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Showing posts from December, 2017

End Times

End Times              Gerry O'Shea        December 2017 While visiting Rome in the 12th century to give an account of his diocese of Armagh, St Malachy had a vision of all the popes who would serve until the end of time. He prophesied that there would be 112 in all before the world ends. Francis is the last of the 112. Most of the experts who have studied Malachy's writing are skeptical about the credibility of his visions. Although the story is told that when the cardinals met in 1958 to elect a successor to Pius X11 that New York Cardinal Spellman showed his knowledge of the prophecies by sailing on the Tiber with sheep on display in his boat.   Malachy had predicted that the new pope would meet the description of   pastor et nauta, pastor and sailor, and the New York cardinal wanted to stake a claim   that the Irish saint had him in his sights 800 years earlier! Pope John XX111 was elected and, in fairness, pastor et nauta described him very well. Some serio

Reverse Robin Hood Tax Proposals

Reverse Robin Hood Tax Proposals            Gerry O'Shea   11-2017 Jonathan Swift, the renowned 18th century dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin,   penned a great satirical essay titled A Modest Proposal . Looking at the abject poverty and destitution of so many families throughout Ireland, Swift in this mocking "proposal" devised an imaginative method of dealing   with the high infant mortality rate and attendant poverty in Ireland. He wrote that if the poor babies were fed well for a year and then slaughtered for their tender young meat, the rich people, the landlords and their affluent cronies, could enjoy the best of fare while the children's parents would also benefit from the payments that would accrue to them from the sale of the succulent human carcasses. I thought of Swift's indignantly ironic essay when I heard the details of the Republican tax proposals which are being sold as middle-class tax cuts. Both the House and Senate bill

The Kansas Experiment

The Trickle Down Theory - The Kansas Experiment Gerry O'Shea - 10-25-2017 The President has a new tax plan which, predictably, he is promoting as providing "the largest tax cuts in U.S. history." The truth is that, if his proposals are enacted, the only people who will be cheering will be the top 1%. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that by 2027 Trump's proposals would result in a tax increase for a quarter of middle class families. The same tax experts say that 80% of the gains will go to the top 1% of Americans. There would be a cut in the highest individual rates, a reduction in corporate taxes and an end to the estate tax, which Republicans call the death tax, but which only applies to the relatively few affluent estates worth more than five and a half million. How do Republicans led by President Trump plan to balance the books? How do they avoid ballooning the deficit which they claim repeatedly is anathema to them? Their main argum

Is the Pope Catholic

Is the Pope Catholic           Gerry O'Shea Asking Is the pope Catholic   is widely understood as a rhetorical question indicating that the only answer has to be "yes." How could anyone doubt the pope's religious affiliation? Amazingly, a small but powerful minority of Catholic theologians and church leaders are doing just that, and they raise real doubts about Francis' commitment to what they consider core Catholic   beliefs.   A minority of these dissidents believe that the church has already veered into schism while others assert that the pope's statements on some important moral issues have caused serious confusion and bewilderment among the faithful. How does one explain this extraordinary situation?   In 2014 and 2015 the Synod of Bishops met at Francis' invitation to consider how best the church could minister to the modern family in all its permutations, including divorced people in new relationships and members in same sex partn

The Importance of Trade Unions

Let's consider an imaginary company in America, a publicly-traded corporation with 1000 employees who have just announced annual profits of 100 million dollars. Their accountants say that they owe 10% in government taxes, so the question arises about where the remaining 90 millions go. There are three groups with legitimate claims on the company profits: management, shareholders and regular workers. Forty years ago the average CEO's salary in America was twenty times more than one of the company's line workers; today the ratio has climbed to an astonishing two hundred and seventy. If we take the average worker's salary as $50,000, that gives the CEO annual compensation in multiple millions. That is how the cake is divided. The corporate executives and the shareholders are represented at the table when the profits are divvied up and they take good care of their interests, but the workers have no voice in the decision-making. The result is that, despite big i