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Posts Tagged ‘ Republicans ’

News in Brief – Storms Hit Hard As Gun Law Repealed

weather

So NIB is back after prolonged Christmas hols and what’s been happening around the country?

We’re all underwater as storms continue to wreak havoc like the last guest at your New Year’s Eve party, who wasn’t invited anyway and then turned up with friends in tow and ate the entire prawn ring, but anyway. According to those in the know, jobs are looking up, crime stats are down and soon North and South might be getting along. Continue reading

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Lincoln

Lincoln_movie

In 1865 Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is re-elected President of the United States and the war between North and South still rages on. But instead of focusing solely on ending the war, Abe battles to push the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting slavery, through the House of Representatives. Continue reading

CIRA Threatens To Murder Irish Personnel Serving In British Forces

 

CIRAThe recrudescence of rioting factions and paramilitary groups in this country should be a concern for all. In recent weeks we have seen rioting in the North against the decision by councillors in Belfast to only occasionally fly the Union Flag. And in the same week Continuity IRA prisoners in Portlaoise prison made a statement stating that any Irish citizen that serves in the British military is a ‘legitimate target’ for their organisation. A planned Loyalist protest this week in Dublin was scrapped but only because it was hurried and not planned. The group was to ‘sarcastically’ call for Leinster House to lower the Irish flag in a reaction against the Belfast City Council’s decision to fly the Union flag on certain days of the year.

The rioters in the North have caused unpardonable infrastructural damage, injured and maimed many PSNI officers trying to keep peace and brought parts of Belfast to a standstill. There has not been a night this week in which some form of rioting has not occurred in the city of Belfast. PSNI  officers have been at the forefront of the mayhem and have been exemplary. Rioting thugs have burned out many vehicles in the city including a double-decker bus in the Rathcoole area of Newtownabbey and have single-handedly caused hundreds of thousands of pounds in damage. Reports also suggest that the thugs who have closed off roads in protest have refused access to local individuals trying to go about their business. A number of disgusting reports have come to light; a local GP being refused passage to get to a cancer patients house; an elderly man refused access to the area where he lived even though his terminally ill wife awaited his return; and other reports of thugs attacking random cars as they passed through their imposed blockades.

The situation in the North had been improving but the recent snag has suggested a return to high tensions between factions.

The other issue of concern regards Irish citizens serving in the British Armed Forces. In a disgusting statement from Continuity IRA inmates in Portlaoise prison it was said that such Irish citizens were targets for murder. Inmates stated that “The moment you don a British uniform you become a legitimate target for the IRA”. The outlawed organisation has never so directly incited the murder of Irish citizens but recent statistics have suggested a rise in the number of Irish citizens joining the British Armed Forces. The number is still relatively low; around 400 Irish citizens serve in the forces. Many of them have served overseas fighting the fanatical Jihadist group the Taliban but now face a threat when they return home to their own soil.

In December Gardai foiled a plot by the Continuity IRA to assassinate an Irishman serving in the British army while he was home for the Christmas period. The man was supposed to visit family in Limerick but was advised not to return home because of the serious threat to his life. The would-be murderers had befriended the man, who is in his 20’s, on Facebook months beforehand and had acquired a gun to carry out the assassination. The sinister development of the CIRA’s decision to actively seek to carry out such murders is one of major concern.

The British Ministry of Defence duly condemned the statement, “We condemn any threat of mindless violence against members of the British Armed Forces. We are committed to protecting them and all Irish personnel are being informed about this specific threat. The statement made by the Continuity IRA is a matter for the Garda Síochána”. Gardai are continuing to investigate the threats and warn any Irish citizen serving in the British Armed Forces to be aware of such a threat.

By Shuki Byrne

Re-Elected Obama Has No Time To Ponder Victory

The objective of a first term president is to get re-elected – Barack Obama has achieved that.  On November 7th 2012 Obama was given a mandate to lead his country for a second term comprehensively defeating Republican Mitt Romney.  However, the incumbent president has no time to savour his victory – unfortunately for him that was the easy part.  Unlike the euphoria of four years ago, the overriding emotion was one of relief for himself and his supporters.  Now he faces the objective of a second term president which is to create a legacy.  The next four years will determine how the first black president to occupy the White House is judged by history.  Not much has changed as a result of this election.  The power structure has remained the same:  Obama occupies the Oval office with a Democratic majority in the Senate and the Republicans still hold sway in Congress.  The checks on his legislative powers in his first term remain.  Obama will be buoyed by victory but he leaves behind the campaign trail with its echoes of lofty oratory and his loyal base in Chicago returning to WashingtonDC and the gritty reality of politics in a divided capital.

There was a palpable fear in the Obama camp about voter turnout.  Hope was the operative word on the campaign trail in 2008 but four years on they couldn’t rely solely on that to bring voters to the polling stations.  The reality of the situation dictated that his team launch a monumental groundswell operation in order to galvanise a similar turnout and they succeeded.   Dubbed the hash-tag election due to the prominent role played by social media, Obama has the largest Twitter following of any world leader.  His team relentlessly contacted supporters and the undecided, imploring them to vote for their man.

This race was deemed too close to call.  But after the ballots were cast and the pundits began deciphering the early exit polls it became clear that the 44th president had managed to win the crucial swing states that often decide these elections.  The margins were tight but President Obama carried Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin.  This meant that he easily won the race to 270 electoral college votes out of the 538 available.  Currently he stands on 303 to Romney’s 206 with Florida’s 29 still to be allocated.  Obama managed to defeat Romney in Michigan, where the challenger was born, and in Massachusetts, where he was governor from 2003 to 2007.  From the 2008 election results the Democrats only lost two states: Indiana and North Carolina.  In the end Obama won the popular vote by 50% to Romney’s 48% which shows that incumbent clearly won the popular vote.  The president’s mandate is reduced from the last election but it is still a clear mandate.

For the Republicans this defeat illustrates major deficiencies in the Grand Old Party (GOP) as they were unable to capitalise on high unemployment and a stuttering economy since the financial meltdown of 2008.  One must go back to 1936 and Roosevelt during the Great Depression to find a president who, in the face of such high unemployment figures, managed to get re-elected.  The unemployment rate in America is roughly the same as when Obama took office but instead of losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month the country is now gaining them.

This was an election that a united Republican party would have won.  However, the party is split and they managed to alienate large cohorts of the electorate with their divisive politics throughout the campaign.  It is clear that the party is torn.  Over the next two years they must decide if they are the fractious and severely conservative right-wing party that we saw in the primary or the more moderate one that Romney unveiled at the first presidential debate.  Romney was hamstrung by his own party in this race – for instance the party signed a pact that said they would not raise taxes on anybody and that included the super wealthy – Romney wanted to extended the Bush tax cuts that are due to expire in January thereby avoiding the so called ‘fiscal cliff’.  An exit poll indicated that 60% of voters believed that taxes should be increased on at least the very wealthy.

Romney lost the presidency in a centre right nation because he lost the centre.  He had to secure the extreme elements of his party early in the campaign and by the time he changed tack in search of the middle ground he was too late.  His voter base was too narrow:  He had a greater proportional share of the vote amongst whites, men, the wealthy, older people, Catholics and Evangelicals.  This campaign shows that the GOP needs some serious introspection and to broaden their appeal.  They will not be able to compete over the coming years if they do not moderate certain policies that alienated them from large portions of the electorate.  George Bush won 40% of the Latino vote whereas Romney only picked up 29%.  Hispanics voted en masse for Obama.  Romney and the Republican party have ostracised this large demographic through their extreme immigration policies.   Pat Cadell, a public opinion pollster who worked on Jimmy Carter’s campaign team, spoke on Fox News of the party’s problems, “There is no future for a party that consistently gets wiped out at the polls by Latinos and Women and which constantly appears negative.”  The first presidential debate in Detroit was the highlight of the Romney campaign as he shape-shifted toward the centre.  Voters did not really know who Romney was – they were still uncertain of his true identity. What they feared was the Republican party of the last four years and that his potential administration would have reflected the GOP’s extreme agenda. American politics desperately needs a united Republican party.  They need to decide their identity and emerge as the party of fiscal responsibility and moderately conservative social policies or they will find themselves left behind by the future generations of American voters.

One can only get elected once on a ‘change’ platform.  The American public had a four year record on which to judge Obama so either his policies were seen as acceptable by the electorate or the opposition was not seen as offering a viable alternative – a bit of both seems to be the answer.  Economically Obama inherited ‘The Great Recession’, as it was dubbed, from his predecessor and his policies have prevented a depression.  The recovery is slow but there are green shoots.  Voters are beginning to see improvements in the economy and perhaps the electorate was wary that a new administration could derail this progress.  A Republican Congress has stymied much of Obama’s stimulus plan however the bailout of the auto-industry saved many jobs.  In Ohio for example this bailout directly translated into a victory for him in this vital swing state.  Exit polls suggested that nobody voted solely on foreign policy.  The Republicans touted Obama as weak but he has managed to repair America’s reputation in foreign eyes without pandering or endangering American national security as was feared by his opposition.  Military hawks waited for the incumbent to slip up in his first term but he has been almost flawless in foreign theatres. Al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self.  He tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden.  He ended the unpopular war in Iraq.  His sanctions on Iran have been tough and he intervened responsibly in the Arab Spring.  He increased troop levels in Afghanistan but intends to pull out of that quagmire by 2014.  The only real blot on his record was the loss of four American lives in Benghazi in Libya and Romney tried to make political capital from this event during the campaign and as a result he lost popularity.  If there is something the American people can be bi-partisan about it is in events where they lose their own men.

Obama’s win was an endorsement for his policies and an acknowledgment that the government has an important role to play in an American recovery.  He will look to implement legislation that he was unable to get passed in his first term now that he is equipped with a new mandate from the public.  His lasting legislative success came early in his first term with his sweeping health reform known as Obamacare.  With his re-election he hopes to fully implement these plans by 2014.  His second term priorities will be the deficit, changing the tax code, immigration and climate change.  His first major obstacle will be the ‘fiscal cliff’ the metaphor for what will happen in January when George Bush’s tax schemes lapse. If a compromise is not reached between the President and Congress on fiscal policy then taxes will increase and there will be spending cuts.  The speeches of both candidates after the results indicated that the need for cooperation on this issue will test their commitment to bi-partisanship.

This election does not indicate a united nation; real polarisation still exists in the States but what this vote does show is a majority electorate that saw Obama as working for them.  They aren’t saying he’s succeeding but he is trying and that is more than can be said of an opposition that has been unwilling to compromise.  Republican House speaker John Boehner, in a speech after the results, was clear that his Congress would remain the check on the president’s power as they have been since the mid-term elections in 2010.  President Obama’s dealings with Congress over the next four years will be the key to his legacy.  He urged reconciliation between the two parties in his emotive speech, “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states.  We are and forever will be the United States of America.”  Let the partisan battles begin.

Bomb Threat On Eve Of Queen Visit

Dissident Irish Republicans have put London on red alert after issuing a coded bomb alert for an un-named location within the English capital, one day before Queen Elizabeth the second is set to visit Irish shores.

Scotland Yard confirmed that they had received the call on Sunday evening and security in central London has been radically increased with citizens asked to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. No time was given during the call.

Roads were closed near Buckingham Palace this morning after an officer spotted “something suspicious” at 4.20am.

A suitcase, found near Trafalgar Square, was also destroyed in a controlled explosion.

The threat comes on the eve of the Queen’s historic visit to the Ireland, the first by a British Monarch since the country gained its independence in 1921.

With Dublin on lockdown for the royal visit and security costs of up to €30 million been muted, tensions are running high.Many feel the country simply cant afford this visit.While some people plan peaceful protests for this reason it is mainly the threat posed by the Republican`s that has everyone worried .The Gardai and Defence Forces are  also on high alert in Dublin, after numerous suspicious packages and devices have been found in the run up to the queen`s visit. 

British Home affairs correspondent Mark White gave his verdict on the threat.He said: “The use of a coded warning takes this alert well above the norm.

“Every day the police respond to security alerts which turn out to have been false alarms with good intent.

“But here is seems an individual or a group with specific knowledge of the dissident republican coded warning system has called to make a bomb threat.

“The police cannot afford to do anything but treat this with the utmost seriousness.”

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