A 1970 strike in Ireland provoked an admirable outbreak of ingenuity - Greece should take note
Television reporters stand in front of the shut doors of banks in Athens and speak as if a few days more of bank closure brings the Greeks that much closer to catastrophe. Media coverage dwells obsessively on the theme that for Greece it is five minutes to midnight, but somehow midnight never comes. Shuttered banks... Read More
Few of us are inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth, and that applies in spades to journalists running with a sensational news story. But even by normal media standards, recent reports about the bones of 796 babies being found in the septic tank of an Irish orphanage betray a degree of cynicism... Read More
BELFAST, Northern Ireland. For the rest of the world, the Titanic may be a symbol of epic failure — but not in this formerly great industrial city where she was built. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the famous liner’s sinking later this month, Belfast is marking the occasion with many commemoration ceremonies —... Read More
All It Has to Do is Vote "No"
Wednesday's press conference with ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet turned out to be a real jaw-dropper. While Master illusionist Trichet didn't commit himself to massive bond purchases (Quantitative Easing) as many had hoped, he did impress the gathering with his magical skills. The Financial Times recounts Trichet's what happened like this: Nice trick, eh? So while... Read More
Bailout as Extortion
The terms of the EU/IMF's €85 billion ($113 billion) bailout for Ireland are much worse than analysts had anticipated. Ireland will be required to use its National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) to shore up its insolvent banks and to maintain government operations. At the same time, senior debt-holders will not share any of the losses... Read More
"Tell the EU and IMF to Shove It!"
Imagine that Yasser Arafat had succeeded in ending Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Now imagine that 10 or 15 years later, new Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, agreed to hand over control of his country's budget to the IMF so his people's future would be controlled by outsiders.... Read More
Otto von Bismarck is said to have proposed the following solution to the Irish Question: Move all the Irish to Holland and all the Dutch to Ireland. With their industriousness, sobriety, and civic virtue the Dutch would soon have Ireland thriving. The Irish meanwhile would be so busy drinking and fighting, they would neglect the... Read More
When the Cure is Worse Than the Disease
Ireland could be the next Lehman Brothers. That's what has the markets worried. If Irish leaders refuse to accept a bailout from the EU's new European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), then bondholders will be forced to take haircuts on their investments which will leave banks in Germany and France short of capital. Bonds yields will... Read More
Ireland is on the Way to Default
There was a bank run in Ireland last Wednesday. LCH Clearnet, a London based clearinghouse, surprised the markets by announcing it would increase margin requirements on Irish debt by 15 per cent. That's all it took to send investors fleeing for the exits. Yields on Irish bonds spiked sharply as banks tried to close positions... Read More