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

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A Week Of President Trump : Mar 4-10, 2017

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Week 7

Just a reminder of how last week ended for the President…we had the Sessions recusal :

Amid mounting calls for his resignation, Sessions told a press conference on Thursday that he decided not to participate in any investigations “related in any way to the campaign for president of the United States” after meeting with senior department officials.

Not looking good for one of El Trumpo’s top men!  Now if only there was something he could do to distract everyone’s attention?  How’s this series of tweets from Saturday morning…

Those tweets are presented in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.  So in the midst of effectively accusing his predecessor of treason, he also seems to suggest a sitting President meeting with a Russian ambassador is a bad thing and…leaving apparently the most important thing until last, he has a pop at Arnie.

According to CNN, he has done all he can to avoid presenting his evidence…

Six days after he accused his Oval Office predecessor of wiretapping him, President Donald Trump on Thursday again avoided questions about the charge, leaving his aides and allies still-struggling to explain his Saturday-morning broadside.

Also this week, Trump & the Republicans have been rolling out some revised policies…one that they originally got wrong, though even this one is being challenged

Several US states have said they will move forward with legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s revised executive order that targets citizens of six Muslim-majority countries and refugees.

…and the other is one from Trump’s predecessor that the GOP repeatedly called a “disaster”…

…there’s little question that the outcome of the healthcare debate will play a major role in defining Trump’s first term in office, affecting his ability to deliver on other priorities such as a $1-trillion plan to rebuild public works, a multibillion-dollar border wall and a daunting challenge to rewrite the tax code.

Never mind what anyone tries to call the plan.  It’s Trumpcare.  Always, always, Trumpcare.

Meanwhile Trump’s Cabinet choice for Housing and Urban Developmen was doing this…

Ben Carson says slaves were “immigrants” who “had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

As always, Rachel Maddow isn’t swayed by distractions and is hot on the trail of connecting Trump to the Russians…

Signs of continuing Russia influence in US raise alarm

So we’re now officially halfway through his first 100 days.  These posts don’t seem like drying up for material any time soon.  Let’s finish this week’s edition with a laugh.  Here’s Saturday Night Live…

Click here for last week’s post

 

Interesting “alternative fact” in NY Times article on #MauriceMcCabe crisis

Last night we were treated to a classic example of the fantasy world in which our Irish national parliament exists.

There was a debate in the Dáil over a Sinn Fein motion of no confidence in the government, of which the highlight was a remarkable bit of attempted political chicanery by former minister under Bertie Ahern and current Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin.

Somehow he managed to (1) berate Sinn Féin for having brought the motion in the first place and (2) attack the government for their (admittedly shocking) handling of the Maurice McCabe situation, before his party proceeded to abstain from the vote altogether, effectively helping Kenny’s government survive.

Just in case you are a little bit behind the curve on what has happened with McCabe, the New York Times offers a brief refresher course with this article posted yesterday.  And as part of it, there is a glaring error that demands immediate correction.  Or IS IT an error?

Both Mr. Kenny’s party, Fine Gael, and its coalition partner, Fianna Fail, had little appetite for fresh elections that could unsettle their fragile government.

Earlier in the article, a sentence which would make Gerry Adams very happy…

There were heated exchanges between Mr. Kenny and Gerry Adams, the leader of the opposition Sinn Fein party.

Naturally the Civil War duopoly would object to this depiction, as last year they somehow managed to cobble together a government with sticky plaster in an attempt to keep Fianna Fail on the opposition benches at the expense of Adams & his posse.

I’m no fan of Sinn Féin, but I’m not so sure this article has gotten anything wrong.  It’s more like that kid in the story who points out the Emperor has no clothes.

First and foremost, the McCabe family, and anyone else brave enough to come forward and call out corruption among their superiors for that matter, deserves to have their shocking treatment dealt with fairly and publicly, not just for their sake, but also for anyone who might wish to do similar in the future.

Next there is the matter of Martin, Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar – the three men best poised to bring down Enda Kenny.  If this government must stay in place going forward, it needs some semblence of stability, and statements from each of them are the only way to bring that.

By saying nothing, they are demonstrating that they don’t want to deal with what the Taoiseach has on his plate right now (this whistleblower crisis, #RepealThe8th and #Right2Water to name just three), thus showing themselves to be cowards.  JLP

 

 

One thing you need to know about this Indo article titled “Five things you need to know about today’s #Right2Water demonstration”

“Look, we’re being balanced and we’re covering today’s demonstration!”, implies the Irish Independent in this minimalist article.

Never mind the fact that they want you to believe there will only be 3,000 people there.

Never mind the fact that they highlight the delays to city centre, in other words – making the cost to downtown business folk more important than people’s right to show their frustration with government policy.

Some of the comments beneath the article…

So, is it about water, EU, Taxes, or whatever takes your fancy?

It must be so confusing being ‘agin’ everything – reality keeps getting in the way.

Best approach: when what you are saying makes no sense, just reduce it to a short slogan, and scream it louder. Drowns out all the facts nicely, but shows the march up as a large gathering with very low total IQ.

I bet some of them even think that water is already paid for. Even Paul Murphy agrees it is underfunded.

Where to go? Oh I’d love to tell these wasters where to go!!!

More pointless disruption.

IF YOU WANT REAL INFO ON THE PROTEST CLICK HERE

 

 

 

Is Michael O’Leary really Ireland’s trump card when it comes to “fixing the country”? Eh, no.

For me, the scariest thing about a Donald Trump rally isn’t so much the rhetoric he spouts, vile and hateful though it usually is.  What is truly frightening is that so many people listening to him actually cheer.

Well, here in Ireland we can rest assured that we don’t have a businessman whom a lot of people think can run the country?  Think again.

Now to be clear…this is NOT a post about the rights and wrongs of the strike currently threatened by workers at Dublin Bus…what we’re looking at here is how it is reported and how certain people react to them.

A trade dispute is between an employer and its workforce.  Therefore, there are two sides.  Yet whenever a strike is threatened in this country, particularly in the area of public services, the “watercooler” discussion invariably surrounds the inconvenience to said publin (which of course is understandable) though with the blame put squarely at the doorstep of the unions.

It is so bad that Michael O’Leary, boss of the 5th best low-cost airline in Europe, feels he can weigh in on the matter with a remarkably simple solution that clearly nobody else has thought of :

“We should be privatising all these useless public services that depend every year on big subsidies from the tax payer because frankly, the tax payer has better things to be spending the money on.”

Ah, the tax payer.  Clearly the person for whom Mr O’Leary toils morning, noon and night.  And look – he called them “useless”, that’s just something you or I would say!  He talks just like us!  Who cares if he never actually backs up his words?

Yet the response from his “man-crush brigade” is always the same.  This is just from one thread on Facebook :

Yippiekia! Gotta love Michael O’Leary

He’d turn this country around that’s for sure

the tail is wagging the dog now…50k+ because its a “responsible” job..next thing we’ll be paying kids in McDonalds 50k not to put glass into the burgers…

It’s always the unions at fault.  Now let’s be clear…I’m not saying they are perfect by any stretch.  But the way things are supposed to work is that the government works for the general public to resolve a dispute between two sides.

Instead, between the government, corporate class and the media, these disputes generally disintergrate into a standoff between public and private sector workers in general discourse.  A fire people like Mr O’Leary are more than happy to stoke.

One thing I will say for him…he is probably smart enough never to actually run for public office.

 

Brianna Parkins and Breda O’Brien write in the Irish Times #RepealThe8th

Two pieces well worth reading in the Irish Times.  Both make reference to the #RepealThe8th campaign.  Both involve the “controversy” surrounding comments made by Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins.

The first, by Parkins herself, not only puts her remarks into context but also gives us a wider view of the overall event itself from the point of view of the contestants.

I stand by the festival, but I believe it’s time for it to change. If it doesn’t accept that women who enter will want to have political opinions then it risks being on the wrong side of history.

The second, by Pro-Life campaigner and regular IT columnist Breda O’Brien, does pretty much what every such article does…misdrect using straw people and hypothetical scenarios.

If she had called for the retention of the Eighth Amendment, would media people be queuing up to congratulate her, and to offer her a drink?

Breda DOES know that her regular columns in a national newspaper make her a “media person”, right?

She goes on…

And please don’t say Brianna Parkins just called for a vote. No-one who supports the equal right to life of the unborn child and the mother would call for a vote on the amendment that protects that right.

Nobody who supports democracy would object to the calling of a vote.

The Indo really, really wants you to know that a politician was arrested but won’t tell you why (or even ask him)

As far as we’re concerned here at FPP, the only real story here is in the source and wording of the report as opposed to the information it is presenting.

The Irish Left is a many-headed monster but the Social Democrats certainly appear to be presenting something close to a “mainstream” face on their organisation, offering a place of refuge for disillusioned Labour voters in particular.

Running on a platform that claims to “Support a healthy, inclusive and progressive society, ensure a strong, stable and vibrant economy & make politics and government more transparent” the 2015 election was a success for them and they now have 3 TDs in Stephen Donnelly, Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shorthall as well as a host of councillors.

All of which makes it interesting to see how the Irish Independent, owned by Denis O’Brien’s* Independent News & Media, is reporting this “story” involving James Heffernan, who unsuccessfully ran on behalf of the SocDems for the Senate elections.

Below you see the article in full by Philip Ryan

FORMER Senator James Heffernan was arrested again last weekend and charged with a public order offence.

This incident comes weeks after Mr Heffernan was arrested three times over the course of a weekend while attending a music festival in Cork.

He was arrested in the early hours of last Saturday morning by gardai in Galway City following an incident outside a popular music venue.

The Limerick politician, who ran for the Social Democrats in the recent General Election, was charged at a special sitting of the Galway District Court on same day.

He is due to appear before the court on December 19th.

Mr Heffernan is understood to have been with his band in the Roisin Dubh venue before the incident which resulted in his arrested.

It is unclear what led to his arrest but sources say onlookers videoed the incident.

Sources close to the former Senator said he was examined by a doctor following his release due to injuries he sustained from the incident.

A Garda spokesman said a 36-year-old male was arrested at 2am on Dominic Street in Galway City Centre on Saturday morning.

The spokesman said the male was brought to Mill Street Garda Station and charged on the same day.

In the last week of September, Mr Heffernan was arrested three times in Mitchelstown, Co Cork over the course of a 36 hours period while attending a music festival.

He was arrested at the Indiependence Festival after gardai became concerned about what has been described as his erratic behaviour. He was arrested and detained over night before being released without charge.

He was arrested on the day of his release on suspicion of drink driving and again detained by gardai. He was later released and arrested on third occasion for public order offences.

In May, before the election, he was arrested in Templebar in Dublin City Centre after he mistakenly entered a crime scene.

Here at FPP we feel the above piece is less about “proper journalism” and more about associating words and terms like “arrested”, “public order offences”, “suspicion of drink driving”, “erratic behaviour” with the words “Social Democrats”.

When you weed out all the references to times Heffernan was arrested without charge, you discover that there is only one actual charge pending, namely a “public order offence”.  So why not wait until December 19 when all of the facts can be put into the public domain?

And instead of citing “sources close to” him, why not ASK him?  Or at least give him the opportunity and tell us if he declines?

We also found their choice of photo interesting.  Let’s just say it’s a far cry from the one he has on his Oireachtas page.

If you wanted to take it further, going by the information presented above, there’s even a case to be made for investigations into targeted police harassment.

Just to be clear…we have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever in relation to this case, nor are we putting forward any actual opinion as to his innocence rather than the standard democratic assumption of same.

*= Of course O’Brien and the SocDem’s Catherine Murphy have history in the area of putting allegations into the public domain – he doesn’t seem to like it when it’s done to himself