A view on the Jobstown trial by Keego

Editor’s note – Apologies once more for this site remaining idle for so long…demand from other projects has been too strong of late.  We will get back to it soon.  In the meantime we are grateful to Keego for offering this post.  We have our own take on the Jobstown trial here at FPP and we hope to post on it soon.


 

I had planned on taking the summer off from furiously writing down thoughts on various topics. The plan was to be thought free for a few months as thinking about and reading the news was overloading my already fragile brain.

There was a Trump, a Brexit and a commissioner who appeared to enjoy her commisionary position a bit too much and is willing to do anything to keep it. But there was one issue that made me reach for my vintage dell Netbook (not my best investment) to vent and ask you your opinion on the topic and that was the trial of the jobstown 7. These were a group of people who protested against then Tanaiste and all round unlikable person, Joan Burton.

The coverage of this trial annoyed me, the way the protest was organised annoyed me and nearly everyone involved in the protest on both sides annoyed me. So I thought I would vent into your brain in the hope that you could either correct or agree with me.

Firstly, before we get started, a little about myself might help. I am pro protest. It is healthy and when used correctly, massively effective in sending a message to government. And I think that is where we start. From the moment the news hit the stations about an ongoing protest in Jobstown in Tallaght, it appeared to be an unorganised mess.

When a protest is organised it is near unstoppable. When something is unstoppable then things change. No doubt that there is a massive list of things that need to change in Irish politics, and this could have been a massive dent in that list.

Instead, the people surrounded Burtons car and shouted abuse at her, banged on her windows and all round intimidated her. There are pictures of her smiling in the car, but that is irrelevant. There is zero context to that photo, was it at the start of the protest? People sat down in front of her car not allowing it to move off. This is beyond stupid. If I sit down in front of a car of someone I don’t like, I get run over.

The garda siochana arrived and this is where it gets a bit murky. Aside from locking an old lady in a car and shouting abuse at her, the Garda were limited in what they could do. The geography of the area meant that the way out of this situation necessitated moving the Tánaiste into another vehicle. With the crowd at fever pitch, she felt that this would be unsafe.

And that is the first point. Whether you think that Joan Burton could have opened the car door and walked out or not is not the issue. She did not feel she would have been safe enough to do so. This is a logical response to being shouted at and intimidated for the preceding time.

I had a conversation with someone on twitter about the above point. He stated to me that she could have left anytime she wanted to, she just had to ask the Garda for help. Maybe I have been hit in the head too many times, but if I need to ask a Garda for help to get out of my car then there is a safety issue in progress, or is that a bit unfair of me?

The entire protest was leaded by Paul Murphy of the People Before Profit/Solidarity/Will protest for headlines party. Megaphone in hand he chanted slogans that riled up the crown and made any chance of a quick and safe ending to this protest a near impossibility.

Skipping forward a bit to the outcome. There are 2 massive issues arising from this. Firstly the government went full on in chasing the people who organised it. Dawn raids where a semi regular occurrence for a time. Nothing good happens at dawn as we all know! When the Garda go in heavy handed like this it plays into the hands of the protestors. Immediately, anyone who is hearing the news asks ‘what are the Gardaí/government trying to hide/cover up’. Again this is a healthy response. Even with my dislike for Murphy there was never any need to knock on his door at dawn. It was done for headlines, it was done to send a message and it makes the Garda/Govt look exactly the same as the people they are chasing.

That being headline hunters.

It comes to pass that the Garda who were there on the day of the protest couldn’t get their stories straight, or couldn’t remember the same story at the same time. As soon as this happens the case gets so filthy that the Jobstown 7 where always going to walk free. And in walking free became martyrs/celebrities for the left. This was what made me write this piece. I would be a left leaning person, I believe in taking care of everyone, I believe in being fiscally conservative but I also believe in having a plan. Murphy et al do not have a plan that works. They have tremendous sound bites, tremendous slogans but nothing of substance that will help anyone.

This protest shows the bad judgement of Murphy. Instead of planning, even if this was off the cuff he should have planned ahead. He was happy to stand by while people locked an old lady in a car and shouted abuse at her. Imagine if instead of that, they lined the streets and slowly turned their back on the Tánaiste, in silence. That would have been power and would have made for footage that would be shared on social media for years. Instead they acted like the kids in Berkley College when someone they don’t agree with comes to speak.

If you don’t believe in your beliefs enough to put them forward in an adult way then you are just a dreamer without a plan.

So, with the Jobstown 7 walking free. This means that protesters can shout/spit/imprison people who do not agree with them. It means you can say anything you want to anyone and have no repercussions.  It means that it is not about the idea, it is about the force and loudness with which you shout yours out.

This is not a good thing. This is not what Ireland should be about in 2017.

In closing I would like to repeat. I think protesting is the most powerful tool we have as citizens, especially with the voting system the way it is. But we need to be smart, we need to be productive in the protesting. It is not about who is the loudest, it is about who has the best idea for this country.

Please share this with Murphy and his party, I would welcome an opportunity to speak to him about it. I’ll even buy the coffee. I am not saying this so I can shout at the lad, I genuinely want to understand his thinking because it is so far away from mine, even though we would both be called loony lefties!

Do tag me in the sharing of this post @nkeegan on twitter

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Keego : America from the outside, Ireland from the inside – 4

Welcome to a delayed episode 4 of ‘America from the outside, Ireland from the inside’.  Coming to you from a raining Dublin that is recovering from the weekend.

Starting across the pond again this week, there is a lot of craziness from El Prez, but this week let’s look at how it is covered.

The media in America is horrific. Let’s be honest. While there are issues in most countries and their news outlets, it is nowhere near as dysfunctional as America. If you ever wonder why that country is more divided now than ever, then sit in front of the TV and flick through the news stations for 20 minutes. News opinion programs are treated the same as real news and vice versa. The people interviewed on any subject are not the people sitting on either side of the middle, they are the extremes. It is becoming a business, but news should never be a business. News is a public service.  If you watch 1 news channel, then you will be absolutely warped into that way of thinking. Even if you are a clear minded, normal human being at the beginning. I have friends who watch Fox News and friends who watch MSNBC. The conversation about politics is barred when they are together. They are incapable of discussion, or even interested in it.

This is the biggest issue facing America. The interest in conversation has been killed. The competition now is to point fingers and be first (regardless of fact or not) instead of take on in debate. For every instance of students rioting instead of debating, there is a president who says one thing and then completely flip flops.

For anyone keeping score, he said he would repeal Obamacare within 100 days, that hasn’t been done because his administration put forward a bill that was actually worse than what they were trying to replace.

The students who rioted when Milo was booked to speak at Berkley College rioted instead of challenging him in debate. This shows that they were scared to talk to him and didn’t have enough belief in their own beliefs to challenge people.

In between these two incidents we have fake news. This is a term that Trump uses as his shield. 80% of the time it is used incorrectly by him, but he has 20% legitimate use. He should have NO USE! There should be no way he can call anything fake. The latest being the woman in the Hijab after the attacks on London. News outlets said she looked ‘demure’ while walking past a dead body; the truth was the complete opposite. But the correction didn’t get the full page treatment like the initial fake news did.

It is bass ackwards!

So, with American exhaustion in full effect we fly back to Ireland. Surely a bastion of real news and politicians who are honest and trustworthy.

Irish news has been slowly following in the footsteps of America. They see the news, the shiny teeth and the presenters who are treated like gods and want some of that. Nowhere on Irish news are rational people interviewed by rational people. It is always polar opposite views and needling from reporters to get a big sound bite. It is so frustrating that I have stopped listening to news in the morning on the way to work. I listen to prince instead and it makes me happier walking in the door.

We have a police commissioner who is under pressure and a police force caught fabrication test results from breathalyzers.

The commissioner is at the centre of the whistle blowing scandal. This is where the police were involved in smearing someone who went public with issues within the force. A noble risk from the man. At the end of the day, if there was nothing worth leaking then there would be no smearing, instead of attacking the issue head on, the police force attacked the messenger. A very American way of dealing with things.

Basically, this (and the fabricated testing) is a result of a rotten structure within the organisation. Commissioner Sullivan has spent her life in it and her actions are showing that she is infected. The entire institution is infected, instead of walking away, the might Commissioner will stay in the big chair until she is pushed.

Imagine being a hard working policeman/woman (as 99% of them are). I certainly couldn’t do their job. Very few of us can. Yet they are presided over by someone who is making them all look bad, who is taking public confidence away from them.

It was a frustrating week. Hopefully honesty, integrity and problem solving are traits that the Commissioner and our politicians find. But it appears there will be an episode 5 with more of the same

As usual, please forward this to anyone mentioned as I would be eager to speak to them.

@nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram

Keego : America from the outside, Ireland from the inside – 3

Welcome to episode 3 of America from the outside, Ireland from the inside.  Coming to you from a sunny Dublin in the middle of St Patrick’s week, the mood is good.

Starting on the other side of the world, it has been another topsy turvy week in America. We have El Presidente’s spokespeople talking about microwaves that can turn into cameras, we have a political pundit click baiting the country as if she was TMZ and we have President Trump being uncharacteristically quiet.

Starting with the microwaves spying on us. My favourite cartoon, Kelly Anne Conway went on the news channels asking questions about Trump towers being bugged. Again, there is no proof and the narrative has changed a bit from phone tapping to general surveillance. While she was chasing her tail on nationwide TV, she mentioned that microwaves can be turned into tools for surveillance. Pardon my stupidity but I thought microwaves where for making super noodles. She is of course talking nonsense again because she is in a role she is under qualified for. In fairness, she is grilled on this which is hugely important when interviewing anyone political.

We then move from red to blue. Rachel Maddow, a political presenter on MSNBC spent all of Tuesday 15th March talking about the mythical tax return of Trump and how she was going to talk about it on her show. Total click bait that wouldn’t be out of place on a sleazy celebrity news site. All the build-up, what for? Well it was a 2005 tax return that showed Trump paid $38 million tax on $158million income, yes there were some dodgy looking write offs but that wasn’t mentioned nearly enough. Not exactly the treasure she was hoping for and a total let down for anyone who tuned in. It was quite sad to see. A massive error made and it brings her trust factor right down. It is exactly the same thing that news channels from the other side do. It was wrong, it was childish and it played right into the hands of Trump who for a long time has said he has paid tax, the click bait TV show showed he did.  Stunts like this and the blue side in disarray is meaning that Trump is becoming even more of a Teflon don.

It is unreal that intelligent people are allowing trump to get the upper hand in nearly everything related to him. Trump is a pro wrestling ring master, and he is out smarting people his mental superior.

All Trump did was release a statement saying the usual, that it was illegal and terrible that his tax return was released. You could hear him cackling while he wrote it; I mean his spokesperson wrote it.

As sad as it is to say, Trump is winning.

As a finish to our trip to America I have a questions. When did the ‘greatest country in the world’ change the word opportunity to choice? Especially when it comes to healthcare. Choice assumes that you have enough money to make one; it doesn’t mean that everyone has the same choice. Whether it is discrimination, sexism, pay gaps or any kind of inequality, it is all about everyone (this is not just in America, for Ireland too) having the same OPPORTUNITY to succeed. At the moment and for a lot of my life time, not everyone has that opportunity.

I was hoping that a trip back to the homeland would help me feel a bit cleaner after being immersed in American politics, but it is just a sick here. We have a Taoiseach who is getting his last few air miles out of the Irish Government jet, we have partners in government not working together and we have local politicians more worried about photo ops than doing their job.

Enda Kenny is currently in America shaking hands and doing the annual Irish thing. He says he will mention the travel ban as it pertains to Irish people, but he won’t get more than a few minutes with El Prez. He is a photo op, and he doesn’t care because he is leaving office with his ministerial pension along with his teaching pension. Normally I would say good riddance, but when you look at the possible successors it leaves me more worried. Endas other business this week was to put forward a plans for a referendum to allow Irish citizens abroad to vote in elections for president and general elections.

This in itself doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that there was a march in Dublin City last week in relation to repealing the 8th amendment. No one has mentioned anything about Irish abroad and their voting rights, outside of the rich Irish people living abroad who came up with the idea while sitting around the brunch table in the country club. Most of the Irish abroad are more interested in paying their bills, living a life and providing for loved ones than who is President.

Another nonsense distraction tactic from a lame duck.

The last part of this week’s episode may have annoyed me the most.

Minister sought good PR in local papers after rural criticism

The minister for jobs (a role she has no business being in) Mary Mitchell O’Connor instructed her advisors to get as many pictures of her at the ploughing championships to as many news outlets as possible. This was due to her not getting on well in rural areas. So instead of going to these areas and instigating conversation with the people, getting in front of them at a meeting and having them air their problems and showing an ability to solve them. She wants pictures taken.

This is a minister who is paid real money. She is paid by the tax payer. And her big idea is to get pictures taken. This annoyed me more than click bait, than devious microwaves or lame ducks. This was the news that had me scratching my head.

With people like this in government s (all of the above mentioned), is it any wonder that 1 – Ireland has a drinking problem and 2-america has an obesity problem. These are both activities done to find comfort when life gets uncomfortable.

Until next time, feel free to share this with anyone mentioned above via social media and you can find me @nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram.

Keego : America from the outside, Ireland from the inside – 2

Welcome to episode 2 of ‘America from the outside, Ireland from the inside’. I call them episodes because there is more scandal and nonsensical behaviour from people than an episode of Coronation Street.

Starting off on the other side of the ocean, in America this week, the president has accused a former president of tapping his phones during the election of last year, he has signed a brand new executive order making it difficult for certain people to enter the country and he has commented on Arnold Schwarzenegger being fired from the apprentice.

Starting with the first issue. El Prez began tweeting on Saturday about his phones being tapped. He didn’t offer any proof, he didn’t have anyone to blame, it was just something to say on a Saturday morning. His spokespeople then came out and said that they believed it too. When asked for proof, they would reply with the fact that the president has more information than the rest of us. This information has yet to hit the twitter-verse or the real world. I currently have a €10 bet with Trump that an investigation does not take place. The offer of the bet took place on twitter so you know he read it!

By the way @nkeegan is where you can find me.

In relation to social media, I think the reasoning behind him using it is sound. It is a direct line to the people. It is a platform to make sure the message is sent out the exact way you want it to. It would be a great tool for a rational thinking president.

Unfortunately it appears that he isn’t the former while being the latter. But this is a 70+year old man. They rarely are.

The second piece of action from President Trump this week, which follows on from an executive order decreed in January 2017. This was an order suspending entry into the country for 90 days for people from Iran, Iraq, Libia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This was released to the media as If it was a press release that they didn’t want people to read. It was put out on a Friday evening. Which is what slimy publicists do when their clients are caught doing something they shouldn’t. They assume people won’t bother with it after office hours before a weekend. So Airports around the world had zero idea of who they should vet why they should vet them and how. Not to mention the fact that the Trump administration had put an ally on the list, while leaving out the country that supplied most of the people involved in 9/11 (Saudi Arabia). But let’s not be rational about this. This was questioned and held up by judges which caused another twitter storm from President Trump.

The Donald had to come up with a new plan.

2 months later, on my birthday (6th March, one for the diaries) a new order is unleashed. The difference? Well Iraq is off the list. It remains in the introduction of the order on the white house website, but is taken out of the remainder. As an aside, if my attention to detail was this bad, I would be fired. And I definitely do not work for a president.

This updated order begins on St Patrick’s weekend and does not affect anyone with a visa before that point. So what is this? Basically it is targeting a certain group of people without actually saying it out loud. They call it ‘extreme vetting’, but that is like ‘enhanced interrogation’. It is another title for the same thing. Enhanced interrogation was torture, extreme vetting is religious targeting. I thought there was something written in a fairly important American document about freedom of religion? Instead of inclusion, President Trump wants to exclude. Instead of attempting to understand, he prefers to stay on a high horse.

But again, he is 70+ years old, what do you expect?

His final top hit of twitter this week reeked of childishness. His old show, The Apprentice, sacked Arnold Schwarzenegger this week due to bad ratings. It had nothing to do with it being an old show with an outdated format of course. He took to twitter to stick the needle into Arnold. Such childishness and pettiness wouldn’t be out of place in a teenagers twitter account but this is the president. Surely there is something more important for him to do?

But again, he is a 70+year old, what do you expect?

A quick 7 hour plane journey brings us back to Ireland where there is only one story. The discovery of 800 children remains in a tank in Tuam, County Galway on the grounds of a Mother and baby home run by a Catholic order of nuns . The nation was outraged and it showed how in 2017 a country is still afraid of the church. This has been talked about since the 1920’s but no one prosecuted or investigated up until very recently. In 1975 child’s remains were found on the site, nothing happened. In 2012 Catherine Corless surmised that there were hundreds buried on the site. She was lambasted in all quarters of the media. Vilified. This was in 2012! People were still that afraid. That was just after our then Taoiseach Bertie Aherne signed an agreement with the church that the state would cover half of any pay-outs made as a result of child sex abuse. This is the country we live in! Horrific!

The only positive of this is that in 2017 there is social media; there are ways of pressuring government into investigations. We see it with the Garda corruptions and now with the other and baby homes run by the church.

My thoughts on religion are that it is yours. If it gives you comfort and strength when you need it, if it helps you in any way then it is a good thing. If you blindly follow it and are willing to look past things like the above or the rampant and horrific child sex abuse that was/is happening in the church then religion has ruined you as a human being. I am not anti religion; I am anti burying children in a pit or abusing people in any kind of way.

In closing, this story has me absolutely heartbroken. I can’t believe that a human being came up with burying children in a tank as a way of dealing with an issue; I can’t believe someone actually carried out those orders and I can’t believe we live in a country where government is too scared to chase and prosecute the scum who did this.

As usual @nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram.

And let’s be a little bit nicer to each other this week, let’s just try it.

 

Keego : America from the outside, Ireland from the inside – 1

Let the records show this is our first guest post here on FPP!  Many thanks to Keego, we hope to hear much more!  If you’d like to contribute contact us at firperplu@gmail.com


Welcome to episode 1 of ‘America from the outside, Ireland from the inside’. This first post will be an introduction of what the aims are of the series, views from my computer screen and an ability to contact me for further discussion and challenging of opinions.

Situated on Dublin’s Southside, I am looking at the world through various computer screens that frighten me, and this will be where I write down what I usually end up shouting at the screens that are ruining my life.

Firstly why America? Well it is fairly simple. I grew up wanting to go to America and be American. They had the best food, the best sport, the best TV, they got the films 6 months before us and everyone was so happy. Whereas here in Ireland everyone was always milliseconds from getting annoyed, in America they said ‘have a nice day’ just for buying chewing gum in the shop.

But I was also very young in a relatively safe world. During the cold war (I arrived towards the end of it) no one was going to pull the trigger, self-preservation meant that status quo (while angry) remained. There was no Vietnam War like my parents had, or WW2 like my grandparents had. This may have been the America I wanted to live in. Along with that, I had zero interaction with anything political. That is the key.

In my lifetime I have seen 2 bushes, a Clinton and Obama and now a Trump. I don’t remember a thing about Bush sr. Clinton appeared to take care of business in his office, while making some mistakes along the way. Not diminishing these mistakes, but they were none of my business. Private life is private. This was the first time politics entered my life from America. I wondered why older men were interested in the private life of a younger man. Was it criminal jealousy on their part? Was it because no one wanted to travel south of their equator? Or was it to score points?

Through the next line of presidents the country began being strangled. Laws were brought in to tap phones, to screen passengers (mostly of a certain colour let’s be honest) and to invade the private lives of Americans. People reacted with ‘I have nothing to hide so I don’t care if they listen to my calls’. This is like saying I don’t care about free speech because I have nothing to say. Reactions became simply yes or no. Nuance disappeared. The eye for an eye mentality that came from western films was now a legitimate reaction.

The world changed. The economies crashed, the Kardsashians and obesity arrived and we fast forward further to 2017. An America with a reality TV star and business ‘mogul’ as president. The people got so annoyed with the system that the change they chose was someone who made money by licensing his image to buildings, fighting legal action and showing an inability to live in the real world.

In America, you are either left or right even though both main parties are now so similar you would struggle to find a difference. You pick your side and you are there forever. That is not healthy. Sometimes the more conservative approach works and sometimes a more liberal way works it depends on the issue at hand. It is never one or the other.

America is the epicentre of the social justice warrior movement. A group who chase offence with self-importance and who appear to have an inability to stand on their own beliefs and challenge those who disagree, Ireland has this too (there is a video from 3 Trinity College students getting someone they disagree with banned from the college). Instead they depend on violence to stop people expressing themselves, sounds familiar from the history books doesn’t it? Recently an unedited video surfaced from a lecture where an SJW did not believe in biology or scientific proof of gender. This is a problem. It is equal parts frightening and comedic. The police treat kids in bikinis like they are smuggling bombs and celebrities  are treated like leaders in debate. Meryl Streep gets up and talks about understanding and tolerance, while wearing a 20 grand dress in front of other actors who haven’t been stuck on a train at rush hour in a long time. The gap between the ‘them’ and ‘us’ has never been bigger and that leads to their current presidential predicament.

It may appear that I am on my high horse, but there is a saying. ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’. In Ireland there is an insane political system populated by careerists. But we also have a population that continues to vote the same people in. We have a ‘you scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours’ way of business which leads to the Healy Rae family getting up and talking about the war on flowers in a public park. Never mind the homeless people, they don’t vote! The pensioners who walk in the park will vote for me if I get the park cleared.

This is where we live. This is how our island works. Our police force have been accused on multiple occasions of smearing innocent people with varying crimes, because they reported wrong doings by the force. If I get accused of anything at work that needs an investigation, I would be sent home pending the outcome. In Ireland, in the Garda Siochana, the commissioner is allowed stay in place. It is insane. Either she has something on the people in government or they know we will forget about this if they spring another story. We have horrific stories coming out about abuse against children under state care since the smearing thing came out and it is slowly disappearing from the headlines.

I think that bring the introduction to an end. Basically I am a frustrated man struggling to make sense of people who use important constructs of the world for their own gains while promising to look out for those less well off.  For any American readers, there is no malice intended and  I expect debate and abuse on my observations from thousands of miles away, but I am always open to enlightenment and correction from all.

For my Irish readers, I think we need a beer!

This will be weekly observations on a world filled with beautiful people, run by people who couldn’t run a bath.

@nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram