War seen as entertainment by sections of the general public (video rant)

Haven’t done a video rant in ages and over the past few days this story has been on my mind so now seems to be the perfect time to share it.

Trump’ hypocrisy (and Fox News’ effectiveness) exposed in one of his shortest tweets of 2019

We returned to blogging yesterday as part of a New Year’s Resolution to post more often about Irish politics, but of course that doesn’t mean we’re just going to ignore the US President altogether!

Even the fleas on the dogs in the street know that when the US Senate eventually gets around to having a trial on Trump’s Impeachment, he’s going to be “acquitted”, mostly because of the extremely high bar of 67 out of 100 votes required to do so.

Another thing we all know is that Trump is going to Lord it over everyone once that happens. He will see himself to have moved on, to be fully exonerated, and if anyone should bring up the subject again, they are nothing but sore losers. Anyone who has followed his twitter account over the past few years will know this will be his way of thinking.

With that inevitability being established, let us consider his way of thinking in the above tweet. It was originally posted as a follow-up to one where he essentially praised himself for the way the storming of the American Embassy in Baghdad was handled by the US troops. This message was a little sting in the tail to serve as “red meat for his base”, so let’s explore his premise shall we.

There were a total of TEN investigations into the 2012 terrorist attack on the US government facility in Benghazi, Libya, but by far the most significant was Trey Gowdy’s one for the House Select Committee, which ran for two years and included over 8 hours of tesitmony by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. All suspicions that the investigation was a political exercise (witch hunt???) were confirmed by Republican congressman (and current House Minority Leader) Kevin McCarthy when he said on Fox :

 “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

Investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack

Although the exhaustive investigations did find areas where the government departments could have performed better, there were no conclusive findings of serious wrongdoings against anyone, including Clinton. Or to put it another way, she was EXONERATED.

Yet here we have the President still referring to it (sidenote – on his first attempt at the tweet he spelled Benghazi wrong) and thanks to years of Fox News constantly finding infinite different ways to brainwash their viewers into believing “Benghazi > Death of US soldiers > Hillary’s fault” regardless of the actual findings, it still proves an effective weapon for him today.

Since he is so keen to invoke the Benghazi situation, perhaps that means he himself is willing to testify about Ukraine before the Senate? And since his current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also a leading figure in Gowdy’s committee, he should be more than willing to do the same?

I won’t hold my breath. And while Trump’s ability to get away with blatant hypocrisy is indeed scary, I’d be much more worried about the role of Fox News in this narrative.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Trump is making up his foreign policy as he goes along


The current crisis between the US and Iran was created by Trump so no matter what he does about it, the whole situation was totally unnecessary and it’s clear that his is in way over his head when it comes to foreign policy.


Article by Makini Brice in Reuters.com on Monday, June 24, 2019

Trump says other countries should do more to protect oil tankers

Trump made the comments amid an escalation in tensions with Iran, as Washington has blamed Tehran for attacks on two oil tankers


I’m certainly not going to pretend to be anything of a foreign policy expert, but the situation regarding Iran and it’s capacity to make nuclear weapons appears to be very simple.

Few agreements are perfect, even fewer international treaties are.  This is because thrashing them out involves compromise.

Whether or not Trump appreciates this, his viewpoint has always been that the JPCOA, negotiated by Obama and the international community was a ‘disaster’, mostly because he doesn’t trust them to hold up their side of the bargain.

So he pulled the US out of the agreement and increased sanctions not only on Iran, but also on anyone doing business with them, yet all the while still holding them to their side of the agreement he ripped up???

Before any of the events of the past week, the situation was already absurd, all due to Trump’s own actions.

Now as he makes the sanctions even tighter, it comes at no surprise that the Iranian equivalent of John Bolton is going to have an itchy trigger finger and thus we have seen an attack on a Japanese vessel as well as the shooting down of an unmanned US drone.

Now we’re expected to think the POTUS is some kind of hero because he pulls out of planned retaliation at the last minute???  Then he tells Chuck Todd that the only thing he wants from Iran is ‘No Nuclear Weapons’ only to add ‘Stop terror campaigns’ in a tweet a couple of days later?

Now a whole week after the attack on the Japanese vessel all of a sudden he’s whining about having to protect the shipping lanes????

I know I’m no expert on foreign policy, but I didn’t seek election and I certainly didn’t do so by telling everyone I could make the situation better.  He has made it abundantly clear that he hasn’t a clue.


Mainstream media and “deranged” liberals square off over Trump’s Syrian attacks

The bible on which Donald Trump was sworn in as President was still warm from his touch as Sean Spicer launched the administration’s first attack on the mainstream media.  We later learned they were considered “the enemy of the people” and purveyors of “fake news”.

But all that changed once the attacks were being launched in a more conventional military fashion.  Then all the insults were miraculously forgotten.

Among the most notable admirers of Trump’s unique foreign policy style, which involves informing fellow super powers of your actions over chocolate cake apparently, was CNN’s Fareed Zakaria who claimed that he was “finally being presidential”.

Look – of course he’s entitled to his opinion, nobody is disputing that.  But this article of his in the Washington Post appears to be a sign of him being unable to cope with the backlash he received from the “Left”, as he goes the route of cherry picking the most abusive comments and constructs an absurdly straw man view from the “liberal” standpoint.

From the response on the left, you would have thought I had just endorsed Trump for pope. Otherwise thoughtful columnists described my views as “nonsense” and a sign that the media has “bent over backward” to support Trump. (Really?) One journalist declared on television, “If that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” A gaggle of former Obama speechwriters discussed how my comments were perhaps “the stupidest” of any given on the subject.

So basically when your opponents use hyperbole it means they’re “deranged” yet it’s ok for you to suggest you had endorsed Trump for the papacy?

A lot of people disagree with you, Fareed.  Get over it.

Meanwhile here’s Lee “Geeky Jesus” Camp with his take on the whole affair, which would be much closer to our view here at FPP.  Yes, we know his show is backed by Russia Today.  But while we don’t always agree with his show’s viewpoint, it often makes a lot of sense.

For another example of the gap in opinion here’s The Young Turks appraising Fox News’ “This is what freedom looks like” narrative…


Website “Human Rights In Ireland” produces form letter for contacting your local TD objecting to US Muslim ban

The below is directly copy/pasted from the website Human Rights In Ireland

We suggest below a draft letter that people concerned with the application of the Executive Order in US pre clearance in Irish airports might find useful should they wish to write to TDs in relation to it. Of course, people should adjust it to reflect their preferred language and approach to the issue, but we hope it might be useful.


I am writing to you [as a constituent [and] citizen] to express my deep concern about the continued operation of the Aviation (Preclearance) Act 2009 and associated agreements in Irish airports during the administration of President Donald J. Trump.

In the first week and a half of his presidency we have already seen Trump attempt to subvert the Immigration and Nationality Act 1965 in order to apply discrimination in immigration and undermine international refugee law through Executive Order. As a result of the preclearance agreement between Ireland and the USA, this Order is being applied on Irish soil and in Irish airports. As you will be aware, Article II(1) of that agreement makes it clear that Irish law continues to apply in those preclearance areas. The application of this Order may result in, for example, EU Citizens with dual citizenship with a listed country experiencing nationality based discrimination, facilitated by Irish law, in clear contravention of the TFEU. I remind you also that it is not  possible effectively to renounce citizenship in Iran, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

I remind you that under the 2009 Act, those turned away at preclearance are at the frontiers of the state and must be treated in accordance with the Immigration Act 2004. The Irish state also has obligations of non-refoulement which may arise. Furthermore, any Irish officials including Gardaí who may be involved in any way in policing the preclearance area are obliged as always to act in full compliance with the Constitution and with the ECHR.

Even if Congress supports President Trump’s policies through legislation, thus amending the 1965 Act inasmuch as that is constitutionally permissible, Ireland must ensure that rights under the Irish Constitution continue to be protected in these preclearance areas, and that violations of international law are not facilitated through the application of the agreement.

Bearing all of the above in mind, I would be grateful if you could please seek from the Taoiseach and appropriate minister, and provide me with, details of the following:

A. Measures that are being taken to ensure that unlawful discrimination is not being undertaken or facilitated at Irish airports through the application of Trump policy in preclearance areas.
B. Measures that the Irish government is taking to ensure that international refugee law is not subverted through the application of Trump policy in preclearance areas.
C. Mechanisms in place to ensure Ireland’s obligations under the TFEU, the ECHR and other applicable international law are fully complied with in preclearance areas.
D. Procedures for withdrawal from the preclearance agreement and bases upon which withdrawal would be contemplated by the Irish government

All over the United States this weekend lawyers and others have protested against this unlawful, cruel, Islamophobic and xenophobic attempt to undermine the rule of law. I ask the Oireachtas and the Irish government, in my name, to stand with them. I also ask you to ensure that Ireland provides protection to people seeking asylum from Syria, in particular, who President Trump seeks to preclude from receiving refugee status in the United States.

Given the evident urgency of the matter, I look forward to your swift response.

Yours sincerely,

© First Person Plural 2017

The Boy In The Orange Chair

I’m pretty confident you know about the boy to whom my headline refers.

I won’t be adding the picture in question to this post, nor will I add a link, because I’m afraid of feeling as though doing so somehow represents “job done” for me.  I have added it to my blog >  That shows how much I care > Time to move on with my life.  This is something all social media users tend to do when atrocities happen around the world and it has to be because it somehow makes us feel better.

But then there’s the other end of this spectrum.  Right – so posting a picture isn’t enough…then what CAN I do?   Is there any way I can help that boy?  Any way I can help prevent similar, or indeed much worse, fates befalling other innocents?  Any way I can help war-torn nations like Syria?

I certainly can’t answer those questions right now as I type, but I certainly believe there has to be a way, and most of that belief stems from the fact (and yes this can be called a fact) that I am far from the only person to have the reaction I did when I saw the photo.  With the reach of social media these days it had to be a reaction shared by tens of millions around the globe.

A couple of weeks ago my 7-year-old son came in from playing outside and sat beside me on the sofa.  An advert for an organisation like Oxfam happened to be on the TV – I wasn’t really paying it much mind.  He started to tell me about what was going on out on the road with his mates when he interrupted himself saying “I really want to help those people.”  His words left me speechless – I hadn’t a clue what to say in reply other than “I know.  And you will.”

So maybe that is but one way we can help.  Educate the next generation so they can get us that little bit closer to a world without war.  Or at least that little bit closer to a world that doesn’t assume it’s hopelessly naive to imagine a world without war.  Just because it’s not a solution that will bear fruit tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or even in our own lifetime, doesn’t mean it warrants rejection.

If we don’t at least try, surely the emotions we feel when we see images like The Boy In The Orange Chair will become meaningless.

Want to understand ISIS? Listen to Fisk not Trump

He talks “West” but he knows the Middle East as well as anyone.

There’s no better way to describe Robert Fisk, who’s articles in the English Independent are “must-reads” for those who crave at least basic knowledge of what’s happening on the ground out there, as opposed to the over-simplified black/white rhetoric put out there by the mainstream media and fanatical presidential candidates.

In his latest piece “Isis has not radicalised young Muslims, it has infantilised them – and that is why it is so powerful and dangerous” he evokes the memory of Bishop Edward Daly with whom he was well acquainted and compares the mindset of the IRA to that of the would-be Islamic caliphate.

Isis has broken down the precious wall which separates childhood from adulthood, innocence from guilt. This, far more than mass murder, is its final dark achievement

Fascinating, enlightening material as always, as well as of course profoundly tragic.