America from the outside, Ireland from the inside – Episode 3

Welcome to episode 3 of America from the outside, Ireland from the inside.  Coming to you from a sunny Dublin in the middle of St Patrick’s week, the mood is good.

Starting on the other side of the world, it has been another topsy turvy week in America. We have El Presidente’s spokespeople talking about microwaves that can turn into cameras, we have a political pundit click baiting the country as if she was TMZ and we have President Trump being uncharacteristically quiet.

Starting with the microwaves spying on us. My favourite cartoon, Kelly Anne Conway went on the news channels asking questions about Trump towers being bugged. Again, there is no proof and the narrative has changed a bit from phone tapping to general surveillance. While she was chasing her tail on nationwide TV, she mentioned that microwaves can be turned into tools for surveillance. Pardon my stupidity but I thought microwaves where for making super noodles. She is of course talking nonsense again because she is in a role she is under qualified for. In fairness, she is grilled on this which is hugely important when interviewing anyone political.

https://youtu.be/RodRV9pxAL0 is the clip mentioned above.

We then move from red to blue. Rachel Maddow, a political presenter on MSNBC spent all of Tuesday 15th March talking about the mythical tax return of Trump and how she was going to talk about it on her show. Total click bait that wouldn’t be out of place on a sleazy celebrity news site. All the build-up, what for? Well it was a 2005 tax return that showed Trump paid $38 million tax on $158million income, yes there were some dodgy looking write offs but that wasn’t mentioned nearly enough. Not exactly the treasure she was hoping for and a total let down for anyone who tuned in. It was quite sad to see. A massive error made and it brings her trust factor right down. It is exactly the same thing that news channels from the other side do. It was wrong, it was childish and it played right into the hands of Trump who for a long time has said he has paid tax, the click bait TV show showed he did.  Stunts like this and the blue side in disarray is meaning that Trump is becoming even more of a Teflon don.

It is unreal that intelligent people are allowing trump to get the upper hand in nearly everything related to him. Trump is a pro wrestling ring master, and he is out smarting people his mental superior.

All Trump did was release a statement saying the usual, that it was illegal and terrible that his tax return was released. You could hear him cackling while he wrote it; I mean his spokesperson wrote it.

As sad as it is to say, Trump is winning.

As a finish to our trip to America I have a questions. When did the ‘greatest country in the world’ change the word opportunity to choice? Especially when it comes to healthcare. Choice assumes that you have enough money to make one; it doesn’t mean that everyone has the same choice. Whether it is discrimination, sexism, pay gaps or any kind of inequality, it is all about everyone (this is not just in America, for Ireland too) having the same OPPORTUNITY to succeed. At the moment and for a lot of my life time, not everyone has that opportunity.

I was hoping that a trip back to the homeland would help me feel a bit cleaner after being immersed in American politics, but it is just a sick here. We have a Taoiseach who is getting his last few air miles out of the Irish Government jet, we have partners in government not working together and we have local politicians more worried about photo ops than doing their job.

Enda Kenny is currently in America shaking hands and doing the annual Irish thing. He says he will mention the travel ban as it pertains to Irish people, but he won’t get more than a few minutes with El Prez. He is a photo op, and he doesn’t care because he is leaving office with his ministerial pension along with his teaching pension. Normally I would say good riddance, but when you look at the possible successors it leaves me more worried. Endas other business this week was to put forward a plans for a referendum to allow Irish citizens abroad to vote in elections for president and general elections.

This in itself doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that there was a march in Dublin City last week in relation to repealing the 8th amendment. No one has mentioned anything about Irish abroad and their voting rights, outside of the rich Irish people living abroad who came up with the idea while sitting around the brunch table in the country club. Most of the Irish abroad are more interested in paying their bills, living a life and providing for loved ones than who is President.

Another nonsense distraction tactic from a lame duck.

The last part of this week’s episode may have annoyed me the most.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/minister-sought-good-pr-in-local-papers-after-rural-criticism-35524450.html

 

The minister for jobs (a role she has no business being in) Mary Mitchell O’Connor instructed her advisors to get as many pictures of her at the ploughing championships to as many news outlets as possible. This was due to her not getting on well in rural areas. So instead of going to these areas and instigating conversation with the people, getting in front of them at a meeting and having them air their problems and showing an ability to solve them. She wants pictures taken.

This is a minister who is paid real money. She is paid by the tax payer. And her big idea is to get pictures taken. This annoyed me more than click bait, than devious microwaves or lame ducks. This was the news that had me scratching my head.

With people like this in government s (all of the above mentioned), is it any wonder that 1 – Ireland has a drinking problem and 2-america has an obesity problem. These are both activities done to find comfort when life gets uncomfortable.

 

Until next time, feel free to share this with anyone mentioned above via social media and you can find me @nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram.

America from the outside, Ireland from the inside – Episode 2

Welcome to episode 2 of ‘America from the outside, Ireland from the inside’. I call them episodes because there is more scandal and nonsensical behavior from people than an episode of Coronation Street.

Starting off on the other side of the ocean, in America this week, the president has accused a former president of tapping his phones during the election of last year, he has signed a brand new executive order making it difficult for certain people to enter the country and he has commented on Arnold Schwarzenegger being fired from the apprentice.

Starting with the first issue. El Prez began tweeting on Saturday about his phones being tapped. He didn’t offer any proof, he didn’t have anyone to blame, it was just something to say on a Saturday morning. His spokespeople then came out and said that they believed it too. When asked for proof, they would reply with the fact that the president has more information than the rest of us. This information has yet to hit the twitter-verse or the real world. I currently have a €10 bet with Trump that an investigation does not take place. The offer of the bet took place on twitter so you know he read it!

By the way @nkeegan is where you can find me.

In relation to social media, I think the reasoning behind him using it is sound. It is a direct line to the people. It is a platform to make sure the message is sent out the exact way you want it to. It would be a great tool for a rational thinking president. Unfortunately it appears that he isn’t the former while being the latter. But this is a 70+year old man. They rarely are.

The second piece of action from President Trump this week, which follows on from an executive order decreed in January 2017. This was an order suspending entry into the country for 90 days for people from Iran, Iraq, Libia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This was released to the media as If it was a press release that they didn’t want people to read. It was put out on a Friday evening. Which is what slimy publicists do when their clients are caught doing something they shouldn’t. They assume people won’t bother with it after office hours before a weekend. So Airports around the world had zero idea of who they should vet why they should vet them and how. Not to mention the fact that the Trump administration had put an ally on the list, while leaving out the country that supplied most of the people involved in 9/11 (Saudi Arabia). But let’s not be rational about this. This was questioned and held up by judges which caused another twitter storm from President Trump.

The Donald had to come up with a new plan.

2 months later, on my birthday (6th March, one for the diaries) a new order is unleashed. The difference? Well Iraq is off the list. It remains in the introduction of the order on the white house wbsite(https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/06/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states), but is taken out of the remainder.  As an aside, if my attention to detail was this bad, I would be fired. And I definitely do not work for a president.

This updated order begins on St Patrick’s weekend and does not affect anyone with a visa before that point. So what is this? Basically it is targeting a certain group of people without actually saying it out loud. They call it ‘extreme vetting’, but that is like ‘enhanced interrogation’. It is another title for the same thing. Enhanced interrogation was torture, extreme vetting is religious targeting. I thought there was something written in a fairly important American document about freedom of religion? Instead of inclusion, President Trump wants to exclude. Instead of attempting to understand, he prefers to stay on a high horse.

But again, he is 70+ years old, what do you expect?

His final top hit of twitter this week reeked of childishness. His old show, The Apprentice, sacked Arnold Schwarzenegger this week due to bad ratings. It had nothing to do with it being an old show with an outdated format of course. He took to twitter to stick the needle into Arnold. Such childishness and pettiness wouldn’t be out of place in a teenagers twitter account but this is the president. Surely there is something more important for him to do?

But again, he is a 70+year old, what do you expect?

A quick 7 hour plane journey brings us back to Ireland where there is only one story. The discovery of 800 children remains in a tank in Tuam, County Galway on the grounds of a Mother and baby home run by a Catholic order of nuns (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Secours_Mother_and_Baby_Home). The nation was outraged and it showed how in 2017 a country is still afraid of the church. This has been talked about since the 1920’s but no one prosecuted or investigated up until very recently.  In 1975 child’s remains were found on the site, nothing happened.  In 2012 Catherine Corless surmised that there were hundreds buried on the site. She was lambasted in all quarters of the media. Vilified. This was in 2012! People were still that afraid. That was just after our then Taoiseach Bertie Aherne signed an agreement with the church that the state would cover half of any pay-outs made as a result of child sex abuse. This is the country we live in! Horrific!

The only positive of this is that in 2017 there is social media; there are ways of pressuring government into investigations. We see it with the Garda corruptions and now with the other and baby homes run by the church.

My thoughts on religion are that it is yours. If it gives you comfort and strength when you need it, if it helps you in any way then it is a good thing. If you blindly follow it and are willing to look past things like the above or the rampant and horrific child sex abuse that was/is happening in the church then religion has ruined you as a human being. I am not anti religion; I am anti burying children in a pit or abusing people in any kind of way.

In closing, this story has me absolutely heartbroken. I can’t believe that a human being came up with burying children in a tank as a way of dealing with an issue; I can’t believe someone actually carried out those orders and I can’t believe we live in a country where government is too scared to chase and prosecute the scum who did this.

As usual @nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram.

And let’s be a little bit nicer to each other this week, let’s just try it.

 

America from the outside, Ireland from the inside – part 1

Welcome to episode 1 of ‘America from the outside, Ireland from the inside’. This first post will be an introduction of what the aims are of the series, views from my computer screen and an ability to contact me for further discussion and challenging of opinions.

Situated on Dublin’s Southside, I am looking at the world through various computer screens that frighten me, and this will be where I write down what I usually end up shouting at the screens that are ruining my life.

Firstly why America? Well it is fairly simple. I grew up wanting to go to America and be American. They had the best food, the best sport, the best TV, they got the films 6 months before us and everyone was so happy. Whereas here in Ireland everyone was always milliseconds from getting annoyed, in America they said ‘have a nice day’ just for buying chewing gum in the shop.

But I was also very young in a relatively safe world. During the cold war (I arrived towards the end of it) no one was going to pull the trigger, self-preservation meant that status quo (while angry) remained. There was no Vietnam War like my parents had, or WW2 like my grandparents had. This may have been the America I wanted to live in. Along with that, I had zero interaction with anything political. That is the key.

In my lifetime I have seen 2 bushes, a Clinton and Obama and now a Trump. I don’t remember a thing about Bush sr. Clinton appeared to take care of business in his office, while making some mistakes along the way. Not diminishing these mistakes, but they were none of my business. Private life is private. This was the first time politics entered my life from America. I wondered why older men were interested in the private life of a younger man. Was it criminal jealousy on their part? Was it because no one wanted to travel south of their equator? Or was it to score points?

Through the next line of presidents the country began being strangled. Laws were brought in to tap phones, to screen passengers (mostly of a certain colour let’s be honest) and to invade the private lives of Americans. People reacted with ‘I have nothing to hide so I don’t care if they listen to my calls’. This is like saying I don’t care about free speech because I have nothing to say. Reactions became simply yes or no. Nuance disappeared. The eye for an eye mentality that came from western films was now a legitimate reaction.

The world changed. The economies crashed, the Kardsashians and obesity arrived and we fast forward further to 2017. An America with a reality TV star and business ‘mogul’ as president. The people got so annoyed with the system that the change they chose was someone who made money by licensing his image to buildings, fighting legal action and showing an inability to live in the real world.

In America, you are either left or right even though both main parties are now so similar you would struggle to find a difference. You pick your side and you are there forever. That is not healthy. Sometimes the more conservative approach works and sometimes a more liberal way works it depends on the issue at hand. It is never one or the other.

America is the epicentre of the social justice warrior movement. A group who chase offence with self-importance and who appear to have an inability to stand on their own beliefs and challenge those who disagree, Ireland has this too (https://www.facebook.com/peopleb4profit/ there is a video from 3 Trinity College students getting someone they disagree with banned from the college). Instead they depend on violence to stop people expressing themselves, sounds familiar from the history books doesn’t it? Recently an unedited video surfaced from a lecture where an SJW did not believe in biology or scientific proof of gender. This is a problem. It is equal parts frightening and comedic. The police treat kids in bikinis like they are smuggling bombs and celebrities  are treated like leaders in debate. Meryl Streep gets up and talks about understanding and tolerance, while wearing a 20 grand dress in front of other actors who haven’t been stuck on a train at rush hour in a long time. The gap between the ‘them’ and ‘us’ has never been bigger and that leads to their current presidential predicament.

It may appear that I am on my high horse, but there is a saying. ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’. In Ireland there is an insane political system populated by careerists. But we also have a population that continues to vote the same people in. We have a ‘you scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours’ way of business which leads to the Healy Rae family getting up and talking about the war on flowers in a public park. Never mind the homeless people, they don’t vote! The pensioners who walk in the park will vote for me if I get the park cleared.

This is where we live. This is how our island works. Our police force have been accused on multiple occasions of smearing innocent people with varying crimes, because they reported wrong doings by the force. If I get accused of anything at work that needs an investigation, I would be sent home pending the outcome. In Ireland, in the Garda Siochana, the commissioner is allowed stay in place. It is insane. Either she has something on the people in government or they know we will forget about this if they spring another story. We have horrific stories coming out about abuse against children under state care since the smearing thing came out and it is slowly disappearing from the headlines.

I think that bring the introduction to an end. Basically I am a frustrated man struggling to make sense of people who use important constructs of the world for their own gains while promising to look out for those less well off.  For any American readers, there is no malice intended and  I expect debate and abuse on my observations from thousands of miles away, but I am always open to enlightenment and correction from all.

For my Irish readers, I think we need a beer!

This will be weekly observations on a world filled with beautiful people, run by people who couldn’t run a bath.

 

@nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram