Thursday, January 03, 2008

Liberals, Libertarians and Lollygaggers

"Freedom is a privilege nobody rides for free" - Steve Van Zandt.

It's a terrible idea to take political ideas or philosophies from song lyrics (especially the 80s) or even off the side of a cereal box but is it really any worse than the schoolboy clutching their recently thumbed Ayn Rand preaching about freedom and the individual and how they don't have to play by the rules because the rules only serve to oppress them and their world altering talent?

True libertarianism properly leads to anarchy, and not the safety pin punk kind either but a totally free society. Such a totally free society that can only exist when it is underpinned by being populated by people who know enough of what they need to do in order to sustain themselves and the freedom that they are exercising. In other words they have to dispose of their rubbish, vacuum the house and make their own dinner. No one else is going to do it for them. With this freedom and personal responsibility come boundaries imposed by the environment. Freedom to listen to whatever you want doesn't mean that you will be able to listen to it at 4am when living in a semi detached house, simply because there is also no law to prevent your neighbour coming round and feeding you hands first into a bacon slicer. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to producing a citizenry capable of living in such a free society even if we can all recognise that it is not going to be possible. Much in the communist pursuit of new Soviet man, though we have enough cop on to know we're not going to get there any time soon. But where does that leave our mollycoddled children of the pseudo right in Ireland?

Most Americans of the centre and even the left are more right wing that most Irish people and moreover most Europeans. However those folks can walk the walk not just quote from Heinlein or Ayn Rand. Oddly enough it seems the Irish software industry is host to many of the pseudo right in Ireland, people who would run a mile from from truly making it on their own. Why is the regulator not doing more for me, why is the state not intervening, why is this state board not doling out more money to me and my chums in funding and why don't people with money give us things for free.

Why not give money to these producers of...what is it again.. ah, solutions? Because most start ups fail, and the best way to make money is at things you know something about. Hell, it is a fact of commercial life that most businesses fail. Though it provides a delicious type of irony that folks who see failure in some spheres to be a mark of shame (I've been unsuccessful at things because I've tried to do things), are aghast at the unwillingness of the hoi polloi to fund their own potential failures.

Some of the more bleating types can barely get through an afternoon without falling over their own contradictions between not believing that agreeing with a license agreement is actually agreeing with it before they're running to their barrack room law books about how some set of terms and conditions they agreed to (or which they might merely have accepted) didn't offer them enough protection from some frightful defilement.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Context is all as they say.

The actual mail that caused my expulsion from Eden. I do note for grammar reasons that I should more properly have said avoided instead of avoid. My intention was to pass on a minor crib to Mr Mulley and that was all, I even explicitly acknowledge in the last line that it was entirely up to himself what language he uses.

Mail history begins here -

To: "Damien Mulley"

A tad harsh I was only saying, not sure who ate your doughnut. And the latter is
anatomically difficult. G'luck.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Damien Mulley" <>
> To: "Daniel Sullivan" <>
> Subject: Re: Happy new year and all that.
> Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 16:32:53 +0000
> Dan, don't bother contacting me again. Go f%&k yourself.


Hope your health gets sorted in the new year and that you're in fine fettle
throughout. One minor crib but would it be at all possible if you avoid
using the R word in future.

- EDs note: Note the following text is taken from Damien's site as linked to below -

But there’s more!
But hell, with P.S., I’m a Retard doing so well and Irish accents being all
hot again, let’s give them quality stuff. Glenroe. Dinny and Miley and Fanny
and Biddie and endsinYie and their Billy Barry kids with D4 accents.

- EDs notes: my quoting from his site ends at this point -

I know it sounds terribly nanny state of me, and it is entirely up to yourself.
Anyway have a good'un.

Mail history ends here!

A heresy

I'm not interested in starting a war, not even a minor police act or peacemaking intervention or whatever people ended up calling the thing in Iraq. However, once it appears that one man's consumer right advocate decides becomes tomorrow's whinger or the smug man's George Carlin I'm disinclined to hold fire. Course I didn't actually instruct anyone to stop using any particular word, I was merely enquiring if the use of one word could be avoided by way of a crib or comment; passing comment supposedly being the lifeblood of blogging. There are naturally going to be times when no other word will do but the word that one has chosen with such care and consideration as Billy Connolly so perfectly illustrated in his timeless comparison of "fuck off versus go away - exclamation mark". Yet there is the world of a difference between Billy Connolly swearing and some spotty teenager repeating the same word again and again at the top of their voice for their own amusement . Most of us can tell the difference.

Naturally, when you've built yourself up and been built up by others so that you've got the loudest platform the tempting idea when someone says something that you disagree with is to misrepresent what the other person had to say so as to portray the other person in the worst possible light and then seek to drown out this other viewpoint. This all serves to ensure that you're always going to be the one seen in the right. There is an expectation amongst the hoi polloi that the great and the good don't stoop so low, perhaps in truth it should be less an expectation and more a means to identify the great from the merely well known.

Nanyway, Turns out that in reality once the individual's voice is loud enough it's also a cracking good way to ensure that the voice of other individuals isn't heard. Of course presenting yourself as an advocate of debate but then cutting someone's access mid-stream so as to prevent them from responding is a pretty contrary way to go about such things. But to do so without actually letting on to everyone else involved in the conversation that you've canceled their ticket creates the impression that you've won and they've simply retreated with their tail between their legs. At least in sports everyone else gets to actually see you taking your ball away with you. Not so for the high priest of Irish blogging who nixes your access on the QT and professes himself more than adequate to be the impartial judge of all that it is good or bad in Irish blogs. Could the same person really have said

"... I think that the philosophy of blogging, with everyone allowed to comment on what you write and point to what you write and quote what you write will be assimilated more into mainstream. I'm a big fan of Jeff Jarvis and his ideas of the newsroom of the future are well worth a read. As I said earlier, blogs are a great way of enabling the voice of the individual to be heard." ?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bad words for the beautiful people

Just in case some folks are being given the impression the thought police have come down on poor and are trying to suppress his right to party or some such I thought I post the briefest of background since I’m not allowed post any comments in response.

I mailed the newly crowned journalistic technology supremo of the Irish internet scene suggesting I had a minor crib about the use of the word “retard” in a post of his and if it’s use could be avoided if that were at all possible. Not wishing to be needlessly Michael Howard about all this but I did not at any point instruct anyone (and who the hell would I be to be to instructing or telling anyone what to do) to stop using particular words, I was simply making a comment. And it was only a minor crib and as far as I can see people are all over the place talking up the idea of social networks and collaboration and a key aspect of that effort is the value of feedback. Sad fact is that when you’re on the receiving end you're not going to agree with much of the feedback and you plain might not like some of it. But that's the point of it. For my own part, I had honestly thought that the word had largely disappeared from conversation in this side of the Atlantic, not that it had even been as common here as it was in the US. Now, I wasn’t offended by the word or upset; I will admit to being somewhat surprised to see it. I got a mail back which succinctly told me “Dan, don't bother contacting me again. Go fuck yourself.” Well, that's me told then isn't it. Of course what some like to term Political Correctness is what others would might just call simple decency.

The follow up response on-line has been to declare that he will not be stopped from using whatever words he wishes, though how exactly someone just saying something is remotely going down the road of “stopping” them I’ve no idea but there ya go. And the post naturally has to include a variety of words to show how Damien is reaching for his ready pack of Twenty Major to defend saying fuck or whatever but Twenty is genuinely funny and quite pointed in his comments; the post I was commenting on was neither funny nor very pointed.

And most odd of all in the heel of the hunt is that someone who was quite recently carping about the fact that someone that he had occasion to pick a bone with had the temerity to ban his comments is very quick to use the same tactic once someone else’s shoe is on another foot entirely. Yep it seems so sensitive is Damo to any kind of negative comment that it turns out that I’ve been “banned” from posting comments on the site of the great and all powerful Wiz. Not that I posted much of any use in any case, so no loss to anyone there.

So by all means keep reading Mulley, he posts some really interesting stuff, but for God’s sake don’t dare say anything negative about him or it’s the stocks or the badlands for you.

Monday, December 31, 2007

US primary predictions - Republicans

I think that the Republican race has changed very significantly in recent days or over the holiday period as people call it stateside. And I think it has happened as people come to the conclusion that Giuliani isn’t the guy when it comes to facing off against terrorism and that McCain fills that role much better.

Huckabee may well still win Iowa but my personal inclination is that it will be Romney and that win will serve to insulate Romney from too much damage from losing New Hampshire to McCain but Romney being involved in a close finish with McCain will allow McCain the airtime to get his experience and

So the race is now between Romney and McCain, I think Romney will win Iowa but either lose New Hampshire to McCain or that McCain will be so much closer to Romney than expected that he is the one to come out of New Hampshire with more Mo’. Huckabee should win South Carolina but his campaign could implode if he doesn't do as well as many have come to expect him to do in Iowa. A possible Howard Dean for the '08 Republicans? Probably not but it is possible.

Giuliani will still win Florida I suspect but not especially convincingly and Super-Duper (and what a mistake that has been for the states that wanted to play a role in deciding who is the nominee) Tuesday will see the departure of Thompson.

Ron Paul isn’t going to bother departing the race as his real aim is to shape the platform (manifesto) at the convention. The winner take all nature of the Republican primary should insulate the party against that but he could still have influence. Huckabee is in large part really running for the VeeP slot though and he could get it from McCain as a means to reassure the religious conservatives. Though I think Romney would have a better claim on the ticket given his likely performance but I wonder if he will view it too much as beneath him still Romney would put Mass in play and some other New England states.

US primary predictions - Democrats


I think Iowa won’t decide anything for certain for the Democrats other than confirming that all the big three could win the nomination. (Now how is that for a hostage to fortune?) Clinton is still the favourite at this point for Iowa and the nomination but so was Dean four years and just look at what that got him. What the democrats have learned from the 1988 election is that they have to pick someone who will reach outside their base and honestly Clinton doesn’t do that. The other odd thing about American politics is the boredom factor, people are to some extent bored with the coverage of Clinton and Obama, if Edwards can get come out of Iowa as the little candidate that could and if Obama wins New Hampshire and South Carolina then Clinton

If Edwards is over 20% in Iowa (before the divvying up of the remainder votes) he is still well at the races, if Hillary is under 30% then it proves she can be caught nationally and the post vote writing will be about how vulnerable she is looking and if Obama goes over 30% on the first count and wins then he is going to get the Big Mo’ into New Hampshire. However, I don’t think Obama will win Iowa because I think he lacks the organisation comparatively speaking of Clinton and Edwards in turns of getting people out to vote. And getting people to come out is the problem that did for Dean in the end.

My prediction for Iowa before the departure of the non-viable is

Clinton 27% Obama 26% Edwards 24% Richardson 6% Biden 4% Dodd 1% Kucinich 1%

After those under 15% are eliminated I think Edward wins and Clinton finishes 3rd.


People might well ask could Obama go on the ticket as VP if Oprah has come out for him. Clinton as nominee running against McCain/Huckabee would be Godsend to the Republicans as they don’t have to do anything much after that to motivate the religious conservatives to come out and vote, McCain/Huckabee against an Edwards/Obama ticket would look old and cranky.

Again Clinton will win Michigan but with Obama a very close 2nd and Edwards not a million miles away) he might be a few thousand miles off)

January 3, 2008 Iowa[7] caucus 29 10 6 45 11 56

Edwards to win, Obama 2nd

January 8, 2008 New Hampshire primary[8][9] 14 5 3 22 8 30

Obama to win, Clinton 2nd, Edwards get over 20%

January 15, 2008 Michigan primary 83 28 17 128 29 157 [0]

Again Clinton will win Michigan but with Obama a very close 2nd and Edwards not a million miles away) he might be a few thousand miles off)

January 19, 2008 Nevada caucus[10] 16 6 3 25 8 33

Clinton wins but Edwards out shades Obama for a distantish 2nd.

January 26, 2008 South Carolina primary[11] 29 10 6 45 9 54

Obama wins South Carolina, Edwards does better than expected but Clinton is a close 2nd to Obama.

January 29, 2008 Florida primary 121 40 24 185 25 210 [0]

I think that Obama has a lower ceiling in Florida than Edwards and if Clinton weakens Edwards might be the one to benefit most. I would still expect Clinton to win Florida.

US primary predictions

This time four years ago (ok it was about a month from now as the primaries were later in the year then) I watched John Kerry on Meet the Press and realised that he had made the necessary changes to his message ere: the War in Iraq to win the Democratic nomination and to win Iowa. At that time most people thought Dean had a lock on Iowa and while they thought Kerry could still come back they were all wondering how and where he would do it. That he would head off the challenge in Iowa was not considered by most people to be at all likely. I texted a few friends “to call” Iowa for Kerry and left it at that.

Given that my intuition or reasoning turned out to be correct I’ve chanced a few other predictions not all of them correct but it’s fun for me at least and no one gets hurt. So turning my attention to this year’s election race in the US I’ve had a gander at the line up of the two main parties (what? you don’t want me to look at the Libertarian race too?) and my predictions follow here for the Dems and the Reps.