The Toxic Legacy of Donald Trump…

‘There is nothing normal about this president, not in the way he came to power, not in his willingness to dismiss inconvenient facts, to fabricate ‘statistics’, repeat fictional terrorist massacres, nor in his hatred of a free press, his contempt for America’s allies (except Israel), his defence of racist and Nazi groups and disregard of minority rights. Nor, dare I say it, will there be anything normal about his inevitable demise.’[1] I wrote that for Slugger in December 2017 and …

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Freedom to express, but not freedom to incite?

Western liberal democracies pride themselves on the right to freedom of expression. But social media has within the last decade or so had a profound impact on the possibilities of political expression. The suspension of Donald Trump’s access to Twitter, Facebook and now YouTube following the assault on the Capitol on 6th January has opened up a new debate on whether this ban is contrary to the right of free speech. The irony is that Trump’s supporters have accused these …

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Trump demands ‘Stop the count!'(whatever that means)…

We have not had many posts about the US Election as frankly, we are as stunned by it all as the rest of you probably are. Game of Thrones could not come up with storylines as bonkers as we are seeing unfold in the states. The tension is phenomenal, I am obsessively checking the New York Times homepage. The latest twist is Trump demanding they stop the count: STOP THE COUNT! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2020 Like …

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Would you vote for a politician who does not like dogs?

This is one of the best election ads you will see: This US Election Campaign will go down in history as one of the most bad-tempered ones ever, so how do you break through the noise? Dogs of course. How does not like dogs? Well, it seems the Donald does not like dogs (I know, not exactly a surprise). This ad is genius as it cuts through all the negativity to make a simple point ‘Choose your humans wisely’. Photo …

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US Presidential Debate 2020: Policy Differences…

If you watched the US Presidential Debate 2020 between Donald Trump and Joe Biden hoping for a detailed policy discussion, you would be very disappointed. The debate largely descended into trash-talking, insults and wild accusations. There was some policy discussion to be had, of which I have salvaged from an hour-and-a-half of headache-inducing yelling – and interestingly, the debate segment on climate change was probably the most productive and civil: Supreme Court Trump defended his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett …

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To no one’s surprise, it turns out Trump is not a business genius after all…

The New York Times has gotten a hold of Trump’s tax records, or should I say lack of tax paid records. It turns out you and every reader of this site likely pay more tax than the self-proclaimed billionaire. Some key points from the coverage: Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years that The Times examined. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750. He has reduced his tax bill with …

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#InConversation Podcast with Andrew Hill – What is going on in America?

Andrew Hill is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas. In this podcast, we talk about the recent race protests in America, inequality and the upcoming Presidential Election. Andy has a local connection, he worked at Corrymeela for a year and he also studied at Trinity College Dublin. The books Andy recommended were Linda Hogan’s Keeping Faith with Human Rights, and Sluggers own Gladys Ganiel’s books. You can find out more about Andy on …

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Is Trump a narcissist?

In the last few days, as America teetered on the brink of social meltdown, Joe Biden made a speech rounding on the President and suggesting his “narcissism” as a reason for Trump’s penchant for creating division. Narcissists get such a bad press and I have often wonder if they are over represented in political classes. Yet most of us, including Joe Biden, don’t really appreciate or understand what a narcissist is. They are much more complex and infinitely more interesting …

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While Trump plays with matches, the USA is a tinderbox…

Before the big pause, I was amazed at how Trump had managed to get through three years of his presidency without any major catastrophes. He has had an entire stream of smaller scandals that would have taken down a less shameless leader but he managed to bumble through. In a strange way, I admire Trump. To be able to look people in the eye and tell such barefaced lies is a real skill. To be caught telling over 5000 lies …

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Anyone want a swig of Toilet Duck?

In these times of global crisis, it is reassuring that we have a strong leader of the free world. Donald Trump is many things, a humanitarian, a philanthropist, a voice for the downtrodden but best of all he is a scientist and medical genius. The latest advice from the Golden Sage is we can cure Coronvirus by injections of disinfectant and UV light. Trump's coronavirus disinfectant comments are 'dangerous', doctors say, after the U.S. president said during a White House …

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Integrity. It’s a dying word…

I suppose one of the definitive aspects of being a parent is the acceptance of who our grown-up children eventually choose as a partner. In an ideal world we might have in mind someone with the qualities each of us might espouse: honesty, kindness, empathy, tolerance perhaps, with a sprinkling of humour and intelligence thrown in for good measure. We can all make our own list, most of which is wishful thinking considering that realistically stuff like that is mainly …

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Fatal Distraction: Coronavirus and Low Pay in Trumps America…

Like most other countries, experts in the USA are recommending that people avoid large crowds, stockpile shelf-stable foods in case they end up quarantined, and stay home from work and contact a doctor if they are ill. Sounds sensible. But there is a big problem A lot of low-income people can’t afford to follow it. Many low-income families, who are more likely to live in smaller quarters and share bathrooms and kitchens with multiple people, simply can’t self-quarantine as effectively …

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“Nixon goes to China” is the right example to follow for Brexit. The Tories may know it already

Nixon goes to China Talking of the wisdom of US presidents… rivalling Trump’s lunatic assumption that our border problem is like his Mexican wall, the conservative right persists in believing that the future of the UK lies in a free trade agreement under WTO rules reached by the end of October. Steve Baker, the deputy chair of the ERG  has produced a plan called A Clean Managed Brexit which relies on negotiating a free trade agreement  “but with practical contingency …

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Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy…

As America continues its depressing slow drift into Fascism this quote caught my eye: “In my work with the defendants (at the Nuremberg Trails 1945-1949) I was searching for the nature of evil and I now think I have come close to defining it. A lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants, a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow men. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.” Quotation: Captain G. M. Gilbert, the Army psychologist …

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Trump’s Election Victory One year on…

A year ago, I took a little flak in a Slugger article for suggesting Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 election might not have been won fairly and squarely. It was pointed out that Trump scored a decisive victory by the Electoral College rules, and it is fair to say, (as he did), he would have fought the campaign differently had it depended on winning the popular vote. While the story as yet to fully unravel, we know much more …

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The serious business of statistics

When something you hear makes you burst out laughing, you know it’s time to write a blog. In this case, I was listening to “the biggest show in the country” on the subject of Boris Johnson and his peddling of the myth that once Brexit is achieved there will be £350m a week available for the NHS. Indeed, Sir David Norgrove, the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority took the unprecedented step of writing to the foreign secretary to say …

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‘The Germans are bad, very bad’ – President Trump…

As part of his continuing programme of How to lose friends and alienate people, German magazine Der Spiegel quoted Trump at the G7 meeting as saying: “The Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars they’re selling in the U.S. We will stop that.” A particular target seems to be BMW, from CNN: Trump has taken aim at German carmakers before. In an interview in January, he said Germany’s BMW (BMWYY) should reconsider building a plant in …

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Letters From America: My Life Among the Trump Supporters…

‘Trump’s America’, day 103… People back in Ireland and Northern Ireland ask me a lot of questions about Trump’s supporters, in a tone that’s similar to what they might ask someone who’s seen African elephants- incredible creatures they’ve seen on TV, but still wonder what they’re like close up. Talk to any political scientist or polling strategist, and they’ll tell you that Trump voters actually covered a pretty broad spectrum- young and old, ignorant and intelligent, poor and well-off, and …

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Playing the Long Game – Conservative Evangelicals and the US Supreme Court

Many observers of American politics are utterly befuddled by the reaction of many Republicans, first to the candidacy and then the actual presidency of Donald Trump. Why, so many wonder, do they tolerate, and even defend, a candidate who has so often been openly contemptuous of them and their party? He has belittled, insulted, denigrated, and bullied them, not to mention lied about them at almost every turn. And since he’s not demonstrated any discernible ideological core- other than the …

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Politics is not a lifestyle choice or some hippy form of self actualisation: it deals in the business of us, not me

Post truth society? As Ian Parsley notes on his blog this morning, we’ve have had a predilection for it here in Northern Ireland for as far back as anyone can remember. And we’re not alone. In 1956, speaking about writing, Ernest Hemingway noted in interview: Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him. It also should have a manual drill and a crank handle in case the machine breaks down. So, I have few sympathies for the …

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