Letters to the Editor: 'Politics is broken in USA if they are relying on the integrity of narcissist who clearly has none'
President Donald Trump's xenophobia and rallying calls of incitement to violence are deeply disturbing. I am terrified a narcissistic, male aggressor has so much power in the United States.
However, Trump is exploiting a broken system just as any opportunist might - especially a businessman with no sense of the meaning of public office.
Politics is broken in the US.
Why can I say that? Because when the Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took part in the political finance debate hearing recently, she posed a number of devil's advocate questions, exposing the dark truth emerging from the underbelly of the body politic. Her line of questioning established it is legal for a candidate to have their campaign entirely lobbyist-funded by, for example, the healthcare or fossil fuel industry, and that while it was unseemly it would not be illegal to pay people hush money to cover up any skeletons in the closet. She pressed her point further:
Q: "So I can be totally funded by oil and gas? I can be totally funded by big pharma, come in, write big pharma laws, and there's no limits to that whatsoever?"
A: "That's right."
Q: "Is there anything preventing me from holding stocks, say, in an oil or gas company, and then writing laws to de-regulate that industry… that could cause the stock value to soar?"
A: "You could do that."
The last nail in the coffin came when Walter Shaub, the former director of the US Office of Government Ethics, responded to her question about the limits of congressional oversight: "There's almost no laws at all that apply to the president."
The United States is relying on the integrity of its president to do the right thing: to be a gentleman, to play fair, to be morally upright.
Good luck with that.
Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Cost of tribunals weighs heavily on taxpayer
I read and hear Leo Varadkar is concerned about the cost of tribunals. Join the club, Mr Varadkar. For many, many years, most fully educated people have been worried about the cost of tribunals.
Everything has to be paid for by the taxes of the genuinely productive people who work in shops and businesses (such as newspapers) all over our country.
We are keenly aware that if so much money is wasted on dozens and dozens of people sitting around wondering what to do for the best, not much will be left for what really needs to be done - as we read and hear almost every day.
Maynooth, Co Kildare
Fine Gael will pay for its policy on homelessness
YOUR editorial on the homeless crisis ('Our homeless deserve better than jaded 'no quick fix' line', Irish Independent, March 3) is a fair stab at trying to rationalise what this Government is at, as it muddles on, failing to deal with the housing problem.
Just look at the ham-fisted way they have been talking about elderly people and suggesting that they should move to "fit-size" houses, leaving behind a home they built and reared a family in over decades.
What this scheme is all about is just another attempt by incompetent ministers to shift the focus to others. In this case, the elderly are singled out and presented as an obstacle to solving the homeless problem.
And just to underline the extent of the incompetence we are witnessing, the result of this latest PR disaster will have a very serious impact on their vote and they just can't see that.
After all, what retired couple - most likely struggling on a pension this Government cut - seeing attempts to coerce them to leave their homes would give any sort of a vote to Fine Gael?
Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
Rathedmond, Co Sligo
Pope should read his 'Bible' to find the answer
IT IS apparent Pope Francis is copping out. Free will and freedom of conscience are two of the most intrinsic criteria of Roman Catholic theology.
The successor to the fisherman has only to read Matthew, chapters 16 and 18.
Jesus promised: "Whatsoever you hold bound on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven and whatsoever you hold loosed on earth shall be loosed also in heaven."
Memo to Francis: "Drain the swamp."
John W Condon
San Francisco, USA
European Research Group fails to live up to its name
I HAVE searched the internet - source of all knowledge - but have failed to find any mention of the European Research Group's (ERG) objectives apart from a desire to leave the European Union.
This group is in receipt of public funding, so it should clearly state its purpose in life.
What is the object of its research? If it is solely the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, it suggests the group has decided on the conclusion before doing its study.
What is the methodology? Has a cost/benefit analysis been done regarding all possible outcomes?
It must be logical. If it suggests that leaving the EU regardless of the cost is an option, it would show a total disregard for the living standards of those who are not as well insulated by private incomes or inherited wealth.
In leaving the EU, what are the ERG's proposals for dealing with the new reality of the UK? It is like a corner shop trying to compete with a major supermarket chain; while the shop might survive at a basic level, it will never be able to benefit from the cost benefits of the larger body.
Who are the key researchers and what experience do they have in a process which might have unexpected consequences?
When might the group's final report be published, and has it produced interim reports to account for the funding it has received to date?
It appears to me the group is a collection of people with time on their hands who were looking for a function in life and decided that leaving the EU suited their purposes, regardless of the consequences.
Pay phones are still vital part of our social fabric
PAY phones are a necessary part of a city's services and street furniture. Their removal could have an impact on some of the country's most vulnerable people, denying them access to helplines and emergency assistance. It's not all about money, you know.
National treasure has been allowed to decay
THE vaults of St Michan's are, or were, a national treasure.
The remains of crusaders survived intact for hundreds of years, inspiring Bram Stoker to write 'Dracula'.
Twenty years ago, there were problems with tourists shaking hands with mummified corpses for photo opportunities causing bacterial decay.
It was never given the attention of the State it deserved, leading to the inevitable catastrophe.
In true Irish style, we can cry this should never have happened. When precious sites get destroyed in war zones, we are great at condemnation.
We should look in the mirror.
Cloontykilla, Co Roscommon
The Church and Christ will always triumph
IN OUR times, a catastrophe has hit the Church worldwide with the prevalence of paedophilia - the obscenity of Catholic priests sexually abusing children and also the ham-fisted and careless ways in which Church leaders dealt with it.
This sad episode in Church history, with Satan partially victorious, resulted in many Catholics being estranged from the Church - even though in effect just 2pc of priests were guilty; so 98pc of priests were faithful.
The war between Christ and Satan began in the early days of Christ's ministry when he was tempted by Satan to forsake God his father - as narrated in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These gospels tell of conflict between Christ and Satan; in particular when Satan cried out: "I know who you are - the holy one of God - have you come here to destroy us?"
The Church has suffered from Satan's aggression - heresies, the corruption of bishops, even popes, and latterly the catastrophe of paedophilia.
Yet the Church and Christ will always triumph as God provides her with holy men and women in every age to witness him. People like St Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Catherine of Siena, Ignatius Loyola, Oliver Plunkett, Pope St John Paul II and Pope St John Paul XXIII.
As Jesus has promised, he will remain with his Church until the end of time.
Fr C McGillycuddy
Address with editor