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Showing posts from July, 2017

Election Reflections

Election Reflections
There was a high level of interest among Irish people at home andhere in the recent Presidential election.Among my friends and acquaintances voting preferences broke down almost entirely along party lines. Those who supported Romney four years ago and identify themselves as conservativeslined up behind Trump while liberals and progressives stood four square with Hillary.
The following reflections come from an unabashed liberal, a convincedsupporter ofthe progressive policies of the Democratic Party, someone who believed the pollsters that we would have the first woman president and who is still flabbergasted by the result on November 8th.
Election analysts say that a majority of Catholics in the Midwestern States - many of whom have Irish lineage - who supported President Obama four years ago voted this time for Mr. Trump. Some commentators suggest that the loss of these Catholicvoters cost Mrs. Clinton the election.
It is noteworthy that the two main Irish weeklies i…

Remembering Bishop Casey

REMEMBERING BISHOP CASEYGerry O'Shea
Bishops were very important men in Ireland twenty-five years ago. They were commonly addressed as "my lord" and their residences were often called palaces. They dressed in purple, carried a crozier and wore a mitre which, like any high hat, is meant to proclaim a person's authority.
This was the Irish episcopal world that Eamonn Casey joined in 1969 when he was appointed bishop of Kerry on the recommendation of Cardinal Heenan of Westminster. The prime minister, Jack Lynch, and the president, Eamon De Valera, attended his inauguration to high office in Killarney.
The previous year Pope Paul V1 issued his controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae which asserted, against the advice of his chosen advisors, that the use of the contraceptive pill or condoms - even by married couples - was immoral. We do not know if any in the Irish episcopate disagreed with the faulty and skewed logic in this document. They all followed the Latin dictum: Ro…

Trump Populism

Trump Populism

Donald Trump has created consternation, especially among Republicans, as he veers away from some of the traditional orthodox positions of the Party in favor of populist rhetoric that has won him the nomination. Populism can be understood as a set of beliefs that highlight the neglect of and disregard for the hopes and fears of broad swaths of the population by elites who take care only of their own interests.
Mr. Trump's core constituency seems to be drawn from white males with low achievement in formal education. One study showed that a stunning 80% of these blue collar workers voted for Trump in the primaries. They believe that he listens to their stories and understands their disgust at being left behind, many of them earning less than they did twenty years ago. They resent that the elites of both Parties seem to dismiss their concerns.
Let's look at two of the populist themes that Trump has been dealing with and making vague promises to remedy.
Income inequali…

Trump Conservatism

Trump ConservatismGerry O'Shea
During the recent presidential campaign, Mr. Trump sought to distance himself from the hard-line conservatives in his own party by reminding voters that he was the candidate of the Republican Party and not the Conservative Party. In addition, on two vital progressive issues, he promised not to cut Medicaid and that his tax proposals would primarily benefit "ordinary" working people.
Some Trump apologists explained that his scatterbrain statements about building walls and punishing women who had an abortion and other far-out proposals would fade away when he actually achieved power. They confidently predicted that modern sophisticated people like his daughter and son-in-law would exert a strong moderating influence.
All wishful thinking, unfortunately, because in issue after issue Mr. Trump has emerged as the most right wing president in recent memory. Here is his record to date.
Can you ever remember a Republican candidate for any major office …

Climate Change

Global WarmingGerry O'Shea
The title of this article will put many people off - climate change is viewed as involving very complex issues and few people want to hear about disappearing coral reefs or the impact ofthawing permafrost on the heating of the planet. It is much easier to espouse an opinion on how to deal with the dictators in Syria or North Korea or to take a stand on that famous wallon the Mexican border.
Most people are engaged with day-to-day issues that impact their lives - taxes, prices in the supermarket and the effectiveness of our educational system. However, in this context we need to consider the longer-term effects of our behavior and the policies that our government pursues. American Indian wisdom urges us to take responsibility for how our actions or inaction affect people's lives "seven generations" from now.
Americans are divided on the reality and seriousness of global warming. More than 95% of climate scientists are clear that we are facing u…