That's Capitalism


Every day nearly US$2 trillion changes hands on the money markets (i.e. is gambled by speculators). It can be hard to get a handle on just how much a trillion is. If you stacked a million dollar notes on top of one another it would reach about six foot high. If you stacked a trillion dollars the same way it would reach to over 40 times the height of Mount Everest! Yet the rich tell us there is no money for health care, affordable housing and modern school buildings.

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The US military announced, in April, that at least three children aged from 13 to 15 are being held in their prison camp at Guantnamo Bay. Like other prisoners being held at the camp, they are being held indefinitely without trial and are being interrogated by the military. They have been in captivity for over a year, and not even granted access to a lawyer.

Guantanamo Bay has attracted the condemnation of human rights campaigners since the first detainees arrived in January 2002, blindfolded and bound in the intense Cuban heat. As a penalty for being enslaved as child soldiers by the Taliban, children are imprisoned by the US; and we were told that the Afghan war was about 'liberation'!

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"I'm not here to answer for the PDs'

PD leader Mary Harney takes the art of politics to new levels when answering a question in the Dail about the reintroduction of student fees (April 2003).

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BERTIE'S "ASPIRATION"

The articles in the constitution cited by former army officer Ed Horgan in his challenge to the government allowing Shannon airport to be used by the US military (articles 28 and 29) are "aspirational", said the judge, and so the government's decisions override the constitution in respect of thesearticles.

It's funny that these parts of the constitution are suddenly"aspirational", when FF and the PDs are in breach of them. Irish governments have been quite willing to use the constitution to justify all sorts of breaches of citizens' rights in the past, and anything to do with property rights certainly wasn't deemed merely "aspirational".

Anyway, even if these articles are "aspirational", isn't the government obligated to attempt to aspire to the standards set down in them? Or is it just one example of the 'golden rule' - those who have the gold make the rules?

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How stupid do they think we are?

There is a John Stephens who works in Dublin's Mater Hospital. He is member of the SIPTU Health Professionals branch and was recently elected a shop steward by his colleagues. According to himself, in a paid advert, in the free paper Citywide, he will be "fighting to improve the situation for workers within the Mater", "aiming to improve patient services", "directly oppose any further job losses in the health services" and his "key aim is to improve the health services in the area".

John Stephens is also going to be a Fianna Fail candidate in the Cabra/Glasnevin ward in next year's local elections. Yes, the same Fianna Fail which cut jobs in the Mater earlier this year, is imposing yet more cuts in health care, and is even talking about treating patients in the hospital car park. Either John suffers from an intellectual disability or he thinks the rest of us do.


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This edition is No76 published in August 2003

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