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Showing posts from August, 2019

The Candidacy of Joe Biden

The Candidacy of Joe BidenGerry O'Shea
Electability is the core driving force of democratic politics. In the final analysis winning at the ballot box is all that matters. Losers tell election stories; winners wield political power.
Ask George McGovern or Al Gore or John McCain - three fine candidates but none of them was successful on their big day at the polls. The principled McGovern was pigeonholed as supporting a far-left agenda and he only carried one state, Massachusetts, against the hawkish Nixon in 1972. Twenty eight years later the talented but straitlaced then vice-president Al Gore was leading in a close race with Bush 43, but he made the mistake of distancing himself from his boss, the lascivious but well-liked Bill Clinton, and he lost by a few hundred votes. In 2008 John McCain, a war hero with the common touch, was favored against a first-term black senator from Illinois until he chose a political airhead from Alaska as a running mate and he lost.
How electable is Joe …

The Irish Industrial Schools and the Carrigan Report

The Irish Industrial SchoolsGerry O'Shea
One of the most disturbing stories during the first 100 years of Irish independence centers on the maltreatment of children in industrial schools.
It is ten years this summer since the Ryan Commission reported in detail on the disturbing catalogue of abuse inflicted on poor children in industrial schools who had nobody to speak for them, nobody on their side. These schools existed up and down the country until the 1970's. Among the better-known locations were Letterfrack in Galway, Artane in Dublin and Upton in Cork.
Almost 30,000children, nearly all orphans or truants or offsprings of unmarried mothers, were convicted as criminals and confined in these institutions by courts that just wanted them out of their sight.
The Ryan Report relates that in all these places, which were paid for by the state, children were humiliated and told they were worthless, somehow deserving of their pitiful plight. In a haunting sentence Ryan writes "chil…