May the new year bring you blessings.

As Christmas and the new year is coming up I will take a break from blogging until the new year. Happy Christmas and may the new year make our wishes a reality.

John O Brien.

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Defend the Kurds.

Iran, Iraq and other people have declared that ISIS has been defeated. In this region that is dominated by backward views the Kurds are a light in the darkness. The Kurds have been betrayed in the past. Western powers have been guilty of this conduct and I hope that America can stand up to the Turks and support the Kurds.

 

The Kurds in Syria believe in democracy, women’s equality and religious freedom. This experiment in freedom must be supported.

John O Brien.

The Christmas election that didn’t happen.

Until the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald there was a danger of the minority government falling. Fianna Fail who provides a confidence and supply agreement with the government were going to support a no confidence motion in Tanaiste Fitzgerald. If the government fell due to this motion then we could be voting before Christmas. The idea of party activists knocking on doors with our dark nights would be interesting to put it mildly. Polls seem to show that the result of this election would not be that different to the makeup of the present Dail. If an election was called then the questions that Alan Kelly of Labour raised would not be answered. This political crisis is centered on the workings of the Department of Justice.

 

It is clear that the Department of Justice needs reform. We need a functioning justice system in Ireland. Without the rule of law our society would face chaos. Most members of the Guards, the Irish police do a great job in serving the community and in protecting our democracy. To do their job properly they need good leadership at all levels including political leadership. Unfortunately work needs to be done in this area.

 

Mourneabby ladies footballers are playing in the All Ireland club final today and I wish them the best of luck this year.

John O Brien.

We have a housing crisis.

As we know people are finding it hard to rent and they are finding it harder to buy a house. The present market doesn’t meet the needs of people for a roof over their heads. This situation means that the cost of living is high. Our international ability to be competitive internationally is restricted. We have working people who have less income to spend on other items due to the high cost of rents. Dublin with its high rents must be a nightmare for people working in minimum wage jobs.

 

In the past it was seen as practical policies to ensure people had a roof over their heads. Public and social housing insured that people could have a roof over their heads. In the 1930s Fianna Fail provided social housing at a time when the international economy was suffering a depression.

 

In the past conservative politicians provided social housing. This situation has changed. Rising house prices and rising rents benefits the builders, the landlords and the banks but the rest of the economy suffers. Recently instead of resolving this crisis we have people insulting the homeless people. This will not resolve our crisis.

 

Our housing crisis is short sighted. It will harm our economy. We need social housing now.

John O Brien.

 

 

Paradise papers and the super rich.

After the revelations of the Panama papers we now have the Paradise papers. These papers reveal how some very rich people use off shore havens to reduce their tax liabilities. These measures are legal. There is no question of crimes here. But when some people don’t pay their fair share of tax then the tax burden on the rest of the population increases. Public services are starved of needed resources. In a world where the rich get richer the poor get poorer and the middle class gets squeezed then don’t think that our society can stay the same. We are seeing the rise of extremist policies today. Reactionary authoritians are benefiting at the moment.

 

I read in the past that in Royalist France the burden of tax fell on the middle class and the poorer class the ruling elite at that time were allowed to escape paying their fair share of tax. France had its revolution but this revolution didn’t mean necessarily a better society. It just meant other alternatives became issues of practical politics. The French revolution gave us the reign of Terror and the rule of Napoleon.

 

After the banking crisis of 2008 do we believe the present economic system is harming society? If we answer yes it is harming society what alternatives do we offer the people? I think it is time to look again at the social democratic alternative but others might disagree and offer their own alternative visions. Whatever vision will help us I do believe we can’t continue our our present course of action.

John O Brien.

Social media and journalism.

The development of Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media has made the world a smaller place. We are able to chat to people both near and far. People are getting more of their news from social media now. The traditions and the standards that traditional media developed is being undermined. Our new media brings challenges on how our media will develop.

 

Social media has meant that I can develop an audience for my writing. It has meant that I can reach a potential global audience. It has undermined traditional media. Journalists seeking work in this new environment are in for a challenging time. Will good journalism suffer in this new environment? Only time will tell.

John O Brien.

Catalonia declares independence.

Catalonia is in the news again. It’s Parliament has declared it independence. The Irish government has said it will not recognize its declaration of independence. The chief of the Catalan police has been sacked. The Madrid government has declared it will rule the region directly. This is the first time an EU member has a region that seeks independence. The EU is siding with Spain. The danger of violence could be a reality. Catalonia is a rich region. There are the ghosts of the Fascist regime in the background. One area of this debate that I don’t see is the economic background to this crisis. I believe lack of welfare that the young receive and high unemployment among the young contributes to the crisis in Spanish politics.

 

My first book is nearly finished. I will be planning a new book. My writing isn’t a hobby. It is a business. The nature of journalism has changed. It provides challenges as well as opportunities, never give up on your dreams.

John O Brien.