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Showing posts from January, 2024

Riddle Me That

  Riddle Me That         Gerry OShea Readers who followed Irish politics in the 1970s will remember John Healy, the distinguished journalist from County Mayo. He wrote for the Irish Times, and every Saturday, he authored a perceptive political article under the by-line Backbencher, which was widely read nationwide. Healy, who died in 1991 at the young age of 61, highlighted the contradictions and compromises exhibited by political leaders as they tried to maintain a semblance of integrity while pleasing their constituents and obeying the party whip. He would invite his readers to consider the options in any controversial quandary he was dealing with and then request their help in devising a suitable solution. His memorable wording in posing the knotty political questions still rattles around in my memory: “So now riddle me that.” I think of these words when I try to make sense of Donald Trump’s ideas and approach to communication. I am not here interested in going over the trad

The Two Wars

  The Two Wars               Gerry OShea The world is galvanized by the awful daily reports from Ukraine and Gaza, with the future direction of both conflicts very unsure. As American support wavers, Russia seems to be gaining the upper hand against the Kyiv resistance. While Israel is assured of military victory, they are facing serious charges alleging inhumane bombing of civilians in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague. Two years ago, Vladimir Putin had amassed troops on the border of Ukraine, claiming sovereignty over that country in a ploy reminiscent of the power games of the early 20 th century. Many commentators doubted that he would invade an adjoining country at a time when grabbing a neighbor’s land was sure to elicit widespread outrage and condemnation. Putin’s aggression in February 2022 was premised on the idea that the United States was losing interest in Europe and that the Western democracies were divided on critical economic issues and so inca

Gay Couples in the Catholic Church

Gay Couples in the Catholic Church                Gerry OShea The Vatican still names all of its important proclamations in Latin – rather surprising, I suppose, considering that the now-esoteric language is studied by decreasing numbers. On December 18 th they published an important document dealing with members living in what they call “irregular” situations. It is named Fiducia Supplicans and is subtitled “On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings.” This pronouncement somewhat changes the status of divorced and remarried Catholics and also covers people in committed same-sex relationships. Until now, they were deemed to be outside the full embrace of their church, meeting the criteria for living in sin, according to those who like to use that kind of jargon. In theory, at least, they were excluded from the confession box and the altar rails unless they abandoned their love relationships. Pope Francis’ message from the beginning of his papacy claimed that he had no interest in jud

Elon Musk and Trade Unionism

  Elon Musk and Trade Unionism         Gerry OShea Elon Musk is a clear symbol of modern capitalism, and he is currently involved in a major cultural clash with the Trade Union movement in Sweden with important ramifications for his businesses in Germany and the United States.   He has accumulated more money than any of the other 900-plus Americans who have proudly identified as members of the exclusive billionaires’ club. While Elon was born in South Africa he settled in Palo Alto California at age 24 close to thirty years ago just as the dot-com boom was about to begin. Growing up in his own country, he was seen as a nerd by his peers and demeaned as a weakling. He was bullied regularly and on one occasion was beaten so badly by other boys that his brother found it hard to recognize him. According to his authorized biographer, Walter Isaacson, his father Errol dominated the family and focused his deranged dictatorial behavior on Elon, his eldest son. He never tired of telling