Trump’s cabinet represents the elite
Cormac Cahill (letters January 14) cites CNN, MSNBC, CBS and the New York Times as examples of the left wing bias in western media. If these outlets, vocal supporters of the Wall St candidate Hilary Clinton, are seen as bastions of left wing bias then the perception of what comprises the ‘Left’ is seriously muddled. I can assure Mr Cahill that I view the media with a critical eye and use the novel approach of independent fact checking to validate my observations. Regarding the scathing depictions of Mr Trump’s cabinet having no basis, let’s have a look. As regards the charge of anti-science, multiple studies by independent peer-reviewed research groups have repeatedly demonstrated empirically that the Earth is undergoing anthropogenic climate change. This is not the outpouring of some deluded leftwing media outlet but a physical fact. Despite this fact, both Mr Trump and his appointee for EPA transition, Myron Ebell, are vocal climate change deniers and will instead peddle this scepticism as a lever for increased fossil fuel activity. Indeed his pick to head up the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is currently suing the agency over President Obama’s Clean Power Act. Add Rex Tillerson of Exxon, with his many connections to Russian oil and gas to the mix and one can see serious challenges to the Paris Accord.
With regard to the accusations of racism and xenophobia we don’t need to go too far before we come to Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions. Steve Bannon, Trump’s pick for special adviser, in his stewardship of Breitbart news has successfully helped rebrand neo-Nazis as the ‘alt-right’ and has for many years peddled overt xenophobic and racist commentary. Any browsing of the archives of the Breitbart website and links from that website will dispel any doubts as to what the motivations of this movement are.
Mr Sessions has had a colourful past as a litigator in Alabama, prosecuting civil rights workers for voter fraud (they were subsequently completely exonerated), promoting discriminatory voter ID laws (as judged by courts in Texas and North Carolina) and describing the Voting Rights Act as ‘intrusive’.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.
Finally, on the accusation of reactionary elitism, Mr Trump campaigned on a notion of ‘draining the swamp’ and yet he has filled his cabinet with billionaires and opponents of progressive policies on worker’s rights and education.
His appointee to Labour secretary, Andrew Pudzer, has long been an opponent of the minimum wage and his business empire, with many fast food franchises, has a terrible track record when it comes to the treatment of workers.
His Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos has long been a supporter of channeling public funds into private schools. The federal public school system, on which many of Trump’s voters depend, is in dire straits and Ms DeVos preferences will mean that this situation will not improve in the short term.
Trump’s cabinet represents the 1% who do not have any history of caring for the interests of the disenchanted who voted for Trump. As a frequent visitor to the US, and in particular the Rust belt, where many of this forgotten population reside I can assure Mr Cahill that I have only sympathy for their predicament and can fully understand how they might have been lured by the promises of Mr Trump when presented with Hilary Clinton as the alternative.
However, as the makeup of his cabinet becomes clear, I am increasingly convinced that Trump will not change their lot in the long term and will only accelerate the degradation of the public services on which they depend.
Migrant deal with Libya a non-runner
Associated Press (January 12) reports that the current EU Presidency, Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat calls for an urgent migrant deal with Libya. “He says that the EU should draw up an arrangement with Libya, from where most migrants leave Africa for Europe. It would use European money and expand an agreement already in place between Italy and Libya.”
Has nobody told the European Union that there has been no effective government in Libya since Nato helped to overthrow its Gaddafi led government in 2011?
The following European countries, led by France and Britain, were directly involved in the bombing of Libya: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden (supposedly neutral), Greece, Netherlands and Romania. Each of these countries bears direct responsibility for the refugee crisis that sees large numbers of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, where thousands of them have drowned.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 only authorised Nato to enforce a no fly zone but the intervention went way beyond this mandate, and engaged in widespread bombing against the Libyan army ground forces, in breach of the UN Charter.
Now, these same European countries are proposing to bribe a non-existent Libyan government in a futile attempt to stem the flow of refugees.
A similar refugee crisis exists in Syria, where several of these same European countries have been attempting to overthrow the Syrian Government, having succeeded in overthrowing the Afghan and Iraqi governments, and are also paying Turkey in an effort to stem the flow of refugees through Turkey.
International law has not been flouted to this extent since Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, and the UN Charter has been effectively destroyed by three of its veto wielding powers, Britain, France and the USA.
There is now an urgent need for the United Nations to be rebuilt on new more solid foundations and for the rule of international law to be restored and enhanced.
This is time for a major rethink
Brexit? Time to Declare!
While the multi-nationals play their part in Ireland’s economy, if ever there was a time to rethink our over-reliance on them; if ever there was a time to think of creating a more solid indigenous base for Ireland’s future economic wellbeing; if ever there was a time to rethink our reliance on the European Union, this is the time.
Unfortunately the damage done by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in being so recklessly-negligent with our natural resources, especially in the fields of energy and fisheries, not to mention healrh, homelessness, nor the gross mismanagement of our finances together with the creation of a new diaspora, have made the task more difficult.
The European Central Bank influenced by that cohort at the heart of the EU and aided by a kow-towing Irish government, having illegally shackled every man, woman, and child in Ireland to a yoke of private debt which will last for generations, does not deserve the trust and support of the Irish people, whom, as a result have become second-class European citizens and governed by two major parties who have brought our country to its knees and who dance to the EU tune at will.
To keep our distance from the United Kingdom; to let our nearest neighbours plough their own furrow; would be ill-advised. We should, instead of paying lip service, be standing shoulder to shoulder with them nurturing the close ties which have united us for many years with a view to establishing a real free-trade zone. We should also let the EU know that we are no longer prepared to allow them to commandeer our fisheries and vast territorial waters at the expense of the citizens and the nation, nor our precious natural resources.
What price sovereignty and independence? History will show that the political parties most prominent for the past thirty years or more have been a disaster for this country.
They are slowly but surely ripping the heart and soul from Ireland and her people in pursuit of super profits and power whilst continuing to neglect the basic needs of the citizens.
A real centenary celebration in memory of all the struggle and sacrifice would be to begin the process of unshackling our unique and still much-loved country from that autocratic monster which is morphing from Free Trade Zone to Fortress Europe.
The people, the opposition parties, and independents together have a duty to ensure that these two failed parties have as little a say as is possible in the running of this country for they have contributed to the illegal enforcement of such huge debt upon the citizens that we now find ourselves in the equivalent of a debtor’s prison.
‘Fake news’ from Cancer Society
I write in relation to the most recent ad by the Irish Cancer Society, the wording of which I shall not completely repeat here, “I want to get .......”.
If it had been circulated as ‘Fake News’, I am sure there would be an outcry against the perpetrators of the ad but to have it issued by the group, one expects to have a greater understanding of the pain that sufferers of the disease, families and friends of those fighting to recover must endure, it is truly mind blowing.
Individuals can make mistakes, however this would have to come about by a decision from some top individuals or committee within the organisation.
I respectfully suggest that the offending ad be immediately removed from display in all outlets before it causes further hurt, and an apology issued by whoever agreed to its publication.