Power Weaving, England, 1836

Editorial: Virtues of Celtic Culture

Have the tables turned?

By Cecilia Fabos-Becker - Published 2018-05-10

We usually think of 'Celtic Culture' in just a few ways: drinking, music and some forms of sports. Historically there has been more that is distinctively Celtic. This past week, as I researched the Irish experience in England for my husband's family history book I found contemporary articles reporting that, between the 1830 and 1860, about 800,000 Irish became economic emigrants to England. The articles explained why the Irish came and how they were treated and regarded.

Back in Ireland, the Catholic Irish didn't own much of their own land, nor businesses. The English colonial government and land-owners hadn't invested in much infrastructure, nor any manufacturing in Ireland, preferring to maximize profits in England, and, of course, sell to the larger, more affluent English consumer market.

As a rapidly industrializing economy replaced subsistence farming, displaced cottage industries and mechanized farming, then, as now, people needed wealth, from jobs that paid decently, or owning land and leasing it out, or owning or leasing enough to farm for profit, not mere subsistence, or own profitable businesses. Under the Penal Laws, Catholic Irish were not allowed to own land or businesses in Ireland. It was also harder for them to get an education and trade or professional skills. Schools cost money also.

Across the Irish Sea, many of the newest, dirtiest and most hazardous jobs of the new industrial economy were available to the immigrant Irish. Passage to England on the deck of a packet steamship going from the smaller Irish ports to Liverpool and Bristol, near England's industrial heartland, only cost four pence. These were jobs 'native born' Anglo-Saxon-Norman English were unwilling to take.

Scots also emigrated into England, though more Irish went to Scotland than Scots to England. The Scots went mostly as skilled labor, and upper levels of service, as education was less difficult to obtain for Scots than Irish.

I read several articles that described how the Irish took the jobs no one else wanted, the worst of the coal mining jobs, 'they didn't balk at being told to go down into a dark pit' working with chemicals with no modern protections, hauling and laying stone and brick for buildings and roads, hauling away trash, including 'night soil,' and dead animals, cleaning cesspits and sewers. They 'were willing to work for 9 and 10 shillings a week instead of 12-14 that the Englishmen wanted, because their needs and wants were simpler, having come from original homes where they lived more simply with less goods… They lived on potatoes, pigs and cabbages and little else… (Actually they also ate mutton and whatever bits of beef weren't wanted by others, that they could stew or baked in a meat pie heavy with lard and flour.) They would repair clothing and shoes until there was nothing left to sew together.' 'They are quick to learn, and adaptable to changing work conditions.'

However, there was another side that disturbed the English factory owners and class-conscious managers in a highly structured society. 'Every Irishman believes he's just as good as anyone else, Irish or not… He is quick to put down his tools (strike) if he believes he has been treated unfairly. He is quick to attack with his fists as words… The Irish drink and fight too much. They could do better by their families if they didn't waste what little extra money they have on drinking so much, etc… They were also seen as slovenly in their homes and in their personal attire, to 'filthy,' though much of the last complaints were as much the result of no running water in most places the poor Irish were allowed to rent, and no water closets (earth closets instead--a pail with a box of clay over it, where one pulled the lever and dropped clay over the waste and then eventually had to remove and dump the full pails and refill the clay containers. The Irish had never known indoor plumbing in Ireland and had not bathed frequently there, either. However, they usually had their own well, and didn't have to share a well or pump in a courtyard with a half dozen other families, or haul water for bathing and washing clothes as far as they were required to do in most English cities.

In the complaints though, were virtues and heritage the English did not understand. The Irish, and most Scots, were not into insatiable consumerism, even when they had money. They lived simply and didn't accumulate lots of 'stuff.' Having stuff didn't define the worth of a man or a family. This meant that, with care, they actually could live on less than an Englishman who used ostentation to try to establish his social value and status. Even in Roman times, early Christian times, and later, when the English coming to Ireland first saw the Irish, even the lords of the then great Irish clans, it was repeatedly observed how the Irish and Scots lived much more simply than other peoples, more humbly with less ostentation. The Irish, even before the English, also did indeed believe every Irishman was as good as any other. Kings were not dynastic father to son, and neither were heads of clans, but often accepted as kings and chiefs, only as they fought each other and outmaneuvered and out-organized each other to MAKE themselves leaders. It was brutal, deadly, and while it was quite egalitarian that anyone of a surname could make himself head of a clan, or any clan could seize a kingship it divided the country and allowed the English to invade, increase the divisions, and conquer all.

The Irish had a system of law, Brehon law, but no independent of clans and kings means, that all could agree upon to enforce the law, no independent universally supported judicial bodies with any necessary armed support, such as sheriffs and deputies. The Scots did adopt a more enforceable code of law and sheriffs, and had more towns which elected governments and had their own defense systems. However, the Scots also had similar clan and family warfare to the Irish, and more Stuart kings died by murder than in their beds peacefully. Again, it was relatively easy for the English to divide the Scots in the 17th and early 18th centuries and write the Act of Union to their own advantage and effectively invade, conquer and colonize.

'Divine Right of Kings' is not a Celtic concept or value. Instead, it's 'any man can make himself a king,' and they never took kindly to anyone insisting upon a lot of deference because he'd made himself a king. Kings could be, and were deposed, often violently by the next bigger and better wannabe. The Irish and Scots were not into rigid caste systems. Individual merits and skills and caring for families were more important than birth or temporary excessive wealth which could be taken or destroyed. It is unfortunate for the Scots and Irish that they never developed their egalitarian views of human life and interaction into what one group of Celts in Europe, the Swiss, did, and learn to elect leaders with terms of election so they could remove them without civil strife and murder.

The Celts were also very interested in education and making it available to all people, not just a select few. Anyone could become a druid, a metal smith, acquire and maintain a decent herd, etc.. The monasteries in Ireland and Scotland were many and filled with sons of even what the English would have called tenant farmers, not even yeoman class, and not all were to become monks. The Scottish king, James IV was much better educated and had a larger library than his counterpart Henry VIII, though James would have done better to have a bit more on military organization, strategies and weaponry. In ancient Celtic society, the Celts were known as master craftsmen in metal work of all kinds, leather work, and textiles and taught these skills and were quick to learn and adapt new techniques from neighbors. Flemish weavers brought into Scotland and Ireland had many students and transformed the industries in both countries rapidly in 14th and 15th centuries. The Celts were also superior herdsmen and knew how to breed and adapt domestic livestock for more variations in climate and terrain. The 'Scots cattle were as hardy as the Scots themselves,' wrote more than one observer in the 17th century. The Scots and the Swiss were quick to create systems of public education that started with the Protestant reformation and the idea that 'all men should be able to read the Bible themselves and not need a human intermediary between them and their God,' and 'if all men and women have a good basic education in reading, writing and arithmetic, they will be more able to take care of themselves in more ways and be less dependent upon charity from Churches and communities.' Although education was made more difficult to obtain in Catholic Ireland, whenever Irish moved anywhere they could avail themselves of education (including skills training for trades) for adults and children, they took full advantage of it. My husband's Irish great-grandparents were absolutely overjoyed that Pennsylvania, even in the coal mining towns, offered a public education to all children, regardless of ethnicity or religion and urged their children to stay in school and make the most of this service, as long as possible, to get ahead. The Celts loved education and the arts and skill-requiring crafts, and they have excelled at these for thousands of years.

All of these interests, ideas and skills continued not just in Ireland and Scotland, but in Switzerland as well, with one big difference. The Swiss continued to own their own country and its resources and its industries, and owning all this were more willing to invest in all them--including their human resources. They weren't the colonial subjects, or second class subjects of anyone else. The Swiss weren't perfect. Until they industrialized and became the banking center of Europe, they bred and provided more mercenary warriors for the rest of Europe than almost any other country. There were serious differences between the rural parts of cantons and the towns and cities and the rural areas engaged in the time-honored Celtic tradition of 'laying down their tools and taking up their arms,' to finally obtain adequate redress, going back to the ancient Celtic idea that all men were fundamentally equal, and hard-working men and women who tried hard to better themselves in all ways were worthy of equal respect and treatment.

After reading all of this, I found myself also thinking of all the headlines and anger and divisiveness now in this country, and political upheavals, yet electing for decades elitist, ostentatious, millionaire and billionaire members of state houses and a national Congress, politicians who either neglect or abuse us. We have tons of personal weapons yet do not use them for either actually sustaining ourselves or righting wrongs, and don't need them to fight off an invading foreign army--we have the many times largest defense budget and forces than any several other nations, combined, in the entire world for that. We have increased incivility and no real communication, much less dialogue and compromise. We throw tantrums very well, but what have we really gained from them?. We have 12 years of public school education and about 40% of the graduates can barely read and write their names and addresses but know every rock/ sports star's name and details of his or her career and what the latest style in shoes is. We mass produce lots of stuff, and put ourselves into bankruptcy repeatedly acquiring it, but little of it is high quality or displays real craftsmanship or skill, and most falls apart and doesn't even biodegrade in the landfills to which it's eventually hauled--by someone else.

None of this has led to any real improvement in the lives of millions of families for decades. Our present and future is really up to us, as it was for our ancestors. Yet, what are most of those who have the greatest real needs and complaints actually DOING about it, for themselves, compared with their Celtic forebears? I, and many others, have realized that some of the worst economic situations complaints and anger, is coming from areas of the nation that are most Celtic in DNA, if not heritage. This bothers me a lot--I'm more than half Celtic, also! These are my relatives hurting and complaining and stuck in a deep, dark, stinking rut. I have to wonder, though, what would our Celtic ancestors would think of their modern descendants in the U.S.? They struggled to get an education for their children, packed up and moved when necessary and did all kinds of really dirty, nasty jobs and did them WELL to make a living, who also organized and stood up for themselves, sometimes at great physical risk, to obtain justice and fairness, when necessary. Have we finally become like the English of the 1830's-1860's and lost more of our real Celtic heritage - which is what the class-conscious English originally wanted us all to do?


Pitfalls for Members of Facebook Groups

Friends, Groups, Private Messages and Privacy (nor NOT)

by Cecilia Fabos-Becker - Published 2017-10-06

Human Beings are social creatures who want to communicate and share. They especially want to share things and ideas they really like and often will form groups around them, such as non-profit services, clubs, or professional groups like bands that perform music. Some people like some things, ideas and such so much, they form businesses that are interests-based, such as ethnic culture and heritage.

In recent years, we've all been happy to have increased means of and tools for communication and an extended electronic reach to share our interests whether they be a non-profit service, or support for a for profit group, such as a band or a shop, with such things Social Media apps or tools to use it better for communications and marketing. I use Outlook and other programs for emails and personal contacts, and both I and my spouse use Facebook. It's much faster than snail mail, easier to sort lists of sub groups of friends or markets, but, like snail mail, it allows the intended recipients or readers to decide to open, or toss, something or ignore it, and isn't as intrusive as telephone calls which to be effective have to get past an answering machine, especially when deadlines are looming.

However, to our dismay, we recently discovered that Facebook has a number of 'glitchs' in a significant, relatively new ways.

It's an important one that everyone who has joined more than one Facebook Group should be aware of. Likewise anyone who any affiliation with a non-profit or professional entity of his or her own, and is hoping friends will support shared interests, activities and events, and not just the programs put on for or by these separate groups.

Facebook states in its own policy statements and press releases that it is a tool and service that is meant to facilitate communication, sharing and marketing, for all kinds of people and groups (including those using more than one service), within the free platform users have voluntarily 'boarded' called "Facebook." On board Facebook, primarily using the concept of establishing on-line, as well as often in-person, friendships. Facebook allows Sales and marketing by any and individual persons and groups for both for profit and non-profit causes and events. Sharing is allowed, not only with people you already know, perhaps from some other prior experiences, but also those who have "friended" you as individuals or through groups. You may believe a 'friend' will like something or someone, expand their interests and support them. Nearly everyone shares, (markets and communicates) to expand their groups of friends and supporters and support for the things, and people, that interest them. Facebook's mission clearly states that the company and its programs exist to do both and both are specifically allowed.

Facebook is, to a certain extent, like a ship bound for a certain destination. When you board it, you agree you want to go there, also, even though you don't own the ship and don't control it. You only control how you, yourself, interact with it and others on the same ship. The ship company owns the ship and the captain, hired by the ship-owner, controls its operation.

It is one's understanding, or failure to understand, these basics of Facebook that creates the most pitfalls for Facebook users--whether they are individuals or groups. There are also conflicts among the services and programming to perform the services, and what they allow to be done by and/or for users, as individuals and groups, while trying to retain a certain amount of privacy for people who have already accepted this is a platform to communicate and share, and have boarded it.

Here are just a few examples of Facebook policy, lawful use and legal terms statements from 2015 to present:

"You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."
"Facebook offers a wide variety of products and services, including communications and advertising platforms. Many of these products and services — such as the Facebook mobile app, _Messenger_, and Paper — are part of your Facebook experience. "
"Groups provide a space to communicate about shared interests with certain people. You can create a group for anything — your family reunion, your after-work sports team, your book club — and customize the group's privacy settings depending on who you want to be able to join and see the group."
(Regarding events or items of interest to one member that said member wants to share with others) "Depending on the size of your group, you'll either be able invite all members of your group or invite all your friends in the group."

This being the crucial one, we invite you to look it up for yourself. Buried deep in Facebook's Help screens, at the URL: https://www.facebook.com/help/1210322209008185/?helpref=hc_fnav and at the very bottom of the page, you will find the very last topic "Can I message members of a group if they are not my friends?" and you can find this answer:

"All members of a group can chat together in group messages, even if they're not all friends with each other. However, only friends can message each other individually and start a one-on-one conversation."

Do you see the potential for misunderstandings and conflicts here? The last two items are especially important for persons who share interests with multiple groups' members and might have events, persons, or things to promote, either for profit or not. It is especially a potential source of conflict for those who are members of MULTIPLE groups, for example, a musical performer and/or Band. Even if you are part-time and earn most of your daily bread in some other occupation, pay attention, what just happened to us, can happen to YOU.

We discovered this Facebook glitch the hard way and informed them of it afterwards. The glitch is in the last two quotes, particularly the last one. If you are a member of group and want to message other groups about an event that interests you and you think might interest them, you may indeed, according to Facebook's policies, send a private message your fellow group members. At the same time, the Facebook "messenger/messaging" process of limits you to enter each individual names one at at time, and allegedly will prevent you from accidentally listing on your "to" line/block those in the group who have not 'friended' you. But this limitation only applies SOME of the time. As Facebook says, groups of a certain size, which we have now observed seems to be any group with under 50 members. Yet, even within groups of smaller size, this implied bit of programming to help you as a message sender avoid accidentally offending someone who is not a friend only works, SOME times--even within a single list of a subset of group members who you believe are your 'friends', because at some point, a group chat among all members of a group is allowed REGARDLESS of whether they are all 'friends'! In the face of accusations that we deliberately sent something to people who are not in some way our friends, we literally spent several days figuring out what had happened and how to avoid it in the future.

This glitch quickly resulted a very unwelcome reminder of the negative social aspects of adolescence. We're still waiting for a response from Facebook - Does anyone know a Facebook Executive out there we can ping in some way?

For many people, including bands and small businesses who are members of many groups, you are now literally going to have to do as we did and check all your Facebook friends lists of every group to which you belong or Facebook generally, which can amount to thousands. You will have to check your professional page 'friends' lists as well as your individual page(s) friends lists--spouses and other family members included. You will have to check your Outlook or other personal contacts data base to verify that you are somehow otherwise friends, (since most such contact programs are meant to somewhat work together these days) to verify who all are really your friends someway or not to DEFEND yourself against the occasional accusation that you deliberately sent something to people who are not in some way a friend of yours.

In particular, it took us hours to try to send what we thought was a personal group message using Facebook's Messenger service, to a small but select subset of friends from a group to which Tony belonged. It took us days to go through the 5,000 Facebook friends through several groups and our own Facebook Pages, and the many thousands more contacts in our Outlook database as well as and internet group contacts we have--that are still people with whom we occasionally communicate or see, to figure out just how few people we might have actually offended. (Precisely 6 individuals).

We operate a weeklyy newsletter with over 3000 subscribers, and an events calendar with thousands of users. For heaven's sake, our AmeriCeltic services are intended to to cover/promote the interests of all the several Celtic ethnicities, and to have a large and expanding outreach to thousands more! Celia has spent 45 years doing and networking information about family history. In just the last five or six years, we have over 10,000 email addresses on just four extended families/clans from members of internet groups, let alone our thousands of Facebook 'friends'!

So people, read all of the policy and services statements of Facebook, watch the news to keep up with their constant experimentation to expand or improve services of ITS platform or ship which we all voluntarily boarded to use their services. Be aware of the contradictions, limitations and glitches--and do not assume that all messaging that you didn't want to receive, and may not have set your own privacy settings to exclude was intentional on the part of the sender. Last, if you group or society that has a group page on Facebook has a policy limiting kinds or frequencies of communications or posting--SAY SO, in writing on the group page and in your other public internet postings about your society and its goals, objectives, and LIMITATIONS and don't slam someone for accidentally violating polices that were not publicized as that person could not have known. The acceptable response would be for an officer to politely send a letter or email to the parties involved.

Facebook, and the other "ships" (social media platforms) using the internet to communicate are all still 'under-construction', with changes being made on a daily basis. Be aware of that. it is good practice to read more, and when you realize how much you have to read, know and understand, to withhold any complaint and instead think about how easy it is to miss something, and stumble into a glitch. What might have been a nice experience or relationship can easily turn into ashes! Let's all hope Facebook fixes a few more of these glitches to make it easier to create and maintain pleasant or successful relationships, or both.


Editorial: Brexit, The Border Deal, and the DUP

Some Progress, Some Obstacles, Some Hope

By Celia and Tony Becker - Published 2018-01-05

Just a month ago, after intense negotiations, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced a formal written agreement between the UK and the EU to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open, and to continue to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and human and civil rights in Northern Ireland.

Here are links to two videos of related press conferences that same weekend:
Theresa May On Brexit Negotiations... Irish border...Brussels...EU Deal - Dec 7, 2017

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Brexit negotiations - Dec 8, 2017

Just yesterday, Leo Varadkar, the Republic of Ireland's Taoiseach (prime minister), spoke about the recent agreement between the EU and UK, regarding the borders of Northern Ireland and the limitations that Northern Ireland will, unfortunately, likely suffer as part of the non-EU, UK. For a related news article, Click Here. It is those limitations that, unfortunately, will continue to encourage greater U.S. and Silicon Valley investment in Dublin and the Irish Republican, rather than Belfast and Northern Ireland, or Glasgow and Scotland, as provinces of the non-EU, UK.

This new agreement between the UK and the EU is good news, but there is still bad news in Brexit. Tourists and business persons traveling between the two parts of the island of Ireland will continue to have to change money and the pound is weakening and will continue to weaken. Full trade between the UK--and Northern Ireland with the rest of Europe as freely as now is not guaranteed and the pound and the euro will no longer support one another. Of the two, the euro is now stronger. Our review of various media articles, this past week pointed out that the stronger euro is now enabling shopping sprees as Irish buy goods in the UK at bargain prices. For the U.S. this is a good thing for tourists traveling to Northern Ireland and Scotland, as the dollar is also weakening thanks to the financial uncertainty of this past year combined with the tax deal and increased deficit. The dollar isn't weakening quite as much as the pound, so hotels and restaurants in northern Ireland and Scotland, already depressed areas of the UK, will continue to be a bargain.

If you are Scots or Northern Irish looking for jobs in the future, you may move to Ireland, or elsewhere in the EU. As minority citizens of the UK, your economic opportunities and trading rights are diminishing, yet again. The English supermajority in the UK Parliament appears to be focused entirely on the survival of the English, not caring about Scots or Scots-Irish. In fact, the English would rather your language, culture, separate identity all disappear and you simply become good little English men and women, in England. The travel and trade relations that currently exist between Ireland and Scotland are not guaranteed for the future, which also complicates tourist and business travel for many Americans who often plan trips to visit both areas when both are part of their heritage and interests.

With a population of about 50 million persons, the UK market is far smaller than the market of 450 million persons still in the EU, and the Venture Capitalists (VCs) and corporations, particularly from Silicon Valley, will likely find it more convenient and profitable to invest and set up offices and more in Ireland, France or Germany rather than the UK. Leaders from China recently illustrated the greater interest of a larger market by visiting the EU headquarters and pointedly ignoring London for potential trade deals, quite literally to replace the UK and the U.S., and publicly stated that.


Northern Ireland has another particular problem though, best exemplified by Arlene Foster and the Democratic Union Party that she heads. The DUP does not want union with the rest of Ireland, instead it wants only union with the UK. Fine, as far as most of Silicon Valley and the VC's are concerned, then Northern Ireland can sink or swim with the UK. Foster's anti-Republic, even anti-Catholic rhetoric does not help. Increasing religious-sectarian violence in the last few weeks and months since the Brexit vote and sometimes after Foster's public comments, most recently last November, just before this new agreement was made, do not inspire confidence for the security and growth of either business investments or tourism.

Foster's November comments lauding union with the UK as superior, reminds far too many Irish people, in Ireland, as well as in the global Irish diaspora, of the centuries of violence and repression on the basis of religion, in Ireland, particularly under the UK rule. The Queen of England is still the titular head of the Church of England, thus the UK still combines the institutions of church and state and that church is Protestant. That religious discrimination and related civil strife only ended in Northern Ireland 20 years ago with that Good Friday Agreement, and Foster's November comments, absent any clarification, make the current peace appear shaky.

In our first hand experience, VC's run from civil strife and discrimination and repression that have the potential to incite violence, especially when those VC's have been born and raised, or lived long, in mostly Catholic, politically and socially liberal, racially diverse, California, a unified market by itself that is nearly 40 million persons and rapidly approaching the size of the UK.

Consider the events of the 1980 - 1990 in east and southeast Europe. When Tito died in Yugoslavia in 1980, and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, several things happened. Romania's last full-dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, decided he could ignore the trends of the future and do one more act of genocide against Hungarians in Transylvania--repressing, even mass-murdering a minority that was once a majority in that part of what is now Romania. It was an act of intolerance and caused civil strife and threatened to cause multi-nation war, and he was executed on Christmas Day, 1989. The Serbians and Croatians took radically and violently different views of the entire Balkan peninsula, demonstrating violent intolerance of each other and Muslim Bosnians, who were ethnically and genetically related to everyone else in the former Yugoslavia. Many are blonde-haired and blue-eyed. The Balkan War lasted from 1991 – 2001. Slovakia decided it wanted to be less politically liberal and tolerant than the Czech half of Czechoslovakia and maintain communist style industrial management, limited democracy and accountability and separated from Czechoslovakia in January 1993.

Now consider, which parts of Europe have received the most investment, trade etc.? especially from Silicon Valley, (where something like 2/3 of all the VC's in the U.S. live). It wasn't Slovakia, Romania or the Balkan nations. To this day, these nations who demonstrated greater intolerance, violence and no accountability remain much less developed and have less international investment and trade. War, civil strife, discrimination, intolerance and exclusion are not good for trade, the free sale of goods and services, and full market development. Unfortunately for Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster and the DUP are, sounding and reading more like a potential for war and civil strife, and thus a limitation to economic growth.

Consider even in the U.S., where are the greatest investments and economic opportunities? Are they in the states where the KKK and Nazis are most active, where voter suppression laws are greatest, where there is still rampant discrimination against people of darker color, or in cities where there the murder rates are sky high? How do amounts and quality of investments in Oakland/Chicago, or Alabama/Mississippi compare with San Francisco/Atlanta or California/Massachusetts, etc.? Where do health insurance companies and health product manufacturing companies set up? Are they in small states whose governments really don't care about the health care for the majority of their people and therefore are not much of even a local or regional market for health care services or products? Where do the majority of VC's and corporate executives themselves choose to live?

So, what if Northern Ireland becomes a tiny, intolerant, violence-prone rogue province of a small country, and that itself is viewed as withdrawing from a much larger unified market? Or worse yet, why did the supermajority in the English part of the UK vote to withdraw--was some of that vote a racist reaction against emigration from less white, less Protestant Europeans, as well as darker skinned, non-Christian African countries?

We've heard and read statements by some UK officials, say how they intend to replace the unified market of the UK with a revival of the Commonwealth. Really? The Commonwealth was jettisoned a generation ago, and itself was a one-sided relic of colonialism. It was created by the English supermajority in the UK parliament and used the English banks, limitations on international access for investment or trade deals through England, to keep the nations under-developed, and the people of the Commonwealth nations poorer, relative to the English part of the UK. This was done nearly exactly as the English supermajority of the UK had been doing with Scotland and Ireland, then Northern Ireland since 1707. It is arrogant ethnocentrism and continues to this day. Listen to any speech of any representative of the Prime Minister and English supermajority parliament about the future of the UK. There will be no mention of development of the Celtic perimeter provinces, or the people, towns and cities within. They don't exist, or should not exist, in the minds of most English or those who want to identify themselves as English. Have these UK officials asked the considerably less affluent, darker skinned peoples of the former Commonwealth how they feel about this plan? Don't they think there are any televisions or cell phones that showed to the Africans the comments of pro-Brexit voters such as, "now the white Anglo-Saxon Brits can throw out all those darker-skinned peoples", and signs in shops, etc., like, "Poles go home"?

Back in 1973, when Britain joined the EU, was the last time the Commonwealth existed as a somewhat unified economic entity. Most of the African and West Asian nations were still economic and financial colonies of the UK with no manufacturing, no other types of well-paid employment, besides government, and were providing little GDP but raw materials and some unprocessed agricultural products exported to the UK. They were no real market for much in the way of value-added UK goods, nor any other developed nation's goods. Have the African and West Asian former colonies of the UK progressed that much to become better markets? Would the UK cut a better deal with the EU or the U.S. than the African and West Asian countries could do directly for and by themselves, and have been doing since 1973? Right now, the EU, and soon just the UK, has to compete with China, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. to buy raw materials and agricultural products from Africa and West Asia. With this competition, the latter now earn more money, even if they still don't have much manufacturing. How does a return to an exclusive, dependent relationship with the UK improve people's lives in Africa and West Asia, any more than in the last 44 years it's improved the lives and economy of Scotland and Northern Ireland? We still have more immigration to the U.S. from Scotland and Northern Ireland than from the more populous England, precisely because so many Scots and Irish believe or see that they have more economic opportunities in the U.S. than in their own parts of the UK.

England (and the UK) have NO history, even within its government, of treating its native minority peoples in conquered formerly independent nations on its own islands fairly and equally. The U.S. still struggles with this, but has come a long way in the last 100 years. Unlike the U.S., the UK parliament does not have a balance of power of large and small population areas with two legislative houses, one of which is based on population and the principle of one man, one vote, and the the other in which states each elect the same number of 'Senators.' The districts for the House of Commons are uneven in population size and historically more MPs have come from English districts with the MP's representing fewer people than the MP's of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Realizing the UK has no states, but has counties and shires, if it had a second house similar to the U.S. Senate, it would have the same number of representatives for each county or shire. However, the reality is the UK has no bicameral parliament that balances the interests of the large and small population areas. This works to deny services, development and political influence of the lower population, mostly Celtic, areas. It was precisely because of the already evident discrimination, repression and denial of development and services to the Scots, Irish, Welsh, Cornish and northern English, in the 18th century that the founding fathers of the U.S., most of whom descended in large part from emigrants from these deprived areas, created the bi-cameral Congress as they did. The UK government, particularly the legislative, budget and money controlling Parliament remains skewed to the greater benefit of the larger, midland and southland, English population. Financial, economic, infrastructure and services policies and programs have all been crafted to work to encourage the other peoples the English have conquered to move to England and become good little Englishmen, subject to direct management and rule by these 'real' English.

Unlike what happened in the U.S. or other countries where manufacturing developed and continues closer to natural resources, and despite the fact that most of the UK's mineral wealth, power grid, etc. is in places like Cornwall, Wales, northernmost England and Scotland, UK manufacturing industries were all set up further south and east, in the heartland of Anglo-Saxon England. Ports for trade and trading rights were also set up in England, and the ports of Scotland and Northern Ireland were deliberately limited to be fewer and smaller. Realizing there is a difference in geographic scale and just looking at political control, if the infrastructure of U.S. had been set up like the UK, the entire south and southeast of the U.S. would have one port, say at Houston, and likewise the entire west coast one port, say at Los Angeles.

Consider the prospect of a revived Commonwealth. With this UK history still in place in the current UK government, how would the peoples of Africa, India, West Asia gain any more benefit than the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland in any English-UK led restoration of the oxymoron 'Commonwealth?' For the rest of the world, for example, the U.S. and China, how much of a market would exist anywhere beyond the English area of the UK in the 'Commonwealth?' This is why U.S. and Chinese political and economic leaders are talking with the EU, and the large, former commonwealth nations of Africa and West Asia, and not the UK. They will do their utmost to discourage Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, India, South Africa and more from re-establishing the Commonwealth. This is why if, or as, the UK declines, the minority regions of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will suffer more and be of yet less interest to international investment and trade.

What we hear and read among business persons and VC's in Silicon Valley is caution: don't invest in northern Ireland or the UK until we know what the final deal is and how much of an economic relationship with the EU is really retained. We also hear and read caution about investment, travel and trade after increasing expressions and demonstrations of intolerance and exclusion. We hear and read from some who are not going to wait and see, saying, "why bother dealing with the uncertainty of any part of the UK, and for years on end, when you have Ireland which speaks English, is still in the EU, and whose leaders and voters are supporting tolerant, inclusive policies?" The international corporate world is a world of stock markets that want results to price shares every quarter. They are not going to wait for years for the UK to create and implement their new separate trade and economic development plans and hope that the UK can deliver on its vague promises to create a new, larger 'Commonwealth' market that may or may not replace what already exists as the EU. Ireland, as part of the EU, benefits from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, which continues to be a 450 million person unified market.

From time to time as we research Celtic matters, we gain insights into contemporary issues, or see applications of lessons our forebears endured which seem forgotten now, yet needed. Our editorials reflect those insights and observations. We occasionally have contributors with important comments. We also have readers interested in re-reading our and our contributors comments or passing them on. So, we decided to dedicate a webpage just to our editorials separate from our "past newsletters," for those who consider our Commentry worth a repeat read, or a share or link to others.

Celtic Lands

Editorial: Celtic and U.S. Rebellions

The Work is Not Yet Done

By Celia Fabos-Becker and Tony Becker

Published 2016-12-02

On Thursday, November 17th, 2016 AmeriCeltic.net and San Jose-Dublin Sister Cities Program redressed an omission in the March commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland that ultimately led to Irish Independence. San Jose Irish history buffs visited the grave of Michael McDonnell, an Irish revolutionary who fought with Pearse and Collins that Easter in 1916, served under Collins during the terrible struggles of the Irish Civil War 1919-1921, came to San Jose, California and lived the rest of his life here in the South Bay Area.

In Autumn of 2015, President Michael Higgins of Ireland spoke at San Jose City Hall and, referring to the events of 1916 - 1922 in his speech, centered his remarks on the theme: "The work is not yet done."

Besides rebelling against rule by England, there are two aspects that the American Revolution that began in 1774-5*, the Scottish rebellions of 1715 and 1745, and the Irish Revolution of 1916 - 1922 all shared. Yes, Ireland, Scotland and the American Colonies wanted independence to assert their separate national identities and to have and run their own governments, but this itself was entwined with a second purpose: We all wanted to drive our own futures, to control our own economic affairs and to maximize the prosperity of our own peoples. In fact, the Irish named their revolutionary movement Sinn Féin , "We Ourselves", in the Irish language.

Americans, mostly Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish, all battled British elites, and their trade policies, particularly in manufacturing.

The British government, who ruled over all of Ireland, Scotland and what is now the U.S. , largely closed us off to trade both ways. The British Parliament kept our markets and manufacturing extremely limited, leaving us to export largely raw materials and semi-finished commodities at low prices while we were to required to import finished goods at high prices from English merchants. Not only could we not sell freely, we could not buy freely. Using their overwhelming force of arms, England, particularly the English owners of manufacturing companies, monopolized our trade, tightly controlling who could buy our goods and also who could sell goods to us.

The leaders of all three nationalities, Irish, Scottish and American, saw that external control hurt the prosperity of our peoples and limited their growth. These policies treated all of us as second class or lower citizens, existing only to serve external masters.

Today, there are too many corporate leaders in all our nations who are generally perceived as, and often consider themselves, elite globalists. These elites generally show no regard for workers of any nation. Through donations and other means many have forged alliances with entrenched politicians and political party elites who have forgotten their obligation to care for the people who elected them and trusted them with their economic well-being.

In the past year, we have seen the disgruntled, excluded voters of England itself vote narrowly for Brexit, which would, in turn, limit their subject peoples' trade and development and in effect, return to the worst days of economic dependence. Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who also fought for the recent Scottish independence referendum, as well as Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness stand together against allowing their two countries to suffer such externally imposed economic hardships, and made statements similar to Irish President Higgins "the work is not yet done".

This latest, terrible election in the U.S., was a primal scream of rage from the forgotten non-elites. Hillary Clinton lost as much through her too obvious political donations from the wealthy and the rigging of the Democratic Primary by her party elite friends, whom she did nothing to dissuade, as from her own personal faults, and those of her husband.

Bill Clinton was seen as potentially too influential. He had enacted, rather than torn up, NAFTA, and then signed the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, which had kept Investment Banks out of Consumer banking. Both of these greatly harmed the economy of the nation and the lives, well-being and security of millions of ordinary Americans.


Donald Trump was one of these significant donors to the Clintons for many years, and others of their ilk, for decades, and also socialized with them to gain influence. Whether Trump will be any different is yet to be seen. However, there is one possibly promising sign. Trump's apparent Secretary of Commerce nominee; Wilbur Louis Ross Jr.

Wilbur Ross is a person of Scots and Irish descent (his father is from a Ross family that has long lived in New Jersey and his mother is an O'Neill) and was among those to first suggest to Trump that "much of America is disgruntled because the economy has left middle class workers behind". He has a history of taking the bits and pieces of broken companies left by the mismanagement by greedy, selfish, executives and directors and turning them into more viable entities, four of which he kept himself to run and develop.

It is very interesting to note that a certain George Ross, an ancestral cousin to the New Jersey Ross's, was among the Signers of the American Declaration of Independence.

* The October 10, 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant, in what is now West Virginia, preceeded the April 19, 1775 skirmishes at Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts by 7 months. After this Battle, victorious Virginia militias forced then Virginia governor Lord Dunmore to flee the Virginia colony, effectively ending British Rule in Virginia. The fight was instigated by the colonists anger at then Prime Minister of Britain, Lord North and his policies, carried out by Lord Dunmore, attempting to bring the American colonies under tighter control in all ways, but ultimately enriching English elites.

Women's Civil Rights in Celtic Societies

Published June, 2015

by Cecilia Fabos-Becker

BrehonLaws 2By blood we are mostly a Celtic nation, with a long, rich history of Celtic culture in attitude and law regarding human and civil rights. If more people knew what that history was, they'd be appalled at the attitudes, behaviors, deals and stated goals of most of candidates for high elected office in the U.S., particularly as they regard women, the elderly, the truly skilled and educated, and living children. This article reviews the status and rights of Celtic women, a somewhat sensitive subject, but real Celts will appreciate it as part of their cultural heritage.'Bay Area author, Catherine Duggan, recently published a book, The Lost Laws of Ireland (2013, Glasnevin Publishing, Dublin, Ireland).

This book reveals the status, rights and obligations of Celtic women as described in Brehon and other pre-Roman and pre-English law. There are additional references to pre-Roman and pre-English laws in a number of Scottish history books and commentaries by the Romans and English about the Scots, particularly between the 3rd and 10th centuries.'The difference in status of women is startling. Compared to Brehon law and the Christian Church of Saint Patrick, Aidan and Columba, the Romanized Christian Church and related laws and cultures considered women mere property. It did not matter what was the status of their parents, what their parents contributed to the marriage, nor their education and skills. They could not own property, could not own labor, livestock, nor pass on anything to their children by choice. This was very different in Celtic societies.'Under Brehon law, women were ordered to be protected by their fathers, husbands and sons. If injured or killed they had an 'honor price' based on rank at birth and their own education, skills and integrity. If a woman married a man of equal rank, she continued to own property in her own right after marriage, and could buy and sell property, have separate as well as common earnings. According to her will, upon a woman's death she could could dispose of property inherited from her own family back to her own family under the care of the ranking male. Property acquired in a woman's own right, before or after marriage, could be disposed of by her choice and will to whichever sons and daughters she preferred. Primogeniture among males was not the sole rule of inheritance.

Marriage was governed by contract sections of law and also laws against extreme violence. Women could divorce men for violations of the marriage contracts, infidelity, slander and abuse, especially if any physical abuse left a blemish. Polygamy was also legal but the second wife had only half the status and honor price of the first, though her sons might be considered equal for a father's inheritance, since a father did not have to give everything to his first born son. A man could divorce a wife for having an abortion or for smothering or otherwise killing a child.

Brehon law continued to operate in Ireland until the 1600's and in Scotland a similar form of law continued until the beginning of the Stuart kings. In fact, according to Patterson's History of Ayrshire, widows had property rights and other rights up to the time of the Act of Union and later, at least until 1745, and a woman could demand and obtain a divorce. When the Presbyterian Church was formed in the 16th century, councils of elders were quickly agreed upon by the church communities to be elected by both men and women and both men and women could be elders, and religious teachers up to a point.

Scotland was at one time a matriarchy. Its Pictish kingdom was often ruled by a Queen in her own right. Over time, males were crowned, but becoming a king was determined by the mother's family, that is who your mother was, not the father's family. Even the Stuart kings ultimately came to the Scottish throne on the basis of the marriage of a daughter of the preceding king who had no sons. Civil strife sometimes occurred because there was no guaranteed preference of birth order among daughters, and outside mercenaries or mediators could be and were brought in by one husband of a daughter or another. This is how the Plantagenet kings of England began making inroads into Scotland began outright invasions at times into both Scotland and Ireland. It was, ideally, a combination of the marriage of a daughter and the honor price--the worth--of her husband that determined the support for the kingship of one husband of a daughter over another. Outsiders were supposed to be left out of the decision. In both Ireland and Scotland, leaders of families or clans was a combination of heredity and election, and likewise kings. However, disagreements could and did lead to violent conflict so it often was a combination of force of arms, as well as wealth, intelligence, and the degree of non-violent popular support that led to a clan or family chief being decided or a king. This was both a strength and weakness of the nations. Enemies could and did profit during civil strife over leaders at the lower and higher levels, especially when someone whose ego outweighed his sense of community invited them into the fray.

Women were also accomplished queens and warriors in their own right in pre-Romanized society. In the 60 CE the Romans battled Boudica (Boadiccea), Queen in her own right of the British Iceni tribe who led an army of 100,000 against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in the then Roman province of Britannia. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth contended and negotiated with Grania O'Malley, who ruled the provice of Connaught in Ireland, where the Brehon law of the native Celts still ruled.

By 1654, the English had finally completed the conquest of Ireland and their oppression began in earnest. These conquerors outlawed the ancient Brehon laws, imposed their English laws (see Penal Laws and Highland Clearances). Within a generation, Celts began emigrating to the North American colonies, and after serveral failed revolts, by 1750 over 1,000,000 Scottish and Irish emigrants had populated the American colonies, especially along the Appalachian Piedmont, where English law did not reach. Scottish and Irish famines of 1837 and 1847 added at least another 1,000,000 Scottish and Irish emigrants to America.

Though these more egalitarian laws and rights were in decline in Scotland and nearly wiped out in Ireland, the memory, and oral and written histories of what once was, continued for a time in the U.S.. The memory was refreshed by a huge new immigration of Scots and Irish who had continued to suffer under the English in the famines and Highland Clearances, and had kept the memory alive the stories of the old ways. In all these cases, the influence and greater control of the exclusively male, feudal, classist society of England was seen as a major cause of loss of rights of women, increased poverty of women and children, as Dickens and Austen described, and one more reason for emigration to America where a new society might be created and some treasured older values revived.

Unfortunagely, the lingering influence of the English usurping Brehon Law lasted for centuries. It wasn't until the mid to late 19th century that American women finally regained most of the civil-rights that they had 400 to 800 years earlier in Ireland and Scotland.

The battle for womens and human rights continues today, as too many ignorant men still cling to Romanized and pre-modern English traditions. Some still regard as women as little more than "senseless property" and and try to impose these more restricting attitudes, as law, upon a mostly Celtic nation. Like the Romans, they all too willing to use brute force when persuasion by their eloquence fails to convince their victims, and we still have a long way to go to restore justice for the still too prevalent oppression. Real full equality of women, as once existed in pre-Roman times, may still depend upon women being willing to do battle for their equality and rights as Celtic warrior women of yore once were willing and able to do.


The Centenary of the Easter Rising of 1916

Published April 8th, 2016

by Cecilia Fabos-Becker (late mother, nee Wallace)

The 100 year anniversary of any event only comes only once. When the event was a hard-fought Rebellion for Independence, it is a coming of age for a nation, and a special celebration of the feeling that "We really did it, and it's going to last".

The Centenary of the United States independence from the British Empire came in July of 1876 and the world had never seen such a massive Celebration, which began in January and continued through the entire year.

This month, culminating on April 24th, 2016, Ireland has such a Centenary - the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. Irish independence from the British Empire came after a bloody rebellion that started with as little going for it as America's battles of Lexington and Concord. Irish independence was followed in short order by a bloody civil war, and then growing pains of a democracy that in part had been founded on religious differences and had to decide not to be a theocratic state, surrendering one outside power over itself for another.

Both Centenaries are somewhat painful for Scots, because independence from the British Empire is something Scotland has yet to achieve. This is especially painful because of the failed referendum on Scottish Independence of last year, and because Tartan Day has been subverted to serve UK interests as much as possible in recent years. See this website on what happened in 2000. However, it is up to the Scots to determine if, when and how to change their status to something like America or Ireland, and ensure that their parliament and / or independence can never be taken away again.

Until then, we encourage the Scots to have the generosity of spirit to respect and appreciate the successes of their Celtic brethren in Ireland, whose language and culture they share, and celebrate this Centenary of the full and complete Independence of at least one Celtic nation.



Antecedents of the American Revolution

Published June 17th, 2016

by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fabos-Becker

New Primary Sources on www.AmeriCeltic.net

Recently, we've seen ugly and violent acts of religious extremists in Africa, West Asia, Europe and now here in the U.S. Politicians here in the U.S. as well as Europe are now clamoring to put all the adherents of some religions or some sects on terrorist watch lists, or make them wear identifying badges to show what they are at a glance, or to ban them from entering the U.S., and other extreme acts of government.

On the scale of human history, the events of 1689-90 are recent. Human nature does not change across even millennia, and we are in danger of resurrecting a past that most of our ancestors fled when they came to this nation. For proof, just take a good look at the related documents and sources we found in the last few months.

As AmeriCeltic researches family history we look for primary source documents with the names of heads of families, and precisely where in Ireland they lived. Ongoing research has just made available another set of primary source reference documents, the Intro, Extracts of Walter Harris 1749 Book & List of Attainted Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. The 'Act of Attainder' was created by an extremist Parliament hastily appointed by the fanatic, the Earl of Tyrconnell, who had been given the task by the deposed King James II. This item will be of interest to family history researchers of Scots-Irish, Anglo-Irish and Irish families, students of the antecedents of the American Revolution.

In view of these current events, it is also timely for readers of this newsletter.

When we discuss 17th Century Irish history, we often hear only of the atrocities of the fanatical Protestant Cromwell and his ilk, but with their "Act of Attainder" the transient Parliament of 1689 dispossessed and imprisoned tens of thousands of people, both Protestants, and Catholics. They revoked prior Acts accepted by the majority of Irish who held power in Ireland, made under the preceding kings who were the parents and siblings of James II. It undid 150 years of history that began with rebellions to eject both English and Norman Anglo-Irish, who were both Protestant and Catholic, but seen as foreign invaders and occupiers, and owing allegiance to a now Protestant English crown. Many of these attained families, ordered to be either killed or ejected from Ireland, had been there since the 12th century!

It has often been said that 'those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.' When presented with the Act of Attainder by these fanatic Catholics in Ireland, James read it found it exceeded even his own wishes. James II himself responded, 'do you really want to engage in 1641 all over again?' 1641 was the year in which some Irish Catholic lords had led a rebellion against persons who were either non-Irish and/or non-Catholic, that went out of control and slaughtered several tens of thousands of Protestants, including Scots, as well as some Catholics who were of mixed heritage, both of whom the leaders had not wanted harmed. 1641 had led to Protestant reprisals, civil war, and then Cromwell who, under the Authority of the English parliament which had executed James' father, King Charles I, engaged in the complete devastation of nearly 2/3 of Ireland--Protestant and Catholic lands and families alike. Again, with the blessing of Parliament, Cromwell enacted the first harsh penalties toward Catholics as the general instigators of all that followed, which were only partly rescinded by Charles II.

Today's Irish politicians often acknowledge the value of Parlimentary government introduced by the English. In contrast, these rebel 16th and 17th Century Irish earls and lords had no accountability to anyone. They lived and acted by no Parliament, not even the minimal ones of England and Scotland, but only by their own interpretation of religion, and were willing to form military alliances with fanatical Catholic governments, such as Inquisition era Spain, which was literally ruled by persons whom their own peers in Europe called MAD.

At least twice, these unaccountable, rebellious earls, (one of whom was of Norman descent and whose direct ancestor owed feudal allegiance to Henry II of England), invited the king of Spain to rule Ireland! They did this without consulting parts of their own families, much less any ordinary people of Ireland. To use modern parlance, England, 'freaked out', as England had just endured the horrendous English Civil War and massacres of Protestants under "Bloody Mary," and just prior, had fought off the Spanish Armada.

The punishments for these rebellions were harsh, but actually less so than the previous 150 years of religious wars throughout Europe over which sect of Christianity was to be the official state religion of various independent, duchies, principalities, kingdoms and empires. The historical fact is that all the unaccountable, autocratic kings, and lords wanted to make their chosen religion, whatever sect of Christianity that was, the religion of entire countries and use that religion to bolster their repressive governance, including governing all thought, spoken and written expression, and behavior, right down to how people were to dress, speak to one another and to government officials, what rights they had in particular social and governmental orders, how churches were to be decorated or not, how Bibles were to be written and interpreted and much more.

Suffice to say, by the late 17th Century, in the minds of both Irish Protestants and Catholics it was time to 'move on' and over the next two centuries more than a third of all Catholics and Protestants in Ireland emigrated abroad, mostly to what became the United States.

We seem to be sliding toward revisiting those horrendous experiences upon one another in our own lives, and unluckily, the option to 'move on' as our Celtic ancestors did, no longer exists. Luckily, the children of our mass-homicidal ancestors, and those who were attempting to flee from them, had the sense to enact a Constitution that governed an elected Congress and an amendment that separated Church and State. It's time to remember that, and why they did so. Since independence, even Ireland itself has separated Church and State and more recently has increased the distance.

We hope it will be useful then to review some of the very experiences of our own Protestant and Catholic ancestors at a time when religion was combined with state and each side was willing to deny rights, even massacre the other.



The Future Possibilities for Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland

by Anthony Becker and Cecilia Fabos-Becker

Published June 26th, 2016

Last Thursday in the UK "Brexit" referendum, 62% of Scottish voters voted to remain in the EU. Since the majority of the UK, primarily those in England and Wales voted to leave the EU, the only way Scotland can maintain its membership in the EU two years from now will be as an Independent nation. Although the result of the last Scottish Independence Referendum, was, narrowly, to remain in the UK, that vote was contingent upon Scotland retaining EU membership. It seems clear that there will be another referendum, either later this year or next, and that is where the Government of Scotland is leading the Scottish nation.

57.5% of Northern Ireland's voters also voted to remain in the EU in the UK "Brexit" referendum. If 'Norn Iron' wants to remain in the EU, it has two choices. It can either join the Republic of Ireland, (Eire), as they are a full member of the EU, or it can join Scotland, which, like Northern Ireland, is currently a member of the UK and in two years must leave to maintain its EU membership.

Independent Celtic Nations

One way or another, it seems very likely that there may be two newly independent Celtic nations. The remaining question is; How shall they be governed and what should their relationships with one another be? We suggest that the answer should be to emphasize and recognize what these Celtic nations have in common, form a working Celtic alliance, and work as closely together as possible in these areas.

Only larger nations and blocs have the most influence in the EU and in world trade agreements. Only larger nations or blocs have the best ability to maintain themselves in varied circumstances.

If it is to be ensured of being regarded as a completely independent nation for EU status, Scotland cannot be a 'dominion' of The Crown. Scots cannot to sing "God Save the Queen", acknowledging fealty to the UK monarch of a non-member nation, and be credible as a member of the EU. Nor should Scotland restore any monarchy. It should build on the more democratic principles, established by its history of clans and its independent Presbyterian Church centuries ago. Scotland should elect its own Leaders, etc., and if it decides upon a two-house Parliament, make the upper house either Scottish notable, honored citizens (clan chiefs!) or a form of Senate representing larger districts than those of the House or Commons.

Celtic Constitutions

It's time to fulfill the empty promises of "one man-one vote, representation" of too many UK prime ministers, monarchs and political party leaders in England, and make it happen in a free and independent Scotland and all of Ireland, including Northern Ireland. End ethnically based classism. Both these newly independent Celtic nations must do something that remains undone in the UK to this day: guarantee all citizens equal enfranchisement by the principal of one man, one vote. All districts of the house or houses based on population must be the same size and their representatives represent the same number of legal residents and voting citizens.

Taxation without representation was a primary reason for revolution among the Scottish/Scots-Irish/Irish-descended Americans and has to this day been an issue and very real grievance for many parts of the UK. Residents pay taxes and need services also. They should have representation even without yet having a right to vote as full citizens. Children can earn or inherit income and pay taxes, and certainly need services and we do not deny them, so neither should legal residents be denied.

The 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was written and adopted by the descendants of Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish emigrants, both Protestant and Catholic who had become more than fed up with religious strife in these very countries. Beginning 400 years ago, religious intolerance, often tied to one monarch or another, tore their countries apart and caused the terrible deaths of millions. This horror continued for more than two centuries! Recognizing that, only 20 years ago, related intolerance was rampant on the Irish island, and is still tearing the U.S. apart where some religious zealots would still have human and civil rights limited or denied and laws otherwise made on the basis of religious beliefs, it is imperative that all three nations guarantee complete freedom of religion with NO discrimination, nor denial of equal civil or economic rights based on religion. Religion should never again be allowed to be a part of state government. We suggest a Constitution in a united Ireland and independent Scotland, rigorously enforced, guaranteeing freedom of religion and stating that the government shall neither prohibit a religion, nor make it part of government laws and rules.

We suggest adding a couple of more things to both Constitutions to avoid oligarchies, filled with non-citizens, gaining control over citizens, (as the U.S. has done): declare that corporations are not 'persons', shall have no rights to make political donations, and if they state themselves to be "global," have no private lobbying rights, and all records of their meetings with government officials shall be made public. The same must be true for any international churches or unions. Only individual, adult, human beings who are citizens should have the right to make political donations. Also, to avoid the idiotic partisan gridlock that has increasingly rendered the U.S. Congress impotent and threatens to cause yet another Civil War in the U.S., when our refusal to enforce keeping religion out of government doesn't, require that once a person is elected or appointed to any public office, in which he or she must serve all citizens and legal residents equally, they must resign any political party membership.

Celtic Co-operation Blocs

A strong, united front when dealing with the EU, any large Asian nation, and/or the U.S. is also imperative. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the bigger and more powerful a nation, or pact of nations, the more likely smaller ones will be exploited and/or abused. It can be much worse than merely unfair trade deals. A new independent Scotland should form a tight alliance with all of Ireland and they must agree to support, assist and defend one another, and to not war on the remaining UK. In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries the opposite was done, and this lack of fair dealing directly led to devastating multi-area conflicts. Learn from and don't repeat this part of the past. Additionally, the minimum wage, quantities and amounts of services must be very nearly the same for Scotland and Ireland and use the Euro monetary unit, as close as it is to the Canadian and U.S. dollars. Environmental standards must be nearly the same and equally well enforced, and likewise education standards.

These newly Independent nations must avoid being treated as the Czechs, Hungarians and Poles were just after World War I. This advice proceeds from the lessons of hard experiences, and ultimately successes, of the nations of the Visegrad Group. These small, weak, divided nations of Central and East Europe found only by doing these things could they end the constant efforts of large nations of Western Europe, and Russia to divide and conquer/exploit them. In the first years after World War I, after their borders were seriously re-arranged to suit these same larger powers, those larger powers deliberately sowed division and competition for the advantage of the larger powers. The larger powers had the weak, divided nations of Central and East Europe constantly fighting for the bottom in wages, standards etc. just to have any investment money, loans, jobs and industries, and at the same time competing to pay the highest prices for the most and best imported manufactured goods for their own peoples from these larger nations who jealously guarded and promoted their own manufacturing industries. The Germans, French and the UK, as well as the Russians and Italians haven't changed the 'dark side' of human nature of their leadership that much in only one century, and would be only too happy to take unfair advantage of the several small Celtic nations, as they have other small European nations.

There is strength in numbers, and we suggest a unity of some sort, such as a Celtic-Atlantic Trade Association (CATA) Pact, or to honor their shared history, they could call it the Dalriada Pact. Negotiate with Europe and the U.S. on the strength of 12 million people in tight agreement with, and who mutually support one another, not several small competing smaller nations of only 6 million people each. It was by sticking together as a pact of over 25 million people in the three nations of Visegrad Group as they entered the EU together under the same terms and benefits, and likewise NATO. (Editor's note: Cecilia was involved in these negotiations).

NATO membership

We suggest that both Scotland and Ireland also become members of NATO, and as nearest neighbors, cooperate with one another as well as the other NATO members. Neither of these Celtic nations would like to contend with Russians on the issues of who owns or has exclusive rights to what in the Arctic, on your own, any more than, after a series of events in the 19th and 20th century, any of the Visegrad Group of nations wanted to deal with Russia on their own ever again. Polar bears don't change their colors any more than leopards change their spots.

The Celtic countries should learn from their histories, as well as the mistakes and successes of their cousins in North America, Australia and New Zealand to build their great futures. Who knows--maybe they will someday inspire the U.S.A. to regain it's sanity and unity!


Message from Philip Grant

Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States

Published June 24th, 2016

Ireland advocated that the European Union is better with the United Kingdom as a full-member and that the United Kingdom is stronger inside the European Union.

Regrettably this was not the outcome of the vote - but the people spoke and we fully respect their decision.

There will be no immediate change to the free flow of people, goods and services between our islands.

Ireland is fully prepared to meet the many challenges that will arise. The Irish Government has published a summary of the key actions it will now take to address the issues arising from the UK's decision to leave the European Union, available at this link: http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/News-Room/Releases/Government_Brexit_Contingency_Plans_announced.html.

These will be difficult challenges. The decision by the United Kingdom raises many concerns for Ireland and for our communities around the globe, especially in Britain. The answers to many of these issues are likely to be complex. Examples of some of these and their implications have been detailed by the Irish Government at http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/EU-UK/FAQs/. Many are relevant to the Irish-born community in the US and Americans of Irish heritage especially to ensure that stability and progress in Northern Ireland is maintained.

Our primary objective going forward must be to protect and advance our interests and also those of the people of Northern Ireland and the special set of relationships that connect the people of Ireland and the people of Great Britain.

Ireland will remain a member of the European Union and of the Eurozone. That is in our national interest. After more than 40 years of membership, we have built up strong bonds of partnership with all the other member states, and with the European institutions, that will continue to serve us well. It's important to remember the enormous achievements of the Union. For all its flaws, the EU remains the best structure for advancing prosperity, promoting peace and confronting the many and complex problems of today's globalized world.

There will be a discussion of the next steps at the meeting of the European Council next week. The Taoiseach will set out our position and ensure that our national interests are respected as we prepare to enter the next phase of negotiations. These negotiations will not commence for some months yet and will take a considerable amount of time to complete. Until that time the United Kingdom remains a member of the European Union and will continue to be so until those negotiations have concluded.

While Ireland's future lies within the European Union, we will work to maintain our excellent bilateral relationship with the UK and continue to work closely with the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive as co-guarantors of the peace process.

We welcome the backing of the US Government as expressed by President Obama and especially Vice President Biden, who has been visiting Ireland this week. We are especially grateful to have support and goodwill of our community and friends here in the United States. These bonds of kinship will be of great as sistance in helping to meet the difficult challenges ahead.


Stay Positive and Focus on Your Circle

by Donagh Mc Keown

Published July 15th, 2016

"The world is heading to hell in a handcart" Every other posting on social media would lead you to think it was going that way. Postings linking to videos of a man's death, opinion postings on mass shootings in a Texas city, doom and gloom around every corner. Analysis of past wars (Chilcott) email destruction, and much much more. As human beings with compassion and consideration for our fellow humans, we are easily sucked into expressing those opinions, multiplying the negative energy and enmity aroused by such sharing.

I think once, twice, nay twenty times before saying anything about such incidents. Of course, as a caring human being, I wish well for my fellow man and woman. I am, however, careful not to act as a catalyst to increase anxiety or pain, particularly by sharing video of horrific events. The need to see someone's final moment of life or to share in someone else's nightmare is one I most definitely can live without.

Respect the dignity of a life lost, and of those involved in the activity that caused it. To watch it may be a personal choice. I leave that up to you. I believe it degrades me as a human being to watch it. I also know, from bitter experience and mental health circumstances, that it affects my long and short term sense of wellbeing. To me it serves no purpose other than demean, desensitize and demoralize the human spirit. The act itself is no less horrific. I know that reporting of such instances is necessary, so that we are aware. A free press is vitally important. I believe that it should not be so invasive and graphic.

On a second point, let's not get caught up in the vehicle of sensationalism and scaremongering that is mass media. Yes, atrocities are happening in this world, some closer to us than to others. Let us just consider how good things are for us in the immediate center of our lives. Despite shootings, from whatever sources they come from, most of us are living in a free from violence, healthy environment. We are able to walk our streets, share a coffee and a smile with our neighbour. Yes, there are many in our wider society who don't have just the same sense of freedom. I don't ask anyone to forget that either. I just ask that we start to realize much of what we have to be grateful for in our immediate circle. This attitude of gratitude keeps me grounded, rather than falling into a state of melancholy or fear. It won't immediately solve the problems of those more closely linked to violence and confrontation. Neither will, may I suggest, the sharing of graphic pictures of violence. Be aware and be vigilant, for sure. My choice is not to get caught up in the vitriol of violence, the sharing of such acts, for whatever purpose. Maybe it's because I'm a hippy, whose just moved to his spiritual home in San Francisco. I don't think so. I was a supporter of non violence all of my life, in a society where it was take one side or the other.

Smile at the next face you meet, say hello to all who cross your path. Build trust in your own circle. It's the only place you have any real influence in. Use it wisely.


Editorial: Celtic American Heritage and Collaboration

Our community is made up of MIXED Irish, Scots-Irish and/or Scottish ethnicities

By Cecilia Fabos-Becker

Published 2017-03-31

As measured directly by over 4 million DNA tests of Americans, (our own included), and depicted in the Venn diagram at right, the number of Americans who have greater than one-third Irish, Scots-Irish and/or Scottish ancestry is now about 50% of the U.S. population. This means that, as of the 2010 census total of 320 million total US population, about 150 million Americans have at least 1/3 of their tracable DNA originating in Ireland and/or Scotland. Additionally, the majority of these 150 million are a MIX of Irish and Scottish. Despite a growing number of Americans with Hispanic ancestry, the population of the U.S. is still substantially Scots, Irish and Scots-Irish in ethnic origin. This mixing will continue, with Hispanic DNA slowly being added to the mix. For examples, one need look no further than the ancestry of the parents and grandparents of San Jose's own city councilpersons!

In the past, errors have been common in calculating numbers of Scottish Americans, Irish Americans, etc. by Scottish and Irish governments, and Americans themselves, trying to determine numbers of Irish OR Scots over 350 years of emigration to the U.S. as well as intermarriage before and after emigration. Since arrival in the U.S., a large amount of intermarriage has been almost constant, starting typically with the children or grand-children of immigrants. In Ireland, intermarriage between Scots, Normans and "native" Irish has been going on to one degree or another, for about 700 years--even prior to emigration.

First, for 1500 years, religion didn't matter. It only really mattered for 300 years. In fact, all three groups were Catholic until the reign of the Tudors in England and subsequent, gradual Protestant conquests forced change of religion upon all parts of Ireland, and Scotland. Religion, until the Tudors, was originally no bar to intermarriage because everyone adhered to the same religion.

After Henry VIII, choice of religion could make it hard to survive, much less prosper. Particularly after repressive measures following the Catholic Irish rebellion of 1641, and after 1707, when the Penal laws imposed by England on Ireland, persons who chose to become or remain Catholic could not own land, own a business, hold political office or even vote and intermarriage between Catholics and Protestants was also forbidden. However, many Catholic Norman Irish and native Irish families urged the oldest and biggest land-owning sons in the family to change their religion, at least publicly, to retain land and to have some political power, and many actually did. At that point, as Protestants, they could intermarry with Scots Irish and Anglo-Irish who were Protestants and did. After 1867, the laws eased again, Catholics increased in numbers, after being diminished after 1707, and more intermarriage occurred.

Last, in both the UK emigration records (such as existed and not many) prior to 1831 and the U.S. immigration records to 1922, there was NO distinction made in records of the emigration from Ireland and immigration into the U.S. by religion, nor the cultural identity of the emigrants/immigrants. They were ALL listed as simply "Irish", whether Protestant or Catholic, Scots in Ulster, Anglo or Norman-Irish or Native Irish. All were Irish. Over time, particularly since the 1870's when the U.S. celebrated its centennial as a nation and first began thinking of cultural heritage and compiling or making up family histories, this is how many Americans began to think of themselves in their cultural heritage/identity. All they knew by the 1870's was where the emigrant ancestor got on the ship--Ireland, for most. Other than the immigration or importation/naturalization records, if there was a sense of Scottish identity, it came from surnames with Mc or Mac in them, compared with O'. Ulster being heavily Scots-Presbyterian, once upon a time, was long forgotten. Even by 1876, religion was getting to be less a consideration in sense of historic identity. This continues to this day, and DNA tests are now surprising a lot of people who thought of themselves as purely "Irish," and forgot about difficult periods in Scotland, Ireland, and the U.S., regarding religion.

James Leyburn's 1962 History of the Scots-Irish being a good example, it used to be thought that once the Scots, and Scots-Irish crossed the Appalachians they intermarried so much with English descendants and German immigrant descendants that the DNA and culture became very dispersed and these Americans lost all sense of identity. However, our new DNA tests are showing otherwise--that they mostly married whatever they thought of as "their own kind", and well past the famous 1960's song in West Side Story where Anita is admonishing Maria to "stick to your own kind, marry your own kind."

The long popularity of what is called "old-time music" in Ireland and Scotland, played and danced to all over America with many pieces little changed since their origins on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, also contradicts this idea. Over time in the U.S., as religious identity became less important, the places one left and the older shared history became more important as identifying kind. It became ok for Presbyterian and later Baptist and Methodist Scots and Scots Irish to begin marrying Catholic Irish, especially when private schools were increasingly seen as better schools for education to get into college and well paid careers and the Catholic schools were outnumbering all the other church schools put together and providing a well-rounded education to get into college, not just a theology based education to become a preacher. By the 1920's, with Catholic politicians becoming legislators and state governors and more, all of this intermarriage and genetic integration only accelerated.

The result is, we now have an increasingly intermarried population of Scots, Irish and Scots-Irish, for nearly a full 100 years, four generations. It is impossible to state, using simply emigration, immigration and census records, how many Americans are purely Irish or purely Scots, because the vast majority of Scots/Irish/Scots-Irish Americans are not purely either one - they are a mixture of both. With only a 13 mile gap across the Irish Sea, a distance that we bridged in the San Francisco Bay area between San Mateo and Hayward at least 80 years ago, the U.S. has returned to what was the reality for Scotland and Ireland, together, for 1500 years prior to that unfortunate interlude when religious intolerance dominated.

For the 150 years since the dark age of intolerance, religious preference has gradually become less of an issue for the Scots and Irish themselves, especially in the U.S., where religious tolerance was practiced, and economic discrimination on the basis of religion was banned starting in some American colonies in the late 1600's. Americans were determined not to bring the hatreds and conflcts from the old world to the new. In 1787, we made that idea of religious tolerance and equality part of our Constitution. Religion can be part of culture and history, but it is not the sole or most important element of culture, especially not a historic culture that is more than 2 millenia old, and Religion is certainly not in our DNA.

This newsletter is read widely by both musicians and artists who want and need an audience, and members and supporters of Scottish and Irish societies and clans, all of whom want attendance at their events, financial support for their bands, organizations, scholarships, etc., and membership for organizations (and clans). Yet we are all here together, now, in a U.S. where the recent immigrants purely from one partly-religiously-identified nation or another is a tiny, tiny, tiny minority. The number of immigrants and first generation Americans who are purely either Scots, or Irish is less than one-tenth of one percent of the entire U.S. population--nationwide. Our present shared need for audiences, supporters and members, and your future, here, in the U.S. must rely upon the 150 million or more Americans whose DNA is 36-50% identical with the recent immigrants, who are the product of 350 years of immigration from Scotland, Ireland and Scots-Irish Ulster and intermarriage, and who, for various reasons, may indeed have lost their identity and who are also more than fed up with conflicts involving religion--and in fact mostly FLED those conflicts.

Think of it this way: How are you going to reach out to the 150 million MIXED heritage people all around you, who should be your supporters? How are you going to help these 150 million persons, become more aware of their own MIXED Scottish and Irish heritage, and support you, without you trying to constantly ask them to choose one over the other, as if they were children of a nasty divorce with the fighting still ongoing? How are you going to help "build the bridges between the Scots, the Irish and Ulster, and among them and their U.S. cousins, that the current modern leaders of all three are now asking to be built?

We have some ideas on that, but we'd like to hear/read from others, those who especially want audiences and supporters, in the U.S., about their ideas for outreach, building support for all the bands and organizations and "building bridges, not walls" among Celtic descendants, here in the U.S., and between the Celtic descendants in the U.S. and their cousins east of the Atlantic Ocean. Email us at americeltic@gmail.com.



Brexit Progress and Movements by Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland

by Cecilia Fabos-Becker and Anthony Becker

Published April 7th, 2017

Like their cousins in Northern Ireland, Scotland voted decisively to remain in the European Union (EU) in the Brexit vote of last June. Recently, the UK Parliament decided not to hold a second vote on their exit from the EU (Brexit).

On Tuesday, March 14th, 2017, Martina Anderson, member of the EU Parliament for Northern Ireland, told the EU assembly that any border between Northern Ireland and Ireland was unacceptable in unequivocable terms: 'Theresa (May) ... stick (a border) where the sun don't shine because you're not putting it in Ireland.' Ms. Anderson's expressed sentiments may be extreme, but it seems impossible to find anyone on Erin's isle who favors a new internal border.

Just ten days ago, on Tuesday, March 28th the Scottish Parliament passed a motion to authorize Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to negotiate with the UK parliament for a second referendum on full Scottish independence, to be put to a vote within the next 2 years. On Wednesday, March 29th, the government of the United Kingdom delivered the official "letter of divorce" to the EU, a process which by statue, must be completed within the same 2 years. Most observers expect this second Scottish Independence Referendum to succeed.

Over these last 4 years, there have been many talks between the UK's Royal Family and Northern Irish leadership, particularly the Sinn Fein party leadership. When former First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness died on March 21, 2017, Queen Elizabeth II sent a note of 'personal condolence' to his widow. There is a growing sense that soon Northern Ireland and Ireland will merge. Ireland has demonstated that is separating the policies of the Catholic Church from government policy, and in turn Catholics have gained greater political and economic rights in the north. Ireland has a strong economy, and all see trade as the matter of most important for both.


If Northern Ireland became economically separate from the rest of the island, Northern Ireland, would be dependent, once again, upon relations solely with England and the Commonwealth, which were disastrous the last time Northern Ireland was so limited, after the passage of the Act of Union of 1707. After 1707, Northern Ireland was limited primarily to exporting raw materials and semi-finished products to English manufacturers who, in their turn, sold the high-value-added finished goods back to the Irish, and the price of goods produced in Northern Ireland plumetted. This resulted in the emigration of a large part of the Northern Irish population, particularly to what became the U.S.A. In the 20th century, Northern Ireland struggled with civil strife, which devastated the economy and discouraged trade and investment. It has only in the last 20 years, since the Good Friday Agreement, that Northern Ireland has overcome the centuries of dependency and strife, and with the 'Leave' vote of the majority of English voters, Brexit threatens to yank the new floor from beneath Northern Ireland's feet.

Northern Irelands citizens do not want to return to these burdens of the past, and in our opinioy, this makes the unification of Ireland inevitable. As part of the Republic, Northern Ireland can retain its trade with the EU, and Ireland can join NATO, which may provide additional stimuli to the economy of all of Ireland as a full, supporting NATO member.

As for Scotland, the issues that prevented passage of the last independence referendum have changed. The threat that if Scotland voted for independence the UK would make it difficult for Scotland to join the EU is moot if the UK leaves the EU. This leaves one other former issue: Scotland's financial footing. The threat that if Scotland voted for independence the UK would make it difficult for Scotland to use the Euro as its monetary system, limiting Scotlands ability to make and sell enough goods to provide revenue for services, is also moot.

There are several things Scotland could do. First it must remember that Scotland is no smaller than many of the smaller, successful countries in Europe in geography and population. If Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Austria can survive and thrive, so can Scotland. Neither land area or population are determinants of success or failure of small nations. Over nearly two centuries, Ireland and Scotland, have both been artificially deprived of manufacturing investment by the UK, dominated by England and English interests. For 30 years, Ireland has been attracting more investment than Scotland and doing generally well with it. Both these Celtic nations could do more, especially if they cooperate with and support one another as much as possible, sharing resources, and both making themselves more self-sufficient in critical components of human needs, such as food, building materials for housing, hotels, schools, factories, etc., transportation and medical equipment and services.

Even for the most northern lands, there is potential for multiple sources of energy today: wind, oil and gas, tides, heat pumps etc. More food can be grown year round to provide adequate nutrition without excessive imports. Both nations have abundant water. More could be done with green-houses for vegetables, berries, even dwarf citrus, and more varieties of trees as well as just more trees generally could be planted, as well as hemp for wood and paper. We were amazed to see how much land in Ireland has very little diversity in its agriculture, and little space devoted to home gardens. Scotland doesn't have as much arable land as Ireland does and it is further north, but it is highly efficient in grain and livestock production with what it does have. Yet Scotland itself could do better with timber and some greenhouse agriculture as well. There is no reason that either nation should be importing as much food as either does. If the state of Minnesota's major grocery chains could make money with greenhouses using excess warm water from power plants and produce tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, etc. for 8 months of the year supplemented by freezing or canning fresh local produce during the few months of its limited growing season, there is no reason why Ireland and Scotland cannot both as well. With all the dwarf and semi-dwarf fruit trees, even citrus, that have been hybridized for home and small gardens, there is no reason they can't produce some of these fruits as well - they have something many North African countries don't have - year round water supplies. If they are to do well with tourism, (another important industry), then they will want to become more self-sufficient in food, shelter and transportation for both residents and visitors.

Recently, we did our own research using census and immigration records and results of DNA tests, and found that, compared to estimates of just 10 or 20 years ago, a much larger percentage of the U.S. is 50% or more Scottish and/or Irish. It's 160 million or so, not a 'mere' 35 or 40 million. The DNA is there, the awareness of the reality is growing, and people do like to travel to where they think they have roots. This is a huge potential for financial success for both Scotland and Ireland together, as most Americans have both Irish and Scottish ancestry.

Some small nations do very well with a combination of tourism and limited manufacturing, provided they can balance the expenses for the needs for residential and visiting population with its revenues. Some charge high hotel and meal tax rates to do this. Scotland and Ireland, share a huge, largely untapped, potential for revenue from tourism, particularly from the U.S. In just the last rew years, DNA tests and other mediums have developed, and so people are much more aware of their real Scottish and Irish heritage. However, the majority of these 160 million or so U.S. citizens of Celtic descent who might travel, are not all rich as the oil princes of Saudi Arabia and although they are a bit more budget minded, are a huge potential in sheer numbers of travelers.

If both are independent, both are members of the EU, and they are financially cooperative with one another as well, such as having a monetary system tied to one another, more tours could be arranged that cover both countries together. If Scotland follows Ireland's lead and adopts the Euro, it too would also have a strong financial system. If the two countries' systems and policies are coordinated, and the Euro is equal in value in both, they strengthen one another, because now they become a two country financial bloc. They can become as alike as North and South New Zealand, or closer than the U.S. and Canada, long considered financially/economically close where manufacturing, trade and travel moves freely between the two.

The UK has its needs also, and one, very big, concern over the centuries in its dealings with both these Celtic nations, has been its national security. It was hard enough for the UK to let Ireland go, after several times in the 16th and 17th centuries Irish leadership made alliances with France and Spain, for assistance and even offered to let Spain rule, when those powers were inimical to England. Scotland shares an island with England. if it's agreeable to the EU under these circumstances, Scotland can become a Commonwealth country, like Australia, promising not to make war on the UK, vaguely acknowledging the Crown, and allowing relatively free travel to and from the UK, but in all other respects run its own financial, taxation, trade and foreign policies. This can can work well between Ireland and Scotland, similarly to the relations between Canada and the U.S., where Canada is a Commonwealth country and the U.S. is not.

Ireland and Scotland are only a short distance apart, as little as 12 miles at one point. That's just about the same distance as between San Mateo and Hayward across the San Francisco Bay. The San Mateo bridge connects them, despite the fact that the two cities are on two separate, active earthquake faults. A real, physical, rail and highway bridge would develop the economic relationship between Scotland and Ireland uniting their common interests and goals, and two such plans are extant. The Scots and Irish could build their bridge together and call it the Dal Riata Bridge.

Andrew Whittaker

New UK Consul-General, Andrew Whittaker

Remarks and Discussion of Monday, October 16th, 2017, 7:30 PM

Saint Andrew's Society of San Francisco, 1088 Green St, San Francisco

by Cecilia Fabos-Becker - Published 2017-10-20

On Monday, October 16, 2017 the new (since August, 2016) Consul General for the United Kingdom, Andrew Whittaker, spoke at the St. Andrew's Society of San Francisco monthly meeting in the evening at its Green Street building. The meeting was sparsely attended, mostly due to a number of persons being affected by the wildfires and the still smoky air in and near San Francisco.

Consul Whittaker, began by introducing himself and his personal history. Much of it is in his official biography here: Andrew Whittaker Biography. Whittaker graduated from Cambridge with a Master's degree in Political and Social Sciences and went directly into employment in the foreign service. Though partly of Welsh ancestry, he grew up in England, and has been an avid rugby player. His previous two decades of experience included assignments in Jerusalem (Israel) for which he prepared by spending 18 months learning Arabic, and Basra, Iraq related to UK military activities there, and Spain. He then was the Deputy Secretary for Crisis Management in the Foreign Office in London, and most recently has been involved in cybersecurity issues for the UK government and industries.

He then spoke about a few issues he considered to be of greatest mutual interest to his Scottish audience. In his speech, and conversations with members, he stated several times his interest in Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security, particularly in promoting investment in the UK by U.S. companies involved in these and in joint ventures, and sales of UK Cyber Security products to the U.S. He said that, of particular interest, the UK hopes to increase trade relations with the US, and as Brexit evolves, minimize the impact of Brexit on UK workers; keeping their employment up.

He spoke about Brexit as a slowly developing situation with on-going negotiations, still, on basic issues, such as the border of Northern Ireland. He said that It is not in the interest of the UK to restore border crossings and limits, but there is yet no resolution of this matter in the UK-EU negotiations. Scotland was not mentioned, at all.

Thus, it prompted a question from your editors: "Wouldn't it be simpler to help Northern Ireland reunite with Ireland and grant Scotland dominion status, to both maintain some control and relationships with Scotland yet allow Scotland enough independence to become a member of the EU as its citizens wish?"

Mr. Whittaker's brief response was, that Scotland had already visited the Independence question, and had to voted to remain. The inference we editors took was, that if Scotland has any interest in another independence referendum, they will not have the cooperation of the UK Foreign Office and current PM. It does not matter that the September 2014 vote to remain in the UK was influenced by the UK officials stating that if Scotland were to vote for independence the UK would block Scotland's separate EU membership. At that time the UK was firmly in the EU; now it is leaving. The Scots voted in September, 2014, to remain in the UK, end of discussion.

Mr. Whittaker explained that the leadership in London believes it can resume its former trade agreements with the members of the Commonwealth that they mostly had to drop when the UK joined the EU in 1973, and that the UK continues to have superior relations with African, Middle East and Asian nations. He stated that he believed the relations that the UK has, and will strengthen after Brexit, would be of benefit to those U.S. industries, and, he implied Scottish industries also, wanting to develop greater and better relations with Asian, African and Mid Eastern countries.

Articles on-line, however, indicate that in the past 44 years and counting, the Commonwealth countries never had unified trade policies, and have, according to their own interests, developed greater trading relationships with, their regional trading partners, such as the U.S., China, or other nations in Africa. Analytical writers of those articles believe it may be difficult for the UK to resume the lead and unify the Commonwealth, and restore the trading relations it once had, which favored the UK, particularly England, and were originally crafted when many of these nations were still colonies of the UK. It has been noted that, of the English speaking nations, for instance, Canada has been developing close ties with the U.S. in the past several decades, and Australia and New Zealand with one another and with Singapore and India. India has been developing greater technology industry and trade relationships with the U.S.. Even South Africa has been developing stronger relationships with the U.S., since South Africa ended apartheid.

Mr. Whittaker also stated that the UK believes there will be no significant loss of the financial industry in the UK as Brexit actually occurs. He suggested that the sophistication and shared English language of the London financial district, will continue to make London more attractive to the U.S. financial industry than any other location. He pointed out that although the pound against the U.S. dollar dropped significantly from a ratio of 1.5 dollars to the pound to 1.2 dollars to the pound after the initial Brexit vote, the pound has strengthened somewhat and leveled off at about 1.3 dollars to the pound, and he believed that as the process evolved, the pound would continue to strengthen. He also noted, that to date, no significant Brexit issues have been settled. Probably, little will be agreed upon until the last two or three months before the actual departure date of March, 2019.

It seems strange to us that, we have heard two such very different views about the financial sector from the UK and Irish Consuls in the last several months. We then suggested to Mr. Whittaker might want to discuss with his Irish counterpart the building boom in Dublin, Ireland, and all the buildings near Wood Quay that have been rented and the rising rents. The Irish Consul and rest of his government, you see, have stated they are already seeing a greater interest by the U.S. and other countries in increasing development of the financial industry in Ireland, as the Irish also speak English and Ireland is remaining in the EU, precisely for the overall EU financial relationships. Mr. Whittaker indicated he was in contact with his Irish counterpart and would continue to be.

As the meeting drew to a close, questions were asked about tourism to Scotland, and the possibility of more advertising and travel programs, targeting Scottish and Irish descent audiences in the U.S., and whether tourism and travel generally were now under the new Department of International Trade. Whittaker said that the new department does not cover the travel and tourism industry, and questions related to tourism and travel are all handled by "Visit Britain," an entirely separate organization. Based on its website, which we later skimmed through, 'Visit Britain' may not be a part of the UK government. Its domain name, visitbritain.com, ends in top-level domain, '.com' indicating a commercial website.

We, the editors of this newsletter, are hoping to have further discussions in other meetings with Mr. Whittaker regarding Scotland and the interests of Scot and Scot-Irish descended Americans who might be interested in travel and study related to their heritage and culture, as well as investments directed more so to Scotland, especially as Brexit evolves.


Remarks or Dr. Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland

Hosted by Robert O’Driscoll, Consul-General of Ireland
for the Western US and Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco

By Tony Becker - Published 2017-11-03

On Thursday evening, November 2, 2017 between 6 and 8 p.m., a reception was held for Dr. Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, in the Rotunda at San Francisco, CA, City Hall. The Irish flag was flying on the Civic Center Plaza side of the building and the exterior was lit up with green lighting.

The event was attended by about 300 members of the Bay Area Irish community, including members of the United Irish Cultural Center, the United Irish Societies of San Francisco, the Irish Literary and Historical Society, the San Jose-Dublin Sister Cities Program’s board members, AmeriCeltic.net, San Francisco city employees and many more Irish community organization members.


San Francisco has a sister cities relationship with Cork, Ireland and the Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee and the San Francisco-Cork Sister Cities committee had just returned from a visit to Ireland. Thus so the evening began with Mayor Lee’s warm welcome and thanks for the hospitality he received on his Irish trip.


Taking the podium from Mayor Lee, Consul-General Robert O’Driscoll further surprised the assembly by introducing Ireland's Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, just arrived from Washington DC. Mulhall made a few remarks about the importance Ireland places on its relationship with America in general, and the West Coast in particular, and then in turn introduced Dr. Varadkar.

This occasion marked Mr. Varadkar’s very first official visit to the U.S. as Taoiseach, and San Francisco and the Bay area were honored by being the first places in the U.S. he chose to visit, as per the speeches of the Mayor of San Francisco, the Consul General and the Taoiseach. Earlier in the day, Dr. Varadkar had visited Google, Apple and Facebook, south of San Francisco.

Taoiseach Dr. Varadkar began his remarks by describing the substantive changes that have taken place in Irish society in the few years since the great recession, and went on to relate this to his personal career. “Earlier in the day, I took the opportunity to visit the statue of former San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk that stands here in this building.” and, “I know that I would not have had the opportunity of becoming the first LGBT Taoiseach of Ireland without the courage and leadership of people like Supervisor Milk”.

Dr. Varadkar spoke about the long and deep relationship between Ireland and San Francisco and the Bay area, noting that the relationship is over 170 years old, and that several early mayors of San Francisco had been born in Ireland. Taoiseach Varadkar reminded the crowd that Ireland particularly values its relationship with America. Ireland has long been the gateway to the European Union for American business, and most of the Irish diaspora is in the U.S.

He also noted that over 550 U.S. companies, including many from the SF Bay area, have divisions or branches in Ireland and employ 140,000 Irish, and 430 Irish companies are throughout the U.S. in turn and employ 100,000 Americans, including 25,000 in California. He is looking to increase these relationships into the future. Dr. Varadkar concluded by expressing great thanks for Ireland’s support among the Irish diaspora, and in particular to the many such in the audience, and promising continued its support.


Editorial: Ireland's Future

Biotech and Pharmaceuticals

By Cecilia Fabos-Becker - Published 2017-11-10

Last week, Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, visited the Bay area and spoke at a reception at San Francisco City Hall. He was actually in the area for a few days and also visited some high technology companies, undoubtedly looking for additional investments in and joint ventures with Irish companies. The three mentioned in his speech were the usual high visibility companies, Apple, Google and Facebook, all existing companies dominant in their fields. Because these three are all proverbial 800 pound gorillas in their field, with little competition (though Apple has more than the others) these companies can demand--and get--subsidies and tax discounts whereever they locate their facilities. They promise jobs, but at what cost to the communities and states in which they are? Who pays for the infrastructure they need and use in their facilities, the roads, railroads and airports to get people, raw materials and products moved to and fro, the services like fire, police, clean water, waste water removal and treatment and more? Has anyone told the Taoiseach that in their home state and country, these three are at the top of the list of large corporations who pay next to nothing in taxes? Has Ireland forgotten the problems with the U.S. and the UK in favoring Apple and the insufficient returns to Ireland for taking that large risk?

Of the three gorilla / tax-dodgers, only Google, through it's parent Alphabet, provides significant public value through its search engine and content that links researchers to data, and shoppers with sellers, and more. Alphabet also has a division/arm that does much more research, development and experimentation beyond computing and communications, such as driverless cars and meat grown in labs minimal environmental impact and without slaughtering animals. Facebook is a marketing and social connecting tool, but it has a real public downside providing a platform for bad attitudes, ignorance and negative behavior of a large percentage of its users to the point that, like the Usenet of old and Yahoo groups before, it is increasingly driving people away, rather than attracting new users. Marketing of anything on Facebook, whether it be products, or ideas and news, has become suspect because of shoddy products, scams, and fake domestic news (myths, rumors lies to harm someone or persuade someone to do something) not to mention globalized propaganda and manipulations.

Google has two other aspects that make it the most useful of the three. Google has published out of print books and other materials on-line, making more content available to researchers than might otherwise never have been. At least one founder of Google and his ex-wife are also interested in modern medicine and modern medical technologies, such as stem cell work, ways to optimize treatment for genetic related illnesses by basing the treatment on what works best for people of differing sexes, races, ethnicities, and DNA.

As the developed nations look to cut health care costs and improve quality of life, this move to outcome based treatments--and payments--optimal standards and health care, data and products, that are correlated to DNA are among the coming high technologies coming of age today. Many of these companies in this fledgling industry are NOT YET gorillas able to command subsidies and huge tax breaks. Yet these jobs require high levels of education and pay well such as Ireland's colleges provide and to which most of its people aspire. Many of the products will be in pharmaceuticals, which does not require a lot of raw materials. Other small countries like Switzerland and Austria have prospered in part with pharmaceutical companies.

Ireland, though, has one other advantage that should encourage its leaders to look at more biotech and pharmaceuticals as future industries for and in Ireland, with well paid jobs. Ireland is still a largely homogenous country and it shares a large amount of DNA with Scotland, and the diaspora of both the closely related Scots and Irish are in Canada, Australia, New Zealand--and the greater UK, and the U.S.. If companies want to create products for optimal medical practices and treatments that are saleable to the largest most homogenous groups who are also the most affluent, then the people of Irish and Scottish descent are among the top markets, if not the top. Over one-half of the U.S., that is 160 million persons have a third or more of their DNA as the closely related Irish, Scots and Scots-Irish. Studies have recently shown that even England, and its 50 millions are now mostly a quarter or more Irish, because of all the Irish emigrants to England when investment was done in developing and modernizing industries and their facilities and manufacturing equipment only in England and not in Ireland, and only minimally in Scotland and Northern Ireland. What works well for the smaller populations of Ireland and Scotland, should work well for large parts of the UK and US populations. Additionally, unlike the UK and U.S., Ireland also has fewer levels of government and related bureacracy, permits, fees, taxes, etc. for developing bio-tech companies whose products target the Irish, Scottish, and their diaspora descended populations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the U.S..

Consider personal genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe, and its pharmaceutical industry clients who are purchasing both DNA tests--and well-documented family histories. The latter has been found important for showing the effects of changes of environment on DNA over centuries. To do this, first you need to identify families, for multiple generations, then determine where they were and how they generally lived. The world was mostly agrarian until the 20th century, including the U.S.. Most of the data we've been using up to now has been from cities and towns--less than 20% of the population of the nations, and much more mixed than the more rural and small town populations. Also pollution was a greater factor and earlier in cities. To study what makes people the way they are now, means first knowing what the majority were like back then in different circumstances from now.

No nation has been without international war and civil war, but of nations more than a couple of centuries old, the UK and Ireland have had a greater amount of vital records survive, though in Ireland, they are more scattered. What the Irish government and medical researchers may not realize, though, Irish records are not as completely "gone" government officials and researchers once thought, as a result of the PRO explosion. Yes, most of the civil census records of the 1800's were lost. However, there were church records identifying families in parishes at various times, cemetery records, tithe applotment records, and more. It turns out that most people had copies of wills, contracts and court decisions, and land records in their families--in the estate collections, many of which have survived. The estate records identified and covered all transactions with TENANT families, neighbors and many others. Also priests and ministers sometimes made copies of parish records and the Catholic records were not sent to the PRO. None of the deeds, including leases that were filed in the Registry of Deeds since 1707 have been destroyed and they identify family members across generations connected to specific lands and areas.

Ireland could contract with Google to get all the remaining records organized, indexed, digitized and on-line, so family history and medical researchers can access and study them to help develop those accurate family histories to help develop optimal medical treatments for families--and individuals within them, to help understand why siblings and branches of families get illnesses and respond differently to treatments than others in the same immediate or extended family. By Ireland doing this, it might also finally inspire all the U.S. states that existed before 1850 to do the same. Now you have a complete data base of up to 500 years or more of families that have the greatest shared DNA to really pinpoint optimal treatments and know why they are for a population of over 250 million persons in the combination of generally affluent Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand--and the UK and U.S..

Ireland can also to encourage its people to cooperate with the three largest DNA testing companies to create a significant database of DNA to study, along with the histories, and so help connect their diaspora with their Irish roots. Of over 7 billion people, the combined world-wide, DNA data base numbers just 10 million. Of that under 10 million, most of the DNA tests have been done in the U.S., mostly among people of European and African descent. The U.S. is only 200 years old as a nation and at most its Irish and Scottish ancestry-heavy people have not quite 400 years of DNA evolution here. Most descendants U.S. ancestry have between 100 and 300 years. 160 million or more of them are a third or more of Scots, Irish and Scots-Irish descent. How else do you link that 300 million total, U.S. citizens and legal residents, to the older, more homogenous DNA, to families elsewhere, but particularly Ireland and the UK? How else do you create optimal bio-medical products, technologies and services for that large potential market and know to whom to sell the products and services?

Everyone wants good health, the best possible, the longest healthiest life, and to have effective diagnostics and the most optimal treatments and all at the most reasonable costs. Outcome based optimal treatments based on individual and family history and DNA--large data bases of both--is a key to nations providing this. Ireland can be a leader in the development of modern optimal outcome based on DNA medical products, in one very large, and world-wide, the most AFFLUENT DNA market, if it wants to be, sees the opportunities and then pursues them.