A young woman called Beckie Thompson was driving in England when she lost control of the car and finished upside down in a ditch. Her four month old daughter Imogen was submerged for four minutes and was lifeless when she was pulled out. The police and everyone else thought she was dead.
“Miss Thompson, 21, said she was hysterical after pulling Imogen out of the car and passing her to a woman who had stopped to help.
She laid her on the riverbank, and a young man just laid her out and started doing CPR, said Miss Thompson.
He was crying; he was very upset. To be honest I don't think anybody expected her to wake up. Despite this, she said the man continued to try for a good two or three minutes.”
Then she [Imogen] made a noise, and then he started to cry a little bit more, but he kept going until she was screaming, said Miss Thompson.
The emergency services arrived and Imogen was airlifted to hospital, but the man left before Miss Thompson could thank him.
I have no problem with the story, either telling it or believing it because last Wednesday was the Feast of the Guardian Angels. A friend of mine, Fr Martin, says that when we arrive in heaven the biggest surprise we shall find there is the number of times and the manner in which our Guardian Angel helped us while we were on this earth.
If you are one of those unfortunates who have chosen to believe that there is no God then you see a story like this as a coincidence, with no beauty to it or no sense of wonder at the world and the God who made it.
The poor old US of A would need a guardian angel. Or at least the leaders of the Republicans need one. It appears that they made demands that they knew wouldn't be met rather than be accused of weakness and betrayal by their own hardliners when it came to the next round of budget talks.
Why do people do this? Why do people involved in political negotiations leave themselves without an ‘out’?
Surely the first rule of negotiation is to leave yourself with a fallback position where you can say you won something if not everything and you can save face.
That’s the problem with making demands. When you demand that you get everything you want you leave yourself vulnerable. And you also leave yourself looking silly, as the people of a certain section of Northern Ireland culture have often done!
All this talk of America closing down masks a far more serious problem on the horizon.
On October 17th, the USA will hit its debt ceiling of 16.7 trillion dollars. How much is that? Well, a million has six ‘zeros,’ a billion, has nine and a trillion has twelve zeros. So 16.7 trillion is written as $16,700,000,000,000--I think.
All the empires of history began and finish in the same way; they expand til they can expand no more and then they overstretch themselves by getting caught up in wars and arguments around the world that do not concern them. America is fighting too many wars.
After 9/11, Bush should have made his country more secure and left his secret service to go after Bin Laden. A few billion dollars would have increased homeland security immensely but instead Bush began a ‘war on terror,’ a war which cannot be won because you cannot fight a word.
Now America spends a billion a day fighting wars in foreign lands that they can’t win and which are essentially none of their business.
I read during the week that the world’s banking system depends on American debt being the most secure debt in the world. If the Senate and House of Representatives don’t agree to an increase in the debt ceiling, America shall technically default.
We have no idea what the outcome of this would be.
But who cares! We in Europe have Mr Berlusconi to lead us on our way. For these past few years we have watched this black haired 70+ years man play games with the people of Italy. Last week he walked out in a huff and tried to bring the government down.
“Berlusconi had initially promised to topple the government by withdrawing his party's support - a move which prompted the Senate vote.
But he backed down when it became clear that several of his senators would back the government.”
This quote from the media shows that Berlusconi knew when he was beaten and didn’t push the vote to a showdown. He did a U turn. Now, at week’s end, I see that the Italian senate is going to move to expel Berlusconi. Watch this space!
That’s the way people seem to operate; we push things to the limit and then we have to start all over again.
There are very few countries and places where the people try to work on agreement; the Republicans and Democrats in America would rather close the place down than agree, Berlusconi wanted to bring down the government for his own reasons but failed in the end.
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness could not agree on the peace centre at the Maze. As usual there is the unionist and the republican version of events. The upshot of it all is that Europe has pulled the £18m that they said they would invest out of the equation.
By a strange coincidence £18m is 50,000 a day for a year. Now the protest at Twaddell Avenue just happens to be costing £50,000 a day.
Had Peter and Martin put their heads together and thought it through we could have took the £18m, built no peace centre and let the lads sit up at Twaddell Avenue for a year and it would have cost us nothing.
Where are all these civil service accountants when you need them?
David Dunseith would have had a field day with all the shenanigans going on in the New North and elsewhere at the moment. David knew that perception was everything.
My perception, and I would bet money that your perception is the same, is that Germany and the Germans are paying through the nose to keep Europe afloat.
Then I read this in the German newspaper Der Spiegel:
“A new study shows that Germany contributes less per person to the permanent euro bailout fund than residents of several other countries in the European Union. Luxembourg, Holland and Ireland are among the nations paying more per capita.
When the contributions of the ESM member countries are adjusted according to each country's respective population, Germany ranks fifth. That's the finding of a review of the Luxembourg-based euro fund authored by EU parliamentarian Elmar Brok, a member of Germany's conservative Christian Democrats.
The article was published on Sept 29th which by another of those remarkable coincidences that life throws up, was the fifth anniversary of the Bank Bailout in the German Province of Ireland.
In September 08 the banks went to Cowen and they knew they had him over a barrel; he could not let the banks go bust or there would have been panic on the streets. The recent Cyprus debacle would have looked like an afternoon tea party.
The reckless lending of the banks in the early years of this century has left Ireland as the most indebted country in the world. According to four sources I could find, Haver Analytics; Bank for International Settlements; national central banks; McKinsey Global Institute, Ireland owes almost SEVEN times its gross domestic product, Japan is second, (6 times) and do you know who is third?
We are, we the people who live in the United Kingdom, whatever we believe ourselves to be. The UK owes almost 6 times its GDP and is a very close second to Japan; if it was a race you would call it a photo finish.
Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece all owe between three and four times their GDP. Four countries that have all needed bailouts owe less in real terms than the UK.
When David Cameron came into power the national debt in the UK was £700 billion. It is estimated by the sources I quoted above that by the next general election in 2015 that figure will have doubled to £1,400 billion.
In reality these numbers do not make sense, they are meaningless. But what it does mean in real terms is that over the next few years we are going to have to take a serious cut in services and our standard of living.
Meanwhile, South of the Border, down Free State Way, Enda the Red has seen the first serious insult to his leadership.
Enda made the abolition of the Irish senate a personal crusade and felt certain that the people would not dare vote against His wishes: they did, fair play to them!
A total of 51.7% of the people who voted chose to maintain the senate, the second house in the Irish parliament. Basically a talking shop, in which quite a lot of northerners have a vote, the senate serves no useful purpose other than giving a voice to bygone politicians and would be politicians who could not get elected but who know the right people.
“The stunning defeat for Mr Kenny has immediately led to blame and recrimination within the Coalition, including ministers, who demanded answers as to why the vote was lost.
Yesterday's defeat led one senator, Trinity College Dublin's Sean Barrett, to call on Mr Kenny to "consider his position", given the rejection of the proposal to abolish the Seanad,” ran a story in the Sunday Independent.
The article continued:
“Last night, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the result was a ‘complete rejection of the Government's strategy of talking about reform but simply increasing their own power’.
From when they came to power Fine Gael and Labour have shown a complete disregard for the promises they made to the Irish people in their election campaign and worse than that, they have ruled almost in a dictatorial way, making laws which almost appear arbitrary whims of certain politicians.
The row has started down there about the next budget which is due on Tuesday October 15th. What can the people of the German Province of Ireland expect in the budget?
“There are definitely going to be cuts in overall welfare payments in Budget 2014. The “core” weekly rates may not go down but savings will be made by changing eligibility rules or by cutting the length of payment periods.
There may well be reductions in benefits for long term unemployed.
The two tier system of Child Benefit might still be an option. Where everyone gets a basic (lower) rate but less well off households can apply for a ‘top up.’”
This quote from a recent Money Guide Ireland article (Sept 29) does not hold out too much hope for the poor unfortunates who are on the dole down there!
Then I read this in a respected Catholic Paper:
“The small-minded anti-Catholic bigotry of the present Irish government continues to push Ireland to the margins of today’s diplomatic and cultural world.”
In September, Pope Francis asked the ambassadors of countries who have contact with the Vatican to come and give their ideas and have a discussion about Syria and the wider Middle East crisis.
Seventy one countries sent their ambassadors. Ireland, who is now represented at the Vatican by its ambassador to Italy, didn’t bother to turn up. That international statesman and leader of world opinion, Eamon Gilmore, said that the UN was the place to discuss Syria.
The Free State is behaving like a petulant adolescent boy. They are like the lad who heads off to university after having been raised in a strict home; they have gone mad. Let’s call this mythical lad Eamon Enda O’Erin.
The little upstart then begs, borrows and steals from his family to get back to college.
Next Eamon Enda O’Erin decides that since he is now an ‘independent’ man he can treat his friends and neighbours as he likes and abuses and insults those he has turned to for help.
Then, in an act of defiance aimed at hurting as many people in his family as he can, Eamon Enda O’Erin, arbitrarily decides that there is no God, that his Catholic faith is nonsense, and that he can spit in God’s face and that there shall be no consequences.
All the while Eamon Enda O’Erin falls deeper into debt, watches his family disintegrate around him, loses the respect of his neighbours and friends, borrows more money at higher interest rates to stave off the fateful day, and continues to put on a smiling face to the world around him.
Finally, when the whole thing ultimately falls apart, Eamon Enda O’Erin comes up with the classic line; “It wasn’t my fault. I only did what the rest of the lads were doing.”
I hope the men who entered the GPO that fateful morning in 1916 can’t see what is going on now.
God, it would make you sick.
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