The article showed a group of young men in something akin to a swimming pool with plaster less brick walls and about a dozen men and lads sitting around the edges.
“The important social function of a bathhouse has also been retained - family issues are discussed and resolved and jokes and stories are told to echoing laughter and the sound of a slapped thigh, back or hand.
Sport is heatedly debated, politics perhaps less so in this country - suspicion of who is hearing what remains a hangover from the civil war when careless talk cost lives. Few have the stomach or wish to risk more conflict - one of many plausible explanations as to why the Arab Spring went largely unnoticed in Algeria,” said the writer.
To be honest it sounds a bit like Northern Ireland where the old ‘whatever you say, say nothing’ rule is still in full swing. But the idea of someone being able to build a bathroom over 2000 years ago that is still in use lets us know that some things just never go away.
Slavery, a widely practised social exclusion mechanism in the Roman Empire, is also another of those items which can stand the passage of time. It appears there are over 30 million slaves in the world today.
“The Walk Free Foundation ranked 162 countries by estimating the number of people in each nation affected by a range of practices including forced and bonded labour, human trafficking, forced marriages, and the use of children in the military.
In absolute terms, India, China, Pakistan and Nigeria have the highest numbers of people enslaved, the charity said. Together with five other countries, they account for three quarters of the total estimated number of people in modern slavery.”
I read this and my heart sank. India has 14 million slaves, by far the biggest number of slaves for any one country, and yet I buy goods that are made in India. While there are many good aspects to globalisation this has to rank as one of the really bad aspects; we can and do buy stuff in our shops that are cheap because they are produced by slaves.
Did you ever see a dog enslave another dog or a cow enslave another cow?
There is plenty of food in the world, yet a billion starve. There is plenty of wealth in the world and yet half the world lives in poverty and according to this report, 30 million of us live as slaves.
We are an incredible species; our greed and lust for power will kill anything that stands in our way. In the two thousand years since the Romans built the bathhouse all we have done is find new ways of killing and enslaving our neighbour.
It wouldn’t happen in Ireland; we’re too cute for that!
“The secrets of how Apple avoided billions of dollars in taxes lie in a low-slung building of glass and brick in the hills of County Cork.
There, in the Hollyhill Industrial Estate and elsewhere in Ireland, Apple employs a mere 4 percent of its global work force. But there, too, Apple recorded a staggering 65 percent of its worldwide income — $26 billion last year — enabling the company, according to Senate investigators, to markedly reduce its tax bill in the United States and the rest of the world.”
The article continues:
“Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, when Ireland was a poor state desperately trying to attract investment, tax was a weapon that others weren’t using,” said Richard Murphy, founder of the Tax Justice Network, a group in London that campaigns against tax havens. “So Ireland developed a twofold strategy: low rates and not too many questions, it became the conduit state of choice.”
Basically, what the New York Times is saying is that US companies set up in Ireland not because of great Irish workers, or love of the ‘old country’ but because the place is a two-bit tax haven.
David McWilliams wrote a piece in last Wednesday’s Irish Independent about this very subject and the government’s refusal to face the problem of the growing criticism by the international community.
“Ireland has a choice: either we stick our head in the sand and pretend that the problem will go away or, as one of the countries with by far the most to lose from a change in the way corporation taxes are levied internationally, we can face up to the changed world.
It is quite clear that the political momentum – whether it is coming from the US, Germany, France or Britain – aims to squeeze countries like Ireland.”
There are 100,000 Irish people employed by US companies alone in Ireland. If Ireland is forced by Europe to change it 12.5% corporation tax to something like 26 or 27% as in the rest of Europe do you think the jobs will stay here?
But I don’t think we should worry. There shall soon be no one in Ireland to lose their jobs:
“The Society of St Vincent de Paul said it was very disappointed and concerned about the cuts to young peoples' social welfare payments.
Spokesperson for the charity, Brendan Hennessy, said that reducing social welfare payments for people in their early 20s to €100 a week would result in more young people emigrating.”
This was the society’s response to the budget down there last Tuesday.
The poor are being squeezed but there is still no inquiry into the banks.
"Standardising maternity benefit at €230 per week is absolutely anti-women and anti-families as it means a de-facto reduction of €32 per week for the vast majority of women.
"This will hit women and their families at a time when they are already struggling with reduced income and increasing costs. A reduction of maternity benefit will force many women to go back to work earlier than they wish to."
Still no mention of a bank inquiry!
“ALONE has said today’s budget is another example of how the Government fails to support those in need.
The charity, which provides support to older people in need, said it will further isolate a significant percentage of older persons, specifically the cut to telephone allowance.
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said: "We find the additional cuts to the bereavement grant, invalidity pension and increase in prescription charges are more examples of how the government each year ‘chips away’ at various funding for the most vulnerable in Irish society.”
The saving to the government by scrapping the telephone allowance to the elderly is 9.50 euro per month per pension age couple.
What do we have to do in Ireland to get an inquiry into the banking scandal down there that has left Ireland the second most indebted country in the world after Japan?
The impression given by all this is that the politicians and the banks were in cahoots.
In June this year there was a whole hullaballoo when the Anglo Irish tapes were made public.....now there’s not a word; they have disappeared into the ether.
The bit that gets to me about the people of the Free State is that they take it: their children leave in droves and not a word is spoken against St Enda of Castlebar; the elderly are living on a pittance, freezing in the cold and almost starving, but Enda smiles it all away.
The tapes disappeared into the night like everything else in Ireland that could possibly embarrass the elite. A tin pot tax haven where the natives are left to starve and flee while Dublin 4 lives it up; and there is not one party of opposition, they all want a bite at the cherry.
Some things never change!
A bloke called Oetzi died in suspicious circumstances in the Alps about 5,300 years ago. By one of those strange coincidences of history this was also the last time the Irish economy was in credit; we sold more goods to England than we bought.
Oetzi was found with an arrow in his back. Even after 5,300 years we can make a reasonable guess that he was murdered.
Using modern DNA sampling, descendents of Oetzi have been found in Spain, Italy and Austria. It’s amazing that they have been able to find direct descendents of Oetzi alive today because one wee bit of DNA did not change in all that time.
Roman baths, slavery, the Irish bankers and DNA, there are so many mysteries in the world.
I wonder did they count the 2 million slaves in Ireland who work to keep the political elite in their luxury among the 30 million slaves.
Perhaps they need to revive that estimate up a bit!
Thankfully these issues are not going to face us for a while.
“Reforms to the welfare system are expected to have a greater financial impact in Northern Ireland than in any other part of the UK, according to a report.
It claims that changes to benefits will take £750m a year out of the economy in Northern Ireland. That is the equivalent of £650 a year for every working adult. The report was commissioned by Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).”
This article appeared in the press last week as the extent of the welfare cuts became apparent in Northern Ireland. The knock on effects of this reduction shall be enormous. When are we going to waken up in Northern Ireland and see that we have real political issues to be dealing with other than flags and marching?
But we are still making great technical progress. Two things happened to me last week that really blow my mind.
When you think about it, he was half way around the world, in a car, and he could call me in rural Ulster! That is amazing.
The other technological event that happened to me occurred on Friday and again involves phones.
I was sitting at home when the Skype went off on my computer. It was my daughter calling me from New York where she has gone for the wedding of a friend.
Standing in the foyer of her hotel, a plug in each ear and a four inch square contraption in her hand, we were able to talk and see each other 3000 miles away.
One small point of information for your benefit that shall help you understand my amazement at these developments.
When I did my O Level Maths in 1971 I was in the last year to use ‘slide rules’ during the exam. The next year the students were allowed calculators. I am the last of the log tables and the ‘base e’ generation!
Isn’t God good, giving us all this technology!
Now that we have mentioned the unmentionable one, let us go one step further and celebrate a great event in our land!
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced the timings of their son's christening on 23rd of October.”
What wonderful news, a child is being made a Christian, baptised into the life of God, as we all were when we were children.
It does not matter whether he is going to be the future king of England or not, he is a ‘human being’ being brought into the mystical life of Christ, and that is an occasion of rejoicing for us all. Any child being made a Christian is a cause of celebration.
“The baptism of Prince George will take place at 15:00 BST in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace and last about 45 minutes, Kensington Palace said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will perform the christening at the private service.”
Can you imagine some of our great current Irish leaders, who are doing all in their power to drive Catholicism out of Ireland, having the humility to ask God for His blessing on one of his children?
Fair play to William and Kate for having their child baptised; you may say that it is all protocol and tradition but it is still a baptism.
At 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoon, Prince George, third in line to the throne and future king of England, shall become a Christian, a member of the mystical body of Christ.
And in the long term that shall be a lot more important than any job the new Prince George holds on earth!
Well done William and Kate!
“Our God is a great God.”
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