Rewriting the Irish Conflict
If you are interested in a complete rewriting of the Northern Ireland
conflict then David Ensor’s report on CNN this week fitted the bill. Ensor,
the network’s national security correspondent, did an hour long CNN Presents
special on how other countries handled terrorism.
Of course, when it came to the British, the Northern Irish situation
loomed large. Ensor decided to show how the British had defeated the IRA
terrorists by clever use of carrot and stick tactics.
The two witnesses he brought forth would certainly speak for a miniscule
portion of Northern Ireland’s population. Well-known informer Sean O’Callaghan
and well-known dissident Marion Price provided all the cover that Ensor
needed for his proposition.
Price, who is a member of the dissident Republican wing, stated that
she believed that the British had won the battle hands down — well she would,
O’Callaghan spoke of the horrific atrocities he committed as part of
the IRA and how the brave British forces defeated them. No other voices
were heard apart from a former senior RUC officer who made his force sound
like a bunch of teddy bears in the face of awful provocation.
Another “unbiased” witness was the former head of MI5, Dame Stella Rimington,
who, surprise surprise, extolled the virtues of her organization and their
We’re sure there is a considered debate to be had over who won what in
Northern Ireland, but this extremely one-sided view was not it.
Dobbs Rants On
As we are on the subject of CNN, it appears that Lou Dobbs, who presents
Lou Dobbs Tonight every weekday night, has become unhinged on the question
of illegal immigration.
Every night Dobbs pounds away at the issue with the most blatant and
racist reporting that you can find on any network.
It is hard to know how the reporters who weekly go out to report and
interview every extremist on this issue can stomach working for a man who
has long ago crossed the line to outright racism on this subject.
Recently Dobbs went a step further, suggesting that the St. Patrick’s
Day Parade in New York City, be cancelled because Americans should be Americans
only, and should forget about ethnic roots.
Even his guest, whose name escapes me, who was also a rabid anti-immigrant
advocate, found that too much to stomach, but Lou was sticking to his convictions.
Dobbs was once a great financial reporter and analyst. Now he has become
a cipher of every lunatic fringe extremist on immigration these days.
A Balanced View
If you want a very balanced view on the immigration debate look no further
than the November issue of the American Prospect magazine which devotes
its entire issue to the topic.
American Prospect is a Democratic leaning publication (www.prospect.org),
so its views are considerably to the left of Dobbs as can be imagined.
However, there is an outstanding contribution by Doris Meissner, former
head of the INS under President Clinton, who revisits the 1986 immigration
reform bill known as IRCA.
Nowadays it is fashionable to dismiss IRCA as a failure, but as Meissner
points out it was incredibly successful in lifting millions out of the shadows
and contributing to American life.
Her point was that the employer sanctions never worked, because quite
simply, there were too many powerful employers who did not want them to.
That looks like being a problem again this time.
Meissner was the wife of Chuck Meissner, Clinton’s economic envoy to
Ireland who was tragically killed in a plane crash that also took the life
of Ron Brown, Clinton’s secretary of commerce.
Interestingly, the American Prospect November issue was sponsored by
Atlantic Philanthropies, the organization founded by Irish American Chuck
Feeney which is among the largest philanthropic organizations in the world
with an endowment currently of $4.3 billion.
Feeney, who co-founded Duty Free Shops (DFS), and later sold them for
a fortune, has given all his wealth away, including over $700 million to
educational establishments in Ireland.
Feeney was very active in the Irish immigration movement in the 1980s
and played a leading role in funding many critical aspects of the activities
Now he has agreed again to become an advisory committee member of the
new group started by the Irish Voice, the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform
(ILIR), showing that he has still has a deep interest in the issue.
Interesting to note that immigrant New Yorkers, including many Irish,
voted in far greater numbers for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg than
U.S.-born city residents.
Although Bloomberg beat Democratic challenger Fernando Ferrer with a
whopping 56.7% percent of the vote, 62.9% of immigrants voted for him in
his contest against Ferrer — a six point better margin.
Bloomberg’s margin was especially high in areas such as Queens and the
Rockaways, as well as Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, all Irish strongholds which
shows that the outer borough Irish probably voted for him in record numbers.
The fact that one of his main strategists was Irish-born Adrian Flannelly
of the Adrian Flannelly radio show no doubt helped too.