See You, Jimmy!

I think I like the same sort of bar-fighting that Senator Jimmy Harte does. You don’t play politics unless you want to get bruised and dirty, and Jimmy appreciates that.

I criticized Jimmy Harte because it seemed to me that he leapt on an obviously scurrilous and fake Irish Independent smear job in order to give voice to xenophobic sentiment. The Irish Independent is the William Martin Murphy paper, and Labour is the Jim Larkin party, and for a Labour man to engage in that sort of lynch mob mentality at the Indo’s behest is unacceptable. The Labour Party should be defending working people and the unemployed. The Labour Party should be on the side of a Polish immigrant who can’t find a job. The Labour Party should be on Magda’s side, instead of saying how she should be deported and shunned.

I can be as mean to Jimmy and say things as stupid and hateful to him as he did to me, no question. But the worst thing he said was to call me biased against Donegal. I love Donegal and have many friends from Donegal, and I am truly shocked and hurt to think that anyone would think me capable of hating Donegal or any county. Except for Cork and Meath, obviously.



Freemen off their Meds

Somehow this “all laws are voluntary” nonsense seems to have gained currency among some Irish people who clearly missed that decade at school. I’ve been seeing it crop up on in various places, on flyposters in Dublin as well as online, where @jmason covered it briefly. In its most basic form we have:

This household charge is a Statute, otherwise known as an Act of Government and only carries the force of law upon you if you consent to it which means that your legally obliged to pay if you consent or in other words go on to and register.

Where to begin? Why bother beginning, even? Well, what’s happened here is that a group of loonies in the U.S. have decided that their favoured close reading of Black’s Law Dictionary is how the law is defined — rather than the Constitution, courts, laws, precedent, etc. — and that in particular the phrase “consent of the governed” applies to individual people and individual acts of governance and not to the ordering of society as a whole.

The tedious and obvious stupidity of it is bad enough, but’s particularly awful is the lack of originality here. These people are uncritically (obviously) importing some tendentious American crankery that in turn is supposedly based on U.K. Common Law and the Magna Carta and whatever you’re having yourself. Here’s one of their legal beagles in action on

Courts operate under admiralty law, common law supersedes Admiralty law unless you contract with the Justice (Judge) once you do this you forfeit your inalienable rights under common law.

Anyone who believes this in any way applies in Ireland is, not too put too fine a point on it, a fucking idiot. Actually it doesn’t apply anywhere — unless you’ve actually been hauled up before the Admiralty Court. So, where does this come from? Well, according to RationalWiki, there is a hilarious linguistic antecedent:

Freemen see a distinction between what they call common law and statute law, which they refer to as admiralty law or “law of the sea”, sometimes also known as maritime law or the “universal commercial code” (a distortion of the US-only Uniform Commercial Code). Through a stunning misunderstanding of etymology, they see admiralty law as being the law of commerce, the law of ownership, citizenship, and indeed anything else ending in “-ship”. They see evidence of this in various nautical-sounding terms used in court, such as “dock”, “birth (berth) certificate”, “-ship” suffixes and any other fancy word they think might have a vaguely naval sound. Freemen will take this further by using further nautical terms, referring to the court as a “ship”, its occupants as “passengers” and claiming that anyone leaving are “men overboard”. Their legal arguments thus tend to a hilarious nautical theme.

Why not “Freemen-on-the-water”, then? And, given that the precedence in Ireland of the Irish language, where the word for “ship” is “long”, I’m sure they could have made this more interesting. That’s what makes it so disappointing.

Anyway, that’s the kind of people we’re dealing with here. Fools who believe that patently fake and preposterous contortions of U.S. Law based on misreadings of U.K. Law can be simply imported into Ireland unchanged and just be magically true! Admiralty, made-up notions that debts can be dismissed with incantations of “Acceptance for Value” and “No Contract, Return To Sender” — everything.

A hilarious, if poignant, update from an intrepid Freeman who engaged Bord Gais in this manner reports:

This isn’t helping getting the gas turned on again.

Reality can be tough that way.

Farewell, Hitch

They’re all saying they “didn’t always agree” with Christopher Hitchens, “but …”

If you always agreed with Christopher Hitchens, he wouldn’t have agreed with you, and some sort of tedious set-theory paradox would result. And there’s a lot to disagree with him about — is it really, really possible to have hated the Clintons that much? And I would have almost been in favor of the Iraq War that Hitchens wanted us to fight and fondly deluded himself that we did.

If you always agreed with Christopher Hitchens, what would be the point? Who would you argue with? Where would that ellipsis go?

Here’s to truculent, free-thinking drunks. My people. Cheers, Hitch, and farewell.