Ireland is a country full of surprises.
What follows are ten things I learned about Ireland during my visit that surprised me most. Brace yourself. This isn’t a cheerful travelogue nor a tourist postcard:
1. Abortion is illegal.
Abortion is illegal in Ireland. The only exception to this national law is in cases which save the life of the mother. No exceptions. Severe birth defects, rape, incest — all of these deplorable circumstances require the mother to bear the child. I don’t know why I was shocked by this. After all, this is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation (although the church’s influence is clearly in decline — more on that to come). My presumption was that virtually all of Europe was intransigent when it comes down to a woman’s right to control their own bodies and make choices for themselves. It’s hard to believe this is one issue where the United States is actually ahead of places like Ireland, which continue to impose severely restrictive abortion laws.
Now, a few consequences of these restrictions. One does tend to see comparatively more public facilities around the country to care for those with the most deformities. Since many more children are born with defects, it becomes incumbent upon the state to care for them. Another consequence of the Republic of Ireland’s abortion restrictions is the booming medical market across the Irish Sea over in England, which is accessible via a few hours ferry ride. Thousands of Irish women travel to England each year to terminate pregnancies (England’s abortion laws are similar to the U.S.). Finally, Northern Ireland allows for abortion, provided certain medical criteria are met.
The bottom line is — Ireland is very much a 1950s nation on the controversial topic of a woman’s right to chose.
The United States has a peculiar way of defending and promoting freedom and democracy abroad, particularly in the increasingly turbulent Middle East.
To illustrate American foreign policy’s glaring double standard, let us compare two predominantly Muslim, oil-rich nations. These two nations are treated markedly different by the United States and most of its closest allies.
First, we’re told “Nation A” is a friend and shares our common interests. What interests are those, exactly? We’ll get to that later. Nation A has been treated with fawning respect by administrations of both parties for more than a half century. The regime is afforded all the privileges of America’s full economic and military support. We’ve even gone to war to defend one of its neighboring monarchs from invasion. Nation A enjoys close diplomatic relations and has modernized its domestic infrastructure, in part because of generous trade agreements which benefit many U.S. companies. Nation A’s top leaders are frequently invited to the White House as welcome guests. Our leaders openly embrace them.
“Nation B” gets the opposite treatment. It’s looked upon as an outlaw regime by the United States. Nation B even classified as part of an “Axis of Evil” in the world. Its citizens suffer significant hardships because of harsh economic sanctions aimed against the country’s elected leadership. Yet, these policies have produced little or no tangible progress since implemented during the late 1970s. Nation B has no foreign mission nor diplomatic relations with the U.S. When its leaders have made overtures towards American officials, those initiatives were either ignored, or flat out rejected.
One would presume that Nation A and Nation B are quite different in politically and culturally. Well, indeed — they are different! But not in the ways you might expect:
The sickening stench of a polluted political waterfall is pouring into the abyss.
Just about everyone who’s anyone in Nevada connected in any way to politics or media is spouting praise for Harry Reid, the unbearable United States senator who somehow managed to transmute himself into the great imposter who’s now impersonating the face of American liberalism. Newspaper op-eds, mayors, governors, congressmen, his fellow senators — and most sickening of all, media — continue to toss bogus confetti, applauding his so-called “leadership” while very likely quietly whispering to themselves, thank goodness that loathsome son-of-a-bitch is finally leaving office.
In case you missed the news, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) announced last Friday that he won’t seek re-election, come 2016. He’s suffered several setbacks recently, both political and personal.
Ever heard of “Dale Hansen?”
Sadly, most of you haven’t, probably. Unless you grew up in Dallas or now live in the D/FW metropolitan area, chances are you’ll draw a blank when pondering his name.
Well, that’s about to change.
Dale Hansen has been the sportscaster at ABC television affiliate WFAA in Dallas for more than 30 years. Always articulate and outspoken, Hansen’s considerable influence extends way beyond sports. He frequently attacks society’s far more weighty issues, including our attitudes towards guns and violence, gay rights, race relations, and other controversies. Until somewhat recently, Hansen was the color commentator for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys on radio, and association which dates back to the early 1980s, during the pre-Jerry Jones Tom Landry-era. Hansen certainly knows Dallas. He’s adopted Texas as his home. And over the past few years, for those who are lucky enough to watch him every night on Channel 8, he’s been a voice worth listening to.
You Indiana Republicans are some real cunts.
You have just passed something euphemistically known as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” now more simply referred to by the acronym — “RFRA.” Get used to seeing those four letters, America. They’re about to become a very hot topic.
Here’s essentially what RFRA does. I’ll borrow this description from Daily Kos which appeared yesterday, which goes as follows:
Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which governor Mike Pence signed into law today, does not create a de jure right or license to discriminate against gay people (or anyone else) on the basis of one’s “religious” “beliefs,” but it will create a de facto license to discriminate as such by emboldening discriminators and discouraging victims from suing.
[READ FULL TEXT HERE: Indiana’s RFRA Creates a De Facto, Not De Jure, License to Discriminate]