Breitbart ticks every right-wing fury-inducing box it can find in YouTube shooting headline

Breitbart trigger.png

Iranian.  Azeri.  Vegan.  Activist. Muslim-sounding name.  Clearly the good folks at Breitbart are trying to prove a point?

If anything they missed a trick – according to the Telegraph, she was also an animal rights protester.

Remember – if the shooter was ‘American. White. Meat-Eating. Christian.’ then the headline would read something like this : ‘YouTube shooting highlights the need to focus on mental health issues’.  JLP

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Message to Trump: Why Teachers Should Not Be Armed

Diane Ravitch's blog

Reader Zorba writes:

”I cannot believe this merde about arming the teachers.

”Are the states and districts going to pay for training the teachers, pay for their guns, their bullets, their liability insurance? Pay the teachers way more because they are not just teachers, but first responders? All of this when in many districts they’re not even willing to pay for enough teachers or even pay for enough books, pencils, and frigging copy paper for each classroom.

”Give me a break.

“I am a retired special education teacher. My students were developmentally disabled and severely emotionally disturbed. Some were also sometimes self abusive or violent, and I had to restrain them for their own safety or the safety of others. So, if I had a gun strapped to me (whether concealed or not), what if the kid was able to grab that gun?

”These people are not just stupid and…

View original post 12 more words

Classic ‘slow news day’ story on RTE.ie does little more than stoke northside v southside and public v private sector conflicts

THE ISSUE

Maybe as well as talking about ‘Fake News’ we should also be coining a term like ‘Hate News’?

THE MEDIA

Article by John Kilraine – ‘Dublin Correspondent’ on RTE.ie on January 24, 2018

Row over ‘inferior’ planter boxes on Dublin’s northside

“To me this just epitomises an attitude in the city council – a northside/southside divide,” he said.

THE COMMENT

When a comment by one independent councillor is considered a ‘row’ by a major Iriish news source, you know it’s a slow news day.

This is the comment I saw on Facebook that accompanied the link to this complete non-story…

Oh FFS!!!
This is what our public servants who get paid with our hard earned taxes, spend their time bleating about!! With all that needs doing in the city! Give me strength!!

Personally I’d be more concerned about our hard earned TV licence money that’s going to our national broadcaster.

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Click here to check out our new feature on Dáil Leaders’ Questions.

Dáil LQ notes – Jan 24, 2018

Dail LQ notes

cropped-fpp-logo2.jpgThis the first in a new series of posts we have been meaning to start since the inception of this blog. 

We believe Leaders’ questions to be the most important regular event in Irish politics, yet while it does receive live TV coverage by the national broadcaster, it happens on Wednesday at 12pm, thus guaranteeing that the vast majority of the popularity will be unable to watch,

Great lengths are taken to ensure that things like sporting events and other forms of entertainment are timed so we can be both watching and taking in the ads that go with them…yet when our political leaders are discussing key issues of the day, we have to rely on DVRs.

With these posts the hope is to take notes on the Leader’s questions as they happen, offering our own paraphrasing on the various contributions from the political figures and other panel members in the RTE studio.  It may take a few weeks to hone this format to exactly the way we want it so please bear with us.  Here goes…

Pre-game

Host – Sharon Ni Bheolain

Panel – Michael Lehane [RTE] and Elaine Loughlin [Irish Examiner]
Sean Sherlock TD [LAB] on video link

FPP – I only caught the final part of the pre-game where they were discussing the Eighth Amendment debate, with the general gist of the conversation suggesting that mostly due to legal concerns outlined by the Attorney General, there would be difficulties with a straight Yes/No referendum. I heard no opinion expressed to the contrary.

Questions begin

Micheal Martin – We need teachers and they need to be better paid [and with gender equality] so why has education department been so inept?

Leo Varadkar – Our teachers are grand, since my lot took over from your lot we’ve more teachers – here are some stats and besides, when you see less teachers it means economy is going well. We also

MM – You’re not answering my question, in fact you are giving dishonest, partisan responses. There has been complete inaction, please accept that there is a crisis that needs intervention.

LV – I’m partisan? YOU’RE partisan! Here’s some more stats.

Louise O’Reilly [SF] – Ill treatment and disregard for women, especially in provision on medical services like trans-vaginal mesh implants. I refer you to Prime Time last night. I have been raising this issue with Minister for Health. I have four specific questions on this issue…these are four crucial issues on women’s health can you at least acknowledge

LV – my sympathies and concerns go with any patients suffering, I didn’t see Prime Time, I didn’t know you were going to raise this issue so I haven’t been briefed. I’m not a doctor in this field so I would have to refer to to the proper experts. In other words, no.

LOR – I have been after the Minister on this, but he has still not been briefed. You should give a message to these women and to HSE that there is international evidence that this practice needs to be stopped.

LV – Again, I haven’t been briefed and if there have been legal cases I can’t get involved. I agree that HSE and Minister for Health should consider all relevant evidence.

Brendan Howlin – School buildings are in the hands of PPPs but in the case of one in Wexford [which is part of a group of schools under the same PPP] it is disrupting the running of the school despite assurances to the contrary. When will teaching begin in Wexford and the other sites in the school bundle?

LV – It’s a very important matter – it’s going to take us a couple of weeks because one of the partners has had issues to sort this out but we’re in a strong position and it will be sorted out. This has not arisen simply because it’s a PPP.

BH – The selling point for PPPs is that should one partner collapse, the remaining partners should sake responsibility. Why is there not a proactive move to make sure the agreed timeline is fulfilled? The govt cannot be passive.

LV – I can give that assurance – the Dept will be involved over the coming weeks. I even have a statement from the Dutch partner company so obviously we have to believe it.

Maureen O’Sullivan [IND] – Ireland needs to address tax justice as you’re off to Davos – you told European Parliament that we’re not a tax haven. Here’s some information that suggests otherwise – some clothing companies have filthy rich CEOs while their workers in Bangladesh are anything but….will the government look at the area of tax spillovers?

LV – I read the WEF report ahead of going to Davos…here are some good things they had to say about Ireland to put them on the record because it makes me look good. This year for the first time revenue commissioners from different countries will share information with each other. Companies cannot be ‘stateless’ and we have eliminated the ‘double Irish’.

MOS – The positive will be undermined unless we look at the negatives. Human rights must be protected as well as economic concerned. Instead of Double Irish we now have ‘single malt’. If we’re not careful we will appear on bad lists.

LV – We can’t focus on the negative, sure we’re grand. We can change our laws all we like but it’s not enough we have to work with OECD. The government is committed to tax sovereignty. Can I remind you that our low corporation tax has been a tremendous success.

Post game –

SNB pins the teacher crisis on Labour, challenges Sean Sherlock, he offers defence
Micheal Lehane – People are being lured away by private sector
Elaine Loughlin Irish Examiner – Dubai effect, Google effect
SS on schools – not enough for Taoiseach to say it’s going to ‘take a few weeks’
ML – Taoiseach is being vague on this
SNB on LOS questions – Is LQs the place to discuss these procedures?
EL – It’s not just one individual case it’s a widespread problem
SNB – we have thirty seconds left on tax injustice
SS – I want to say something on the women’s issue…Ireland is doing a lot better on tax transparency. But I’m cynical on Davos.

FPP COMMENT

For this first instalment of our feature I’d like to focus on the presentation rather than the substance.

I really don’t understand why RTÉ bothered to have a presence in the studio at all.  Before the LQs they spoke about the Eighth Amendment which was never even mentioned in the Dáil session then in the post-game segment they barely had enough time to go over the various topics discussed.  Sean Sherlock just about managed to spit out his party’s position but he was just parroting Howlin’s words while the two journalists offered little by way of analysis, deciding instead to inform us about the answers that Varadkar gave.

As far as I’m concerned, Leader’s Questions should be something everyone is talking about, every bit as much as sporting occasions, every bit as much as what Donald Trump said, every bit as much as the Great British Bake Off.  Sticking it an hour before lunch on Hump Day with reluctant coverage by RTÉ isn’t going to spark too many debates around the watercooler, that’s for sure.  JLP

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It may not be a ‘sexy’ topic, but if you don’t fully understand gerrymandering, you don’t fully understand politics/government.

THE ISSUE

Gerrymandering is a process widely practised in democracies across the world [including Ireland] and has been proven to have a significant impact on representative government, yet it is broadly ignored by the mainstream media.

THE MEDIA

Podcast by Best Of The Left on January 19, 2018

#1159 Voters need to pick their reps, not the other way around (Gerrymandering)

“These district lines are the building blocks of democracy and when they get perverted and twisted as this, it leads to deeply undemocratic outcomes…that damages the levers of representative government and that is how elections are rigged and that is the kind of rigged we need to be talking about, not what Donald Trump is talking about.”

THE COMMENT

Packing. Cracking. The Efficiency Gap. Prison-gerrymadering,

IMO it is vital that we fully understand those terms – in fact I only learned about that last one regarding prisons from listening to the above episode of Best of the Left, a twice-weekly podcast which collates snippets from different online media sources on a specific topic.

We need to know every aspect of this process of gerrymandering, as well as how widespread it is.   At the moment Donald Trump is rumoured to be placing a man named Thomas Brunel, known to be heavily involved in rigging several districts in favour of Republicans, in charge of the next US census, which in turn decides most of the electoral boundaries across the country.

Do you think this practise doesn’t happen in Ireland anymore?  Think again.  There are over 150 TDs yet with only 26 counties to cover, many are lumped together in constituencies like Cavan/Monaghan, Sligo/Leitrim and Carlow/Kilkenny making it possible that entire counties can go without representation.

Then we have a practise I call ‘GerryAdamsing’, namely organising your votes to ensure multiple candidates from a particular party win seats.  Sinn Féin are far from the only party to do this but they are definitely among the best and the overall point is that it should not be possible at all.

But I am straying too far into my own personal opinion on the subject of voter suppression.   The point of this post is to encourage everyone to bring themselves up to speed and form their own opinion, and I recommend this episode of BestOfTheLeft as a good starting point.  JLP

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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