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 …

Read more…

Biden may have won the election; but the divided states of America remains…

“I pledge to be a president who does not see red or blue states, but United States.” These are words President-elect Joe Biden used last night, in his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware. He pledged to be a President that would unify the country, and not divide it. However, that will be much easier said than done. This election has clearly shown the bitter divide that remains within its Democratic and Republican sides. 75 million people voted for Joe Biden, …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

#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 …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

Americanizing the NHS

I was on a boat in the middle of the Gulf of Finland when I found out my uncle had passed away. We all knew it was coming, but the speed with which it arrived sent my head and heart spinning, because once again I would miss the funeral of a family member. That part of the story is more about being an immigrant; another story for another time. The part of being an immigrant that is relevant here, is …

Read more…

The Paradox of the Positive: Re-Examining American Independence Day

Ever since I moved to Belfast I’ve made a point of celebrating the Fourth of July, Independence Day. While I quickly learned that the parades from my childhood don’t have the same meaning here, I clung to and adapted other traditions that were a bit more portable and less sectarianized; namely, beer and barbecued meat. Also, the wearing of red, white and blue, but done discreetly, and without obvious American flag emblems masquerading as clothing (I’m looking at you, bizarre, …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

The Opioids of the People

The United States government has launched a new anti-opioid campaign featuring true stories of people so desperate that they inflicted gruesome injuries on themselves to get another prescription. Such stories have already been more effectively told in poetry. The epidemic’s most searing skald is William Brewer, a son of Oceana, West Virginia, a post-industrial town so gripped by addiction that it is nicknamed Oxyana. We were so hungry; Tom’s hand on the table looked like warm bread. I crushed it …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

‘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 …

Read more…

Happiness is not to be found in good public policy, but rather in the eternal love of Jesus…

Over in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Republican Abigail Whelan had an imaginative response to a question. As reported by Think Progressive. Pressed about her lack of support for an amendment that would close loopholes for offshore tax havens, a Minnesota Republican dodged the question in favor of talking about her religious beliefs. Minnesota Rep. Abigail Whelan, a second-term House legislator from suburban Ramsey, was responding to a question from Democratic Rep. Paul Thissen early Wednesday morning about whether she thinks “benefiting people …

Read more…

Letter From America: The Love Affair with the Ten Commandments…

 One thing that I see a lot of in America is signs. Advertising billboards are everywhere, a lot more than in Europe. Drive for any distance in a populated area in the US and you’ll see hundreds. However, there’s one particular type of sign that I see a lot of in my area and it’s not (technically, anyway) an advertisement. It’s the Ten Commandments. They’re all the same design and are available from a website (which is also advertised on …

Read more…

Poison of the American War with Vietnam still lingers over 40 years later…

  With revulsion, confusion and perhaps too much hypocritical moral indignation the World is coming to terms with yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria in the last few days.  But toxic chemicals have always been in the arsenals of our armies.  It is less acceptable to use them today off course but is there a good, proper or humane way to kill our enemies?  Whether it be the typhoid containing cow carcasses of the Middle-Ages, the mustard gas of …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

“if you do that you are going to see a flood of companies leaving Ireland and Canada and Germany and France and they are going to come back to the United States…”

Here’s something for Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and any one else, to keep in mind when they hear that US President-elect Donald Trump “understands Ireland very well.  He was complimentary about the decisions made about the economy here.”  The Belfast Telegraph reports comments by Stephen Moore, a “senior economic advisor to Mr Trump”, on BBC Radio 4’s World at One today. From the Belfast Telegraph report [Stephen] Moore, senior economic advisor to Mr Trump, said the centrepiece plan of the new Washington …

Read more…

“Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness…”

At the Guardian, Thomas Frank offers some home truths to a self-styled liberal media [including bloggers! – Ed] in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.  From the Guardian Comment is Free article How did the journalists’ crusade fail? The fourth estate came together in an unprecedented professional consensus. They chose insulting the other side over trying to understand what motivated them. They transformed opinion writing into a vehicle for high moral boasting. What could possibly have gone wrong with such …

Read more…

United to say farewell to Belfast International in 2017

One of the biggest airlines in the world, United Airlines is set to pull out of its Belfast International to Newark route in January 2017. The Executive had agreed a £9 million aid package to the airline (this is on top of the cuts to APD that are already in place) to help keep the route going.  The EU has however, blocked the aid package on state aid grounds. I have used this route many times and my brother brings …

Read more…