Driving Out the Snakes

by Henry on March 8, 2005

Via “Armed Liberal”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/006456.php, I see that George W. Bush appears to be on the verge of “taking action”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1516076,00.html to signal emphatically to Sinn Fein that they are _personae non gratae_, unless they get rid of the hard men in the IRA. I’d noted in a “previous post”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/003252.html that there was a political controversy over whether Sinn Fein would be specifically singled out for exclusion from the St. Patrick’s Day party in the White House, or whether instead all political parties would be disinvited from the party, so as to make the snub less pointed. Now, according to the _Times_ it appears that no political party is going to get an invitation to the reception – but that the relatives of a recent victim of the IRA will be invited to the White House instead. If the _Times_ is right on this (the story seems to have some legs, but rightwing British papers are frequently unreliable sources on Northern Ireland politics), the Bush administration is sending about as clear and unambiguous a signal as one could possibly hope for. Interestingly, the signals from the North seem to suggest that Sinn Fein and the IRA recognize that they’re in real political trouble – not only because of the frost in their relations with the Irish, British and US governments, but also, more importantly, because of protests from natural constituency in the Catholic working class communities in Northern Ireland (where the murder in question has been highly controversial). For the first time in my memory, there’s a serious internal challenge to the IRA’s ability to control its own community, and to the frequently brutal actions of its hard men. Getting rid of them would be a considerable step forward for democratic politics in the North.

The chains of debt

by John Quiggin on March 8, 2005

I’ve been sitting on this great post about reforms to US bankruptcy laws and how they fit into the general pattern of risk being shifted from business to workers and to ordinary people in general. But I waited too long and Paul Krugman’s already written it. So go and read his piece, and then, if you want, you can look at the things I was going to write that Krugman hasn’t said already.
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