcy of the system in as mush as once they find a franchise that sells, they milk dry. Think about Ocean's 11 circa the Rat Pack visa vie the multiple sequel reincarnations of modernity to get where I'm coming from. That being said there's no reason not to enjoy the often time solid sequels.
First and foremost is the Treyarch follow up to its last output of Call of Duty: World at War, and following on the footsteps of the incredibly disappointing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. . that mini game alone justifies the sixty five dollar expenditure. A solid solo player campaign and a revamped multi-player experience just make one feel less guilty about forking over the cash. Though the truth is that I've had to ask for this game for Christmas as I can't justify the expenditure right now. That really does bring a tear to my eye, but since I've lost 2.00+ an hour I need tighten the belt a bit, and be an adult (something which I despise btw).
But something folks need to understand is that the undead have the ability unite man kind, as well as eating their flesh.
Seriously, this game even has something for Garibaldy in as much as Castro gets a role in the mini-game.
On another note. As a rule I dislike modern remakes, and when my dad told me that they were remaking True Grit I about flipped my lid. Seriously I was about to start screaming when he told me that Jeff Bridges was to reprise the role of Rooster Cogburn. This calmed me down enough to say, "well maybe I should google the trailer to find out more". While I was doing that I asked who would replace Glenn Campbell as the Texas Ranger. When the answer came back, "Matt Damon" I gave an approving murmur. After I watched said trailer and saw that it was the Coen brothers who were making this film I was hooked.
Now technically the Coen brothers are doing an adaptation of the novel, but who the fuck are they kidding? Seriously? Your're going to do a remake of the novel whose orginal film adaptation won John Wayne his only oscar and whose memorable line, "fill your hands you sons-a-bitches" is a classic of Western film and then tell me it's about the novel not the film? I'm calling bullshit on that one. But it still won't dissuade me from going to see the movie.
Also out this year is a follow up to Fall Out 3, entitled Fall Out: New Vegas. While specifically not a sequel and developed by a different company it uses the exact same game engine as Fallout 3. Though new complexities such as a factions systems allows you more flexibililty than just the old morals systems (ie you can only do some things if your moral ranking is low or high enough). The setting of the game in the west allows for throw backs to the orginal franchise and the inclusion of the New California Republic. Now I never played any of the original franchise so am unfamiliar with the many of the nuances
I'm trying to work out the bright side of being kept up at two o'clock in the morning by a fussy toddler. If you're drawing a blank too, then you're good company because I would much rather be sleeping. But you can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which gets filled first right? So I'm up.
Pearse Doherty has finally been elected to the Dail for the Shinners and actually managed to overshadow Gerry's parachute drop into Dundalk. Interestingly enough though not altogether shocking considering the constituency Pearse was handily elected over all others. There are many reasons for his electoral success which don't need to be repreated as they are irrelevant to our conversation here. What did strike me as interesting was Doherty's stance on abortion. Now everyone knows SF famously has a fence post up their ass on this issue, not nessecarily because is trying to pander per to both camps but (IMO) because the party itself is deeply divided on this issue.
Now this post isn't meant to be about abortion, right, wrong, or indifferent, but it is a great jumping off post for what has been on my mind. And what has been on my mind is the question, what defines rural proggessivism? Again, not sure if that's a word, but no one contested it last time out so I'm running with it. Personally I am pro-choice, coming from a pro-life stand point. That last line may need clarification, I am personally pro-life, but feel that it is not up to me to make life altering decisions for other people so say make your own choice and live with the consequences. I can't even get smug because I remember when my wife was pregnant that the doctors told us due to her ethnic background that she was at increased risk for a Down baby. Before the tests came back telling us our boy (we still didn't know the sex at that point) was healthy we had a scan and listened to the heartbeat. At that moment it hit me that my wife was carrying a living being inside of her and I told her later that with all of my fears and uncertainties (which had grown exponentially after realizing that everything they had abstractly warned us about could in fact be very real) that I couldn't give my support to stopping that little heart beat. And that is why I am pro-choice. Because at that extremely personal moment I could not imagine anyone else telling my wife and I what to do.
I have heard some extremely progressive people eloquently argue their beliefs both for and against abortion. To top that off we have Malcolm reminding us of the elected representative's responsibility to their constituents. I also think that many leftists have a particularly urban centric world view.
Who stepped down where?
Okay so I go pheasant hunting Friday and the whole world goes to shit. I mean seriously, WBS's "I didn't see that coming" is a fucking understatement. Gerry Adams standing for the Dail is seriously a raised octave "What the fuck?". I thought about simply commenting on CLR but it's gotten to say the least, a little bit weird.
Recovering from the initial shock it does connect some dots. MMG being Deputy First Minister, GA's insistence on representing SF in the 2007 debates and his fixation on the leftist Southern body politic. It also fills out the real politik within SF. Replacing Our Beloved Leader for West Belfast MLA is a former Hunger Striker. By contesting a rural constituency adjacent to NI, SF seems to be acknowledging their own limits in as much they are realistically looking to eat at the edges of FF's support base being as how Labour has squeezed them out from the urban left. This is interesting I would be looking for a shift from hard core Labour supporters to SF as they are the only party in the Dail to fundamentally oppose the government approach of austerity. Any left types supporting Labour are likely to be as disappointed by Labour as progressives/liberals/leftists in America are by Obama. But to be fair to both Gilmore and Obama, neither are selling themselves as leftists, only "moderates" looking to correct the "excesses" and "mistakes" of the previous administrations.
While leftists in the ROI and NI are busy picking apart SF's left wing credentials they would do well to note that SF are (to the best of my knowledge) the only party in the UK or the ROI to fundamentally oppose the austerity programs of the respective governments. And by the only
Haven't seen alot of analysis on the elections up North so far and this annoyed me. I mean fuck David Cameron, Tony Blair 2.0. And while I'm happy that Labor didn't totally melt down the fact that the rich got richer and poor got poorer during the Nu Labour administration kind of grates on me. Also I'm not a liberal so while I appreciate the social democrat aspect of the political spectrum the fact that both state houses and the governorship are controlled by Democrats hasn't stopped the contractors from locking us out in order to force an eight dollar pay cut on us. Kind of crossing threads there so we'll get to the point.
Baby Doc looks poised to take over the leadership of the DUP after a blind siding dethronement of the cuckold king, Peter Robinson. Both PR and Gordon Brown have to be feeling a bond of empathy as after years of loyal service they are both essentially defenestrated at the first Westminister election as head of their respective parties. Junior's main claim to leadership seems to be having kept the family feifdom, well in the family. But I have a hard time seeing him as leadership material and if the anti PR vote was largely influenced by the all too cozy relationship between the DUP and property developers. How is Junior going to rehabilitate that image? Other than the E. Belfast upset the DUP monolith plows on to almost total hedgemony of unionist NI. The UCUNF project lays in ruins, which is about where it started though not before much hype from the "Tory boy bloggers quintet" threw some smoke into things. Either they're still drunk trying to drown out the sorrow of it or too busy eating crow to comment at this time. But we'll get back to them later.
The upcoming DUP leadership battle. The top two are of course Nigel Dodds and Baby Doc. It's odd, both and neither of them are leadership material. I mean one could easily follow the flow of events up to this juncture and place them at the helm, but taking a step back you really wouldn't say if I was to pick a man to lead the totally dominant unionist party of NI...etc. etc. But this is where we find ourselves. I remember the last election where I was following the prospects not of Nigel or Peter, but of their wifes and how their battles for the Assembly would impact the leadership struggle. So it is odd after paying so much attention to things like that to see it all come down to 5 pounds and a butcher boy. Makes you scratch your head sometimes. So as I was saying, Baby Doc has fended off the the attack on the right flank from Jim Allister, but Nigel can point to fending off an attack from Gerry Kelly on the center. As Garibaldy pointed out last night over at CLR he says that the Provos have missed their chance but I have a hard time believing that. I don't think N Belfast is going into play anytime soon, but I think it will become a far more contentious set as the housing crisis in the estates comes to a head. I feel this constituency will become the face of the "Greening" of NI. More than the failure of a unionist unity candidate west of the Bann, the encroachment of nationalist into previously hardcore loyalist areas will be mark an entry to a more contentious stage in NI politics. Especially considering all of the centennial stuff coming up in the next few years this seems to be something that will come up but has not really been talked about at all. If MM does indeed pull off the feat of becoming FM I find it almost impossible to believe that a situation where nationalist families languish on waiting lists while "Protestant" houses sit empty and in decay. Not that Nigel has been a push over in the past but this development could lead to a much rockier relationship for the Assembly at Stormont and in my mind colors the upcoming fight for the DUP leadership.
Since neither of the two top contenders are really that dominant I think that the supporting cast will play a dispaportionate role in the process. Wilson, McCrea, and especially Donaldson are going to play a big role in garnering the support of the rank and file which are quite disparate. I especially see Donaldson leveraging his support to move up into the upper echelon of the DUP in return for his support of a candidate. Because lets face it, the DUP may be the house that Paisley built, but the additions that made it what it is today are due to the defections of massive numbers 0f UUP voters along with their totemic "leaders".
The UCUNF thing. Well I think we all had a feeling it would end like this. The aforementioned bloggers (some of whom I actually like) created enough hype to make it interesting, but in the end the DUP machine rolled them over. The question now is where to for the UUP? The civic unionists among their number will have a hard time making a go of it since in their first outing they supported the first pan-prod candidate in what, 25 years? If I'm not wrong I believe that the UCUNF lash up was for Westminster only, not the Assembly. Being that Cameron now has his hands full with the Lib Dems I don't see him spending too much time propping up a party that is not only of no use to him.
As with so many other things in this blog. Instead of taking initiative I've sat on my ass until moved by some outside force. In this particular case the agent that put a body at rest into motion was O'neill over at A Pint of Unionist Lite. It has been the second time I've seen the Hungarian election referenced and the first time I've seen the fight with Slovakia discussed. So certainly hat tip to O'neill on that one. That being said I not only have to disagree with much of what O'neill says but I also feel I must call him to task for striking a tone condescending superiority.
Look I know that Liberal Unionists like to buy into this idea that they've moved beyond "tribal" politics, but seriously to sit back half a continent away and pass judgement (not to mention making snide comments is bullshit). Here's a fact. No one outside of Hungary gives a shit that almost a third of her "children" were lost to her. This isn't some bullshit 14th century battle that was lost to the Turks (but yeah, Hungary has those too). This was a dismemberment of country that my grandpa was alive to see and understand before he came to America. And for a point of reference, I'm under thirty.
It's odd, my wife obviously has dual citizenship and my son will too. We have discussed for me being that not only am I married to a Hungarian, but that my grandfather also was a citizen. For me I say "maybe". Because for all of my bullshit, I'm 100% American (emphasis on the annoying "can" part).