Monthly Archives: November 2010

Hidden Message in reporting of Wikileaked cables

Below are the articles published so far by the Examiner, Irish Times and Irish Independent on the latest leak from Wikileaks. Compare and contrast these to this account from Democracy Now! An interview with Noam Chomsky.

If you plug the headlines in to Wordle a hidden message seems to appear:

Affected countries condemn Wikileaks, Irish Examiner
World capitals on alert ahead of third WikiLeaks onslaught, Irish Examier
Cameron set for embarrassment by new Wikileaks documents, Irish Examiner
Wikileaks disclosures ‘will put lives at risk’, Irish Examiner
WikiLeaks: Arab leaders sought US strike on Iran, Irish Examiner
Sweden seeks Wikileaks founder in rape case, Irish Examiner
Sweden seeks to detain WikiLeaks founder, Irish Examiner
Ecuador offers home to WikiLeaks founder Assange, Irish Examiner
US orders security review in wake of Wikileaks fiasco, Irish Examiner
Karzai ‘pardoned suspected drug dealers’: WikiLeaks, Irish Examiner
China ‘would accept united Korea’: WikiLeaks documents, Irish Examiner
US prepares response to Wikileaks barrage, Irish Examiner
Iraq: Release of confidential cables ‘very unhelpful’, Irish Examiner
Australian police investigate Wikileaks founder, Irish Examiner
Leaks show Netanyahu backing for land swaps, Irish Examiner
The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Turkey have US nuclear weapons situated on their soil., Irish Examiner
Arab leaders ‘asked US to attack Iran’, Irish Examiner
Downing Street condemns publication of leaked cables, Irish Examiner
President voices outrage over North Korean attack, Irish Examiner

US braced for Wikileaks release, Irish Independent
Allies braced for WikiLeaks claims, Irish Independent
Leaks may endanger lives, US warns, Irish Independent
Cameron ‘faces leaks embarrassment’, Irish Independent
Arab rulers ‘asked for Iran attack’, Irish Independent
Review call after WikiLeaks release, Irish Independent
Australian police probe Assange, Irish Independent
Assange fights rape probe ruling, Irish Independent
China ‘would accept united Korea’, Irish Independent
Karzai ‘freed connected suspects’, Irish Independent

Pentagon braced for more WikiLeaks, Irish Times
US warns allies of new release of files from WikiLeaks, Irish Times
Arab leaders sought attack on Iran, Irish Times
Arab leaders urged US to attack Iran, says WikiLeaks, Irish Times
Israelis claim WikiLeaks PR boost, Irish Times
US condemns WikiLeaks release, Irish Times
Unvarnished reports offer insight into true diplomatic thinking, Irish Times
‘Potential threat’ to UK security stressed, Irish Times
Berlusconi scornful of ‘parties’ claim, Irish Times
Proof Arab states fear Iran, says Israel, Irish Times
44 ‘secret’ cables among 910 sent from Dublin, Irish Times
Wikileaks embassy cables: the key points, Irish Times
Release of reports ‘an attack’ on world community, Irish Times
US in damage limitation mode after latest WikiLeaks exposé, Irish Times

The Age of Economist

For some time now I’ve been a bit worried about the level of celebrity to which our local batch of economists have risen over the last couple of years. My main concern isn’t even that being consistently ‘right’ in economics, as opposed physics for example, seems to be a pretty difficult task. But it is the least contentious.

So here I’ll offer two examples, from two economists from our finest university, who boast a couple of thousand Twitter followers:

Irish banks have plenty of scope to increase their mortgage lending in a housing market that looks set to remain robust, according to new research. A report by Dr Brian Lucey, a lecturer in finance at Trinity College, says that mortgage lenders will be able to grow their business activity through high-interest loans to people with poor credit records – known as “sub-prime” mortgages – loans for investment properties, 100 per cent finance for first-time buyers and equity release loans.

The report, commissioned by mortgage servicing company Homeloan Management Limited[emphasis mine] (HML), predicts that the favourable economic and demographic factors driving demand for housing will continue.

Dr Lucey said concerns that there may be a housing “bubble” would prove unfounded and that there was little risk of a catastrophic fall in house prices.

This was because growth in house prices in recent years was not out of line with historic trends, he said.” [Banks have ‘scope to grow mortgage sales’, Irish Times, 2/02/06]

“Mr Gurdgiev said the Republic would continue to slip down the ranking unless a drive to deregulate industry is undertaken.

He said industries such as retail, banking, transportation and real estate were all heavily regulated in the State [emphasis mine].” [Irish Times, 26/06/02]

And this from the newspaper that brought you ‘Economics Editor‘, Marc Coleman. In this particular article Coleman’s book…

…is promoted by Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan. The same Conor Lenihan who, at the last minute, backed away from appearing at the book launch of this chap, who thinks evolution is an elaborate hoax.

For a fairer review of Coleman’s book try Dublin Opinion.

On a related note, a recent documentary ‘Inside Job‘ by Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck and Adam Bolt, brings you interviews with the men behind global economic collapse 2008. It’s very good, even if Matt Damon is narrating:

“the slow return in confidence”

“Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan said he believes the spread between Irish bonds and benchmark German bunds will ease from current “crisis” rates to the more sustainable levels seen in April of this year, if the Government’s fiscal policies are implemented.”

“”Much of the reason for the slow return in confidence [sic] lies in the parallel weakness of the fiscal situation,” he said.”[Irish Times, 10/11/10]

Where’s the evidence?

How not to “reinforce international market confidence”

“It is an urgent and immediate priority to reinforce international market confidence in our ability and commitment to restore our banking system to health and to secure the long-term sustainability of our fiscal position.” [Brian Lenihan, 30/09/10]

Below is a graph attempting to chart ‘the market’s’ reaction to government policy over the last 3 years. If anyone has access to the raw data used to create the bond yield graph (GIGB10YR:IND) please send it our way.

Charting government policy vs market reaction [click image to zoom]

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You

The Media – A week in review

“But, given the scale of the budget ahead on December 7th, the most severe in the history of this State, everyone will be hit in order to cut back by this magnitude of money. It is to be hoped that those with the broadest shoulders will carry the greater burden. Fairness and equity across the public and private sectors are paramount.” [Editorial, The Irish Times, 5/11/10]

“Brendan Smith, the agriculture minister, announced a European Union-funded scheme today that will enable the country to tuck into the EU’s cheese mountain. 53 tonnes of fresh cheddar will be distributed from 15 November with collection centres in towns and cities around the country.

The minister said the scheme was “an important means of contributing towards the well-being of the most deprived citizens in the community”.

“I am very conscious that many people find themselves in difficult circumstances at present and I want to commend the work of the many charitable organisations who are working on the front line to bring what comfort and relief they can,” said Smith.” [The Guardian, 5/11/10]