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Advantage Biden

Advantage BidenGerry OShea
It is early times for making predictions, but still a review of all the polling data, nationwide as well as in various key states, and an assessment of the other candidates’ progress point to Joe Biden as the one with the best chance of getting the Democratic nomination.

I suggest that there are four good reasons why he is favorite and likely to be successful.

First, the Democrats are looking, above all, for a winner; they really want the current president out, and the polls show that when faced with a direct run-off against President Trump, Biden consistently fares better than any of his Democratic opponents, winning by as much as ten points nationally and also edging out or matching the president in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michican, North Carolina and Florida. The blue-collar voters who abandoned Hillary Clinton seem ready to leave Trump for the man who is known as “middle-class Joe.”

Democrats are fired up above all else about beating Tr…
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It's the Economy Stupid!

It's the Economy StupidGerry OShea
"It's the economy stupid" is remembered as the succinct message James Carvilleconveyed tothe Democratic Party workers during Bill Clinton's first campaign for the presidency in 1992. He felt that the campaign was wasting too much time focusing on esoteric issues of foreign and domestic policy.
Instead, he wanted those knocking on doors and indeed the wider national campaign to engage people on kitchen- table issues - jobs, salaries, taxes, education and healthcare. He stressed that these are the real challenges that impact people every day.
Carville was certainly not the first to appreciate this approach to a political campaign. When Jimmy Carter ran against the incumbent president, Gerald Ford, in 1976, he highlighted what he called the misery index which he claimed reflected poorly on his opponent. He explained that this measure of progress is derived by adding the unemployment rate to the nationalinflation figure, and Carter s…

Catholic Women Today

Catholic Women TodayGerry OShea
About 700,00 people leave the Catholic Church in America every year. These are not lapsed Catholics who drift away from their religious roots, but members of the church who choose to leave the belief system they were raised with.
There are multiple reasons for these unprecedented numbers, but the most important consideration centers on the dismal failure of the church in dealing with women's issues.
Talking recently at a symposium titled"The Women the Vatican Couldn'tSilence" in Trinity College, Dublin,former Irish president Mary McAleese, who spent six years in Rome earning a doctorate in theology, bemoanedhow "women were deliberately made invisible and programmed to stay invisible" because of church structures that are "designed to create and maintain the invisibility and powerlessness of women."
Speaking to the same packed auditorium, Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun from Pennsylvania and author of nearly thirty bo…

Capitalism or Socialism

Socialism or CapitalismGerry OShea
When John Healy, the great journalist of a past era from County Mayo, was faced with a conundrum that wasn't open to any easy explanation he would challenge his readers by asking "Riddle me that!" I thought of Mr. Healy recently as I tried to understand the policy differencesbetween two of the prominent candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Senator Warren defines herself as a capitalist "to my bones." She says that her goal is to radically reform the economic system and make it work for ordinary people.
However, Senator Sanders always presents himself as a socialist and points to his commitment to that philosophy as setting him apart from his opponent on the left from Massachusetts.
A perusal of the positions of both candidates on the major issues is revealing.
HealthcareBoth Sanders and Warren strongly support a public healthcare system that covers all citizen…

Gays in the Catholic Church

Gays in the Catholic ChurchGerry OShea
The often-acrimonious debate about the morality of the gay lifestyle continues in the Catholic Church. In most parishes members of the LGBT community feel more comfortable keeping a low profile, not making demands, while the majority of pastors avoid preaching about the knotty and complex issues of same-sex relationships.
While Judaism, as represented in the Old Testament, strongly condemned homosexual activity, you will search in vain in the four gospels, which tell of Christ's sermons and lifestyle, for any criticism of same-sex relationships. His main message focuses on the primary importance of love and compassion among his followers, calling for special care for the poor and oppressed.
How then did these matters become so important in the teachings of the Catholic Church and indeed in most Christian denominations? The answer lies in what the theologians call natural law. Proponents of this approach to morality assert that any sexual activit…

Unionist Intransigence in Northern Ireland

ionism in Northern IrelandGerry OSheNot-an-Inch Un a
Intransigence is the guiding principle and predictable tactic of Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland. Their many victories over the years have convinced the leadership in that community that their "not an inch" political philosophy can transfer successfully to the current major Brexit crisis.
More than a hundred years ago when a Home Rule Bill was finally passed in Westminster, Loyalists in Belfast rejected the decision of parliament, armed a hundred thousand in their community and successfully defied the British government.
Next, seeing as they wouldn't accept a parliament in Dublin, they decided to partition the country and set up a government of their own in Belfast. They wanted control over the province of Ulster but they feared that nationalist majorities in counties Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan would make their plan impractical, so they settled for a six-county statelet.
They set up a governing system in the Nort…

Global Warming

Global WarmingGerry O'Shea
A basic axiom in the ancient wisdom of the native American community states that any laws or ordinances passed by their governing councils must meet what they call the Seventh Generation Test, meaning that the impact of any new regulationshould not harm people who will livelong years in the future - a deeply enlightened and spiritual insight that provides a valuable perspective on the global warming crisis.
In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis makes the same argument: "We are not God. The earth was here before us and it is our common home which has been given to us". He reminds us that we are just custodians, morally obliged to pass on a functioning planet.
From this perspective the treatment of the environment in particular by the huge oil and fuel industries, especially in the last half-century, has been ruinous for the world's oceans and rivers and thus profoundly at variance with any positive ethical standard. The thoughtful people d…