AmeriCeltic promotes Discussion of Topical Issues of Celtic Interest.

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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 commentary worth a repeat read or a to link or share to someone else.

Table of Contents

2024-05-23 Editorial: Voices Over the Water PBS Film – by Celia Fábos-Becker & Tony Becker
2024-01-05 Editorial: Why Some Americans are Interested in Family History – by Celia Fábos-Becker
2023-12-21 Editorial: DNA versus Ethnicity – by Adam Dahmer, PhD
2023-09-26 Editorial: Kidnapped — the Real Story – by Celia Fábos-Becker
2023-05-04 Editorial: Coronation of King Charles III – by Celia Fábos-Becker
2023-03-02 Editorial: Northern Ireland’s New Trade Agreement: What about Scotland? – by Celia Fábos-Becker
2023-02-16 Editorial – Resignation of Nicola Sturgeon – by Celia Fábos-Becker
2022-04-01 Editorial – Socially Distant Sing – by Macdara Yeates
2021-11-26 Editorial – Are Scots and Irish Americans still capable? – by Celia Fábos-Becker
2021-09-03 Editorial – Boards from Hell II – Time for Boards in General to Shape Up – by Celia Fábos-Becker
2021-08-20 Editorial – Celts and Water – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-07-15 Editorial – To Zoom or Not. Will the Circle be Unbroken as COVID restrictions ease? – YES! – by Tony Becker
2021-06-30 Editorial – Culloden & CA: Infrastructure is Crucial to Success – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-06-18 Editorial – Boards from Hell – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-06-17 Editorial – Eliminating Bad Behavior and Worse at Historic/Cultural Faires – by Tony Becker & Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-05-21 Editorial – UK-Australia trade deal – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-05-14 Editorial – UK Election Results Scots vote for SNP and Greens – by Tony Becker & Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-04-30 Editorial – Arlene Foster Resigns as Election Looms – by Tony Becker & Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-04-09 Editorial – Changes for Celtic Heritage Celebration – by Patrick Michael Karnahan
2021-04-08 Editorial – Creating Festivals is Risky Business – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-04-01 Editorial – Create task force to openly discuss SJ’s Fallon statue – by April Halberstadt
2021-03-28 Editorial – Support Artists Together with Kindness and Love – by John Whelan
2021-03-18 Editorial – Green Beer is Irish-American – by Tony Becker & Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-02-26 Editorial – What George Washington Admired in the Scots-Irish – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-01-15 Editorial – Our Celtic Constitution: A Well Regulated Militia – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-01-14 Editorial – Brexit Rots Fish, Musicians and More – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2021-01-08 Editorial – Capitol Riots and Celtic Descended Co-Conspirators – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2020-12-25 Editorial – Brexit Trade Deal Announced – by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2020-12-11 Editorial – Brexit Trade Deal Getting Nowhere Fast – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2020-11-13 Editorial – Brexit Trade Deal Deadline Looms – by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2020-10-16 Editorial – Weathering The Storm Interview – by Gordon Andrew
2020-10-08 Editorial – Rishi Sunak ITV Interview – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2020-09-09 Editorial – Boris’ Brexit Bombshell – by Tony and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2020-01-24 Editorial – A Parcel of Celtic American Rogues? – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-11-28 Editorial – Our Celtic Constitution – Has the U.S. Forgotten Its Celtic Heritage? by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-11-05 Editorial – Consequences for Northern Ireland by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-11-01 Editorial – General Election vs. Impeachment by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-10-19 Editorial – Brexit Update 20191019 by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-10-18 Editorial – Brexit Update 20191018 by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-10-11 Editorial – Tariffs on Celtic imports by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-09-27 Editorial: Is England Headed for Another, Real, Civil War? by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-09-13 Editorial: Brexit Update: Prorogation Proscribed by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-09-06 Editorial: Rebel Alliance Wins by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-08-30 Editorial: Is the UK is Becoming a Dictatorship? by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-08-29 Editorial: Tory / DUP Government Out Maneuvers All Parties by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-08-20 Editorial: Brexit Poll says Norn Iron majority backs Irish Sea border by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-07-19 Editorial: Perspective on the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike by Pat Goggins
2019-07-12 Editorial: Festivals & Cultural Generations by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-06-20 Editorial: Brexit Update ‘Something Else’ by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-05-31 Editorial: Brexit Update by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-04-19 Editorial: Politicians at Lyra McKee’s Funeral by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2019-04-19 Editorial: Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement by Tony Becker
2019-04-11 Editorial: Brexit and Trade – Halloween Follies by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-04-05 Editorial: Brexit and Trade – STILL Not Done (Sigh) by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-03-29 Editorial: Another Scottish Festival in the U.S. Cancelled – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2019-01-18 Editorial: Brexit Update – A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-11-30 Editorial: The British-U.S. History of Voting by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-11-21 Editorial: The DUP and Brexit by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-11-15 Editorial: Brexit Update by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-11-09 Editorial: Freedom of the Press and Literacy by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-11-02 Editorial: Blasphemy Laws by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-09-27 Editorial: Hallowe’en Plans for Daughters by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-10-19 Editorial: Brexit Update by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-06-02 Essay: Peace, Prosperity and Celtic Referendums by Tony Becker
2018-07-18 Remarks of Dan Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to USA
2018-05-10 Editorial: Virtues of Celtic Culture by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2018-05-07 Remarks: The Good Friday Agreement 20th Anniversary by George Mitchell
2018-01-05 Editorial: Brexit, The Border Deal, and the DUP by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2017-11-10 Editorial: Ireland’s Future by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2017-11-03 Remarks of Dr. Leo Varadkar by Tony Becker
2017-10-16 Remarks of new UK Consul-General, Andrew Whittaker and Discussion by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2017-10-06 Pitfalls for Members of Facebook Groups Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2017-05-19 Editorial: Shopping at Celtic Festivals by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2017-04-17 Brexit Progress and Movements by Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker
2017-03-31 Editorial: Celtic American Heritage and Collaboration by Cecilia Fábos-Becker
2016-12-02 Editorial: Celtic and U.S. Rebellions by Celia Fabos-Becker and Tony Becker
2016-07-15 Stay Positive and Focus on Your Circle by Donagh Mc Keown
2016-06-24 Message from Consul General of Ireland Philip Grant
2016-06-24 Editorial: The Future Possibilities for Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland
2016-06-17 Editorial: Antecedents of the American Revolution by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker

Voices Over the Water PBS Film
Action: Urge Local PBS Stations to Show this New Documentary on Scots Influence on Creating and Developing the U.S.A.

Voices Over the Water

As before, AmeriCeltic will be helping to promote a new documentary film about Scottish immigrants to the U.S.A. The film is called Voices Over the Water, and it is expected to be available to all PBS stations this coming summer. The film shows how Scots helped create and develop the American nation and how their descendants continue to influence the U.S. to this day.

However, to be able to view the film, your local PBS station needs to present it, and ideally more than once, so more people can see it.

Voices Over the Water 2024 PBS Film Broadcasts
Date Local Time Callsign City State
Tuesday, June 04 9:00 PM KVIE Sacramento California
Wednesday, June 05 3:00 PM KENW Portales New Mexico
Friday, June 07 12:00 PM WSBE Providence Rhode Island
Friday, June 07 8:00 PM KTNW Richland Washington
Saturday, June 08 5:00 PM WOUB Athens Ohio
Sunday, June 09 8:00 PM KEET Eureka California
Monday, June 10 9:00 PM KLRU Austin Texas
Monday, June 10 9:00 PM MPT-2 Owings Mills Maryland
Tuesday, June 11 4:00 PM WFWA Fort Wayne Indiana
Wednesday, June 12 10:00 PM WPSU State College Pennsylvania
Wednesday, June 12 2:00 PM World Columbia South Carolina
Thursday, June 13 8:00 PM KRCB Rohnert Park N. California
Thursday, June 13 8:00 PM WFYI Indianapolis Indiana
Friday, June 14 7:00 PM KNME Albuquerque New Mexico
Saturday, June 15 9:00 PM WEFS Orlando Florida
Sunday, June 16 8:00 PM WYIN Gary Indiana
Sunday, June 16 1:00 PM KLRU Austin Texas (Austin)
Sunday, June 16 3:00 PM KCPT Kansas City Missouri
Sunday, June 16 11:00 PM KNME Albuquerque New Mexico
Sunday, June 16 3:00 PM WVPT Staunton Virginia
Thursday, June 20 8:00 PM WNIT South Bend Indiana
Friday, June 21 12:00 PM WVPT Staunton Virginia
Sunday, June 23 12:00 PM KUHM Helena Montana
Monday, June 24 10:00 PM Spirit Hartford Connecticut
Wednesday, June 26 8:00 PM KPJK San Mateo N. California
Wednesday, June 26 4:00 PM KTCA Saint Paul Minnesota
Wednesday, June 26 8:00 PM KUEN Salt Lake City Utah
Thursday, June 27 9:00 PM WVIA Scranton Pennsylvania
Thursday, June 27 9:00 PM WLIW Plainview New York
Friday, June 28 2:00 PM WVIA Scranton Pennsylvania
Friday, June 28 9:00 PM WNED Buffalo Buffalo
Sunday, June 30 10:00 PM WMAB Jackson Mississippi
Sunday, June 30 3:00 PM WGCU Fort Myers Florida
Saturday, July 25th 11:00 PM KQEH San Jose, CA California
Saturday, July 26th 5:00 AM KQEH San Jose, CA California
Saturday, July 28th 6:00 PM KQEH San Jose, CA California

PBS stations often have two presentations of other documentaries and even series episodes and then run repeats year after year. Shouldn’t this new film on Scots and America be worthy of similar attention? We urge all our AmeriCeltic our readers throughout our west coast area, to call and email their local PBS stations, tell them about this film that is soon to be on some other PBS stations, and demand it be shown on YOUR PBS station including and especially in the San Francisco Bay area and the rest of northern California. Here is a link to contact KQED and KQED Plus (channels 9 and 10) in the SF Bay area: phone and email form are here. In the Bay Area, this program is scheduled to be carried on PBS station KPJK, on Wednesday, June 26th, 2024 at 8 PM. On Comcast cable, KPJK is found on channel 17. KPJK is broadcast on UHF channel 60, from a transmitter on Sutro Tower in San Francisco and reaches most of the Bay Area.

Here is a bit of related background. Scots and/or Scots-Irish were among the first immigrants to the colonies of North America, as they were fleeing oppression in their homeland. About two-thirds of Washington’s soldiers in the Continental Army were Scots or Scots-Irish as well as about one half of his officers’ corps, and we could not have become an independent nation without them. Most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, members of the early Continental Congress, and more had significant Scottish ancestry. The first industries in the U.S, including the first canal system for trade among the states, were conceived of and developed by persons of Scots and Scots Irish ancestry. Many early scientific and technology developments in both the UK and the U.S. were made by Scots. Our beloved U.S.A. would not exist at all without these people!

At the same time, no person or people are perfect. We are all humans, light and dark in all of us, and there is a dark history as well as light that was part of the founding of this nation, existed in Scotland and Ulster before, and continues to have effects to this day. We need to learn all of the history, and from it, to make a better nation in the present and in the future. This film is a good start. We hope there will be others, and that people will not only watch this and other films, but also find and read more books on the subjects. However, let’s start our learning by getting this film on ALL PBS stations and telling family and friends to watch it.

Here is a link to the Voices Over the Water Website, where you can watch the film’s trailer. If you have questions about the film, you can reach director Guy Perrotta by email at


Why Some Americans are Interested in Family History
2024-01-05 by Cecilia Fábos-Becker

AmeriCeltic Map

American Immigration Origins

Firstly, not all Americans are interested in researching their family history, nor in much family history of Europeans.

A large and growing number of Americans are still predominantly descended from Europeans who arrived in the U.S. over 300 years ago. These Americans now mostly think of themselves as solely American, the new natives, having all but completely replaced the original natives. They no longer care about where their originally emigrant ancestors originated and lived for centuries before coming to what became the U.S. This change has increasing political, economic and security problems for Europe. These U.S. Americans may care just enough to want to know where their ancestors were when the U.S. was founded. They are nice places to visit and tour, much as other countries. They may have heard that someone once came from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England or France or Spain or Germany, but ho-hum, it’s very general and specifics don’t matter. See the main sites, buy a few tourist trinkets and take some pictures—same as you would any other country you visit.

Then there are two groups who are interested in researching family history. Many of those have some family lines who arrived in the U.S. more recently and have long known who they were and where their families lived for centuries. When more recent immigrant families intermarry with families whose ancestors have been in the U.S. for several centuries this can and has caused some friction within the families, especially since this reminds people that all people of predominantly European descent had emigrant, not native ancestors.

Then there is the group of people who feel rootless and feel their lives have not allowed or made them stand out as individuals, be notable for anything and want to find and cling to some family past that was better–if they can find that past.

The U.S. is still a comparatively young country to many, and indeed, almost all its current citizens still have predominantly European culture, religion, history and DNA. Yet, in more recent times, due to modern politics, that European heritage has been perceived as shameful. In what became the U.S. Europeans owned slaves, or profited from making slave ships, or slaughtered the natives, or have continued to discriminate against and repress minorities, etc., etc. As taught in the public primary and secondary schools history is and has been politically biased and influenced depending upon what leaders wanted to believe at different times, and a lot of change in what has been taught has occurred in the lifetimes of many people. They feel whipsawed and feel safer learning about what they perceive as a more static past, than the turbulent present and recent past.

The nations from which their ancestors emigrated have long histories, deep roots, and clear self-identities. In contrast, the U.S. is widely perceived within and without the U.S. as having little or none of this. So, who are U.S. Americans really? That is what the U.S. Americans trying to find their family history are trying to figure out. It often ends up as a topic of debate because it is NOT easy to learn family history.

Over half of all U.S. Americans are currently living far from where their emigrant ancestors first settled. This nation is continental, stretching some 3,000 plus miles from east to west. Most European countries are considerably smaller. They also have national archives and regional archives where both church and civil records have been stored, to free up modern local governments, and those archives can be reached with a relatively short period of travel, and may not require an air trip, hotel, rental car, etc.–and all the costs therein. Increasing numbers of European countries’ records are now online and distributed in fewer places. The typical U.S. citizen trying to do family history research is paying subscriber fees to multiple sources, many of which overlap to some degree and are all largely deficient in the same ways for the same periods. I myself use more than a couple of dozen resources regularly on almost any family who was here in the U.S. prior to 1850, when the U.S. census first began stating all the names in a household, ages and the states where they were born. For instance, the UK census started doing that at least 20 years earlier.

But, even for U.S. records, there are additional problems. There were three censes which were largely burned in a little incident in the War of 1812 when the U.S. capital was burned, including the early records repositories. Then too, this was made easier with the heavy early U.S. reliance on wood for buildings, including courthouses, churches, as well as colony/state and national buildings, at the same time candles, oil lamps and fireplaces with little protection for anything around them were being used for lighting. Many churches and courthouses were burned, long before the U.S. Civil War, in which the Union army in particular, made a consistent practice of burning them, forgetting that at the end of the war, the reconstituted union and states might want taxes and to know who owned what properties, real and personal, to be taxed. If churches and courthouses weren’t burned, then some were blown away by tornadoes and hurricanes, or swept away in floods. Europe doesn’t get much in the way of tornadoes and hurricanes. Last, during and after the Revolution some church records and colonial records were removed by ministers and others back to the UK and are no longer in the U.S..

Many of the early colonial and then U.S. churches also had other record losses. Often the records were kept by the ministers, not at the churches, as they were circuit riders, not tied to any one church. Records were regarded as personal property of these ministers and when those ministers died, not all the records were turned over to some later minister of the same churches, but instead destroyed by the families. Some of the new Protestant churches also did not practice infant baptism, nor did many register deaths for a long time, nor even much in cemetery registers. Record keeping was sloppy, haphazard and intermittent and a lot of early records that once existed were destroyed. It took a couple of centuries for most Americans to decide record keeping was important, and the places that any records were stored–churches or government buildings, needed to be fire resistant, built more of stone and brick, rather than wood, and that containers in them needed to be better and easily removed in case of a fire. Then there were wars, and in nearly all of them, one side or another was perfectly willing to destroy courthouses and churches, as was done in Ireland and France and to a lesser extent throughout the UK in “the war of the three kingdoms” in the mid 1600’s. Even many families in the UK would actually find it difficult to get much past the early 1600’s, and their nation’s civil strife for their own families. The U.S. has been about 200 years behind them.

In the 1600’s and 1700’s, colonial settlers often went to church carrying guns to protect the families and congregations from native raids, which would have also destroyed the churches. The native populations relative to the European colonists were still pretty significant then, and since three European empires had conflicts not confined to Europe, one or another was perfectly willing to arm the natives. Until the Revolution and just after, most of the “new American” U.S. population lived within 100 miles of the Atlantic ocean, for good reasons. However two generations later, the steamship was invented, and old game and native trails had been made into roads, however lousy. Agricultural practices were not great and nearly 90% of the economy was still land-based agriculture, and families were expanding. By the 1840’s, there were some railroads also and the borders had pushed to the west side of a continent. Then came the expansion of the railroads and the industrial revolution and increased urbanization across said continent. Families moved–a lot–and in so doing, lost a lot, including family Bibles, journals, etc. of what they once had in the original small colonies. The families also lost communications and relationships with much in the way of extended family as well as any long-time place and this also meant they had less of a chance of retaining or recovering lost history.

All of the foregoing has made the search for both family and national history in the U.S. much harder than it is for contemporaries and distant kin, still in Europe, to even find their own. The U.S. as a whole is still establishing a national identity, national history, national culture, and as a unified whole has not recovered and made easily available what is in pieces or partly lost causing many Americans to feel rootless. Nations and empires come and go, can be tumultuous when they exist and have crises of identities, but families do go on and most people understand that. Therefore for many U.S. Americans right now, family history has become more important. This should be of European interest and benefit–because when the majority of U.S. Americans cease to care about any European heritage and see themselves as “only U.S. Americans,” apart from all else, they will no longer care about what happens anywhere else in the world, as some already do.


Editorial: DNA versus Ethnicity
Your culture is in your mind
NOT your DNA
Published by Adam Dahmer 2023-12-21

Culture vs DNA

Is this Adam Dahmer? NO!

This photo demonstrates why some modern DNA testing that purports to tell you your ‘ethnicity’ is bunk.

For one thing, ethnicity – in the sense of ethnocultural groups – has nothing to do with DNA. Before the term ethnicity was appropriated by geneticists, it referred only to culture.

It comes from the Greek word ‘ethnos’, which means ‘a cultural group’. It’s fine that geneticists now use it to refer to groups of people that share specific genetic markers, but it should be acknowledged that the ethnological definition and the genetics definition are two different definitions from two largely unconnected fields, and shouldn’t be overlapped. Just because you share certain genetic markers with someone doesn’t mean you share any cultural commonalities with them, or vice versa.

For another thing, the categories that these tests assign people’s ancestors are so often utterly nonsensical. Take this one, for instance. One of the categories is ‘Celt’. One of the few things that practically all Celticists agree on (and I would know, because I’m one of them) is that there’s no such thing as ‘Celtic’ DNA. The ancient Celts can be defined as either groups of people who spoke Celtic languages, or as participants in ‘Celtic’ material culture (manufacturers of what gets called ‘Celtic art’). Even those definitions are problematic, because it can sometimes be difficult to say whether an ancient, sparsely attested language or style of artifact is, in fact, Celtic, and because, moreover, there isn’t a one-on-one correspondence between ancient people who made Celtic artifacts and ancient people who spoke Celtic languages. In any case, Celt was most likely an exonym – a name given to the ancient Celts by outsiders who didn’t really know or understand them (in this case, the Ancient Greeks and Romans).

Things get a little easier in more recent times. Nowadays, Celticity is defined purely linguistically: anyone who speaks a Celtic language is a Celt (if they choose to identify as such), and any culture or artifact that is connected to a Celtic language is Celtic. Even this is a point of contention for some people. Those who prefer the idea of Celticity as based in ancient Celtic material culture reject the linguistic definition, and hold that there are no Celts, and that there haven’t been since shortly after the Iron Age. Some scholars even reject the idea of Celts altogether, feeling that – since Celticity was basically a Greco-Roman invention that got revived in the Modern era – both the languages called Celtic and the ancient material culture(s) called Celtic ought to have other names. The one thing all these scholars agree on is that there’s no such thing as Celtic genes. And yet, lo and behold, that’s one of the categories on this DNA test!

‘Ah,’ you may protest, ‘but what if they actually mean Irish or Welsh or Cornish or Breton or Manx or Scottish Gaelic genes? If there are Celtic cultures, based on language, and people can be genetically traced to ancestors in those cultures, then maybe it’s not wrong to talk about Celtic genes’.

It’s a fair surmise, but an incorrect one. First of all, most cultures aren’t genetic monoliths. If I moved somewhere that had a completely different culture than mine, but my children grew up in that culture, then they would likely end up being full participants in it and members of it. That wouldn’t be reflected at all in their genetic code, but it would nonetheless be true. This is as true of Celtic cultures as any other. Secondly, the test clearly isn’t paying any attention to Celtic population groups as subcategories of Celticity, because they’ve listed both ‘Gael’ and ‘Celt’ as mutually exclusive categories. A Gael is a KIND of Celt, so, even if there were some sort of ‘Gaelic’ DNA markers, there would be no logical basis on which to identify them separately from ‘Celtic’ DNA markers.

So, to summarize, genetic testing is interesting and valuable: it can help us solve crimes, and cure diseases. I don’t deny that. But PLEASE don’t let it determine your sense of cultural belonging! Your culture is in your mind, and your language, and your art, and the shared traditions of your families and communities – not your blood. You can learn way more about your culture from your ancestors’ stories and folkways than from their genes; and, if your ancestors somehow didn’t give you any stories or folkways, or you’re not satisfied with what you inherited, then there’s no shame in you and your neighbors getting together and making some new ones up! That’s how all traditions start, if you go back far enough. If you don’t like facets of identity being made up, then that’s fine – but then that’s all the more reason to steer clear of DNA test’s ‘ethnicity’ analysis!

Adam Dahmer
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For more on the emerging science of DNA testing and it’s uses, check out this Genealogical DNA test Wikipedia Article


Kidnapped – the Real Story
100s of Scottish Children Sold in Pennsylvania Alone
Published September 29th, 2023 – by Cecilia L. Fabos-Becker


This is one of those times when some family history research has relevance for what is going on and making headlines today and begs us to ask the question, ‘just what kind of people are we?’

Last February, the U.S. Department of Labor investigators found and prosecuted several contractors for the use of child labor, particularly that of asylum seeking immigrant CHILDREN as young as 10 and 12, in meat packing plants, slaughterhouses and the fast food industry. I’m sure others have seen the headlines of the past weeks, and possibly saw an in-depth article that was in several newspapers, including the ‘Mercury News’. Similarly, franchisees of national hamburger chains have been caught using children aged 10 to 12 in hot kitchens and more. The Foster parents to whom these immigrant children were given, by our courts and government agencies, when they arrived alone or were separated from families with whom they traveled, have cooperated. Foster parents, illegally appointed for immigrant children, have insisted to the helpless children under their control, that to have a roof over their heads, these children needed to pay back their foster parents by working, even if it meant schoolwork suffered, or they could not attend school, or they were not even getting enough sleep at night for growing children. It is happening primarily in midwestern and southern states, but also in other states.

Unfortunately, this sort of child exploitation has happened before, too many times. It appears from real history, well documented, that slave labor using helpless, sometimes abducted–that is kidnapped– children, is a long held and continuing tradition in this country and not enough people care about the 13th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and state laws, much less international law and treaties.

In the late 19th century, famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) wrote stirring, action packed fictional adventure novels including Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Kidnapped, some of which have been turned into popular motion pictures. Stevenson’s novels actually have a fair amount of 18th and early 19th century Scottish history in them. In the region where I live, Northern California, we have the Robert Louis Stevenson museum in Napa County at 1490 Library Street, in St. Helena, California, and further down the coast, in Monterey, CA, a smaller memorial to him in a historic building in which he once lived in for a while. Stevenson also lived in Vallejo and wrote an account of his stay there called The Silverado Squatters (1883-4), and there are a number of places and buildings he saw and knew that still exist in that area.

I wonder, though, how many people in know that on of Stevenson’s famous novels, Kidnapped, is not only based largely based on a real incident, but it also is a story of over 100 Scottish American children brought illegally to Pennsylvania in the 1690’s and sold through the Quarter Sessions Court in Chester County as indentured servants–money to be paid to the ‘presenter,’ of course. It happened in other counties and other colonies, also but the Pennsylvania records are most complete. These children were mostly aged 8 to 14 and were under the complete control of their masters, with few if any standards for their care as children for up to 13 years. Transported adults, as criminals or rebels, who had acted largely of their own free will, in the same period, had sentences of indenture typically for 7 to 10 years.

I ran into this shocking tale when researching one of my late mother’s ancestors, named Alexander Ross (born about March 1st, 1683, baptized in Canongate parish (part of Edinburgh), Scotland, 4th March, 1683, oldest son of John Ross and Elespeth Campbell, died November 1748) in the Quaker Opequon/Hopewell community in Orange County, Virginia, of which he was one of the two founding members. Canongate, at the time he was born, was a wealthy community, filled with gentlemen, lower echelons of peers, professionals, and ‘was the center of luxury manufacturing and retail,’ for all of Scotland. Alexander Ross was not born into a poor family. His father, however, was a second son and given money to buy land, where and when he saw fit to raise his family and was apparently given leases on a couple of different properties in the greater extended family and Clan, that had become more available since the deaths of many clan members at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, which ended the male lines of a number of branches. One generation later, there was still land available within clan lands, though not as high quality as what had become available in the 1650’s. John Ross’ moving about became the foundation for what later happened to his two sons, Alexander (b. 1683) and John (born December, 1686 and baptized 18th December, 1686). If a family has money, land, has been in a close-knit community for a while, and doesn’t move around a lot, it’s generally harder for kidnappers to seize their children.

Alexander Ross, was a little luckier than the rest of the lads presented at court by the unscrupulous kidnapper and slave trader, Maurice Trent. He had fallen into Trent’s hands another way and came off lightly. Alexander Ross had been born in Scotland but his father, John Ross, born 1658, died 1693, had moved his family from Scotland to northern Ireland very shortly after the siege of Derry was lifted, which happened 1 August, 1689. Alexander Ross was well known to William Jolliffe Jr. who included him in Jolliffe’s autobiography, as well as his family history, genealogy and notes on the Opequon/Hopewell, Quaker settlement in Orange County, Virginia. In fact, William Jolliffe Jr. married the widow of Alexander Ross’ second son, John Ross, who had died only weeks after his father, leaving a young widow and five children, including infants. . According to Alexander Ross, as he discussed his family with Jolliffe, Alexander’s father, John Ross, had come to Ireland to buy some land, and also served in the Williamite armies at the Battle of the Boyne. This indicates that John Ross came to Ireland with money, hoping to buy forfeited land after William’s expected victory over James II. He had another reason to look for land in Ireland, The first of several famines was hitting Scotland at the time, caused by temporary weather changes from some volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Northern, particularly northeastern Scotland was hit by droughts and excessive cold destroying crops. Ireland, in contrast, had been spared. The last residence in Scotland of John Ross, where he had earlier been considering buying, was in a famine hit area in Aberdeenshire. The land, no matter how inexpensive, was not yielding and it was not certain when weather would change again to make the land profitable. At this time, some 70 to 80% of Scotland’s economy was agrarian and there were no government safety nets. There also was limited means of long term food storage. Those who had money were leaving.

Economy, and lack of alternatives in countries, then as now, caused people to move, and to emigrate. There was also a better chance of land in Ireland for another reason. After wars of what was considered rebellion by the victors, there were forfeited lands, many quite excellent, that could be awarded, or bought. Thus, John Ross had multiple reasons for moving to the Londonderry area of northern Ireland in late 1689 or early 1690. One other key fact, that should have come into use later, was that all of Ireland was under English rule and law, not Scottish and the Act of Union of the two kingdoms had not yet been proposed or passed. It would not happen for another 17 years. When John Ross moved to Ireland, even if he was leasing lands initially, he was then an English subject and there were protections as well as limitations for him and his family that did not exist in Scotland.

Unfortunately for many who shared such hopes of land with the Williamite victor, William was more lenient than anticipated with any and all who had surrendered or sought his pardon before the Battle of Aughrim in 1691. Those pardoned were able to keep most, if not all their lands. There were not as many forfeited lands to be had compared with what had been available after the 1641 rebellion and Cromwellian invasion, etc.. Thus in early 1693, John Ross with his son Alexander arrived in Newcastle, the port of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, then an English colony, and began looking for land in Chester County.

Unfortunately for John Ross’ son, Alexander, who was just over 10 years of age at this time, his father died a short time after their arrival, leaving young Alexander Ross stuck in Chester County. Somehow he ended up under the control of Maurice Trent. Under English law, he should have been assigned a guardian or returned to his widowed mother and siblings in Ireland. Money existed to return him to Ireland, and he was not a street urchin. The court in Chester County, ignored English law and the last residency of father and son to do what was done. As he was not yet 14, the age when a boy could select his own guardian, Alexander Ross was also not allowed to speak for himself in the court, which allowed Trent to present the children he had one way or another gained control of, and the court members then estimated the ages of the children. Alexander’s age was on October 3, 1693, estimated to be ‘around 11 years of age–’ estimated, despite the fact that for indenture, undocumented children were supposed to be questioned and asked their ages and how they came to be under the control of the presenters–by LAW. He was 10 years and 7 months old. He was in the Opequon/Hopewell and Orange County, Virginia records, ‘about 66 years of age’ (actually 65 years and almost 9 months old) when he wrote his will in August, 1748 and died in November, 1748, during an epidemic of ‘the white sickness’ (probably a strain of flu that quickly descended into pneumonia, based on upon descriptions of the symptoms” that also carried off his wife, two of his three sons, a son-in-law, etc. all within weeks of one another. According to several accounts, including Jolliffe’s, about 15-20% of the settlement died during this epidemic of respiratory illness, mostly adults, very few children.

Because his father had been known to arrive with him and been already reaching out to others to find land to buy, Alexander Ross had a better fate than many others that Maurice Trent brought before the court. Alexander Ross was apprenticed to Caleb Pusey, one of the most prominent persons in Chester County and a personal friend to the Penn family. Caleb Pusey owned one of the largest combined grist and saw mills in the county and taught Alexander Ross to become a ‘joiner.’–a cabinet and furniture maker, and treated Alexander well. Alexander Ross could already read and write and Mr Pusey had continued his more academic education for a few years in addition to teaching him a good career skill.. Based upon what happened when Alexander Ross was deemed to have come of age, it’s probable the money his father had when he came to Pennsylvania was put in trust for young Alexander, to be his upon reaching the estimated age of majority. Some may have been spent on his maintenance but there was something still to be had and Mr. Pusey was probably also given control of the money as well as the child.

By 1703, Alexander Ross was a rising member of the Nottingham Monthly Meeting and surrounding community and bought his first piece of land. He then married Katherine Chambers in 1705 and had his first child in 1706.. In the early 1730’s Alexander Ross was one of the two negotiators, the other being Morgan Bryan, sent to negotiate with Governor Gooch for a grant for a new Quaker colony in Virginia and was successful. He moved his family to Orange County, Virginia in 1735 and when he died, in 1748, he passed on to his two married sons, about 12,000 acres, split between the two sons, John and George for themselves and their children. I descend from George Ross, by the way, through one of the several sons George disowned for having chosen to fight for U.S. independence.

Robert Ross (named for his mother’s brother, Robert Scott), and his older brother John had to go to Pennsylvania to enlist because of the staunch anti-war sentiments of the Quaker community that dominated the area where they lived. Ironically, the Quaker community had been more tolerant of military service, retaining members, during the French and Indian War just a generation before, when entire nearby communities were wiped out during native assaults. While there were native allies of the English again entering western Virginia, the Quaker leadership believed the rebels, whom we now call patriots, had brought the evils upon themselves–and ignored the fact that far more than those males who made the decisions were suffering. Robert and John Ross served in Pennsylvania and the northern colonies and then returned to Virginia and initially settled where another disowned cousin–a son of George’s brother John, was. Then Robert re-enlisted and served under Col. Wynn who had family in a southern Virginia county and he served with a brother of the wife he then married in 1792. He may have been married twice but only the wife he took in 1792 had surviving children, as far as is known. Only two sons of George were known to have land that once belonged to their father–the probable oldest, Alexander, whom he also eventually disowned, and the youngest, James who somehow managed to stay in his father’s good regard and still lived next to him at the end of his life, and then cared for his widowed mother and two youngest sisters, Mary and Jane.

Now this is not the last of this strange tale. Alexander Ross also had at least one younger brother, named John, born in 1686, who also emigrated, in 1706–and this younger John Ross survived a famous shipwreck, that of the ‘Northern Lights’ off Cape May in 1706. John was given money by his widowed mother and family to emigrate and buy land and settle away from where his family then lived somewhere not far from Belfast in Ireland, so John Ross could ‘escape the impressment gangs going about Belfast and nearby to increase the armies for the Continental War’. (Marlborough’s campaign was filled with units from Ireland, and not all were voluntary enlistees, though many were.) Alexander Ross’ brother was escaping another form of kidnapping. However, based upon what said about this, it appears, that the kidnapping laws now in effect in all parts of the UK, combined with some executions of violators who had kidnapped children, kidnappers, working for the British army were waiting until some young men who had families had reached the age of majority, and therefore were no longer children. Of course you were fair game from about the age of 15 and up if you had no family, no protector/guardian through a good job and no significant amount of money.

When the ‘Northern Lights” went down in a storm, John Ross escaped with little more than his life and the clothes he had been wearing. He lost a chest of money and other possessions. He then had to walk along the coast northward to a point opposite Newcastle, where he pawned his watch for passage across the river. He had friends in Newcastle expecting him. He arrived ill and half starved but recovered and lived with friends for some months while he taught school to earn his keep–and waited for his family to amass more funds to send to him to continue the original plan. He ultimately settled down on considerable acreage of his own in what became Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. His biography is in county histories, and based partly upon interviews made with him during his later lifetime.

Both Ross brothers had narrow escapes from kidnappers. Written laws were being ignored by governments and the government authorized army, and navy. Others were not so lucky which is not only how Robert Louis Stevenson came to write the novel, Kidnapped, based upon what happened to a young Annesly family heir, but has finally become the subject of more scrutiny and, in 2017, a master’s thesis by student, Angela Austin, at the University of Glasgow. Angela titled her thesis ‘Forgotten Children: Scotland’s Colonial Child Servants, 1680-1760.’ In this thesis, from about pages 31 to 35, readers will find the terrible story of Maurice Trent, and his family, as well as the Coutts family. These families specialized in exploitation businesses including white kidnapping and importing African slaves. For example ‘ships owned by the Trent and Coutts families were used to transport indentured servants, convicts, and African slaves’ (page 32-33). Here is a link to the article.

Given that we now know there are descendants of the very real story of Kidnapped here in the United States and whom we may encounter in events in which we participate, perhaps more Americans might re-read the Robert Louis Stevenson novels, and visit or revisit the museums and memorials dedicated to Robert Louis Stevenson, and consider making contributions to the Robert Louis Stevenson museums, especially when also considering far too many headlines and articles about abducted children, especially immigrant children, and making them slave or near slave labor, denying them rights, education, good care–and above all love.. I know I’ll be making a donation of my own to the Robert Louis Stevenson museum in St. Helena, CA, this year.

Today, we also need to do more to eliminate the exploitation of children. We must insist upon enforcement of existing laws and tell our legislators, state and federal to enact stronger laws with stronger penalties for illegal and semi-legal child abductions–separating them from existing families–grandparents and aunts and uncles as well as parents to make them child labor for someone or other entirely unrelated and uncaring. Between what happened in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and now have been other incidents, such as the ‘Orphan Trains’ of the 1870’s to 1920’s that took both genuine orphans, but also children who had families but whose families were poor, from places like New York City and Boston to the midwest, where children as young as 5 and 6 became slave labor for farmers and small businesspersons, like dressmakers, and others engaged in small scale manufacturing in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and other farm-mixed with small town states who needed extra workers, and apparently were not willing to seek workers in a free market and pay them decently. As I began this article, I am ending it–saying we all need to ask ourselves just what kind of a nation we are–when do we end this too long tradition of ours of enabling and using slave child labor? How can we dare to criticize China, or African countries with what is going on, today, right now, and this history, and having done so little to change things for the present or future in our own nation? How is what happened to Alexander Ross, and the even worse conditions for at least 112 other children, who were kidnapped, often separated from their families, and abused by the courts ignoring their own English laws, any different than what this nation is doing to immigrant children, particularly from Latin America, today? How are the masters, the owners of these poor indentured children of the 17th and 18th centuries any different than the so-called foster parents also appointed by courts today? Our courts are doing this–cooperating with modern slave runners– even now–violating our Constitution, and minimal federal laws, and international law and agreements. Does anyone care, yet?


Editorial: The Coronation
and New Reign of Charles III
What’s Next for Scotland?
Published 2023-05-04 by Cecilia Fábos-Becker

Coronation of King Charles III

Although he is already king, taking up the duties and privileges of the UK monarch, the official coronation of King Charles III, is set for Saturday, May 6, 2023 at roughly 3 to 5 AM Pacific Daylight Time. Our local, the Britannia Arms on Almaden Boulevard (near the junction of Highway 85) in San Jose, California (10th largest city in the U.S. and now 20% larger than San Francisco) is holding a ‘coronation party’ (bash) commencing at 3 AM with fancy, over the top of what one thinks is appropriate coronation wear encouraged. The British Benevolent Society in San Francisco is holding a somewhat more formal event at Artonomi Fine Art, 82 Main Street in Tiburon, titled ‘Coronation Concert-Reception’, on Sunday, May 7, 2023 between 1 and 4 PM. Others will be celebrating as well.

There are a number of British pubs and organizations in the San Francisco Bay area, though they are not often highly visible. The exception for significant visibility of the culture is the San Francisco Caledonian Club’s very large ‘Scottish Gathering and Games’ at the Alameda County Fairgrounds on the Saturday and Sunday of the three-day, U.S. Labor Day Weekend in early September, weather (heat) permitting.

The fact is, over half of the entire 330 million persons population of the U.S. is a quarter or more of Scots, Scots-Irish, Irish, Welsh or English descent–with the first three contributing the most DNA. Even in California, though fairer-skinned, West European descended persons who identify as such are only about one-third of the population of 40 million, more than half of that group, and a significant percentage of persons who also have Latino ancestry, have a significant amount of the same afore-described ‘British’ ethnic groups’ DNA. At the huge annual Pleasanton (where the Alameda County Fairgrounds is) gathering, anyone can see pipe bands, competitors in the games and heavy athletics, and dance groups reflecting the mixed heritage that now exists.

Additionally, since World War I, the U.S. government, responding to entreaties of the UK in times of great need, has made the U.S. a political and military ally of the kingdom against which U.S. Americans once rebelled between 1774 and 1783. The two nations together, now, are key to the survival and success of NATO and have mutual interests and support one another in the Pacific. The UK is the U.S.’s greatest global ally, and vice versa. Between them, Canada is a great shared resource, and cousin to both. The U.S. people, as cousins of the citizens of the UK choose to restore a good family relationship, but one with greater respect for the U.S.

Thus, many people in the U.S. have an interest in the coronation from their families’ history, and current business, political and military interests.

Though the powers of the UK monarch are diminished within Constitutional/Parliamentary Monarchy, the king or queen of the UK and his or her privy council still retain a surprising amount of power, unlike much of Europe, though the UK royals like to keep a lower profile than in centuries past. The recent curbing of the excesses of ex PM Boris Johnson, especially in Brexit negotiations and manipulating Parliament, showed some of that remaining power. The king or queen is also involved in foreign policy and maintaining or developing relations with other countries for the good of the UK. Last, there is the monarch’s immense personal wealth and personal business interests, charities, and social interests, such as climate change, organic gardening and farming, energy self-sufficiency, and increased racial equality and opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities.

Although the U.S. is not a member of the ‘British Commonwealth’, an association of other former colonies of the UK, which is a priority again, after decades of neglect, for the UK since Brexit, the U.S. is one of the UK’s most significant partners in far more than military alliances and is, and should be of interest to the new king, Charles III. After all, it was under the first Charles, the current Charles III’s direct ancestor, that most of what became the first U.S. states and fledgling nation, was established as chartered or royal colonies. Even those chartered were sometimes made royal colonies, later, as Maryland and North Carolina were, under Charles II and William of Orange.

However, there is a big problem with maintaining and strengthening the relationship between the UK and the U.S. England has a long history of not having done well by its own Celtic, now minority, populations. The largest and most valuable exports of Ireland and Scotland for over three centuries were the people of these lands, suffering a combination of a lack of arable land and shorter growing seasons at a time when most of most nations’ economies was agrarian, and a lack of timely and adequate investment in other industries after the Acts of Union–driven by England and with threats or outright force, by the English. Not only did Scots and Irish leave their native lands for North America, but many ended up working in low paid, abusive jobs at the lowest levels of society in England starting in the mid 1700’s and then increasingly so in the 1800’s. England’s population and economy and wealth all grew in part due to the large numbers of Irish and Scots being all but forced to seek employment to live in England. The goal and strategies were to provide lots of cheap labor for English industrialists, construction companies, etc.. and by having them in England, having these people under tighter English control than in their own countries, with less military expense. While many families, over several generations, and especially if they changed their religion to the Church of England, could do well and did so, many did not. Many Irish and Scots, particularly those of more recent migration to England are still ‘second class’ or worse, citizens and sometimes told by lower economic class Englishmen with whom they may compete for jobs to ‘go home,’ just as sometimes Poles and others from the European continent have been told–especially through the act of Brexit.

The troubles in Ireland ended with a lot of U.S. pressure and involvement because they had spilled over to the U.S. Recruiting of political support, terrorists, and buying of weapons was done by both sides in the U.S. and there was fighting in the U.S. between the groups at times. Religious and charitable groups and even political parties in the U.S. were creating and supporting summer camps for Northern Irish children to give them a few months of peace and to show them that it was possible for people of two religions to live together in harmony and with respect for one another in the same nation. This was made very clear by some recent documentaries of the history of the ‘Troubles, and Good Friday Agreement,’ on the history related Discovery Network channels, CNN and PBS. This history of the spill-over into the U.S. is personal experience for me and my husband from our lives in Minnesota.

This Good Friday agreement which had finally brought a still somewhat fragile 25 years of peace and greater economic development at long last to Northern Ireland was seriously threatened by Brexit, especially since the Northern Ireland DUP never signed the original agreement. It is still a fragile peace and economic development still has a long way to go for Northern Ireland.

Still, Northern Ireland is now allowed to have some degree of economic relationships with both the UK and the EU, to the benefit of the citizens of Northern Ireland, of Irish, Scots-Irish and Anglo-Irish descent. Their cousins in both Scotland–and the U.S. would now like to know when Scotland, the ‘good step-child,’ which has not rebelled since 1745 (a smaller, less well organized and much less well supported event than the Earl of Mar’s Rebellion of 1715-16), and has not had the civil strife, or engaged in terrorist acts on English soil, is going to be similarly rewarded. This is the biggest challenge for the new king, who professes to love Scotland, having come to appreciate the land and people as hereditary Duke of Rothesay, Baron of Renfrewshire, etc.

The last Stewart who demonstrated any significant regard for his first hereditary kingdom was James VI–mostly so long as he lived in Scotland and his first years in England. His son, Charles I, began to bleed the kingdom in earnest to support the bankrupt English part of the monarchy, and first took away the hereditary rights, privileges and abilities to collect fees, etc. of the Scottish nobles, helping to bankrupt many of them. Charles II and James II were little better and then punished persons who chose the Presbyterian religion, literally shipping some Scots and Scots-Irish Presbyterians as indentured slaves to the Caribbean, called ‘transportation of the Covenanters.

The Presbyterians did not believe in a religious body governed by royal appointed bishops but instead believed Congregations should be run by elected congregation elders, including females, and otherwise superiors elected by and answerable to the lower level councils of elders. The elders also could choose to accept or reject congregational ministers sent by the Presbytery councils. All of this was anathema to both the Catholic church and the Church of England whose head was officially the king or queen of England. It was considered treasonous for anyone, but particularly Scots, to not be a member of the official, royal, English, religion. The Scots, and Scots-Irish who were transported by the English army under the UK king, were sold as slaves to planters, mostly in the malaria and yellow fever ridden Caribbean islands. These Scottish and Scots-Irish slaves did not have the same rights as indentured servants who entered voluntary agreements of servitude in exchange for someone else having paid the costs to emigrate, which they also chose to do. The difference between the Covenanters, and the later Scots rebels also involuntarily transported and sold, from Africans, whose slavery also involved the royal family in the 17th century, was that the Scots and Scots-Irish were penal slaves with set terms of slavery of 7 to 14 years generally. African slaves were generally, and almost all, slaves for life. However, in the 1800’s when this was done with Irish rebels and criminals, the sentences for the Irish also could be for life in Australia and it was left up to the owners there to decide whether and when to free the Irish slaves or not.

The ‘transportations’ done after the rebellion of 1745-6, also were the start of the period of Scottish history called ‘the Highland Clearances,’ in which the large land-owners in collusion with English industrial interests replaced the small herding and farming families who were tenants with sheep, again, transporting thousands of Scottish families, this time to Canada, and some to New Zealand. The people had a little more choice: try to find work in the fishing villages or ports or the one industrial city of Scotland or go find work in England, or accept the payment of travel by ship and a small amount for a new start to buy land and supplies in Canada. In the late 1700’s and first two or three decades of the 1800’s most chose emigration to Canada where they could at least own land. It wasn’t until the Crimean war, that the Stewart descended monarch, Queen Victoria finally realized that while the English textile and meat companies were happy, the military had a problem. There were no longer all those large, fine Scottish regiments to exert the monarch’s and Parliament’s will beyond England’s shores any longer. Only then did the clearances stop, at the behest of the monarch and UK army. For one hundred years, Scots were being deported to the short-term benefit of English industry and the Scottish descended monarchs who had their claims to the throne from the Scots, never noticed. And this came after ‘transport’ of Scots as slaves from 1670 to 1747. That’s some ‘marriage,’ of Scotland and England, definitely NOT a good one!

Most of Ireland is now completely independent, its own Republic, attained by violent rebellion as was the independence of the United States, and both the United States and the independent Republic of Ireland were heavily involved, even leading the negotiations and other efforts to end the troubles in still English controlled Northern Ireland. If King Charles III wants a new, successful reign, then he and Parliament must do better with Scotland–the good step child who has also similarly suffered a lack of love, attention, and economic development as Ireland and Northern Ireland long did.

Yes, Scotland and England have been ‘married’ since the 1707 Act of Union, in which a Scottish parliament, albeit composed only of all male nobles and the highest town and city burgesses, voted itself out of business. However, if His Majesty really loves his nation’s ‘spouse’, as he says, then he should help that ‘spouse’ become all she can be.

His Majesty should seriously consider doing with Scotland what England, as the UK did with its ‘daughter,’ Canada. Give your spouse the same rights as your daughter. Work with the Prime Minister and Parliament to make Scotland a Dominion, still a close part of the UK, as most of the Commonwealth nations are NOT, and closer economic and military ties, but also able to join the EU, if Scotland so chooses. Ireland’s population is growing, and its emigration to the U.S. has been declining in recent years and decades. Scotland’s greatest and most valuable export is still its people, and its population will soon be smaller than that of Ireland, or Denmark, or Norway or Finland, other northern countries with cold climates and limited arable land. Scotland already has only slightly more than half the population of Sweden, and there is no reason why Scotland could not and should not do as well as Sweden and grow. Scotland needs its king, descended from what was first its own Stewart dynasty to show his love really, and help establish a new and better status for it, according to wishes and needs of the Scots themselves.

It’s also real hard to complain about China and its reneging upon agreements with Hong Kong and threats of military take over of Taiwan when the English control and limit Scotland and ignore the wishes of the majority of Scots as per a referendum on Brexit, and the English themselves reneged upon their promises to Scotland that Scotland during its last independence referendum that Scotland could only be a member of the EU if it remained in the UK as the UK, as a member of the EU would use its veto power to deny an independent Scotland membership.

While the U.S. has done a poor job of teaching history and many states are all but removing history classes altogether, there are plenty of other sources of education about the U.S.–and Scots–past are available to the U.S. population, including the many dozens of Celtic festivals and Scottish gatherings and games, and a few PBS documentaries. So, the millions of descendants and cousins of the Scots in the U.S. are now suggesting you improve relations with both the U.S. and Scotland by using your powers and influence as monarch to give Scotland a status that allows it to have similar good economic and financial relations with both the EU and the UK, as you gave to your much more violent step-child, Northern Ireland.

Your Majesty, if someone ever passes this editorial on to you, please, really show the love that you claim you have for Scotland and be a better monarch for Scotland than the preceding two Charles’ ever were. In so doing, it may set an example for China and Spain.


Editorial: Northern Ireland’s New Trade Agreement
What about Scotland?
by Cecilia Fábos-Becker

A Different Tune

Last Monday, February 27th, Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom (UK) and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union (EU) Commission, announced that there had been a breakthrough in negotiations over trade arrangements between the UK and Northern Ireland. Negotiations were held in total secrecy in the Royal Borough of Windsor, and the tone of their joint announcement was a world away from the icy readouts after talks were held under the UK’s Johnson and Truss administrations. Immediately after this press conference, King Charles III invited the pair to join him for tea at his nearby Windsor castle, and the agreement is named The Windsor Framework. As negotiated, the agreement fundamentally modifies the prior agreement, and according to Sunak, it provides solutions to all the expressed concerns, especially the complaints of the Unionist parties of Northern Ireland, but perhaps most importantly, it would give Northern Ireland unique privileged trading status with both the EU and the UK, setting a precedent with wide-ranging implications.

Sunak described this unprecedented privileged trading status as an ‘unbelievably special position’ and a ‘unique position in the entire world’ because Northern Ireland would retain ‘privileged access’ to ‘the European Union single market’.

Under this Windsor Framework, most goods made in the UK would be able to enter Northern Ireland without extra forms, inspections and delays so long as they are intended to stay in Northern Ireland. and do not move on into the EU, especially via the land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. At the same time, because Northern Ireland, though part of the UK, also shares an island with EU member Ireland, there is a freer flow of goods and people between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland. It appears at first glance and summaries to be a genuine good deal for Northern Ireland and would reduce tensions between the UK and EU, most of whose members, along with the UK are also members of NATO. It is also significant that this is happening just after the murder of an Ulster policeman–again–and the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

As he spoke in Westminster in the House of Commons during PM Sunak’s ‘Question Time’ the next day, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Mr. Stephen Flynn said, ‘We approve of this agreement, (as much as we know about it), and certainly do not begrudge our Northern Irish cousins this unique set of relationships which will bring much greater economic benefits, but we’d like to see the same for Scotland.’

We have to agree with Mr. Flynn. Why should Scotland be excluded from such privileged trade advantages? Has Scotland not been one of the ‘good’ UK family members, peacefully sharing their island with the English and Welsh for centuries?

In contrast, Northern Ireland got its privileged trade status through centuries of violence, beginning in the late Middle Ages. Then, in the period 1916 to 1922, a mere hundred years ago, three quarters of the Island of Ireland were entirely freed from English occupation and suppression. The remaining quarter, continuing as part of the UK, became the small country of Northern Ireland, with a majority of Protestants. This Protestant majority mostly descended from plantations set up by the English on forfeited lands of rebellious Irish earls a bit over 4 centuries prior. After the 1919 elections resulted in a majority favoring an Independent Ireland, these Protestants petitioned the UK King to remain in the UK, mostly to avoid assimilation into a majority Catholic Ireland where they would become a minority. The King granted their request, and many more decades of suppression and violence between these Northern Ireland Protestants and their minority of Catholics began. Beginning in the late 1960’s, a period of several decades of violence known as The Troubles began. During the Troubles, violence increased dramatically, including the deaths of many innocent people in Ireland–and the UK. In 1973, the UK joined the EU, but despite some economic growth in the rest of the UK, the violence kept investment away in Northern Ireland and the violence continued.

This internecine violence was only brought to an end by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which gave Northern Ireland a new, special political and economic status. With the return of peace and access to the single market of the EU, conditions began to improve, but then, just a few years ago, in 2018, the English majority in the UK parliament, (about 80% English/Welsh), decided to leave the EU despite the fact that the majority of citizens of both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU, investment in Northern Ireland slowed, and jobs and prosperity declined.

Over the last 500 years, the Irish also underwent the diaspora of millions of Irish to foreign shores. One way or another, their English overlords ‘deported’millions into the United States for assistance. The U.S., having benefited from the labor and businesses of these Irish immigrants, understood their needs and pressured the English to fix their ‘Irish Problem’. Notwithstanding the reticence of Woodrow Wilson, during World War I, the U.S. pressure particularly increased. Through this ‘Great War’, England repeatedly, loudly and frequently proclaimed it wanted to break up the Austro-Hungarian empire to ensure the minority peoples who had once had their own countries could again be independent and regain their own sovereignty. As the song, ‘The Foggy Dew’ says, ‘Twas England bade our wild geese go that small nations might be free‘, and after the War, the Irish took up arms against the weary English, winning their independence in much the same way as Americans did in 1776 to win independence for the United States.

We have a similar situation now. The UK is supporting the sovereignty of Ukraine against the Russian invasion, including actions that fall under international definitions of genocide. Ignoring the majority wishes of the Scots, particularly their vote to remain in the EU, is a breach of Scottish sovereignty to determine their own future and its nature. The English, over the centuries have also been directly responsible for a very large diaspora of Scots to the United States, just as aggressively as it did in Ireland, even having deported Scots with the forced removal of Covenanters (Presbyterians) in the late 17th century, the selling of captured and surrendered rebel soldiers into slavery in Jamaica, Maryland, Virginia and even Massachusetts, called ‘transportation’ even then, and the HIghland Clearances. Just as harps were once burned and harpists hung, the English, for a time, did exactly the same in Scotland. There was an ‘Act of Union’ for Ireland, just as there was for Scotland, with ordinary Scots and Irish equally having little or no voice in the matter and no vote.

The biggest difference between Ireland and Scotland is that, after they rebelled against the English in 1745 and, having lost the fight, were decimated by a campaign of wholesale slaughter and removal that lasted for just over a century, the Scots were cowed. Short of men and lacking even the modest barrier of a narrow sea channel between them and the English armed forces, they knew they could not win another fight. The Scots chose not to engage in further warfare against the English army. Neither has there been any civil strife since, no terrorist organizations, nor any attacks on English trains or infrastructure.

UK Per Captia GDP, 2017

UK Per Captia GDP, 2017

And what did Scotland get for this good behavior? Its languages and culture were stamped out, it even disappeared from maps for a time appearing in some British maps as simply ‘North Britain.’ Worst of all, as this map shows, in three hundred years Scotland has had almost no economic development, no English nor English allowed foreign investment in development, that has been maintained, unlike most of England. It is still little different than 425 years ago, when King James VI/I wanted to create a purely Scots colony so Scots could have more land at a time when most nations’ economies were heavily agrarian and still be Scots. The only region of Scotland that has significant economic activity, today, is the northeast, and much of that is extractive fish and oil production. Look at this map and compare Argyllshire, Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire and Galloway and more, with most of England, especially the midlands. You could see a similar map through every century from 1707 to the present.

The same economic neglect and outright suppression was true for all of Ireland for centuries, and is still true for most of Northern Ireland. In recent decades, their cousins in the independent south have enjoyed a steadily growing economy, but in the North, only one little city, Belfast, has any significant economic activity.

Like the Irish, English rule has done little for the Scots. The largest number and most valuable exports from Scotland and Northern Ireland have been its people–millions of them, over three hundred years. This is nothing less than genocide, and it is still continuing.

We hope that both the EU and the U.S. will recognize this unfair situation of the Scots for what it is and has been and indeed start pressuring the UK for a better situation for the Scots. We hope that the EU will take some initiative and suggest dominion status for Scotland, along with a new special Scottish agreement, similar to that for Northern Ireland..

The Scots held a referendum on independence in 2014, when the UK was still in the EU, and it was widely reported, internationally, how the UK’s 80% and more English government told the Scots that if they voted for independence the English would block their admission to the EU and prevent it from being allowed to use the euro. These English threats worked. Then the English changed the deal, broke the contract and voted for Brexit. In that same later all-UK, Brexit referendum, the majority of Scots, like the majority of Northern Irish voted to REMAIN in the EU.

So where is the reward for the Scots for being peaceful since 1745, and yet voting to remain the EU? Where is either another referendum vote for them, given the new conditions of the English dominated rest of the UK, or else negotiations with the EU to allow the Scots dominion status, rather like that of Canada, and thus an agreement with the EU, as well as special status with the UK? Does the government in Westminster only respond to violence–something that most would like to avoid? Is it the ‘squeaky wheel that is about to toss the car into a ditch’ that only gets the attention it deserves? Do the Scots need to reconnect with the Scottish American cousins they long disparaged and ignored to encourage the U.S. to again put the same amount of pressure on the UK as it felt it had to do at the end of World War I, and during the civil strife and massacres of the ‘troubles?’

I remember the troubles quite well. There were IRA gun runners and recruiters in many local pubs and bars and the violence was actually spilling over into parts of U.S. cities. I was active with groups raising funds for camps for children in our northern states to give children of both religions a few months of peace and relative quiet, and show that people of different religions could get along. I also had the unenviable task of approaching the IRA and its supporters in a well-known pub in St. Paul (now gone) and asking them to please keep any protests for Princess Margaret’s visit polite and peaceful–after all she had no power to change anything. I’m sure I earned a few new gray hairs in that situation. I’d rather not see all of that again. What Ireland and the desperate Catholic Irish–and Scots Irish did in Northern Ireland to get what they wanted–and needed–should not be necessary for Scotland to achieve a similar fair deal.

On a side note, a few politicians, notably Arlene Foster of the DUP, who became former Prime Minister Theresa May’s ‘worst headache,’ are now protesting about where the negotiations occurred–Windsor, which resulted in the new proposed agreement being called ‘the Windsor Framework,’ rather like so many other agreements being named for the places where they were hammered out, and the fact that after the announcement Ursula von de Leyen and Rishi Sunak were invited to take tea with King Charles III and discuss other foreign relations issues, such as Ukraine. We suggest that Ms. Foster and others remember that to choose to remain part of the monarchy, and in as close a relationship as the DUP has advocated, is to accept its monarchy, with little question. I suggest they remember that although the UK has a parliament, it is 80% English, and that this heavily English parliament has chosen, over time, to allow the monarch to retain a Privy Council and a number of powers, particularly regarding foreign relations and relations with the Prime Minister, House of Lords. Ms. Foster should reconsider her comments and behave like the good little Englishwoman she has so long claimed she aspires to be. Charles III is her king too, not her lapdog, and she has no right to complain about or deny him the powers the English parliament has long allowed him. If she doesn’t like it, well, Ms. Foster could always move to Australia…


Resignation of Nicola Sturgeon:
What is Scotland’s Future–if Any?
By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2023-02-16

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon Resigns

It was sad to hear and read of the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon, as Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP). It is also understandable. She lost her battle to obtain a second referendum for Scottish Independence in the UK Supreme Court.

The UK Supreme Court is composed of 12 judges. 9 of them are from England and Wales (effectively England), 2 from Scotland, and 1 from Northern Ireland, or 75% English/Welsh. Taking the issue of Scottish Independance to the UK Supreme Court, was never going to yield the result that Nicola Sturgeon and the majority of Scots want.

However, just as in most civil disputes, one cannot go to higher or outside authorities without trying to resolve the dispute in every possible lower-level venue. The next SNP selected First Minister will have to start looking outside the UK for help, as well as taking a fresh look at what legal arguments can be used, in remaining courts, including in the court of world-wide public opinion,

If English Common Law, since little of it is a written body of law, has ‘breach of contract,’ and ‘contract by coercion or threat’ as grounds for invalidation of a contract and allowing the aggrieved party to institute a new arrangement, agreement or alternative solution, in England, it is biased and overly flexible as it does not appear to apply to Scottish-English contracts with English entities, especially in issues of real sovereignty, and economic benefit to Scotland. Scotland did not vote for Brexit and has suffered for the English slight majority vote, more than any other part of the UK. It always has suffered since the Act of Union, itself partly the result of bribes, threats of invasion, lies, and outright betrayal by the Scottish peers and gentry who comprised the majority of the then Scottish parliament and did not answer to the majority of ordinary people. The peers and gentry fell in love with the idea of possibly having more power in London because the Scottish or Scottish descended kings were now on the throne of England. It took the Scots peers and other gentry a while to realize the Hanovers didn’t see themselves as Scottish.

Since the Act of Union, the largest and most valuable single export of Scotland has been its people, and the United States and Canada, a much more independent dominion, unlike the province of Scotland, are the result. The English don’t care and don’t see the hypocrisy, once again, of supporting the independence of Ukraine, as they did the independence of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, and ignoring the very similar wishes of the Irish and Scottish peoples.

The act of creating the dominion of Canada actually provided the English a means to much more peacefully resolve the needs and wishes of the Irish and Scottish people, but, though this status was granted to Canada, which since achieving this status, can and does make separate trade agreements, it was not granted to Scotland and Ireland.

The Irish chose repeated rebellion and violence to finally get what they wanted for at least three-quarters of their island. The fact that Ireland was a separate island was a great help. Larger aggressive nations have almost always ignored land borders and imposed their will on as many other people as they can. In this behavior, the English have many times shown themselves to be fundamentally no more different than an expanding imperialist Germany, or an imperialist nationalist Russia, under whatever government name it calls itself. Worse, there is a real cultural bias that says ‘I must be better if I can do this to someone else and that someone else, then should accept my leadership and become more like me.’ Language is part of this. The first thing all conquerors do is impose their own chosen language on their subjects, and if not deny and ban the native language, then greatly discourage it.

This is not to say the United States is perfect. The United States, with its 85% plus European heritage, all its immigrants until sometime in the 20th century having fled monarchies and dictatorships, shares the attitudes of their cultural origins, and has too often betrayed its own stated ideals of its Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The problem is, no one, no people as a whole, can easily act differently from what one has been raised with, accepted and cooperated with, for centuries. Mexico has suffered from U.S. aggression just as Scotland has suffered from English aggression. The Mexican people in what were once parts of Mexico but in the U.S. since about 1850, have long been denied or had discouraged their own language and culture. They also suffered economically–denied equal opportunities for education, home and land ownership, business loans and investments, and so on. There is no denying this.

Yet, the United States supported independence for Ireland, generally. There were several reasons for this, not all as wonderful as Americans would like to believe of themselves. One big issue was religion and until the 1920’s and later in the U.S., Catholics were NOT welcome and were discriminated against. They were seen as owing primary allegiance to another, foreign power and not likely to be as loyal to the U.S.

Until quite recently, the Vatican was far more than just a tiny part of the city of Rome and it had its own armies and could additionally use an entity it crowned as a separate state, the ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ with its armies. The Vatican also had used force for many centuries, and became seen as no different than any other imperialist aggressor. It also insisted upon a particular language, and turned its religion into a culture that ignored or destroyed previous native cultures.

Deplorable as we might now think of this, it was seen by many in the U.S. in the mid and late 19th and early 20th centuries as, thus better and easier to support Irish independence and keep the Irish Catholics in Ireland and out of a Protestant U.S., if the U.S. was truly to maintain its independence from all foreign European powers.

At the same time, many Americans who still remembered their Scottish and Scots-Irish ancestry knew of the past economic limitations to their ancestors’ prosperity and that of our families and generations to come if they had remained in Scotland, Ireland or as colonies. They still could remember English rule and attitudes that saw other nations as existing only for the pleasure and support of the English, and resources to be taken and used primarily in England for the English and manufacturing and trade to be limited to not compete with the English. The biases went much further than government and language. They knew that the bagpipes, kilts and tartans had even been banned entirely in Scotland, and harps in Ireland, and people punished severely for having them, or playing traditional music. Again, having an ocean between the colonies and the rather unfair mother country helped the Scots, Scots-Irish, Irish and Welsh who settled in what became the U.S. achieve independence.

The majority of colonists to the U.S. and Canada were from Scotland, Ireland, and parts of Northern England that had once been part of Scotland or an independent Viking kingdom, and they all came to the colonies because there were constantly diminishing opportunities for them in their own island homes, under the English. The greatest emigration to what became the U.S. occurred after the Act of Union and came from both Scotland and northern Scots-Irish Ireland, followed by the rest of Ireland. When the news of Americas Independance reached England, Prime Minister Horace Walpole exclaimed in the Westminster Parliament, ‘Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson and there is no help for it.’

For a long time, we Americans did see ourselves as mostly non-English, of Scots and Irish descent and understood that our ancestors came here because the English gave us no reasons to stay, were economically depriving and draining us in Scotland and Ireland and then trying to continue that in North America. Loyalty is a two-way street, but the English saw it as one-way.

The Irish benefited from both these anti-Catholic groups and the anti-English groups and attitudes and the U.S. as nearly a whole, was persuaded to then support Irish independence and pressured the English to first, at long last, honor decades of promises of ‘dominion’ status–which didn’t happen until AFTER World War I, and then complete independence, AFTER World War II. At the same time, though, the Irish never forgot they were Irish and Catholic and had many chapters of several organizations in the U.S. who deliberately kept a mostly unified Irish identity promoted Irish language and cultural awareness, particularly increasing this in the late 1800’s and going forward. That is not what has happened with the Scots in the United States.

It’s very hard to get a lot of support for complete independence of Scotland. Scots who have emigrated to the U.S. since the Revolution are divided and many think the only reason that Scotland and Scots have suffered as they have, is because of the quality of land and climate, and not the lack of investment, and long delays in investment since the industrial revolution, and not the inability of the Scottish ports to also have investment and development trade as freely as the English ports. Many Scots today consider themselves British, not Scottish, and are proud of being in the Union, a greater political and economic entity even though most English will not call themselves British but understand that term as coming from ‘English wannabes.’ Many later Scots emigrants to the U.S. did not see themselves as sharing an identity any longer with Scots who fought for the independence of a new nation. Those who weren’t proud of being part of the UK and didn’t think too much about how and why they had come to emigrate, did chafe at the inequities, didn’t see any change likely to happen any time in the foreseeable future and were willing to abandon their Scots identity entirely and become ‘Americans’ whatever that was. You see the two groups and the stark divisions at Scottish festivals and within clan and society tents today. The Scots are still not unified, either in Scotland or its daughter nation, the U.S. Conquerors have always loved and exploited division to the advantage of no one but themselves.

For the Scots to even have dominion status they must all together decide what they are and want to be and unify, as the Irish did, even Protestant, originally Norman Irish. Then they need to learn to fight the English, as unified Scots using the English own weapons, their laws and their stated public ideals, against them, and using international influence, as the Irish did.

If there is real English contract law that invalidates contracts for breaches, where have the Scottish arguments about this been? Has Scotland showed the evidence of the breaches, in the courts, particularly the new UK Supreme Court? Will Scotland do so in the International Court at the Hague or in the United States, to gain support? Where is the unity with the Scots American descendants who established the United States, after the failed Scottish rebellions of 1715/6 and 1745/6? Where is the argument that U.S. contract law, said to come from English common law, should be fairly applied to the broken contracts the English have initiated with the Scots? Where is the unified lobbying for support from the U.S. government to pressure England to at least grant the Scots dominion status, which would allow Scotland, like Canada (and initially, Ireland), to engage in trade, banking and development independently from England/Wales?

The next would-be leader of the SNP and Scotland needs to think long and hard about these issues and problems, but the Scots are not the only group that needs to do some long hard thinking, and decide how to act differently to achieve what the majority of Scots people want and need.

Resignation of Nicola Sturgeon: A Warning to the English who Pretend to be a United Kingdom

England, Scotland & Ireland 1500

England, Scotland & Ireland ~1500

The English created their ‘United Kingdom’ primarily by force. History books, even English histories, show this quite clearly. Throughout their history, the English have justified and excused their use of force, and threats of force, and belittled the formerly independent nations they conquered, making them second class citizens in their native lands, in every way or worse. They did so in the 13th century in Wales, in 1707 in Scotland, and after 1798 in Ireland.

This does not need to continue. Even today, in the U.S., within some states in particular, but also in the U.S. Congress, there is a slowly growing acknowledgement of what the U.S. has done to African Americans first brought here as slaves and conquered Mexican Americans and there are some moves toward reparations–as well as more equal opportunities going forward. We have allowed use of second languages, particularly Spanish and paid for teaching Spanish in the public schools, much less of this has occurred in the UK.

In the U.S. we have been deliberately encouraging and putting more money into development of previously deprived, minority communities. Our states have more rights to do trade deals and bring in foreign investment that doesn’t all have to go through the nation’s capital, and with less interference from Washington DC, than Scotland has vis-a-vis London and Westminster. Scotland has been given none of this by England.

Scotland today is being treated similarly to how the Soviet Union (primarily and mostly Russia) treated the occupied satellite countries of East Europe between 1945 and 1989-92, and two fake ‘independent’ republics of the Luhansk and Donbas, and Crimea since 2014. After just 50 years of Russian occupation–and ‘colonial practices’ –the countries are still recovering, three decades after the Berlin wall came down. Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these were NATO’s weakest links and ‘soft underbelly.’ The Russians took advantage of this and we are all now paying the price of the draining and then continued neglect of Eastern European countries, followed by an outside aggressor taking advantage of this history and continued weaknesses.

These countries are also all still underpopulated–and that itself is a weakness. Human beings are resources also; labor, soldiers and markets.

When the more traditional rebellions/revolutions failed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, there was another. It’s called ‘the Silent Revolution’ by some East European, particularly Hungarian professors. It was a combination of emigration, reduced births by deliberately chosen sterility, birth control and abortions and slow suicide, mostly by alcoholism. This happens because the people have lost hope for a better future in their own countries and are not willing to cooperate with their foreign rulers, because they have seen insufficient benefits from that.

From recent studies, not even including all the post Brexit vote years, the Scottish birth rate is already about 16% lower than that of England. The longevity is almost 3 years shorter on average in Scotland than England. Scottish men are twice as likely to die of alcohol related deaths and women 87% more so than the English. Scotland has also traditionally seen far more of its population leave, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries than England, but it saw an increase in population and increased willingness to stay between the 1950’s and the first decade of 2000. Most Scottish emigrants in the second half of the 19th and early 20th century went to the rest of the UK. This has changed, starting a few years before Brexit, and now almost no Scots are now migrating to the rest of the UK but the numbers are starting to rise again for emigration to the U.S. and Canada since the failure of the last independence vote and Brexit.

The ‘Silent Revolution’ is already happening in Scotland, and is getting worse. Does England care about its own minorities in its pretend UK, Scottish people and their culture and need for greater independence, or is it going to continue to be a hypocrite and support East Europeans against Russian imperialism, while denying its own logs in its eyes regarding Scotland, and possibly even Wales?

Most empires fail because a larger more aggressive group tends to increasingly treat too many conquered peoples within them unfairly, and entire regions are left behind for economic development. It then becomes easier for outside entities to gain the support of the unhappy lesser citizens and break apart, or even conquer the divided and weaker empire. Either way, the empire is no more. The UK has seen revolutions in the U.S. and Ireland, rebellions and other forms of protest in India and elsewhere and lost most of its external empire, deservedly, for the same reasons, as Rome has before it, and more recently has France, Germany, Belgium, Japan and even the U.S. Russia is just the latest in this line.

England just found in recent years that the ‘Commonwealth’ countries are no longer flocking eagerly to London for exclusive trade deals in which they sell only low value raw or semi-finished materials, including foods, and pay dearly for imported manufactured/processed everything else. Commodities–raw materials, including foods, are global and the Commonwealth countries can now sell to the highest bidder anywhere, as they have been doing ever since the UK joined the EU some decades previously and turned its back on the so-called Commonwealth. The Commonwealth nations didn’t just sit and wait for the UK to rediscover an interest in them. They found new and higher paying customers for their commodities. They also found they can get from others investment money for manufacturing, something England almost always denied its colonies. They can form alliances within Africa or Asia for military operations and don’t always need the help of the UK or the UN.

The question is how much more is England going to throw away, or watch wither and die, to support the priorities and interests of just one ethnicity and one region over the rest? Is England due to become smaller in influence, and ultimately, prosperity, than even the Netherlands, which is still part of a greater union?

I see that the future of Europe may well lie with renewed interest of the U.S. and some smaller west European countries in Scandinavian countries and East Europe, particularly for collective European defense, and increased manufacturing and even mining to support manufacturing–including military materiel. There are minerals in the Tatra mountains, and Carpathians and oil and gas in Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Romania. They have not been depleted in a series of imperial wars as they have been in West Europe. It has long been more cost efficient to do more manufacturing closer to resources–called ‘natural advantage’ in Business 101. It’s also often less expensive to build entirely new plants with new technologies than to remodel old ones. Thanks to Russia, there is that opportunity now in both Poland, and soon, we hope, Ukraine, both countries with larger land mass and populations and both with seaports, and rail connections to the rest of Europe. We may see a resurgence of a powerful Scandinavia and Poland in close alliance with the Baltic nations and Ukraine, as existed in the Middle Ages and as late as the 17th century, while the UK becomes something of a backwater again–as it was during the worst of its many wars with the Scots in its long history of attempted conquest.

England grew the most and best when first the English and Scottish crowns were unified, and then the two nations–although it was losing people, particularly in Scotland It at least was no longer at war on its own island. At the same time however, it had, prior to dominion status of Canada, control of a large part of North America-and its resources, the wealth of India and the oil rich Arabian Peninsula. The Scots were still within UK realms and useful, even if they were no longer mostly on the island of Britannia. None of this is so, anymore.

Worst on the island of Britannia itself, the Scots population is again declining and what’s left is not going to England, or otherwise to any but much more independent and welcoming countries. I see a strong possibility that as 30,000 to 40,000 mostly Scots and northern English went to Austria-Hungary to help build railroads, and stayed, there is a possibility thousands of Scots could soon be going to Poland, and when Ukraine is free again, to Ukraine, for opportunities, just as Poles until Brexit were going to Scotland. When the Scots go to Poland and Ukraine, they will no longer be UK and have any reason to support the UK, as it is. After all, why are they leaving? It took 140 years for the UK to have the U.S. as real friends and allies again. The Scots Americans felt little reason to support the UK for a very long time. So the Scots will marry Poles and Ukrainians and their children will be Polish and Ukrainian, not ‘British,’ just as, over time, others became Hungarian, Croatian, and American.

England once was a small nation with a large powerful navy and army and could conquer others to support its industrial and military might. Within one generation, Canada will exceed the island of Britain in population; within two or three more generations Australia will likely do so, also and is already feeling more independent than Canada. England cannot regain control of either of these real, independent nations, by force, now, or in the future, and England will not be able to restore other parts of its now gone foreign empire by force, either. England can diminish into a small nation again with less power and influence than before the 16th century. Is this the future England wants for itself and its UK? If not, then it needs to seriously change its attitudes and behaviors with others, starting with the Scots on the island the English share with the Scots.


Social Distance-Sing
by Macdara Yeates
reprinted with permission

Macdara Yeates

Macdara Yeates

I was recently approached by a reputable culture magazine to write an article about the Zoom song session phenomenon two years after the 2020 Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle weekend was cancelled. Sadly, the publication came back a few days later and said they were ‘going a different direction’ and no longer had a place for the piece. In any case, I decided to finish it off and post it here for anyone interested.

– – –

I am packing a rucksack; toothbrush, a good coat, underwear, socks, and a sleeping bag. Though I don’t plan on doing much sleeping. I am on my way to the Inishowen Singing Weekend, arguably Ireland’s biggest annual event celebrating our native song tradition, taking place at the northernmost point of the island, the Inishowen peninsula. Every year, the festival draws singers from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, the USA, France, Germany and many more besides. Each day is packed with sessions, lectures, workshops and, after the official programming ends, songs sung well into the night. Here, old ballads are sung in their truest form, devoid of ego, of ‘performance’, of any forced formality, leaving only the pure joy of good company and songs sung from the heart. Grown men laugh and cry, strangers join hands and embrace, and no one can stop and question how they could be so lucky as to be there, but simply strap in for the ride and be grateful to have passed this way.

As excitement for this year’s festival mounts, the first since 2019, my mind is drawn back to this time two years ago, March 2020 to be exact, when the Inishowen weekend was in jeopardy. As we trudged through early Spring, with news breaking of ‘cases’ in mainland Europe, then Britain, then Dublin, singers everywhere feared the worst. Then, when the final blow came, and a national lockdown was announced, we cancelled flights, hotel rooms, lifts from bus stations in Derry, Letterkenny and Dublin Airport, and sat silently at home, wondering how this could all be happening, unaware of what the next weeks, months and years would look like.

It was around this time that Portland Oregon singer, Michael Steen, who had just cancelled his flight to attend the festival, messaged me and asked, ‘Have you heard of Zoom?’. I hadn’t. Working in tech, Michael was wise to the capabilities of conference call software and had a notion that this relatively unknown app had the potential to lift us from our song-less despair. Back then, you would be forgiven for being skeptical. A song session? On the internet? How on Earth would that work? In a haze of blind faith, neither myself or Michael asked such sensible questions, and began organising what we were calling (warning: it is quite the mouthful) ‘The Covid-19 Conference Call Singing Session’. Michael wanted to call it ‘Social Distance-Sing’. I should have listened.

The date was set for the same weekend as the ill-fated Inishowen festival. Invites went out via Facebook event, e-mail mailing lists, and word of mouth. We spent a week running practice calls, troubleshooting, disaster planning, testing internet speeds, learning the ins and outs of the mute and unmute function, all in an attempt to prepare ourselves for a gathering of singers from Ireland and anywhere, united in the disappointment of missing out on the beloved weekend.

At the time, there was some speculation as to whether this was the first gathering of its kind. Since then, I have heard tell of a small session in the ‘States and another in Limerick getting up and running the week before. One way or another, what followed was what Dublin singer Mick Dunne termed ‘The World Wide Warble’. Traditional singers called in from Dublin, San Francisco, Whitby, Bilbao, Sydney, Virginia (not the one in Cavan), Buncrana and further afield. Songs of love, betrayal, bawdiness, war, poitín, emigration and more echoed through the invisible threads of the internet to homes all around the world. Within the first hour, Rosie Davis of Liverpool announced that a friend of hers had just passed away from the cruel virus that was sweeping through the globe. Suddenly, novelty was imbued with a weight and solemnity, and we knew the world was no longer the same place it was a few weeks earlier. One person in the chat box remarked, ‘We are like the string quartet on the Titanic. The ship is going down, but the music never stops.’

Due to the limitations of the technology, songs were mostly sung in the one-singer-one-song fashion to avoid latency issues. However, at a few points throughout, singers unmuted to join in a chorus. The result was, as you would expect, a hot mess, but made for a good laugh. At various points, different singers introduced where they were calling from: ‘Annie Hughes, Dublin, Parnell Street’; ‘Elizabeth LaPrelle, Brian Dolphin, and baby Noah, Virginia.’ Acclaimed English folk singer Eliza Amy Forbes Carthy sang from her kitchen and invited her Dad Martin, who had been pottering around in the background, to grab his guitar and give us a song. He did. It was special.

As the hours passed by, and our backsides grew sore, we wound down the songs, thanked the masses for tuning in and called on Inishowen stalwart Mícheál Quinn to sing the last song. He obliged and sung us out with Craigie Hills, the parting song of his late father Micil Ned who had first brought Mícheál to the Inishowen weekend when he was young. He hasn’t missed one since. We bid farewell, swore to do it again some time, and said goodnight. Afterwards, Michael Steen messaged me with his enviable American confidence and said, ‘Do you know Annie Hughes? She sang beautifully and she’s cute as a button.’

Before long, due to the efforts of singing clubs around the world, it was clear that a new paradigm had been created. If songs couldn’t be sung the old fashioned way, Zoom would have to do. Almost every song gathering anywhere in the world had turned to the internet to resume programming, major singing festivals took place almost entirely in the Zoom format, and the community at large embraced a new reality. Of course, nothing could replace the company of friends in a room singing for singing’s sake. But then, in a strange way, the phenomenon had an unexpected intimacy. For one thing, Zoom offered viewers the chance to see singers perform up close and personal via front-facing webcam, not constrained by the variable site lines you might find in the backroom of a pub. Not only this, but because much of the traditional singing community were among the ‘vulnerable’ age group, the Zoom Singaround was, at times, the only way for our elder singers to meet friends and get some much-needed face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) interaction.

At one session, run by the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre, world-renowned Kerry singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (Kerry Maid) invited her two daughters Sadhbh (9) and Laoise (6) to sing with her. They performed Kerry song Bó na Leath-Adhairce as a trio, and we, the audience, had the chance to witness the new normal for musicians the world over; suddenly grounded and unable to do their usual touring, taking comfort in the opportunity to spend quality time with family. At another, Scots Gallic singer Linn Phipps and Colorado’s Doug Huggins performed what may have been the first ever Zoom duets (‘Zooets’, as they became known) singing in beautiful call-and-response style, swapping verses from Scotland to the Rockies. Later, LANKUM‘s Ian Lynch (E’en Inhisyouthhewasnothing Ó Loingsigh) and Dublin singer Luke Cheevers celebrated their 40th and 80th birthdays virtually, in the Zoom edition of Dublin singing session The Night Before Larry Got Stretched. Moments before Ian was due to perform his guest slot, Ian’s brother Darragh (Mícheál Platano) sang Edward Madden’s ‘When We Were Two Little Boys’, a touching song about war and brotherhood. What no one expected however, was for Daragh to arrange a slideshow using the ‘virtual background’ function, compiling different photos of Daragh and Ian as youngsters: there was one of the two grinning brothers in their school uniforms; another, with the two at Ian’s first holy communion; and another with the two bowled over in laughter slung over their Dad’s shoulders. Ian was in tears. The rest of us just had something in our eye.

‘But alas for human greatness, every dog he has his day.’

As with most all things in the pandemic, novelty is temporary, and following a collective sense of ‘Zoom fatigue’, and the gradual reopening of society, the Zoom session dwindled somewhat, but not completely. A number of sessions have, to this day, remained online, holding out until the pandemic is well and truly behind us. Some clubs have even experimented in hybrid sessions, with both live and Zoom elements.

The great anthropologist Henry Glassie, when asked about virtual communication, remarked ‘Humans are an amazing race. We satisfy ourselves with things that aren’t fulfilling.’ We are just past two years to the day when the world changed dramatically for most everyone on the planet. Many didn’t see family or elderly relatives for months or years on end, others cancelled holidays and weddings, and some never had the chance to attend the funerals of loved ones. Despite this, it is comforting to think that traditional singers the world over found a way to carry on, to foster an international community, and sing their way through what may well be one of the most challenging periods in our lives. At the opening of the ‘Covid-19 Conference Call Singing Session’, a line from Bray poet Racker Donnelly was quoted, and it seems like a fitting note to end on:

‘In the hug of Irish music, you will never be alone.’

Oh, I almost forgot. Remember Michael Steen, unabashedly enquiring about Annie Hughes and her wonderful singing voice? Well, they got talking, stayed in touch, and were married last September. I am meeting them tomorrow at their new apartment in Dublin to get a lift up to the festival. Keep singing, folks. It is one of the great things.
Macdara Yeates, Dublin

Editorial: Are Scots and Irish
Americans still capable?

Are Self-Sufficiency, Durability
and Sustainability Gone?

by Celia Fábos-Becker

Scots-Irish Frontier Family

Scots-Irish in Early America were Self-Sufficient

Thanksgiving is when we are supposed to be grateful for our lives, our health and what we have. It has become a commercial frenzy of buying unneeded imported junk and doesn’t last, and stealing luxury goods to resell to people who don’t care that they were stolen.

This is a far cry from what the founding fathers of this nation envisioned for us. Consider the experience of George Washington. Washington decided to buy some nice furniture and believed that England made the best. He sent a lot of money to England, and requests that went through a couple of middlemen. Washington thought he was buying high quality and ended up with inferior junk because the English merchants and manufacturers didn’t care about the real wishes and needs of the colonial British in the Americas. Although, families could make their own goods and small community co-ops of weaving, sewing/tailoring, furniture making, and more were allowed, the colonies were forbidden to build large scale manufacturing facilities, and were a captive consumer market for English manufacturing firms.

But in contrast, Early America’s Scots-Irish colonists in particular made the most of what was allowed and had the sense to acquire land that had diverse resources and used all these resources. Washingtons English neighbors generally planted every acre with exportable tobacco or produce and limited themselves to just one species of livestock. But Washington had married a Scottish wife, and remembered his time as both a surveyor and militia officer roving about on the frontier saw how differently the Scots settlers lived and it impressed him favorably. He began directing those on his own plantation to follow the example of the thrifty Scots and Scots-Irish and do the same and encouraged all Americans to do so and improve the quality of their work.

We, ourselves, still have furniture, glassware, tableware, and decor, even baskets and storage containers from generations and even centuries ago because they were well made and made to last in the first place. How much of today’s stuff, of things made since the 1960’s can we say that about? How much of the plastic, the melamine covered this and that, the particle board and resin that half a dozen different insect species love to devour, the nylon, the polyester will survive and be usable. How many of the plastic toys will look good and be intact and be something with which children want to play will be around and not filling up landfills?

It gets worse. Most items made from the 1600’s to the age of polyester and plastic, were less flammable and when they burned did not emit deadly gasses–VOC’s that caused cancer, or in the case of polyester, melted while burning stuck to one’s body. They didn’t catch fire as quickly and continued burning as long. There have been studies showing that fires spread faster and are deadlier today than they were, say 150 years ago when we did not have modern fire-fighting equipment and speedy transport of it.

Up until recently, mechanical and electrical products and appliances were repairable and had instruction manuals, service people, and a fair amount of repairs were simple enough for many homeowners to make them–safely. On today’s news one female commentator mentioned she was on her fourth baby monitor that had just broken and she was tired of just buying new and seeing these mostly plastic contraptions just go to landfills. There is proposed federal and states’ legislation about ‘right to repair’ requiring manufacturers and retailers to allow homeowners and repair services to repair more items and for the manufacturers to make more spare parts longer, and her guest speaker advocated support of this.

Why does it have to come down to making laws to require manufacturers and retailers to do the right thing, especially the large scale ones? Another virtue that Washington noticed among most of the Scots and Scots-Irish was they were not so greedy and insatiable. Sure they looked ahead to played out land and large families of children and grandchildren who needed means to live, but they didn’t just acquire tons of stuff just to say they had it to their neighbors, or show it off. Yes, they preserved heirlooms, and they also bought from neighbors’ estate sales–often to help the widows and orphans as well as to have a few nice, useable items they did not have.

Not only did we make things to last and fulfill needs and make life a bit comfortable, we also recycled, re-used, modified and altered for more modern needs and styles, as much as possible. Clothing was made and dyed in such a way as to be able to be ‘turned’ and restyled, because it was known that the outside of fabrics, exposed to more dirt, weather, wear and tear wore out faster than what was ‘inside’ close to the human body.. You can’t do that with most of what is made today. Worn clothing fabric ended up in quilts and rugs, and then cleaning rags. It biodegraded and didn’t fill up landfills or family garbage heaps. Shoes were made of leather or sandals of woven fiber and repairable. Goodwill used to have cobblers to repair and restyle shoes and be able to sell them. The interiors were cleanable and cleaned and new insoles could be put in, just as new heels and outer soles. Again, for how many pairs of plastic shoes can you do this today? The plastic shoes also end up in landfills–permanently. Most plastic, polyester, olefin, urethane, etc., etc. does not biodegrade, or only very, very slowly. Many radioactive substances can decay faster than most plastics will breakdown.

As I write this, I’m looking at the fact I’m on my third kitchen floor and only now is there a convenient, modern product that is mostly made of natural substances that won’t break my neck if I hit a wet spot from a melted ice cube on it, and will last for probably as long as this house stands and was affordable. I’ve got a Chinese made, U.S. brand (only the label and packaging seems to have been made in the U.S.) Microwave oven that is less than ten years old for which the clock light-timer light no longer functions. The timer is fine but no display. Next to it are two older microwave ovens that are working just fine. One needed a repair some years ago that we could do. One of the two older ovens was a Japanese made Riccar sold in the 1970’s and it is still working perfectly. I am looking at buying a new refrigerator to replace the one that is less than ten years old. Again, U.S. brand, made in China. Plastic bins cracked easily and have been glued twice, the design of the shelves allowing things to tumble down the backside to the bottom is ridiculous, the ice-maker failed a while ago and replacement is both difficult and costly–when you can find someone selling the part, and it is slowly failing–running more, despite regular cleaning of the coils. It replaced an Amana, made in the American mid-west, which ran well and trouble free for 20 years. It was, however, not energy efficient, and until this past year the newer one used less than half the electricity. We ended up replacing a water heater before the end of its warranty–a couple of years so any pro-rated refund would be next to nothing, because the thermocouple kept failing. The plumbers have consistently told us–and others, all that new electronics remote control & metering, displays, which controls them is all junk that fails repeatedly starting within the first weeks and months. This is and was the same problem with the newest microwave oven. Additionally, while it may be a very small part that fails in a segment of the device, as long (not long, a few years at most) as a repair part is available, it is sold as a huge module of many parts, is expensive and while the item is under warranty, you must use the manufacturer’s selected and authorized service representative to install it. Ka-ching and ka-ching again–enriching the retailer and manufacturer needlessly at the expense of the consumer. My next refrigerator is going to have the least electronics possible, and I’m talking with appliance repair companies first for a better, real review of quality and reliability. None of the dozens of consumer magazine and blog reviews now available check for repair records, durability and reliability. It’s all what works right now and is convenient–even if a half hour or a day from now it quits.

What can we do? First call and write our state legislators and demand ‘right to repair legislation’ and that there be reports to the federal and state government about the numbers, types, frequencies and costs of failures of parts on the appliances and other goods and that this information be made available to consumers, and easily found. There should be a failure record–with average costs— as part of the product label, along with the energy usage and costs.

We can also demand that in ads and online catalogs, clothing and other articles of fabric list exactly what they are made of, by percentages and weight/thickness, etc. and where the fabric was made and item sewn by country, no more just ‘imported.’ We can also demand some minimums of natural fibers in textile products and that retailers offer as many natural choices for products as synthetic–instead of seeing just tens of thousands of square feet of plastic and polyester. We can also require a tax or fees on retailers and manufacturers based on the amount of non-biodegradable, repairable goods, etc. for thermal plants to be built to burn these items when they break or are otherwise no longer useable and for recycling to pull any reusable metal or other components from them.

However, most important, we ourselves need to read labels, ask questions more and look both online as well as in stores, and look in second hand stores more for items we need that will last, and this includes children’s toys and our home decor that expresses ourselves and makes our homes the homes we want them to be. We need to become more thrifty, creative, skillful–and capable, willing to learn and do and spend the necessary time to do things right. We need to relearn what our ancestors knew and apply it to our modern lives and budgets. There are a lot of modern tools and products to help us do many of the things our ancestors did more easily, better and faster, but most people don’t even consider the possibility of their existence. We want cheap but good looking THINGS now and don’t consider the quality and costs of either repairs or replacements too soon. Our lack of discipline and knowledge is on us. Our ancestors didn’t have 12 years of free public school but they were willing to learn and knew more than we do now about most things that matter and are real. For a long time, many generations, they passed on what they knew and learned and HOW to learn to their children. Again, we don’t do that now and that’s on us. The government can’t fix willfully stupid, lazy and wasteful. The government is limited in its ability to fix greed and amorality–a willingness to lie, cheat, chisel, and steal whenever one thinks he or she can get away with it or keep acquiring and hoard denying others of what they may need. Human character is on the human beings who build their own and influence that of their children and local communities. Our Scots and Scots-Irish ancestors knew this and it is long past time that we remembered them and what they knew and reconsidered their combined values.

Boards from Hell

Boards from Hell by Susan Scribner

Editorial: Boards from Hell II

Time for Boards in General to Shape Up

By Celia Fábos-Becker – 2021-08-03

In June of this year we wrote about boards of non-profit organizations related to public events and the need for accountability, financial and otherwise. We also discussed conflicts of interest, though mostly in terms of conflicts between board members non-profit activities and businesses.

Now, as the Coronavirus Delta variant runs amok, people are arranging public events which require attendees to purchase tickets and comply with masking and social distancing at them, some matters have come to our attention that need addressing.

First, if a person is going to run for a board seat or accept a nomination for service as an officer, it is imperative to fully commit to do their assigned job. This means, not only complying with all legal requirements, including public health regulations, but most importantly, understanding the goals and mission of that organization and its past practices and its officers. The organization should have a written mission statement and records of past actions that show how the mission is being fulfilled. The organization should also have written by-laws that should include something about officers’ duties and responsibilities. READ THEM. Ask questions of more than one current or preceding officer in the position you are a candidate for, and in the organization. You need to understand not only your intended position but how it relates to the others.

Next ask yourself: do you really have the time available to do the job? Sorry but females who are pregnant and having babies AND also have a full time job–with frequent traveling, or males who have a job which involves a lot of travel and who also sit on several other boards are also not likely to be able to adequately fulfill needs of an organization with multiple activities and events. Being a board officer of a reputable, active non-profit organization is not meant to just add gloss to someone’s resume or be something to boast about at a cocktail party. Conflict of interest isn’t always about money, but also about time.

Another conflict of interest came to our attention this past week when we listened to a Zoom meeting regarding KALW radio–an NPR public radio station in serious financial difficulties. After this Zoom hearing, we concluded that the real difficulties are the board and its ignorance of who public radio generally serves, and likewise, to some extent, a union involved in its operations. It was very disappointing to listen to 2 hour plus of what was almost entirely a complaint session from union members and their friends. Of the nearly 300 persons in attendance, only about 5 were business persons, outside of the union and donors to public radio and television stations.

As for problem solving and ‘what is needed’ — What problem solving? Was anyone listening to or reading the comments from the few persons who were what both major interest groups really needed? I sure didn’t see or hear that.

The moderator was not objective, but a member of the union. You need an objective moderator at ‘hearings’ especially if you are truly interested in solving the problems, which in this case included severe FINANCIAL difficulties. It turns out the board ‘commissioners’ are members of the San Francisco Unified School District Board–the School district was awarded the license back in the early 1950’s when the FCC apparently did not understand the potential conflict of interest of having a tax-payer commanding–entitled–bunch of people solely interested in education as they saw it, running a radio station that was to provide culture, entertainment and education and be supported by the greater community as listeners–and as donors- according to how well the station pleases them I literally listened to commissioners and union members (and read in the ‘chats’) how some of each believed that the board and management should not, and does not have to, pay attention to listener-donors that people should simply donate because the board and union, and individual performers or small performing groups all tell the listeners what a great thing the radio station is as it is. A third interest group at this hearing was small performers who all felt their particular genre or ethnicity deserved more exposure. Sorry folks but after listening to this mess, I’m doubling my donation to a different listener supported radio station, this year! I’m reasonably sure most of the other people not directly involved with either the Union, the small performers, or the school board, felt the same way. Fine– you all want to ignore the greater general public and listener donors–then you all find a way to pay to keep the station running according to your interests.

There is a real conflict of INTEREST, and EXPERIENCE between listener-donors without whom no public radio or television station can function and have the right to choose to donate how they will, and educators who can command tax dollars because public education is a requirement in this state. There is a real conflict of INTEREST and EXPERIENCE between union members, and individual performers and small performing groups who in essence, work for the radio station and donors and those listener donors again. Again, the performers and workers have no right to just command donors to listen and/or donate.

Until these fundamental attitudes change and there is a board that understands such things as demographics of listener groups and demographics of donors and potential donors and prioritizes, accordingly, this radio station is doomed. Right now, people have the right and should contact the FCC and demand a change in license issuance to an organization and board that understands what public radio really is and how it is funded and will work with listener-donors. One of the requirements of radio and television licenses, both commercial and non-profit are that ‘they serve the public interests and good.’ That’s PUBLIC, not just one small group or another. The reality though, is also the need to identify who are the potential largest groups of listeners/viewers among the greater community of larger and smaller groups, and ALSO which among these are likely to be the best donors. You’d be surprised if you thought that the size of any given community correlates with likely donations. It’s where the ‘venn diagrams’ of ethnic size and money converge that is where the prime time goes for the most successful public radio and television.

We see the same sorts of conflicts, though in other boards of other organizations. It is as if too few people have ever read the mission statements and goals of the organizations or understand them. Fewer still understand the mechanisms of HOW they are to achieve the mission or goals and how many more people and money they may need to do this. Too few also understand that long-term missions and goals need long-term membership and donors, future generations, not just the current one.

Regarding fulfilling the mission, most non-profits especially depend upon donations and volunteers–who are often members–to fulfill the mission and goals and they also need to pay attention to donors, members, volunteers and potentials of all three. Some depend upon ticket sales to a more general public and a percentage of vendor’s proceeds to achieve their mission and goals. All of them also need to understand demographics related to fulfilling their goals, and work with the demographics, not against it.

There are many Scottish, Irish, and other ethnic organizations. There are usually two groups within all of them and two interest areas. One is the recent immigrants, and connecting with them, preserving their language, culture, etc. The reality is that all these groups exist in the U.S. and the members live HERE now and the U.S. population is NOT all one ethnicity even within the individuals of that population. Most Americans are two or more ethnicities in heritage and really don’t like to be made to feel like children of divorce: pick one parent, you can’t have and enjoy both. Sorry folks, but the genetics can’t be neatly separated into compartments with walls. The most successful ethnic organizations realize this and accept and work with people who have multi-ethnic heritages. They may focus on a related group such as ‘all Celts, ‘ or ‘Balkans’ but they pay attention to the census demographics: how many people identify as…., and they may even think about who is most likely to be intermarried with whom and why. People do socialize and marry with those who come from similar and familiar backgrounds.

They may choose to emphasize one country a bit more, but they don’t turn away those that might be related. Scots include Scots-Irish who are Scots who settled in Ireland starting in the time of the Wars of the Bruce’s and mostly after 1603 and the rebellion of two Irish earls. Eventually some of those Scots-Irish intermarried with other Irish and (gasp!) even changed religion. Over half of all Americans have a quarter or more of Scots, Irish and/or Scots Irish ancestry and since we’ve generally practiced religious tolerance since the 18th century persons of any or all of these ancestries here can be any religion or even follow ‘Wiccan’ or none at all.

Starting in the early 20th century, Irish began intermarrying with other Catholic ethnicities: Italian, Spanish, Austrian, Hungarian, etc.. Scots Protestants married Germans, Scandinavians and Czechs. These are just a few examples.

It is up to all of the ethnic non-profit organizations who want general public attention and support and want to use public facilities such as parks and fairgrounds to garner these to find a comfortable balance between the fervor, understanding and interests of recent emigrants and the reality of the local general communities and states and nations that is the U.S. where they all live now. Only those who can find and maintain a comfortable balance and welcome many, and have good, responsible and caring boards, are among the most likely to not just survive, but thrive and fulfill their organizations’ mission and goals. There are many good ethnic organizations we’d love to see succeed, and last forever. We’d like the same for many public radio and television stations but it’s really up to the boards of all of them, and the individual members of those boards, to learn to appeal to the greater communities in the reality that is the U.S. to make this happen and we see and hear of far too many boards with serious problems. The individual members of the boards and the boards, as a whole, need to shape up, or let others have the seats and titles and try to do better.



Danu, Celtic Goddess of Water

Editorial: Celts and Water

Drought and Wildfires/Water Infrastructure Needs

By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2021-08-20

Here we go again.

As of August 19, 2021 the multiple large fires in California have again burned over 1 million acres. More is being burned minute by minute, day by day and we’re still counting the burned acreage. As in 2016, we are also in yet another multi-year drought and nothing has changed in well over five years. There are no new dams, and in more heavily forested northern California no new recycle-water-to-potable water plants and, of course, no water desalination plants. Worse, even in full rain years–now averaging one in three for the past 20 years, the storms are fewer and more intense and more water runs off the land and into rivers that go straight to the bays and ocean, leaving not as much as full rain years once did for all life in California.

Our Celtic ancestors once revered abundant, clean water, apparently more than their modern descendants. It was a death penalty crime to deliberately poison in some way drinking water and sacred springs–the fountain heads of all the precious rivers. It was recognized that wild life needed water as much as humans and their livestock and crops. The Celts, including the Scots, Irish, Welsh and Cornish had several gods and goddesses–mostly goddesses connected with water and made sacrifices to them to thank them for water and to keep it flowing, and to keep rain falling also. Danu was one of those goddesses. She was believed to be the principal goddess of one of the first large groups of settlers of Ireland. In the Irish Christian pantheon of saints, Brigid ‘Bridie’ is still associated generally with wells and springs.

However in dry California with a still increasing population and which needs to provide more food not just for a still growing California, but a still growing U.S., just revering wells and springs and praying for rain is no longer enough. Our wells and springs are going dry and we are doing a lousy job of conserving and recycling water, especially where it is used most, which includes agriculture. Some countries are doing much better at requiring and helping farmers and ranchers to all install drip irrigation and modern electric pumps with automatic sensors to make the most efficient use of water. Israel is one such country. The technology for water recycling plants whose end product is potable, and exceeds California’s standards for cleanliness is well established but few cities and towns use it. In one of the most shocking incidents, the Santa Clara Valley Water District spent almost half a billion dollars on a new sewage treatment-water recycling plant and stopped one stage short of what the state required the plant to have for full potability. The board had reasoned that since four stages already exceeded state standards they didn’t need to spend the money to add the last.The state sat on its authority and disagreed. That last stage can be added at any time and yet hasn’t been for over five years. As a result, according to a recent eyewitness report from a plant tour, over 800,000 gallons of clean water goes into the south end of the San Francisco Bay every single DAY. This is water that could and should be potable and used for drinking, agriculture–and to fight fires.

Yesterday I learned that one of my first cousins, a son of one of my late Celtic Wallace mother’s sisters, was ordered to evacuate his home of over 25 years now in Pollock Pines, where he retired as a result of the Caldor Fire. He’s nearly 80 years of age–a little late in life to be completely starting over and experiencing this kind of trauma. The CDF is still hoping to save all or nearly all of this town of 7,000 unlike the villages of Greenville and Grizzly Flat. The fire is less than 15 miles from Placerville, is also hitting the Cosumnes River Canyon area where there are several ranches with llamas, alpacas and more and award winning wineries. Today, we learned that the Amador County Fairgrounds is now fully committed to wildfire evacuees, and so the Celtic Fair that was supposed to happen there this weekend was forced to reschedule.

For some of you familiar with vendors at Celtic fairs, a popular soap maker, Sage’s Body Care, has their home and business in this area, and there are a couple of small crafts spinning, knitting and weaving businesses with shops of fine woolens including the soft llama and alpaca woolen goods. There is almost nothing but tinder dry forest between Placerville and South Lake Tahoe. Firefighting helicopters will have to use water from Lake Tahoe, whose water level has dropped, to help fight the Caldor fire.

Yes, we all could do as we’ve been doing every year for about 20 years now and hold more benefit concerts and collect donations for the annual victims of fire. It’s never enough to replace all they’ve lost and does less for the beautiful forests and the wildlife. We need to do something more. California is a rich state with surplus state tax revenues. In the still proposed and not yet fully passed federal infrastructure bill, there are several hundreds of billions budgeted, including substantial amounts for desalination plants, but much less for water recycling plants that restore water to potability, or east west pipelines for desalinated or recycled water on the west coast. The Saudi’s have a new company called ACWA that uses a new desalination system that provides clean potable water at under 50 cents per cubic meter–less than what many Californians are paying now. DuPont just made an award to them honoring this new technology and costs that make desalinated water more affordable to poorer nations. The federal government would like the states to pick up some of those recycling and pipeline building projects and related costs, and match federal dollars on desalination projects, as they should. However, there is not one major new bill in the state legislature and no proposals from any of the major water districts for any of this, and no major actions by city councils or county boards to urge or make the water district boards and state legislators do what is needed.

As good Celtic Americans, descendants of Celts who revered water, and understood that all life depends upon clean water to exist, we all need to start demanding, with phone calls, emails and in person–and votes– that our city councils and county supervisors, our water district boards and our state legislators DO what is needed to provide more water than just their usual of promising more dams that are never built for rain that is not falling in the first place, and otherwise waiting on the federal government for solutions and more money for them.. We need more efficient water use by all agriculture and industry, and we need desalination plants and water recycling plants that restore water to potability for all uses.


Seattle Song Circle

Bruce Baker leads a song circle at Carkeek Park

Editorial: To Zoom or Not

Will the Circle be Unbroken as COVID restrictions ease?

by Tony Becker

Throughout the past 17 months, I’ve been attending Zoom based music events several times per week. As Seattle based freelance writer Christy Karras writes in her article of July 11th on song circles, Local song circles keep their singers close amid pandemic by going virtual — and global, none of these online virtual events were available to us prior to the imposition of COVID related public health restrictions in March of 2020. And for me, I HAVE indeed, met countless new friends who share my affinity for music, BOTH, song and instrumental of that ilk.

As session leader Bruce Baker says in that article:

‘Inclusion is really one of the delightful things of it,’ Baker says. ‘Everyone’s got something to offer, and if you just try a little bit, you’ll get something out of it.’

Compared to in-person cultural gatherings in pre-pandemic days, in my experience these virtual gatherings have several advantages.
• After nearly a year and a half of having no safe in-person alternatives, even the technology challenged among us have learned the rudiments of participating on the Zoom platform (at a minimum). As a result, one can fairly assume that anyone they might like to invite, from anywhere in the world, can join them for a bit of music/dialog/or even solo dancing forms, on a Zoom meeting. (I have personally made dozens of new friends in these virtual meetings over these past months!!!)
• There is a natural accountability to them. Gatekeepers and pendantic bullies don’t have any exclusive hold on where and when folks can meet for music. There are a dozen free services, including Facebook messanger where people can gather to make music, and anyone with $15/month can become a Zoom Pro host with unlimited access for virtual meetings. If some overbearing individual tries to force their will on others, or exclude (ostracize) others unjustly, because the rest of the gathering can easily find another session to join, and the miscreant finds themselves alone with no-one to dominate or abuse.
There are many other advantages.

Of course there are some disadvantages and things that these virtual meetings lack…
• One cannot hug, shake hands or otherwise touch each other in a virtual meeting. (But in some cases, this is also an advantage, given the prevalance of #metoo complaints.)
• One cannot do group activities like set dances or ceili dances in a virtual meeting.
• In the case of music, compared to in person music making, with virtual meetings, one must learn to use and take personal responsibility for technical controls related to their own audio input and output, or risk ‘sounding bad’ or ‘poor hearing’.
and there are a few others.

In our opinion in person cultural events will surely resume and continue to have a place in our collective futures, but with all those new friends available for us, virtual meetings will join them, as there is no way we will want to abandon all those new friends.


Bay Bridge Construction

Bay Bridge Construction

How the English Beat the Scots at Culloden

Lessons for California Megaprojects Today

By Cecilia Fábos-Becker

On June 27th, 1746, Flora McDonald helped Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a female maid, escape to the Isle of Skye, after the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden. This battle was the last ignominious act of a nearly completely disastrous attempt by disorganized, factionalized Scots and an inexperienced, arrogant, alcoholic prince to restore the Stuart dynasty to the combined throne of the United Kingdom, or at least Scotland. There was not even an agreement on the goals. The Prince wanted to be king of all, and this was why he ordered an invasion of England where he hoped to find additional support, and didn’t, but the Scots were willing to just undo the Act of Union of 1707 and have him rule Scotland. In this sad, almost ludicrous story, is a lesson relevant to why the megaprojects of modern northern California have also failed.

On June 27th, 2021, (last Sunday), our local paper, the ‘San Jose Mercury News’ had a front page article entitled Megaprojects: Over Budget and Behind Schedule discussing the huge failures of the several current megaprojects in the state of California: ‘From the Bay Area Bridge to BART region’s record on delivering massive infrastructure is terrible.’

Many of the same fundamental flaws existed in the 1745-6 campaign and the development and management of these megaprojects–and smaller ones, like the earthquake retrofit and rebuild of Anderson Dam. The solutions lay in how the English army–and some Scots allied with it, succeeded.

First consider the character of the ‘leader,’ the Prince, who was leader only by virtue of his birth, not by merit, and his ‘ethnicity.’–Scots, not German. He had some war experience, but not nearly as much as the Duke of Cumberland. Those who invited him to lead and those who chose to follow him did no research about the two sides and their commanders and chose poorly. They didn’t even understand the difference between the Scots goals and his own and whose decisions would prevail. This Prince was insecure and arrogant, determined to be SEEN as leading, despite lack of experience, and he did not delegate well or wisely. Charlie was raised to be an autocrat and to mostly disregard the opinions of others. As absolute monarch, he had no accountability to anyone else. Largely untrained, undisciplined, and inexperienced Scots were commanded to follow the Prince by their clan chiefs, and had little or no say about anything. In contrast, Cumberland was in charge of well-seasoned, trained, disciplined and experienced veterans. Cumberland was also accountable to the king and parliament, and monitored by both, this is just the main differences between the two leaders.

There’s nothing worse than a cannon that blows up on its users during a battle. Cumberland had the best military equipment available in Europe, designs that had been borrowed and adapted from the best available anywhere. His supply chain in England had good vertical integration, which ensured everything was built to specifications, from the materials selected to the final product. All the cannons and muskets were uniform, English and the same specifications using the same ammunition. The steel for the swords and other blades was also consistent and strong. Cumberland had ‘quality control’ in his tools and equipment. He relied upon English manufacturers, but also had military personnel inspecting the products. Additionally the English had uniform weapons: all the cannons were the same regardless of which army unit was using them; likewise all the muskets, and the ammunition. If you needed extra ammunition or cannon in one place rather than another, either could be brought to the new place and be used immediately.

The Scots relied upon the clan chiefs and lowland militias to equip their clansmen and lowlanders from whatever they personally had as budget and they could choose whatever they wanted for cannon, muskets, ammunition, etc.. They made very little but imported nearly all of it from here and there and had NO quality control, no inspections of components and products, no testing to make sure they all worked together. According to historians still trying to defend them they had muskets from Spain, France and had commandeered some English ‘Brown Bess’ muskets also. All three were different calibers and the ammunition could not be interchanged. The same was true of the 12 cannon they dragged to Culloden and the British captured both cannon and the unused cannonballs that didn’t fit.. The same situations were true throughout nearly everything in Bonnie Prince Charlies’ campaign.

The campaign was a disaster because of leadership and the poor quality of equipment and men–the components, a complete lack of quality control and consistency, along with a complete lack of experience and research–intelligence. It was a complete failure from top to bottom, side to side and a waste of money, and resources, especially the most precious of all, human lives.

California selects project leaders on the basis of political connections, and that they are in California. That’s not terribly different from how Bonnie Prince Charlie was invited, and how he himself selected commanders under him. There is no accountability of the megaproject leaders, just an occasional audit years after money has been thrown away, with a project half started, and a tame political rubber stamp (just squeaking occasionally) state legislature and political appointees in the administration of a political governor. There was no accountability for Prince Charlie. . Not one single California project has been killed or had its leadership changed in a timely manner. The budgets were not researched by anyone experienced in building any of these, because California hasn’t built some things ever, and others were last built decades ago. Rapid transit before BART didn’t exist here. California has never built a high speed rail line before. California was rebuilding major bridges to new earthquake standards for the first time in decades and had let companies in this state who once did build components for bridges either close and move, or fall behind in new materials science and tooling and other equipment to make components. Let’s see the BART system doesn’t use the same gauge as anything else in the U.S., and the new cars made in Canada aren’t ready because they are having problems, though they were promised some time ago. The Bay Bridge saw the Governor and legislature pay a Chinese company to acquire modern tooling and equipment–rather than use an existing company in California or the U.S., or help a California company to acquire the tooling and equipment, on the basis of cheap labor in the Chinese factory. California had no control over the quality of what was done in that Chinese factory. Only the Chinese communist government has control of its nation’s factories and chooses when to allow foreigners to visit. That’s not real accountability. The result, cracked girders and a lot of extra money and time spent to bolster or replace them. There are many people in this area who will avoid this bridge if at all possible, because they do not trust it to last, especially during another earthquake. They don’t trust the bridge components, and the management that failed to do any quality control, or materials and parts tests and inspections until AFTER damage appeared on allegedly finished new sections. The same thing happened with the new Bay area transit terminal.

CA’s High speed rail is being built, first, not as high speed rail, and no rights of ways have yet been purchased to take it between two major cities, at the least. The so-called ‘high speed rail project’ has no management and no consultants with any prior experience building such rail systems. To have that would have meant hiring Europeans or Japanese who have built and maintained the high speed rail systems in Europe and Japan. Everything from top to bottom is again mostly unique and not built by anyone with any real experience and no regular monitoring, no quality control. The result so far is a mediocre new train system from nowhere to nowhere at huge public expense–a failure.

It’s not surprising that California has a hard time with the concept of ‘quality control.’ Like with Scotland of 1745, there hasn’t been much manufacturing in the state. Quality control goes with manufactured product liability and multi-million dollar lawsuits for failure of products due to lack of it. Good manufacturers understand quality control to mean not just the end product but every component and every step from start to finish and inspection of the materials used for production as it comes into the manufacturing plants. It’s doubtful that California has more than a couple of dozen experienced quality control persons anywhere in the state, who aren’t retired. California and its politicians do not understand quality control, how it works best, and have no experience with it, and therefore do not hire people with that kind of experience, nor do they check to see that any project leaders are doing this.

They also prepare budgets on projects using people with no experience building projects, or their components. They also do not budget for all the environmental and other lawsuits that many projects automatically, inevitably confront. The budgets for the most part, may just as well have been random numbers pulled out of a hat.

There are no penalties for the managers, contractors, or anyone else for poor quality of components, missed deadlines and more. Bonnie Prince Charlie didn’t become king, but he lived very comfortably in France afterward. At least two clan chiefs did much the same, and abandoned their own kinsmen, lower level clansmen to be slaughtered by Cumberland to serve as an example to the clans in the future.

There is no accountability and no monitoring of the development of northern California’s projects on paper, and in physical reality, just as there was no accountability of Bonnie Prince Charlie to anyone as he developed his campaign.

California needs standards for management, budgeting, research, and project development. It needs accountability, and quality control–at all levels and all stages. It needs penalties for the leaders. It needs to look outside California to other states and other civilized, accountable nations to find the experienced people it needs to start or finish some projects here, and to train Californians to do these things in the future. The English in the 18th century under a German king were smarter than the Scots at that time. The Scots learned, especially after the power of the clan chiefs and clans was broken in the aftermath of Culloden, and they became engineers, scientists, studied how money works, how accountability works, and quality control, and wrote about it. They adapted from others.

The Scots are still some of the best engineers and managers in the world–ask the English–who now hire the Scots by the many hundreds of thousands. Ask the Hungarians who in the 1840’s-1850’s brought into Austria-Hungary some 30,000 to 40,000 Scots, Irish and northern English workers and Scots civil engineers to build the entire Austro-Hungarian railway system–a system that was so well designed that with a few modern modifications it was made part of the greater modern European rail system with high speed trains.

It’s time for California politicians at every level to get their heads out of their collective kiesters and start hiring for EXPERIENCE and QUALITY, and insisting upon it at every level of projects. They need to quit just hiring inexperienced Californians who are friends of, and/or donors to, politicians only interested in their own lifelong political careers, just as Bonnie Prince Charlie was only interested in himself. The bidding on projects needs to be open and the first rule of qualification to bid must be experience in that very type of project.


Boards from Hell

Boards from Hell by Susan Scribner

Editorial: Boards from Hell

Time for Boards Connected to Public Events to Shape Up

By Celia Fábos-Becker – 2021-06-18

Again, as the pandemic shut downs are ending, and people are resuming planning and arranging public events which require attendees to purchase tickets, it is important to reconsider some past behaviors by some companies and non profit organizations. It is not just useful to one’s continued success to generally reflect and review, but the national news reports suggest that it may soon be financially and legally vital.

This is not a new idea. In 1993, I earned a postgraduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from San Jose State University. During this coursework, I had an opportunity to meet the authors of several books on proper board behavior and governance, one of whom was Susan Scribner, who went on to a career as a well known consultant in that field. Ms. Scribner died in January, 2021, but her best known book, Boards from Hell, is still used in some degree and certificate programs and still available on Amazon.

From about 1980 to about 2000, I served on boards and in pro bono management for more than 10 non-profit organizations, and from my experience, in non-profit organizations, there is but one thing worse than a ‘Board from Hell’, and that is No Board at all!!!

Most people are probably aware of the huge national deficit as a result of the tax cuts during the previous administration and the two pandemic stimulus packages of the previous and current administrations. Now the people and most members of Congress are expecting an infrastructure building package, and it appears it also will be over $1 trillion, though not spent almost all at once as the two pandemic recovery stimulus packages were. The U.S. is running about a $3 trillion a year deficit and the Republicans, and some Democrats are balking at raising taxes again. One thing they have all agreed upon is that they WILL beef up the IRS, adding staff, technologies, and funds and a mandate to go after billionaires who have paid little or no taxes, and corporations, and other entities. No more going after just the little people when the country needs hundreds of billions of dollars and trillions to pay for its neglected needs.

In 2016, there was an effort to modify a tax code that many organizations in the Bay area use, including Celtic organizations. This was the 501(c)4 code. The attempt was to restrict the use of this tax exempt code, and define the non-profit category more narrowly and make it conform more to the codes and rules for 501(c)3’s. That effort was tabled, but not cancelled. It may become part of a new IRS budget and authorizations bill. It’s easier for some politicians to vote to protect the low tax rates of billionaire donors and, as a give back to those who want to begin to deal with the deficit, somehow, to give up some protections and exemptions for political action committees and exclusive country clubs.

What too many cultural and events organizations have happily ignored in the last several years is a wide range of state and federal laws requiring financial reporting, properly run boards of directors, and laws regarding conflicts of interest and self-dealing. They’ve sometimes had members who engaged in other violations of human and civil rights laws, or tolerated violations of these laws at events. Just as Truman correctly observed and made a sign about ‘the buck stops here,’ in the office of the U.S. President, boards of directors and their officers are responsible for what goes on among them and under their management. It is easier and better to repair violations now than to wait for the IRS to come calling. Depending upon how bad is bad, the IRS could notify a range of other agencies, federal, state and local, and the board members could be in a LOT of serious trouble.

First, all corporations, even LLC’s are bound by many state and federal laws, including financial reports, and laws prohibiting discrimination against various groups of people in events and activities arranged/hosted by organizations and within the boards. Events and activities that involve large sums of money and net considerable sums are of particular concern. Also most states like to see boards of a minimum of at least three persons for corporations, even LLC’s and one of the three being independent of (not related to) the other two. I learned that from corporate attorneys 30 years ago!

A couple of the things taught in the non-profit management certificate courses, was ‘keep up to date on the laws,’ and ‘if you have a non-profit status, be sure you follow the rules of reporting accurately and truthfully to the appropriate federal/state agencies in a timely manner annually or quarterly as required, because if you lose that status, it is harder to regain it.’ We know of one non-profit that did lose its status because of failures to report completely and accurately and what took a year and a half to gain in the first place, took nearly 3 years to regain, and with an entirely new board and some professional consultations. We know of other Celtic organization boards who lost their status and folded, and ended what had been regular events that provided revenues for small businesses and provided much welcome entertainment.

Most recently, it was brought to our attention that yet another board has been flouting federal and state laws in several ways, including handling large sums of money and netting substantial income, yet reporting to the IRS as if it were an entity handling less than $50,000 a year. That can result in prison time and big time fines. Ask any good lawyer who practices in this field. This fraudulent reporting is, fortunately for the Celtic cultural world, not common. It’s a rare event among a general haphazard and slap-dash group of nonprofits of various types. This entity will stand out when the IRS starts snooping. The IRS, as other federal agencies, just LOVES to set examples to encourage greater compliance rather than have to expend so many resources ‘going after each and every potential miscreant.’ In this particular kind of situation they adhere to one of Sun Tzu’s ‘rules of war,’ ‘strangle the rooster to frighten the monkees‘ (into good behavior). You don’t want to be the rooster.

First thing that all corporations and 501(c)3 nonprofits, and most other categories need to remember. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (federal law) about truthful and complete accounting, and preventing conflicts of interest and self-serving, applies to all corporations. About the only exception I’ve consistently seen is political parties who have party members in office.

Understand and pay close attention to the terms ‘self-serving’ and ‘conflicts of interest.’ It is not legal to have board members who also are paid for services in public events put on by organizations run by these boards, except when the services they provide are unique–no competitors and the services are needed. For others, there must be an announcement and open bids and the bids must fairly be considered for quality and affordability. A board member may provide services if they are free to the board or its organization’s events. In an open bidding competition, the best person (or persons) in the lower end of a price range should get the job. We know of one Celtic organization who did decide to clean up their board activities and told two members they had a choice: either be competitive, paid performers in an annual fair or be on the board and provide their services free. One understood and accepted this, but a second member was greatly displeased and rather vocal about it. He ended up both off the board and not invited back to perform at the fair. This happened with the blessings of a corporate lawyer with non-profit experience, with whom the board had consulted.
It is also not legal to connect events with a business owned by a board member, unless, again, that business is unique and is offering something that is needed, or has competed in an open bid, and been fairly judged to provide a better service for lower price.

At the same time, people who would like to see change need to also pay attention to what is allowed and not under the laws. 501c(4) organizations can be exclusive in membership, such as members who are from one industry only, or a particular neighborhood or city, or even can be men only or women only. Yet within the exclusive set, they may not lawfully discriminate except on the parameters they have set up for general membership and not on the basis of race, and generally not on the basis of religion. There are a few limits to how exclusive one’s 501(c)4 may be, but not many. Second, know the differences in tax exemptions and what is required for reporting and how often reports must be made. Also pay attention to whether or not a private entity, not a non-profit, is a corporation or a partnership or some other status.

Corporations are generally subject to more laws and rules than some other lawful entities that may engage in activities involving the transfers of funds. 501(c)4’s do not have to do as much PUBLIC reporting but are required to make reports to members and make copies of the reports available to members to have and keep, themselves if the members wish to own copies. They are required to make reports to potential donors, as well as donors, and of course to the IRS and other federal and state agencies. Other categories of non-profits must make more reports publicly available and some lawful entities are NOT required to make reports public, but must have some means of accounting and internal reports if they handle any money, especially for others, and ever are asked by federal and state agencies to make an accounting to them.

Keep good records and more than one copy in more than one place. For any corporation they are NOT the private property of any particular board member. Board members must have access to the physical records in some manner, not just copies, should something happen to the board member who is the curator and the original records are required to be presented. Usually, when a board does not have its own office, there is a regularly used method of transfer to the next person to hold that office, and there is someone else who has a key to the place the records are kept whom other board members can contact.

If you are a member of an organization, or a participant in an organization’s events and see or experience something that is against laws, there is a right way and wrong way to handle this. First write up your concern and send it to the board. Keep a copy, and ideally, some record tht indicates your letter was received, and any response. If the response is an inappropriate denial of events, or to investigate them and change, do NOT ever say you will go to the press, or some enforcement entity if they don’t meet your demands. No matter how right you may be, this threat is considered a threat and can be construed and presented as ‘extortion.’ If a situation is so bad that there are many offended parties, many witnesses, and inappropriate responses from a board, take what is unlawful to the proper authorities–and to the press. This is taught in all good non-profit management certificate and degree programs. Don’t make threats, don’t bluff; act within the law to correct real wrongs, and don’t let the wrongs go on forever. Eventually someone will catch up with these people and you don’t want to be accused of being overly tolerant, or worse, compliant or complicit by not having acted long before. If you are on a board that has engaged in bad behavior, had it called to your attention and did little or nothing, and the board’s behavior is eventually dealt with by federal or state entities, you may find it very hard to ever be trusted on other boards in the future, or only get invitations from other boards eventually likely to come under serious government scrutiny.

Here are a few examples from ‘Boards from Hell’ about particular types of the worst boards. Fortunately only a minority generally fall into these categories; most board problems are easily corrected with board training, better accounting, term limits and strategy and policy sessions and a manual for board behavior. The examples include what is generally recommended by professionals o do about them and their behaviors–especially when money is concerned and the possibility of FRAUD. Get the book though, if only for the snappy descriptions, concise list and tables of items, and the cartoons.

The absolute worst is called in the book a ‘Boardello.’ ‘Characteristics, some or all are: (1) Individual members engage in self-dealing or conflict of interest. (2) Board decisions are made with little regard to agency’s policies or actual facts. (3) Board members regularly do not attend meetings. (4) Members do not take initiative or stay informed regarding important issues. (5) Administrative systems do not exist which ensure legal, appropriate agency operations. (in other words, no accountability of the board or its officers or paid managers, to anyone.) (6) Board members serve several other boards just as poorly.’ Recommended actions to be done by (ideally) either fellow board members, or members of the overall agency (organization) which that board manages/serves. ‘ 1) Check your by-laws (know your ground–also check for relevant local, state or federal codes governing some of the questioned behaviors, if necessary). (2) Clarify board roles (and the goals of the agency). 3) Call an attorney. (In California, often the first hour of consultation is free-but to make the best use of your time, have your facts in a short list, know the status of the organization, and have a copy of the by-laws (if there is one), and questions all written down.) 4. Get the board to update its board manual (if possible).’.

Other really bad boards: are ‘Parrot Boards,’ ‘These boards are known to have meeting filled with favorite squawks, singular, in pairs, or unison: such as ‘We’ve done this before and it didn’t work,’ ‘You want me to get (or do) what?’ ‘I wasn’t told about this when I joined.’ ‘You must have voted on this when I wasn’t here.’ ‘He (or She) never does anything.’ ‘This won’t work.’ ‘I thought this was your job.’ ‘I never said I would sell tickets.’ ‘You (anyone else but the speaker) ought to do this.’ etc. Parrot boards have a hard time getting anything done and ’cause tremendous delays in an organization’s activities,’ and rapidly burn out productive, thoughtful people. ‘Many good board members, volunteers and staff leave the organizations because they prefer to go where they can make a difference and get something (positive) done.” If you are on this kind of board and want to change it: ‘(1) Do Strategic Planning (as a board–sometimes this is done as a ‘retreat’) (2) Check (read and understand and modify if needed) your by-laws. (3) Give professional organization leadership permission to act without taking everything to the board, but also have a policy as to when and how leadership may act without board analysis and approval. (4) Clarify board roles. (5) Update the board manual and make sure everyone has read it and the by-laws.’

A third bad one is ‘Boardettes.’ Again, this is a board that is either unaccountable or makes it hard to get things done. It can easily slip into being a ‘Boardello.’ It’s an especially bad board if the organization has no members but has events and fields significant sums of money. ‘Characteristics are: (1) Very few members on the board. (2) a quorum could fit in a phone booth (really bad if the quorum is husband and wife, two really good friends, or two business partners). (3) Most of the board members have the same background. (4) Committees of one often exist–and their activities or events are not supported by other board members. (5) Committee roulette (everyone on each other’s committees) is common. (6) Board member burn-out is a common phenomenon. Recommended solutions (ideally proposed by fellow board members and agreed to by more than the phone booth quorum. (1)Clarify board roles. (2)Reorganize (or resurrect) the Nominating Committee. (3)Analyze and RECRUIT, new and additional, diverse board members. (4)Clarify job descriptions. (5)Start an advisory council–one that ideally has a couple of professionals on it as well as a lot of experience (and really listen to that advisory council, or other professional consultations and act on that advice).’

If you ever get asked to join any of the above three boards–run–as far and fast as you can in the opposite direction! You should take care of your mental and physical health, your reputation and your financial well-being!

Last is something attendees were told several times in the non profit management certificate courses In an organization with membership, and especially one that has sizeable events and handles a lot of money, the best boards have a lawyer and an accountant on the board, or in the organization or board’s advisory counsel. Also the best boards have term limits and board training and board manuals.

Now let’s see better boards and organizations and not have any our our local non profit or cultural events related boards make the major area newspapers for entanglements with a newly zealous IRS, or other bad behavior.


LoAD Members

Londoners of the African Diaspora (LoAD)

Editorial: Dickens Faire Issues

Eliminating Bad Behavior and Worse at Historic/Cultural Faires

By Tony Becker and Celia Fábos-Becker – 2021-06-17

The state of California, and indeed the entire country, are re-opening, and soon open air historical-cultural fairies will return. For those of us who are in the habit of attending these events, the Annual Great Dickens Christmas Faire and Victorian Holiday Party, (Dickens), held at the Cow Palace Arena & Event Center in Daly City, has been a staple of that Bay Area calendar for many decades, and with the end of COVID related restrictions in California, many had hoped it might be open this coming Fall.

Unfortunately, that may not happen, due to long simmering issues of some consequence. For Dickens, over the past year, these grew into a confrontation and a mass boycott. Here is a summary of the issues and status from one of the people involved.

In the wake of the George Floyd protests last year, Red Barn Productions, the company that produces the Dickens Fair, made a statement of support for the movement. In response, a group of black Dickens Faire performers, Londoners of the African Diaspora (LoAD), started a dialog with Dickens management, Red Barn Productions, (RBP), about creating a practical Anti-Racism Initiative (ARI) and made proposals to implement it. This process continued for almost a year, but RBP resisted most change proposals and some promises were unfulfilled. RBP offered no method of working within the system to hold it’s management accountable to established norms of diversity and equity and inclusivity (DEI). After this process broke down, LoAD released a public statement of ‘no confidence’, detailing the treatment they had received, over the years from Red Barn Productions, and their demands that the proposed 1. ARI be implemented immediately, 2. Full-time HR and DEI professionals are hired to deal with these issues, and 3. RBP immediately restructure itself with a Board of Directors to operate with more transparency and accountability such that no one person could exercise absolute control of the RBP organization. When this ultimatum was not met, LoAD, along with a coalition of supporting advocacy groups representing other marginalized identities at Dickens, organized a boycott, and many former Dickens Fair participants agreed neither to work for nor to attend the Fair until the changes were made.

In response Red Barn has since pledged to hire HR and DEI professionals and agreed to implement almost all of LoAD’s suggestions for an ARI, but they refused to do anything to create transparency and accountability for their actions within the RBP organization. Without this transparency and accountability, LoAD and those in solidarity with them feel that they cannot work with Red Barn, and so the boycott continues. More recently LoAD released a statement saying that since Red Barn will not agree to a board of directors or any other oversight or transparency, LoAD will not return. However LoAD had also published a list of minimum requirements to policies to make Dickens Fair safe for marginalized identities, and LoAD has publicly urged those boycotting Dickens Fair not to stop until those minimum requirements are met.

– Cassiane Mobley 6/15/21

It seems to us that the re-starting of such public events, after this 15 months break, is an excellent opportunity address all long standing issues of abuse and exclusion that have, over the recent past, worsened at some festivals and ‘faires.’ Yes, there is racism within some fairs and racism and sexism have been tolerated by some organizers, and even practiced by a few. Some have also tolerated abuse perpetrated by performers against other performers and by fair and festival attendees against other attendees and performers. This cannot continue, not after all this nation has suffered and seen in the past few years because the majority of Americans are against racism, sexism and abuse of humans by others.

The majority of Celts world-wide feel the same way. It was not that long ago (1857) when Irish were routinely transported to Australia against their will all manner of minor to major offenses including petty theft, or simply for rebelling against invading conquerors. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Cornwall and Ireland were regularly raided for white skinned captives, because they they brought high prices in Arab slave markets. Both groups have experienced economic, political and social discrimination for centuries. In our own hemisphere, some Scots were transported to the Carribian as punishment for supporting Charles II as king of Scotland in the 1650’s, and some were later sold into chattel slavery.

In the 1770’s, an Englishman, John Newton who had been ‘pressed’ (euphemistically called conscription–but it was closer to ‘shanghaied’) into service in the Royal Navy and then gone from there into slave trading had changed his attitudes from his experiences and wrote ‘Amazing Grace,’ more as a poem. In 1835, William Walker, a Scottish American, Baptist put it to the music of the hymn form we now know. It is a song about redemption from a life of wickedness, of enslaving and treating cruelly other human beings, and having done so primarily on the basis of race, not seeing them as human beings, equal to all other humans before God. When does this more completely describe the entire U.S.?

In the past year we have had many incidents in this country of racial violence, sexual harassment and such resulting in large nation-wide protests, lawsuits and more. People are fed up with being discriminated against and abused in any state or county, especially in public venues. Almost one third of Americans appear to be racist, misogynistic, abusive etc. No state, and hardly any county, have been without some significant incident of violent racism, numerous crimes against women and more.

The Celtic community and its events are also, unfortunately, not immune to either complaints or the need to address them. They also have seen them become worse and more frequent in the last few years. Most event organizers, to their credit, have already become aware of the situations and instances of racism, sexism and bad behavior related to them in their events and have ejected performers and even performing groups who have mistreated, verbally or physically, other performers and even the public. In fact, just a few weeks ago there was a public discussion on Facebook involving organizers of several smaller Renaissance and Celtic fairies and audiences and participants about this very subject. Organizers specifically stated that they were ‘appalled to see and hear so much racism and sexism in recent years among even members of performing groups toward other performers and the public.’ They had been quietly taking persons aside to attempt to correct their behavior, but due to growing numbers of incidents, the organizers of some festivals have now decided they will NOT invite certain entire groups of performers to return. They were also thinking of some hand-outs to the ticket buyers reminding them of appropriate behavior toward performers. You wouldn’t think someone would have to tell 21st Americans to practice good manners and additionally, explain what good manners, and even lawful behaviors are!

The irony is that much of the bad behavior at festivals of a partly or completely historical nature is the result of ignorance of real European, world and pre-U.S. North American history as it really was, and behavior of peoples in the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and even 19th century toward one another, Far too many people are imposing U.S. racist and sexist fantasies of how everything used to be upon everyone at these festivals. They also think that because they are ‘historical’ and their historical fantasies are reality that they can pretend to be ‘in the past’ and can get away with bad behavior and verbal abuse because this was done ‘back then.’ They also think that modern state and federal laws magically disappear at these fairs and festivals. We need to start teaching real history, warts and all, after all it’s about human beings–not saints, in public and private schools.

Let’s examine history as it really was during Renaissance-Baroque times, and how people really treated one another. It’s time to get rid of the racist fantasies. It’s time to see how abnormal the U.S. really was.

In the 1400’s and 1500’s–as the Renaissance got going, the largest power in Europe was not England or Scotland. The real powers included France, Spain, Portugal, Austria-Hungary, Poland and the Ottoman Empire– headquarters Turkey, and which already ruled parts of the Balkans. The Ottoman empire, and its predecessor, the Seljuk Turkish empire, had already been well established as traders and even military allies to African kingdoms, many of which already had large enclaves of Muslims, or had completely converted to Islam. Any European power foolish enough to raid or attack an African kingdom who was a trading partner and allied with the Seljuk’s or Ottomans was tantamount to attacking the heart of Turkey itself. Military actions or other violence against Muslim states, even in Africa, was likely to result in open warfare with the Turks who had a powerful navy and well-armed merchant ships all over the Mediterranean, the eastern Atlantic along the entire coast of Africa, and all over the Indian Ocean. As late as the last decades of the 18th century, a cousin of the lady who became the Empress Josephine was made a slave in the Turkish Empire and eventually ended up in the Sultan’s harem. India had become another Muslim empire under the Mughals by the time of Elizabeth I, and also had a powerful navy. The Mughal Empire was one of the first non-European empires, after the Seljuk’s and then Ottomans to send emissaries to several European courts and demand and get respect.

In the 1400’s, 1500’s and well into the 1600’s, ANYONE regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion could become a slave for life under the right conditions. The European kingdoms, themselves, were willing to make slaves of those they considered rebels (such as the Scots who supported Charles II, after Cromwell’s acolytes beheaded his father), or were criminals they didn’t care to execute. Those made slaves under these conditions were often slaves for the rest of their lives. Some of the early British slaves on the sugar plantations in the 1650’s in the Caribbean were these Scots who had supported Charles II. Many of the Scottish slaves died on plantations in the Caribbean just as any African slaves. They were also sold in New England to Puritans, and to English tobacco planters in eastern Maryland and eastern Virginia. As late as the early to mid-1800’s, the English were transporting rebel Irish to Australia where they were distributed as life-time, or long term slaves to ranchers and others. Read Fields of Athenry by Cahal Dunne, for an example.

The Turkish empires and Islamic north African kingdoms as far south as what is now Senegal, had slave raiding ships along the Irish and Cornish coasts, which Grania O’Malley fought off during the time of Elizabeth I. European slaves could be sold in Africa and West and South Asia, just as African slaves, sold by African kingdoms, who unlike the Native American empires and confederations had guns and steel, could be sold in the European colonies in the Americas. Even after the U.S. Civil War Hungarians, in Europe, were still fighting off slave raiders from the Ottoman Empire who would have sold them anywhere, including Africa. Racism and slavery, did not become joined until the founding of the U.S–and the start of the industrial revolution when the governments of European powers realized that manufacturing could be used for larger, better, weapons and transports for war, ‘when might made right’ became the policy of the day for treatment of not as well organized and armed and smaller nations. However, then the British and French began getting rid of slavery, and it ceased in continental Europe decades before it did in the Americas, Asia and Africa. However, because slavery was more brutal, multi-generational, and longer lasting in the Americas, It was the U.S. and other American countries that mostlyestablished the link in the minds of their peoples. It was not so in Europe until more recently–when they found ways to use mediation among African kingdoms and competing regional rulers in Asia to bring in armed forces and draw lines for European economic colonies. The powers and their supporters who came to believe ‘Might makes right’ also adopted a twisted form of Darwin’s theories of evolution, ‘if I can beat you physically, you must be inferior, and not necessarily worthy to survive.’ What I’m saying here is not a unique view, other scholars, historians and cultural anthropologists have observed and commented on many of these same facts, includingHenry Louis Gates, Jr., the famed Harvard historian who is also the host of ‘Finding Your Roots.’ See his documentary series on the’History of Africa.’

Additionally, people forget that prior to 1492, over the preceding 500 years, most of Spain had been conquered, colonized and ruled by the Moors of North Africa, the leading power of Europe. When Isabella and Ferdinand finally completed the ‘Reconquista’ (re-conquest) of Spain, on January 2nd, 1492, with the surrender of the wealthy, very civilized and urban province of Granada, there were many Moors of darker African complexions in Spain who had converted to Christianity and earned rank and privilege in the Spanish court. When Henry VIII married a Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon, one of Isabella’s daughters, she brought her Spaniard courtiers with her, along with Spanish emissaries and their assistants, supporters, etc. to England. Moorish descended Spaniards, weren’t all light skinned and fair-haired, and no one in his or her right mind would have thought of discriminating against them, much less abusing them at any time in European history, even in the 1800’s.

People also do not realize that slavery was practiced differently in various parts of the world. In the Islamic empires and kingdoms of west Asia and Africa, slaves could and would more rapidly earn their freedom, especially if they fought on behalf of the monarchs. Unlike the Christian nations and their colonies in the Americas, children of slaves in Muslim nations were born free. There were no laws against miscegenation based on race, ethnicity or even religion. All of that came much later, and primarily in the U.S. In the 1700’s, in the UK and France, the courts were already finding ways to strike down slavery within the main parts of those kingdoms. In France before our American Revolution and the French Revolution, mulatto children of French planters and African slaves were being freed, and educated in France. One inherited his white father’s aristocratic title, and joined other mulattos, as officers of the Royal French army. He was trained in part by other partly or mostly African-French officers. His name was Count (and General) Alexandre Dumas SENIOR, the father of the famed novelist, Alexandre Dumas. The novel ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ is in part based on his father’s life story. Some of the history of slavery and racism in France and its Caribbean colonies is covered in the biography of General (and Count) Alexandre Dumas called The Black Count by Tom Reiss.

Shakespeare wrote plays with characters who were not all lily white, and so did other playwrights of the 1500’s and 1600’s. Consider the Black character, Othello.

Get real people: racism, or ethnocentrism, as an excuse for slavery and abuse of people who couldenslaved in the recent past, and dubbed inferior humans–or even subhuman– did not exist in the Renaissance to Early Baroque period of history, the period of time most historical fairs depict. Then, by the time of Queen Victoria, slavery, and the racism that had developed after the development of the sugar, rice, tobacco and cotton plantations, and a lot more military might for European powers, was on the wane. England’s courts began banning certain practices of it in the late 1700’s. There were additional laws banning the slave trade, importation, and its practice within the UK all by the mid 1830’s–some 30 years before it was banned in the U.S. In France it had been banned within France, even earlier and the slave revolt in Haiti ended it in the French colonies as well during the reign of Napoleon–almost 50 years before it was banned in the U.S. The U.S., Brazil and the Turkish Empire were among the LAST connected with Europe, not the first, to ban slavery. Most of Europe got rid of the practice of slavery, as usually recognized,long before. Slaverywas gradually not seen as consistent with Christian principles, regardless of the sect of Christianity. Whatever else Europe was, or how it thought of itself, it was Christian! Slavery alsobecame economically undesirable among countries who were growing more industrial. It was cheaper for manufacturers to both increase automation, and to hire excess populations from rural areas, pay them low wages and let them go when they were not needed than to buy and own people, have to care for all their needs, and then hire extra people to keep them as slaves. People rarely (if ever) ‘volunteer’ to become slaves–especially for life.

Thus it is incorrect to imagine or portray your European ancestors as racists and slave owners like the southern U.S. plantation owners. That didn’t happen.

Additionally, unlike the U.S., most Europeans aspired to be ladies and gentlemen. The ideals of ladies and gentlemen are very old, centuries old. They were idealized (reality often fell short, but people TRIED) as self-disciplined individuals, not given to extreme emotional outbursts of any kind, nor random violence. It was often said, and you can find this in Georgette Heyer ‘regency’ and late Georgian period novels and Jane Austen novels that ‘one mark of a lady or gentleman was they did not abuse those they considered their inferiors–or those less powerful than themselves: they were respectful, kind and compassionate to those of the lower social-economic orders, as to their peers. (As long as the lower orders were also trying to behave with respect and kindness, etc.) ‘True gentlemen and ladies did not use profanity or vulgarities toward one another or to servants, did not beat their wives nor their children (though children might get a light well-deserved switching on occasion–mostly boys, not girls). Those who aspired to be like them, to have their sons or daughters eventually marry them, aped them, and copied their manners. Even artisans and tradesmen, if they wanted the best contracts and the best business deals, learned to practice genteel behavior and improve their language skills.

The fact is, during the Renaissance and Baroque Periods, to borrow and adapt from a comic line from Mel Brooks’ ‘History of the World,’ ‘the peasants were NOT always revolting’, nor were they openly insolent, disrespectful and uncooperative. On the other hand, most ladies and gentlemen weren’t tyrants to servants and tradesmen. After all, the servants were free to find better masters and mistresses who paid better and treated them better, as free persons, not slaves. This is not to say that a servant’s life was easy or desirable, or that no masters and mistresses starved and abused servants. Not everyone was a real lady or gentleman–especially away from any significant public eyes, and judicial courts were biased in favor of wealth and power,but there were standards and ideals, and because Europeans were free persons by the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods, there was some accountability and a lot of mobility–and choice.

This is where even the Renaissance Faire performers sometimes have it wrong, and unwittingly encourage bad behavior. Too many of them don’t know when the feudal system began to break down in the various countries and when people ceased to be serfs and tied to the land and their lords and masters, and instead treat the volunteer actors who are supposed to be free people with choices, as medieval serfs instead.

Then there is the issue of what we now call the LGBTQ community. It is not a new phenomenon. Gays, Bi-sexuals, trans., etc. all existed LONG ago. The Spartans, including the famous 300, and the now popular fantasized heroes of Greek civilization,defying great odds, were mostly gay. In fact, when they married–to have children, their wives often cut their hair and dressed as boys, including binding their bosoms, to encourage their husbands to procreate with them. By the Renaissance era, gays were well-known to dominate the world of fishermen, navies, merchant marine, and pirates. There are many historians who have repeatedly stated that it was well known that before the age of steamships, when voyages took weeks and months, most sailors were gay or bisexual. In early to mid-Victorian times, many still were, as the age of sailing ships was not yet quite gone.

The other field where gays, bisexuals and trans. were commonplace was in acting and performance arts, including dance and minstrel shows, jongleurs, etc. In Shakespearean times most female roles were still being played by males. A short time later, boys were being played by teenage girls or young looking petite women. Shakespeare himself even wrote gender-bending roles in his plays. It was against most national laws and certainly against canon (church) law, but as long as it happened mostly among outlying occupations, people who were lower social status and seen as already outside of polite society, it was generally ignored. Oscar Wilde got in trouble because he was not an actor but a writer and playwright and from a ‘good family.’ Not only that, but he was so good looking to females, they were especially unhappy when they learned his romantic interests did not include any females. ‘Hell hath no fury like a female scorned…’

In so-called historical re-enactment festivals to deny these people existed, not only discriminates in the very real, U.S. present–and the laws of many states, but it denies real history. So much for ‘education’if the historical existence of gays, bisexuals, trans., etc. are not addressed and they are not allowed to be in some way included as performers in festivals.

However, next– and not least, all the performers in these festivals are ACTORS, and any good actor aspires to make you believe his or her pretend role. You believe the character, not what he or she looks like to you at just first glance from your modern eyes. Anyone who is a good actor ought to be able to play any historical role, even a real person from history. It’s the content of the character and the presentation of the character that is important. Do you see (in the acting mannerisms) and hear a king or queen, or a sailor or a dance hall girl, or a pub wench or a lady or a gentleman as the actor performs the role? It is not ok for modern fair organizers, or guild directors/members to deny persons participation on account of race, ethnicity, sex of religion, and it’s not ok to limit them. They are all ACTORS and if they are any good they can make you believe they are anything or anyone.

At the same time, audiences also need to remember that the costumed performers in fairs and festivals ARE actors. NO, men who are ticket buyers do not have the right to grab the actress playing a pub wench or a dance hall girl by her bosom. At the same time, women do not have the right to stick a hand up a man’s kilt in either a historical fair or Celtic festival to determine if he is wearing underwear or not (said to be ‘regimental’ if not)! It’s sexual assault either way! Get your hands off another person unless that person is your spouse, or significant other! And even then, consider the parents with children who might be passing by and please not be public about it. Almost all of the fairs and festivals are intended to be FAMILY friendly, with young children being among the intended attendees.

Last and very important is the fact that all of the venues leased by fair and festival organizers are owned,managed and leased out to said organizers by county and city governments. Every single county and city has ordinances against discrimination, and against sexual assault, including on their properties. They also all have to abide by all the state and federal laws regarding discrimination, abuse, assaults, etc. If fair organizers either discriminate, or engage in other bad behavior or tolerate it, they and the counties and cities who leased the venue to them, may rightfully be SUED. Some of the counties take this very seriously and so do a number of fair organizers. The rest need to do so also, especially since the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, the AAPI movement regarding anti-Asian abuse, the ADA, the passage of various laws regarding ‘comparable worth,’ etc.


Highland Clearances

Scots Forced to leave Scotland during the ‘Highland Clearances’

Editorial: UK-Australia trade deal

Tory Ministers discuss British farmers’ concerns

By Cecilia Fábos-Becker

After exiting the European Union last December, United Kingdom (UK) Prime minister Boris Johnson and his ministers, aimed to conclude their first major post-Brexit trade deal with Australia by Friday, but instead spent much of the week discussing British farmers’ concerns.

This BBC article sums up the issues well.

This first Post-Brexit trade negotiation is an important issue to Americans of Celtic descent for a variety of reasons. First, many Scots, northern English and even Irish ended up immigrating to what became the U.S., and later the U.S. proper, as a direct result of the UKs inheritance laws, especially primogeniture, and agricultural and herding policies.

To this day, in the UK, primogeniture–MALE primogeniture, is the law of the land and the bulk of inheritances in aristocratic and other well-to-do families, especially property, goes to the nearest direct male heir: son, or failing that brother or nephew. UK farmers, numbering about 100,000, constitute a very small fraction, about 0.15% of the UK total of ~ 68 million persons. Of these 100,000, most of them inherited their farms through primogeniture. In contrast, the number of farmers in the US is about 2.6 million people out of a population of 328.2 million, about 1.3%. Ten times as many!

Starting just after the 1745 Scottish rebellion, and ending in defeat at Culloden, Scottish nobles and other large landholders began replacing humans with sheep. At the peak of these so-called ‘Highland Clearances,’ between about 1818 and 1850, hundreds of thousands of Scots were deported to Canada and the U.S. The same types of evictions were happening in northern England under the ‘Enclosures Act.’

Land policies in Ireland, even after Catholics were again allowed to own land–to buy back what had been theirs’ before, if they could find the means to afford it, and find someone willing to sell, were trending the same.  The greatest exports to England from Ireland were Irish laborers followed by meat, dairy products and wool, and people were the greatest exports to the U.S., Canada and Australia..  This is all after the huge migrations of middle sons, almost a million persons,  when the UK included Ireland and was 80% or so agrarian, to what became the U.S. and Canada in the late 17th and 18th centuries–just for land.  This all means the largest amount of property, including land used for farming and herding is owned by a small number of men in the UK, which itself is a few islands and part of an island.

Even with the land as concentrated as it is among a few, most of the farms are not large in the UK.  There is only so much arable land.  The entire UK has about 23 million acres of arable land, of which 70% is in England. In contrast, despite the huge areas of arid and semi-arid land, the U.S. has 470 million acres of arable land. Australia, despite having more desert than even the U.S., still has 120 million acres of arable land. Almost all of Scotland is located above the 55th parallel of latitude. The US border with Canada is the 49th parallel of latitude and thus Scotland is farther north than any part of the contiguous, continental US, and even large parts of Canada!.  There are areas in Scotland  that are not even fit for sheep or the long-haired cattle.

The UK people like their beef and lamb meats, but pay a higher price than some other countries.  This is because policies in the past supported the small number of farmers and herders over the masses of consumers, and when the UK could, it restricted the amount of imports of meat.

The favoritism of the British producer is one of the foundations of colonialism that has led to outright rebellion in what became the U.S., India and Ireland.  It has caused considerable friction between the UK and members of the commonwealth today.

At the same time, though Australia has "economy of scale" for producing meat and wool animals, it has its limitations, as do other large producing countries, such as the U.S.–with whom the UK also wants new trade deals, and Brazil and Argentina.  Most of Australia is desert, or otherwise warm climate areas, some even tropical, where it is harder to raise meat animals and fine wool bearing sheep.  Half of the U.S. is desert or trending toward it.  Cattle and sheep need water, and there are serious, and growing water shortages in the U.S. and Australia that have yet to be adequately addressed.  The desert kingdoms of Saudia Arabia, and the Emirates are doing far better with desalination than even Israel, much less the U.S..  The U.S. is still in denial that half the country or more has a serious problem, made worse by climate change.  Even Brazil is beginning to experience multi-year droughts, affecting agriculture and herding.  So, without spending a lot more money on desalination and complete waste water purification plants, and dams, which will drive up the costs of production, there is a limit as to how much meat and wool can be produced by the U.S. and Australia.  Additionally, as the article pointed out, regarding Australia, "it’s a long way to ship meat" and wool. Mmeat has to be frozen, canned or refrigerated,  Maintaining refrigeration or freezing for long distances by ship is not cheap.  Canned goods have space taken up by the cans themselves..  While North American beef and wool don’t have to travel as far to the UK, it’s still several thousands of miles by slow boats, also.

Additionally, sheep will grow thicker, better quality wool in cooler climates.  Again, neither Australia, nor the U/S. have much cooler climate land with enough water.  Brazil certainly doesn’t either.  Only Canada and Argentina are really large threats to the protected UK sheep growers..

The U.S. has years when it does not produce enough meat for its own demand and began importing beef from Brazil and Argentina some years ago in the form of canned meat.  This year, beef prices have skyrocketed because of the pandemic combined with the megadrought in the western states of the U.S. and a huge drought stricken area now in Brazil as well.   U.S. Americans then turned more to pork, chicken and fish and chicken and fish prices have been going up also.

The combination of facts says the protected minority of UK farmers have little to fear from beef imports–there won’t be many, because, except for canned beef, it costs too much to ship, and there are increasing production problems in the countries long considered the greatest rivals.

As for meat from sheep and wool, again, it costs too much to ship the meat from Australia.  While a small amount might be shipped, it would command high prices and would have to be of the best quality to have potential earnings.  Most of the wool Australia can ship may not be of the high quality of Scottish and northern English wool, or wool from New Zealand, Canada, or parts of continental Europe.  However, neither the UK, nor the U.S. are major sheep growing countries.  Together they are less than 1% of the world’s production.  Australia is the third largest sheep producing country producing over 10% of the world’s sheep for meat and wool but has closer markets in India, west Asia, and China, especially China..

The one concern that the UK farmers have raised that has merit is that the UK has stronger animal welfare laws than Australia, Brazil or Argentina does, or even state laws in parts of the U.S..  Fine: insist upon the Australians raising their animal welfare standards for any significant increases in exporting meat to the UK–assuming the Australians can find ways of making more than canned meat exports otherwise cost effective.

Although the U.S. could be a much bigger producer of sheep and wool it is a very minor producer, despite its size, for several reasons.  Climate and water are two reasons.  A lack of interest in mutton as meat, though lamb has more desirability, and lack of interest in much wool clothing, all combine to minimize sheep herding and wool production.  It also hasn’t helped that in the 19th century there were actual range wars between cattle ranchers and sheepherders in parts of the U.S.  The sheep and their owners generally lost.  We also still have wild predators such as coyotes, mountain lions, etc. in the U.S., and the herders and ranchers rarely use dogs to help mitigate the situation, as is done in most of Europe and even many areas of Asia, which causes additional conflicts between ranchers/herders and much of the U.S. population..  The U.S. also has many predatory feral and domestic dogs (many dog owners do not adequately train, confine and house their dogs) whose damage is often mistaken for that of coyotes and wolves.

All in all, the concerns the tiny minority of UK farmers have regarding trade deals between the UK and almost any other nation seem to be a "tempest in a teapot," that really amount to protecting profits and privileges for a few at the expense of the majority of UK consumers.  If the UK ministers want trade deals with Australia and to allay the concerns of other commonwealth countries and former colonies like the U.S., they need to more fully consider all the numbers as we did for this article, and not resurrect the specter of colonialism that favors very few in one country.


Scottish Election Map

Nicola Sturgeon celebrates her re-election

Editorial: UK Election Results

Wales stands pat, but a clear majority of
Scottish voters support Independence

by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker 2021-05-14

The results of the Thursday, May 6th 2021, elections in the United Kingdom (UK) are as follows

  • In Wales, all 60 members of the Senedd Cymru, (the ‘devolved’ Welsh Parliament), were up for election. The Labor Party won 30 seats, a gain of +1, and will continue to govern. The Conservatives (Tories) won 16 seats, a gain of +5, essentially absorbing the Brexit minded UKIP party. The independence-minded Plaid Cymru won 13, a gain of +1, and the Liberal Democrats won a seat after having none. 47% of Wales registered voters cast a ballot, an increase of 1.2% over the previous election. Here is a link to the complete results for Wales:
  • In Scotland, all 120 members of the devolved Scottish Parliament (MSPs) were up for election. Both the independence-minded parties increased their number of seats: Scottish National Party, (SNP), gained 1 and now holds 64 MSPs, (one short of an outright majority, and the Scottish Green Party won 8 seats, a change of +2. The Tories held steady at 31 MSPs. The Labour Party won 22 seats, a change -2 Liberal Democrats won 4 seats, a change of -1. 63% (an increase of over 10%) of the Scottish electorate came out to vote. Here is a link to the complete results for Scotland:
  • The 63% Scottish turnout is a full 10 percentage points above the average of previous elections, going back to 1999 when Scotland’s ‘devolved’ parliament was established. The SNP and Greens coalition government now has a super majority of 72/129 MSPs, (55.8%).

    Prior to 1707, Scotland was an independent country, with its own independent parliament, and this election result seems to foreshadow a return to independence for Scotland. The two ‘Independence’ parties, SNP and Greens, have now steadily increased their support over the past several election cycles, mostly at the expense of the Labor and Conservatives (Tory) parties who oppose an Independent Scotland. A 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum seems to be merely a matter of time, and independence seems increasingly likely to win on that 2nd poll. The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said, however, that the priority for Scotland for the present remains overcoming the pandemic.

    Again, were he to read this, we’d suggest that Prime Minister Boris Johnson seriously consider offering Scotland dominion status. The Scots would then be independent enough to make their own trade deals, have their own money, and more, but would still honor the Queen, or her successor, and the security of England would continue to be assured. Nobility would still be honored in Scotland and likewise their property. The status of Scotland would be the same as that of Canada, a successful dominion, which runs its own economy, banking and more and is a staunch, loyal ally and supporter of the UK.


    Arlene Foster

    Arlene Foster

    Editorial – Arlene Foster Resigns as Election Looms

    Thursday, May 6th Scottish and Welsh Elections

    By Celia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker

    On Wednesday, April 28th, Arlene Foster announced her resignation as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as of May 28th, and as First Minister of the devolved government in Stormont, Northern Ireland (NI) at the end of June.

    In recent days, more than 20 NI Member of the Legislative Assembly, (MLA), DUP members and four Members of the Parliament in Westminter (MPs) had signed a letter voicing no-confidence in the leadership. More generally, about 80% of the DUP membership have recently expressed the opinion that it was time for new leadership.

    She became leader of the party in December 2015 and, the following month as leader of Stormont’s largest party, she was appointed first minister of Northern Ireland. She was the first woman and the youngest person to hold both jobs.

    In her statement, leader Foster said:
    My election as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party broke a glass ceiling and I am glad to have inspired other women to enter politics and spurred them on to take up elected office.

    “I understand the misogynistic criticisms that female public figures have to take and sadly it’s the same for all women in public life.

    “I want to encourage you to keep going and don’t let the online lynch mobs get you down.”

    If there is a leadership contest, it will be the first in the DUP’s 50-year history and only DUP MLAs and MPs will get to vote.

    In her statement, Mrs Foster also said it had been the privilege of her life to serve the people of Northern Ireland, and that it was important to give space over the coming weeks for the party officers to make arrangements for the election of a new leader.

    I want to thank Arlene Foster @DUPleader for her dedication to the people of Northern Ireland over many years. She will continue to play a vital role as First Minister until June and I hope that she stays in public service for years to come. – Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

    Here is a link to the BBC report and it’s analysis of the problem of selecting a new DUP party leader.

    We see an additional problem for the DUP that its voting members may not be considering. Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, wants a good trade deal with the U.S. and has promised he will not do anything to essentially tear up the Good Friday Agreement, and either encourage or aggravate renewed violence in Northern Ireland. The current President of the U.S.,Joe Biden, is proud to be of Catholic Irish descent and has emphasized that to the BBC and Boris Johnson. Both the President and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (of Italian descent and Catholic) have made it very clear to the UK that if Brexit leads to the destruction of the Good Friday Agreement and the fragile peace in Northern Ireland, the UK will have a hard time getting the kind of trade deal it wants and as soon as it would like. Perhaps the hard line males in the DUP need another bit of statistics to consider. According to recent nationwide polls by the Pew Research Center, polling over 35,000 persons in all 50 states, only 47% of the U.S. citizens are Protestant. Of the majority 53%, 21.5% are Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, and, by far, most of the remaining nearly 31.5 are ‘no religious affiliation’ and ‘nothing in particular.’ The majority of U.S. voting citizens are not going to understand or tolerate violence on the basis of religion and a claim of Protestant superiority in Northern Ireland.

    Unfortunately violence has already begun to occur in NI. Earlier in April (this month) there were 8 nights of riots in Belfast right up to the day after Prince Philip’s death, when most politicians in the UK were calling upon both sides to ‘show some respect’ for the passing of the Queen’s beloved consort. It is mostly teen and young adult males who have been engaged in the violence and today the BBC noted that those young violent males in the DUP do not want reunification with the rest of Ireland, and want the DUP to fight harder against the Brussels protocols that the UK signed for all of its members, including Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is still part of the UK, and the DUP in particular claims to be very proud of being part of the UK. Someone with considerable authority and the ability to enforce it needs to explain to these young toughs the facts of life. They cannot have it both ways: they cannot insist upon being part of the UK and not abide by what the UK has agreed upon with Brussels. The flea on the tail of the English bulldog does not wag the dog.

    Additionally, if they want jobs in northern Ireland the banks in Europe and the U.S., and probably Canada as well, are not likely to be investing in, or lending to, a government that allows itself to be dominated by a bunch of lawless thugs. Additionally the majority of voting citizens of Northern Ireland, of multiple parties did not want Brexit but wanted to remain part of the EU, so they are acting against the wishes of the majority of all the citizens of Northern Ireland, and it is not a dictatorship. Neither is the UK.

    There is another problem with these young toughs. They have stated themselves to be anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBTQ and, again, much of the monied world is going a different direction. The UK monarch is a Queen–female, and has had two female Prime Ministers, and a few female party leaders. The U.S. has a female Vice President and a female Speaker of the House. Again a hardening retrograde attitude of the DUP, and the violent young male toughs within it, is hardly going to appeal to either the majority in the UK, or the U.S.. They will find little support or sympathy from either. I suggest they remember, from their own general Northern Irish history, it’s one thing to fight the young males of another party in the streets. It’s quite another to be fighting the British Army and have the U.S. and the EU ignoring you. It’s not 1978, it’s 2021 and the British Army is not likely to blame just the Catholics this time. It’s not that they completely did the last time but the perception was that the British Army did greatly favor the Protestants. Even the perception is likely to be different this time.

    Elsewhere in the UK, a number of elections are scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 6th 2021, including those postponed in May 2020. They include:

    • In Wales, Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliamentary election. All 60 members are up for election.
    • In Scotland, the Scottish Parliamentary election. All 129 members are up for election.

    The most impactive trends in recent elections have been:

    • In Wales, there has been very static status among the several parties, with the Labour Party holding nearly 50% of the seats. Recent polls do not predict that this will change significantly in this election.
    • In Scotland, the Scottish Nationist Party (SNP), which favors an Independent Scotland, has been making steady gains over the past several election cycles, mostly at the expense of the Conservatives (Tory) and Labor parties. Recent polls show that the SNP will gain a bit over the previous election, but will not be winning a majority.

    We will be reporting on the results of this election as soon as they are available to us.


    Patrick Michael Karnahan

    Patrick Michael Karnahan

    Changes for Celtic Heritage Celebration

    CEO’s Open Letter to the Celtic Faire-going Public

    By Patrick Michael Karnahan – Published 2021-04-09

    Thanks to Celia Fábos-Becker of AmeriCeltic for asking why we are moving our Celtic Heritage Celebration back to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. Please get your reading glasses out, because this is going to be a long answer.

    The explanation for our return to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds is three fold. The facility at Sonora, according to the State Fire Marshall, has numerous fire and safety code violations that have not been dealt with. The fire marshall came close to shutting down the facility in 2019 because of these deficits. We were inspected twice during our event. Once in 2019 and a return visit in 2020. The Sonora Facility had inadequate emergency lighting and many of the exit signs in the buildings did not work.

    The State Marshall charges $230 an hour and also charges travel time from either Sacramento or Fresno. When the facility at Sonora got these bills, the facility manager passed the entire amount over to me to pay. The one bill for the Celtic Fair alone for the fire marshal visit was $4,300. Now mind you, that’s after I’ve already paid the fairgrounds around $18,000. I feel this is major extortion to have somebody who’s renting a facility pay for an inspection that involves the actual facility not being compliant. Let me tell you, it’s pretty scary, when the State Fire Marshall tells you that the facility you are renting has major fire code violations, and threatens to close down the event that you’ve been planning a year, while you’re sitting on hundreds of vendor and entertainment contracts. Think about it also this way: a state agency inspecting a state run facility, passing down the entire bill to the renter of the facility.

    Our second reason, and you all know this already, is parking parking parking. It is almost impossible now to make deals to get parking lots as well as finagle any type of shuttle service to bring people to that Sonora facility. For years my management has worked tirelessly to come up with new ways of getting people parked and brought to those fairgrounds, while the fairgrounds itself has made no attempt to increase parking. Every year I do surveys, and the main complaint from you, the public has to do with parking. It’s that simple.

    Third reason that you asked about I believe has to do with the Sonora fairgrounds being built on Woods Creek, which makes it prone to flooding during the winter. 2 years ago, Woods Creek backed up on Wednesday after we had set up our volunteers and camping at the rear of the fairgrounds. As fate would have it we got hit with four major thunderstorm cells that made the creek into a river flowing right down the center of the grounds flooding every building and the water in some places was well over 3 ft high. We were a major news story because of the amount of damage it caused.

    Think about putting on your event when you have that type of publicity all over the major networks just two days prior to opening. As you can imagine it did major damage to our tent campers during the hour the flood incurred, it was impossible to find anyone in Fair management or staff that came out to give us a hand. Many of our volunteers lost their full entire camping setup as it went down what became a river extremely dangerous. This flooding has happened more than once over the many years I’ve done the fair.

    The 9th year, the larger building flooded and there was sewage mixed in with the water. This was on Friday after the vendors had set up all their booths in the building. I worked from 7:00 at night to 8:00 in the morning with a crew of all the volunteers swapping out the building and trying to get the sewage out of there. I had absolutely no help from the fairgrounds facility staff. I barely was able to open the event. In the years doing business at the Sonora facility, we’ve had four major flooding events.

    Doing our event in June instead of March will eliminate a lot of these weather problems we have faced in the past 34 years. The facility is actually more aesthetic as far as the quality of green rolling hills and expansive landscapes. With COVID-19 restrictions, it will be nice to be in a space that is very open and free, with room for people to space themselves out comfortably.

    You ask why I left Angels Camp and moved to Sonora years ago. In a nutshell, working with the Angel’s Camp fairgrounds manager on our ticket sales had become impossible. I don’t want to go into details but to let you know they let him go a few years after I pulled out of that fairgrounds facility. The new Calaveras fairgrounds manager is extremely knowledgeable and really cares about events and the facility. She is also up on all the fire and safety codes, unlike the current management at Sonora.

    But the best thing about the Calaveras County Fairgrounds at Angels Camp is the size of the facility along with parking for over 10,000 cars. It is not built on a creekside so flooding is never an issue.

    Think of the juxtaposition between Sonora and Angels Camp, Sonora has parking for 200 cars at best, Calaveras has parking for 10,000 cars. If you only read the complaints we get from people, and dealt with the parking at Sonora, you would understand why the move is important to survive and succeed in the future.

    As for lodging, they’ve added some new lodging facilities nearby in Murphy’s, CA, which is just 10 minutes away from Angels Camp. Plus the Calaveras fairgrounds has a large RV camping area, and there is another large RV establishment next door. We plan to offer hundreds of sites for dry camping also, so people can stay there and not have to get on the road.

    Thanks for asking important questions and I hope you can get the word out about our fair. It’ll be bigger and more beautiful and we have room to grow.

    Patrick Michael Karnahan
    CEO of the Celtic Heritage Celebration June 19th and 20th, 2021


    Festival Forecast

    Editorial: Creating Festivals

    Cautionary Addendum

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2021-04-09

    It is not just this current pandemic that threatens to cancel our cultural events. Patrick Michael Karnahan‘s story (above) is a cautionary tale about the challenges he has had in creating and maintaining one of our cherished summer festivals, and there are many more such stories. The next time you are inclined to complain about a ticket price for an all day event with multiple types of entertainment, food and beverages, you might want to remember these stories.

    Each fairground and park operates and is managed differently. A few years ago, we made inquiries about setting up a Celtic festival at the History San Jose Park in San Jose, CA. We heard from the park manager that there was no non-profit discount, despite having heard from city officials there might be. We learned that it would have cost us over $15,000 minimum to hold the event, and we would have had to bring in all operational personnel ourselves.

    In contrast, Ardenwood Historic Farm, a park located about 25 miles away in Fremont, CA, in another county, Alameda County, coordinated with organizers of the Celtic festival run by Gayle Wayne and Wee Hands Productions and made their own park staff available for many of the needs, and did offer discounts for different types of events. We were looking at San Jose as a possible venue since Gayle had moved to Seattle for several years. Since she returned, she has learned Ardenwood’s policies have also changed, and additionally, they have much less interest in Celtic festivals, or Renaissance Festivals, perhaps due to the changing demographics of Fremont. We’ve heard, indirectly, that the new park management believes there are no longer enough persons in the local area who are Celtic and would be interested in such a festival, and that generally, ethnic groups do not go to each other’s festivals. They suggested a ‘bigger festival’, and that we include more ethnic groups that comprise the California of today. It would not have allowed any group to stand out and would minimize each and all. It would have been hard to come up with a distinctive unifying theme. Apparently the park officials are studying the same demographics numbers we have. We’ve learned that as of 2010, there was both a smaller percentage of people who identified themselves as Irish or Scottish and a smaller overall number than even the Sacramento area. It’s only about 6% in San Francisco County, and less in other bay area counties and the numbers for most bay area counties together are less than Sacramento and its fewere, less populous adjacent counties.

    We strongly suggest that you pay close attention to your local and regional demographics. Thoroughly identify your intended ticket buying audience. Next, find the policies, rules and fees in writing for renting a park or fairgrounds, and know to whom the park or fairground manager is accountable and determine how much accountability and scrutiny there is really. Also policies and fee structures change, as determined by city councils, city departments and county boards of supervisors, etc. year to year. If you share the financial management with a venue, or another organization, make sure everyone understands the procedures, the expenses, who pays for what, and that the rules and procedures in handling money and expenses are the same for everyone, and that the books are open to the top officials of both parties and standard, even if simple, accounting and spreadsheets are used. Know all of what expenses there are, including who is responsible for insurance, and inspection fees, before you commit to the site, and have a clause in your contract about who handles what unexpected later fees. Last, have a lawyer local to the venue (same city/town and county) available whom you have already met, has a good local reputation, and you can call in a pinch.

    We hope this article provides everyone a better understanding of what it takes to create and maintain occasional or annual festivals and how much work in addition to all the research into policies, rules, and setting up fair, accountable financial systems must be done. This is before preparing for possible problems of weather, and determining and arranging staff, parking, emergency procedures, and entertainment, foods, beverages, etc. Festival organizers who persist are a rare group and deserve appreciation and support. We’ve also noticed that most organizers and even many of those who volunteer to staff the events are older persons, in their 50’s and older. The younger generation has yet to step up.

    This pandemic has caused a lot of people to rethink their events, how much effort they are willing to put out for what, and personal goals. There will be a lot of changes going forward.


    Thomas Fallon Statue

    A 2009 photo of the Thomas Fallon statue
    in Pellier Park at St. James and Julian Streets.

    (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group File Photo)

    Editorial: Create task force to openly discuss SJ’s Fallon statue

    Controversy offers opportunity to explore our local history and perhaps come to understanding and consensus

    By April Halberstadt — April 1st, 2021

    In recent weeks there has once again been considerable discussion about events that shape our heritage. This debate has now reached the level of damaging community art and demanding that reminders of our Californio heritage be removed from public view.

    This time the equestrian sculpture celebrating California statehood is the target; in recent years the Veterans War Memorial was damaged by protestors. As the result of the repeated damage and ongoing threats, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has sent an official memorandum to the Office of Cultural Affairs, requesting that the city begin the formal process of ‘deaccessioning’ the art piece, commonly referred to as the ‘Fallon Statue’.

    Deaccession will be a time-consuming process and can be quite expensive, almost as expensive as creating and placing a piece of public art. The statue was originally designed to support San Jose’s identity as the location of California statehood when America became a nation with two coasts. The equestrian sculpture was placed around 2002, one of a collection of San Jose art pieces celebrating Pueblo Uno, agricultural heritage, the work of Ernesto Galarza, and our Fondadores.

    Liccardo has also been a recent target of damage related to the statue controversy as protestors painted his home with graffiti and gleefully filmed themselves in the act. They invited some of the local media and posted pictures of themselves doing the damage. Fortunately the Liccardo family was away at the time. Horrified neighbors showed up the next day to repair the defacement of the Liccardo home.

    The California Pioneers of Santa Clara Valley have responded to the recent destruction and assault on our heritage. They have sent a request to the City Council to consider this an opportunity for public discussion. The membership of the Pioneers includes the descendents of Ohlone, Spanish, Mexican, Chilean, and various Yankee pioneers. Founded in 1875, they proudly celebrate our Californio heritage and have collected documentation and artifacts about our Valley for decades. The Pioneers currently operate two museums in San Jose, the Roberto Adobe on Lincoln Avenue and their home at the Paulson House within History San Jose.

    The Pioneers feel the controversy presents a teaching moment, an opportunity to explore our local history and perhaps come to understanding and consensus. They feel removing the statue would remove the opportunity to tell the many stories it might represent. While some members of the public have asserted the statue should be removed because it represents oppression and genocide, the Pioneers respond that any possible acts of cruelty and domination need to be addressed and expiated, not ignored.

    The City of San Jose is Pueblo Uno, the oldest civil settlement on the West Coast of America. Visitors frequently ask, ‘Where did California start?’ We have only one very small adobe remaining from our early years as El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe to share with them. The Pioneers are proud to be Californios, residents whose heritage includes all groups. We embrace newcomers, those who seek their fortune in this proud land. Mi casa es su casa is our welcome. A public discussion of the history inspiring this sculpture provides an opportunity to not only share our history with newcomers, it offers all of us a chance to reflect. A better understanding of our past can open the path to awareness and forgiveness, especially since we cannot change past events.

    We strongly suggest the San Jose City Council initiate a task force of recognized historians to open discussion and move Pueblo Uno into reconciliation, understanding and peace.

    April Halberstadt is a historian and former board member of the California Pioneers of Santa Clara Valley


    John Whelan

    John Whelan

    Editorial – Support Artists

    Together with Kindness and Love

    2021-03-28 by John Whelan

    This is a long read and I hope you do.

    My friends, there will be no Whelan Master Session on Easter Saturday but we have great sessions still to come. First I just want to reflect on the past 20 weeks of Incredible music, friendship, sharing and caring that has happened.

    The pandemic has taken its toll on all of us and I am no exception. The effect of being locked down by all the musicians we have had from Ireland does not come through at the sessions because my peers are true ambassadors of Ireland and the friendliness that you would be greeted with if you were there. However the struggle both socially and financially is real and those of you who have participated will be forever in their hearts.

    This of course is also true of my dear friends here and from the UK as well.

    As a musician who lost all my income starting the second week of March 2020 I have shared tears, fear and yes, even joy with my fellow musicians who have encountered the same. I was speaking with someone from Ireland, who asked the question, how is an artist supposed to survive almost two years with no income? The answer of course is that it is not possible. We also know that almost ALL artists turned to doing virtual performances which has been amazing for some and maybe not so for others.

    We all know that there are great numbers of people in other fields of work that have suffered just as much but I, like most of you am not in a position to help everyone. We can however as lovers of Irish music and culture do our part to help our friends, heroes, legends and even those who were just starting their careers when the pandemic hit.

    I made a decision to do what I could to help my peers recoup some of their losses financially but also fill some of that void from lack of contact with some of the people they have missed around the globe because they can’t tour. I want you to think about what you can do moving forward as the lockdowns in Ireland continue and certain restrictions remain in many parts of this country.

    Keeping in mind that even as some parts of the country open up there is no overnight comeback for any musician that has been touring for the past twenty years. Sharing posts about virtual concerts or liking somebody’s performance did not for the most part help pay their rent, or mortgage nor did it help cover the cost of baby formula or diapers.

    Musicians that I know are giving people and that’s why they love sharing their music but it is also difficult for a lot of them to now be in a position to ask for help. Just for the record I tried to apply for the SBA grants and loans but was turned down and I know many others have also.

    So here comes the hard part and the reality of where we are as artists in the world with very few exceptions. If one of my peers does a video or live performance and they get 1000 views that can if they are lucky generate $100 to maybe $200 if they do that once a week that is $800. In the US most apartments in populated areas where musicians generally have to live is double that before you pay for anything else. I have been blessed with a very small group of people that have pulled me through this pandemic and I will be forever grateful to them but implore all of you to try and support your favorite artist and to not assume that they are financially stable or rich because they have toured for 25 years or more. The price of a cup of coffee or even $1 given by 1000 supporters will make a difference in their lives.

    I am not a scholar, my friends. I went to trade school and now I can’t really even do that without risking the use of my hands going forward but the Whelan Master Sessions is a respite and escape for a lot of my peers from the struggle they are facing with the pandemic. I get really excited when we get 50 to 70 people for artists that are used to filling 3000 seat theaters and it just blows my mind that we don’t get at least a steady flow of 100 or more for having the chance to play with them live for two hours with only a $20 donation.

    I know I risk upsetting people by writing this but if you don’t read it it’s not an issue. If you have gotten this far then I guess you know what to do. I’m only relaying what a lot are afraid to say.

    Let’s support these artists who are giving and blessing us with their talent by filling the void any way they can.

    Thank you to my base supporters for being there every step of the way. Lets get past this terrible ordeal by being kind and loving toward each other.

    John Whelan


    Green Beer

    A Green Beer & A Plastic Shamrock
    (Tullamore Dew is made in Ireland, but their tee-shirt is not)

    Green Beer is Irish-American
    So is procrastination

    AmeriCeltic to Retire from Organizing St. Patrick’s Day Events

    After 50 years of organizing major and minor events of many types (some with thousands of people from multiple states), unions, political parties, building businesses and such, we are cutting back, and we are retiring completely from producing at least one genre of events, St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations, Festivals, Concerts or Whatever. We will continue to publicize others’ future efforts, all equally. For us, as publishers of a newsletter, the more competing events, the better we do financially, with a lot less effort.

    On Saturday, March 13, 2021 we had a financially successful, beautifully done, well presented success with what will be our last, this time on Zoom, because of the pandemic. We had a beautifully done all day festival that was not a financial success on March 17, 2019. Word of advice to future March 17 event producers. Americans love alcohol, really, really love alcohol, and they have small, often split families and no longer care if their children get to enjoy Irish music, dance, etc. as much as they, as adults, have the opportunity to drink alcohol. NEVER plan any future St. Patrick’s Day event with live audiences where you expect to make money, that does not serve alcohol. Ideally, you also make sure some of it is dyed green, and likewise any nearby fountains and rivers and light up all the nearby buildings, the larger the better, in green.

    In 2019, the Saint’s Day fell on a Sunday, and that was the last lovely, in person, non-alcohol, family Saint Patrick’s Day event we produced. It marked over ten years of such concerts that were always successes, but likewise financial nail biters, as the costs of production kept rising. The cost of theater rent, sound and lighting personnel, and the bands themselves rose every year.

    This year, 2021, even with the reduced costs of an online festival, we found ourselves selling tickets more slowly than ever before and the ‘last minute rush’ starting later than it ever has. 28.0% ticket sales and nearly 40% if our revenue came in the last two days, and we were continuing to sell tickets until the last hour of the event!

    This is no way for anyone to minimize their health risks!

    The biggest issue is the dwindling Irish population in the San Francisco Bay area metropolitan region, particularly Santa Clara County, the largest county. As a person who has been a political party official and analyst, I’ve paid attention to the demographic figures showing the steep decline in the numbers of persons who identify themselves as ‘Irish.’ Twenty years ago that was about 16%, but in 2010 that number had dropped to about 6%. Then there are the geographic and organizational divisions, starting with the age old rivalry between the three large cities in the Bay area and the unwillingness of many in each to drive or take BART or the train anymore to the other. It’s not as if the train or BART by itself gets most people where they want or need to be in any of the three cities, and the Irish events are typically distant from these. Beyond that is the divisions in the Irish organizations themselves and each and nearly every one of them wants to be the leading organization for the entire bay area. They, and some of the bars and pubs want to own St. Patrick’s Day for themselves and see all other Irish organizations, pubs, bars, etc. as unfair competition. Trying to figure out which ones are more cooperative and supportive and which are not, from one year to the next is not easy. Leadership/ownership and management changes, attitudes change. As the older Irish have died or moved away and fewer young Irish who care about the local organizations, and previous traditions move here, or not, the organizations and pubs still struggling to exist, make money and pay bills as Irish entities seem to have become even more competitive. It’s become a lot like the old warring Irish clans for either clan chiefdoms, the kingship of one of the four or five kingdoms on the island, or worse, the high kingship of all. The famous U.S. Union leader Walter Reuther once looked at the fractious labor unions and non-unionized labor and exclaimed, ‘quit fighting over pieces of a small pie–let’s make a bigger pie–together!’ That observation and encouragement was made nearly 100 years ago. Some groups seem to feel it still doesn’t apply to them, and all humans.

    Recently something else happened that we’ve seen and heard about time and again also. A young American of Scottish descent went to Scotland and as she was traveling said to someone ‘well, I’m Scottish, too.’ Technically by DNA she is correct. The Americans of Scots and Irish descent still have the same blood types and unique factors, the fair skin and a lot of blue and green eyes, and the same haplogroups. Most families have not been in the Americas long enough to begin to develop mutations that create new haplogroups, diverging from older populations. If a Scot or Irish person needed a transplant or transfusion, his or her best match outside of the small populations in Ireland and Scotland would be among at least 200 million North Americans, mostly in the U.S. But blood, DNA, skin and eyes don’t make you automatically one thing or another and the Scots retorted to this young lady, ‘no you’re not a Scot–you’re AMERICAN!’.

    That’s the other problem. It’s not just ‘other countries’ from which we inherited our DNA. Some ethnic organizations IN THE U.S. are ‘purists’ still, and you can only be either a member, or have your cultural efforts–even to support that ethnic culture, supported by, or collaborated with, if you are ‘pure enough’ in their own ethnicity to those entities, and have the ‘right’ surnames, or you are willing to take orders from them, and work exclusively with one or another but put your money, your talents, your skills, and experience under their control. It’s ‘park your brains, shut your mouth, but hand over your wallet and rolodex, please–and deliver a large amount of general American mutts support for our event to us.’.

    The reaction of some Scots in Scotland to this young American of real Scottish descent who undoubtedly shares their blood and haplogroup was exactly the same we’ve seen and heard before by Irish, and Scots, and others in THIS country, not just Scotland, Ireland and elsewhere in the world to Americans who are trying to identify with and support their ancestral cultures.

    The fact is unless we were born in another country, or your parents were and raised you entirely in their culture–including sending you to an ethnic language school, or if they could afford to, sending you to school or immersion camps, etc. in their native countries, we are Americans of Scottish, Irish, etc. descent but we are NOT Scots, Irish, etc.. Get over that idea. We need to respect and honor the traditions we feel deserve to be respected and honored but we need to also develop our own American culture out of the traditions, heritage and history we admire most. This is OUR country, the country of a majority of people who are now mixed in heritage–Scots, Welsh, Irish, Mexican, Asian, etc. together, albeit over half the nation is a quarter or more Scots, Scots-Irish or Irish and we might all lean a little more toward ‘Celtic,’

    For those purists of any ethnicity, by all means, keep and enjoy your music, your organizations and clubs/pubs, etc.–among yourselves for fun. You will inspire others to learn some of your music, dance and other activities–as avocations and keep traditions more alive. Just accept you will also be raising money mostly among yourselves to do so, and that performing artists in the purist genres will have more limited appeal and a much harder time supporting themselves–as well as helping to support the pubs and clubs. It is no longer possible to fill amphitheatres or large halls that cost hundreds or thousands to rent–not counting the sound and lighting people, with most purely ethnic anything groups We have to strongly recommend that musicians, and other performing artists if they want to make a living at music or performing arts, to expand their genres and be able to play or perform in multiple places and not identify solely with one or another. It’s still possible to make money under ‘Celtic’ though we would not expect that to last forever, or even more than a century or so longer, but you might find it more profitable to mix it up a little more and make it ‘Celtic AMERICAN.’


    Washington Admired

    What George Washington Admired in the Scots-Irish

    Self Sufficiency and Perseverance

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker published 2021-02-26

    It’s not often that either the White House or Congress demonstrate a real interest in traditional Scots-Irish America, either intentionally or unintentionally. The White House just did this week and it’s worth noticing and aiding. President Biden is setting up a task force to do a review of manufacturing–and mining and other production of raw materials, to determine what manufacturing and more needs to be restored and prioritized, for the good of the nation as a whole and its defense. It’s finally dawned on some people in government that if even the boots our soldiers wear and all the batteries in their portable command and communications equipment come from China, it’s a bit hard to confront China’s bad behaviors, even those that hurt Americans. Likewise, it’s just as hard for Europe to confront bad behavior of Russia while importing so much oil and gas from Russia.

    In the darkest days of our American Revolution, George Washington found some hope and inspiration and both commented on it and wrote about it. George came to greatly appreciate the Scots and Scots-Irish, and Irish (yes, there were some native Irish who had emigrated long before the 1845-50 famine and epidemics), on the frontier of America in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York and Massachusetts. They were willing to fight longer and do with less and didn’t run at the first shots of seasoned British regulars. They and their families also provided for them and they persevered with less–a lot less than their opponents.

    In researching my late mother’s Wallace family, and its many allied lines, mostly Scottish and Scots-Irish I found most had passed through a few counties which managed to both retain nearly all their records and make them more available to researchers in either published form, microfilm and later online. Only one county in the entire U.S. has done what should be done for making the most records available to researchers, even in the modern age of digital camera phones, connections to computer for easy downloads and the gazillions of computer programmers around. That county happened to be a county where many thousands of families lived and passed through at a time when the population of the U.S. was still quite small. The descendants of these families, today, number in the tens of millions. This county was Augusta County, Virginia and the person who spent years with nothing more than pen, paper and an early non-electric typewriter was Lyman Chalkley. HIs three volume series, published in 1911, of all the abstracts of all the county records, including deeds and civil disputes is STILL the ‘platinum’ or ‘diamond’ standard for records availability for researchers. True, his abstracts were sometimes a little lean, but given that no one else has even come close to what he did, then or since, it’s a rather nit-picky complaint by the woefully ignorant and lazy.

    In this series and bits and pieces of history in other counties, like Frederick County, Maryland,I learned what George Washington came to know about the people who made up over two-thirds of his army, half his officer corps and stayed the longest, seeing our American Revolution succeed. The reason that this hard core group of people was so successful is because they were so self-sufficient in EVERYTHING, and understood ‘vertical integration’ especially in life and death matters, far better than most politicians and highly paid industry and company executives today.

    We’re a long way from naked warriors in blue paint running around with spears and bows and arrows and were even more developed than that between 1774-1784. We grew flax for shirts, raised sheep for woolen trousers and jackets, socks and blankets and cloaks, knew how to make felt (rain resistance, used in cloaks and hats). We had weaving coops. The Buchanan family had one notable one. Most families had one or two females who knew how to spin well and provided the thread and yarn to local coops of weavers. The McDowells were surveyors and blacksmiths–and had explorers in the family that found not only bog iron but a couple of vein sources of iron ore–on the frontier with often hostile natives, requiring extra protections by people for the miners. The Miller family (Irish) had six forges that could produce guns–and cannons and did. So did the Hughes family in Maryland. Cornwallis deliberately sent Tarleton and others out to find those forges and destroy them when he realized that not all the cannon and guns, particularly for the southern armies of Washington, were simply raided stores of the British army anymore. There are stories about how the forges were hidden by the women, mostly older men, and teens not in the armies who had been running them, and everything else in the supply chains. In Augusta County and its initial daughter counties was a salt pond, caves with bat guano (fertilzer and nitrate for gunpowder). The frontiersmen knew where springs with suflfur deposits were and how to make charcoal. They’d found lead and were willing to take all their nice pewter table and decorative ware, including spoons and melt it down for musket balls and did so. They raised cattle and pigs for meat and preserved it in barrels that they made, with salt they mined or extracted with evaporation, and smoked with charcoal they made. The mostly Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish, and some German people provided literally everything that an army needed to keep going, and the men for the army as well. They provided clothing, shoes and boots, food, weapons, horses, and kept the supply lines shorter for the southern armies than they generally were in the north and kept the soldiers better supplied. They had to rapidly build industries and set state and national standards from scratch, particularly for weapons while fighting the revolution and do this not in ten years, but a year or two at most if they didn’t want the British and their native allies to overwhelm them rapidly..

    Now it’s true that Virginia and North Carolina also had a couple of extra advantages: climate, which allowed two or three crops a year, and better soil. Glaciers hadn’t stripped soil or left many tons of rocks that constantly had to be removed as with nearly everything further north from Maryland to what became Maine. However, the southern frontier and piedmont families understood this and worked to produce more to make up for what their northern neighbors could not. At the same time they were doing this, they amazingly were also clearing roads and building bridges to expedite getting the goods to the armies that needed them.

    It wasn’t a perfect system and it didn’t begin right away in 1774-5. Up until then, as colonies, the Americans were not allowed to do full manufacturing, especially large scale for nearly anything. That was one of the big reasons for our revolution. We were being forcibly prevented from developing a manufacturing economy and needlessly paying high prices for shoddy goods sent from overseas! In this past few decades, our bankers, company and industry executives, and politicians literally altogether threw away what we fought a war for! Maryland was producing iron bars that were shipped to England to be made into finished goods and British weapons that were then either sold to Americans at high prices, or in the case of the weapons, often used against them. Fortunately some gunsmiths and cannon makers had emigrated and eventually found their way to the forges. The Hughes family itself, turned out to have been a family guild of gunsmiths (all kinds of guns, large and small) and had a century of experience.

    Parents were making everything and growing everything and then teaching their sons and daughters to do the same. Washington observed that the overwhelming majority of Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish of the day, unlike the English tidewater tobacco plantationers, owed no debts to anyone, save a small amount for mortgages to buy more land, paid over time, did not have to deal with shoddy British made, and over priced merchandise, and have lengthy long distance legal disputes about that, and were generally happier and tougher.

    Nor were their homes extremely Spartan and bare. The coppersmiths, white-smiths, and even some jewelers had made their way to the frontier communities and likewise potters and glassmakers. The families took pride in the fine hardwoods on their lands and in the nearby forests and how they were used, and much of the furniture they made was finer than most of what England bothered to send them. Even the most remote frontier homes had feather beds and pillows and bolsters, chairs, chests or bureaus, curtains and rugs–all made by the families and communities. Flax also yielded linseed oil, it’s actually just another name for flaxseed oil, and bees were already being raised for both honey and wax, as well as sorghum for a sugar syrup. Thus, they also had varnishes and cleaning agents for their furniture. They had enough types of ‘sugars,’ for higher calorie diets and more energy that it wasn’t only George Washington who had dental problems. From the Germans who settled at the same time on the frontier, they learned better hygiene, and how to make sauerkraut and pickle foods. Sauerkraut is a source of Vitamin C and K in the winter. Vitamins were not recognized and understood then, but it was noticed that people who ate more sauerkraut had less scurvy and that there was less food poisoning from pickled foods.

    In tidewater and large town areas, as much as 40% of children born died before school age. This was not the case on the frontier and in small towns in the piedmont areas. Wills show that men lived to be in their late 60’s and 70’s and still had 8, 9 and 10 children alive and having children of their own at the time the wills were written. When a father died, the community–church and local government besides families stepped forward and ensured that all children had a male provider and guardian besides the mother, and that in non-wealthy families boys and girls were educated to learn to read and write and bound out as apprentices as guardians who also had to provide for them well, to learn trades. We had no instances of orphans or children of single mothers with no support from male relatives–none. This is going to shock some people, but we also exempted the elderly and ‘infirm’ from taxes, and evictions when they were tenants, or in the case of the latter arranged to have them move in with a wealthier relative with more room–without having a pandemic. There are many hundreds of court records showing precisely these things, just for Augusta County and its daughter counties, and then continuing into Kentucky and Tennessee into the next century.

    When we fought World War II, those principles and practices still remained. All our weapons, the clothing for our soldiers, the food we had, the vehicles for the soldiers and the fuel, all were not just made in the U.S. but the raw materials were produced or mined here also. We even supplied our allies–even while seeing so much of our slow sitting duck ships sunk by torpedoes from submarines and bombs dropped from airplanes. We can not do any of that today,and missiles are a lot faster than the previous generations of ship destroyers..

    This is still a rich country. Mines were closed many decades ago before the development of less costly safety equipment and measures, more efficient extraction, and better geology, and more. They were closed when the prices of metals and minerals dropped below what inefficient practices could profit from, and when quite frankly, slavery still existed along with no regard for the environment in far too many areas of Africa and southeast and south Asia. There is no reason why mining and geology, especially underground, which disturbs the surface less, along with a lot more recycling can’t be restored. The Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish were also remembered for very little waste and for constantly finding ways to re-use things and components. We didn’t have junk piles cluttering up our forests and creeks and rivers being used as dumping sites for everything.

    Most manufacturing today has also advanced and uses more robotics. There is no reason why manufacturing cannot and should not be brought back to the U.S. for everything we used to make well, and for new products from new materials and technologies.

    The limitations and destruction of what we one had and could have has been mostly the result of short-sighted and lazy greed from a minority with no regard for the nation as a whole, not even local communities and states in which the persons who have been laziest and greediest resided.

    This week, President Biden (who is proud of being Irish and pointedly told the BBC so), announced a 100 day review of manufacturing in the U.S., particularly for national security and defense to determine what to restore. The comments included vertical integration and mining, such as things used in technology like rare earth minerals. He’s going to be using a lot of younger people who have no memory of when we were more self-sufficient, no study of history, and no experience with anything but government and politics, and will miss a lot. It’s hard to say if many of them have really paid attention to even the fact all the batteries for their entertainment electronics and cell phones are made in China, and if they go into national chain stores of any type, nearly everything used on a daily basis, including clothing, shoes, electronics, appliances, etc., etc. all says ‘made in China,’ or in the case of some clothing, ‘made in Pakistan,’ you know the country that helped Osama bin Laden escape Tora Bora and hid him from its alleged ally, the U.S. for a solid ten years.

    We still have our land, our soil, our water, and the technology for water recycling and desalination, as well as recycling other materials. This entire contiguous continent has only been mining in most parts for a few hundred years. Unlike Europe, Asia and Africa, who have been mining for over a thousand years, we actually still have most of our mineral and metal ore resources–we just haven’t bothered to go find and develop them, and recycle everything we could. We have 330 million people, most of whom are reasonably intelligent and better educated than our ancestors 250 years ago could have even hoped for their own children. We have many more tools, though it would be nice if more of them were made in the U.S. again. There is no reason for this nation to be dependent upon any nation or region an ocean away for anything.

    So, help Biden and his inexperienced research staff out–to help the NATION. Send suggestions to your Congressmen, asking them to forward them to Biden’s ‘task force,’ as to what we should be growing again, what we should be mining and how, what we should be manufacturing and how and where (minimizing supply lines from raw materials to manufacturing and to the consumers and military.). Let’s show our appreciation for him having remembered an important bit of history and that the things about the Scots, the Scots-Irish and Irish that Washington so admired are not dead yet, and ditto the people themselves. And spread the word, nationwide to your friends and family to do the same. Let’s finally get the Congress to do what it’s been either ignoring, or promising and not doing, since the 1980’s. The White House can’t do it all by executive order, especially not and have the efforts last.


    Celtic Constitution

    Editorial – Our Celtic Constitution:
    A Well Regulated Militia

    Has the U.S. Forgotten Its Celtic Heritage?

    By Celia Fábos-Becker – Published 2021-01-15

    People forget that the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution comes not just out of the American Revolution and the few years leading up to it, including the French and Indian War, but out of earlier Scots and Ulster Scots history. Too many people also too conveniently forget the first part of the 2nd Amendment, ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State…

    Over the past two centuries, especially since the Civil War, we’ve seen a number of gangs spring up that claim to be ‘militias.’ Claiming to be one and being one in the historically understood sense of the term, especially as George Washington and our founders saw and wanted them, are two different things. In fact General George had quite a lot negative to say about untrained militias with no discipline, who, if they didn’t accidentally shoot themselves, didn’t follow officers’ orders, ignored the experienced Continental army and often didn’t cooperate with it, even in fighting the English, and ran from battle quickly. Washington wanted disciplined and experienced men of good standing in their communities, especially since he had to rely upon those same communities to provide all the additional, very real support for the Army, especially food and clothing.

    What we saw in Washington DC last week were not militias! These were not men of good standing in their communities – rather, they were gangs of thugs, a lot like the roaming gangs of mercenaries in the medieval Renaissance period whom the Byzantine empire was pleased to hire to use against the Turks, knowing most would be killed and thus eliminating a second problem for Constantinople and its neighbors. The Turks also used such gangs of thugs, calling them ‘crazy heads,’ and put them out front in their battles, knowing that the more experienced Byzantine linemen and military regulars would do them the same favor as they were doing for the Byzantines. This was a common strategy in medieval Renaissance warfare — get rid of the mostly younger, excess male thugs in an area by making them cannon fodder in all the regional feuds and warfare.

    This strategy was also used in Scotland in Clan warfare, and especially notably in the rebellion of 1745. The British noted that when their experienced, disciplined regulars killed and captured soldiers on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie they found that most of e dead and captured were usually the youngest, least disciplined and least experienced members of their clans. These were the most dispensable, for one reason or another, to their extended families and clan leaders, and villages or towns. Few clan leaders and their oldest sons were taking the kinds of risks these Scots took at Flodden Field.

    So, what was a ‘well-regulated militia?’ The colonial court records of the Scots Irish in Virginia, even just the abstracts in works such as the three volume ‘Scotch-Irish Chronicles’ by the very late Lyman Chalkley, or all the interviews and original papers of commanders and militia members in the Lyman Draper Collection at the University of Wisconsin, LDS library in Salt Lake City and in the Library of Congress, shed light on this. So do the LDS microfilms of the ‘Irish Muster Rolls’ and related items of 17th century Ulster and English-ruled Ireland. One thing that one quickly observes is that the best and most weapons and men were placed in the hands or under the command of the best officers, the best people, including those with previous, solid, military experience. However, previous military experience alone did not guarantee command and the best materiel and men.

    If you read through the documents and abstracts, you find that the officers, right down to ensigns, sergeants and corporals were also expected to be men of good standing in their communities from good families, if not wealthy, at least decently self-sufficient and with spare relatives at home to keep those prosperous farms and small village businesses running. They were also expected to be educated and have, depending upon the rank degrees of gentlemanly behavior, consistently practiced, even at home. They were expected to be generally sober and courageous. They had to be able to ride for long hours on horseback, be able to stand the elements with minimal food and protection. Waterproofing as we know it didn’t exist then. You were active when needed in any and all kinds of weather. However, it is clear that just riding around looking for potential armed enemies and dispatching them was not the whole of their responsibilities. The county militias were police, fire and disaster relief, and road builders all rolled up into one entity and more. They were the same people called upon to man and lead road building or road-clearing teams, do bucket brigades to put out fires, quickly build levees and small dams to divert or ward off flood waters and more.

    Since when have you seen any of these self-acclaimed modern militias doing anything but strutting around and brandishing guns trying to intimidate people of color, elderly women and anyone else they think can be bullied. Most, though not all, of the past year’s incidents of vandalism, and even some looting, have, after investigation and arrests been attributed to the fake, self-acclaimed militias all trying to make it look like some other group was responsible. Yes, even the police station in Minneapolis, my husband’s family’s home town and not 2 blocks from where one of his brothers is employed is now known to have been set ablaze by this kind of person. A federal officer in Oakland and a county deputy sheriff were shot and killed by another. They are gangs and terrorists, not militias. They are no different than what every civilized medieval and Renaissance king and noble wanted to rid his country of, and usually did, by pitting them against one another or finding some other opportunity to get them slaughtered by a real army that itself would have few casualties..

    However, there are two other incidents in history the same people who comprise these fake militias and support them are also forgetting. One was the Williamite War in Ireland and the other is the American Revolution itself. Again it shows how ignorant and uneducated most are–and how easily defeated they can be or worse.

    In the Williamite War that started when James II first abdicated and ran away from England and then the French king pushed his trouble making, expensive to support cousin out again, James then tried to regain his English throne through Ireland. That says something right there. He knew that the Irish were not a strong, well equipped army and well disciplined but intended to use it anyway, knowing that many Irish would be killed. He had a sense that he might need an Irish army, regardless of its strength and had the Earl of Tyrone build an entirely Catholic army out of the militias that had been in place for a century. Most Protestant Scots and English were purged and some of their weapons taken from them. Those purged recognized the danger and did try to regroup, on their own and even had a fortified town with arms. However, they regrouped too late, and were not supported by the English in time. The Earl of Tyrone was also clever enough to recruit British officers who had been loyal to the Stuarts and rather than renounce their religion had enlisted in the French army where they acquired valuable, real military experience in both fighting and organization, including lightning fast raids into the surrounding country for food and other supplies or to kill the ad hoc lately formed oppositions–local militia officers and members before they could get organized. These seasoned regular army trained and experienced veterans were very effective within the army that the Earl of Tyrone had reformed and been training as a real army since 1685. However, though the French were quite happy to use the Stuart supporting Catholic exiles in their own armies as expendables, they did not supply the surviving seasoned exiles with many regular French troops when the exiles went to Ireland. There was a limit to what the civilized French were willing to risk that was ‘theirs.’ So what if the exiles were killed, it saved the French from having to pay non-French and more men would undoubtedly be found somewhere else quite easily.

    So, in Ireland, Tyrone’s army initially overran and slaughtered much of the lately formed local/regional militias. Then the English, Scots and seasoned Dutch arrived, whose armies had been better organized, better equipped, and more experienced longer. The less well trained and equipped Irish army, though real, was soundly defeated in several battles, and a siege, and James II ended up back in France for good. Most people have heard the old saying about gunfighters: there is, inevitably, always someone better and faster. Consider the experience of the Dutch who had been fighting the Spanish, French and Holy Roman empire for centuries and were tough, organized, experienced survivors–and had the backing of the wealthy industrial might of England, by 1689. Never bring a knife to a gunfight is another old saying. The Irish by comparison were as knives to the guns of William of Orange, who by the way, was the next nearest male relative to Charles II after James II as William was the son of Charles’ older sister.

    George Washington had his own experience with militias, good and bad. He liked the tough, experienced well organized Scots and Scots-Irish militias created by the counties on the frontiers of Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York. He had little use for the militias sometimes hastily assembled by counties with larger towns further east who saw them as little more than the traditional means of getting rid of the unwanted riffraff in their communities. These more eastern militias were the ones who, when confronted by seasoned, well armed, English regulars either threw down their weapons and ran, or surrendered to the English and offered to take the loyalty oath to the English and join them. The English, though, had their measure and many were either sent home after they’d taken the oath, thoroughly cowed, or the English tossed them into the hell-hole prison ships with Continental army regulars that had served under Washington whom they feared more and wanted to die in confinement. Washington found most of the county militias to be nearly completely useless and only good for distractions, delaying tactics, and cannon fodder, at best. Most of the non-frontier militias, to him, were mostly expendable. He was one of the officers who insisted upon the phrase ‘well regulated militia, in the 2nd Amendment.’

    The truth is, the ‘national guard,’ originally called ‘state militias’ were what the original founding fathers who had faced seasoned English regulars envisioned, not ignorant, undisciplined, gangs of thugs for whom their own communities had little or no regard. Perhaps we should restore the name ‘state militias’ to the real militias who like their colonial predecessors did a lot more than just occasionally strut around brandishing weapons trying to look like men who should be respected when they aren’t. Perhaps we should require that any and all militias be regulated by the state, have training and be required to engage in other organized public services, requiring commitment to and hard work for their communities and states, like making sandbags for floods, cleaning up after hurricane, tornadoes and blizzards, removing excess brush in wildfire susceptible areas, and rebuilding county roads. Otherwise, if they insist on confronting real army and militia in the state capitols and U.S. capitol, over ignorant, gullible beliefs in a demagogue’s lies, I hope the real militias and army are as seasoned as regular forces in the past, including the Scots under William II, and we have enough body bags and morgue trailers that aren’t already committed to all those dying of Covid 19. I wouldn’t want these gangs of thugs to continue to stink up the capitols after they are dead.


    Brexit UK Musicians

    Brexit Blows up UK Musicans EU Tours

    Editorial – Brexit Rots Fish, Musicians and More

    Post Brexit Problems for Scots and English Fishermen, Performing Artists, etc.

    By Celia Fábos-Becker – Published 2021-01-14

    PBS and the BBC reported today (Thursday, January 14) that English and Scottish fishermen who enthusiastically took advantage of their more complete sovereignty over coastal and nearby waters, caught many tens of thousands of pounds of fresh fish and crustaceans only to have them die and rot, undelivered, because the government had not prepared them for all the new forms, paperwork and delivery delays to sell their catches to the EU.

    The BBC videos interviewed one company whose delivery of ‘fresh caught’ crustaceans took 5 days to get to the intended customer and arrived dead and rotten, which the customer then, naturally, refused. Another snippet showed over 10,000 pounds of fresh fish in boxes in a warehouse, sitting, going to waste. Some distributors are hastily trying to freeze their catches and hope that their French customers will accept frozen instead of fresh. Others are trying to route their deliveries through Denmark for greater speed. Not all can do either and distributors interviewed by the BBC were predicting higher costs of doing business fewer customers on the Continent, and of course more job losses in the fishing and fish packaging and delivery industries The British government has said it will make good the losses of the fishermen and work on streamlining the process for customs and delivery but has no process for either yet. UK fishers cry foul as Brexit red tape leaves catch rotting

    Additionally, the BBC reported that performing artists who used to freely move between the UK and EU, now must obtain visas and are not finding it as easy to do so, and being otherwise limited in former EU venues. The EU has policies of prioritizing its own performing artists and, of course, the UK is no longer a member of the EU and thus competes now with EU performers. ‘It’s going to be devastating’ – here’s how Brexit will screw over British touring artists

    These same British and also EU, particularly Irish, performers had noted that even with funding, such as from the Irish government, visas were getting much harder to obtain in the U.S. also, especially under the current administration. Nothing has been said yet by the incoming Biden administration about easing visas for British and European performing artists.

    The English who have acquired second homes on the Costa del Sol in Spain have been finding new restrictions on how long they are permitted to be at these vacation homes/second residences for a stretch and how many times per year they can visit. The wealthier English had seen some of this coming and have been buying less Spanish real estate since the Brexit vote. However, unlike buying land in Bermuda, the Bahamas or Jamaica, it was an easy, inexpensive trip to the Costa del Sol and one could visit that vacation home or second residence more easily, and frequently, such as for a three day weekend, if one wanted. In a last minute deal between the UK and Spain, Gibraltar, however, avoided the effects of a ‘hard Brexit.’

    However, all the 17,000 fishermen whose catches are dying and rotting and have yet to receive any recompense from their government and all the inconvenienced owners of property in Spain have their full sovereignty as they declared they wished.

    Read More …


    147 Members of the U.S. House and Senate Voting Against
    Accepting the Lawful Votes of the U.S. Electoral College
    Robert B. Aderholt
    Robert B. Aderholt
    Mo Brooks
    Mo Brooks
    Jerry Carl
    Jerry Carl
    Barry Moore
    Barry Moore
    Gary Palmer
    Gary Palmer
    Mike Rogers
    Mike Rogers
    Tommy Tuberville
    Tommy Tuberville
    Andy Biggs
    Andy Biggs
    Paul Gosar
    Paul Gosar
    Debbie Lesko
    Debbie Lesko
    David Schweikert
    David Schweikert
    Rick Crawford
    Rick Crawford
    Ken Calvert
    Ken Calvert
    Mike Garcia
    Mike Garcia
    Darrell Issa
    Darrell Issa
    Doug LaMalfa
    Doug LaMalfa
    Kevin McCarthy
    Kevin McCarthy
    Devin Nunes
    Devin Nunes
    Jay Obernolte
    Jay Obernolte
    Lauren Boebert
    Lauren Boebert
    Doug Lamborn
    Doug Lamborn
    Kat Cammack
    Kat Cammack
    Mario Diaz-Balart
    Mario Diaz-Balart
    Byron Donalds
    Byron Donalds
    Neal Dunn
    Neal Dunn
    Scott Franklin
    Scott Franklin
    Matt Gaetz
    Matt Gaetz
    Carlos Gimenez
    Carlos Gimenez
    Brian Mast
    Brian Mast
    Bill Posey
    Bill Posey
    John Rutherford
    John Rutherford
    Greg Steube
    Greg Steube
    Daniel Webster
    Daniel Webster
    Rick Scott
    Rick Scott
    Rick Allen
    Rick Allen
    Earl L. Carter
    Earl L. Carter
    Andrew Clyde
    Andrew Clyde
    Marjorie Taylor Greene
    Marjorie Taylor Greene
    Jody Hice
    Jody Hice
    Barry Loudermilk
    Barry Loudermilk
    Russ Fulcher
    Russ Fulcher
    Mike Bost
    Mike Bost
    Mary Miller
    Mary Miller
    Jim Baird
    Jim Baird
    Jim Banks
    Jim Banks
    Greg Pence
    Greg Pence
    Jackie Walorski
    Jackie Walorski
    Ron Estes
    Ron Estes
    Jacob LaTurner
    Jacob LaTurner
    Tracey Mann
    Tracey Mann
    Roger Marshall
    Roger Marshall
    Harold Rogers
    Harold Rogers
    Garret Graves
    Garret Graves
    Clay Higgins
    Clay Higgins
    Mike Johnson
    Mike Johnson
    Steve Scalise
    Steve Scalise
    John Kennedy
    John Kennedy
    Andy Harris
    Andy Harris
    Jack Bergman
    Jack Bergman
    Lisa McClain
    Lisa McClain
    Tim Walberg
    Tim Walberg
    Michelle Fischbach
    Michelle Fischbach
    Jim Hagedorn
    Jim Hagedorn
    Michael Guest
    Michael Guest
    Trent Kelly
    Trent Kelly
    Steven Palazzo
    Steven Palazzo
    Cindy Hyde-Smith
    Cindy Hyde-Smith
    Sam Graves
    Sam Graves
    Vicky Hartzler
    Vicky Hartzler
    Billy Long
    Billy Long
    Blaine Luetkemeyer
    Blaine Luetkemeyer
    Jason Smith
    Jason Smith
    Josh Hawley
    Josh Hawley
    Matt Rosendale
    Matt Rosendale
    Dan Bishop
    Dan Bishop
    Ted Budd
    Ted Budd
    Madison Cawthorn
    Madison Cawthorn
    Virginia Foxx
    Virginia Foxx
    Richard Hudson
    Richard Hudson
    Gregory F. Murphy
    Gregory F. Murphy
    David Rouzer
    David Rouzer
    Jeff Van Drew
    Jeff Van Drew
    Yvette Herrell
    Yvette Herrell
    Chris Jacobs
    Chris Jacobs
    Nicole Malliotakis
    Nicole Malliotakis
    Elise M. Stefanik
    Elise M. Stefanik
    Lee Zeldin
    Lee Zeldin
    Adrian Smith
    Adrian Smith
    Steve Chabot
    Steve Chabot
    Warren Davidson
    Warren Davidson
    Bob Gibbs
    Bob Gibbs
    Bill Johnson
    Bill Johnson
    Jim Jordan
    Jim Jordan
    Stephanie Bice
    Stephanie Bice
    Tom Cole
    Tom Cole
    Kevin Hern
    Kevin Hern
    Frank Lucas
    Frank Lucas
    Markwayne Mullin
    Markwayne Mullin
    Cliff Bentz
    Cliff Bentz
    John Joyce
    John Joyce
    Fred Keller
    Fred Keller
    Mike Kelly
    Mike Kelly
    Daniel Meuser
    Daniel Meuser
    Scott Perry
    Scott Perry
    Guy Reschenthaler
    Guy Reschenthaler
    Lloyd Smucker
    Lloyd Smucker
    Glenn Thompson
    Glenn Thompson
    Jeff Duncan
    Jeff Duncan
    Ralph Norman
    Ralph Norman
    Tom Rice
    Tom Rice
    William Timmons
    William Timmons
    Joe Wilson
    Joe Wilson
    Tim Burchett
    Tim Burchett
    Scott DesJarlais
    Scott DesJarlais
    Chuck Fleischmann
    Chuck Fleischmann
    Mark E. Green
    Mark E. Green
    Diana Harshbarger
    Diana Harshbarger
    David Kustoff
    David Kustoff
    John Rose
    John Rose
    Jodey Arrington
    Jodey Arrington
    Brian Babin
    Brian Babin
    Michael C. Burgess
    Michael C. Burgess
    John R. Carter
    John R. Carter
    Michael Cloud
    Michael Cloud
    Pat Fallon
    Pat Fallon
    Louie Gohmert
    Louie Gohmert
    Lance Gooden
    Lance Gooden
    Ronny Jackson
    Ronny Jackson
    Troy Nehls
    Troy Nehls
    August Pfluger
    August Pfluger
    Pete Sessions
    Pete Sessions
    Beth Van Duyne
    Beth Van Duyne
    Randy Weber
    Randy Weber
    Roger Williams
    Roger Williams
    Ron Wright
    Ron Wright
    Ted Cruz
    Ted Cruz
    Burgess Owens
    Burgess Owens
    Chris Stewart
    Chris Stewart
    Ben Cline
    Ben Cline
    Bob Good
    Bob Good
    Morgan Griffith
    Morgan Griffith
    Robert J. Wittman
    Robert J. Wittman
    Carol Miller
    Carol Miller
    Alexander X. Mooney
    Alexander X. Mooney
    Scott Fitzgerald
    Scott Fitzgerald
    Tom Tiffany
    Tom Tiffany
    Cynthia Lummis
    Cynthia Lummis

    Editorial: Celtic American Rogues Disgrace their Heritage

    Will Americans of Scottish, Irish and Scots-Irish descent stand up for the Constitution created by their Celtic Ancestors?

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker – Published 2021-01-08

    Last Wednesday, as Tony was writing our annual review of the upcoming Robert Burns celebrations, I was watching the BBC coverage of Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence beginning the people’s business of counting the votes of our Electoral College, when a mob of seditionist thugs attacked our nation’s Capitol building. Among the flags some carried were the ‘Betsy Ross flag,’ which is associated with the predominantly Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish founding of this nation–a nation founded to give its people what they did not have under the English, a flag that became associated with our success in doing so.

    To see this flag disgraced in the hands of traitors who apparently know nothing about the real history of this country, made us go just about ballistic. We’re human too and you really don’t want to know what crossed Cecilia’s mind about several states. It took awhile to regain our own relative calmness again, particularly for Cecilia, whose father’s family has been decimated in Hungary by both fascists and communists who seized power in very similar ways to what was attempted yesterday.

    Although Celia’s maternal ancestry is mostly Scottish, her paternal ancestry is Hungarian. What happened yesterday is all too familiar to her and her family. It happened in 1918 (communists under Bela Kun), 1944 (Arrow Cross–Hungarian name for Nazi’s, supported by Hitler and retreating Germans fleeing the Russians after they invaded Russia), post war Hungary, which allowed the communists to again take over. We personally know what happens when coups succeed. Massacres, such as large parts of my grandmother’s family who had resisted the communists and fascists, civil war, regional to world war.

    There can be NO excuses, NO toleration of ANYONE who participated in yesterday’s attempted coup, for that is exactly what it was, nor for anyone who aided, abetted, supported it or those involved, organizations and individuals, including 139 Members of the U.S. House and 8 members of the U.S. Senate who voted against accepting the lawful votes of the U.S. Electoral College. And most disgrace to us is that fully one-quarter of these bear a Scottish, Irish or Welsh surname!

    Nor can there be ANY tolerance for anyone who has tried to excuse or justify this TREASON since then! Please note their mug-shots and names in the panel on the right, and click this link to read the original article published by the New York Times last Thursday.

    In 1774-83, the mostly Scottish and Scots-Irish and Irish Americans rebelled against the United Kingdom (UK). It was a UK whose acts of union had been done with threats of invasion, and who then broke most of the promises made in the very act the English, as the dominant party, wrote. There was no one-man one vote, no investments in Scotland, almost nothing. The colonies had even fewer rights. We had NO representation in Parliament. We were not allowed to build manufacturing businesses. Freedom of speech and press was limited, and petitions had no recipients who were truly willing to fairly consider them in London. The king was a tyrant, who was not always willing to even accept the acts of parliament. Parliament distributed seats and allowed persons who were not residents of the districts to run in them. Persons of certain religions could not obtain higher education, could not go into professions and could not hold seats in Parliament.

    The Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish rebelled against that–successfully, and it was they, not the English who then wrote the Constitution to allow all that the English orchestrated ‘Act of Union’ did not. We have free speech–to a point–yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire, and other such situations excepted. We have the right of petition and complaint and courts to hear them. There were 66 lawsuits about election complaints presented by Trump and his supporters. NOT ONE had any substantial evidence. These 90 American judges, including Republicans appointed by Donald Trump himself, rejected every one of them. That kind of redress did not exist prior to our Revolution. It has existed ever since. Complainants had the right to approach lawyers, Congresspersons and the media. The recipients, in their turn, had the right to investigate and ignore any complaints that were found to be specious or lacking in real evidence.

    But what happened at our Capitol on January 6th, 2021 was an attempted coup, an insurrection against our own founding fathers and mothers, against the real patriots, who had real grievances, and very few rights, including the rights to speech, petition and government of 1776-1783.

    The majority of Americans who are descended from Scots, Scots-Irish, and Irish did not participate and do not support wannabe dictators or violent attempted coups. However, some did, some have been supporting a wannabe dictator for 5 years. His administration has far too many of them within it. They have supported members of Congress willing to support the belief that a President is above the law and that he can be a dictator. We probably all know of some who have supported these ideas and persons, and we all deluded ourselves into thinking they would not do the worst, that we can tolerate their lies and threats, they are just blowhards, sound and fury signifying nothing. Well, we just learned that far too many were not just meaningless blowhards.

    Shame on these traitors and seditionists of Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish descent who participated, supported, or have excused with false equivalencies based on unsubstantiated lies, and mental illness and weakness, these unpatriotic, fascist acts! Learn your real history, and the real history of this nation and make it work as it was intended to do so, peacefully. Learn the difference between propaganda and fact, real news and propaganda, lies and truth. Get your heads out of your bottles of booze and opioids, or out of your navels or kiesters or whatever it is you’ve been using to help delude yourselves and if necessary get appointments with your local county mental health professionals. Otherwise, those persons of Scottish, and Scots-Irish and irish descent who recognize and honor what we won in 1783, and who work in the FBI, in the Justice Department otherwise, in the states’ justice departments, are coming for you, and there will be plenty of others who are now willing to help them. We are not letting you turn this nation into another dictatorship or other form of tyranny run by drug-addled madmen, as Nazi Germany was, as Serbia in the early 1990’s was, as even England was with mad King George and all the drinking and other clubs whose members included members of the Parliament..

    Click Here to review previous, clearly prescient, editorial we wrote on this same subject just one year ago. If you didn’t pay attention then. Pay attention NOW.


    UK & Ireland

    Editorial: Brexit Trade Deal Announced
    New Forms needed with 1 Week to go

    ‘No Deal’ avoided
    Financial Services left out
    International Students left out

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2020-12-25

    On Thursday, December 25th, just one week before the end-of-the-year deadline, a Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) was announced.

    Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government got most of what they had been holding out for, giving up only 25% of the quota for fish caught in the UK’s territorial waters to EU fishing operations, and the EU got some of the accountability for any violations of the Treaty with a provision for ‘lightening tariffs’. For now and the near term, trade between the UK and the EU will proceed unhindered by new tariffs.

    Of course, since the UK, including Scotland and Wales, are no longer members of the EU, there WILL be new customs forms required for all goods crossing the UK border, with one exception. That exception is Northern Ireland, which, although remaining a political part of the UK, will require these additional forms for all incoming goods from the UK. Johnson’s UK government has promised that trade goods coming from Northern Ireland into the UK will not require any new paperwork.

    The easiest way to visualize these changes is to have a look at the Map above – for trade goods, anything crossing the purple line (Great Britain) will need the new customs forms.

    In contrast, since Ireland will remain in the EU, trade goods will move throughout the entire island of Ireland without any customs forms, as well as between there and the other remaining 26 countries of the EU.

    Now that the UK is on its own, it wants trade deals with the U.S., Canada, and the long-neglected commonwealth countries. Unfortunately, PM Johnson and others have been touting rebuilding manufacturing and fishing fleets, and clearly expect to sell value added goods to whatever trading partners they have in the future. They do not expect to be importing value-added manufactured goods from these countries. No self-respecting country who also wants the best jobs also producing value-added goods, jobs that pay well, will tolerate this. The modern form of colonialism has already created problems for the UK, Europe and the U.S. with the Covid pandemic. From the 1960’s to the present, the banks and governments of the UK, US and Europe, and the governments of African nations have cooperated to only develop mineral and fossil fuel extraction and sell raw and only semi-finished materials to Europe, the UK and the U.S. They have ignored mining violations of all kinds and the workers are poorly paid or, in some cases, not paid at all, slave laborers for warlords. Underpaid and non-paid workers are not able to be taxed to provide health care systems, and infrastructure. Yet, these people so vulnerable to the pandemic and who can transmit the pandemic to the customers of their countries are part of the global pandemic problem. The U.S., UK, and Europe, helped create the problem and are going to have to pay for it. If the UK wants a better deal with Africa for raw materials it will have to pay more, both to compete for the raw materials and to help with the health care to ensure this pandemic and others does not come with the raw materials to the UK.

    The UK and Europe will have an additional problem with the U.S. Not only is the U.S. also still competing, now with two other entities for raw materials where there was just one, the U.S. is also interested in rebuilding its own manufacturing, and finding new markets for it, again competing with the UK. The U.S. has what the UK and EU could both consider an unfair advantage by having BOTH a much lower minimum wage, and by making its workers pay more for health care. The UK and EU provide national health care out of the general revenues, the U.S. does not. The U.S. minimum wage is still only $7.25 an hour. It is about $11 an hour as of 2021 in Ireland and the UK, and higher in parts of Europe, but also lower, only $3 to $4 an hour in at least six nations of east and southeast and southern Europe. Yet, all the nations provide health care, though it, of course varies in quality since poor, badly run governments cannot afford high quality health care. This could be a real problem in future U.S. trade deals with both the UK, and the EU, and, perhaps even our neighbor to the north–in other words all the developed parts of the world where some significant portion of the population could afford our manufactured products.

    Then there is the lesser headache of international education. The UK likes to send its students to the U.S. such as through scholarship programs run by our Scottish organizations, including those in the Bay area. It had financial advantages that lowered the costs of doing this, as part of the ‘Erasmus Program’ of the EU. The participation in the program for UK students just ended with Brexit and the costs of an education, even partial education in the U.S. just rose. The same could well be true in reverse were we to send U.S. students to the UK for some of their college education. Instead of building or strengthening a bridge between NATO partners who both speak English, the Brexit deal blew it up.

    Last, Brexit and the continued serious divisions in the EU, between the democracies, developed industrial nations and higher wage nations and the lower wage nations, the industrially underdeveloped nations, etc. combined weakens NATO much to the delight of Putin and the communist Chinese. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a military is only as strong as the economy supporting it. Both were affected with Brexit, which itself happened in part because of long-standing disparities that the whole of the EU, particularly the nations with the greatest power, population and influence failed to address. If NATO survives another few years, given the likely chaos within one of its strongest members, now, the UK, for at least a full year or two, and the rebuilding the U.S. now needs, it will be a miracle.

    Fortunately, at least for Europe and the UK, Putin is not immortal and has not planned a smooth succession, either. It is also clear his nation is in financial and economic trouble when he has to prohibit the export of grains and soybeans and is trying to increase the production of oil, even when the price per barrel is still likely to remain low for months to come, and the U.S. is rapidly building refineries and port facilities in Louisiana to ship liquified natural gas to Europe. If the U.S. banks and companies, along with Europeans were to start taking advantage of springs that probably have lithium in the UK, Germany, Hungary and Italy, more electric and hybrid transportation vehicles could also be built more rapidly and in greater numbers further making it harder for the Russians and others who have not been kind to either the UK, EU or the U.S. to sell oil.


    UK & Ireland


    Deal Deadlines Loom

    US COVID Relief Negotiations &
    UK-EU Brexit Negotiations
    Getting Nowhere Fast

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2020-12-11

    As we write this Editorial, a Scots-Irish descendant in the United States Senate, named Mitch McConnell, is continuing his own efforts to put the outgoing President of the United States (POTUS) above the U.S. Constitution, most lately by delaying the centuries old processes by which we in the United States transfer power from an outgoing to the incoming POTUS. McConnell is also trying to use the pandemic to shred the acts of prior bi-partisan Congresses regarding OSHA, and even older workers’ rights legislation, another attempt to destroy lawful decades old traditions and processes.

    It’s the same story between the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU). Unless Johnson gets almost everything his way putting the UK above the good of the EU–and NATO, no deal and they don’t care how many people suffer as long as their political bases are happy.

    There are some simple ways to resolve the remaining issues, the same as there is a simple, fair way for the Scots-Irish McConnell to do a deal, at least regarding pandemic financial relief.

    In the case of the UK, regarding fishing, everywhere there is less than 105 miles between the UK and another nation, divide the waterway down the middle with a one-mile, no-man’s land buffer. All the fishing vessels have GPS, and the coast guards can patrol the areas close to that zone, rather similar to the division of the Bering strait between the U.S. and Russia. In the case of legal disputes, it’s where the offense occurred and who claims to have been damaged and the use of geographic ‘standing’ such as used in the U.S. judicial system and its codes (laws, enacted by either the federal government or the states) and rules, to determine most cases. Otherwise, the two parties have to agree to arbitration by an independent third nation or set up an arbitration body composed of equal numbers of UK and EU members, and must set some basic rules of evidence and use fundamentals of fairness in international laws.

    In the case of McConnell, he could drop the poison pill of allowing companies to escape liability for the costs of workers’ getting ill, if, as the meat packing companies initially did, they do nor provide adequate PPE and adjust the workplace for greater social distancing as reasonably possible for that industry. What he is doing right now is trying to tear up the OSHA acts passed by previous bi-partisan Congresses. If he had his way, working conditions would revert to that of plantations pre civil rights legislation and ending of segregation, and the fire trap sweat shops of old New York city, the company towns of abusive coal mining companies and you’d see bully boy strike breakers supported by the police mass murdering workers’ rights protestors again. McConnell would be well-regarded by the Tories of the Revolutionary War era and the slave owners of the deep south as one of them.

    A reasonable solution to the extremes of ‘no liability’ or ‘no excuses–if your workers get sick you are entirely liable and responsible,’ would be that the liability clause be modified to say the companies shall not have liability if they can demonstrate they did make a good faith, determined effort to find and provide enough PPE and rearrange the workplace for greater social distancing and provide sanitized air or greater ventilation, and the workers have health insurance through the company. The workers on their part have to USE the PPE and do so properly and do their part to maintain social distancing and maintain the air-sanitizing or ventilation equipment. This covers all the bases: the companies and the workers will have done the right things and the workers have care if they do get ill despite the companies and the workers themselves having done what is right.

    Both of these situations, though, the UK side of the UK-EU Brexit negotiations breakdown, and McConnell and his slavishly loyal Republicans using their poison pill to block pandemic relief funds to ordinary people, require that everyone believe in fairness and compassion, and not power and advantages only going to one party. Right now, that isn’t happening and ordinary people are suffering in both the US and UK.


    UK & Ireland

    Editorial: Brexit Trade Deal Deadline Looms

    UK Lords Eviscerate Johnson’s Treaty Busting Bill
    POTUS-Elect Joe Biden weighs in

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2020-11-13

    While Americans have been totally focused on our own politics, the Brexit saga has continued across the Atlantic as the Conservative (Tory) party government of the United Kingdom (UK) elected last December fails to reach the required trade deal with the European Union (EU).

    Interested readers will recall that on the morning of September 8th, just ahead of a crucial round of talks between London and Brussels over the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU, the UK Prime Minister and Tory party leader, Boris Johnson announced that his Tory Government was introducing a new Law, dubbed the Internal Market Bill, in the UK Parliament which would potentially give UK ministers unilateral powers to modify the ‘withdrawal agreement’ treaty with the European Union, (EU), signed by the UK and EU just last December, 2019. However, this provision was very widely denounced as attempting, by solely UK legislation, to give UK ministers the power to unilaterally violate an International Treaty. It gives the PM and his cabinet alone power that the combined Houses do not have, and ignores international treaty law.

    In response, last Monday, the UK House of Lords (The upper house of the UK Parliament) voted 433 votes to 165 to remove the offending sections, to which the UK Prime Minister and his government responded by pledging to re-introduce them when the Bill comes up for a second reading in the House of Commons, (The lower house of the UK Parliament), where the Tories have a majority.

    The new Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin, immediately applauded the Lords vote.

    If you need a refresher on why these internal trade issues are of such extreme interest our Celtic Cousins in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland as well as the rest of the UK, suffice to say Ireland will remain in the EU after December 31st 2020. Trade across the border between Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, would be severely impacted if such changes were to result in renewed customs restrictions there.

    U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden’s emotional commitment to upholding an open Irish border was made clear last January when, asked by a BBC reporter to give a comment on the issue, Joe replied: ‘BBC? I’m Irish.’

    On Wednesday, Biden and Johnson had their first phone call since Biden was proclaimed the winner of the U.S. election. Reports on the call say Biden began their talk by warning Johnson that the Internal Market Bill could endanger a delicate post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland; telling Johnson his Government should forget any prospect of a UK-US trade deal if Johnson’s UK government destabilised the peace process and undermined the treaties.

    But perhaps even more importantly, the overall post-Brexit trade negotiations between Johnson’s UK government and the EU are at a standstill with less than 7 weeks remaining before that deadline, and if that deadline passes without a UK – EU deal, the loss of any EU trade preferences would put that EU-UK trade, comprising 43% of all UK exports and 52% of all UK imports, under the much higher World Trade Organization rates, dealing yet another blow to the UK economy already reeling from the effects of the COVID pandemic.

    As we write this Editorial, a Scots-Irish descendant in the U.S. Senate, named McConnell, is continuing his own efforts to put the outgoing U.S. President above the U.S. Constitution, most lately by delaying the centuries old processes by which we in the United States transfer power from an outgoing U.S. President to the incoming U.S. President.

    One wonders how long it will take for Joe-from-Scranton to ‘get his Irish up’.


    Weathering the Storm

    Weathering The Storm
    Click to listen to the 45 tracks on Bandcamp!

    Weathering The Storm

    How Edinburgh Scots are Helping Save their Pub

    By Gordon Andrew – Published 2020-10-16


    The Captain’s Bar lies nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. It is a traditional Scottish pub, having served beer and spirits to thirsty locals since the 1800s.

    In the past ten years, the Captain’s has been transformed into a hub for the Edinburgh folk music scene through the efforts of owner Pamela MacGregor and her staff. Most days of the week Captain’s plays host to live acoustic music sessions, ranging from Scottish and Irish traditional music, to folk singers performing original songs, to blues and Americana and everything else in between. The bar attracts musicians from across Scotland and beyond, along with local patrons, students and tourists from far and wide, all drawn by the music and welcoming atmosphere. That’s how things were at the start of 2020.

    In February 2020 the global Coronavirus pandemic arrived in the UK and by March the situation had reached the point where the UK and Scottish governments had to introduce measures to halt the virus’ spread. On 20th March all bars in Scotland were required to close their doors and as a result many faced financial ruin. Sitting in their lockdown homes, the Edinburgh folk music community began to think about how they could assist Captain’s.

    On the very day the bars closed, I sent a Facebook message around some of the musicians I know who play at Captain’s, suggesting that we might put together a download album to raise some funds to help the bar. I hoped initially that we could perhaps collect a dozen or so tracks. My musician friends responded with immediate enthusiasm and within a few days a Facebook group was set up to coordinate the project. It soon became clear that there would be many more than a dozen tracks. Each day more musicians, many of whom I had never met, joined the group and offered to contribute. At the end of two weeks, I had 45 musicians and singers pledging their support, all with a common purpose… to do something to help the Captain’s Bar.

    The actual creation of the album was a triumph for social media. As I began collecting the tracks, messages flew back and forth across cyberspace and audio files were deposited in a Dropbox account for me to access them. Tracks came from around the UK and from as far afield as France, Greece, Australia and the United States. One of my new Facebook contacts, a talented artist, supplied me with the beautiful artwork for the album and the title ‘Weathering the Storm’. A tech-savvy friend was a huge help with mastering some of the tracks. The Facebook group allowed the contributors to collectively make the important decisions: which platform should we use to sell the album and how much should we charge? On 13th April the running order was finalised, the tracks were uploaded onto Bandcamp and Weathering the Storm was released on an unsuspecting world. To date this album has raised over £1000 for Captain’s Bar!

    Check it out here: Weathering the Storm on Bandcamp.

    There are two things I particularly love about Weathering the Storm. Firstly, it is a true representation of the wide variety of music you might hear on a visit to Captain’s Bar. There are traditional tunes and songs. There are self-penned songs, including some written in response to the Coronavirus crisis. They include everything from solo performances to full-band arrangements. There is even a poem. Secondly, and more importantly, the album is a testament to the love that so many people have for Captain’s Bar. As one of the contributors said, ‘anything for Captain’s’.

    In July Coronavirus restrictions for bars and restaurants were relaxed and Captain’s Bar was able to re-open in a limited capacity, with social distancing measures in place, but with no live music. The bar has somehow managed to keep afloat over the past few months, relying largely on the patronage of regular customers, but with no music it is a very different place. Last Friday, Captain’s was forced to close again for a minimum of two weeks as a result of new restrictions on the hospitality sector. Sadly the future of Captain’s, along with thousands of bars across Scotland, remains uncertain. What is certain is that it would be a tragedy for the Edinburgh folk music scene if Captain’s is unable to weather the storm.

    Contact Andrew through his Facebook Profile.


    UK & Ireland

    Editorial – Scotland’s Artists Ignored

    UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak ITV Interview & Reaction

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2020-10-08

    This morning, October 8th, 2020, an ITV interview with UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak regarding the future of UK performing artists’ culture, and its narrow definition, was brought to our attention by Steve Shields, a musician from Edinburgh, Scotland. Here is a link to the interview with follow up information about the government’s ‘Plan’.

    Seven months into this epidemic, it seems to us that Chancellor Sunak’s proposed program, which has not yet even begun to be implemented, is much too and much little too late for almost any musicians and other performing artists in the entire UK. However, the lack of a program up until now, and the delayed onset of issuing grants until October 12, 2020, particularly affects traditional music groups, of all kinds, who have seldom enjoyed the financial support the other professional musicians in large orchestras, or electronic instruments and pyrotechnics using rock bands have, either in venues, or pay for performances. Yet, traditional musicians are often classically trained, have been practicing daily for years, and often mix and play different genres of music because they are better trained and practiced. Many compose new music in traditional styles or mixed genres, themselves. Some even teach music, which is now being done more so, online. However, teaching takes away from practicing and performing, as musicians have observed in the U.S. and UK. It is a poor substitute for full use of talents and skills. Worse, even before the pandemic teacher-musicians were barely eking out a living. They were underappreciated before and, now, are even less appreciated or supported by billionaires and government officials. It makes one wonder what they play at home when they are trying to relax–audio tapes of demolition derbies, or old CD’s, maybe even LP 33’s of long-dead musicians? Where are the performing arts of the future going to be, if the wealthy and governments don’t support the present?

    The pandemic has been going on with lock-downs in Europe as well as the U.S. for six months now and only NOW is there a proposed ‘UK culture fund scheme,’ by Chancellor Sunak and his government. It is a system of two grants covering just six months and the proposed grants have not even begun to be fully distributed. Part of it is an England only fund that has just begun to distribute grants October 5. Nothing else happens until October 12, 2020. Churchill famously lamented the destruction of art in Europe by Hitler as the sole arbiter of taste and art, and the theft of sculpture and paintings from all over Europe. This was why the U.S. government created a unit that came to be colloquially called ‘The Monuments Men,’ during World War II. All the major governments of Europe at that time recognized art as an important part of humanity, and living, continuous human culture. Others lamented the destruction, or disruptions, of many orchestras and bands as Jewish and other ‘undesirable’ members were removed and killed. In the U.S., Roosevelt and Congress deliberately crafted the WPA and other programs to help support artists and promote greater appreciation of their education, skills and work during the Great Depression. Other countries, including even Mexico, did the same. You can kill people and culture actively or passively: starving performers to death kills just as effectively as locking them up in concentration camps and gassing or shooting them. The UN even has in its human rights doctrines a recognition and prohibition of ‘cultural genocide.’

    Let’s see there was nothing for six solid months and then, only England first out of the entire UK? Seems like a good possibility of a UN complaint of cultural genocide from the same old people responsible for the mass slaughter and beginnings of the Highland Clearances in 1746, the prohibition of wearing kilts and playing bagpipes, speaking Scots Gaelic etc. that lasted almost 40 years (Scottish Dress Act: 1746-1782) until a German prince decided to pretend he was Scottish, and the relentless neglect of the economy, the lives and the culture of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, on the basis of ethnicity since 1707. This is how and why more Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish ended up emigrating to the U.S. Canada and Australia, than have ever lived in their original homelands, and why they are continuing to emigrate from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    In the U.S. we are scarcely any better. There is no national proposal for support of talented skilled performing artists, except what the individual 50 states decide to grant through unemployment benefits extended to the self employed, providing you can show the EDD a ton of documentation covering up to an entire year. Given how many venues preferred to pay even very skilled bands and ensembles in only cash with no written agreements nor receipts changing hands, that presents a real problem for many very skilled persons who were not rock stars or in city orchestras. Disclaimer: we at AmeriCeltic have always used paypal, checks, etc. to pay musicians in concerts we have arranged so there is always either an electronic trail which can be printed out or otherwise a paper trail and we have taken nothing but actual documented expense costs for ourselves. In the electronic concerts we have actively promoted the performing groups’ own websites, funding pages etc., for the performers themselves to solicit sales of CD’s or donations.

    On Saturday, October 31, from 1 to 5 p.m. PDT, on YouTube Live and Facebook Live we will have the second video and audio online concert of talented, skilled musicians and other performing artists from the heavily Celtic nations, as it is not only musicians who are suffering. This is to celebrate one of oldest, most traditionally Celtic, and even pre-Celtic, holidays, called Samhain, which we Americans came to call ‘Hallowe’en.’ We hope you will remember the neglect of these people by billionaires and the U.S. and UK governments and be generous with your support to help keep the Celtic culture alive in the present and able to continue into the future, and musicians and other performing artists from starving or becoming homeless. And by the way, Mr. Sunak and other politicians, many performing artists already DO have second jobs as performing arts for most never paid enough, even before the pandemic, and what they have left of their ‘other jobs,’ is not enough.

    Next week, we’ll be presenting a first hand account of a specific instance of this long neglect of one group of Scots musicians and their usual venue, the UK government in Westminster, and their efforts to save themselves and their venue.


    UK & Ireland

    Editorial – Boris’ Brexit Bombshell

    Here We Go Again Part Deux…

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2020-09-09

    On Tuesday morning, just ahead of a crucial round of talks between London and Brussels over the future trading relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced that his Government was introducing a new Law, dubbed the Internal Market Bill, in the UK Parliament which would potentially give the UK unilateral powers to modify the ‘withdrawal agreement’ treaty with the European Union, (EU), signed by the UK and EU just last December.

    Thanks to the staff at the British Consulate General San Francisco for this link to the Official statement of the UK Government on the Internal Market Bill, which lays out UK Government’s rationale for the proposal.

    However, Johnson’s proposal has been met with nearly unanimous denunciation. The controversy centers on the ‘Brexit withdrawal deal’ requirement that Northern Ireland continues to be bound by the EU’s customs rules after Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union after December 31st, 2020. This requirement effectively establishs a border in the Irish Sea, with businesses in Northern Ireland facing the prospect of having to file customs paperwork if they want to move goods to the rest of the UK.

    Johnson’s official statement and the text of the bill were published on Wednesday. These details revealed that the UK government plans to give UK ministers powers to unilaterally waive the requirement for such paperwork, should the issue not be settled by joint talks with the EU this year. It also plans to give ministers the unilateral power to determine which goods crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland would be liable to pay tariffs in the event the UK and EU fail to reach a trade accord.

    Within hours, a series of senior members of Johnson’s own Tory party spoke out against their own government’s plan, warning it will damage the UK’s global standing and invite mistrust in other countries.

    PM Johnson has a well-known penchant for Latin quotes, and so when Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, quickly tweeted the Latin phrase, Pacta sunt servanda,which means ‘agreements must be kept’, she clearly intended to give Johnson a diplomatic ‘slap’.

    Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, branded the Johnson’s plan as ‘hugely problematic and illegal,’ telling lawmakers in Dublin that he was gravely concerned the UK is trying to undermine the 9 month old treaty.

    Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland, San Francisco, sent the following statement to AmeriCeltic:

    The Government of Ireland has expressed concerns on recent developments directly with the British Government at the highest political level, as well as through diplomatic and official channels. Michel Barnier is also raising the issue with David Frost during their engagement this week on the Future Relationship negotiations. European Commission President von der Leyen has already flagged this afternoon the strong concern at EU level on this issue.

    The Withdrawal Agreement is precise as regards the manner in which its terms, and the provisions of EU law that are made applicable by the Withdrawal Agreement, are to be applied in the UK. Clearly any unilateral departure from the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement would be a matter of considerable concern, and a very serious step. Our view is that such a departure could seriously erode and damage political trust in Northern Ireland and between the EU and the UK.

    European Commissioner Sefcovic has called for an extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee on the Withdrawal Agreement as soon as possible so that the UK can respond to the EU’s strong concerns on the Internal Market Bill. However the Joint Committee is not and cannot be a forum to open up aspects of the Protocol that were settled when the Withdrawal Agreement became law.

    Ireland and the EU will together carefully analyse the details of the legislation in question and remain in close contact with the EU Taskforce on this critical issue.

    Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon gave an even more shocking assessment:

    ‘The (Internal Market) bill is an abomination on almost every level. Firstly, it breaks international law, the government has admitted that. It makes the prospect of a hard border in Ireland all the more likely, but it is also a no-holds-barred, full-frontal assault on devolution,’ Sturgeon, told Sky News, ‘The only way now to protect devolution is for Scotland to become independent, because otherwise, we face a future of the Scottish parliament being undermined, eroded, and frankly crippled,’

    Commentators on the BBC’s world news on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 speculated that this may be another brinkmanship attempt of Mr. Johnson to pressure the EU into making concessions that Johnson and the hard line members of his Tory party have often expressed they want for the UK in the post-Brexit trade agreement currently being negotiated.

    Others speculate that these Tories really want no trade deal at all – a hard Brexit.

    On both Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Johnson and his representatives claimed several times that this proposed legislation would provide a ‘safety net to the Good Friday agreement,’ while simultaneously claiming that it will ‘protect the UK integrity and its superior rights in Northern Ireland which remains part of the UK.’ These are two opposites, as an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland was a principal goal of the Good Friday agreement. Mr. Johnson’s arbitrary, unilateral legislation, which effectively breaches a Treaty with the EU, also forces the EU to restore a hard border in Ireland with Northern Ireland to protect the interests and rights of the EU as a whole. It appears from Mr. Johnson’s actions, contrary to the first half of his own filmed and well publicized comments, that he wants a hard border again, not peace in Northern Ireland, but then also wants to blame the EU for his own unwise actions and breach of contract, especially should civil strife again resume in Northern Ireland.

    Late on Wednesday, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Britain would not get a trade deal with the United States if it did anything to undermine the 1998 Northern Irish peace agreement.

    ‘This news comes to us… that the UK had decided to undermine the Good Friday Accords. What were they thinking?’ Pelosi told reporters in Washington. ‘Whatever it is, I hope they’re not thinking of a UK-U.S. bilateral trade agreement to make up for what they might lose.’

    US Congressman Rep. Richard E. Neal, Chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, which will play a crucial role in the negotiations to come on the UK’s new trade agreement with the United States of America, issued a statement urging ‘both sides to uphold the terms of this (Brexit-ed.) joint agreement, particularly with respect to the treatment of Northern Ireland, in accordance with international law’: Chairman Neal Statement on UK-EU Brexit Negotiations

    On Thursday, EU vice president Maros Sefcovic met with his UK opposite number, Michael Gove, and warned Gove that unless the Bill is withdrawn ‘by the end of the month’ the EU will consider taking legal action.

    ‘If the bill were to be adopted, it would constitute an extremely serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and of international law.’

    In a statement issued after the meeting, Sefcovic scorned London’s argument that the bill was designed to shore up peace in Northern Ireland.

    ‘In fact, (the EU) is of the view that it does the opposite. By putting forward this Bill, the UK has seriously damaged trust between the EU and the UK. It is now up to the UK government to re-establish that trust.’

    It remains to be seen if Ursula von de Leyen and the leaders of the 26 individual countries in the EU have the steel in their backbones that Queen Elizabeth II and members of the House of Lords of the UK displayed last winter when Mr. Johnson tried to ‘prorogue’ the UK Parliament! We hope they all remember what happened the last time that Europe, ironically, particularly the UK, failed to stand up to an international law breaking bully in the 1930’s. Bullies only continue, and become even more abusive, until they encounter a stronger party who is willing to stand up to them, and enforce the word ‘no.’

    Mr. Johnson has threatened far more than he realizes. These actions not only threaten the rights of the devolved Parliaments in Northern Ireland and Scotland, but also the EU as a whole and NATO.

    In the U.S., the tens of millions of Irish Americans and the tens of millions of Scots-Irish descended Americans who rebelled against the bullying of the UK nearly 250 years ago, must now reconsider, as they did 100 years ago, how much support they want to give the UK, against the interests of the EU and other members of NATO, when the UK leadership and electorate so cavalierly disregard their newly-signed treaty obligations, but also interests of the Irish people on both sides of the Northern Ireland border and the peace between them. The U.S. only joined the side of the UK in World War I, when the Kaiser and his minions behaved more arrogantly and foolishly in sinking U.S. ships suspected of carrying more than passengers and in offering Mexico return of its stolen territories if Mexico allied with Germany. Up until those events, the vast majority of the U.S. wanted neither to aid the UK, nor to enter World War I on the side of the UK. In fact, just a few years before President Theodore Roosevelt had threatened another war against the UK. The U.S. may no longer teach history in most secondary schools, but tens of millions of Americans are engaged in family history research and have not forgotten ancestors who were either victimized and abused by the British in Ireland and Scotland, or who fought the British in the U.S. revolution.


    Robert Burns

    Scotland’s National Poet and Patriot
    Robert Burns

    Editorial: A Parcel of Celtic American Rogues?

    Are Americans of Scottish, Irish and Scots-Irish descent repeating their Celtic Ancestors Failures?

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2020-01-24

    Over the past few weeks, as I was thinking about the upcoming Robert Burns celebrations, I listened again to that famous Scotsman’s castigation of the Scottish nobility for selling their countrymen’s birthright in 1707.

    In that year, aggressor England deployed an English Army on Independent Scotland’s border, and then threatened to invade Scotland if the Scottish Parliament did not agree to accept England’s terms for a ‘United Kingdom’. Simultaneously, huge bribes were paid to supporters of Union that modern research has proved were NOT overdue salaries as claimed. At least four such payments were made to people who were not even members of the Scottish Parliament.

    No less a figure of Scottish culture than Robert Burns denounced them for their treason in his wildly popular 1791 poem. Please join me now and listen to Alastair McDonald’s presentation of this most famous Scottish Anthem: A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation – Alastair McDonald.

    As I write this Editorial, a Scots-Irish descendant named McConnell, is leading an effort to put a U.S. President above U.S. laws and the U.S. Constitution. An Irish descendant, ‘Mick’ Mulvaney, has said ‘so what if we combine personal U.S. politics with foreign aid,’ even to help a nation fight off an invasion by a larger power.

    Some of these same people agree with McConnell and Mulvaney, but they also say they are ardent supporters of the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was borne out of the blood and pain of the U.S. revolution in 1774-1783 and designed to allow people to revolt against tyrants and unaccountable foreign influence and those Americans who might support such foreign interference. I’ve heard the same people who complain about a housing development going up over Culloden field, the last heroic battle for Scottish Independence, say that foreign interference in our U.S. government and elections is just normal politics, and not Impeachable Conduct.

    I wonder how such Celtic Americans can reconcile their love of Scottish and Irish history and culture and celebrate it, when so much has happened to nullify it, to trample it into the dust, along with our own U.S. Constitution. This most basic American Law was borne of so much painful Scottish and Irish experience at the hands of ‘foreigners’, the English, in this case. Like Culloden, does their failure to ‘Protect and Defend the U.S. Constitution render our ‘Independence Day’ utterly meaningless? We are remembering failed independent nations, failed ideals, nullified battles and wars–FAILURES, one and all.

    It only remains for McConnell, like the burghers of Calais, after Calais had been surrounded for a year by English soldiers under King Edward III in 1347, to tie a noose around his neck and go on his knees before the English parliament and Queen, and humbly beg pardon for the sins of his American rebel ancestors, who clearly made a mistake, and offer to make war reparations for the Revolution with 240 years of interest and ask England to take us back, since we at least share a language with the English or British (since Scotland is nothing as well), and it would be easier than learning Russian or Chinese.

    Then we can burn the pictures of the founding fathers of a failed nation state, consign them to the dustbin of history as failed rebels, start using the English pound and remove the pictures of any Americans off the currency. We can dump the hard-to-sing, old drinking song that became ‘the Star Spangled Banner’ and lauded ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave,’ since we are, apparently, no longer either brave or free.

    Such people don’t care about their present, nor their past. All it takes to make them happy is someone hands them a couple of hundred dollar bills once a year, a job, even below minimum wage, keeping booze plentiful and cheap, and providing enough entertainment whether at pump-up-the-angry emotions rallies, or increasingly myriad sports events whose performers as ‘our great teams’ are increasingly the very people most despised, discriminated against, and brutalized and have the least Scottish and Irish heritage. The Fourth of July can be ended as a ‘National Day of Independence’ and become just another work day for our internationalist/globalist employers–our masters who are the donors to those who destroy the independence of nations, and their history and heritage and are content with any foreign power’s interference in our elections, just as they are content with England continuing to rule and deny investments in and services to Scotland and Northern Ireland except when they want votes in Parliament for some critical xenophobic program.

    Make no mistake about it: this week the Tories in the United Kingdom House of Commons voted down all the amendments of the House of Lords, that would have protected the children and families of East European, mostly Catholic, immigrants, indicates how anti-immigrant Brexit was always intended to be. The dismissal with smirks of the Scots demanding a new referendum on independence was more of the same attitude of English superiority over others who are not English. The BBC had a lot of fun with the hypocrisy of the U.S. revolution and the U.S. Senate now crowning an above the law rogue tyrant and saying foreign interference in U.S. elections is ‘no big deal, so what.’

    The Scottish Parliament of 1707 was composed of clan chiefs and lords and some prominent international businesspersons from the largest towns and cities. When the Scottish Parliament sold out their people, their soul and their history in the Act of Union, it was under the duress of a threat of invasion. McConnell, Mulvaney, Conway and others cannot even make such a claim as a fig leaf to excuse their betrayal. The people of the United States, people of mostly British/Scottish, Scots-Irish and Irish descent, voted in their own American Parcel of Rogues and destroyed their own history and heritage. It wasn’t a self-appointed clique of lords who had already married with English nobility and accepted English titles. That is the ultimate failure of all– a failure of the mostly Celtic American people.

    Robert Burns had another song about the futility of Revolution and War after selling one’s soul for foreign (English) gold, which is also worth hearing again: Ye Jacobites by Name – Alastair McDonald.


    Celtic Constitution

    Editorial – Our Celtic Constitution

    Has the U.S. Forgotten Its Celtic Heritage?

    By Celia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-11-28

    Our United States have arrived at another nexus point in our relatively short 243 years since the Declaration of Independence in 1776. I hope you have already had a look our webpage, Celts Created America, which covers what we maintain are the deeply Celtic roots that lead to this nations formation, and I believe those principals can help us through this time too.

    It is a universally accepted fact that the United States was born out of a fight central to the early stages of the British Empire, and the abuses of that empire which caused the original 13 English Crown colonies in North America to unite in a revolt against it. It is also a fact, universally accepted by anyone who has studied this history and prehistory, that the Celts did NOT have empires. At no point in their 2500 year history did any group of Celts, including Irish, Scots, Welsh and their cultural cousins and antecedents on the European Continent ever try to take over all their neighbors as any kind of unified power, and Celtic peoples never allowed themselves to be under a single dictatorial emperor or king.

    Regional Celtic kings or lords could be and often were deposed by their peers, especially if those seeking to rid themselves of the kings or lords were supported by the religious leaders, and those pre-Christian religious leaders themselves were never organized under a single supreme leader. After 435 CE when the Romans left  Wales, Ireland and what became  Scotland, few kings or lords reigned for much more than about ten years until the arrival of Norman Christianity in 1170, and then only with the support of a Norman army.  Even during those reigns, they could be checked if they lost the support of their own clan leaders or their peers in neighboring regions. If they were not supported and too many agreed they were in violation of the Celtic Brehon laws, Celtic leaders were removed, often not just from office, but from life–and pretty horribly. There were hundreds of leaders, or members of their families killed in the terrible ‘triple murder’ manner. Sometimes a member of the family would be ordered killed to serve as a warning to the leader to do better, or what we’d now call a censure. There is no real tradition in the long history and prehistory of Celts of unaccountable tyrants, either in establishing or accepting them. All the Celtic kings and lords were accountable to people, through their accepted clan leaders, and law-givers who were also judges and moderators, and to some extent their religious figures.

    Even under Christianity, in Ireland, kings and lords continued to be deposed, often violently. In Scotland, clan warfare and violent removal of kings also occurred, just not quite as often as in Ireland, and entire clans could be and were held in violation of the national peace and agreements among clans and punished. A large part of the McDonalds/McDonnells ended up back in County Antrim in Ireland, with the monarch’s approval for that reason,  Clan McGregor was proscribed against and nearly put out of existence, and there were other circumstances like this. The Scots had at least generally agreed on a somewhat unified nation and guarded it against excessive internal divisions and strife, and outsiders, even when their own nobles started to intermarry with outsiders.  The Scots biggest problem was they never developed a national army; armed forces were not unified and regulated by a central authority. They learned the importance of that the hard way, suffering at the hands of the English who did create a unified army, that then massacred many Scots, men, women and children, after the failed rebellion of 1745.

    It is also well documented that two thirds of those who were in the Continental Army of General Washington, more than half of those in the Continental Congress, almost all in the early ‘Navy and Marines were people who were half or more Scottish, Scots-Irish, Welsh, or Irish and their Celtic ancestors had mostly arrived in this country, as immigrants only one or two generations before the Revolution. In other words, the overwhelming majority of our great patriots who risked lives, fortunes, and sacred honor had parents or grandparents who were Scots, Scots-Irish, Irish or Welsh–not English. Not only where the overwhelming majority of the Patriot armed forces Celtic-American, and half of the Continental Congresses, but 55-60% of the people themselves were half or more Celtic–recently from Celtic lands.

    Today we’d call these people ‘recent immigrant populations.’ Some would consider them less likely to be loyal and be suspicious that they were more loyal to their countries of origin. Were our ancestors more loyal to Scotland and Ireland than to their new land in North America?  Does the loss of lives of so many of their families’ sons fighting for this country mean anything? My direct ancestor John S. Wallace (1748-1832) lost four brothers.  He was the only one of his father’s sons to come home alive, not badly wounded and live long enough to have a large number of children. He was the only one of six sons.  He wasn’t alone in this situation.  These were the people who established the U.S. with many efforts, not just in fighting, but also supplying the patriot armed forces–which itself was a hanging offense to the English, and then wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and passed them, not just in the Continental Congress, but also all thirteen colonies that became states of the Union. This is not unlike the Scottish clans agreeing that they wanted a king and Parliament and working on developing a unified Scotland that could govern itself–and defend itself against invaders. Up to 1707, the Scots were not entirely successful, but more so than the Irish.

    The Scots wanted no tyrants and if you look at how most of their kings–and some queens–died, it’s clear they meant that. The Irish were sometimes even more aggressive about that concept.  There were four and five ‘kingdoms’ (about the size of British duchies) in Ireland and within them, every clan chief literally fought his (or her) way to the top and then the clan chiefs and main houses within clans fought for kingship and fought to remove ones they considered tyrants. Ireland’s green lands were regularly bathed in red blood.   This eventually worked against them, when they began allowing outside interference in their determination of a high king and king of one of the four major kingdoms.  The outsiders eventually took over–the Norman-English.  The Scots, having seen this happen first to the Welsh and the Irish were determined to prevent this happening to them. It was also seen that outsiders look after their own interests and what they identify as their own people, first.

    By the time of the Renaissance, it was beginning to be understood by educated Scots and Irish this is what had also happened to Rome and destroyed the Roman empire. They knew that in ancient Rome, there was no peaceful means of succession other than for tolerated dynastic rulers, and when they were not tolerated it was a free for all by any general, including those not born in Italy itself. After a time, the personal guards of the emperors and much of the Roman army were composed of outsiders, drawn from the Germanic and Slavic peoples from outside the Roman empire considered inferior by the Roman establishment.  Where is mighty Rome today? How long did Ireland have to fight to develop some degree of unity and drive out foreign rule and make itself a nation?

    Most historians will tell you that empires, kingdoms, nations die mostly from within, especially when in fights for control of what is within, the leaders of the fights start soliciting and trying to use outsiders.

    The same is true for religions. The early Christianity described in the Gospels and epistles, and self governing with councils, and once considered simply another, new Jewish sect, was taken over and modified to fit Roman concepts of society and governance and became Roman. It also became part of the State. When Rome was divided into an eastern and western empire, so was the religion and war began, on the basis of which half of the empire should have control of the state religion.  This made it easier, ultimately for the more unified Muslims, outsiders, to invade and conquer large parts of Latin alphabet and language using, Christian Europe.

    Over time, the Scots, being good Celts, decided they were done with foreign tyrants in religion, that no human was any less fallible than any other, and all humans were just as prone to sin and error. These Scots didn’t think absolute power for bishops was any better than absolute power for monarchs and clan chiefs.  Scots created the Presbyterian religion as a Covenant, an agreement among the people adhering to the religion, to have religious rule and socio-political-religious beliefs set by the people themselves through their elected congregational councils (session), including men and WOMEN alike! These sessions in turn appointed higher councils called Presbyteries. This Scottish-born, democratic, gender neutral rule of religion was an anathema to Kings and often rejected foreign bishops and certainly foreign Popes, all of whom punished the freedom-loving Celtic Scots with brutal repression.

    Many Scots, Scots-Irish, Welsh and Irish fled their homelands repressive conditions of economy, education, religious freedom, their ethnicities and their cultures. They could get land in the U.S. certainly, but they had more freedom for self-governance, and were able, over time to develop greater religious freedom.  After the American Revolution, they were instrumental in the creation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Out of what started out, in some key instances, separate religious, and to some extent, ethnic colonies, came the United States of America, with religion separated from state, and equal protection under the law so that no one group had a greater hand over another.  Similarly to how the Scottish kingdom was formed and developed in the 8th to 12th centuries, and likewise how the Scots Presbyterian religion was formed, the USA is built on a Celtic base.

    In sharp contrast, the Angles, Saxons and their ilk developed differently brought with them ideas of empire when they came to the isle of Britannia. As the English people evolved there, they remained very uncomfortable with the several separate kingdoms on the isle of Britannia or in the combined isles separated from Continental Europe. They also believed in combining religion and state.  This brought them into violent conflicts with the Celtic nations–all of them.   One by one, they divided and conquered them all, in large part by using their own fierce independence to foment internal conflicts and willingness to involve outsiders in them.

    The founding fathers of the U.S. were very much aware of this history of divide and conquer. They also resented the failed promises of England to make them full and equal citizens of the relatively new United Kingdom. By the time of the French and Indian War, 1754 – 63, they had  140 years of increasing self-governance and self defense, but were still ruled by governors appointed in London, were not allowed to elect members to the United Kingdom parliament, could not have any say in any foreign wars in which they might heavily be affected and involved, could not become high ranking officers, even when fighting for their own defense, could not have any say on taxes to pay for wars they wanted or not, and could not freely develop their own continental economy and trade. Then to top it off, they had kings that were not even British, much less even partly Celtic! These rulers could sometimes arbitrarily determine much of the colonists lives with little advice or approval by Parliament, and no accountability, because all the North American colonies were CROWN colonies, owned by the MONARCHY, distributed in the form of patents and charters by the KINGS to groups of would-be settlers.  As feudal subjects really only of the KING, a foreign king, colonists, had fewer rights than English citizens who at least had some protections of Parliament and could elect their members of Parliament. Too many important, costly things, were all the privilege of outsiders, one of whom was an absolute tyrant.  In 1776, these former Scots, Irish, Scots-Irish and Welsh revolted and, determined to avoid a repetition of the problems and mistakes of the past, ultimately formed their own nation as a democratic Republic.

    Many years ago, I was privileged to have a half year of Civics and American government in my last year of middle school, 6 months of American history at that same time, followed by more in my third year of secondary school. These courses covered some of the colonial ethnic history of the U.S. and how it related to the development of our new, independent government. In these classes, we were given copies of the U.S. Constitution and the California state Constitution and expected to study both and pass tests about them. To pass, we were required to answer correctly, not just 7 out of 21 questions as on the new citizens’ exams today, but 70%, or about 15 out of 21 questions.

    Forty years ago, under political pressure, the states actually began doing away with Civics, government and American and even World History classes. Today, only 9 states require a full year of Civics in middle and secondary school. Over 30 states teach one 6 month mashup of government, American and World History and social divisions called ‘social studies’, which provides a mere smattering of civics. Nothing is covered very well or thoroughly.  More than 10 states require NO civics, or government studies at all.  We demand more of people who want to become citizens of the U.S. than we do of our own citizens, as though we expect people born in the U.S. to be inherently born understanding our government and their role in it, and their history as immigrants, and our relations with the rest of the world today.

    There was something else our Celtic ancestors believed it, which seems to be forgotten today: education. The belief in it was strong enough that the Presbyterians agreed that all children, girls and boys alike, should be educated to learn to read, so they could read the Bible, and other important books, and documents, like the Magna Carta and certain historical Scottish documents, for themselves, read and sign contracts to not be defrauded and cheated. They taught the math skills to be able to create budgets, know how much they could afford to spend and how much they needed to earn to provide for themselves and their families and NOT BE DEPENDENT UPON THEIR NEIGHBORS, THEIR COMMUNITY OR THEIR CHURCHES, EXCEPT IN TIMES OF DISASTER. This was a tradition begun with having first sons educated by the Churches, and earlier the Celtic Brehons.  Some nobles and clan chiefs then saw the wisdom of having daughters educated, as daughters became wives and mothers and had to rule, and run estates while the men were away fighting, and if their men were killed, still had to raise, successfully, the next generation.  After all, if enough men were killed, there were not enough available to remarry.  This was seen as a real problem, with too many uneducated, or inadequately educated women in charge after Flodden Field.  The Scots Presbyterians were very much aware of this.  If you have any doubt about how important women came to be seen by Scots Presbyterians,  read Ladies of the Covenant, and Anna, Countess of the Covenant, by Mary McGrigor. The first one is available for reading online, there are links to it at several sites, and the other is available as new and pre-owned books through Amazon and others.

    This was the background of our current government. The Celtic experiences directly led to the writing of the Constitution the way it was written. Our Constitution embodies very fundamental ideas that was argued thoroughly and decided at that time. These very important foundations have not been amended since. A couple of short but good books explaining the conditions of the U.S. between the end of the French and Indian War and the Establishment of the Constitution were written decades ago and recommended to students, when we still had classes on American government and the practice of civics. I still own them. I’m sure pre-owned copies are still available.  They are: A Restless People: Americans in Rebellion 1770-1787, by Harvard professors Oscar and Lillian Handlin, and A More Perfect Union: The Making of the United States Constitution, by William Peters. There is also  a recently published book by Kim Wehle, How the Read the Constitution and Why. The authors of the books say many of the same things about the attitudes of the nation’s founders–great and small, and what was intended in the Constitution. Here is one summary of some of the attitudes, from the Handlin’s book, page 210-211.

    ‘A positive vision held Americans together; they battled not merely against the trespasses of the Crown and Parliament but, even more, to create a political system in accord with their understanding of a just society. They struggled not to destroy something bad but to create something good — hence the unfolding discovery that their resistance to tyranny was an opportunity to fashion a virtuous Republic by achieving independence.’ … ‘As they understood it, the severance of ties to the Crown had left Americans in a state of Nature. They would emerge from that pristine condition not by the passive acceptance of an act by a Sovereign but only by their own decisions about the terms of consent, for self-government was their birthright.’

    This was not easily done, and it must be remembered that a strong executive was NOT part of the earliest governments of this nation. A strong President was NOT seen as even NEEDED or DESIRED by the majority of Americans even when the Constitution itself was being written. A strong President reminded most people too much of a tyrannical king. It was lamented at times that not having a strong central government and strong executive was a hindrance, but others noted that even without these, the U.S. had been able to win its independence, negotiate foreign treaties, raise armies and a navy as needed and determine means of paying, and even regulate trade. Authority was to be elected and the most power concentrated in more local government, communities, states and then the Congress.

    Here’s another observation by the Handlins, based on the original letters, public and private commentaries, etc. of the founding fathers, page 211: ‘Americans insisted upon putting authority within legitimate forms: otherwise society would slip into the anarchy that all abhorred. They harbored no illusions about human nature and knew that power corrupted — anyone, everyone, even themselves and particularly the lawyers among them.  Few disagreed with the Pennsylvania lawyer who confessed the need to put a guard upon his virtue. Being ‘habituated to exercise one’s ingenuity in inventing arguments on the wrong side, at least warps the Judgment and will, in time, corrupt the heart, unless constantly opposed by an active virtuous principle.’

    Our Founders were also highly suspicious of merchants and businesspersons also. They knew how unethical merchants put profit before the quality of goods and services they provide for people and the people who bought them, in particular how international and foreign providers and sellers regularly demonstrated they had little or no regard for American consumers and were beyond the control or demands for justice by Americans. George Washington himself, was victimized in this way, having suffered several instances of paying dearly for shoddy imported goods and then being told he had no recourse against the international shippers or the foreign manufacturers. Again the Handlins, page 213: ‘American law, locally administered, shaped, and legislated, sharply diverged from the English.  The colonists had established equal treatment as a measure of its validity.’

    Toward this end, the question of whether or not to even have an executive branch and executive, much less a strong one, was a major point of contention in the Constitutional Convention. No one wanted to ultimately create an unaccountable tyrant, and they did NOT want any executive to be political or self-serving.  The original proposal for the executive, passed as a  ‘Committee of the Whole’, was: ‘A single executive chosen by the national legislature (Congress) for a single, seven year term, would be removable on impeachment and conviction of malpractice or neglect of duty.’ (Peters, A More Perfect Union, page 134 of the chapter ‘We the People.’)

    The members of the Constitutional Convention were also concerned that the duties of the President be clearly stated and limited. Under our Constitution, the President has NO legislative ability and limited influence upon Congress. He was to execute the will of Congress and failure to do so was a ‘neglect of duty’ or ‘malpractice’ and impeachable.  To emphasize this, when Mason and Madison proposed putting the oath of office in the Constitution, the members agreed. It became the basis for determining ‘malpractice and neglect of duty’ which were added to, and changed to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors, treason being the highest crime, bribery right below that, and the ‘misdemeanors’  would include ‘malpractice and neglect of duty.’   The oath of office is required by and included in the Constitution. It was amended and put into final form by a large majority of the elected members of the Constitutional Convention and ratified by all the states is the following. ‘I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States of America, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ The ability to remove the President, as an executive of the legislative will of Congress was of great concern to all members of the Constitutional Convention, but particularly the anti-Federalists who did not want to trade one kind of tyrant for another, and understood how easily corrupted fallible human beings were.   The anti-federalists were against a strong, centralized government, and more so against a strong executive.  This was very much a part of the Celtic roots of this new nation.

    The answer was to create a government of three separate but equal branches, with each branch able to act as a check and balance upon the others, very similar to the ideal and attempted practice of ancient and early medieval Celtic kingdoms with their local clans and clan chiefs, and an early national parliament that with the king and council then legislated (though this time the king was to be removed from legislation completely) and the old brehons as judges, independent of the king or executive and the arbiters of questions of law and whether or not they conformed with the Constitution.

    There was one other very specific check on the men (and more recently women) who held power in any legislative or executive office, no exception, not even the President. ‘ALL persons could be tried, and sentenced, for criminal acts in the states in which they were committed.‘ No one was to be above the law and its enforcement.

    The fear of future tyrants, and concentration of power, among the people who had just risked their lives against the armies of King of England and a Parliament in which they had NO representation as ‘Crown colonies,’ was so great that they added one more power to that of Congress to check and balance the executive branch headed by the President. They reserved the power to make war and regulate the armed forces to Congress, as well as the right to appropriate to the armed forces funds. Article 1, Section 8, subsection 14 gives Congress the sole power to ‘make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.’ Article I, Section 7, subsection 12 gave Congress the sole power to: ‘to raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a term longer than two years.’

    One mistaken belief, is that the President has unlimited authority as ‘commander in chief’. This is one of the few powers actually granted to the President by the Constitution. Far more language is devoted to the rights and responsibilities of Congress, the states, and how elections were to be conducted. Article II, Section 2 is the shortest section in the entire U.S. Constitution and a grand total of four paragraphs long.  The President is not even allowed to appoint cabinet and ‘inferior public officials, except when Congress has allowed him by voted upon Resolution of Congress or federal law to do so.  Many officials require the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. The power of the budget was NOT granted to the President, except in response to demands of Congress. Article II Section 2, Section 3 limits the President’s influence upon Congress to the following. ‘He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge expedient and necessary; … he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed;’

    The President does not write the budget, does not initiate legislation, and is not free to pick and choose which laws that he shall execute. Congress has the sole right to write and pass legislation and sets the times for its legislation to take effect or end and it is the executive’s obligation and responsibility, to fulfill the will of Congress. The president may veto legislation but the Congress can vote to override the President’s veto. Besides the avoidance of tyranny, the Constitutional Convention, never in proposed or final form, allowed the people to elect the President. The people still do not elect the President, the ‘electoral college does,’ and it does not proportionately represent all the people equally, weighting one man, one vote.  The Constitutional Convention then gave the elected Congress more power to express the will of the people in legislation by also granting Congress the superior power to override is veto, and the sole power of impeachment, trial and removal for high crimes and misdemeanors, for in public officers, related to the powers, responsibilities and obligations of that office, for those holding the offices of President, Vice President and all other Executive Branch appointments.

    To do a proper impeachment, the courts themselves, acting under the lawful powers granted to them by the Constitution, declared in judgments in previous impeachments that the House of Representatives has the right of oversight. Merriam-Webster, and other general dictionaries define ‘oversight’ to include supervision, which in Black’s Law Dictionary, used by most jurists and lawyers, in the U.S. and the United Kingdom is defined as superintending and inspection, and reporting to authorities with the ability to correct or punish. ‘Superintend’ is defined (Black’s) as ‘to have charge and direction of; to direct the course and oversee the details; to regulate with authority…’ this all is stated in the Constitution with the more than a dozen specific powers granted to Congress not just to legislate but to REGULATE, such as regulating the armed services, the postal services, regulating currency and its exchange, creating laws for the regulation of interstate trade and, advising and voting upon treaties which have within them means of administration and enforcement.

    There is one thing missing from the Constitution entirely as they were not expected to have, nor granted any authority over any part of the government beyond support for, not control of, candidates. There are absolutely ZERO provisions for political parties, NO powers granted to them. To place any political party above the Constitution is itself a violation of the Constitution. This was very deliberate, as political parties were indeed discussed in the debates among the Committee of the Whole and within the Constitutional Convention. It was hoped that by giving political parties no authority, no power, no responsibilities to diminish their potential influence; to make them weaker and less divisive than what had been seen in the United Kingdom’s parliament. It was left to the states to permit and regulate them as part of the general election process of Congress and legislatures within the states. If the states wanted to do so, they could ban all political parties from nominating candidates or candidates from holding party membership or office.  Some states have already banned party labels for many lower level offices and open primaries to all voters for those offices.  They could do the same for federal offices.

    An interesting debate on the very issue of popular elections by all citizens, regardless of education and socio-economic status, for the members of Congress occurred in the Constitutional Convention between Elbridge Gerry (the architect of ‘Gerrymandering’) and George Mason. As described in A More Perfect Union, it went on in this manner.

    ‘Now faced with the prospect of having the people of each state elect their representatives in the lower house of the national legislature (the original proposal for elections did not include the Senate in popular elections), Gerry gave vent to his contradictory feelings. ‘The evils we experience (referring to the failure of the Confederation),’ he began ‘flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not lack virtue but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massachusetts, it has been fully confirmed by experience that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false rumors circulated by designing men and which no one on the spot can refute.’ …’I have been too Republican heretofore. I am still Republican but I have been taught by experience the danger of the leveling spirit.’

    That brought crusty old George Mason to his feet. Slave owning Virginia planter he might be, but he had lost none of his Republican convictions. ‘The larger branch of the legislature (Congress),’ he began, ‘is to be the grand depository of the democratic principle of government. It is, so to speak, our House of Commons. It ought to know and sympathize with every part of the community and ought, therefore, to be taken not only from different parts of the whole republic, but also different districts of the large members of it.’

    In a concession to Gerry, he added, ‘I admit that we have been too democratic, but I am afraid we shall incautiously run into the opposite extreme. We ought to attend to the rights of every class of the people. I have often wondered at the indifference of the superior classes of society to this dictate of humanity and policy, considering that however affluent their circumstances, or elevated their situations might be, the course of a few years, not only may, but certainly will distribute their posterity throughout the lowest classes of society. Every selfish motive therefore, every family attachment, ought to recommend such a system of policy as will provide no less carefully for the rights and happiness of the lowest than of the highest orders of citizens.’

    Gerry’s answer, ultimately was to limit democracy in his own way, using the powers of the states to create the electoral districts within his state to favor, and allow to dominate, what he considered the superior voters. Officials in other states soon did the same. It is a practice that still is used to limit real democracy today and it is legal. California and a few other states passed constitutional amendments to do away with this practice, but they are in the minority.

    What is happening in the current United States Congress is all within the Constitution that our mostly Celtic founding fathers wrote and intended to try to keep tyranny and corruption from running amok in the United States, and it was also intended to stop a would-be corrupt, law-breaking tyrant from continuing on a path for years. Election was not ever meant or written to be the sole means of removing a law-breaking tyrant, given the potential for harm that could be perpetrated day by day until the next election. There is one more remedy for those unhappy with the powers and responsibilities of Congress as they are: the power of amendment of the Constitution, but even that starts with our elected Congress, and then takes ¾ of the states of the Union’s elected legislatures for ratification.


    Stormont at Night

    Stormont remains dark as the Northern Ireland Assembly languishes

    Editorial – Consequences for Northern Ireland

    With no Stormont Assembly, Westminster Rules

    By Celia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-11-05

    Something very controversial happened in Northern Ireland in the last few weeks that we’ve been in a dilemma about reporting on our weekly AmeriCeltic newsletter. We know it is on the minds of our readers because we have gotten email about it. In the end, it is the way it happened that has made us decide to write about it.

    In our AmeriCeltic newsletter, we mostly emphasize culture: arts, history and related articles, and occasionally cover and comment on related current events like Brexit. Why is Brexit a Celtic current event? Because Brexit imposes divisions and flux on Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, the Celtic parts of the United Kingdom with England. These Celtic countries will experience significant potential effects on their trade, travel, immigration as well as cultural exchanges, such as performing artists traveling between them and the mostly Celtic descended U.S. daughter country.

    In our Editorials and Feature articles, as well as on our website, we have also discussed the nature of traditional Celtic culture. The identity of Celtic Culture has become wrapped up at times with various religions, such as Scots Presbyterians, Welsh Methodists and Irish Catholics, but the Christian religion is NOT NEARLY as ancient as traditional Celtic culture. Celts and their culture existed and evolved for more than a millennia before Christianity arose. In fact, religion was not such a governing part of Celtic society until after Christianity arose and was adopted by the despotic Roman Empire. The Judeo-Christian religion arose out of Mediterranean kingdoms and a patriarchal culture–both alien to the Celts. Many tribes and confederations, even early kingdoms in Celtic areas, were matrilineal and matriarchal. These included the Picts, who were only superseded with the creation of the first unified Scottish kingdom in the 10th Century, which itself initially identified and crowned its kings based on matrilineal descent.

    Until the influence and adoption of Christianity, Freedom and Self Government, without central absolute authority, and with considerable equality and power of women, were all hallmarks of Celtic culture. These Celtic values literally resurged in the rebellions and civil wars against Christian Europe’s absolute monarchies–especially from outside the Celtic realms. The issues of the Roman treatment of Celtic women and children were in fact key aspects of the rebellion of Celtic Queen Boudicca in 60 CE, before Rome had become Christianized, when Rome was simply an invading despotic Mediterranean patriarchal empire. The Reformation of the 1500’s including the formation of Presbyterianism and other Congregational religions, was a series of religious rebellions against the absolute authority of popes and bishops. It is a Celtic tradition to be self-governing, independent individuals, and confederations of freely associating tribes, and not submit to absolute authorities–especially not to absolute foreign authorities.

    We don’t know what you’d call Northern Ireland’s politics these days, but it is not self-government. Instead, it has subjugated itself to outside authorities, a Roman-Norman-Anglo-Saxon kingdom yearning to retain or regain an empire, in several key ways. The Stormont Assembly, graciously allowed to exist by the UK, has not met in three years, and there is no executive elected by the people of Northern Ireland. There is now high dudgeon from certain persons and groups over the fact that Northern Ireland must now allow abortion up to 24 weeks. In my personal opinion, as a historian who also has studied ancient culture before modern religions, any discussion should also consider post-birth infanticide that has also occurred and look at the overall situation of unwanted children at any age. However,  I’m not delving into this any further because that is NOT the point of this editorial. I think it’s clear that an article reminding people of the realities of Celtic culture, as it developed on its own before Mediterranean culture was allowed to change it, is in order, as a separate article. Regardless of the merits or not of this issue and the totality of the discussion, what is more important is that this change in Northern Ireland was made by an outside authority for two reasons: 1.) Northern Ireland is still part of the UK, and 2.) the Northern Ireland people have allowed the UK government in Westminster to make decisions for them due to their own unwillingness or inability to maintain a functioning government, representing the whole NI population, as the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont is meant to be.

    Northern Ireland is not behaving as a Celtic culture–yet by DNA and history, including the history of the plantations, it’s people and culture are Celtic. One major political party, The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), essentially wants to be English, even though most of its people (party and province) are NOT of English origin. The UK parliament is dominated by the English, a culture that evolved differently from different peoples. The UK parliament is 85% English, by population and representation and logically responds to and serves the English people most.

    Perhaps some people have also forgotten the origins of Ulster (Northern Ireland), both in ancient times and as it was redeveloped under the ‘Plantation System.’ It was the center of Dalriada, the ‘archipelago kingdom’ of northeastern Irish Celts, that, with Christianity and the weakening of the Picts by the Romans, spread into and ruled western Scotland and the islands in between Scotland and northeastern Ireland. The Scots Gaelic language, Erse, that is closely related to Irish Gaelic (just a dialect of it), came to Scotland from northeast Ireland. A lot of DNA is still shared today between these two areas.  Next, the plantation system, after the failed renegement of a treaty and rebellion of two Irish feudal earls, was begun by Scots, who had largely turned Protestant by this time, but they were Scots, and still shared the much DNA with so many Irish Gaels.

    The first plantation in Ulster was the result of a three way deal between Con O’Neill, Sir Hugh Montgomery of Braidstane (Ayrshire, Scotland) and James Hamilton (also Ayrshire, though his extended family had people and property in Stirlingshire and east to Perthshire). It was approved by a Stuart Scottish king, James VI/I. On the basis of the rapid success of the Clandeboye-Ards plantation of the three men, James VI/I, acting in the tradition of most European monarchs dealing with forfeitures of feudal lands in rebellion, created dozens of additional plantations large and small from eastern Donegal to Antrim and south to County Louth. The plantations included the lands of three more counties than what is ‘Northern Ireland,’ today.  If you read the plantation records that were transcribed from the royal family’s own ‘red boxes, and other papers, and papers of Parliament, by Rev. George Hill in the 1840’s and put into a four volume series called The Conquest of Ireland, now reprinted by the Irish Genealogical Foundation out of Kansas City, Missouri, you will notice one very obvious fact. Somewhere between two-thirds and  three-quarters of the plantations and lands sold and/or leased from them were issued to SCOTS–and to ‘native Irish.’ The English received only the town of Londonderry, a small amount of land around that and part of the old county of Coleraine, which Charles II combined with the town of Londonderry to create the County of Derry. Lord Chichester, an English lord,  had other very large properties in Ulster, he also sold and leased most to Scots and Welsh.  Even Londonderry and Coleraine, had a significant number of Welsh, another Celtic people.

    We see an overwhelming Celtic Northern Ireland behaving like a non-Celtic nation, driven by the bullying of one party, the DUP which has varying degrees of agreement and support of barely over one-half of the electorate. The DUP then has seemed generally quite happy to let devolved self-government at Stormont languish while overwhelming English dominance of the United Kingdom’s Parliament in Westminster decides all significant matters, and even favoring re-establishing a border between Celtic Eire and Celtic Northern Ireland. Ironically this same party is not happy with Westminster’s rule in other matters, which is more than a little hypocritical.  If the DUP is going to surrender the government of Northern Ireland to, substantially and overwhelmingly, the English, it surrenders it all, and the surrendering party then does not pick and choose some controls, or issues, to take back.

    Along with Scots, Welsh and English, the Celtic people of Northern Ireland will go to the polls next month on December 12th to choose new representatives in the UK Parliament. Let us all hope they find a way forward together, but in a fine non-violent democratic Celtic tradition of an exercise of self-government.


    United States Vs. United Kingdom

    United States Vs. United Kingdom

    Editorial – General Election vs. Impeachment

    UK General Election December 12th, 2019

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-11-01

    On Tuesday, October 29th, 2019, after 10 days of chaotic attempts by Prime Minister (PM), Boris Johnson, to obtain the approval of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (UK) in Westminster, UK, for a General Election on Thursday, December 12th, opposition Labor Party (LP) Leader Jeremy Corbin dropped his objection, declaring that he and the LP were satisfied that ‘No Deal was off the Table’ and announced that the LP would support the mounting calls for a General Election before the upcoming Holidays. The Prime Minister had delivered to the Labour Party a letter, signed this time, in which he promised not to attempt to get the latest proposed Brexit deal passed between the House of Commons vote to hold an election and the actual election.

    Once Labour had accepted the letter as a written promise, Johnson’s Conservative (Tory) Government offered a simple Bill proposing a General Election on Thursday, December 12th, and, quickly defeating all proposed Amendments offered, the Members of Parliament (MPs) overwhelmingly gave their assent, 438 votes to 20. This ‘Snap Election’ Bill then went to the House of Lords, where it was approved on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, the day before Hallowe’en. The Tories also announced that, after more than 3 years of struggling to resolve the question of Britain leaving the European Union, aka Brexit, the current UK Parliament would be dissolved at the closing on Tuesday, November 5th.

    With the vote on Impeachment in the United States House of Representatives this past Thursday, this seems like an appropriate time to reflect on these two ‘cousin’ forms of Government, their shared history, and their differences in resolving an impasse.

    UK vs. USA Gov’t United Kingdom United States
    of America
    Politics Unitary Parliamentary
    Constitutional Monarchy
    Federal Presidential
    Constitutional Republic
    Established Magna Carta 1215
    (804 years old)
    Constitutional Convention 1787
    (232 years old)
    Written Constitution? No Yes
    Sovereignty Parliament absolutely People

    These two large nations have much in common, including overlapping ancestral origins, shared language and culture, but there are many significant differences, developed especially since they split apart 243 years ago. At the time of that split, the rebelling English colonies of North America were populated by large numbers of Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish, and northern English (many of these families had been Scots prior to 1513), who favored Independence. The first three groups together constituted over two-thirds of George Washington ‘s Army. The invading British Army was composed of Redcoats mostly from England, and some from Scotland and Ireland, Hessians from Germany, and supported by a much smaller number of English colonists.

    The Celtic background of the US Constitution

    Why was the split so particularly along ethnic lines? In our analysis, these mostly Celtic Americans’ reasons for revolting, and the current differences in the two nations’ politics, both proceed from the historic pattern of inequalities suffered by the colonists and their immediate ancestors back in Ireland and Scotland. The colonists also did not like taxation without representation, being drafted for wars or having wars fought on their frontiers without any say in the matter, and they did not like monarchy with the king being above the law.

    There was also a major issue of religion. Many of the Scots had been Covenanters, Presbyterians and not followers of the state religion headed by the King of England. For this, they were subject to arbitrary accusations of crimes without ever being able to confront their accusers in star chamber courts, secret courts set up by an unaccountable king. The King also often ignored Parliament on matters of religion and its relationship to king and state. The King was often at war with Parliament over his and the state religion and many people wanted the religion of neither.

    The worst of these abuses led to the Irish Confederate Wars , English and Scottish Civil and Williamite Wars of the 1600’s, as well as the Scottish Risings of 1715, 1719 and 1745 and the Irish Rising of 1798. Without delving into the details, it seems clear that throughout this period, the English Parliament and English Aristocracy, gained much wealth and power, while millions of Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish all lost their land wound up in their overseas colonies, especially the North American 13 colonies, and lost all political rights and most economic rights–including the right to manufacture and engage in free trade. Between 1700 and 1775, the British Empire continued expanding, and the English Parliament pressed their superior position, taxing the colonists, including on imports of manufactured goods, while simultaneously preventing Americans from developing any competitive business or industry, and granting the citizens of their colonies NO SEATS at all in the UK Parliament.

    Notably, the American Revolution and resulting US Constitution were heavily influenced by American Celts who had suffered these abuses and the United States Constitution in created by the Constitutional Convention of 1887 was constructed to prevent them in the new nation.

    Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Quakers were numerous on both sides of the Atlantic. They did not want a state religion and were heartily sick of civil wars over whose religion would be the state religion. They had all pitched out the Kings bishops and a pope, and instead asserted their right to appoint or elect those who served them through their elders / presbyteries and other organizations

    The Scots-Irish (mostly Presbyterians) filled over two-thirds of the ranks of General George Washington‘s army for the duration of the Revolutionary War. At Valley Forge, when many had deserted, the Scots-Irish remained, enduring the cold and hunger. During the war, one Hessian officer wrote home: ‘Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scotch Irish Presbyterian rebellion.’

    The Scots-Irish Presbyterians influence on the US Constitution was both broad and deep, and perhaps the best documented example of it comes in the person of John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister from Scotland, and Founding Father of the United States.

    In May of 1776, Witherspoon urged his congregation to resist English tyranny as in obedience to God’s Will and telling them to trust in God to bring good out of evil. Witherspoon’s sermon was dedicated to John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, and widely published. The sermon drew praise for Witherspoon as a patriot, but British loyalists hated him, and burned him in effigy. In Westminster, a member of the British Parliament exclaimed, ‘Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson.’

    But Witherspoon’s influence was already well established. From age 11 to 16, future fourth president of the United States, James Madison, was sent to study under Donald Robertson, a Scottish instructor, and then on College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) where John Witherspoon was President. Madison became his most prominent student. At the 1786 Annapolis Convention, Madison joined with Alexander Hamilton to convince the other Congressmen to authorize the Constitutional Convention, and then wrote and otherwise shaped so much of the US Constitution, he earned the title, ‘Father of the Constitution’.

    Impeachment versus General Election and ‘no confidence’

    Writing a Constitution and maintaining it are two different things. The U.S. Constitution was also written in a way to set up checks and balances of all the participating entities in government so that no one part could abuse or suppress the others, and these checks and balances were intended to help this Constitutional government endure longer.  The UK is still developing this system and only ten years ago set up a Supreme Court. It also still has an executive who is NOT elected by popular vote, but only by a majority vote of the members of his party, assuming it has won a majority of the popular vote, or a high enough percentage of a plurality to be able to form a coalition government of more than one party. The U.S. also wanted to curtail real abuses of power and stop the commission of crimes and more by an abusive executive or candidate if the Constitution and its balances of power or the peace and security of the nation was threatened.

    Unlike the UK, the US Constitution provides for impeachment, and some states within the U.S. even have ‘recall’-an ability to hold a snap election to dismiss an elected Representative or Senator of the U.S., without impeachment. Recall requires a petition of verified registered voters to put the question of whether this person should be allowed to continue in office and then the vote takes place within months of the petition having attained the proper minimum number. This is how concerned the founding fathers were about the abuse of power of persons in the executive branch, as well as the legislative branch, which have so much power over the lives, prosperity and security of the people. The founding fathers understood human nature and that there are very few saints and plenty of temptations, and that the more power one has or attains, the more corruptible he or she may be. They understood conditions may get bad enough it’s not good for the country to wait until the next national election to remove an executive.

    The UK does not have ‘Impeachment’, but the UK Parliament does provide for a ‘Vote of no-confidence‘ forcing the replacement of the Prime Minister and, sometimes, a new general election. The US Congress and the US President have always had fixed terms, but the UK only added these in 2011, when Parliament passed the Fixed Term Parliament Act. The UK has yet to have a Parliament last as long as the 5 years that Act provides.

    While the US House of Representatives took its first formal vote to Impeach the current US President, the UK Parliament also voted to have a General Election. These two processes have some similarities and differences. The process of Impeachment can be used to remove a sitting US President, and a UK General Election can have the effect of dismissing the current Prime Minister and cabinet, as the Prime Minister and all members of the House of Commons to submit themselves to the populace for dismissal or re-election.

    At 66 million, the UK has about one fifth of the U.S. population of 327 million, and General Elections are done in a matter of weeks, about 6 weeks at the most. National elections in the U.S. are about two years long. In these, one third of Senators and the President of the U.S. is up for election/re-election, as well as all members of the House of Representatives. U.S. elections seem to be eternal, because the House of Representatives is no sooner elected to serve their 2 year term when they are immediately fund-raising and campaigning again. If there is one difference where the U.S. could learn from the UK, it’s in setting the amount of time to have an election. This is no longer the era of horse and buggy and no postal service, much less modern transportation, communications and media, but the U.S. still has horse-and-buggy days election time frames.. Additionally, all 50 states would benefit from having a law permitting a popular ‘recall’ vote–the closest thing to a ‘vote of no confidence,’ and possibly ‘initiative,’ the ability of the people to write legislation when the legislatures don’t write what enough people want.

    Just about one year ago, we wrote another article comparing the development of voting rights in the UK vs. the US: Readers might want to review it again, for additional comparisons of U.S. and UK government and elections. 2018-11-30 Editorial: The British-U.S. History of Voting by Cecilia Fábos-Becker It is useful to consider one more difference that can affect both voting rights and the rights to hold office. The UK has an insanity law, called the McNaghten Rule, with a firm legal definition that was established by a consensus of legal and medical minds in the UK, after an attempted assassination of a prime minister, Sir Robert Peel (who also started what was essentially the first police force, which is why a slang term for English police and their investigators is ‘Peelers’). For a brief modern language explanation of the McNaghten Rule, and how it was developed, see the Wikipedia article, among others:

    The McNaghten Rule still holds today and there are many fewer instances in cases of many kinds in the UK about whether or not a person or criminal is insane and can be excused for serious, even deadly misbehavior and simply put into an asylum rather than into prison. It was also used in the UK, to bar persons who were adjudged insane from voting or holding office, until 2006 when the ‘Electoral Administration Act‘ was passed allowing people who were ‘mentally disabled,’ even those in asylums, to vote. The one exception appears to be persons who are criminally insane, and convicted of felonies but were found insane at that time, and put into asylums for the criminally insane.

    In the U.S. has no restrictions on mentally ill voting or holding Federal office, if such persons have not committed a felony, and has no firm basic definition of insanity as the UK does.  Some states in the U.S.  prohibit convicted felons from voting, even those who have served their sentence and passed probation, but persons found ‘not guilty by reason of insanity,’ even of crimes like murder, actually can vote. In the UK, voting rights while imprisoned or in asylums after having committed a felony and been adjudged insane, are suspended but are restored after sentence is served.  The U.S. does not have a federal law or Constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentences and is ‘one of the most punitive countries regarding civil rights,’ in the world. See another Wikipedia article for a fairly decent history and explanation of voting rights and convicted felons in the U.S..


    UK & Ireland

    Editorial-Brexit Update 20191019

    Letwin Amendment Passes

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker – Published 2019-10-19

    On Saturday morning, October 19th, 2019, the Parliament of the United Kingdom (UK) met in Westminster, UK to take up new withdrawal agreement negotiated by Prime Minister (PM), Boris Johnson, last Thursday. The Members of Parliament (MPs) quickly passed an Amendment offered by Sir Oliver Letwin, PC, (note the ‘PC’), requiring that the new withdrawal agreement be codified into UK law BEFORE giving their approval.

    Since this was the day of the deadline in the new Benn Law, Letwin’s amendment now triggers its legal requirement on Johnson to send a letter to the EU requesting a delay in their Brexit deadline. This letter must ask the EU to approve a new Brexit deadline, now set on Hallowe’en (10/31/19), and extend the Brexit deadline to the end of next January, (1/31/20).

    Simultaneously today, several hundreds of thousands of protesters, who were in the adjacent square to call for a Final Say referendum, instantly cheered the event, but others, especially businesses who have already endured more than 3 years of uncertainty over whether the UK will Leave the European Union (EU), or Remain in the EU, bemoaned the additional delay of the Brexit process.

    With 12 days left in October, it is still possible that the Parliament could codify and approve the new withdrawal agreement before the Hallowe’en deadline, which would render the Benn Law letter moot. In a speech to Parliament, Johnson said he ‘Would not negotiate any delay with the EU’, but later in the day Johnson did send the required letter, albeit without signing it.

    NI MPs

    Northern Ireland’s elected Members of the UK Parliment
    Green: Sinn Féin / Red: DUP / Gray: Independent

    The Letwin Amendment was adopted by a margin of only 8 MPs. Notably, the Democratic Unionist Party’s block of 10 votes (red on the map) was split on the question, with Sammy Wilson voting for the amendment, saying voting against the Johnson deal was ‘the only way’ to ensure there was proper scrutiny of Johnson’s deal, and Independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, representing North Down (gray on the map), also voting for the amendment.

    The DUP had conceded on regulatory checks in the Irish Sea; in return expecting Mr Johnson to make other commitments to them. But he didn’t, and so the DUP are effectively reminding the PM that, for now at least, they still hold the balance of power in Parliament when it comes to such huge votes.

    Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s 7 elected MPs, (green on the map), continue their nearly 100 year old policy of abstaining from taking their seats in the UK Parliament, and so deny the 38.9% of Northern Ireland’s voters they represent any say in the Brexit process.

    The DUP is opposed to the consent mechanism in this Brexit deal, mostly because in Northern Ireland’s Assembly (Stormont), Pro-Remain parties have a narrow majority and the DUP demand that unionists have a veto was not granted. Instead, Johnson’s deal gives Stormont a simple majority vote on whether to continue following EU customs rules. Notably, Stormont has not even had a meeting since January 2017, mostly due to a fight between Sinn Fein and the DUP over corruption charges against DUP Leader, Arlene Foster.

    These corruption charges beg a serious question for PM Johnson: Did Arlene Foster violate UK laws or only Northern Ireland laws? If Foster violated UK laws, then why not simply have her arrested and jailed pending further investigation, and allow a new vote on her seat in Parliament. This would take away the largest part of the DUP problem and allow the elected members of the Stormont to sit. If the single biggest roadblock to the Northern Irish oversight were removed, then it is more likely PM Johnson’s deal could pass because there is a functional check and balance as stipulated in the Brexit withdrawal agreement AND a majority vote as stipulated in the Good Friday Agreement. Otherwise, it appears there would need to be another full population referendum in Northern Ireland itself and that would take more time, though certainly it would be less costly and take less time than another entire UK popular referendum.


    UK & Ireland

    Editorial-Brexit Update 20191018

    Here We Go Again…

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker – Published 2019-10-18

    On Thursday morning the United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and the European Union, (EU) announced that they have reached a new withdrawal agreement. This new agreement provides for no customs checks on or near the Irish-Northern Irish border, eliminating the need for the ‘backstop’ in the prior proposal. Instead, there would be customs checks at all ports of entry in the North. The entire island (green line on the map) would stay in the European Customs Union, while Northern Ireland otherwise remains part of the UK (blue line on the map). The next step will happen tomorrow, Saturday, October 19th, in Westminster, as the Parliament of the UK votes on the new agreement.

    One might think that these provisions would be acceptable to all parties except the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Not quite. There are still some hard line members of the UK’s Conservative Party (Tories) who don’t want Northern Ireland to have a separate relationship with the EU that the rest of the UK does not, despite the fact that the EU has been consistent in stating it intends to both uphold the Good Friday Agreement and, as at least two EU ministers stated today, also uphold the will of the majority of people in Northern Ireland–who voted to remain in the EU. This is even though the same people also voted for 10 DUP members to the UK Parliament, and only 8 to any other entities that signed the Good Friday Agreement.

    Part of the problem is that the majority of Northern Irish people, themselves, seem to have a split personality when it comes to voting their will. The Northern Irish, themselves, need to make up their minds to consistently vote one way or another and recognize that, like the English and Welsh Conservatives they are not going to force the other remaining 27 members countries of the EU, representing 400 million persons, to allow the Northern Irish and the Conservatives to have their cake and eat it also.

    The Sinn Fein party, whose main tenet is the reunification of North with the rest of Ireland, holds seven seats in the UK Parliament, but are irrelevant, as Sinn Fein members continue to abstain from taking their seats in the UK parliament, as they have for almost 100 years. Thus Sinn Fein MPs choose to have no voice, nor vote on this crucial question. The Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, recently referred to them as ‘wolves.’ Having lived in Minnesota for many years, we think this comment insults the wolves. If there is an animal comparison, Sinn Fein is more like hyenas, or coyotes, but even hyenas will participate in initiating actions together for the greater good of the pack, whether it is to jointly steal another animal’s kill or bring down a weak, old or dying herbivore. However, like hyenas, Sinn Fein is very vocal and dangerous while most of the time accomplishing less than, say, a pack of wolves or pride of lions.

    So, here we go again, the UK House of Commons is to vote on the latest proposed agreement tomorrow, with the DUP leaders stating that they will oppose it, and that they will encourage all others to oppose it, Sinn Fein yipping and howling from a distance, Labour saying, ‘officially’ no, but it isn’t clear how much the generally hated Jeremy Corbyn speaks for the rest of his party and the UK Prime Minister cautiously optimistic that somehow he’ll persuade both what remains of his minority party, and members of other parties to vote for the agreement, anyway. He won’t even say he’ll restore status to the 21 members of the Conservative Party he booted out for having voted for the Benn Act keeping him and the Brexit, no-deal, extremists from crashing the UK out of the EU without a deal.

    At the same time, though, from polls done by the BBC, it appears the vote is closer to passage than with any of PM May’s proposals, this time, an estimated 317 for, and 322 against–despite the public high dudgeon of the DUP. It may be the English members of Parliament are finally realizing that the majority of their constituents–85% of the UK Parliament don’t give a damn about the English wannabe pretensions of the DUP.  The English do NOT consider anyone in Northern Ireland to be, well, English, and certainly not fit to be dictating to the 85% majority in the UK Parliament who all live on the separate island of Britannia. . We’ve heard precisely this from people born in England who live in the U.S., one of whom is an officer of our own community development HOA, and still has many relatives in England in the most ‘leave’ region, with whom he frequently communicates.

    The BBC commentators speculated that there is a solution to this narrow vote difference, that the Labour Party may insist on a UK referendum on this deal, to be held after the House of Commons votes, in exchange for Labour votes. This would then give a tentative approval of the deal, contingent upon the will of the people, voting while knowing the real alternatives, and would allow for a delay just long enough for that referendum to occur.  The vote in Parliament is due to occur, Saturday, October 19.  We’ll see how much successful wheeling and dealing, without the DUP, that Boris Johnson has done on that day.

    For those interested in obtaining the latest news on this as it happens, BBC television has real news on the hour, and upon the half hour, from about 8 a.m. Pacific time throughout most of the day. The BBC will have news of this vote as it occurs.  You don’t have to wait to catch the 30 second or less summary in between all the commercials and self-promotion on the U.S. network talking heads, and once daily national news per network, programs.


    Airbus and Boeing Jets

    Airbus and Boeing Jets

    Editorial – Tariffs on Celtic imports

    Aircraft, Whiskey, Whisky, and more

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker and Tony Becker – Published 2019-10-11

    Whiskey vs. Whisky

    There is a long and boring story behind why the Scots dropped the ‘e’ in Whiskey, having to do with ancient rivalries and efforts to standardize spelling in the 1950’s, but I like to tell this story instead. (If you have already heard it, read no further.)

    In Scotland, it is spelled Whisky because, when the alphabet was auctioned off, the Welsh got most of the consonants, the Irish got most of the vowels, and the Scots were too cheap to pay the Irish for the extra ‘e’.

    If you have paid attention to the real news in between political events and the usual talking heads’ speculation about politics, then you know that the current President of the U.S. recently slapped 25% tariffs on products of the UK, France, Germany and Spain–mostly on food products, including Scottish and Ulster made whisk(e)y. Why is a decades old fight between Airbus and Boeing raising the price of one of Celtic America’s favorite beverages and other Celtic imports?

    The U.S. is a major market for alcohol and among the most enthusiastic of social drinkers are Americans of Irish and British, particularly Scots, Scots-Irish, and Irish descent. Here is a website with fairly recent information on the incredible numbers of social and other drinkers:

    Many AmeriCeltic readers have Irish, Northern Ireland (Scots-Irish, etc.) and Scottish ancestry and celebrate or honor their heritage in part by enjoying the results of the labors of their UK (Scots, and Northern Irish) cousins. This is especially so around St. Andrew’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Robert Burns Day, etc., and at dozens of Celtic festivals throughout the year. For the weekend-long events, whisky is shared liberally in the hospitality tents and rooms at the associated hotels.

    Whiskey Sampler

    Whiskey and Whisky

    Here are some facts about this. First, whiskey making and selling is nearly a quarter (22%), of Scotland’s economy. MANY thousands of Scots are employed in the whisky related industry, including world-wide distribution and marketing. Even In Northern Ireland, which has only about one-third or less of the population of Scotland, and only one major distiller, Bushmill’s, it employs hundreds. It is not only ordinary people who are employed in this industry. According to members of Clan Campbell Society, The Duke of Argyll, who is the head of Clan Campbell, worked for, and still consults for, Pernod Ricard, which at one time owned Seagram’s, which distills Crown Royal. It does continue to own Chivas Regal. For Celtic Americans, these are our cousins, whom we like to remember, at our events and festivals. What about now?

    The fact is tariffs like these have a history of reducing sales substantially. When sales drop, employers, to cut costs and maintain profits reduce staff.  Unemployment goes up. It also may go up on the U.S. side–among import, distribution and marketing companies here, though mostly, they will find some other nation’s products to represent for awhile, or permanently. Earlier in this ongoing trade war between the U.S. President and the EU, and China, previous tariffs enacted on U.S. made whisky caused sales of U.S. bourbon and other whiskies to drop by 21% and has caused significant job losses in Kentucky and other states. Here’s one article that explains the effects of the ‘tit for tat’ tariffs, noting also that the current ‘whisk(e)y war’ only began in recent years.

    The reasons for these tariffs are nothing like usual reasons for tariffs. Historically, Tariffs are ordered and enacted on goods coming from countries who pay workers less, in comparison to those in developed countries for making similar products. Otherwise, they may be imposed when a  competing nation subsidizes an industry.  If anyone has a right to enact a tariff under these circumstances, the UK, France and Germany would, because the U.S. actually has a minimum wage that is LOWER than these other countries. Additionally, while the U.S. accuses the UK, Spain, France and Germany of unfairly subsidizing Airbus, and steel and aluminum manufacture, the EU has a lawsuit in the international court against the U.S. for its own subsidies of various types to Boeing. It may be argued that the FAA allowing Boeing to regulate and inspect itself for safety is also a form of U.S. government subsidy. Additionally, U.S. steel and aluminum workers including mining workers are paid LESS than those in the major producing countries of the EU, including the UK. The U.S. also has NOT engaged in exploration for new large deposits of high grade iron ore, and aluminum ore that is relatively easy to mine and it has depleted older large deposits. U.S. manufacturers import steel and aluminum because the U.S. has an insufficient mining and related geological exploration industry–by the choices of U.S. government and industries themselves.

    Thus, the U.S. President did not enact these tariffs for normal historic reasons, that most ordinary working people would find understandable. He is now widely accused of having  enacted them to try to force Europeans to buy more U.S. made commercial aircraft, which would particularly benefit the largest U.S. manufacturer of such, Boeing. Boeing was allowed by the FAA for years, now to regulate its own safety and had two airplanes crash killing over 300 people.  Airbus has not had the same record as Boeing in the same recent years, and has benefited from Boeing’s and the FAA’s own carelessness. It is not normally considered an unfair advantage to sell an airplane that doesn’t crash. In contrast, some years ago Airbus had put into its planes new automatic controls that had also caused at least one crash with fatalities. At that time Boeing benefited.  The Europeans did NOT put tariffs on U.S. aircraft or U.S. food products to force the U.S. to buy more Airbus’s at that time.

    This is normally called ‘bullying.’ It is not fair nor just. It affects our many readers’ own blood relatives. It is a situation that has long chafed Scots and Irish in their dealings with England and insistence upon fairness, accountability, etc. became a part of the U.S. Constitution and laws because of the long history of our revered Scottish and Irish ancestors in dealing with unfairness and injustice.  Worse, although the U.S. President has stated he wanted to punish the UK, the punishment falls disproportionately on the Scots, the northern Irish–and their millions of U.S. cousins who honor their common ancestors with them by buying and drinking beverages their cousins make. WE pay the tariffs, not the UK government.

    For readers trying to understand what is going on and how it affects them, and especially Celtic American devotees of Scottish and Northern Irish whisk(e)ys, we have found several websites with more information about how the tariffs actually work.

    Several show that the tariff is added at the time of importation and that in many U.S. liquor stores, etc. the wholesale import price is, on average, about one-third the retail label price.  Based on what you normally pay for a bottle of your favorite whisk(e)y, calculate one third of that and add 25% to that one third of the price. Then figure out how many bottles you normally buy per year and multiply the tariff amount. Now you know how much you will be paying per year to support Boeing’s continued self-inflicted problems.

    However, one site that describes how one becomes a retail liquor seller also said something interesting about ‘just in time inventory’ being the usual practice, and that distillers, etc. are often represented by brokers/promoters who charge (EARN) a commission–based on sales of the product and that when a group of products prices rise, for whatever reason, the distributors and end retailers often cut their orders which cut the commissions, of course for those lines and the brokers then go off to represent other lines. This means that even when prices come down, there may be lagging in the system before the brokers return to carrying the product lines and they become more available again at the end retailers. Some of those commissioned brokers are U.S. persons, and some are British/Scots or Irish. If demand drops too much,  commissioned brokers can and do lose jobs.  Here is one of the sites that explains this side issue, as well as others regarding tariffs, normal costs, etc..

    The tariffs also affect the people ordering drinks at a bar and the price charged per drink not only reflects what is, but what is expected in an increase for a while to come. Bar and pub owners pay the tarifs to those who sell to them and then pass the tariffs on to their customers to keep profitable.   Because bar drinks are sold by the ounce or shot, the price will go up more per ounce/shot than for buying a bottle at the local liquor store. This affects more than just lowly distillery workers and sales persons.

    Based on everything we found on several sites: a bottle of Glenlivet (less aged) selling for $30 would go up about $2 to $2.5 dollars. A bottle of something aged longer and/or with smaller distribution (economy of scale has effects also) will be, depending upon current retail prices, but say from $45 to $60, would go up $3 to $4. I’m also using bottles about the size of a fifth (4/5 liter) in these rather rough calculations. Now at the per drink level, if you are paying $7 a shot for a decent whisk(e)y you may well see it go up a dollar to $8 a shot.

    We’re sure the bourbon makers and distributors are feeling hopeful.. Unfortunately there is no bourbon that has the same distinctive, wonderful flavor of a truly fine single malt Scotch, though bourbon is as varied in its own way and has some very fine brands, some of which are also significantly aged. Essentially bourbon and Scotch whisky makers use different grains, which affects flavor, and the Scotch whisky makers have other differences in their processing.  Here’s an article and sites that illustrate these very facts–including the new hopefulness of the U.S. whisky makers:


    Boris and Justice

    Editorial: Is England Headed for Another, Real, Civil War?

    How serious are the threats to UK MPs and other public figures?

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-09-27

    Unlike so much that appears in the U.S. national media, particularly on Sunday mornings, we won’t attempt to make a sensational, frenzied mountain out of this molehill, but this issue is very real. In England, there are increasing numbers of threats to elected politicians, mostly to female and minority MP’s who oppose current Prime Minister Johnson and his cabal of 8 or 9 persons and their Brexit on Halloween deal or no deal maneuvering. See this article from the respected British newspaper, The Guardian, which was only hours old when we found it on Thursday morning:

    Think about what this article is saying. In a normally very civil society where most people still aspire to be, and behave as, ladies and gentlemen, in 2019, there have been serious 450 threats to mostly about 10 female and minority MP’s who are NOT Conservatives/Tories, and already one has been murdered. These threats are coming from mostly males who support Boris Johnson–whom some have called ‘the British Trump,’ and even use his inflammatory statements–as shown in this article. This is very much like what has been happening in the U.S. it’s not a comfortable feeling of familiarity.

    At the time of the Brexit vote in June of 2016, the UK had one assassination. Labour MP Helen Joanne Cox died after being shot and stabbed multiple times by Thomas Mair, a known extremist with far-right views. Violence against politicians just doesn’t normally happen in the UK! Unlike the so-called emotionally out of control, mentally unstable U.S. where there are assassination attempts once every few years and assassinations about once every 40 or 50 years, the last assassination of a UK Prime Minister took place almost 200 years ago.

    The UK population is only one-fifth of that of the U.S., but, in the UK parliament, the number of members of the House of Commons is about a third larger than the U.S. House of Representatives. Proportionately, this would be about like having over 3,000 credible and serious threats against Democratic members, and SIX actual assassinations of female and minority representatives in U.S. House of Representatives. This is why the ‘Guardian’ and others find what is happening in the UK so shocking.

    If there were any doubt that Americans are the genetic close cousins to the British and Irish, the words and actions, now of Sinn Fein, the DUP and far too many mostly male Conservatives should end the doubt. It’s also not like a few of the targets themselves haven’t made some very outrageous statements in this long trigger-happy country, but it seems to me that angry British conservative males are clearly just as capable of the sort of violence as we have seen from angry American conservative males lately. In both cases, they target women and minorities. Still, the U.S. is long known for anything but civility and any significant numbers of gentlemen and ladies. It is a much rarer situation in the UK, shockingly rare.

    Ironically, according to the ‘Guardian’ article, the two sanest, most civil and well-behaved groups in the UK, seem to be the Scots and the Welsh, even among the minority Conservatives in Scotland. It makes me wonder what happened when the Scots crossed the Atlantic to cause repression of the ‘civility genes’ in so many Americans of Scottish descent on this side, especially in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and our southern states. Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, was born in a pebbledash croft house Outer Hebrides Isle of Lewis. Those civility genes seem repressed in her now high ranking son, but that’s a matter for genetics researchers to figure out, not editorial writers.

    We must be concerned with this trend. The UK is not just the genetic closest cousins to more than half of the people of the U.S., but is the closest military ally to the U.S., one of the strongest members of NATO, and is still a significant trading partner. Ten years or more in the future, it could be again, after it recovers from the now more expected chaos and damages of Brexit. Barring a miracle created by Johnson himself and the 8 or 9 members of his closest advisers, serious strains, and a real risk of civil violence within England, threaten more than England–and don’t set any grand examples for their younger U.S. cousins.

    Like its cousin the U.S., England had a very bloody civil war once before, and Cromwell didn’t stop at the border, so it involved Scotland and Ireland. England’s civil war destroyed a large percentage of the population of all three countries, and wrecked the economy for at least a generation. Today, the UK is a significant part of the NATO international defense alliance guaranteeing the security of not just most of Europe, but other parts of the world, and likewise the associated financial and trading networks.

    It is unreasonable to expect that threats and violence are going to continue from solely one side. Human history, particularly of the UK and the U.S. shows otherwise. It cannot be long before ordinary, probably mostly male, members of Labour, Social Democrats, and others start considering retaliation in kind. The risks of guns, knives, pikes and crowbars, etc. in a Civil War becomes real, and the usual merchants of death rubbing their hands in anticipation of huge profits in the U.S., and in Europe, won’t restrain themselves from being willing to sell to supply both sides.

    There is a reassuring fact. The UK armed forces and police do not ultimately answer to the Prime Minister. They all take an oath of loyalty to their ultimate ‘Commander in Chief’ who is the MONARCH, currently Queen Elizabeth II, and her successors. See

    If the already hundreds of threats and one assassination continue to increase in the extreme, the Queen can call for martial law and the military to impose order under which the Crown can have the PM, and others arrested for inciting violence. However, it would be ironic in the extreme if a 93 year old woman has to restore order in a nation dominated by much younger men in a democratic Parliament who couldn’t manage to keep public order. As a number of members of the Press and older MP’s of all parties have said, ‘what is happening now has never been seen in their lifetime.’I would add, this level of civil angst in Britain has not been seen since the 1640’s.Usually this kind of appalling behavior only happens in third world countries or more recently, in the U.S.

    Fortunately, the UK appears to have an intelligent, experienced Queen, who genuinely cares about the good of her entire country, regardless of its party affiliations, and its relations with and obligations to the rest of the world in important matters, even if her PM and Government does not.


    Editorial-Brexit Update: Prorogation Proscribed

    Scottish High Court Rules Against Boris Johnson
    ‘PM Lied to the Queen’

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-09-13

    One thing we’ve learned from our time in politics is that hard line policies are brittle. When they finally break, they shatter, and often with significant collateral damage.

    Regular readers will recall our affection for alliteration, but in this case ‘proscribed’ is precisely what the recent ruling of Scotland’s highest Court means. The dictionary definition of ‘proscribe’ is ‘denounce, condemn or forbid, especially by law.‘ When the new United Kingdom (UK) prime minister (PM) Boris Johnson repeatedly said in public ‘I will never ask for another Brexit delay’, he was quite literally, telling the entire United Kingdom (UK) that he refuses to obey the newly passed Benn Law requiring the PM to delay Brexit beyond its current Oct. 31 deadline if there is no withdrawal agreement by October 19th.

    In response, last Saturday, 9/7/19, Ken MacDonald, Director Of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales between 2003 and 2008, told Sky News that Boris Johnson could face legal repercussions, saying ‘the law should be followed,’ adding that ‘a refusal in the face of that would amount to contempt of court,’ could lead to ‘that person in prison.’

    UK & Ireland

    Then, on Wednesday, 9/11/19, the highest court in Scotland, the Inner House of the Court of Session, ruled that PM Johnson’s suspension of the UK Parliament was illegal The three judge panel were unanimous in their ruling, stating that Johnson was motivated by the ‘improper purpose of stymieing Parliament’, and he had effectively misled the Queen in advising her to suspend Parliament. They added: ‘The Court will accordingly make an Order declaring that the prime minister’s advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.

    Meanwhile, last Friday, 9/6/19, the High Court of Justice in England, which together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court is one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, dismissed a similar legal challenge by businesswoman Gina Miller. Miller argued the the PM’s suspension of Parliament was ‘an unlawful abuse of power’, but the English judges rejected her claim saying was a ‘purely political‘ move and was therefore ‘not a matter for the courts‘. However, Lord Ian Duncan Burnett, Baron Burnett of Maldon, Kt PC (Note the ‘PC’), Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, also said Ms. Miller could immediately appeal her case to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, because of the important points of law at stake. Ms. Miller did so, and the appeal will be heard next Tuesday September 17th, 2019. The UK Supreme Court must also consider the recent Scottish ruling, as any action they take will apply to all of the UK, including Scotland.

    The UK Supreme Court itself is rather new, having been formally established only a decade ago, in part to make it clear that the UK Judiciary is independent from the Legislative branch, but also to continue to adjudicate the myriad conflicts between the several, distinct legal traditions of the several separate countries of the UK. This had been formerly done by the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords.

    Clearly, the UK is now involved in a Constitutional Crisis, involving the Queen, the three devolved Parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK Parliament and the new Government of PM Boris Johnson. In a related matter, we note that the United Kingdom DOES NOT have a WRITTEN Constitution, but more on that later.

    Consider this Map of the British Isles (provided by Encyclopedia Britannica), and it is immediately obvious that the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is 1). The only land border within the UK, and 2). An aberration from the geographically based borders between other three constituent countries of the UK. Consider also that the main ‘sticking point’ that has kept the UK Parliament from agreeing to the carefully negotiated withdrawal agreement to leave the European Union (EU), is this same land border on the island of Ireland. This also means that the UK is also in an International Crisis, involving the EU and one of its members, the Republic of Ireland.

    We have to wonder why none of these eminent persons is discussing the obvious solution to the Irish border issue – allow the voters of Northern Ireland to vote on that border as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement and thus eliminate the Irish border altogether?

    The respected polling organization of Lord Michael Anthony P. Ashcroft, Baron Ashcroft, KCMG, PC‘ (Note the ‘PC’), recently polled Northern Ireland (NI) voters on this question and released his results last Wednesday, 9/11/19, showing that NI voters are split evenly on reunification with the rest of Ireland.

    Lord Ashcroft summarized this startling result as follows:
    ‘Last month my polling in Scotland found a small lead for independence. My latest research, a survey in Northern Ireland, brings equally gloomy news for unionists: a slender lead for Irish unification in the event of a referendum on whether or not Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom.

    ‘In my poll, 45% said they would vote to stay in the UK, and 46% said they would choose to leave and join the Republic of Ireland … a lead of 51% to 49% for unification when we exclude don’t knows and those who say they would not vote.’

    Read more details from Lord Ascroft’s polls:

    In fact, there is significant support among the Celtic countries of the UK and Ireland, for changes in their status within the United Kingdom. Irish ‘Nationalist’ groups on both sides of the border favor reunification of the island of Ireland, and there are active independence movements in both Scotland and Wales.

    The 1998 ‘Good Friday Agreement’ that brought peace to Northern Ireland requires a majority vote of Northern Ireland voters for reunification to proceed, as shown by Lord Ashcroft’s poll.

    In the 2014 Independence referendum in Scotland, on the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’, the vote was 55.3% ‘No’. However, during that referendum, the UK was still a member of the EU, and had not yet held a referendum to pull out. The English leaders of the UK threatened Scottish voters with NOT being allowed in the EU if the Scottish voters voted for independence.  That threat is widely accepted as having influenced the outcome of the Scottish referendum. With Brexit, conditions have changed in that relationship. Today, it is the English majority in the UK, through the Conservative Party (Tories), which has little representation outside of England, that wants to leave the EU and is willing to do so without a deal–at least the majority of the Tories do. Based on the vote last June for members of the European Parliament, in which not a single Tory won a MEP seat in any constituency in Scotland, we think a new Referendum on Scottish Independence should be held and there is a high likelihood that it would pass easily.

    Welsh voters have never voted on any such question, but they do have an organized movement that wants to although polls over the past several years say only a third or less of Welsh voters favor independence. The Welsh also had a slight majority voting to leave the EU, but again, polls show that even this majority did not expect departure to be without a deal.  This could affect future Welsh opinions about the benefits of its continued membership in the UK.

    We’re not aware of any such activities in Cornwall, Cumbria or Northumbria, but with a no-deal Brexit looming in just 7 weeks, some kind of independence movements in even these historically Celtic areas seem possible in the future, though with little reality at present.

    Still, given that PM Johnson continues to cling to the slight majority for ‘Leave’ in the 2016 Brexit referendum as a mandate, even for a no-deal Brexit, and has repeatedly demanded respect for English/UK sovereignty and ‘democracy,’ he should, in turn, respect the Northern Irish and Scottish demands for the same–and allow them to have their referendums and this time, see that they are free of interference or threats from the English. In the U.S. we have an old saying, ‘practice what you preach.’, a descendant of that old, too often forgotten ‘the Golden Rule’, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

    Since the U.S. is known to have crushed its own would be secessionist states in the U.S. Civil War, we have occasionally heard criticism of ‘U.S. opinions and interference’, but these are not comparable situations. In 1860, the populations in the southern states were genetically, ethnically and historically the same as in the northern states, whereas in the UK, it has been mostly Anglo-Saxons and their allies versus Celts for 1500 years.

    Moreover, the secessionist U.S. states had never had their own kingdom or country, while Scotland, Ireland and Wales had been nations for more than a thousand years before being taken over by the separate, ethnically distinct, English kingdom. Second, since the first two permanent English colonies at Jamestown and Plymouth in the early 17th Century until the middle of the 19th Century, the entire U.S. was settled by persons of majority Celtic descent, Scots, Scots-Irish, and Irish–and even Cornish and Welsh, precisely those who were worse oppressed by the English, most having been driven or transported out of their own lands. The U.S. was largely built by refugees from the English expansion of the UK into the older, once separate realms of the kingdom of Scotland, Wales and Cornwall and the four to five, once separate kingdoms in Ireland.

    From the late 18th to early 20th Century the Irish rebelled several times in an effort to become independent from English rule. These Irish rebellions, did NOT stop at the Atlantic ocean, instead, both the English and the Irish vigorously sought support for their side here in the United States, and not mere spiritual or moral support, but financial/economic, and even weapons, support. As it had Scotland in the early 18th century, the UK involved the U.S. in its fights with the Irish (and other expansions of empire) and along with the attempt to conquer, to change them into, in Winston Churchill’s words, ‘Good little colonials’.

    For instance, during World War I, besides obtaining U.S. weapons and ammunition used to both fight in Continental Europe and crush the 1916 Irish rising, Churchill and others in the UK lobbied for and obtained the help of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to quell Irish-American support and quash the Indian rebellion. The Irish in turn, sought and obtained broad support of many kinds from the U.S. citizens, including those who had been recent irish immigrants, and those whose Scots, Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors who had fled to what became the U.S. 150 years or more before.  The vying for U.S. government and popular support by and for each party continued up to and through the last round of very serious strife in Northern Ireland known as ‘the Troubles.’ It’s not ancient history to us, and many Americans alive today who had first hand experience with these efforts.

    Within recent decades, the U.S. also helped negotiate and mediate the 1998 ‘Good Friday Agreement’ that ended the last round of very serious strife in Northern Ireland and, along with the EU, is a signatory to and guarantor of that Treaty. Thus, the U.S. does have several very good and valid reasons to have opinions in the matter of Brexit and how it should transpire, and Congress, not just the President, has a right to say if the Good Friday Agreement is abrogated, or shredded, it will withhold approval of trade agreements.

    Our founding fathers had a more realistic view of human nature and its potential failings than many modern leaders seem to have. Bear in mind, that the U.S. Constitution was created by our mostly Celtic descended American ancestors out of their experiences with one another–and the very fresh memory of a massive, bloody war with England based largely on the unfair trade and taxation policies of the British Empire, largely driven by its Anglo-Saxon Aristocracy under its Tory Government lead by Lord Frederick North.

    In fact, in the U.S., our founders addressed this danger by giving our Congress the final say in Trade Agreements – not the U.S. President.  Under our U.S. Constitution, all Trade Agreements with the U.S. must be approved by Congress. Readers, and perhaps PM Johnson, might want to re-read the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, subsection 3: ‘The Congress shall have the power … To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.’ These trade provisions are part of the checks and balances our mostly Celtic founders put there to prevent the possibility of self-serving corrupt individuals in the executive branch doing deals solely to benefit themselves, for one reason or another.

    Perhaps in mid 2020, when the UK’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011 comes up for review and adjustment, the UK Parliament may wish to restore the Royal Prerogative to dissolve a hung Parliament and call for new elections on HRM’s own judgement, and thus put a check on the powers of any future dishonest Prime Minister who might give her misleading advice. The Parliament might also consider adding some additional checks and balances, and maybe even write a Constitution. As Californians, we’d also suggest adding public initiative, referendum and recall to that Constitution, though they might want to restrict those a tad more than California does.


    Boris and Arlene

    Dr. Phillip Lee on the Liberal Democrats Bench

    Editorial: Rebel Alliance Wins

    21 Tories join Opposition to Outlaw ‘No Deal’ Brexit
    Lords Follow, Queen will Assent

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-08-30

    This week, decorum in the United Kingdom’s (UK) Parliament, the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’ set several precedents. The House of Commons was engaged in one of the most momentous and most consequential debates ever — whether or not to hand control of the parliamentary process to those seeking to avoid the UK leaving the European Union (EU), with no withdrawal agreement, aka a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

    On Tuesday, while Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson addressed Members of Parliament (MPs), Conservative (Tory) Party MP Phillip Lee, long dissatisfied with the way the Tories were handling Brexit, chose the moment to switch parties, dramatically crossing the floor of the Commons to take a seat next to the leader of the Liberal Democrats. In this single move, Dr. Lee took Johnson’s Tory/DUP Government from a 1 vote majority to a minus 1 vote minority, and in the UK, minority governments days are severely numbered.

    Click Here,, to watch a video clip of Dr. Lee walking from the Tory benches to join the Liberal Democrats while Boris Johnson is speaking to the House.

    As Tuesday continued, Lee and 21 other Tories rebelled, joining a united alliance of all other opposition parties. In a rapid series of votes, this ‘Rebel Alliance‘ wrested control of the House agenda away from PM Johnson and his Tory/DUP Government, approved a debate for a law, known as the ‘Benn Bill’, to force PM Johnson to ask for a third delay of the date the UK was set to leave the EU, (Brexit), in the event the Government still had no approved withdrawal agreement by the time of the upcoming EU conference on October 17th.

    Tuesday’s was one of the most consequential debates in parliamentary history. Indeed, the grave subject of whether or not to hand control of the Brexit process to those seeking to avoid ‘no deal’ appeared to weigh only lightly on the shoulders of Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons, who spent a significant portion of the time slouched on the government front bench. Rees-Mogg seemed to find it all too boring, sprawling and occasionally laughing or crossing his extended legs.

    Rees-Mogg Lounging

    Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg,
    Lounging as his Government goes down in flames

    As MPs shouted at him to sit up, Green party MP, Caroline Lucas chided, ‘There’s been a lot of talk about democracy tonight (as) the Leader of the House, … with his body language throughout this evening has been so contemptuous of this house and of the (UK) people,’.

    Labour MP, Anna Turley, called Rees-Mogg’s slouching the ‘physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement, disrespect and contempt for our parliament’.

    Now, dear reader, you might think that a respectful member might have jumped up, suitably admonished. Not Rees-Mogg, who remained in repose, grinning and shaking his head as he adjusted his glasses.

    But then, a few minutes later, Rees-Mogg was sitting bolt upright as the tellers returned to deliver the result of the vote on the Bill. It passed, and on its third reading MPs gave the Benn bill a majority of 28, handing the Tory/DUP government a crushing defeat in PM Johnson’s very first Commons vote.

    ‘Mr. Speaker, tonight’s vote made even the Leader of the House sit up,’ quipped one former Tory MP, Anna Soubry.

    The following morning, Thursday, PM Johnson expelled the 21 rebels from his Tory party, taking his government to a minus 43 minority. Further, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, Johnson requested that the House approve an early (snap) General Election on October 15th, two days before the EU Summit. Less than less than two hours later, the Rebels voted again, refusing to give PM Johnson the two-thirds majority required, and so the next scheduled election date remains May 5th, 2022, five years after the last ‘snap’ election in 2017.

    Such a series of crushing defeats for a sitting UK Prime Minister have no precedent in 800 year long history of Parliament. With no-deal off the table, and no snap election, Johnson was plunged into a deeper crisis, just six weeks after taking the office of Prime Minister.

    But it gets worse.

    Until Thursday, Johnson’s brother, Jo Johnson, was also a Tory, an MP, and cabinet Minister for Universities and Science. Hearing all this news, Jo Johnson resigned from all three positions. In the words of a ‘Telegraph’ reporter, Jo sent ‘a blistering letter of resignation, about the time the other defections were being apparent, and then gave his reasons publically via his Twitter account:

    ‘It’s been an honour to represent Orpington for 9 years & to serve as a minister under three PMs. In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest – it’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister. #overandout’

    The Rebel’s bill was quickly tabled in the UK’s upper chamber, the House of Lords by Labour’s Hilary James Wedgwood Benn, PC, (note the ‘PC’) where it seems to have broad support. In a cynical attempt to ‘run out the clock’, Johnson offered a tsunami of actions amounting to a filibuster of the bill, but the Lords held a marathon session extending into Thursday’s wee hours and reached an agreement to push the bill through by the end of Friday. Speaking after 1:30 AM, the Labour’s Party’s leader there, Lady Angela Evans Smith, Baroness Smith of Basildon, PC, (again, note the ‘PC’) said she hoped that there would be ‘no further frustrations’ of the bill on Friday.

    ‘It has been quite a night. It has been a long debate — and I am grateful to the noble lords who have stayed the course — it shows the importance of the work we do but also the issue on which we are debating,’ she said. ‘I am grateful that we are now able to confirm that we will be able to complete all stages of the bill in a time-honoured way by 5pm Friday.’

    Sir Richard Newby, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, told the chamber he was very pleased that he would no longer need to use a duvet (a large basket of food and fresh clothing) he had brought. ‘I don’t think that carrying on through 24 or 48 hours as we have been doing in a sort of pathetic attempt to set a new Guinness world record would do anybody any favours.’

    As expected, the House of Lords approved the bill on Friday. The final step is for the Queen to ‘assent’ to the new law, and the Queen’s assent is expected shortly, after which it becomes the law of the land.

    When Johnson proposed a new general election, it was as an alternative to this law requiring him to now request a delay in implementing Brexit if there is no deal. Labour and Scottish National Party (SNP) leaders have said they will consider a new election AFTER this new law is in place.

    This new law may require the Prime Minister to seek another delay from the EU if there is no Withdrawal Agreement in place by October 17th, but it is unclear whether or not Prime Minister Johnson will obey the new law, as he has both said he would uphold the laws of Parliament, generally, but, in a rambling speech in the ‘north of England’ on Thursday, Johnson also said that he ‘would rather be dead in a ditch (than to go back to the EU for another delay)‘.

    Dead in a Ditch

    007 and the Queen Leaving the Privy Council on Thursday

    This whole set of events was prompted by two things: Prime Minister Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament for 5 weeks, leaving what most thought was insufficient time to consider a new proposal to avoid leaving the EU without a deal, and the publication of documents of ministers in Johnson’s cabinet showing there are no real negotiations for a new deal with new proposals from the Prime Minister. In fact the AG, Geoffrey Cox warned Johnson that ‘it is a complete fantasy‘ to think the Irish backstop is negotiable.

    Dominic Cummings, chief adviser to PM Johnson, and a member of the alleged UK-EU negotiating team, admitted in private meetings that claims of progress on a new deal are ‘a complete sham‘. These statements appeared in an article in the ‘New European’ in an article by Peter Foster. A similar article appeared in ‘The Daily Telegraph,’ long a supporter of the Conservative Party. Based on BBC interviews in recent days and weeks, it appears to us that the Telegraph is backing away from support for PM Johnson. Spokespersons for the European Union have said to members of multiple press organizations, including the BBC, that they have received NO new proposals from Prime Minister Johnson.

    In Thursday’s edition of ‘The Express,’ Michael Gove, a recent appointee in PM Johnson’s new cabinet, denied these statements about the negotiations under Johnson being a sham. Just prior to these recent votes, several MP’s, including Tories, called for PM Johnson to show them evidence in writing of any new withdrawal agreement proposals his negotiating team had presented to the EU, but PM Johnson has ignored all such requests.

    Discussions on BBC World have demonstrated a consensus that PM Boris Johnson, is not only playing brinksmanship with an EU that is not likely to cave, but has put the Queen in a very difficult and political position, by advising her to assent to the Prorogation of Parliament at this critical time. All parties interviewed, and in our opinion, all UK politicos except for the most loyal of Johnson’s supporters, think that Her Royal Majesty is very unhappy with PM Johnson’s bullying.

    We think it is very telling that both members of the House of Lords who rallied to push the Rebel Alliance’s bill through the House of Lords by Friday afternoon are members of the Queen’s own Privy Council, (note the post nominal letters of appointment, ‘PC‘, after their surnames in their formal titles) and likely have Her Majesty’s full support for putting a stop to Boris Johnson’s shenanigans.

    We are offering long odds that when Benn’s bill arrives at the Palace, HRH will give her assent so forcefully the door at No. 10 Downing Street will quiver.


    Boris and Arlene

    Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster

    Editorial: Is the UK is Becoming a Dictatorship?

    Tory / DUP Government betrays the Sacrifice of its Citizens in WWI and WWII

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-08-30

    The new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, holds that office of PM by a thread, yet by his maneuver of ‘prorogation‘, he has effectively shut down the legislature of the UK for 5 weeks, leaving himself as the sole authority in the UK for that time.

    Notably, and unlike the President of the U.S., the UK Prime Minister is not elected by the people, but only by the members of the majority party in the legislature. Even the Speaker of the UK House of Commons and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives are elected by all the members of their respective institutions, but not the UK Prime Minister. In this case, Johnson’s majority depends a coalition of the Conservative Party (Tories), which Johnson leads, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), lead by Arlene Foster. Together, the DUP and Johnson’s Tories form a majority by the thinnest possible margin of one vote. Johnson’s ‘prorogation‘ maneuver effectively places the entire UK under Boris Johnson’s sole rule for 5 calendar weeks. Whatever Mr. Johnson really is, he has proved he is no believer nor practitioner of any real Democratic principles, any more than the old imperialists of pre-November 11, 1918 who are apparently Johnson’s idols.

    But what a difference a hundred years has made! During and at the end of World War I in November of 1918, the UK LIED to the rest of the world, saying it only wanted ‘small nations to be free’. In Ireland and Eastern Europe, the Irish and most citizens of the Austro Hungarian Empire would have told us that the UK was an imperialist bully and hypocrite whose leaders had no intention of creating and supporting real democracies, and so would most citizens of the United States of America. Consider the actions of the UK between 1914 and 1919.

    For Ireland, the UK reneged on promises for Home Rule and crushed the 1916 rebellion. Weakened by WWI losses, it caved in to threats of terrorism by the Orange order, and created a separate country of the UK on the island of Ireland, maintaining empire there and rule by a religious and ethnic minority. After 1922, the people of Northern Ireland did not have equal rights for both Catholics and Protestants

    The UK supported the Russian Empire, even though it was already known to British leaders that the Russians had helped the Serbians and Bosnian anarchists assassinate the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. It did not cut its alliance with absolute monarchy, imperialist Russia. Russia and France (a rogue element of the French government was exposed in 1989 with the discovery of hidden documents showing this group had helped pay for, and arrange some of the logistics of this assassination and others), also mobliized first, before the Austro-Hungarian empire. The UK, along with France instead accused Austria-Hungary of mobilizing first, and over-reacting to the assassination, to justify deposing the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and breaking up the empire–and forcing member states to pay heavy war reparations. This is in direct contrast to what the UK itself did after the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in Northern Ireland. Lord Mountbatten was a royal relative by marriage to the Queen, but not heir to her throne.

    But creating new countries to suit their imperialist whims was a UK standard practice. After WWI, the UK gave almost half of Hungary to another monarchy, Romania, an absolute monarchy whose queen was King George V’s alleged favorite cousin. At that time, what is now the Czech republic, minus Slovakia, was largely the nation of Bohemia, but the UK looked the other way when the new nations of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia –which had never existed before, and the monarchy of Romania began perpetrating widespread genocide against the ethnic Hungarians and Jews and persons deemed more Hungarian than either Slovakian or Romanian, causing more than a million deaths and refugees.

    In Eastern Europe, UK imperialists cobbled together Catholic Croatians, Hungarians in a majority Hungarian area called the Voivodina with Orthodox Serbians, in another new absolute monarchy, and named their creation Yugoslavia. In supporting the creation of Czechoslovakia, it supported a group of terrorists who called themselves ‘the Maffia’ who had very little popular support. The UK retained its non-European empire and even expanded it by taking over the Germany colonies in Africa. It granted NONE of its colonies, including India, home rule or democratic self government. In India, it brutally put down even peaceful rebellions several times in the last century before the UK was forced to give up its colonies after World War II.

    The UK did not voluntarily give up it’s often brutal, racist, Anglo-Saxon ethnocentric, British empire. It would still be an empire and lying about its good will and intentions, had President Roosevelt and the majority of Americans feeling they had been used and lied to in World War I, not demanded change as the price of expending more American blood and treasure for another European war that the UK itself had helped to precipitate with the onerous, hypocritical conditions of the Treaty of Versailles and tolerating the growing atrocities and invasions of Hitler for several years. In fact, in the UK, were many fascists who supported Hitler until he attacked Poland and became more widely known to be committing murderous genocide, not just dispossessing and deporting undesirable ethnicites. UK Hitler supporters included British monarch King Edward VIII who, having abdicated, is now known to have been willing to see his own younger brother deposed, possibly even killed, to retake the throne as a puppet of Hitler. It was only in World War II, when faced with the existential threat of conquest by Hitler’s Third Reich, that President Roosevelt was able to force the UK to give up its colonies at the end of WWII, in exchange for U.S. support through the Lend-Lease program, etc.

    Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and their ilk are just the latest ethno-centric imperialists who are mentally and emotionally living in the past–ca. 1918–and still believe they can bully Europe, ignore and abuse their own Celtic minorities, and the huge political opposition even in England, and con non-Europeans into supporting them. Meanwhile, in trying to make their fantasies of imperial, racial and ethno-centric abolutism real, they are wrecking the British economy, reducing the value of the British pound, driving up the cost of living for all their people, threatening political and military alliances, and embarrassing their own monarch.

    This week Boris Johnson forced the Queen to allow him sole power for five weeks. In my opinion, if British monarchs still had their Preogative Powers as in the former British empire, Boris Johnson and the rest of his cohort would be in the Tower of London and deservedly awaiting the kiss of the headsman’s axe.


    007 and QE

    007 and Queen Elizabeth II leaving the Privy Council meeting

    Editorial: Brexit Update

    Tory / DUP Government Out Maneuvers
    All Parties, Quashing All Opposition

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-08-29

    Last Wednesday, August 8th, with a single, aggressive maneuver, the new Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom, (UK), Boris Johnson, sent a request to Queen Elizabeth II for a new session of the UK’s Parliament, inaugurated by a Queen’s Speech, on October 14th after a month-long ‘prorogation‘ break.

    The prorogation process effectively suspends the UK’s legislature for almost 5 weeks, leaving less than 2 weeks for the UK Parliament to have its say before the Hallowe’en deadline for Britain to leave the European Union, (EU), (Brexit), with or without a withdrawal agreement, cutting short any chance for Members of Parliament, (MPs) to block a no-deal Brexit.

    Although it is customary for a new prime minister and his government to have a 3-week suspension to introduce new overall policies and related statements with a Queen’s Speech opening a new session of parliament, it is unusual to have an additional suspension of more than two or three days. Boris Johnson’s prorogation means NO business of any type can be done by Parliament for 23 working days.

    Notably, Johnson’s hold on the office of PM hangs by a thread. Unlike the President of the U.S., the Prime Minister of the UK, is not elected by the people, but only by the members of the majority party in the legislature. Even the Speaker of the UK House of Commons and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives are elected by all the members of their respective institutions, but not the UK Prime Minister. In this case, Johnson’s majority depends a coalition of the Conservative Party (Torys), which Johnson leads, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led by Arlene Foster. Together, the DUP and Johnson’s Tories form a majority by the thinnest possible margin of one vote. Johnson’s maneuver effectively places the entire UK under a Boris Johnson dictatorship for 5 calendar weeks.

    Johnsons maneuver also put the Queen in a tricky position. Under unwritten British constitution, the monarch is obliged and expected to act on the advice and recommendation of her Prime Minister in all matters falling under the Royal Prerogative. The Queen can advise and warn the PM that what he wants is a bad idea but she can not constitutionally refuse the request.

    The main relevant law is the Act of Settlement of 1701, which prevents the monarch of the UK from acting outside the law or outside the will of Parliament. The will of Parliament is assumed to be expressed by Prime Minister and to represent of the majority view of Parliament because otherwise the PM would lose a vote of no confidence.

    Faced with creating a constitutional crisis if she refused Johnson’s request, Queen Elizabeth II was forced to consent to the prorogation of parliament until October 14th, 2019, when Queen Elizabeth will read a Queen’s Speech, laying out the priorities for legislation and government policies as written by the majority party in Parliament, the Tories.

    New Prime Minister Johnson claims this extra extension is for him and his government to create and introduce a sweeping new set of policies and initiatives on a variety of issues, such as housing, education and cost of living. This rings false with the leaders of the EU, all other parties in the UK, and even a few members of his own Conservative (Tory) party, as the biggest issue that affects the economic and financial future of the UK is Brexit. There are numerous reports of too-few preparations even by government for the effects of a no-deal Brexit, and the UK economy is already in a recession because of the three years of uncertainty. Observers and politicians ask, how can the UK determine what to spend on housing, medical care, education and what to do to boost investment and the standard of living with the uncertainties of a no-deal Brexit unresolved?

    In response, the EU leaders unanimously told Johnson, that removing the ‘Irish backstop’ will not happen and it is up to PM Johnson to come up with an alternative to preserve the ‘Good Friday Agreement.’ German and French officials noted that Johnson has yet to come up with any alternatives and his time and priority should creating a practical alternative to the backstop. They accuse Johnson of ‘brinkmanship’–making a no-deal Brexit more likely to try to force the EU to remove the backstop from the EU proposal. Thus far, Johnson’s maneuver has made the EU more determined to go forward without the UK, rather than be bullied by the departing UK, a single nation, with less than 1/9 the population of the remaining 27 members.

    Johnson’s action was instantly denounced by all Parties, except Conservative MPs, with a few exceptions, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), lead by Arlene Foster. Together, the DUP and Johnson’s Tories form a majority by the thinnest possible margin of one vote, without which Johnson would not be PM.

    ‘(Boris Johnson) is well within his rights to prioritise setting out his agenda in a Queen’s Speech. – Arlene Foster‘, DUP leader (herself ignoring the will of the majority of her own Northern Ireland constituents and having also accused of behaving like a tin-pot dictator.)

    The Sinn Féin party of Northern Ireland is also excepted! Sinn Féin’s statements of support of the ‘backstop’ are made meaningless by its elected MPs abstention from taking their seats in the UK parliament to which they were elected. Since all SEVEN Sinn Féin members do not sit in Parliament, they have no voice and no vote there, and Sinn Féin effectively supports Prime Minister Johnson and his bullying of both their constituents in Northern Ireland and the EU.

    Leaders from every other quarter involved were unanimous in their condemnation:

    ‘However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now (is) to stop Parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country.’ – John Bercow, Speaker of the UK House of Commons (elected by ALL members of the House of Commons, not just the majority of one party)

    ‘Johnson is acting like a tin pot dictator … bring an election on … (This is) not democracy this is dictatorship.’ – Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, (SNP), and Scotlands First Minister

    ‘(This is) an outrage and a threat to our democracy … I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no-deal Brexit’. – Jeremy Corbyn, British Labour Party leader (generally regarded as personally the most unpopular political leader in the UK whom most wish would step down as Labour Party leader, and who has been very ineffectual up to the present.)

    ‘A no deal would not be our choice, it will not be France’s choice and it will not be the EU’s choice. It will be the choice of the UK Government and the British Parliament collectively if they choose to allow it or indeed to deliberately trigger it. No amount of political grandstanding or attempts to shift the blame can change this fact. As the European Council has consistently made clear the withdrawal agreement, including the now famous backstop, cannot simply be renegotiated. Even if we wanted to do that, which we don’t, we can’t do it in six or ten weeks. – Simon Coveney, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) of Ireland.’ (spoken while in France in other negotiations)

    ‘Mr. Johnson is engaged in an anti-democratic prorogation plot … Sinn Féin’s seven MPs (who refuse to take their House of Commons seats) … are facilitating this disaster.’ – Colum Eastwood, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Leader.


    Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster

    Editorial: Brexit Update

    Poll says Norn Iron majority backs Irish Sea border
    Voters Rejected by DUP and Tory Government

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-08-23

    Amid extensive reporting of estimates that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would result in the loss of 40,000 jobs in Northern Ireland and an unprecedented economic shock for its food and farming sectors, last Monday, August 19th, United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to European Council (EU) President Donald Tusk spelling out the UK’s demands for a new Brexit deal. In that letter, Johnson demanded that the ‘Irish Backstop’ provision be dropped, and supported his demand with the argument that such an arrangement was undemocratic and did not respect the sovereignty of the UK. Click Here to read the Full Text of Boris Johnson’s Letter to Donald Tusk

    On Tuesday, Tusk rejected Johnsons demand to drop the ‘backstop’, tweeting:

    ‘The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found,’ and ‘Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support re-establishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.’

    On Wednesday, Johnson met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and on Thursday, Johnson met with French President Emmanuel Macron. Both told him the backstop would remain part of any ‘deal’, unless and until the UK offered a better solution to keeping the Irish border open and honoring the treaty obligations and intent of the Good Friday Agreement.

    Clearly, the onus is now on the new UK Government to develop new concrete solutions to the Irish border problem if it truly wants to leave EU WITH a withdrawal agreement acceptable to the EU. Any further demands without such solutions will only lead to the UK exit from the EU on Hallowe’en with NO DEAL, dragging both Northern Ireland and Scotland along against expressed public will.

    Ironically, just last Sunday, August 18th, 2019, Belfast-based market research company, LucidTalk, released their August 16th, 2019 quarterly tracker poll of Northern Ireland voters to be published in the Sunday Times, and the Belfast Telegraph, and on Monday to all media outlets. Click Here for a full description of the LucidTalk Poll. LucidTalk polled 1,252 eligible voters, carefully chosen to be representative of the 1.3 million eligible voters in Northern Ireland, asking how they would vote in a referendum proposing that Northern Ireland (but not Great Britain) remained aligned to the European Union, (EU), ‘perhaps staying in the single market and the customs union’. (This is a proportionally larger sample than most polls done in the U.S., and LucidTalk estimates the results are accurate to within an error of +/-2.6% at 95% confidence)

    Almost three out of five Northern Ireland voters responded in favor of a ‘customs border in the Irish Sea’ Brexit compromise.

    An overwhelming majority of Sinn Féin and nationalist voters, a clear majority of Alliance and Green Party voters, and one in six unionists support the Northern Ireland-only backstop as a way of averting a hard Brexit, while this Irish backstop is vehemently opposed by the DUP’s Arlene Foster and UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

    Northern Ireland voters have also taken a dim view of how the government is handling Brexit negotiations with the European Union; fully 2/3rds say in polls that Johnson and Foster’s government is doing ‘very badly’ in negotiations with the EU.

    Obviously, Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster’s demand for no backstop is NOT in sync with the desires of their Northern Irish constituents!

    While polls are not referendums, they can be, and have been, strong indicators of a need for a referendum. The ‘backstop’ was not part of the original 2016 referendum on leaving the EU as the Irish border was not even considered in that proposal. The leaders of the ‘Leave’ campaign, including Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and others promised a rosy deal as though only England would write it. No one else was considered.

    If Boris Johnson is so concerned about the UK, he needs to consider what the UK IS. The UK is a UNION of several once separate states. It is a contract in which England owes Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland a certain regard and respect, including fiduciary obligations and it can be broken or nullified if one side is perceived as taking unfair advantage and abusing the other. It is not just England. Additionally, in 2014, long before Johnson, Farage and others introduced the Brexit vote, Boris Johnson himself and others threatened Scotland with denial of EU membership if the Scots voted for Scottish independence, promising that only if they remained in the UK would they remain in the EU. In many countries, and much international law, calling for a Brexit vote AFTER threatening the Scots in this manner, would be adjudicated as a FRAUD. Fraud is cause for nullifying a contract such as Union with the UK.

    In the 1918 UK parliamentary election, a minority of counties in Ireland, mostly the Ulster plantation counties, voted for candidates wanting to remain part of the UK and did so for their own economic and social benefit. This was then a 50-60% Protestant area and the Protestants feared both reprisals for centuries of abuse of Catholics, and having to give the Catholics full and equal rights. On May 3rd, 1921 these interests affirmed their continuing loyalty to the United Kingdom, and petitioned King George V for a separate self-governing parliament for Northern Ireland, which resulted in the partition of the island and Northern Ireland remained part of the UK, while the rest of the island became the Republic of Ireland.

    For nearly the entire 98 years since then, England has been denying the Northern Irish the same amount of financial and other benefits given to the English, most notably investments in developing a modern economy with greater employment and pay for its people. Since 1998, while Northern Ireland’s economy has lagged, Ireland’s economy has done well due to the combination of EU membership and the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of bloodshed known as ‘The Troubles’ and specifically took down the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland as both at that time were EU members. Now, the new UK Government, led by partners Conservative Leader Boris Johnson and the DUP’s Arlene Foster, is undemocratically ignoring the will of the voters of the two entities who made the original 1918-22 agreement. This UK government wants to take away both the economic benefits of EU membership, and risk the peace brought by the Good Friday Agreement.

    Who is REALLY being undemocratic and ignoring the principle of self-determination, as well as sovereignty and contract law here?

    If Boris Johnson is so concerned about democratic principles, then he needs to support a new referendum on the Irish border, one way or another. He either needs a UK-wide referendum on the backstop, or he needs to allow Northern Ireland a new referendum to consider reunification with Ireland to maintain EU membership. To be consistent, he needs to also allow Scotland a new referendum on Scottish independence (perhaps as a dominion, if the EU and UK will allow dominions to negotiate their own trade policies, as Canada seems to be able to do).

    Otherwise Boris Johnson is both a hypocrite, and a fraud.

    And what about the sovereignty of the EU as a WHOLE, with its laws about the equality of its member nations. Johnsons arguments deny both Ireland and the EU THEIR sovereignty by insisting that ONLY the sovereignty of the UK matters in the latest English divorce.

    Conditions have changed in Ireland as well as in Northern Ireland. Ireland is no longer a theocratic state under the thumb of Catholic clergy. It already harbors, gives jobs, and benefits to hundreds of thousands of Northern Irish, Protestant as well as Catholic, particularly younger persons who have emigrated there. Families have branches on both sides of the border. Since the Good Friday Agreement, 20 years ago, there has been peace between the two parts of Ireland and increased social and economic ties. If anyone is still behaving like an antiquated theocracy, regarding the Irish, and undemocratically toward most of Europe, it seems to be the Conservatives and their DUP partners.

    We hope that the EU stands fast for their own sovereignty and equality of the 27 remaining members. Johnson should practice the democracy he preaches, accept that his own UK is formed by contracts among it’s separate entities, and either holds a full UK referendum on the Irish back stop or holds two referendums: one in Northern Ireland, regarding reunification with the rest of Ireland, and a second referendum in Scotland for Scottish Independence, allowing both these entities to have their sovereignty and fulfil their twice voted desire to remain in the EU.

    Although the UK Government has a new Prime Minister in new Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson, it only maintains the required majority through it’s partnership with the DUP led by Arlene Foster, and on August 1st, 2019 Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds beat Tory Chris Davies in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election reducing the ‘coalition’ of Tories and DUP to a one vote majority in Parliament. Any further defections of a Tory MP would end the current majority, and thus force the formation of a new UK government, a VERY weak position.

    But most significantly, there is one other needless, antiquated problem in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin has 7 elected members for Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom Parliament that do not take their seats and haven’t for over 98 years, since before the creation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as an entity within the UK.

    By remaining out of the Parliament, these 7 Sinn Féin MPs, are almost as responsible for the current mess as the Tories and DUP. They are not part of the solution, but part of the problem. 98 years ago, there were good reasons for abstention. But 98 years on, with the exception of the Loyalty Oath, those reasons are moot and they do more harm to Northern Ireland and the people who elect Sinn Féin party members to Parliament by not taking their seats, now. If any of these 7 were to act responsibly, for the good of the people of Northern Ireland, reject their outdated abstentionist policy and take their seats in the London Parliament, Sinn Féin could end that majority and force a new election, or a vote on either a new EU referendum (with the facts of the matter now better known), or a referendum on the backstop.

    We have one more suggestion. In 2020, in its mandatory review of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, the UK Parliament should restore the right of the reigning monarch to call for a general election when there is a hung parliament. Had this right of an independent monarch, who represents the entire UK above political parties still existed, these past three years of angst in the UK over former PM May’s negotiations and proposed withdrawal agreement, and all the attendant financial and economic uncertainties, and perhaps, even some of the economic decline, could have been avoided.


    Patick Goggins with ceremonial golden spike

    Norman Ten with Pat Goggins at the ceremony. Norman grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, is a working member of SEIU and President of APALA. Norman co-ordinated the First Prize Railroad Worker unit in the SF Chinese New Year’s Parade.

    A Perspective on the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike

    Pat Goggins, Board Chair of the Irish Literary & Historical Society

    © IRISH HERALD, July, 2019 – reprinted by permission

    Thank you (to the Irish Herald – ed.) for your front page coverage of the May 10 Gold Spike Ceremony at the 150th Anniversary of the Completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the U.S. It was significant for Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall to applaud all who labored and sacrificed to build the railroad. This inclusiveness is so important because the past reporting emphasized the business financiers and left out the thousands of workers, especially non-whites.

    The various worker groups included an estimated 20,000 Chinese who constituted approximately 90% of the work force coming from California to the East on the Central Pacific, the estimated 10,000 Irish who constituted approximately half of the workers coming west on the Union Pacific (and considerable numbers on the Central Pacific too), many recently emancipated African Americans, Mormons, Italians, American Indians and others.

    There were 35 official photographs taken at the original 1869 ceremonies and only one included Chinese. For example, Chinese were missing in the universally distributed original iconic photo, shown as recreated in your Herald article, even though the original photo had over a hundred people in it. History has been misrepresented. We can, and should, imagine the insult and hurt. We must also remember the discriminations against the Chinese who were paid less for the same work and assigned the critical and most dangerous work. Over 1200 Chinese died in powder blasting and avalanches.

    Read More…

    Incredibly, the May 10 re-enactment ceremonies over the 15 decades have focused on the capitalists, Leland Stanford et al. At the 100th Gold Spike anniversary in 1969 respected Chinese-American Philip Choy of the Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco, was invited via telegraph to attend and speak – yet when Phil arrived he was bumped so that another could speak. Believe it or not, the favored speaker was John Wayne. Further xenophobia was exhibited in 1969 by Keynote speaker John Volpe, U.S. Secretary of Interior, who bragged, ‘Who else but Americans could drill tunnels in mountains 30 feet deep in snow?’

    Of course, the Chinese were not allowed to be citizens. This infamous statement was unforgettably witnessed by Carl Nolte of the San Francisco Chronicle.
    The overriding reality of political awareness among Chinese in the U.S. is derivative of the extreme prejudice against Chinese that unfolded during the economic strife following the waning of the gold mining and railroad jobs and culminating in the 1870s and 80s with the deplorable 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The working class competition between Chinese and Irish which was greatly fomented by sand lot labor demagogue Denis Kearney in San Francisco needs to be acknowledged and understood.

    History is always still in the making. We Irish can help our Chinese brothers and sisters tell their story by recognizing our roles, having simpatico today and sharing mutual concerns. We had a contingent of Irish from California, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Kansas who celebrated the accomplishments of all workers and showed solidarity with Chinese at the 150th Golden Spike activities in Utah. Let’s do it everywhere. The Chinese community supporters who won first place with their fabulous railroad workers unit in the recent San Francisco Chinese New Year’s Parade are interested in participating in our St. Patrick’s Parade of 2020. Let’s welcome them with Caed Mille Failte.

    Several developments in recent years have raised consciousness about the forgotten Chinese railroad workers, including the formation of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association in Salt Lake City, whose President Michael Kwan organized an influential 8 day Golden Spike Conference regarding the 150th Transcontinental Anniversary and the Chinese Railroad Workers in America Project at Stanford University co-directed by Gordon Chang whose new book Ghosts of Gold Mountain – the Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad is prominent among the exploding plethora of publications on the subject. This transformative scholarly attention and community activist lobbying created a cultural and social force compelling the current inclusive nature of the 150th anniversary activities.

    In the spirit of collaboration and inclusiveness, as demonstrated at Promontory Point by Keynote Speaker & historian Jon Meacham, Secretary Elaine Chao U.S. Dept. of Transportation and Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to the US.

    Patrick Goggins

    ps – The Last Tie, into which was tapped the Gold Spike, was harvested from a California Laurel Tree on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County and fabricated by a professional billiard table maker in San Francisco.


    Hay Fort

    Children at play on a hay-fort

    Editorial – Festivals & Cultural Generations

    Why were there fewer guilds at festivals?

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-06-20

    Yesterday, we saw an interesting Facebook posting by a festival organizer we know. The question was, why were there fewer guilds at festivals?‘ Within an hour, there were 145 responses, and they are still coming as we write these words.

    The real issue isn’t the number of ‘re-enactment’ or entertainment guilds, but their quality from the perspective of the public and the festivals’ prospects for growth in both participation and attendance. These are issues for Renaissance Faires and some Celtic Festivals, and also many ethnic organizations, including Scots and Irish groups. Many have been ‘struggling’ in recent years.

    Beginning with Renaissance Faires and Fantasy-Celtic festivals there are several reasons: foremost is the problem that many of the existing guilds are not soliciting and training younger successor members to keep a guild going, particularly in providing what the general audience will appreciate as ‘entertainment.’ Yet the average age of guild members is, to put it kindly, ‘over 45.’ Do the organizers even poll the non-participant attendees to see what they liked and why and what they didn’t find entertaining, or ask the attendees if they will recommend the event to their friends or return themselves?

    This isn’t a true scientific sample, but we have been both on the ‘inside’ of guilds and performing groups (musical sessions), listened to comments from the public and asked for more. These observations should provide some clues and should stimulate more real research into the related issues.

    Some festivals actually employ/or solicit groups with real acting skills and experience. We’ve heard–and seen, in person–that some closer to Hollywood or areas with a strong local theatres following, have better real audience entertainment that most people attending theatres might expect, and interaction or engagement with the audience. Not all pay the entertainers but are happy to find the local theater groups and invite them to participate and put out literature about themselves and other performances they might do. The actors and actresses are typically younger and there are skit-writers among the guilds.

    For others, are there real skits that last several minutes with proper voice projection and drama/comedy or action? Consider the nature of the general audience–if you want a more general audience and not a specialized one. A general audience might want and expect guilds to entertain them–not just entertain the members themselves! Too many guilds are simply costume parties for the members to ‘play’ with each other, and most of those members are clearly older people who are largely incapable of much action–especially in heavy costumes on warm to hot days. 2000’s California is not the ‘little ice age’ Renaissance Europe. That’s all fine, if all the organizers intend to simply have a big costume party–but then the festival should be advertised that way.

    At some festivals, too many guilds need more younger people with real skills. In live-action theatres and Hollywood films or theatre plays you see purposeful action in the presentation to the audience, by mostly younger actors. In many festivals today, the actors have little or no training or experience, are mostly aged 45 and older, and not in great physical shape. Their voices can’t be heard more at the ropes to the enclosure (or stage area) or more than two feet beyond, and there is no real action that makes any sense.

    You can see the differences by attending a variety of festivals. As just one example: we go to the KVMR festival in Grass Valley, California in early October. We like the two sword guilds who perform there. There is ALWAYS something going on, drills, sparring, training and I often see groups of people watching for 10 minutes or more. The participants are about half the age of some guilds, elsewhere. I like the fact that at KVMR and at some other festivals there are demonstrations of things like Scottish ‘games,’ activities with audience, especially older children ‘try-outs’ with smaller objects. The kids get a thrill learning to toss end over end something that looks like a telephone pole and the parents get great memories and cell-phone videos. The KVMR festival also has a ‘castle-fort‘ made of large bales of hay where children play what is probably a centuries old game of siege or ‘king of the hill’ with groups getting acquainted with one another and either holding the castle or trying to take it and ejecting the holders, almost any way they can. It’s good fun for the children and the parents and other visitors watching.

    Another festival was staged at a scale-model Tuscan village (before it burned in a recent wildfire) at a winery on a hillside overlooking Clear Lake. It had the players of a local theatre as ‘Duke Cosimo Medici and his court’ at the time he was just becoming the Doge of Florence and the lead actor and the other young players of the theatre group were great and made you want to follow them all around the festival. They also didn’t just sit in a tent and wait for festival attendees to come to them. In addition to this, there was an active winery and tasting and several vendors selling locally or home-made foods and jewelry. It wasn’t all made in some other country. We still miss that delightful little festival.

    As another example, we enjoyed it at the Celtic Ren-Faire at Ardenwood one year when one of the guilds created a rolling croquet game moving throughout the festival, occasionally telling amused visitors to stand still so a player could shoot the croquet ball between the visitors’ feet. In some of these croquet games children of visitors were being invited to join the play. There were some sporting activities in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but they not often shown enough today.

    The Scottish festivals with the ‘games’ (heavy athletic competitions), pipe bands, dancers and vendors of several types do pretty well, as do those of mixed Irish and Scottish activities, and entertainment, such as the KVMR festival, Woodland Celtic Games and Festival. Pleasanton has the addition of more modern sports games with older traditions such as shinty and rugby. The animal exhibits of Scottish livestock and dogs and falconry/birds of prey get significant audiences also–as well as 6 and 7 stages of musical entertainment and dance.

    There is a demographic issue in California, though. Festivals do best and longest that are most inclusive without completely sacrificing distinctive cultures that can be related to one another. The Asian population is growing, the mixed Latino-Celtic population just as often goes to Latino as Celtic events. Not all persons of Latino descent have Celtic grandparents also, and number of recent Celtic emigrants and/or traditional Scots, Scots-Irish, and/or Irish Americans is shrinking, and the general public identifies fewer people as such.

    All the festivals and organizations need to consider these demographics, and keep working to attract the younger generations. We all need to go out and support one another. We must BRING OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, NIECES and NEPHEWS into these events and organizations–and encourage the rest of their family and friends to do the same. The older generations do this in part by finding out what their children and grandchildren like and figuring out how what they know and like fits with modern views.

    Parents and grandparents are still the greatest teachers in time and sheer quantity of experience and knowledge most children will ever know, but it is up to the parents and grandparents to reach out to share, to engage and to teach, and to remember their own youth and their own relationships with elders and figure out how to draw in the next generation.

    One key guide is to remember that your children’s and grandchildren’s experiences are all not the same as your own. Youth almost always fantasizes a more glamorous, fun past, lives in the present and looks to a bright future–and is less traditional, less cultural than parents and grandparents.

    I don’t just mean that one generation was lucky to have television or radio and bicycles and other has computers, cell phones, the internet, and technology assisted automobiles, Children born in the U.S. did not experience the rule of England, Ireland of DeValera or Scotland when it was frequently called simply ‘North Britain, part of the UK’ or ‘the British Empire.’ They didn’t experience World War II, and the hardships during and after the war.

    When these sad, depressing memories, and especially their music and stories, are prioritized and emphasized, we are not going to be understood well or appeal to a generation that has not experienced them. The good news, though, is the young, like the rest of us, don’t stay young forever – they learn and become interested in the real past, and culture over time, and with encouragement but patience–and outreach to where youths are or go–on the part of parents and grandparents.

    For those who are the current leaders of organizations, and organizers of festivals, please remember that it helps to weave the modern youth interests in with the older traditions–such as having six stages of music and a mix of ‘traditional,’ ‘folk’ and Celtic rock, as well as enjoyable games in which to both watch, participate. The same is true for drama/comedy and literature. History can be successfully presented in short segments and with humor–and the recognition that human nature–good and ill–hasn’t changed much in 40,000 years or so.

    What our ancestors felt, and how they looked at and treated others was not terribly different than what we do today. Somehow we need to teach that to our younger, more diverse generations along with the past cultural traditions that still have meaning today and for the future, even with a Mersey-side, calypso, or more modern pop-rock, or rap beat.


    Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson

    Editorial: Brexit Update

    ‘Something Else’ Possibilities

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-06-20

    As we all should know, Theresa May resigned from her post as Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom (UK) last May 24th. As a result, the Conservative Party, (Tory), Members of Parliament (MPs) must select two candidates for Prime Minister and put them to a vote of the Tory party membership. But whoever is selected, that new PM will face the same Parliament and the same Brexit dilemmas, some of which are only now beginning to be discussed.

    Recall that, as a result of the ‘Snap’ election on June 8th, 2017, the Tories lost their majority in the UK Parliament, and to form the UK government, the Tories needed the support of another group. Seeing that, until the next general election, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland and it’s 10 MPs were the Tories only practical allies, on June 26, 2017, Ms. May, and the the DUP entered into a Coalition Agreement. Here is a link to a Wikipedia article on that June 26, 2017 Agreement that covers all it’s major points, and is supported by numerous primary sources.

    It is important to be aware that, according to this deal, DUP Members do not have any voting rights in the current PM selection process and that the fundamental principles of the DUP call for Northern Ireland to remain a part of the UK. For now, the deal must remain in place, because without DUP support, the Tories lose the right to form the UK government, or to name the new Prime Minister–unless the Tories can find another ‘something else’ alliance.

    As of 6 PM GMT last Thursday, initial rounds of the selection process have whittled the field of candidates down to two: former foreign secretary Boris Johnson received 160 votes, and current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt received 77 votes. At 75, current Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove just missed the cut, and since Mr. Gove had once called Boris Johnson ‘unfit to be Prime Minister’, this was Mr. Johnson’s preferred result.

    Over the next month, we will see a more public battle between Johnson and Hunt at 16 regional ‘hustings’, some to be televised in the UK, and then these two will be on a postal ballot sent to ~160,000 Conservative Party members in the UK, with the results due in the week of July 22nd.

    Recall that the main ‘sticking point’ in the present Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union, (EU), is the ‘Backstop’ provision for preventing a ‘hard border’ between Ireland, which will still be in the EU, and Northern Ireland, which would be leaving the EU along with the UK. This ‘Backstop’ is the largest problem with the UK parliament to approve the present EU Withdrawal Agreement, and completely unacceptable to the DUP. It is the main reason that the DUP opposes the present Withdrawal Agreement. (See this ‘The Backstop‘ wikipedia article for more detail).

    As previously reported, the EU has given the UK until Halloween (October 31) to leave the EU. This gives the new UK PM just a couple of months to pass the same Withdrawal Agreement PM May negotiated.  The new PM might try to make changes to the existing Withdrawal Agreement, but none of the other 27 members of the EU has yet offered that alternative, and moreover, to date, the 27 remaining EU members have been steadfastly 100% united in saying the present Withdrawal Agreement will not be changed. Remember that to allow any further delays or renegotiation it takes a unanimous vote of these 27, and several members are adamant about ‘no more delays, no renegotiation. We want to move on, also.’  It seems to us that there is no possibility of any changes to the present Withdrawal Agreement.

    So, will the UK Parliament be, at last, persuaded to a majority vote to ratify the present Withdrawal Agreement (unlikely), or leave the EU on Halloween with no Agreement (likely), or something else?

    In preparation for the upcoming Tory vote on the new PM, the non-partisan public opinion polling company YouGov surveyed the Tory party membership and released their results last Tuesday, June 18th. Click here for the full article. This poll included these VERY significant results.

    • ’63 per cent of (Tory) members would be prepared to see Brexit take place even if it meant Scotland leaving the UK.’
    • ’59 per cent would prioritize leaving the EU even if it meant Northern Ireland breaking away from the rest of the UK

    These two poll results set up a serious conflicts and opportunities for the new PM. Recall that in the 2016 Brexit referendum, 55.8% of Northern Ireland’s electorate voted to ‘Remain’, and this was confirmed in last May’s EU Parliament vote as ‘Remain’ candidates took ~ 56% of the votes. If there are no changes to the present Withdrawal Agreement and, as in the previous three votes in Parliament, there is no majority for approval, the new government will need to decide whether to go against the fundamental principles of the DUP and adopt the present Withdrawal Agreement or allow Northern Ireland to exit the UK so as to avoid the ‘backstop’. Together, these developments provide several ‘something else’ opportunities for the new Tory PM.

    First, the next Prime Minister could partly dispense with the DUP coalition by extracting Labor or other votes of MP’s with constituent midlands workers who favor leaving the EU. The Labour Party, is becoming irrelevant in the Brexit process, because their continue fence straddling on the issues of another Brexit referendum, or any other referendum that might release the current deadlock, weakens the Labour Party in the public view. Also, support for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has been diminishing just as it has for the Conservatives, with MP’s very publicly resigning their Labour party membership.  Yet those MP’s continue to hold office until the next general election and could join a new governing coalition.

    There is another ‘something else’ opportunity for the Tories, and it is within that June 26, 2017 Tory-DUP agreement. A key point states, ‘No poll or referendum on the future of Northern Ireland’s constitutional status will be held without the consent of the people.’

    If the next Prime Minister has a real plan to get rid of the backstop issue, it almost certainly means ‘letting all of the Northern Irish–not just the DUP–determine the future status of Northern Ireland’ while honoring the vote of the majority of the ‘people’ (85% English) to leave the EU.

    Arlene Foster

    DUP leader, Arlene Foster

    DUP Leader Arlene Foster has also consistently held, including in recent statements, that ”the people’ are not just the DUP, or even all the Northern Irish, but all the UK people; that Northern Ireland is merely a part of the UK.’

    There is also the issue that the DUP has already breached the Agreement, at least twice. Most law courts would agree that the other party, the Tories, could now lawfully end the agreement without penalties.

    The agreement also required that the ‘DUP shall vote to support the minority Conservative Party on all votes pertaining to the UK’s exit from the European Union,’ which the DUP has NOT DONE, constituting a breach of the agreement. Another point in the agreement stated that ‘Both parties agree to adhere to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement‘. In a second breach, the DUP has not supported ‘the Backstop’. The Good Friday agreement specifically required that the hard border, with armed border guards, etc. was to come down. Finally, in contradiction of the point regarding ‘referendum’ and ‘consent of the people,’ the Agreement between the two parties also stated, ‘the ongoing commitment of the Conservative Party to the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.’

    Based on Ms. Foster’s definition of ‘the people’ as referring to all of the UK, and using the ‘consent of the people’ from the previous point in the agreement, a majority of members of the Conservative Party, which is the largest party in the UK, (and representing the majority of the English people, who are 85% of the population of the UK), want to breach the ‘commitment to the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,’ in order to ‘get on with Brexit’.

    From the foregoing, it also appears that the DUP did not negotiate EITHER the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ or the Conservative Party Agreement in ‘Good Faith’ (an important legal term for negotiations and contracts in civil law and its courts).

    Therefore, the next UK Prime Minister, under civil contract law and court precedents, could declare the agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP, ‘null and void’, citing how the DUP has already repeatedly breached it, and use ‘consent of the majority of the Conservative party as representing a majority of the UK’s people’ to immediately call for a Border Referendum in Northern Ireland. This vote would decide on whether or not the people of that region consent to be reunified with the rest of Ireland and thus retain an open border with Ireland along with their EU membership and all its benefits.

    Additionally, a new PM could also work to make Scotland a dominion, similar to Canada, in which the long-standing issues of foreign policies and alliances (and 400 years of warfare) that caused the English to feel it necessary to unite the two kingdoms, would be addressed, yet Scotland would be independent enough to be able to rejoin the EU. The Queen and nobles would also still have their titles, rights and properties just as their titles and privileges are respected in Canada and if they owned property there before the change in status, they continue own it in the dominion.

    And even more radically, the new PM could make an agreement with Sinn Féin. Since 1905, it has been Sinn Féin policy for its MPs to abstain from taking the required loyalty oaths to the Queen, or taking their seats in the UK Parliament. To the present day, Sinn Féin’s fundamental principle has been the reunification of all of the Irish island under one Irish Republic. Acting on this goal, after having taken the oath to the Queen, could get them arrested in England. However, reunification of Ireland would eliminate the need for the oath as well as any ‘backstop,’! Using the ‘will of the majority’ of the UK, in a nod to Ms. Foster’s identification of ‘the people’, and under a short-term agreement with the Tories, Sinn Féin MPs could temporarily take their seats in the UK parliament, without an oath of loyalty, and satisfy both parties goals, thus eliminating the ‘backstop’, each for their own reasons.


    EU Vote Results

    EU 2019 MEP Election Results
    UK and Ireland

    Editorial: Brexit Update

    A Review of Current Status

    By Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-05-31

    Last week’s Europe-wide elections did NOT change the makeup of the Parliament in London, but after almost 3 years of indecision over the Brexit issue, their results are widely accepted to be an accurate indication of the voters current sentiment on how to resolve the divisive issue of the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU).

    In this election, voters in 28 countries, including Ireland as well as Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, elected 751 Members of the European Parliament, (MEP), for the next 5 years.  The results generally represent significant changes in voter sentiment, but today, we will confine our comments to Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, plus England and Wales. Here are the election results, totaled by political party affiliation:

    In Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s party, Fine Gael, topped the vote, taking 29%, and Independents as a group took 24%. The balance went to Fianna Fail at 16.5%, Sinn Féin at 11.7% and the Green Party at 11.4%. An exit poll of these voters showed over 77% were in favor of reunification with Northern Ireland, and 90% of voters feel that the government needs to heavily prioritise climate change.

    In Northern Ireland, the Republican Sinn Féin Party, (SF), took 22.2%, slightly more than the Democratic Unionist Party, (DUP), with 21.8%. Very significantly, there was huge upsurge in support for the non-sectarian Alliance Party at 18.5%, with the AP perhaps more significantly finding their support mostly among younger voters who do not self identify as either Protestant or Catholic. This election also marks the first time all three MEPs for Norn are women.  56% of the votes went to ‘Remain’ candidates.

    In Great Britain, (England, Scotland and Wales combined), the 6 week old Brexit Party, lead by Nigel Farage, swept all the former leading parties with 31.6% of the votes, with the Liberal Democrats surging into 2nd with 20.3%, Labor at a distant 14.1% and the Greens at 12.1%. The Conservatives, (Tories), were crushed all the way back to 9.1%!

    In Scotland, as part of the ‘Great Britain combined’ totals above, the Scottish Nationalist Party, (SNP), took only 3.6%, but if we consider only the votes cast in the country of Scotland the results are quite revealing. In Scotland, the SNP took 37.8% vs. the Brexit Party’s 14.8%, and the SNP bested all other parties in every Scottish constituency by significant margins except for the Orkney and Shetland Islands, where the pro-remain Liberal Democrat candidate won. Taken together, remain candidates of all parties polled over 70% in Scotland.

    Here is our take on the significance of these results.

    1. Ireland remains a member of the EU, with continuing liberalization and growing support for reunification with the North.
    2. Northern Ireland is becoming more divided and less sectarian, a trend supported by the increasing numbers of younger voters. Remain candidates took a clear majority of the votes at ~ 56%, similar to Norn results in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
    3. Scotland has moved firmly into the Remain camp, with the SNP having broad support throughout the country of Scotland. If another referendum on Scottish Independence were held today, it seems clear that it would succeed, Scotland would leave the UK, become independent country, and would be free to remain in the EU.
    4. In the UK, when Conservative and Labour votes are factored in, the remain candidates polled a narrow majority. This can be interpreted to mean that, if a second Brexit referendum were to be held today, ‘Remain‘ would win narrowly, reversing the results of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

    However, the UK and the Irish backstop are only a fraction of the myriad Brexit issues. The UK, with a population of 67 million, cannot unilaterally dictate terms to the other 27 EU nations and their 450 millions. The remaining EU is a greater global economic powerhouse by 6 to 1, and also the larger part of NATO.

    In France and Italy, two large nations in the EU, the nationalists made significant gains. In Hungary, a leading nation of the Visegrad group of nations that has been voting together on a number of issues, the nationalists held, though the far right declined. All over Europe the Green party gained and in Germany it is now the second largest political party.  The sentiments of the nationalists, who will be allying increasingly with the Greens and even some liberal parties, will form a even harder line toward the UK in their new 5 year term.

    Departing PM May’s withdrawal agreement is the ONLY EU proposal the UK will get, and the nationalist hardening of Continental Europe will only make it both more difficult for the UK to ask for any more delays. The statements of the several persons now jockeying to be the Conservative Party leader, and so the next Prime Minister of UK, and half of the English voters (the other half voting firmly for ‘Remain’ parties) leaves the UK’s EU representation literally split 50-50. If they believe that in October, when moderates Juncker and Tusk leave their EU leadership posts, that they can renegotiate the proposed EU treaty to obtain terms the Conservative Party Brexiteers would prefer, they are self-deluded. Since the parties themselves were already in the EU parliament, Juncker, after consulting with the leaders of winning parties, was asked about this, and offered two words to the UK’s Conservative Party, ‘absolutely not.’ Moreover, the Visegrad Group foreign ministers essentially have said, ‘we want to move forward and these delays are hamstrings for us.’

    In Black’s Legal Dictionary, the term insane delusions very accurately describes the statements and behaviors of some Conservative Party MP’s. Worse for the UK, their continued, perceived arrogant, insane delusions will only make the EU more reluctant to grant treaties to the UK that in any way give any advantage to the UK or do so quickly.

    Both Switzerland, a necessary financial powerhouse, and Norway, with its oil and minerals, spent TEN YEARS in negotiations with the EU before mutually acceptable non-member treaties were achieved. These nations were friendly to the EU, demonstrating far less arrogance than the UK, and had demonstrated their desire for a relationship with the EU. Yet, it took TEN YEARS for these two non-EU members to achieve their agreements with the EU. The behavior and public statements of the UK, and especially both its current Conservative Party leadership, and half of the voters, all speak loud and clear for themselves. Every party and government leader in the other 27 EU members have heard and seen this.  If the perception of UK arrogance, and disagreement on fundamental issues, such as climate change, energy, ecology, and intra-Europe migration, continues, we think it could take a full generation, up to 25 years, before the UK achieves another non-member trade agreement with the EU.


    Politicians at Lyra McKee's Funeral
    DUP leader Arlene Foster, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O’Neill attending the funeral service for murdered journalist Lyra McKee in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, on Wednesday, 2019-04-24

    Editorial: Politicians at Lyra McKee’s Funeral

    ‘Why, in God’s Name, does it take the Death of a 29 year old’

    by Cecilia and Anthony Becker – Published April 26th, 2019

    Last week, on Holy Thursday, a reporter, a friend of a friend of ours, Lyra McKee, was killed during a riot in Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland. It was a sad reminder of the way things were before the Good Friday Agreement and it may well be a foreshadowing of what can happen again in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit with a restoration of a ‘hard border’ between Eire and Northern Ireland, still part of the UK.

    This week, at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, Fr. Martin Magill presided at the funeral of Lyra McKee, and in his homily, noted that (at long last), discussions between the responsible politicians about ending the years long deadlock in forming a new government for the Northern Ireland, as provided in the Good Friday Agreement, were finally happening. News Report: McDonald and Foster ‘ready’ for restored NI Assembly

    In this video of Fr. Magill’s address, you will see, seated together in the front row, Irish President Michael Higgins, UK prime minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach (PM) Leo Varadkar. Behind them, together, are Irelands Tánaiste (#2) Simon Coveney and UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley and behind them, together, the aforementioned politicians, DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, sitting side by side.

    Behind all these politicians, you can see a huge congregation of mourners, from all sides of this centuries old conflict.

    As Fr. Magill utters his challenging words just a few feet in front of Foster and McDonald,

    ‘Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman with her whole life ahead of her to get to this point?’

    first, the congregation rises to its feet in a standing ovation. Then, slowly, Foster and McDonald stand and join in, and finally, the other politicians also stand and applaud.

    Click Here to view the video:

    It seems to us that the people have had enough of violence. Let us all hope that these politicians really do move forward, and restore the Assembly to the people of Norn, and get on with reconciliation under the Good Friday Agreement.

    These events though, remind us too strongly of other events in the past, in this country, and in others, where the responsibility for a tragic, needless, death is not as clearly defined as some might think or would like to believe. In the 1970’s, people who were part of the growing anti-war movement were well aware of government agents, for instance, who deliberately infiltrated organizations and were literally inciting them to law-breaking and other violence, precisely to provoke incidents in which they could arrest far more than the perpetrators and destroy the organizations. Reputable organizations intent on staying within the law to effect change had to be very careful.  We would joke about ‘watching out for guys with new blue jeans that were still so stiff with starch the jeans would stand up by themselves, without anyone in them.’

    Of course, not all the provocateurs came from outside the movement, then, as is the case with many important, potentially divisive causes and movements that have passionate, determined adherents. There were plenty of young, irresponsible idiots then, as now, and then and now, it is up to the leaders to keep them in check, and above all you don’t give irresponsible hotheads weapons.

    However, though the ‘Real IRA/New IRA’ has admitted they believe it was indeed one of their ‘operatives’ who stupidly fired shots at a vehicle in the dark, not caring who else was in the immediate vicinity or about potential ricochet, etc., they do not bear the sole responsibility.

    ‘No one is paying any attention to the Unionists any more!’

    Look at the facts and some very interesting real ‘coincidences.’ Fact: First, just last week, the leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, lamented publically that, ‘No one is paying any attention to the Unionists any more.’ Fact: The DUP is the biggest roadblock to the part of Brexit called ‘the Backstop’ to avoid a hard border between Eire and Northern Ireland, and maintain the ‘Good Friday Agreement.’ Facts: The 21 year old Good Friday Agreement was brokered and partly negotiated by the U.S.  for very good reasons.  Among other things, both sides prior to it had been soliciting arms and support from people in the U.S.   The conflict in Ireland was causing real conflict in the U.S.. Fact: Last week the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the U.S., accompanied by several members of the most powerful committee of that body, the Ways and Means Committee, was in London, personally warning the UK Prime Minister May, the hard-line MP’s of the Conservative (Tory) Party of the UK, and Northern Irish politicians that if Brexit, particularly as a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, damaged the Good Friday Agreement, the separate UK would not get a trade agreement with the U.S..  Fact: WHILE Speaker Pelosi was STILL in Ireland, the ‘Police Service of Northern Ireland–whose leaders include a lot of DUP members, decide to hold a raid in the Creggan district of Londonderry–long the most troubled area of Norn, on Holy Thursday!

    The spokesperson for the PSNI said, ‘the service believed there were guns and bombs in a house that were about to be used on the Easter Weekend.’ Fact: the PSNI said ‘Believed.’ There has been no evidence, presented, even with the usual redactions, as in other countries, that there was any real intelligence behind this allegation and the plans for this raid. Fact: the raid was done, at night, with armored vehicles, and personnel in body armor, carrying guns, etc..  Fact:  NO explosives, weapons or guns were found. None, nada, zip.

    Could the allegedly intelligent, mature, well educated, politically savvy leaders of the PSNI have picked a worse time than ‘Passover/Holy Week’ or a worse place, the Creggan area of Derry, for a raid based on as little real fact as this one was? How could they NOT have expected any potential for violence that might get out of hand? They themselves arrived in armored vehicles wearing full body armor! And what did they think this would look like to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives–and her delegation? You couldn’t wait until she and the delegation were back in the U.S., at least?

    To this veteran of the U.S. governmental misdeeds, and survivors of violence, sometimes perpetrated by the government in the 1960’s and 1970’s , and the shenanigans of the Serbians and others in the 1990’s, this is what it looks like to me, bearing in mind this is a personal opinion.

    It seems to us that the PSNI, particularly its leaders, who are close to the DUP, were trying to embarrass the U.S. Speaker of the House, by provoking violence from the native Irish in Londonderry. They knew darned well they could expect some violence during this raid, because the New/Real IRA is run by mostly young males, and hotheads, especially in this area with its long history of civil strife. The New/Real IRA was no more considerate of the gravity of the situation, and had shot up police vehicles, burned vehicles and no innocent bystanders had been killed up to then. None of the macho males on either side, gave a damn about the full, and deadliest potential of their intended actions. A young, bright, female reporter was killed.  She was doing her job, in an allegedly free society, covering a sensational event that the PSNI itself had initiated.

    Certainly the New/Real IRA needs to do far more than ‘accept responsibility.’ It needs to turn over those he-men who shot wildly into the night without regard for bystanders. It needs to remove the guns from any more like them, and frankly reorganize into a non-violent group or disband. It could have just as easily killed someone with a gasoline bomb that went astray. It needs to raise funds for Ms. McKee’s loved ones.  It needs to ‘knock off the nonsense.’ As for the PSNI, it needs to fire the leaders who decided on this needless raid,,  The PSNI also needs to apologize to Ms. McKee’s family, and help raise funds for it. It needs to apologize to all the people of Northern Ireland, and to Speaker Pelosi and the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Delegation. It also needs to ‘knock off the nonsense.’

    Arlene Foster, you got your ‘attention’, alright! Are you in the DUP proud of yourselves? We believe it’s time for you and your big mouth to resign! YOU, above all started this particularly dirty, deadly ball rolling. The PSNI was just doing what you wanted–and the New/Real IRA gave what you hoped for.

    With regard to the question off the border / backstop / Brexit issue, it seems that, unless you are the English-dominated (85% of the Tory Party) parliament or the Prime Minister, the voters of the UK are not being allowed to change their minds. The last and only vote to determine reunification of Ireland, was 100 years ago and no present time vote is currently planned.  Perhaps it is time to have another Irish Border referendum.


    Congress Visit

    Pelosi and Neal at Northern Ireland Border

    Editorial: Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement

    U.S. Congress Takes Control of related U.S. Foreign Policy

    by Anthony Becker – Published April 19th, 2019

    Easter Week 2019’s high-powered U.S. Congressional Delegation visit to London, Dublin, and the Northern Ireland border and Belfast, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, represented the most significant American official visit to the region in years. The central theme of the delegations activities was their support for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, (GFA), that brought peace to the island of Ireland after centuries of religious strife.

    Wednesday 4/17/19’s article in the Washington Post by Neil Michael did a good job of summarizing their visits to London and Dublin.

    Ireland is an European Union (EU) member, but Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom (UK), which is seeking to withdraw from the EU, (Brexit). If Brexit happens, it would require a secure border between Ireland and Northern Ireland to prevent smuggling of goods across the Ireland / Northern Ireland border. This ‘securing the Irish Border’ issue has been the main sticking point for Brexit supporters. Moreover, if the UK is no longer a member of the EU, the UK’s trade with the US would no longer be governed by the current US-EU Trade Treaty, and the UK would need to quickly negotiate a new US-UK Trade Treaty.

    The Post article contains some significant excerpts from their London meetings with the two main UK political parties on Monday, April 15th, 2019. In it, Pelosi confirmed that, she delivered exactly the same message to both the Conservative Party leader, British prime minister Theresa May and opposition Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. ‘We made it clear to all that if there were any harm to Good Friday accords — no treaty‘ Pelosi said. ‘Don’t even think about that.’

    The U.S. delegation also had a quickly arranged meeting with The European Research Group (ERG), lead by MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who earlier this month publically threatened that, if forced to stay in the European Union (EU) the ERG would do everything in it’s power to disrupt and undermine the EU.

    In remarks after that meeting, Rees-Mogg suggested there were a few ‘snowflakes’ in the meeting, to which Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan Francis Boyle responded, ‘Look, Speaker Pelosi is one of the toughest people I know and nobody could accuse her of being a snowflake’, adding that the delegation had a ‘heated exchange‘ with members of the pro-Brexit ERG.

    Boyle’s father, Francis, is an Irish immigrant who came to the United States in 1970 from Glencolmcille, County Donegal, and works as a janitor for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

    In Dublin on Wednesday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seized control of American foreign policy in relation to Brexit, telling the Irish Oireachtas (joint session of the Irish Parliament) that Congress would block any new trade deal with the United Kingdom if Britain’s exit from the European Union threatens the peace in Northern Ireland. Watch a Video of Pelosi’s comment:

    ‘I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We must ensure that nothing happens in the Brexit discussions that imperils the Good Friday accord, including, but not limited to, the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.’

    ‘Let me be clear,’ Pelosi added, ‘if the Brexit deal undermines the Good Friday accords, there would be no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement.’

    On Thursday April 18th, 2019, Pelosi and the delegation visited Bridgend on the Derry-Donegal border in Northern Ireland, where Pelosi said “We come here out of respect for the courage of those who took part in talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement.” and “We believe that Brexit should be just an aberration in this discussion as we continue to build and strengthen the peace that was generated by the Good Friday Agreement”.

    Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, was also in the U.S. delegation. Neal’s maternal grandparents were from Northern Ireland, and Neal has often said that one of his grandmothers personally experienced the segregation common under British rule in Ireland.

    Speaking to the gathered media, Neal said in part, “Just a reminder that America is a guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. This is OUR agreement as well.”, and continued “(GFA) maybe, in the last 50 years, our most important diplomatic accomplishment…”

    This BBC article contains a video clip of Neal’s remarks:

    Later the same day, Neal was awarded with an honorary degree for his contribution to US-Ireland relations at Ulster University’s Magee campus in Derry.

    Pelosi Neal Stormont

    U.S. Congressional Delegation Press Conference in Belfast

    Sadly, that very Thursday night, , a young journalist, 29-year-old Lyra McKee, was shot and died during rioting after police searches in Derry’s Creggan area.

    The following morning, Friday, April 19th, 2019, the U.S. delegation visited he Stormont Estate in Belfast. Very poignantly, for Christians across the planet, this date is also celebrated as the commemoration of Good Friday, when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified 2000 years ago. Since the Good Friday Agreement takes it’s name from this holiday, and the main reason for the Delegation’s week long visit was the preservation of the GFA, negotiated under the guidance of U.S. Senator George Mitchell and executed exactly 21 years prior on Good Friday, 10 April 1998, McKee’s death was especially poignant.

    Stormont is the site of the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly, and Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Robin Newton welcomed the Delegation. Together, they all gave a Press Conference, which is described in some detail in this RTE News article:

    Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, began by acknowledging the death on the previous day.

    “Sadly, we join you, on the sadness, the tragedy that happened last night, we extend our condolences to the family, coming on Good Friday, it is especially poignant”.

    In our opinion, all Celts, whether in the homelands or the diaspora, should support the preservation of the Good Friday Agreement, at all costs, and over any self interested goals, including Brexit.


    007 and the Queen

    The Queen discusses her Plan with 007

    Editorial: Brexit and Trade – Halloween Follies

    by Cecilia Fabos-Becker and Anthony Becker

    Published April 12th, 2019

    International News that Affects Our Readers

    We know that most of our readers are mostly looking for Celtic entertainment and cultural news (Celtic festivals, Celtic music, and the like) however, many of our readers are also involved in, or employed by businesses with relations with Europe, including it’s Celtic countries, or enjoy buying products from the UK and the rest of the EU in their favorite stores. Additionally, many Celtic Americans travel to the EU and UK for general tourism, or family history related tourism and would like to know if they will encounter extra travel delays for customs and inspections or are going to need, an extra visa for traveling to the UK.  They might like to know if the euro or pound are dropping in value and whether they need to save up more or less for the things they want to do or buy on their trip.


    While Brexit has been big part of all of these concerns and discussions for almost three years, it is not the only issue.  A new one that’s been on and off again popped up this week.  It affects all our readers who buy favorite foods and beverages from anywhere in the EU, but first, we’ll briefly update you on this tragic but amusing international soap opera.

    As the German press put it, Prime Minister Theresa May came to Europe this past week on her latest ‘Begging Tour‘, still refusing to acknowledge fully that the problem is not the European Union, but her own House of Commons and Conservative Party. Both are hopelessly deadlocked, and seem to want the entire 27 nation EU of 450 million people to cave in to their demands, ignoring the EU’s 27 members own legal responsibilities to one another, including Ireland, and the hard won Good Friday Agreement that finally established peace in Northern Ireland and between Ireland and Northern Ireland 20 years ago.

    The French are exasperated. After yet another set of narrow and indecisive votes in the British Parliament last week, France’s Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, announced that she had named her cat ‘Brexit’, saying,

    ‘He wakes me up every morning meowing to death because he wants to go out. And then when I open the door, he stays put, undecided and glares at me when I put him out.’

    As some people may know, despite the fact that the Conservative Party members cannot even agree among themselves on what they want, one MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, of Bath and North Somerset, England, single-handedly threatened to make war on the entire EU, and disrupt all its relations and activities–which would definitely affect its trade, including that with the U.S. This intemperate outburst by Mr. Moog, on the eve of Ms. May’s ‘begging tour’ was made despite the fact that it is his country’s Parliament, and his party, that voted the nation would NOT leave without a treaty, and some sort of other deal, but has neither passed the treaty nor agreed upon any post treaty options (never mind that this can’t happen until the treaty is ratified). At the moment, Mogg is only one, out of touch, obstreperous idiot, who, having embarrassed his God, his Queen, and his Country, has now turned to attacking his neighbors, and had the immediate effect of tightening the EU 27’s demands on the UK as conditions for granting the UK’s request. In response, last Wednesday the EU approved ‘flexible 6 month delay’, but required that if the UK is to stay in the EU beyond June 1, the UK must have elected new representatives to the EU in May, and to take those seats in Brussels they must pledge ‘good behavior’, from then through their new exit date of Halloween.

    Trade and Tariffs are serious business for the US

    For 2017, at $718 billion, the EU is the largest trading partner of the United States at 18%, while US – China trade was $635 billion or 16%.  US trade with the UK was $109 billion, or 3% and is currently declining because of the Conservative Party’s three year old Brexit mess. At $171 billion, Germany had a significantly greater trade relationship with the US than did the UK.   Mr. Rees-Mogg’s ill considered comments affect our readers as U.S. citizens and legal residents, who are also employed by, or even own businesses with EU relationships, especially since California and Silicon Valley are significant parts of that EU trade and joint ventures etc.. Even if the UK finally does leave, the remaining EU does as much trade with the US including Irish relationships, as China does, and the ability of the EU business relationships to function are very important to US businesses of many kinds.

    Last week we did a little more learning about the situation in the UK. Among other things, we learned that the Conservative Party, (The Tories), who have been responsible for this prolonged, painful Brexit and the threats to the EU–and US is composed of almost entirely of English persons. This is partly understandable as 84% of the population of the UK lives in England, even if some of this 84% has significant Irish and Scottish ancestry.  Quite simply, for 300 years, most banking investments and so most jobs have been in England. In contrast, the portions for the other countries in the UK are as follows: Scotland 8.3%, Wales, 4.8%, and Northern Ireland, 2.8%. Most of these populations are, of course, working class, ordinary people, like the people of the rust belt states of the US and farm states of the midwest.

    In contrast, a check of the MP’s online shows that most of these MP’s, though they claim to represent mostly ordinary little people, graduated from Eton or Harrow and most went to Oxford and Cambridge. Some are sons of earlier Conservative MP’s, as Mr. Rees Mogg is.  They are non-titled, but entitled feeling little dynasties of wealth and privilege whose families miss the ‘good old days when England was an empire.’  There are very few Conservative Party members in Scotland or Wales, and none in Northern Ireland.  Of the 312 members of the Conservative Party in the UK House of Commons, only 31 are Scots or Welsh members. The Tories are an English political party.

    Make no mistake that England, is all they really are and all they care about. There have been editorials and articles about growing mistreatment of Irish in the UK, including Irish whose families have been workers in the UK for several generations. It also makes no difference to the English whether the despised Irishmen are from Eire or the UK’s own Northern Ireland.   According to one report, this past two years, over 60,000 EU citizens who were working in the UK have left–for good–and are not encouraging anyone else from the EU to come to England. International investment banking has dropped by 20% in the UK and is continuing to decline.  This includes banking from France, Germany, even the Visegrad group of nations, Austria (Austria and Hungary have resurrected a decent financial industry since 1989), and the U.S.

    The Conservative MP’s are at odds with their own people and have been observed by the international press to be behaving as though they had an overwhelming mandate of more than a 67% (two-thirds) vote in the Brexit referendum when it barely passed with a 52% vote and all subsequent polls have shown that the majority of persons voting ‘leave’ were not expecting a hard Brexit which might damage trade and jobs for a decade or more. Additionally, recent polls indicate that, if there were to be another referendum today, 55% would vote ‘stay’.

    The ‘elephant in the room,’ preventing a Withdrawal Agreement majority, is Northern Ireland. The nearest thing to a ‘public referendum’ on Northern Ireland was the December 1919 general election. Between then and 1922 these results, combined with the religious passions prevalent at the time, were used to justify the partition of the island of Ireland into two states, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Religious strife continued through time of ‘The Troubles’, but in 1998, the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ was signed by all three parties, and the region has been peaceful for the past 20 years.

    Although today, nearly 100 years after partition, Northern Ireland, remains part of the UK, the politics of Ulster are vastly different, and especially with the youngest generation of voters. In the Brexit referendum of June 2016, a majority of 55.8% of Northern Irish voted to ‘Remain’ in the EU. The DUP does not represent the ‘remain in the EU’ and keep the border with Eire open.  In the ‘Snap’ election of 2017, the DUP received only 36% of the total vote for a government in their own realm of Northern Ireland, though it does have a 10 to 8 majority of the Northern Ireland seats in the UK Parliament. DUP leaders were involved in financial scandals several years ago, and refused to step down, leading to a political impasse, and there has been NO real government in Northern Ireland since.

    Under UK law, the Sovereign Monarch of the entire UK including Northern Ireland is Queen Elizabeth II, whom the DUP acknowledges as their ‘Sovereign’. Had this happened before 2011, prior to the passage of the FTP reform act, the Queen would still have had the authority to call for elections in the case of hung parliaments in the UK, and might have called for new elections in Northern Ireland to end the lack of government there.

    Prime Minister Theresa May should have acknowledged that the House of Commons and her own Conservative Party are hopelessly ‘hung’ and called for a new general election. She did not, as she does not want to give up her position as Prime Minister, and the Conservative Party is reasonably certain that it would lose control of the House of Commons and government and both would go down–and possibly Brexit, their cherished cause–as well.


    Given the very real betrayal by the DUP of the Conservative Party and its goals, the alternative, is for Prime Minister May to minimize pain and loss to herself and the Conservative Party by calling for a new referendum in Northern Ireland on Reunification of the Irish Island, to allow the majority in Northern Ireland to fulfill its wishes to stay in the EU and not have a hard border again with their own extended family in Eire. This has been suggested to her.  We’ll all have to see if she follows up on that advice after the entire Parliament takes their customary Easter break.

    Travel and Trade, now through October 31st

    The EU visa is still good for travel in the UK, as well as the rest of the EU until either October 31 or whenever the House of Commons ratifies the EU-Brexit ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ or decides to remain in the EU, permanently, after all. Readers do not yet need a separate VISA to combine travel in Ireland and Northern Ireland or Scotland. Given the declaration of war on the EU–and the U.S. vis-a-vis its continued choice of relations with the EU, by Jacob Rees Mogg, and disruption of the EU, already by the antics of the Rees-Mogg’s extreme Brexiteers in the Conservative Party, readers may wish to shun the UK, particularly the area of Bath and North Somerset for a time. In May, 2020, based on the legal requirement of review, and repeal or amendment of the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act (FTP), authority may be restored to the Sovereign Monarch (the Queen or her successor) to call for new elections in the likely continued event of the hung parliament, and Mr. Rees-Mogg may be replaced later in 2020.

    Alternatively, if there is no call for new elections in any way before then, in May, 2022, under continuance of the act, all members of the House of Commons, including Jacob Rees Mogg will stand for election. His constituents may then choose to replace him. However, if they believe as he, then Americans and Europeans would not be welcome in his district anyway. Americans or Europeans might find themselves mistreated and blamed for whatever discomforts Rees Mogg and his constituents are feeling at the time any outsiders visited.

    Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the prices of favorite foods and beverages from the EU are going up. Airbus was discovered to be lowering the costs of its products to the U.S. and international airlines companies, unfairly potentially taking sales from U.S. aircraft companies (there are more than just Boeing). The just thing to do would have been to insist on either being allowed equal subsidies for our own aircraft companies or fine Airbus and whatever governments were subsidizing the company and pay our aircraft companies for any likely losses and then make sure any one-sided subsidies stopped in the future.

    No, the culprits in this mess go, pardon the pun, ‘Scot-free,’ while the American consumers of food and beverages, and the innocent European, including Irish, food and beverage producers are to be punished instead by orders of Donald Trump, President of the U.S. who just this week slapped $11 billion in tariffs on EU products.  These tariffs are not on the airlines who are buying subsidized Airbus’s and the travelers who use them, and not on EU aircraft or autos (whose EU owners have also been violating U.S. and other laws.  Instead, POTUS Trump is slapping tariffs on these EU food and beverage industries and the U.S. consumers who like and buy EU foods and beverages. The money collected also does not go to repay the U.S. aircraft industry for its losses from the unfair competition. It goes into the general U.S. budget and expenses, and compensation for the deficit from the huge tax cuts to the super rich and corporations–including airlines corporations.

    So when you buy your favorite European cheese, or pasta products, or olive oil, or wine, or Irish or Scottish whiskey or ale, and find yourself paying more, this is why. You are paying for your sin of having any interest in anything European at all.  Mr. Trump wants you to buy everything American instead, regardless of availability or quality.–Never mind what the U.S. and international airlines industry bought and the fact these tariffs do absolutely nothing to punish Airbus or the governments who actually subsidized Airbus.  Never mind these tariffs do little or nothing to  prevent these subsidies and other illegal activities in the European aircraft and auto industries from recurring. It can be wondered if these tariffs and the problems behind them would have gone unnoticed and unredressed, including the possibility of responding tariffs from the EU, had the EU and UK not been overwhelmed by the soap opera of Brexit and the complete incompetence of the English Conservative Party and its Prime Minister.


    2017 US World Trade

    2017 US World Trade. (Source: International Trade Administration)

    Editorial: Brexit and Trade – STILL Not Done (Sigh)

    by Cecilia Fabos-Becker and Anthony Becker

    Published April 5th, 2019

    It occurred to us that many Americans, even those of Celtic descent, might not realize how connected the world’s economies are and why Brexit is actually important, and a serious problem, for the US economy.

    As reported by the International Trade Administration, for 2017, the US had a total of $3,888 billion in foreign trade with it’s top 30 partners. In 2017, US trade with the 28 EU countries was $718 billion or 18%, our largest trading partner. China was second with ($635 billion or 16%), and after China, our two biggest trading partners were Canada ($582 billion or 15%) and Mexico ($558 billion 14%). Together, 2017 US trade with Canada and Mexico was $1,319 billion or 29%, almost twice as much as China.

    The UK was only $109 billion or 3%–about one-sixth of the trade with China and one-tenth that of Canada and Mexico. If we subtract the UK figure, 2017 US trade with the remaining 27 EU countries was still $609 billion, or 16%, and still equal to US China trade!

    Mexico is a Federal Presidential Constitutional Republic, but, since 1982, Canada has been a Federal Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy (the monarch being the Queen of England) a member of the British Commonwealth, and a major trading partner of the UK and EU–as well as the US. Within the EU (and NATO), the US additionally has as significant trading partners, Germany and Turkey, though these two not as great as China. For example In 2017, trade between between the US and Germany was $171 billion or 4%.

    The US, whose minimum wage is less than that of Ireland and the UK, has major problems for its manufacturing industries and its domestic consumers.

    For example, high grade iron ore in the US deposits are depleted. For decades, the US has not encouraged geologic exploration to find significant new deposits of iron ore in the US, nor to develop any known deposits, large or small, and has been content to import high grade iron ore and steel from other countries, including Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Turkey, a trade in which the US competes with China, the world’s largest customer for this vital commodity.

    The US has a similar problem with aluminum. We had large aluminium ore mines in Arkansas and, in abstract theory, could develop something in Montana. Unfortunately, Montana’s corundum (aluminum oxide) is very close to the Missouri river–used for drinking, irrigation, etc. by millions of people downstream across half a dozen states and it merges with the Mississippi, affecting even more people and states. The huge known and previously mined deposits were in Arkansas, and were largely closed due to complaints about air pollution, as well as waterways pollution.  Fortunately a huge deposit exists in Jamaica. China can get aluminum and aluminum ore from deposits in Asia, the remaining EU can get their aluminum from Hungary. Jamaica, also, however, is part of the British (UK) commonwealth which now intends to compete with the EU and the US.

    UK officials, including members of the currently ruling Conservative (Tory) Party in the UK Parliament have publicly stated that, when and as the UK finally pulls out of the EU, the UK intends to revive the old EXCLUSIVE trading alliances with the Commonwealth nations. Those include Canada and Jamaica! The UK goals, considered separate from the EU, have the potential to cut the US out. A non-EU member UK can make these vital raw materials much harder for US manufacturers to obtain–and more costly. These cost increases will hit the entire US manufacturing industry, and drive up costs of most goods for US consumers.

    While the UK cannot command these nations, etc. to restore exclusive trading agreements, it will be attempting to persuade, buy, etc. these agreements at precisely the same time the US government has initiated, and still retains, tariffs on Canadian products–including steel, which are beginning to hurt the US economy. By going its own way, the UK is becoming yet another separate competitor as well as potential trading partner to the US. However, the US and Canada already have trade agreements with the EU, and the UK will have to compete with the rest of the EU to obtain new and more favorable agreements with the US and Canada.

    According to business reports by UK and European press this week reported on the BBC, Germany has now slid into an odd recession. The economy as a whole remains strong, and growth, although much slower, continues, but manufacturing and related international sales are declining. France is a major partner to Germany and supplies Germany’s manufacturing, so the French economy is sliding along with Germany.  The East Central European and southeast European nations supply raw materials to Germany, France and Italy. Hungary is a major supplier of aluminum, concrete–and uranium (Europe still has functioning nuclear reactors producing electricity).

    While it still has very low unemployment, the UK is seeing declines in business investment in the UK and also manufacturing until Brexit finally occurs and the worldwide financial industry can finally determine how international trade will proceed again.

    The entire western hemisphere of Europe and North America, well over a billion people, is now waiting on the UK, to determine how to rearrange economic investments and trade, and the House of Commons of the UK parliament is “hung“–again, for the sixth or seventh time since the passage of the ill-considered Fixed-Term Parliaments Act of 2011, which removed the traditional royal prerogative to dissolve Parliament. It is obvious that the UK Parliament is currently so divided into uncompromising partisan blocks that they cannot move their minds and votes to act for the good of their nation and the rest of the developed world.

    The other 27 EU nations realize this. Germany, now the leading country of the EU, gets it. Economists and bankers in the US and Canada get it. The East Europeans, who were shattered by the UK’s imperial ambitions and arrogance since 1918 get it. They are all still hoping for a miracle.

    The miracle that is being hoped for is that the current 11th hour talks between Tory Party leader and Prime Minister Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will bear fruit. Officially May is “Prime” Minister of the UK but it is only after 3 years of going nowhere, that she has deigned to meet with Corbyn and the remaining leadership of the leading opposition party. Both May and Corbyn have been losing support from their own party membership. Still, the hope is that, as the leader of the Labour party, these discussions may yield some sort of addition to the “Withdrawal Agreement” that will both allow it to be introduced for a fourth time to the House of Commons, as substantially different than the previous three, and pass the House of Commons and do so by April 10, 2019. Then Prime Minister May can go back to the EU and ask for an extension to put a likely Customs Union sub-agreement in place and the UK may actually implement Brexit. A Customs Union, by the way, still does not deal with the issues of tourist travel and immigration. There will still have to be a separate agreement between the EU and the UK, other than for implementing trade, to permit travel relatively free of obstacles between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Other than a real miracle, resulting from these last minute discussions of PM May and Mr. Corbyn, there are only two other alternatives that would represent a “credible reason to grant an extension,” as required by the EU to the UK. One would be for PM May to finally recognize she has a hopelessly hung parliament, and call for another snap General Election for the House of Commons.  She is believed by the BBC and international press to be highly unlikely to do this because her party is highly likely to lose the majority vote in the House of Commons, and thus she could no longer retain her position as Prime Minister. She’d bring down her party and herself–as if the current hopeless divisions in the party haven’t already effectively done so in the general voting public’s collective minds. The second alternative is to put a three way choice to another general public referendum: (a) No Deal (Hard) Brexit; (b) “The Withdrawal Agreement” with a Customs Union (the highest vote getter after another referendum in the House of Commons two rounds of “options” votes), and (c) Remain in the EU. If none of these three gets a majority, a run-off of the two highest vote-getters would be required.

    In September, 2011, with the assent of the Monarch, the UK Parliament (both Houses) then passed “The Fixed Terms Parliaments Act (FTP Act) of 2011.” Prior to this ill-considered change, when there was a “hung parliament” on a serious matter of grave national or international consequence, the reigning monarch and his/her privy council could officially call for a general election of the House of Commons to try to break the deadlock. Though very rarely used, with the threat of this, the House of Commons had hung parliaments only for a few days or weeks, never for years. In 2011, the people and the Parliament, with the assent of the Queen, thought that the members of the House of Commons were mature enough and had enough collective sense and public interest to prioritize the country over political parties. They decided that this royal prerogative was no longer necessary, and so abolished it. However, in the not quite 9 years since this change, there have been more “hung parliaments” than there were in 45 years between 1929 and 1974. Since 2010, there have been as many hung parliaments as in the entire preceding century.

    In May, 2020, not quite a year from now, this 2011 FTP Act is required to be reviewed and, if it is found to not have worked for the greater good of the nation, as well as planned or hoped, it is to be amended or repealed. The same FTP Act also set elections once every five years for members of the House of Commons, with a reset of the 5 years period if a snap election is called within a 5-year period. Some members of the Parliament in 2010-2011 when this Act was being written, amended, debated and passed, had wanted elections sooner, perhaps as quickly as once every three years, more like the case for members of the US House of Representatives.

    It is our considered opinion that, if the FTP have not been made law, or if the House of Commons had three year terms instead of five, Brexit, one way or another, would have been over by now, much to the benefit of the UK, and more importantly, the entire world. Let us all hope that the royal prerogative to intervene to break such deadlocks is restored when the FTP is reviewed in May, 2020.


    Celtic Cross

    Is Celtic Culture Dying Out?

    Editorial: Another Scottish Festival in the U.S. Cancelled
    20 year old, Rhode Island Scottish Highland Festival Folds

    What YOU can DO!

    by Cecilia Fábos-Becker – 2019-03-29

    According to an article appearing in the ‘Westerly Sun,’ one of the largest Scottish festivals in the Northeast U.S., the Rhode Island Scottish Highland Festival, an annual event for 20 years, was cancelled this year for lack of volunteers. See the full article about this at the following link: Rhode Island Scottish Highland Festival Cancelled

    With thousands of participants and thousands more attendees, this cancelation was not for the usually suspected lack of community interest but instead reflects THE growing problem for the entire Celtic community throughout the U.S.. Those people most interested in preserving and commemorating this culture and heritage that literally gave birth to the United States, are mostly over 45 years of age and overwhelmed with dividing their time caring for both younger and older members of family, working to maintain retirement income and health care, and then do all the physical work of these festivals. The younger generation is NOT stepping up yet.  While many younger individuals, couples and even young families, certainly attend the games and gatherings and younger individuals participate in the heavy athletics, bands of bagpipers and drummers and appreciate the music, including very popular Celtic rock bands, they are not helping to put on the festivals.

    One oft-cited cause of declining festivals, is that U.S. and European history is not taught as much in the schools, nor is Civics, and how the Constitution came to be, all of which have deep roots in Celtic Culture. Instead a mish-mash of politically correct and vague social science are taught. Polls cited in articles and editorials have indeed shown that younger persons show less concern for and less knowledge of the past as it really was. Without this awareness, there is less knowledge of and interest in the cultures connected with real history. Unfortunately, not enough people with power to act, such as state and federal legislators are DOING anything about it and, more importantly, not enough voters and campaign donors, care to bring this issue to them and insist upon some legislation restoring these subjects to schools.

    A recurring theme I’ve personally heard at festivals, suggests many attendees feel that U.S. and European history have been unfairly lumped into a ‘bad category’ because of modern ‘political correctness’.

    Read More…

    At the huge festival at Pleasanton, CA last year, I heard similar complaints from more than one person. To paraphrase, ‘We allowed slavery to continue, and slavery is bad. Therefore, since we didn’t sweep slavery away sooner, all our history and culture is bad.’ There is genuine anger at political correctness superseding historical reality; that nearly the entire rest of the world was still practicing slavery, and continued well into the 1800’s and the educators and political demagogues don’t care.  Somehow, only the U.S. and Europeans were the only bad guys and yet supposed to be different and better. It seems to many people that modern, politically correct educators, politicians and ethnic demagogues cannot look at world history as it actually was. They are seen as unable or unwilling to separate the issue of slavery and our modern abhorrence of it from all else–and this is a double standard that is ultimately hurting interest in and celebration of European culture, and European cultural festivals.

    Discussion of the value of teaching real history, warts and all, has filled a number of editorial pages in far larger print publications than this one, and is a discussion that needs to take place among voters, school boards, and legislators. However, this cancelled festival in Rhode Island illustrates more than one troubling trend.

    The interest was there, the attendance was there, but the younger people arranging their lives to volunteer to help, as their older, supposedly less strong and energetic elders were doing, was NOT there, based on interviews by the ‘Westerly Sun’ with the weary volunteers and leaders who decided to cancel their event. The older people are also having a harder time finding the means to communicate with younger people about this and attracting new younger volunteers.  Where do they go besides Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get their attention and get them to volunteer?

    A bigger emerging question is should schools and colleges, perhaps also look at volunteerism in cultural events, including leadership roles in helping to set up and man events, instead of just sports participation, and business leadership? This past week was filled with newspaper reports of a cheating scandal involving dozens, perhaps hundreds of rich parents, sometimes with the help of college coaches, and others both cheating with SAT tests–and lying on applications about their children’s sports activities–and volunteerism. Prior to this, already, some people at festivals observing and discussing this situation have suggested we need to restore the national draft: and teach public service, including organizing efforts for it, and disaster relief, besides warfare.  Again, this is a discussion that needs wider interest and discussion among communities of voters and legislators if the problems of lack of young adult interest, volunteerism and leadership for events and programs are to be resolved. Otherwise, many more festivals, and the organizations behind them, run by older people are at risk of disappearing.

    If you want your Celtic Culture to survive for future generations, you should DO something about it, and the most effective action you can take is to attend your regional festivals, AND BRING YOUR CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN along and encourage them to get involved! If you are one the organizers and volunteers–get your children involved!  Remind them that they claim to be stronger and more energetic, more media and PR savvy, that here are opportunities to prove it.  Remind them that if their parents aren’t rich, they can use cultural events’ volunteer work on their college applications!


    Irish Passports 1

    Editorial: Brexit Update – A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

    A Review of Past Predictions and Where the UK is Now

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker – Published 2019-01-18

    We reviewed all the editorials we’ve written that have touched on Brexit, comparing them to the predictions made by the UK’s Tory government lead by Prime Minister Theresa May, and a few observations and predictions we ourselves made. Our observations of difficulties and trends and what was likely to happen have been pretty accurate, compared to the predictions of those representing the May government. We paid attention to what EU ministers and observers in the international press, including the British press, were saying, including the business analysts.

    We were skeptical of the official government and Brexiteer statements since the press was full of descriptions of the very serious divisions within the Tories, the only major party with most MPs supporting Brexit. We knew that the Tory party itself did not have a majority in the House of Commons without the 11 votes of the Northern Irish DUP, itself a minority party in Northern Ireland. As members of other organizations, we’ve also been asked to support business relations with both Ireland and the UK, who are about to become more competitive with one another and possibly less cooperative.

    As we all now know, Brexit happens in just 6 weeks, deal or no deal, and the UK Parliament House of Commons just voted down the only available deal from the EU. The votes were 432 to 202, a record margin of 230 votes, the most lopsided defeat for any UK government in nearly 100 years! Worse, delaying the vote on this deal for nearly two months did PM May, her government and the people of the UK no good at all, merely leaving no time for anything else, other than a hard, no deal Brexit. There are NO new trade deals in the works with any other parties; they must wait until the UK is out of the EU.

    As of Thursday, in the UK, PM May said she and her staff had been finally meeting with leaders of Tory factions to hear what they would like in a deal, as well as meeting with non-Tory parties. However, the Tory party itself is still divided and the Labor Party leader has thus far refused to meet with May or her staff and say what it would like in return for their ‘aye’ vote. There is still no majority, nor consensus about and for any deal.

    For months, the EU’s position has been, ‘take it or leave it; we’ll do only minor adjustments.’, but now, for even ‘minor adjustments’, the EU will need to see a consensus from these same MP’s on what Brexit deal they are willing to pass with a majority.

    Irish Passports 2

    How does this contrast with the predictions and soothing comments made by the Brexit advocates and the May government beginning almost 18 months or so ago? The May government promised that the value of the British currency, the Pound, would not suffer but would, instead, rebound, and that the financial institutions would not leave London for the Continent and Ireland. At the time those first statements were made, the pound, though it had dropped from about $1.45 just before the Brexit vote on June 23rd, 2016, to as low as $1.25 to begin the year of 2019, it had rebounded up to about $1.30 to sometimes $1.40. The highest it has been since the Brexit vote was $1.43 dollars per pound in April, 2017. This past week it has gone back down to $1.25. The Pound has lost significant value and will likely continue to do so.

    We were told that by the time Brexit actually happens, on March 29th, 2019, it would be a soft Brexit with most of its trading and other international relations with the EU intact. It would not all happen right away, but the MPs’ approved deal would happen sometime in the last two or three months before March 29, 2017. Also the UK was going to work on restoring trade relations with the Commonwealth and that would replace some of the EU business. We also heard and read the statements that the EU would bend to the UK that it needed the UK more than the UK needed the EU.

    Those rosy, soothing statements would all be funny if only the pound were not slowly sinking, the Royal Bank of Scotland hadn’t just applied for a German license, Dublin hadn’t built and rented out a lot of space to financial institutions that are indeed leaving London, and if every international and British economic analyst weren’t predicting years of losses in every business sector, a 8 to 10% decline in GDP, increased unemployment, increased public services costs, etc.

    As of the middle of January, 2019, with less than 2 months to go, a modified deal would require that the EU back down and give the UK Brexiteers the sweetheart deal they want, despite that the UK instigated this divorce and all the calumny the Brexiteers have continuously heaped upon the EU. It is not going to happen. PM May just demonstrated that, since November, has lost the support of the Brexiteers and has no support from anyone else. The much larger EU is not going to bow its 27 heads to the much smaller UK. No matter what PM May is saying, the nations of the EU are now preparing for a hard, ‘no-deal’ Brexit. A soft Brexit deal is not just between PM May, as though she was a dictator, and the EU – both the UK House of Commons and the EU Parliament must vote aye on any negotiated Brexit. There is no friendly divorce agreement here if one entire side doesn’t vote for and sign the deal. The irate partner simply storms out on her own, with nothing – a no-deal Brexit.

    What is particularly pathetic is why and how it happened. The very part of the deal PM May allowed to cause the delay, the Irish border backstop, was the thing that was of least concern to the overwhelming majority of the Parliament. To gain the 11 DUP votes (out of 637 in the House of Commons), PM May kept trying to get a better deal on Ireland’s border with Northern Ireland. The tiny DUP and PM May demanded the preservation of the UK sovereignty, as though that was the only entity whose sovereignty mattered. Even more, in so doing, the DUP, and May, ignored the ‘1998 Good Friday Agreement’, which opened the Irish border, as if this treaty was between no other parties except the UK, and thus parts, or all of it, could be discarded as the UK saw fit. For 9 solid months it was the only major sticking point, and in the end, PM May still had to present the deal with this backstop that the DUP did not want. By delaying the inevitable for so long, PM May eliminated any remaining time for her own Tory Party, either among its own members or working across parties with other MPs, to come up with any real proposal that a majority could and would vote for as a soft Brexit.

    The DUP issue was firmly shot down when the DUP amendment to the proposal to be voted upon, that the UK be able to unilaterally end the backstop and restore a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, received only 24 votes; 600 MPs voting ‘nay’ to this amendment told the DUP, essentially, to ‘go to blazes’. That vote also showed just how much time and effort PM May wasted, delaying a proposal to the House of Commons on just that DUP issue. The entire UK has PM May and the DUP to ‘thank’ for the coming hard Brexit, and all the real pain that is likely to entail for years, maybe a decade or more, to come. We said that, based on the BBC’s own polls, the overwhelming majority of English, Scots and Welsh had no regard for the Northern Irish DUP and their big issue. We were right.

    Worse, there is no alternative now or likely by March 29, because the Tory and DUP government of Ms. May cannot come to any agreement among themselves what they DO want on all the rest of the issues! They have been fighting for months. Last night (Tuesday night) they were still stating on international television that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU and that the EU will come around now that its proposal through PM May has been defeated. There is not one single pronouncement by any EU leader, including the larger nations of Germany and France to indicate this will happen. Germany has been openly admitting that its auto industry will suffer and it regrets the no-deal Brexit happening but the German government is already working to mitigate its auto industry’s situation and the Germans will stand by the EU majority. The UK is not going to divide and exploit continental Europe in 2019 as it did in 1918-1919. There’s a new, and more united Europe, and this time, the French, Italians and Germans are all on the same side–voluntarily. 

    While delusional MPs may brag about the UK being 3 times larger in population and economy than the ‘average nation of Europe’ this implies that the nations of Europe all operate independently and there is very little of significance binding them together. The MPs are trying to compare the UK to the separate nations of Europe, as though this was still 1919. However, the EU has actually become an economic and political coalition of strategic continental partnerships that is working together, even if not perfectly, and the EU is 8 times larger than the UK in population alone–and several times larger geographically also . Within the EU, France is certainly of equal consequence to the rest of the EU as the UK. The French economic relationship with the UK however, is only half of that of France with GERMANY. Germany is of even greater importance to not only France, but almost all other members of the EU. Germany’s trading relationship with France is about the same as its relationship with the UK. . However both these nations, but Germany in particular, are interdependent with the rest of the continental EU and respect that interdependency, even if the UK does not. Germany feeds its industrial machine with more resources from the continental members of the EU than from the UK. The UK MPs and others are forgetting about regional blocs within the EU, who are very important to the Germans, and other EU nations, particularly Italy, whose population is about equal to that of the UK. The UK MPs also are forgetting about other sizeable entities, potential competitors to the UK, who are not EU members but already have EU agreements. Canada now has a population of about 55% of that of the UK and a lot more resources, and already has a trading agreement with the EU. The U.S. at 330 million also still has some trade agreements with the EU, despite Trump’s claims and games.  However, the UK’s messy, self-initiated divorce negotiations is with the EU, but too many British MPs seem to think all they need to worry about is Germany, not the entire EU together. Here is a brief explanation of why that belief is terribly mistaken, and who is really the group that is more important to the Germans than the UK.

    Within 15 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall–instigated by the Czechs and Hungarians, which also eventually allowed Germany itself to reunify, several nations of East Central Europe, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, joined the EU together as a cooperative bloc of over 45 million persons, about 60% of the population of the UK. Geographically, this was a larger and more more resource rich area than the UK, already. This was called the Visegrad Four or Visegrad Group, reviving an old alliance that began before World War II. The VF nations have continued to act together many times, and expanded that bloc. Romania, Croatia, and eventually Slovakia when it split from the Czech Republic, literally asked Hungary and Poland for help in obtaining NATO and EU admission and agreed to be more cooperative with the VF nations. The Romanians requested help from Hungary, and Hungarian Americans, etc., in Washington DC in 1993, in exchange for ceasing all support to Serbia, and agreeing to help improve the lives of Hungarian-Romanians. The Hungarians happily and readily agreed! Slovenia and Austria had developed relations with the Visegrad Four as well. There is also a second regional bloc of many of these nations together, with Italy, called the Pentagonale Initiative, begun at the same time the Visegrad Group was revived. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are members of both the Visegrad Four and the Pentagonale Initiative. The VF and PI blocs together are now a usually quite cooperative economic, research and voting bloc with a population that is 100% GREATER than that of the UK, and with large non-depleted mining and minerals areas in the Alps, Carpathians and lower mountains of the Balkans, including uranium and aluminum ore. Much of the coal used to make steel in Germany and other parts of the continental EU also comes from Poland, part of the VF.

    None of the nations in this combined bloc have significant relations with the UK and they don’t worry about the UK leaving the EU. In fact, most of these nations resent the UK, and its banks, as part of the ‘imported international banking problem’ that flattened their economies and caused severe politically damaging austerity measures starting in 2007. These nations had just joined the EU, were in the throes of a lot of costly reorganization to meet higher western standards in many aspects of life, had just paid back billions of dollars and pounds of Soviet debt to British and U.S. banks and were just starting to rebuild after a century of war and occupation when the same darned banks who had made bad loans to the Soviet backed governments yanked the rug out from under their feet–again with a global financial and real estate crisis these banks had created. Some elderly persons also remembered what the British and their banks had done between World War I and World War II, playing divide and exploit. To these elders, it was simply more of the same chicanery, and they were quite happy to tell the younger generations all about it. Germany’s Deutsche Bank was seen as part of the 2007 to present problem also and Germany is conscious of this, as well as needing the resources, human as well as geologic, from the combined bloc. Most of this combined bloc also has a population that is well educated in mathematics, engineering and the sciences. Samsung and other Asian high technology companies who have invested in East Central Europe hire them. Silicon Valley, Germany and Canada also continue to hire and prize these peoples. The big problem for most of the MPs in the UK is that Germany, the 600 pound gorilla in the EU, and the UK’s biggest trading partner in the EU actually needs the Visegrad and Pentagonale blocs more than it needs the UK. Italy, another 60 million person nation, also has long-standing relations with these two blocs and does not have significant relations with the UK.

    These shared histories and relationships in the center and southeast of Europe, of 9 nations together and with Germany and Italy, is why the EU is standing firm and not willing to grant the UK any special favors. It is a reality that too many MPs in the UK continue to overlook and disregard.

    After the crushing 432 to 202 defeat of the Brexit deal on Tuesday, PM May and her Tory government just narrowly avoided losing a vote of ‘no confidence’ on Wednesday, with the help of the 11 votes of the DUP. The House of Commons voted 325 to 306 to reject the opposition motion of ‘no confidence.’ If the 11 DUP MPs had voted the other way, May would have lost, 317 to 314, and May would have been forced to call for new national elections.

    It has been 2 years since the original vote and a lot of conditions even in the UK, have changed. The electorate has increased by over 2%, including the 16 and 17 years olds given the vote this past year in Scotland. There is a much better understanding, now, from well publicized analysis by reputable, experienced entities, of the potential economic consequences. The pound has also declined. Yet Prime Minister May, most of her Tories, the DUP and even some members of the Labor party do not want another, better informed, popular referendum. The people do not have the right to increase the numbers of voters, nor do the voters have the right to change their minds. Prime Minister May, the Tories, the DUP and Jeremy Corbyn have all decreed this–publicly. It is why, for the present, we predict a hard, costly Brexit–for the UK– not for the EU.



    The British-U.S. History of Voting

    (or: How is it That All Those Extremists Keep Getting Elected?)

    by Cecilia Fábos-Becker 2018-11-30

    Basic Legislative Structures:

    A part of the Celtic-British heritage in the United States is our National Assembly, called the Congress. The UK equivalent is called the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which meets in Westminster. Within the UK, each country has their own, Regional Parliament. These are, for Wales, the Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (Wales National Assembly), which meets in the capital city of Cardiff, for Scotland the Scottish Parliament, which meets in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, and for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Assembly which meets at Stormont in Belfast. In Ireland, which is a country independent of the UK since at least 1949, the National Assembly is the Oireachtas, (Irish Assembly) of which principal house is the lower house, the Dáil Éireann. They meet in the capital city of Dublin.

    Like the UK Parliament, the U.S. Congress is comprised of two houses, upper and lower. In the U.S., the upper house, the Senate, is elected directly, with 2 Senators representing each of the 50 political states (and not huge private estates), and each Senator has a set term of 6 years. In the UK, the equivalent is the House of Lords, and these Lords are unelected as their seats are a hereditary entitlement. Being composed of elected representatives, the US Senate has much more power than the UK House of Lords. The lower houses, the UK House of Commons and the US House of Representatives both have ‘the power of the purse.’ Budget bills, and particularly tax-raising, funding and expenditure bills must originate in the lower house.

    Like the U.S. Congress, the State Legislatures of the individual states of the United States have two houses,, upper and lower, except for one state, Nebraska, which has only one legislative house. Although all four are the UK, only the countries of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales could be considered a very rough equivalent of ‘states’ in the UK, as the country of England has no separate English state parliament.

    Until the UK fully withdraws from the EU, the citizens of the UK also elect members to one other body: the European Parliament (EP). Each EU member states’ delegation size has been a major issue for the British citizens as the EP is not based on one-man, one vote. Several small independent states have fewer than 100,000 citizens, and the minimum number of states’ members is 6 while the largest is capped at 96. Worse, in the UK, the citizens do not directsly elect individual Members of the EP (MEPs), but instead choose a political party. Then the winning party leadership chooses the MEPs from its own Party membership.  Here is how Wikipedia describes the makeup of the European Parliament.

    The apportionment of seats within the European Parliament to each member state of the European Union is set out by the EU treaties. The apportionment of seats is not proportional to each state’s population, nor does it reflect any particular mathematical formula; however, it is stated in the treaties that distribution of seats should be ‘degressively proportional‘ to the population of the member states. The process can be compared to the composition of the electoral college used to elect the President of the United States of America in that, pro rata, the smaller state received more places in the electoral college than the more populous states.

    As of the 2014 parliamentary election the number of MEPs is 751, “750 MEPs and a president[1]” this being the maximum number allowed by the Lisbon Treaty.

    The Evolution of Voting:

    From foregoing comparison, you can begin to see the roots of the U.S. Constitution and Congress. There are great differences as well as similarities. Though descended heavily from Scots, Irish, Welsh and English immigrants, as a nation, the U.S., is about 800 years younger than England and the other UK countries. These differences, as well as similarities stem from who originally had the right to vote and how long did that voting system last.

    Unlike in England, in medieval Scotland and Ireland, clan chiefs were elected, though often they proved their superior merit to be ‘elected’ on the basis of either bloodthirsty military victories–even against members of their own clans and in killing their competition, or having military victories over their own fellow Scots or Irish in the form of other clans, eliminating some of the leadership of competing clans.

    In medieval England, the lords were entitled (given their titles) by a king, and with these titles came large estates (lands) and dominion over all the common people in those estates. The Lords were required, based on their rank, to supply a certain number of men from their estate’s for the king’s or parliament’s armies, for the purpose of national defense, conquest and international disputes. Early on, the Lords were also, required to equip, feed and clothe the men at arms they provided. Lords could and did rebel–especially since they commanded men at arms and weapons, and to counterbalance the lords and have some degree of justice for common people, the kings also appointed sheriffs for every shire. Sheriffs were independent of the local Lords, and served only the King, and only at the pleasure of the King, were not entitled with large estates that they owned and could pass on, and so were replaced more often than the lords.

    In England, lords and kings passed on their titles and estates to their oldest son, and younger children got much less. In Ireland the clans and four kingdoms did not want children ruling, so the battle was between oldest brothers, even cousins, of the monarch or clan chief who had died. In Scotland and England when a king died and left a child heir, there was a regency, usually of one of the king’s brothers or a great lord the king had named as guardian and regent before he died. Often the highest ranking lords, though, were still related to the king, just more distantly.

    At first, the right to vote was, reserved only for members of parliament. At first based on being male, of a certain age (poll-able–as there was a tax on voting age males), as well as property ownership and wealth. Additionally, if a person had property in two or more constituencies or wards or boroughs, he had a vote in each and every one. Apprentices and guildsmen who were in good standing and owned tools, and ‘of age’ could also vote. Property meant assets. 

    This was the system until the 1950’s in England, and the U.S. started out with a nearly identical system.

    Voter Qualifications and Abuse

    By the mid 1800’s, in the UK, a few groups were barred from voting: incarcerated criminals and ‘lunatics,’ (sometimes called ‘fatuus’–‘imbeciles’ in Scottish law). These were also often barred from inheriting and managing estates, if they were the lord or primary heir, as mismanaging the estates could harm their families and tenants, and risk services to the kings and parliaments. The lunatics or imbeciles were was roughly identified as those a danger to themselves or others by being unable to reason and not knowing the difference between right and wrong, particularly in terms of the law and being thus unable to follow the law. In the United States we banned convicted criminals, whether they were incarcerated or not, from voting but have allowed the insane not in institutions, and drug addicts or alcoholics, to vote. In the 1800’s, we even allowed bars to become polling booths and candidates and their supporters to continue campaigning for votes on election day in bars that were voting booths and persuade or bribe people, often with drink, to vote more than once in said bar under different names. Voter fraud in the mid to late 1800’s in the U.S. was rampant. There were few state laws prohibiting it, and little or no enforcement for any laws that did exist.

    With regard to voting, the insane, which we now usually call ‘mentally ill,’ and drug addicts are mostly treated as the same group. In the U.S., we allow people who are incapable of reason and don’t know, or don’t care, about the difference between right and wrong and who are, or potentially are, a danger to themselves and others to vote. Some other countries do not allow this. That’s a crucial difference, and potential problem in elections, when the difference between a win and a loss is only a few percent, as it has been in many elections within districts and regions.

    The ability to reason is taught, primarily by parents and schools, and studies have also shown that in both the U.S. and the UK education that teaches reasoning, objective thinking, logic, and research and how to determine truth from fiction, has been failing for decades.

    ‘An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.’ – Thomas Jefferson.
    ‘A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.’ – Theodore Roosevelt.

    Recent studies have shown that illiteracy combined with marginal literacy and understanding (roughly 6th grade level ideals or less) stands at about 40% in both the U.S. and U.K. It was about 25% or so in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. It was higher than it is now, before mandatory high school (secondary school) beyond 8th grade. The two nations added mandatory secondary schools but they did not improve literacy, reasoning, or jobs related skills, as was hoped they would. Many other countries have higher literacy and real education rates than the U.S. and U.K. The Scandinavian countries are among the top.

    In its history, particularly in some states, The U.S. has sometimes had literacy tests that persons had to pass to be able to vote, but they were not applied uniformly. They were often abused as a means of discriminating against less educated people of color and females and were struck down by the U.S. courts over time as unlawful–as they were constructed and applied–and no state resurrected them as a uniform test for fear of having to deny any part of white and male constituencies.

    In the U.S., city councils, county boards of supervisors/commissioners, state and national legislative office holders are elected by direct vote by majority–no quorums of registered voters are required. This is also true of the House of Commons in the UK. There are a few critical differences, besides the first obvious one, the U.S. has, in addition to Congress, 50 states and 50 state legislatures, governors, etc., and the UK doesn’t. In the U.S. Constitution, the legislative districts, are supposed to be equal in population size, the same sized fraction of the total number of legislators for that class of legislators, except for the Senate. The Senate, as per the Constitution grants two Senators to each state, regardless of geographic size or human population. The U.S. Constitution, as amended to allow minorities of color full voting rights, and women, was written on the concept of ‘one-man, one-vote’ equality of voting rights. In the UK, one-man, one vote does NOT exist in either the House of Commons or Lords and the median population size of constituencies (voting districts) varies among the ethnic regions.

    According to the official government site:
    ‘The typical size of constituencies differs between parts of the U.K. The Office for National Statistics gives the median parliamentary electorate across constituencies of about 72,400 (persons) in England, 69,000 in Scotland, 66,800 in Northern Ireland, and 56,800 in Wales.’ Note that this said the ‘MEDIAN’ size, saying right then and there, the district sizes are NOT the same in population even within the ethnic regions! ‘Median’ is defined as an adjective denoting or relating to a value or quantity lying at the midpoint of an observed frequency distribution (or range) of values or quantities.’

    The site doesn’t state what the range is in actual population sizes of constituencies, only that there is a range.

    However, the U.S. is not without fault in this area. We have allowed a quaint and corrupt practice called ‘Gerrymandering‘. The name is derived from Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry who, in 1812, created a geographical district that on a map, looked like a salamander–hence the name ‘Gerry-mander.’ Gerrymandering has the effect of keeping a disproportionate number of office holders in power even when the larger majority votes against them and their parties.

    In recent years, the Courts have begun to insist on districts conforming more to natural topographic and man-made boundaries such as rivers, mountains, highways, and keeping contiguous communities of people who normally live, shop, and are educated side-by-side, together. Until these reforms are nationally mandated, court ordered redistricting plans will always run the risk of being overturned by some later court. While judges try to be more objective and fair in office, and political party is not supposed to be a qualification for nomination and confirmation as a judge, partisanship of governors and legislators at state and national levels, means some degree of partisanship occurs in the nominations and confirmations and is inevitably seen in some interpretations and judgments of law, including in elections.

    In the UK, the Prime Minister is elected by the MP’s in the majority party in the House of Commons, and a similar process is used to select the First Ministers of Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

    These Parliamentary Ministers can also be removed by a vote of ‘no confidence’ that originates among a certain minimum number of members of his/her political party in their Parliaments. For the UK Prime Minister, the House of Commons can file ‘letters calling for a vote of no-confidence,’ before a general election year. If the vote fails, another vote of no-confidence may not be called for at least one full year.

    In the U.S., this is similar to the office of Speaker of the House who first must get a majority vote of his or her own majority party to be nominated as the Speaker of the whole House of Representatives and then must be voted upon by the Representatives of both parties, and the few independents, in the entire House of Representatives.

    The U.S. President is not directly elected by the entire national electorate, but instead by an Electoral College, whose votes are based on the combination of the majority or apportioned votes in a state, and the number of persons in the College is then based on the combined number of state Representatives and Senators, automatically giving greater weight in the vote to smaller states as all states have two Senators. Additionally the states make their own laws as to whether the vote that goes to the Electoral College shall be ‘winner takes all,’ or percentages in the college delegation based on the percentages voting for each candidate in the state. A small ‘winner take all state,’ thus has greater influence in the vote for U.S. President than a large apportioned vote state. The U.S. Presidential election is not based on one-man, one-vote. If the Electoral College cannot agree on a majority of its vote going to a candidate the, the election for President then goes to the House of Representatives. A further twist in this already rather warped Electoral College system is that they have no other role than to vote for President, and so its members are free to decide to vote against the popular votes of their own states, though the states may assess a fine for doing so!

    The Political Parties:

    The next problem is the nature of the political parties themselves. Each one thinks it has all the answers, or superior answers, to some or all the problems within a nation, and seeks veto proof control to enact its partisan beliefs without compromise, which they believe weakens their intended legislation. There is no mandate for compromise in the Constitution of the U.S. or the UK. Over time parties come to each think of themselves as the sole national good, and superior to the nation, or the nation and the others are demonized and even called traitors. In the early history of both Parliament and Congress, the term ‘loyal opposition’ was applied to the minority parties by majority party but in the last two or three decades of both the UK and U.S. governance, particularly in the U.S., this concept has become almost non-existent.

    Worse, in both the UK and U.S., members of parties hold party membership AFTER being elected to serve entire districts, or wards, states and the nation, and are allowed to hold party offices while holding government offices. In a democratic government in which the voters and the Constitutions expect elected and appointed officials to serve ALL individuals EQUALLY, with equal respect and regard, this is a conflict of interest! One is not elected to serve just the members of the party who nominated him or her, or those who voted for him or her in any district or the nation. Again, this tradition of combining party and government in the U.S. comes from its earliest European immigrant citizens’ UK roots.

    Unlike the U.S., with its dominant two parties, the UK has traditionally had three or four parties that have enjoyed the government leadership role. In the UK, the parties are mostly national. In Scotland, Ireland and Wales, there are nationalist parties for just those countries within the UK. In the UK, Labor is a separate party, while in the U.S. Labor does not have its own party but must choose between the dominant two. Labor was seen for many decades by voters and the party members themselves as more the interest of Democrats, and Business/Corporations more the interest of Republicans. Since the mid 1980’s, in the U.S., ‘Labor’ has been abandoned by both major parties, except for public employee (government employees) unions, which remain a Democratic Party interest because there are now more government workers organized into unions than any other group of workers in the private economy. The only other organized, mostly non-government workers unions of any appreciable size are the ‘service’ employees in the hotel, restaurant and hospital industries. While the SEIU members often vote for Democrats, they can and sometimes do split from their union leadership. The large independent swing vote in elections in the U.S. in the last 25 years or so has been heavily dominated by what is usually called ‘the labor element/party’ in many other countries.

    In the U.S., Labor can and does include many college educated persons who feel very much apart from corporate or other business leadership. In high technology, which has many jobs, age discrimination and sex discrimination are rampant, despite federal and state laws and agencies (usually grossly underfunded), and somewhere between age 45 and 50 many highly educated persons have been let go by all kinds of businesses and corporations and are on second even third, lesser paid and lower status jobs or careers.

    In the U.S., the parties are each organized by and within STATES, as though the states are individual nations. There are literally over 100 party organizations in the 50 states and governed more by state laws, not federal. This is a legacy of the thirteen separately chartered and governed colonies who first became a confederation government of thirteen state-nations, each with their own currency and other important aspects normally thought to be associated with nations. These parties started before the US Constitution was adopted, making the thirteen original colonies/states a single democratic republic. Thus, at one time, most states did elect central committees and candidates for office under a town-hall meeting like system of caucuses. These caucuses then elected representatives to the state conventions at which statewide candidates and a state central committee were elected. However, this system fell apart as populations of states grew, and as more minorities were granted the right to vote. It’s easier to control candidate selection, at all levels, when the selection is done only by a smaller group and that group that is a bunch of cronies that don’t need to themselves stand for election.

    The Candidates and Office Holders:

    In all these countries, candidates may nominate themselves, and may claim party affiliation or membership, or they may be nominated by parties, through conventions or ruling central committees. Most candidates in the U.S. are nominated or endorsed by a political party, and thus supported by that party in a variety of ways through district or county central committees.  In most of the U.S. states, these central committees, are elected only by fellow members of the committees, and non-party members have no role in the process. Once elected, by any means, these party office holders they are not required to stand for re-election at any time afterward. There is no requirement in the parties’ rules and by-laws, and no requirement by law, or in the Constitution that the political parties themselves must be democratic and central committee members be elected from party membership.

    This begs the question: How can you have a truly democratic government if the parties who control the candidate selection are themselves not democratic? Moreover, if the general voters don’t understand that the candidates being presented to district or state conventions and in the primary general elections are not democratically and openly selected, are the elections themselves truly representing the general public?

    The worse the education is of the electorate, the easier, and more likely, to have these undemocratically selected candidates on to both primary and general election ballots especially if you drop civics and government courses, as well as keep passing on up through the grades people who can barely read the lowest levels of primary school books. Of course, based on voting laws in the U.S., any insane person can also run for office, and need only, for a few hours, persuade a handful of people on a committee that he or she is a good candidate based on what, and how convincingly, said candidate has learned to parrot of priority party ideologies.

    As Abraham Lincoln once notably said,
    ‘You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’

    A party central committee can easily be ‘some of the people all the time.’ Actors learn to convincingly parrot rote ideas and speeches in front of audiences all the time.

    Beyond age, the U.S. Constitution imposes very few requirements for anyone to become a candidate or hold federal office. For the Presidency, one must have been born in the U.S. or its territories, including military bases abroad. For the UK countries, it is ‘generally understood’ that one had to have been born somewhere in the Commonwealth–though that is not precisely stated in law. In Ireland, candidates must be Irish citizens and candidates for President must also be over 36. According to Irish officials, most of the Parliamentary government and elections laws were borrowed from the UK. ‘The three best things that the UK gave us were the English language, the rule of law and Parliamentary government.’ (Several leaders have repeated this.)

    In the U.S., there are no requirements for literacy, education, no criminal background checks required, no mental health exams, no requirements for any years of experience in either government or business. For some offices there is not even a requirement of humanity. In the U.S. almost anyone can run for office; even dogs have been elected mayors, although some people have waggishly suggested the dogs were an improvement over the humans (pun intended). There also is no mandate, no law in most states, much less the federal government of the U.S. that requires competing candidates to debate one another, or do so openly in an open public forum, or even to provide accessible campaign literature stating one’s political stances.

    In the UK, those under bankruptcy orders and those convicted of felonies within five years before an election, and those convicted or otherwise adjudicated for financial misconduct, election and public service crimes are disqualified from running for office as are employees of the same office while they are still employees.


    In this treatise, we are deliberately leaving out the history of using race, religion and gender as a basis for restricting the right to vote, access education or hold office, which were widespread between about 1580 and 1830. We are also omitting the messy debate on the influence of money in elections and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions granting unlimited political donations being an expression of free speech in the U.S., treating corporations as citizens (though unions are not unless they’ve incorporated, and likewise other interest groups. If any entity, human or otherwise, can be “citizens”, how do we draft them to fight for the national defense, and shouldn’t they all be paying taxes?) We have taxed our limited, rational human brain enough for one day.


    Editorial: The DUP and Brexit

    Published 2018-11-21

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker

    Ms. Foster, if you and your minority Democratic Unionist Party, (DUP), want to be part of the United Kingdom (UK) so much, move to England.

    First, remember a little history. Most of the members of most Scots families who were settlers of Northern Ireland in the 16th century, whether under the deal between Conn O’Neill, by Sir Hugh Montgomery and James Hamilton, or under the plantations set up by James I of England/James VI of Scotland, did not stay. The vast majority left Northern Ireland in the 18th century and resettled in what became the U.S. or Canada. These Scots-Irish people left after several major catastrophes: first, a famine and second, after the English parliament allowed the rack rents in Ulster to skyrocket, and then, third, limited trade opportunities for Northern Ireland with the Act of Union in 1707.

    Most of the current unionist, (as in union with the UK, not Ireland), supporters descend from families who have been in Northern Ireland only since then, less than 300 years. These families didn’t live through the very hardest of times in Ireland and the hard choices the people all over Ireland had to make in the 17th century.

    I, personally, descend from those earlier Scots-Irish people, and so do many millions of other Americans. I think we have a right to express our opinions in this matter, especially because, since that time, both sides of the Irish problems have come to us for financial and political support, and, yes, even weapons.

    Second, although these Unionists prevailed and kept Northern Ireland in the UK, the rest of Ireland finally wrested its self-government back from the UK by force of arms in 1918 and full independence in 1947. Since then, the independent state of Ireland has pulled itself together, particularly since the late 1960’s, and is now doing just fine.

    Just two years ago, the majority of Northern Irish people were still divided on the question. While a 55.8% majority, including Protestants, voted to remain in the EU, the DUP held on to a plurality of power in the representation of Northern Ireland in the UK Parliament. Ever since, the Northern Ireland has had no unified government, as the minority DUP holds fast to its demands to stay in the UK in defiance of the expressed will of the majority, and all the while the UK itself is inching ever closer to leaving the EU.

    It is up to the majority of the people in Northern Ireland to demonstrate some consistency and form a government in Northern Ireland and elect members of Parliament that represent the will of the majority of its own people. It is NOT up to either the majority of the 60 million persons in the UK, or the 500 million in the EU, or the 340 million people in the U.S. They have enough problems of their own. The Northern Irish have created these problems themselves and they must solve them!

    In fact, the DUP is supported by only about one third of the 1.2 million voters in Northern Ireland. However they voted, the other two thirds, did NOT vote to support the DUP. It would make a lot of sense for the DUP, the largest part of this mess because it wants to remain essentially English, to simply pack up and move to England. This would allow the remaining two-thirds of Northern Ireland to elect a majority government even if, (gasp!), they decide to reunify with the larger nation on the island they share, Ireland.

    As for the hard-line Brexiteers in London, we cannot suggest you pack up and move somewhere else, although the majority in Parliament and perhaps the Queen and the army might have an idea of a new, old location, for you. You are in the same position as Arlene Foster and the DUP. YOU are a minority in your own Conservative Party and in the entire UK, and even more a minority in the much larger EU.

    A bit more history will help explain why the EU is driving such a hard bargain with England. Twice, in 1815 and especially in 1918, England was in a position to manipulate the rest of Europe. In both cases, England set the rules of rights of minorities and recognizing separations from larger countries, especially in 1918, when the UK, under the huge English majority, chose to work with France and Italy to tear up the Austro-Hungarian empire and recognize the independence of Czechoslovakia, under the ‘Maffia’, and Yugoslavia, under a king, not as democratic republics. Well educated government officials now realize that the U.S. entrance into that fray on behalf of the Triple Entente is still controversial and might in hindsight, have actually been a mistake. Thankfully, today, in 2018, these hard-line Brexiteers are a small minority, and so have no right to dictate to the entirety of Parliament, let alone demand further concessions from the much larger EU. Grow up!

    To its credit, in the 1990’s, the UK, along with France and some strong persuasion from the U.S. and others, corrected some of the mistakes of 1918. To end the Balkan war, the UK recognized the independence of Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia–for the good of the whole of Europe. Just three years later, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement brought peace between two more EU members: the UK and Ireland. In the larger EU, the crux of the current problem, Northern Ireland, is seen as just as important to the peace of Europe as the 1995 Dayton Agreement which brought peace to the Balkans and recognition of the rights of the individual Balkan ethnicities. The first priority of the EU is to the good of all the EU and its members, and not to the UK which chooses to LEAVE. It is NOT in the interests of the EU to see any renewal of strife or economic hardship in Ireland, Northern Ireland or the Balkans, and so these hard-line Brexiteers will just have to deal with the Realpolitik of the matter.

    It was extremely naive of Mssr’s Johnson, Farage, Raab and others to believe and insist on a double standard between the UK and the rest of Europe and expect rule of the minority in either the UK or Northern Ireland. In so doing, they threaten the peace and prosperity of the unified Europe. They cannot have one rule for the Balkans (or for East Europe generally) and another for themselves. The English people who voted these characters into office need to understand the same – you are a minority even among your own fellow voting citizens throughout the UK and cannot dictate terms to the much larger EU.

    Now that’s just the political aspect. Here in the U.S., and California we have the issue of our own businesses and how to make them thrive for our people. I once owned a retail business, and when I first started it I had to consider how best to make it prosperous as I selected a market in which I might succeed. My choices were, a solid niche market, in which I had little competition, or the majority market. If I selected the latter, I had to figure out how to build my stores just enough to join a much larger corporation and have the products at the lowest possible price from being a part of a much larger wholesale buying group.

    To prosper, businesses need to go where the market is largest and barriers are least. Businesses must grow to live. They have employees and investors to pay, products and services to sell to be able to pay employees and investors. This means, the 500 million persons EU, (and Ireland within it), is a much better opportunity than the 60 million persons UK, especially since, as of today, there still is NO post-Brexit trade and customs deal between them. Both UK government spokespersons and the EU spokespersons are saying trade and customs deal will not be concluded until 2020, and possibly even later before all the pieces are in place to implement it. Businesses cannot wait on such promises from badly divided governments run by a badly divided plurality party, and four more years of actual uncertainty will dampen trade and discourage most investment.

    Therefore, though I grieve for my late mother’s Scottish ‘cousins,’ I must say, present day U.S. and California business and finance must focus, not the UK, but on Ireland as part of the EU and an English speaking gateway nation to the EU. The Scots deserve equal trade treatment to Northern Ireland. I know this next statement will not be popular among many officials in the UK, but Scots have the same rights to self-determination as do Czechs, Croatians, and Slovenians.

    This one even more so. During the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum run-up, the majority in England and the UK told Scotland that if it left the UK, it could not have membership in the EU, which everyone admitted the Scots wanted as the UK was then still a member of the EU. Now, with the UK leaving the EU, those promises and threats are moot, and so it’s time for another Independence Referendum for Scotland, free of such coercion.

    Last but not least, we remember that the Irish rebels of 1798 and 1916 were shot, hung or beheaded when THEY initially tried to leave the UK–and these wars certainly did destroy the UK’s peace. Wouldn’t destroying the UK, or its peace, qualify as treason, still? Now that we have seen the actions of these hard-line Brexiteers, if I were Her Majesty, the Queen of England, I would already be looking at all the legal authorities I still have and considering the possibility of having my army arrest Mssr’s Johnson, Farage, Raab, Ms. Foster, and others, take them to the Tower of London, and charge them with treason. I’d also be musing about whether or not it’s possible, for the good of the entire UK, if not the whole of Europe, to resurrect capital punishment and find a good headsman with a sharp axe.


    Editorial: Brexit Update

    New Proposed Deal to Avoid Hard Internal Irish Border
    Chaos in Ruling Conservative Party in UK
    DUP Dumps Conservatives

    2018-11-15 – by Tony and Celia Fábos-Becker

    On Tuesday, November 13th 2018, more than two years after the entire United Kingdom (UK) voted narrowly to withdraw from the bloc, in a divisive referendum, UK prime minister, (PM), Theresa May‘s office announced that British and European Union (EU) negotiators have agreed on a this first proposed agreement in the total Brexit deal that would avoid hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. On Wednesday, November, 14th, after a several hours long ‘impassioned discussion’ (PM May’s own words), her cabinet narrowly agreed, based on their briefing by PM May, to this first ‘technical agreement’. The only persons who had read the entirety of the agreement were PM May and the EU Negotiator in Gibraltar. Not one cabinet minister, nor the head of the DUP in Ireland, nor Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland (FM), had seen the full 585 page agreement, nor were the heads of the DUP nor the First Minister of Scotland invited to the cabinet meeting, when PM may called the Cabinet meeting asking her cabinet for support this agreement.

    Brexit Referendum Votes by Population

    EU officials have described this draft Brexit deal as ‘A broad backstop that includes a custom union for the UK and regulatory alignment for Northern Ireland’. The first and immediate protest from FM Sturgeon, as well as Scotland’s Members of Parliament (MP’s), was in more or less these words, ‘Why isn’t Scotland getting the same deal?‘ Thursday, November 15th, the Scots MP’s stated the issue even more strongly, ‘if a deal is good enough for Northern Ireland, the same deal should be for Scotland.’ According to BBC commentators, their concerns are that this initial Brexit deal would force Scots to compete with Northern Ireland for finance, industry and jobs.

    Thursday, November 15th, the Brexit Secretary of PM May’s cabinet, Dominic Raab resigned as did the Secretary of Work and Pensions Esther McVey, and the non-cabinet Northern IrIsh Minister, Shailesh Vara. Four other ‘junior ministers’ also resigned. The Secretary of Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, continues to support PM May.

    There is a hard split in the ruling Conservative Party (Tories) between the hard-line Brexiteers that want to tell Northern Ireland and Scotland you are part of the UK, and a minority vote, and you must bow to the will of the British majority, whose Brexit vote occurred with a large English majority. It is the hard-line Brexiteers who are filing the letters of no-confidence and resigning from PM May’s cabinet. Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP, the leader of a group of Conservative euro-skeptic lawmakers, submitted his letter of no confidence Thursday and called for Mrs. May to be replaced. ‘We didn’t ask for the right things’ from the EU, he said. Mr. Rees-Mogg is a member of the Conservative Tory Party of which PM May is the leader, and from which she derives her authority to form the current government.

    Receipt of 48 such letters triggers a mandatory vote by the House of Commons. The BBC reported that there are rumors that this number has been reached. PM May and her secretary have both expressed confidence that if there is a vote on ‘no confidence,’ it would fail the House as a whole and Ms. May would retain her position. Moreover after a no confidence vote, there cannot be another such vote for a full year. The coalition that allowed the Conservative plurality to name the Vice Presidency, going by the statements to BBC interviewers is ended.

    The reality is that, while the Tory government could fall over the divisions within the Conservative party and between it and the DUP–itself a minority in Northern Ireland there is no other person being considered by any of the other parties as a viable alternative to replace Ms. May.

    This new first ‘technical agreement’ is not the entirety of the final Brexit Agreement. In fact, as a number of Tory MP’s and resigning cabinet officials publicly said, ‘trade is not even part of this agreement. Of the 585 pages in this, there is only an introductory 5 pages about trade,’ (direct quote from several MP’s and cabinet officials) essentially little more than a memorandum of intent to work on a trade agreement later.

    Also, there remains a long process of approvals before it is in force. Any such treaty must go through a series of approvals, including both the UK bodies and the EU. The leadership of PM May and her appointed ministers is the result of a tenuous coalition between the UK’s Conservative (Tory) Party and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, (DUP), and the DUP was not invited to the Wednesday briefing and vote of the cabinet ministers. As of Wednesday evening in the UK, Sammy Wilson, the ‘spokesperson for the DUP’ being interviewed by the BBC just before PM May exited 10 Downing Street to make her own announcement, said he would not support the agreement with his vote. Interestingly, he said it was because it would put Northern Ireland under too much regulation and rules from the EU, rather than the UK. The DUP stance implies it believes it represents the majority in Northern Ireland, but in fact, they only have support from only about one-third of the Norn Iron electorate.

    Most who voted ‘Leave’, especially hardliners lead by Boris Johnson, MEP, express frustration that the DUP is also being allowed to hold up a stronger agreement more in accord with the wishes of the Brexiteers. A recent poll showed that the concerns of Northern Ireland and Scotland were held in NO regard by the overwhelming majority of English and Welsh who voted ‘Leave’. Another percentage of the population didn’t vote at all, not caring whether the UK stayed or left and not caring about anything else, such as the concerns of Scots and Northern Irish. However, interviews show that all of both groups (‘leave’ voters and non-voters) resent this tiny minority of the UK having any ability to block or hamper the will of the English (with Welsh) majority of the UK, which is more than 79% of the total of the UK parliament MPs.

    Mr. Johnson also expressed frustration that ‘The EU is has more control over the terms of Brexit than the UK’, which puts him and the majority of the UK, relative to the EU, in the same category as the frustrated Northern Irish and Scots, a relative minority. Mr. Johnson’s comments, as per BBC and other international press interviews with EU spokespersons, demonstrates a failure on his part to understand that the UK itself, with a population of about 60 million people is only 12% of the total EU population of about 500 million, and that he and his fellow hard-line Brexiteers are themselves trying impose the will of a minority on a European majority, in the same way the DUP is trying to assert its will on the entirety of the UK. Johnson chafes at the idea that the EU could also respect the self-determination of Northern Ireland and Scotland as separate entities, when they are part and parcel of the government of the UK. Mr. Johnson complains that this first ‘technical agreement’, ‘…is vassal state stuff’, but does not want Northern Ireland and Scotland to have any special agreements with the EU, as though they were vassals of the UK.

    Brexit Referendum By Population

    Brexit Referendum Votes by Population

    The EU does have the right to grant recognition of country status to countries breaking away from others, as they did for Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bosnia when they broke away from Yugoslavia in the 1990’s. The UK in some ways set the rules of modern Europe itself, when the UK insisted on recognizing Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia when the UK, with France and Italy, engineered the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918. Ironically, Hungary and Austria, most damaged by the rules of 1918, are agreeing to abide by them; it is the hard-line Brexiteers of the plurality leader party–not even the majority party in the UK–led by Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees Mogg, Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson who now want a different set of rules.

    On Thursday, November 15th, PM May presented the agreement to the House of Commons in the UK Parliament, where she does not have a majority of MPs. It is now under discussion, but three hours of questions, initially indicated she does not yet have the votes of any majority, however it is organized, to pass this agreement. Both BBC commentators and MP’s have stated that Mrs. May must also renew the support of the DUP, as she relies on the DUPs votes for her extremely narrow majority in the UK Parliament’s critical House of Commons, or she must persuade enough members of the Labor Party and others that this is the best deal that can be had for the entirety of the UK if it is to exit the EU with a deal at all. The EU ministers and the EU press has presented a united stand that this is the only deal they are offering the minority UK which itself chose to leave the EU, ‘take it or leave it.’

    Overall, in the Brexit referendum, the UK electorate cast 46.5 million votes, and the ‘Leave’ vote carried the day by a slim majority of the total of only 1.2 million votes. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but with only about 1.2 million voters, Northern Ireland only constitutes only about 3% of the total UK electorate and the DUP only gets support from about 400,000 or about 1% of the total UK electorate. With only a bit over 7 million voters, Scotland is only about 18% of the UK electorate. In the 2016 Brexit vote, a majority of 55.8% of Northern Ireland’s small electorate voted to ‘Remain’ in the EU; similarly, a 62% majority of Scots voted ‘Remain’.

    Stepping back from these immediate issues, we recently discovered a very insightful analysis by Physicist Bob Taylor, in which he uses various graphical techniques to visualize the fully detailed distribution of the 2016 Referendum vote. As one considers Bob’s rendition, a shaded continuum in all its detail, the picture of who voted Stay versus Leave is revealed as much more nuanced than the usual ‘Black and White’ analysis that makes for headlines with strong emotional appeal to the extremes. We believe this is the more accurate way to think about these issues.

    Here is a link to Bob Taylor’s original article online:

    Looking over the votes presented this way makes it seem to us all the more obvious how ridiculous it is that a tiny minority group like the DUP, or regretfully, the entirety of Northern Ireland and Scotland, together only 21% of the total UK electorate, should have such extreme leverage over so many others. As Boris Johnson (not our favorite person) says, quite correctly, in this instance, ‘the minority is taking away the self-determination of the majority.’ However, as noted by the BBC, Mr. Johnson and the extreme Brexiteers are themselves a minority in their own Conservative party and the whole of the UK Parliament, and they could be considered as ridiculous as the DUP by the majority of Conservatives and the majority of the entire Parliament.

    The BBC commentators are also saying that, what little the press has been given suggests there might be a way out for Northern Ireland and Scotland. It is being rumored the EU will allow a referendum in these two parts of the UK for them to decide to stay under the terms of the proposed agreement, or abide by the terms of the rest of the unified UK. There is also continued discussion being reported among the Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership, of holding a second Independence Referendum, especially if they do not get the same favorable, special treatment as Northern Ireland. A third possibility now being publicly suggested is that either the entirety of the UK electorate be allowed to vote on the proposed agreement, or vote in a second Brexit referendum with this 2nd vote requiring a two-thirds majority.

    Interviews with people on the street of the English cities who voted for Brexit show a growing frustration with PM May and the Tory government, and growing unease about the increasing possibility of a no-deal Brexit, for which no one in the government has said that the PM and Cabinet have adequately prepared. BBC interviews with members of Parliament show that MP’s believe the UK would have to ask for additional transitional time to set up the new customs facilities and more. The EU spokespersons have also said they expect a longer transition, as the trade and customs deals have not yet been negotiated, into 2020.


    Philosopher and Pupil

    Philosopher and Pupil

    Editorial: Freedom of the Press and Literacy

    Ireland and Britain’s Celtic Legacy

    by Cecilia Fábos-Becker 2018-11-08

    The AmeriCeltic newsletter publishes information about Celtic heritage, culture and events, including current events, under the protections of the US Constitution’s guaranttee of Freedom of the Press. After the past few US elections, and increasingly politicized news coverage of nearly everything, it might be useful to review who established Freedom of the Press and why. It is usually defined as the freedom to write and publish news and criticisms without interference and restrictions by government or religion, (See ‘Freedom of the Press‘). The first modern instances of freedom of the press begin in the British Isles, in England, when Parliament got rid of the government’s right to license newspapers and other print media that might be critical of the government in 1695. But, that is not the whole of the history.

    Freedom of the press began to be important during the beginning of the Enlightenment period, (1685-1815), when scientific methodology and rules of evidence, particularly for courts, and for medicine, began to be formalized, and when literacy grew under the encouragement of the Scottish Presbyterian church, to help people become more economically self-sufficient and less dependent upon the charity of churches and communities.

    The Scottish Stuart kings, particularly the Catholic kings, were at odds with these ideas. The Scottish Stuart kings were absolutists who wanted the most political–and economic–power, yet no responsibility when their decisions failed to improve the well being of the nation. They wanted to combine church and state–and be in charge of both–and were using such things as star chambers with secret trials to punish critics. In the star chambers’ trials, the accused often had no idea who his or her accuser was. There were few or no witnesses allowed, particularly for the defendants, and there was little or no evidence presented, but severe punishments, even death could be the result. People could just disappear as a result of these trials, and families not know what happened for weeks, months or years. The Stuarts were not the first to be this way, but they hardened the line at a time when literacy was increasing, while the judicial system, at least at the lower levels, was relying more on facts, evidence and witnesses who themselves could be examined.

    The Christian Church, the other great dictator of behavior, was also changing. There was no longer just one Christian Church, though the king and Parliament were still trying to make that so. The Presbyterian church was run not by bishops appointed by kings, but by elders elected by church members in the parishes, and both the people voting and the elders could be, and were, women as well as men. All the churches also had an economic responsibility to the parishes to help make them more self-sufficient and help take care of the needy at the local level. The churches found that they were better able to take care of real needs, if the community as a whole was wealthier. Increased literacy among Presbyterians was definitely increasing the wealth, power, and influence of the Presbyterian Church’s membership and its communities. Soon other churches, particularly the Church of England, the state church under the king and parliament, were encouraging greater literacy, if not self-government in the church. It was a natural step in logic to think if ordinary people could run local church communities successfully, they could run larger areas, even a nation, and that the king, as a person, was no better in making decisions than anyone else.

    During this same period, it became understood that to make good decisions, you needed facts, truth, and reliable witnesses. People needed to learn the difference between belief and prejudice, and knowledge, based on real events, real experiences, real facts.


    Brehons inscribing Brehon Law

    But this was not new either. The Scots and Irish already had a long history of believing that men were more or less equal. Kings in Scotland were routinely deposed, often violently, by clans led by other men who thought they were better than the preceding king. The clan was an extended family by blood, and in the earliest times of clans, marriage. Anyone within the Clan, could become clan chief by merit in war and in peacetime wisdom in making decisions that helped a community prosper. If chiefs failed, they were, of course, deposed, usually by murder, sometimes by the entire region’s assent. They hadn’t yet realized you could, or should, be able to just vote them out of office and exile them if they didn’t accept the vote. Neither the chieftainship nor kingship in Celtic society automatically went to the oldest son of a oldest son. Even though, to avoid bloody civil wars within either clans or a nation, a degree of primogeniture was adopted in both clan leadership and kingship, it was still possible for the oldest male relative or someone appointed by parliament to be a regent and hold all the actual power of a king deemed too young to rule, or in the case of the clans, to be ‘tutor’ to the clan chief or head of a clan house and hold and exercise the actual power. This strength of clans and especially their belief in their equality to royal families was unusual in Europe.

    The Enlightenment, was a period of resurrection and extension of these earlier feelings of equality and the desire to establish a fair system of justice for everyone, regardless of social status or wealth. The secular Enlightenment was enhanced and extended through the changes and greater egalitarianism in religion, long used to bolster autocratic political power. The success of Enlightenment in bringing about political and economic development and greater opportunities for everyone, depended upon literacy, and education: for the vast majority of people being able to read, and think, to analyze events, people and what was being presented as facts and evidence.

    In fact, in the early 18th century, one of the penal laws that angered the Irish most, was the prohibition against educating Catholic Irish as well as Presbyterian Scots-Irish for some decades. The Presbyterians were luckier in that, being NOT CATHOLIC, they could educate themselves. However, they could not attend universities or obtain professional degrees for a few decades. Unfortunately for Catholics, many more decades would pass before they were allowed the same rights. When both came to North America, they made education happen for everyone interested in learning to read, write, do math, learn science, regardless of religion–and the colonial governments went along with it. Even in the frontier communities in North America, families were banding together and hiring school teachers to not only teach the children of the wealthy in a church or local meeting hall, but the poor as well, lest the poor increase beyond the resources of the community.

    300 years ago, education was seen as a means of eliminating poverty, and even the poor shared that belief. By the time of the Revolution, there were 24 newspapers in the 13 colonies that were read and shared even on the remote frontiers. The British courts had actually already upheld freedom of the press to report on government wrongdoing–and (gasp!) criticize Crown-appointed colonial governors as well as the elected early legislatures. By the late 18th century, education–particularly literacy, the skills of thinking, analyzing and acting rationally, using logic, and more, were all very important to the mostly Scots-Irish, Scots and Irish, founders of the United States of America.

    The press had an obligation, though, also for this precious freedom. It was not free from lawsuits for libel or helping to spread in print, verbal slander, especially if it caused harm or ruin. To enjoy its freedom and respect, the press was expected to faithfully report major events as they occurred in the colonies, London (the central part of government for the entire UK–and its colonies), and in local communities. Early on, the press was expected to adhere to the developing scientific methods and processes of examination of what was claimed to have happened, and report both sides of a dispute. Very early, it was expected to report who did what, when, where, why and how. News was major or unusual ‘NEW’ events; it was mostly happenings or doings, allegedly verifiable. Editorials/opinion letters or commentaries, and Gossip existed, and were recognized as separate from news. There were Gossip columnists for gossip and speculation, including political gossip columnists and Satirists. There were social gossip columnists as well. Between them they could report the he-said/she-said whether it was in government or society for salacious entertainment, but it once was largely separate from the news, and seen as entertainment. Today, most ‘news’ is now a mash-up of gossip/speculation, editorials and commentaries and maybe buried in all of that, are a few real facts of real events.

    Thomas Jefferson

    Today too many Americans, sometimes even those of Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish descent, fail in differentiating facts, evidence and knowledge from belief and prejudice, even bigotry – reality and logic from fantasy and wishes. This even includes members of the press; some of them have become little more than modern versions of the gossip columnists of old. Too few people realize that a real democracy cannot exist if government is run by unaccountable religions or individual tyrants and that, to expose the realities of either, requires a free press that reports real news, and keeps it separate from gossip and speculation. America is in danger of losing a very big part of its cultural heritage, its Celtic heritage, when it turns it back on literacy, and critical thinking and freedom of the press–a real press. Our Celtic and English ancestors fought, bled, were sometimes exiled, and died for freedom, including the right to vote, the right for anyone to hold government power, and the freedom of the press with its rights to speak and write the truth and disseminate it. Many Celtic descended individuals, as early members of that press, also risked life and limb to publish the truth, of actual events, actual active threats,–even when it didn’t make Parliament, the king, a colonial governor or colonial legislature look as good as he or they wanted.

    Don’t forget, or turn your back on, this part of your heritage and history: your nation depends on this. READ, THINK, learn to do both if you don’t know how to do them, already. Learn the difference between knowledge and belief, fact and fiction. If you are fed up with news channels that offer more speculation, gossip and commercials than real news, COMPLAIN to the owners and boycott those channels–and tell them you will boycott them and spread the word to others to add to the boycott. Go watch BBC World News, and use your cell phones and computer with internet connections to read the major reputable printed press in the U.S. and international print press. Learn who is reputable and thoughtful, and who is not, in the press and shun the political press, such as Politico (that very name says it all) and Breitbart. What would your ancestors think of you if after their working and dying for more than 2000 years for the nearly 400 years of hard won freedoms you have enjoyed, and obtaining the right to 12 and more years of free education, you turned a democratic, literate republic back into a medieval tyranny, and economic and scientific backwater.


    Blasphemy Law Repeal

    Ireland’s Blasphemy Law Repeal

    Editorial: Implications of Blasphemy Law Repeals

    by Cecilia L. Fabos-Becker 2018-11-01

    (from Katherine Graham Harrison, Irish Observer, and analysis by The Guardian, and BBC)

    “Campaigners in Ireland celebrated an end of the ‘medieval’ ban on blasphemy, on Saturday (October 27, 2018), after voters overwhelmingly backed removing the offense from the Constitution in a referendum.”

    “The referendum saw a 64.85% vote ‘yes’ to remove the prohibition on blasphemy, with 35.15% in favour of retaining it…”

    “Three years ago Irish police investigated comments made by comedian Stephen Fry on TV (on complaints of blasphemy), when he described God as ‘capricious, mean-minded and an utter maniac.’ They ultimately dropped the case, deciding that not enough people had been outraged.”

    The articles noted that the 2009 Defamation Law was still in effect, despite the referendum, but that legislation was already being drafted to honor the referendum vote and was expected to be passed shortly.

    Ireland’s Blasphemy Repeal Referendum was approved in the same election that saw President Michael Higgins re-elected, with voter turnout, of 43.79%, relatively low for Ireland. This vote was still seen as “the latest reflection of seismic social and political changes in Ireland“. BBC commentators, felt that this change may help to make reunification of the island more possible.

    Also during this past week, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, claimed the agreement on Brexit was “95% complete except for the sticking point of the Irish border”. Also, a poll of Brexit ‘Leave’ voters was reported to show that Leave voters were ‘not concerned about northern Ireland, and had not considered northern Ireland at all in their vote and thought Northern Ireland irrelevant to British needs’. Several BBC pundits observed that recent comments within Theresa May’s Conservative party suggest it may be contemplating, “letting the voters of Northern Ireland decide where it wants to put its own border“. In some parts of the UK, and Theresa May’s government, this could be considered blasphemy as well.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Pakistan, (formerly part of British empire and commonwealth), the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted a Christian mother of four of blasphemy after she’d served 9 years in prison in mostly solitary confinement on death row. The Supreme Court found no evidence for the crime, and stated that the complaint filed by her male village Muslim cleric, who was not present at the alleged incident, was based on hearsay. The the lady had an argument with two female Muslim neighbors who had refused her offer to share a drink of water from the same cup, on the basis of her religion, and her neighbors then went to complain to the cleric that she had blasphemed their God in the argument.

    Blasphemy is still a capital offense in that country, and this acquittal immediately led to angry protests of thousands of Muslim clerics and their nearly entirely male hordes of their supporters in the streets of Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore, marching with clenched fists and demanding that this female Christian infidel be hung, despite the Court’s ruling.

    BBC World News had interviewed a female Pakistani journalist about the case and asked the question, “How many cases of blasphemy are there really? Is it abused to repress or drive away others?” The female Pakistani journalist answered that, although there are some cases of what really is considered blasphemy, nearly all are poorly tried with little evidence and most complaints are instances in which the law is being abused to force others to extort and steal from someone else, or to drive unwanted persons out of the community, such as Christians.

    Historians often observe that Laws with capital penalties often result in trials that rely mostly on religious claims and little real evidence. Such accusations, are often abused to oppress or steal from ‘others’. As a historian, I know the same was true of most witchcraft accusations in Europe and the U.S. – they were mainly used to extort and steal. The most famous U.S. case, of course, was the Salem witch trials of 1692-3 in which most of the accused had the more desirable lands of the Salem colony, many of which were then acquired by the accusing families, (as documented), since the lands of a convicted witch were by law and custom forfeit.

    We applaud the action take by the Irish, and only wish the same freedom from oppression for the rest of the planet.


    Wonder Woman Costume

    Editorial: Hallowe’en Plans for Daughters

    Skip the Bodice and channel Boudicca

    By Cecilia Fábos-Becker


    Hallowe’en is just around the corner and from now until October 31st, there will be costume purchases and party plans. In the wake the #metoo movement and these past week’s of highly public national events and discussions, I’d like to offer a few suggestions to parents with daughters.

    ‘Damseling’ as per Mark Judge’s interview, is all too real. Lets please skip most of the princess gowns. Too many girls over recent decades are finding out that, like the good-looking ‘Prince Charming’ of Shrek animated films, good looking boys are often a lot less than charming in character. If you must go for the ‘princess look,’ try Fiona–Shrek’s formidable wife, or Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ who was also pretty resourceful and didn’t need to rely on someone to rescue her.

    How about if you suggest to your precious little daughter, a Wonderwoman costume, or any female super-hero of the Marvel comics series.

    Otherwise, try ‘the smartest witch of her generation,’ Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter, whose classroom robe could also be used for ‘Female Supreme Court Justice.’ Just lose the bosom-enhancers please. There are too many male boobs out there who notice nothing else–regardless of age, both ways.

    Now for you teenage daughters, you’ve heard that if you are drinking alcohol, you can expect to have NO credibility and a lifetime of ruin and PTSD. It is a fact that police officers, most district attorney’s and staff, particularly prosecutors, most of the judges, and one half of most juries, etc. are MALE.

    It is a fact that once a girl is damaged, it is for life. Unless a boy is molested when young, most have little understanding of what a molested female experiences. Worse, boys who commit assaults as boys, have their records sealed at age 18, or even later if they go to college, as most colleges do not involve the police in most incidents of sexual assault.

    Tell your daughters if they even THINK a party has drugs or alcohol at it, when you all know that the state law for drinking alcohol says it’s only legal for persons over 21, to get out, and call you–if they didn’t get there by their own cars. Teach them how to get out gracefully and quietly if they can, and otherwise, to not be afraid to make a loud scene while they escape, so everyone hears and remembers it. Teach them to call the cops if it really gets bad, and run, if they can’t reach you soon enough. BE AVAILABLE for them and ready to pick them up. Don’t be off partying on your own with your cell phone off. Children of any age still need the support and love of their parents. They need to know parents are really there for them when they NEED those parents.

    Hermione Granger

    Parties are dangerous, because all it takes is one, or a very few persons, to really ruin a fun afternoon or evening by introducing or ‘slipping in’ alcohol or drugs to young brains that are still changing–a lot–at a time when sex hormones are at their highest for males. Teach your daughters that alcohol and teenage, even early 20’s, males, is a bad, dangerous combination–a lot like throwing gasoline on a fire and too many people get burned by this combination. Teach them that they must take some responsibility for themselves and avoid this situation, and that you will always have their backs in helping them avoid and getting away from this kind of situation. Parents, you need to know who your children are with at parties and if the parents are really home–ask the parents of the friend who is hosting the party if they will be there and what their policies are on alcohol and drugs. If they are casual, learn to tell your daughters, ‘there will be other parties, you are not going to this one. It’s because I care and love you and am trying to protect you.’ Better yet, concerned parents, host a party yourself. Yes, you will get push back. ‘Don’t you trust me?’ your daughters will ask. Here’s one answer: ‘yes, I trust you, but I don’t know and can’t trust all your friends and I’m not sure you know all of those who will, or might be, at the party well enough that you can really trust them all.’

    Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe of Britons circa 60 CE
    Boudicca led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire

    Just tell your daughters to take a good look at what Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her family are going through, and ask themselves if this is where they want to be in 30 years, themselves. Human nature hasn’t changed in 40,000 plus years and it isn’t going to change in the next 40 years.

    Last, I often pass a number of judo and karate studios near my local grocery and drug stores, and I always see far more boys than girls. Why? After all we’ve seen and heard since at least the mid-1990’s, and for anyone who studies any history after centuries of this, why aren’t ALL your daughters getting self-defense classes, starting in grade school? Let’s not just dress up our daughters as self-reliant, hardy princesses and super-heroes, or really good witches–let’s MAKE them real, self-reliant heroes.

    One of the best recent commercials I’ve seen on television, is from, showing a descendant of the ‘four mothers’ tribe run by warrior queens and warrior female armies that once really existed in Africa. There were other real warrior queens that once existed also, Boudicca, Grania O’Malley, even Elizabeth I –who rallied England to fight the Spanish. Let’s stop creating helpless, fragile princesses waiting for a Prince Charming, and hoping he is in character, as well as name. Instead, let’s have our daughters be confident warrior queens!


    Arlene Foster

    Arlene Foster

    Editorial: Brexit Update

    Latest Rounds of Talks Fail

    Hard Border Likely to Return Between Northern Ireland and Ireland

    October 18th, 2018 – by Cecilia Fábos-Becker

    In June of 2016 the majority of the United Kingdom, (UK), electorate approved ‘Brexit’, a referendum that required the UK government to extract the UK from the European Union (EU), and in March of 2017, the 2 year process was officially begun. Much has resolved in these intervening months, but finding an agreeable set of necessarily renewed security and customs arrangements for the border which has partitioned the island of Ireland for nearly 100 years has not.

    Despite many meetings, as two BBC News guests complained on Monday, October 15, it’s been another week of empty promises of ‘a deal is coming next week.’ In fact, the EU’s spokesperson for the negotiating team, Donald Tusk, and United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May‘s own coalition partner, Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, (DUP), are in agreement on one thing; as of now, the ‘Brexit’ coming in March 2019, is going to be a hard one – Nothing that May wants will be granted by the European Union except for one thing: the UK will hold onto Northern Ireland as it is.

    This outcome ignores the 56.44% majority of Northern Ireland voters, as well as the 62% majority in Scotland, who, by their votes in the Brexit Referendum, expressed the desire to remain in the EU. As of now, there will be no border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the UK and this week, both Arlene Foster and Theresa May indicated satisfaction in both statements and pictures. The latest public statements from the EU despite some late evening discussions on Wednesday was there was nothing new from Theresa May and her Conservative and Unionist Party-DUP coalition and therefore there is no deal.

    The practicable deadline for a deal is December 2018, leaving time for a transition period from January through March 2019. Barring a leadership change in the UK parliament, or the Northern Irish somehow ending enough DUP MPs for the coalition that barely sustains Theresa May and the Tories, there will be a hard border again between Ireland and Northern Ireland. If there continues to be no deal between the UK and EU, a hard border must exist somewhere – that is the only possible outcome.

    As per the BBC news reports last night, the EU spokespersons said the EU may grant the UK extra time in the ‘transition period’ to determine how it will handle the new customs policies and ports, and financial transactions, etc. This new proposal is that transition period, originally set by the Article 50 statute to end in March 2019, would perhaps end in December 2019, and most think it will be approved.

    May & Foster

    Theresa May forms a new Government

    The problem is, Conservative and Unionist Party (Tory) party leader May wants what she wants, as the leader of one EU member, and the rest of the 27-member EU refuses to knuckle under to Ms. May and the UK. May wants all the good things of EU membership, such as free movement of goods and British citizens, and none of what has been perceived as ill, including open borders for movement of the EU peoples, and the West Asian and North African refugees they are willing to allow. Foster and May are accusing the EU of arrogance, yet ignoring the reality that a single EU member, the UK, representing only about 50 million persons, has chosen, of its own volition, to leave, while the other 27 nation-members, representing over 350 million persons, had no part in this decision and will remain in the EU.

    From our viewpoint, outside Europe, it appears it is the UK behavior that is the more arrogant side. Psychologists often say that the self-delusional who do not wish to take responsibility for their own actions, ‘often accuse any challenger of his/her (the self-delusional) own worst sins.‘ It is up to the UK to bend, not the 27 member majority of Europe, just as no one would expect the other 49 states of the U.S. to submit to the demands of any one state, such as California, Texas, or New York.

    The fact that some nations in the EU, like Germany have a few tens of billions of dollars in export sales to the UK is only one factor. The UK also sells to the 27 EU countries, and is not regularly seen as conducting fair trade and investments that benefit both parties equally by others, including Hungary and Poland, or even France. The 450 million other consumers in Europe are far more affluent than most of nations in the old British commonwealth, even the larger nations like Nigeria and India, and the Europeans know it. In fact, most of the would be migrants and refugees trying to flood Europe are NOT from West Asia but the UK’s former Commonwealth member, Nigeria. The UK will not be rid of the real, uneducated, African migrant problem, at all, but the rest of Europe soon might with Brexit. Let the British handle their own messes. If Nigeria is still a dependent, corrupt, non-self-sufficient nation, that is exactly as the UK set it up and then left it. If as its consuls and other officials have been saying, the UK intends to resurrect some form of the Commonwealth again to replace the EU, good–it can deal with Nigeria and all those migrants.

    The biggest sticking point all along is that May and Foster have been adamant that they ‘will not break up the UK–regardless of what the majority in Northern Ireland, and Scotland might actually wish.’ Majority rule exists in the EU, and in England, but Scotland and Northern Ireland are not really separate and so the majorities in those parts of the UK have no voice and influence. They are simply outnumbered by the majority in the rest of the UK. We can only hope that if the majorities of Scotland and Northern Ireland, have something else to say to May and Foster, that for their own sakes, they will find a way to do so with votes, and maybe insist on some other status within the overall UK.

    We’d like to suggest to the people of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK a notion that has worked pretty well here in California. It’s a concept called ‘Recall’. If an elected legislator is caught in flagrantly corrupt or harmful activities, such as predatory sexual activities, taking bribes, or in the case of the recalled Governor Gray Davis, negotiates secret deals with corrupt energy companies that not only raise the costs of energy sky high to individual consumers–and business and then don’t deliver enough energy besides leading to black-outs and brown-outs, it is a means to cut short the damage and remove the person from power who did the damage and prevent him or her from doing more. We spent years undoing the damage Gray Davis but, but it could have been decades and we could have had far more damage in a variety of areas had he not been recalled. We also have another quaint concept that might interest them: it’s called ‘Referendum,’ and it can be initiated by the people, not the members of the legislature to undo a vote or legislative action by the legislature that proved a disaster. If it existed in the UK, the people, not Ms. May and the Parliament or its political parties would initiate a vote to undo the failed negotiations and overall Brexit departure. If the British people ever decide to enact this and try to use it, do so with great consideration and caution. Don’t use it lightly. It hasn’t always done what was hoped for in California, but a few times, just a few, it has.

    As BBC and other international pundits noted this week, there is an existing way out, at least for Northern Ireland. The same majority that voted to remain in the EU, must, somehow, vote out the DUP and Ms. Foster, which will also bring down the current UK government of Ms. May, These same pundits also noted that if May and the Tories are dumped, the next likely PM will look more kindly on the majority vote of Northern Ireland, and eschew insistence on Northern Ireland remaining in the UK in its current status.

    The Northern Irish then could ask for one or another of two things. The first possibility is dominion status, that allows it, like Canada to have control of its foreign policy, including trade, while continuing a relationship with the UK. The second possibility is reunification with the rest of Ireland, which seems increasingly possible, given the Irish Free State’s increasing secularism, and weakening of its former stringent ties with the Catholic Church. However, in the end, it is up to the Northern Irish people themselves to decide what they want to do and do it. It is the Northern Irish people who have the real power to break this dangerous logjam, not Ms. Foster and the DUP, nor Ms. May and the Tories.

    Right now, the 27 nations of the EU are telling the Northern Irish that under the DUP and its support for Theresa May, the only choice is where the Northern Irish want the hard border to be: on the Irish sea or between Northern Ireland and Ireland? In the words of a mother, and perhaps exasperated older sisters and aunts, the 27 nation EU is telling Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, as might be said to a temper tantrum-throwing three year old in the family: ‘you made the mess, you clean it up–I’m not doing it for you!’

    As a person of mixed heritage, my British side, Scots, Irish, and even a little English, (mostly from Cornwall originally), I doesn’t like to see small countries made smaller, and my Hungarian side is reminded of what happened to all of east Europe when France, Italy and the UK decided to carve up Austria-Hungary into a bunch of tiny nations all competing with one another and thought Romania could handle any problems from the east and despises the prospect. Consider that after WWI, came economic depression for all of Europe, World War II and Hitler, followed by Stalin all happened, to the benefit of NONE of the peoples of the former Austro-Hungarian empire, and perhaps nearly as bad for entire rest of Europe.

    The UK, though a now smaller nation in population and diminished in global power, is still an important part of Europe as whole and its withdrawal from the EU is also causing tensions and distrust in NATO. It must be asked, just how isolationist is the UK willing to become, in the face of real adversaries such as Putin, Assad, the House of Saud and the Wahhabi Imams, the Ayatollah and IRG in Iran, and China’s communist party?

    It is also very true that wages and benefits have become as stagnant in the UK, and other parts of Europe, as they have for the majority of Americans, and yet costs of living for the majorities in almost all these countries have grown, and the needs for services for the bottom classes, and destitute people fleeing even worse, more murderous governments and civil strife. There were reasons that Brexit passed, and nationalism and populism has grown in Europe, with demands for better trade deals all round, particularly with China, India and other low wage, environmentally negligent, large countries. The usual elite decision makers of all the major political parties and their corporate executive cronies are now seen by the majority of people in many countries of Europe, Latin America and North America as having ignored the majority of employees, even the aspiring, educated and skilled middle ranks of engineers, market-makers and manager for far too long. The exasperated ordinary people are now, finally willing to vote in many places for the equivalent of rampaging bulls in China shops, to upend the status quo, to get the attention of the usual elites, if that is what it takes. At least it’s better than a reprise of 1789, or 1848, which considering how little human nature has changed since then, is something of a relief.

    Within the UK, itself, though, it is also true that the economic development and welfare of Scotland and Ireland, including Northern Ireland were badly neglected with the original ‘acts of Union,’ and continued to lag. Conditions may be considered bad by the English and Welsh now, but they are only ‘catching down’ to what the Scots and Northern Irish have suffered for over 3 centuries for the former and 2 centuries for the latter. Yet, the Northern Irish and Scots do believe in international relations, trade and being able to garner international investments as a way out of their predicament with the UK. The UK looks at Scotland and Ireland rather as Canada used to look at the underpopulated remote ‘Northwest Territories’ or the U.S. looked at Alaska. They are underpopulated and have fewer voters and have fewer members of parliament. Because of climate and resources the two were never going to be equals in socio-political power, but did decline far more than they might have after the Acts of Union which abolished both the Scottish and Irish parliaments. Here is why. As political power all moved to London, so did the business, and socio-political elites of Ireland and Scotland, further exacerbating the neglect of Scotland and Ireland, leaving them in effect, orphaned. The people with the most power, money and influence literally packed up and moved to England, mostly around London. To this day, many of the great peers of Scotland, and business owners and financial executives, spend as much or more time in England as they do in Scotland or Northern Ireland. The Scots and Northern Irish can’t even really get much attention from what ought to be ‘their own.’ No wonder they are willing to look outside the UK.

    Since Scotland’s last referendum on independence there have been promises to send more money to Scotland for development, but little real delivery. Northern Ireland has heard the same promises and seen a little more, only since the 1998 peace accords, but not nearly enough, either. How can the promises be fulfilled for either Scotland or Northern Ireland, though, if England’s own economy and finance industry is going to suffer from the separation of the UK from the EU, especially if the current trend toward a ‘hard fall Brexit’ continues under May and Foster.

    May herself and her government just put out official warnings this week of what ‘is likely to happen,’ and in them was the first admission that the financial business sector, of England would be hit, and a conservative estimate of ‘5,000 jobs to be lost in the London Financial District.’ The history is, that during any UK crisis, England looks after England first, and the other parts of the UK take a bigger hit, as less populous and less important. My father’s people and their neighbors in East Europe used to say, ‘when Russia catches a cold, the rest of East Europe gets pneumonia.’ That’s pretty much what happens to Scotland and Northern Ireland when England is having difficulties, and it chafes more when the difficulties are of England’s own making, as it chafed for East Europeans more when Russia’s ‘cold’ was Russia’s own doing.

    England Person

    If England were a Person / Who is a bigger ‘Hot Mess’?

    There are now six months left before Brexit will happen, whether the UK is ready or not.. While it was quietly predicted by British and a few European officials, for months, that ‘a deal will finally happen when everyone panics on both sides, about 2 or 3 months before March 29.’ The assumption of Ms. May and her government was and still is that the EU was going to panic also, that they really need and want the UK. That is not shaping up to be the case. The EU is determining that it may actually be in better shape to find other markets and that the British will still buy EU goods for their quality and geographic nearness, regardless of extra customs prices. That is, the UK needs the EU more than vice versa. The EU is not panicking, and increasingly its member states are also more nationalistic thinking of THEIR nations first, continental Europe second and the UK is barely on their radar of concern. So, ok people of the UK and Northern Ireland: you made the mess, you clean it up! This is not to say that the current state of public discourse in America sets a better example. Comedic Video: If England was a person / You Can’t Take England Anywhere!.

    The U.S. will not be the escape valve for British citizens suffering from severe consequences of Brexit. Author and RTE news person, Caitriona Perry, interviewed numerous Trump voters for her book In America: Tales from Trump Countryand we heard her presentation at the Irish Arts Festival in Los Gatos, Saturday, October 13th. Please note, people of Northern Ireland, Scotland and the rest of the UK, that the Irish American Trump voters in 2016 have since then been quite dismayed that Trump has no intention of allowing hordes of Irish and Scots freely into the U.S., any more than hordes of any other nation.In fact, ICE has been deporting undocumented Irish immigrants as much as it has others, though the numbers of deportations have been small (only about 50 in the last 4 years of Obama and Trump) compared to the actual numbers, (over 30,000) of illegal Irish immigrants in the U.S.. Silicon Valley employers are complaining that H-1B visas are also being cut. Both issues have already noted by officials of Ireland to be ‘of concern’, and they should be of concern to the UK. As several American Trump voters told Ms. Perry, ‘native’ means people who were born in the U.S. only. Most of these nativists have little to NO regard for ANYONE, regardless of race, who was not born in the U.S. and as long as those 25 million voters in 13 states are still feeling as though they are greatly suffering this will not change.

    Perhaps our friends in Canada and Australia, might be more welcoming, as they were when the UK exported Scots and Irish in past centuries. At least Canada is still a dominion of the UK, though it appears Australia will soon change separate themselves and become a Republic, like Ireland and the USA.


    10 Celtic Nations

    10 Celtic Nations (Switzerland in Purple)

    Essay: Peace, Prosperity and Celtic Referendums

    Celtic Conflict and the Principal of Self-determination

    A personal perspective by Tony Becker 2018-06-02

    Have you ever thought about the fact that, throughout the Age of Empires, which included The Roman Empire, a Khmer Empire, the Mongol Empire, a German Empire and even a Holy Roman Empire, there never was a Celtic Empire? We attribute that seeming puzzlement to the strain (or perhaps stain) of love of individual freedom that was always part of Celtic culture. Since arising in the ancient region of Central Europe, for these past 3 millennia the Celtic culture has been pushed uphill and westwards. (See Map)

    A few weeks ago, we wrote about Central European country of Switzerland, whose alpine people still proudly self-identify as Celts. This ancient people have never had a king, preferring to own allegiances and laws within their Confederation of Helvetia over any form of monarchy. Likely, the mountainous terrain of their country was a significant aid to them in resisting the encroachments of their neighboring Empires. One can say the Swiss were among the first post-Classical people to practice the Principle of Self-determination.

    Long before the British Empire’s Acts of Union of 1707 and 1800, our Celtic ancestors were often pitted against each other, too often to argue the point. From the map, it is clear that these centuries of defeats had pushed all Celtic peoples into the mountains or up against the Atlantic Ocean before they finally laid aside their rivalries and united against their opponents, and by then the task of rolling back these encroachments was too much to be reversed.

    The British Empire‘s Acts of Union are prime examples of tyranny, especially the first, which was imposed by the English on the Scots by putting Scotland under extreme duress while demanding that they acquiesce. By 1707, with few exceptions, the aristocrats who controlled both the land and the Parliament of Scotland had long ceased to be Scottish, and most had lost their fortunes in disastrous foreign investment schemes.

    Robert Burns

    Aggressor England deployed an English Army on Independent Scotland’s border, and then threatened to invade Scotland if the Scottish Parliament did not agree to accept England’s terms. Simultaneously, huge bribes were paid to supporters of Union that modern research has proved were NOT overdue salaries as claimed. At least four such payments were made to people who were not even members of the Scottish Parliament. No less a figure of Scottish culture than Robert Burns castigated them for their treason in his wildly popular 1791 poem, Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation:

    “We’re bought and sold for English Gold,
    Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation.”

    Of course, the English aristocrats who held the seats in the ‘Scottish’ Parliament, pocketed the bribes and acceded, thereby abolishing the country the were sworn to protect and defend. The Scottish people were never allowed to vote on this question, but instead lost their independence as the United Kingdom was created against their riotous public objections.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, English, Scottish and Scots-Irish immigrants were building their own, new society as the new people of what we now call America. After a few generations, many Americans were of Celtic ancestry, but as whole, early America encompassed much greater diversity of ethnicity, socio-economic status, and culture than in of the European homelands. The British Empire denied these American colonists full civil and human rights, forbade them from full participation in business and trade, and imposed unfair tax policies which they jealous enforced. These abuses created a motive and their distance from England offered an opportunity for relief, and so these Americans arose to oppose the tyranny of George III and his minions. Americans joined behind the principled ideas of the Declaration of Independence and the leadership of one of their own, George Washington, and successfully ejected their oppressors in one of the most significant political events in the History of the World, The American Revolution. One can say these American Revolutionaries were the most significant practitioners of the Principle of Self-determination.

    Kings Mountain
    Scots and Scots-Irish battle at Kings Mountain

    We have a personal interest in this, as these American Revolutionaries included some of our ancestors.

    All Tony’s immigrant ancestors came to America from Europe prior to 1900. The Austrians, Germans, and Irish in the mid-19th century and the Welsh and Scots in the late 17th Century. The latter two (Beebe and McCormack) fought for American Independence from Great Britain with George Washington in the Northern theater of the American Revolution.

    More than half of Celia’s ancestors were Scottish and Scots-Irish. Celia has traced dozens of them back to Ireland and Scotland in the 16th and 17th centuries, and all these came to what were the British Colonies of America prior to the UK’s Acts of Union. Celia’s mother was a Wallace, and several of their Wallace ancestors served with George Washington in the Southern theater of the American Revolution. Six Wallace brothers, Samuel, Andrew, John, James, Malcolm and Adam Wallace from Rockbridge (formerly Botetourt, and Augusta) County Virginia served, and all but one in Southern Campaigns of the American Revolutionary War. Five of them died as a result of their service to the just cause of American Independence.

    Notably, one of these, Captain Adam Wallace, fought British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and died at the Battle of Waxhaws on May 29, 1780 when Tarleton’s troops hacked him and several hundred others to death with their sabers and bayonets after they had surrendered. Just a few months later and a few miles away, at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780, the fresh memory of the massacre at Waxhaws gave the mostly Scottish ‘Over Mountain Men’ good reason to repeatedly charge up the hill, shouting ‘Tarleton’s Quarter‘, killing fellow Scot, Major Patrick Ferguson and dealing the British Army’s ‘Southern Strategy’ it’s first humiliating defeat.

    As Celia continued her research into her ancestors, she has found that some of her many contemporary Kentucky and Tennessee fore bearers fought with Col. Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. Between December 14, 1814 and January 18, 1815, Jackson’s scratch army dealt the British forces under Irish General Edward Pakenham, including several regiments of Scottish Highlanders, another humiliating defeat as the British Empire tried in vain to recapture some part of their former American colonies. Celia’s ancestors also died at the hands of Native allies of the British just after the January 8th, 1815 battle.

    After Independence and the War of 1812, the new Nation of the United States and the British Empire remained wary of each other. Mutual hostility continued unabated for nearly another 100 years, and was only broken by President Woodrow Wilson when he guided America into the First World War on the Allied side.

    Wilson’s ancestors were late arrivals in America. None of Wilson’s ancestors were of the Revolutionary War American stock. Woodrow Wilson was the son of an immigrant mother from England, and the grandson of immigrant grandparents from Ireland and Scotland, all of them loyal subjects of the Crown. As recent immigrants, these ancestors remained deferential to the Crown, and Wilson himself was personally besotted with the British monarchy.

    During these 100 years since the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution had transformed the world’s economy. One crucial transformation was that America had become the world’s principal shipper of Arms and Munitions to the British Empire, and therefore the target of choice for both the German Empire and later the Third Reich and the Empire of Japan as they fought two world wars against the Allies. As the Germans in the then Triple Alliance, and later, as the Nazis, attacked American shipping with U-Boats, and later the Japanese attacked the US Navy with dive bombers, it is no wonder the US was at last forced into these Alliances with the UK, but the real cause was these commercial entanglements.

    1918 Election Results in Ireland
    1918 Election Results in Ireland

    Still, there was one Celtic nation that gained Independence from the British Empire at about that time, Ireland. After the British Empire imposed another tyrannical Act of Union on Ireland in 1801, as well as the cruel Penal Laws which made Irish Catholics non-citizens in their native land, there were several attempts to emancipate the Irish people, as well as several unsuccessful Irish ‘Risings’ during these same 100 years.

    Late in the 19th Century, it seemed as though Home Rule would be granted to Ireland, but the majority Protestants in the counties of Northern Ireland (the Province of Ulster), were violently opposed to being ruled by majority Catholic counties of the rest of the island and on 13th December 1912, during the third home rule crisis, the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) decided officially to establish a paramilitary body, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) to prevent Home Rule. In response, the Irish Volunteer Force (IVF) (later known as the Irish Republican Army or IRA) was publicly launched in Dublin on November 25th, 1913 to oppose the UVF. In the Larne gun-running of April 1914, the UVF imported 25,000 rifles and three million rounds of ammunition from the German Empire and by mid 1914, UVF membership peaked at 90,000 men. Meanwhile, the IVF had 160,000 men but far fewer arms. In Westminster, there were well justified fears that setting up any form of Home Rule for the whole of Ireland would start a full-scale civil war in Ulster and Home Rule for Ireland was delayed (again!).

    But on July 28th, 1914, WW I broke out and large numbers of these men enlisted in the British Army. Seeing their opportunity, on Easter Monday, 1916, the Irish rose again. Although this Easter Rising was initially unsuccessful, when the Irish people saw the cruel execution of so many heroic Irish patriots, it steeled their collective resolve to break free from Britain. The fighting continued for years, and included a Civil War between Republican factions (Sinn Féin) who opposed the partition demanding all 32 counties of Ireland become a single united nation, and those who were willing to accept the Free State Treaty and Partition offered by the English.

    The Partition of Ireland was partly justified by the results of an election. Barely a month after the November 11th, 1918 Armistice ending World War I, on Saturday December 14th, 1918, the UK held a general election and the Sinn Féin Party won the overwhelming majority of the Irish parliamentary seats. In January 1919 the Sinn Féin members declared unilaterally an independent (all-island) Irish Republic. Unionists, however, won a majority of seats in four of the nine counties of Ulster and the day after the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 took force, on May 3rd, 1921 they affirmed their continuing loyalty to the United Kingdom, and petitioned King George V for a separate self-governing parliament for Northern Ireland.

    Still, partly by this election result, by 1922 most of Ireland had achieved Independence, with dominion status for 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties. Also by this election result, the remaining six Irish counties were partitioned into Northern Ireland, and remained part of the United Kingdom.

    Roosevelt and Churchill
    Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill
    aboard HMS Prince of Wales in 1941

    Woodrow Wilson became a believer in the Principle of Self-determination – at least for West Europe. On February 11th, 1918 Wilson stated: ‘National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. Self determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action.’

    During World War II, the Principle of Self-determination was included in the Atlantic Charter, signed on August 14th, 1941, by Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who pledged to uphold The Eight Principal points of the Atlantic Charter. In 1948, the Principle of Self-determination became a formal part of the Charter of the United Nations. That same year, Ireland shed it’s Dominion status and became a fully Independent Nation, with Northern Ireland still joined to the United Kingdom and subjects of the Crown.

    Ireland has not been entirely peaceful over these years since 1948. In the late 1960’s, ethnic / sectarian fighting in Northern Ireland (The Troubles), began and continued for 3 decades, but since 1998, with the successful multi-party Good Friday Agreement (see last weeks Editorial: the Good Friday Agreement), violence in Northern Ireland has been sporadic over its first 20 years.

    Across our several decades, we’ve encountered persons who were on both sides of these ‘Troubles‘ in Northern Ireland. Some of them justified their terrorism and mass murder by claiming that the ends justify the means. Our answer is the same now as first time we encountered such talk from an IRA man visiting in the U.S. at McCafferty’s Pub in Saint Paul, Minnesota in about 1973.
    Killing for a cause is wrong, especially in modern times when there are better options.

    From the first days President Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War, Celia was an anti-war protester. Her classmates were being sent to die for corporate control of resources in foreign countries, when they did not even have the right to vote. The American People were being lied to repeatedly, and their most precious resource, human lives, were being wasted. As a female, she had even fewer rights and opportunities in the U.S.. Discrimination against women was still legal, and there was worse that could be done.

    During the Vietnam war era, we are glad to say we and the organizations in which we participated never broke or bent the law, never hurled a brick, bottle or even any four-letter epithets. We ejected individuals who tried to advocate otherwise, and shunned groups that broke laws and engaged in violence. Instead, we found every lawful means to expose the truth and persuade those with the power of votes to finally stop the war.

    Over those years, Celia paid a price for her efforts more than once. She got onto Nixon’s enemies list and survived at least three attempts on her life before she reached 21–one of which occurred in public. She was not alone. If that generation could stop a war, end virtual apartheid (segregation) in the U.S. and expand civil rights without the use of bombs, guns and other forms of violence, there should and can be a peaceful path in any other modern, reasonably democratic country — not everyone is cut out for the harder stuff, but every voter can vote for what is right.

    In these past 20 years, another significant trend, Globalization, has shaken the socio-economic fabric of the world. We assert that Globalization, is every bit as significant to the 21st Century as the Industrial Revolution was to the 19th Century.

    In September 2014, the Principle of Self-determination was employed, enabling an Independence Referendum in Scotland. This first one, went down to defeat as Scottish voters split, with 55.30% voting to remain in the UK and only 44.70% voting for an Independent Scotland.

    10 Celtic Nations
    2016 Brexit Referendum Results

    As the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising was celebrated in Dublin at Easter 2016, Ireland was still a mostly peaceful island, and though the British Empire was largely gone, the rest of the UK was still intact with both Scotland and Northern Ireland still joined with the United Kingdom. In June, 2016, the Principle of Self-determination was again employed to put the question of the UK leaving the European Union to the electorate in a United Kingdom European Union membership referendum (commonly known as Brexit), and it narrowly passed, with 51.89% voting to leave the European Union.

    Sir Humphrey Appleby
    Sir Nigel Hawthorne as
    Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Britain has long been of two minds with regard to the rest of Europe, a fact satirized with typical dry wit by writers Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn of the 1980’s British television comedy, ‘Yes, Minister‘. In this clip,, their officious bureaucrat lead character, Sir Humphrey Appleby, explains that Britain had to get inside the EU in order to ‘Break the whole thing up.’

    In the lead-up to the Brexit vote, some British leaders argued that, as part of the EU, the UK had ceded to much of its full rights of self-determination, by being subordinate to the laws of others. One of the big issues was immigration from certain parts of the world. There are definitely serious problems in the EU that it would take two or three more editorials to cover adequetely. However, in the words of well-respected analysts from reputable British institutions, some of the biggest issues were ‘not made by the EU, but rather were actually Commonwealth laws passed by the UK’s own parliament prior to joining the EU!’ Free passage of persons, goods and citizenship were guaranteed to all these peoples of the British Commonwealth in 1949 and 1965. Some of the pro-Brexit voters seem to have forgotten that the colonial British Empire, had included many of these ‘small nations’, as well as the financial inequities that existed.

    With the Principle of Self-determination and the mechanism of the Referendum now both well established, likewise, there will likely be more plebiscites, where all the members of an electorate get to vote on such important policy questions.

    Let us consider the possibility of a second Independence Referendum in Scotland. A swing of just 5.3% would take a second Independence Referendum to victory, and cause Scotland to join Ireland and America as Independent Countries. In the Brexit vote a mere 2 years ago, (See Map), only 38.0% of Scots voted to Leave and a whopping 62.0% voted to Remain in the EU. If Scotland is forced out of the EU by Brexit, the Scottish electorate will resent it, and the younger, newly enfranchised voters all the more so.

    Let’s suppose that a second Scottish Independence Referendum passes and an Independent Scotland remains in the EU. Of course, Independent Ireland would remain a member of the EU, so both of Northern Ireland’s Celtic neighbors would be EU members. What would the voters of Northern Ireland do?

    In the Brexit vote 2 years ago, only 44.2% of Northern Ireland’s voters marked ‘Leave’ while a majority of 55.8% voted to ‘Remain’ (See Map). Should the question of Northern Ireland remaining in the EU be asked in a future referendum, would the DUP continue to raise the specter of the Sinn Fein and insist that they continue to look to the now smaller UK for protection? Would the younger, newly enfranchised voters of Northern Ireland be likely to follow this siren call?

    Or would Northern Ireland’s voters strike for renewed trade, peace and prosperity within the EU, like their Celtic neighbors, Scotland and Ireland?


    Dan Mulhall

    Remarks of Dan Mulhall

    Ambassador of Ireland to the United States of America

    San Francisco, Wednesday, July 18th, 2018
    Published July 26th, 2018

    Daniel Mulhall is Ireland’s Ambassador to the USA, and he visted the Bay Area last week. Mulhall took up duty as Ireland’s 18th Ambassador to the United States in August 2017. He was born and brought up in Waterford and undertook his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at University College Cork where he specialised in modern Irish history.

    Ambassador Mulhall joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1978. His assignments include Brussels, Belgium (European Union) and Edinburgh, Scotland where he was Ireland’s first Consul General, and just before coming to Washington, Ambassador Mulhall served as Ireland’s Ambassador in London from 2013 to 2017.

    Here is a copy of his remarks given at the San Francisco World Affairs Council on Wednesday, July 18th, 2018:

    ‘Ireland is going through an interesting time of change at present, politically, socially and economically.

    Politically, a younger generation of politicians has taken the helm. Our Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar is 39 years old while his deputy, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, and Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, are both in their mid-40s. Inevitably, they bring a fresh mind-set to bear on their responsibilities in Government. All three are very good communicators and they have rolled out some ambitious plans, such as Global Ireland, which aims to double Ireland’s international footprint in the coming decade. One aspect of this initiative will be the opening next year of a new Irish Consulate in Los Angeles, which will become Ireland’s seventh Consulate in this country. As things stand, only a handful of much larger countries have more Consulates across the US than we have. This reflects the unique relationship that exists between Ireland and the United States.

    The impact of social change in Ireland can be seen in a number of places. First, the outcome of the referendum we held in 2015 which resulted in marriage equality being approved by 62% of those who turned out to vote.

    Confounding predictions that the measure would be popular in Ireland’s cities but would be rejected in rural areas, all, bar one, of our electoral districts voted in favour of this constitutional change. Thus, to the surprise of many people around the world, Ireland became the first country anywhere to legalise same sex marriage by popular vote.

    In last month’s referendum on abortion, 66% of those who voted gave their approval for a liberalisation of Ireland’s abortion laws. It is not necessary to make any judgement about the abortion issue in order to see how far public attitudes have shifted since the 8th amendment to our Constitution introduced a ban on abortion in 1984. At that time, 67% voted to enshrine the right to life of the unborn in the Constitution.

    Another indicator of social change is the fact that today 17% of Ireland’s population was born outside of our state. This is an astonishing turnaround for a country that historically has exported its people all over the world and especially to the United States. Back in the 1990s, the foreign-born percentage of our population was in the low single figures.

    Education provides another illustration of the changes that have occurred in Ireland in recent decades. Having invested heavily in our education system, our labour force is among the best qualified in the world. Today, some 60% of our school leavers enter third level education and in the 25-39 age group about 50% have 3rd-level qualifications. Ireland now has one of the youngest populations in Europe, with 40% of our people under 29.

    Another point of note is that these dramatic demographic changes have not given rise in Ireland to the kind of populist resistance that has become a fact of life elsewhere. No Irish political party has adopted anti-immigrant policies and the kind of Euroscepticism that is rife in other parts of Europe has to date found no echo in Ireland.

    Ireland’s economic transformation has its roots in decisions taken as far back as the 1950s and the 1960s to open up our economy to trade and foreign investment, and to seek membership of the European Union. EU membership turned out to be a game-changer for Ireland. It is not that this has been a smooth, unhindered progression towards prosperity and economic security. When Ireland joined the EU in 1973, our per capita wealth levels were around 60% of the EU average and it took us a long time to bridge the prosperity gap between ourselves and our continental neighbours. Today, Ireland is comfortably above the Union’s wealth average.

    We did, of course, endure some torrid years during the Great Recession that began in 2008/9. As a small open economy, we were very vulnerable to those seismic external shocks. As a consequence of the international downturn and the travails of our banks, Ireland’s debt levels and joblessness figures soared. We were forced into an EU-IMF programme in 2010, which was a low ebb for modern Ireland. Since that time, our economy stabilised and we now have had the strongest growth figures in the Euro Zone for the past four years. Unemployment in Ireland is now down to just over 5% from 15% at its height.

    Ireland’s success story has a strong American flavour. US investment in Ireland has undoubtedly helped change the shape of our economy. Today some 700 US firms have operations in Ireland where they employ 150,000, some 7% of our workforce. Their main reason for being there is that Ireland gives them a base within the European single market and they can tap into a well-educated, English-speaking workforce. Moreover, successive Irish Governments have created an environment conducive to business success. Our fair and transparent system of corporation tax, with a flat rate of 12.5%, is also part of Ireland’s attraction.

    The outlook for Ireland at present is very positive. Our economy seems set to continue growing strongly in the coming years, but there are a couple of clouds on our horizon. The first is the decision of the UK to leave the EU, (Brexit-ed) which we did not want to see happen but have to learn to cope with.

    Ireland has a unique relationship with the UK, a product of geography, history and people-to-people links. That relationship will continue to be vital to us and it will remain so in the future.

    The so-called Brexit poses genuine challenges for Ireland, to our trade links with Britain and with regard to Northern Ireland. Among our EU partners, Ireland is uniquely exposed to Brexit-generated disruptions and for that reason we will be looking to keep the UK closely aligned to the EU so as to minimise the impact on trade flows between us.

    Our Government is determined to maintain the current invisible border between north and south in Ireland. In this we have the support of our EU partners and the British Government is also in agreement. The problem is how to achieve this in a situation where the UK leaves the single market and the customs union as it says it plans to do.

    Our Government welcomes the recent British White Paper on its future relationship with the EU which seems to us to provide a basis for negotiations between the Commission and the British Government. Ireland wants to see those negotiations succeed, and hopes that Britain will be able to show the requisite flexibility in order to find the right balance between the advantages of free trade with the EU and the obligations that must inevitably accompany such a privileged relationship.

    There will also be an upside for Ireland from Brexit. This is because the UK’s departure from the EU will make Ireland an even more attractive location for US FDI than it already is. We expect to gain quite a lot of investment in the years ahead as companies look for a European base that will give them guaranteed access to the single market. There will also be scope for Ireland to play an enhanced role in trans-Atlantic relations on the back of our close traditional and contemporary ties with the US.

    This brings me to the second international challenge on Ireland – tensions in trans-Atlantic economic relations. These are of special concern to Ireland given our extensive stake in trans-Atlantic trade and investment. Few countries have benefited as strongly as Ireland has from the globalisation of recent decades and we have every interest in seeing a continuation of this positive environment. The fact is that the EU-US economic relationship is one of mutual advantage. Ireland is a good example of the mutual advantage that flows from our trade and investment ties. US investment has helped to strengthen Ireland’s economy and in turn Irish companies have increasingly been investing in the US where today some 500 Irish firms employ around 100,000 Americans in all 50 US States.

    It would be a mutually-damaging development if those productive trans-Atlantic exchanges were to give way to a tit-for-tat imposition of tariffs. This is why my country will continue to be an active exponent of continued free flows of trade and investment across the Atlantic.’



    Power Weaving, England, 1836

    Editorial: Virtues of Celtic Culture

    Have the tables turned?

    By Cecilia Fábos-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?



    George Mitchell

    Editorial: The Good Friday Agreement

    Twentieth Anniversary Reflections by George Mitchell

    May 7th 2018, The Olympic Club, 524 Post Street, San Francisco

    After 30 years of civil strife, the Good Friday Agreement was signed 10 April 1998, bringing Peace to Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is actually two documents:

    1. a multi-party agreement by most of Northern Ireland’s political parties (the Multi-Party Agreement)
    2. an international agreement between the British and Irish governments (the British-Irish Agreement).

    Because of this multi-lateral nature, it’s 20th Anniversary was celebrated by a month long, multi-city, international tour of commemorations and celebrations.

    As part of this tour, on May 7th 2018, the Agreement’s chief negotiator, US Senator George Mitchell, spoke at San Francisco’s Olympic Club, and the event was sponsored by the NI Bureau (a part of the Executive Office of Northern Ireland), the local Consulates of both Ireland and the UK, and the California Legislative Irish Caucus. Thanks to the good efforts of our friend Donagh Mc Keown, you can watch a video of Senator Mitchell’s 22 minute address at this link, Mitchell’s address at Good Friday 20th Anniversary Event in San Francisco.

    In the words of Senator Mitchell, ‘By itself, the Good Friday Agreement does not guarantee Peace; it makes it possible.’ Senator Mitchell went on to say, ‘The real heroes of the Agreement were the leaders and the people of Northern Ireland. The people supported the effort, … and afterwards, they voted overwhelmingly to ratify it.’ with 71% in favor, and ‘In Northern Ireland, these (political leaders) were ordinary men and women. After 700 days of failure, they joined in one day of success, and they changed the course of history.’

    Over these last 20 years, has that course been lost? Have most of these Celtic heroes died? Did they fail to raise enough children who believed in peace as they did? What will it take to restore and build on the ‘Good Friday Agreement,’ now–another bloody civil war?

    It seems that historic agreement may now be in danger of falling apart, for the same reasons strife has ensued in northern Ireland since 1641. This situation makes the peoples who live in Northern Ireland no different, in no way superior, to those who hate, discriminate and kill in West Asia on the basis of being Shi’ite vs. Sunni, or any of the current highly polarized political sects that lead to the Brexit outcome in the UK or the 2016 Presidential Election results in the USA.

    Senator Mitchell went on, ‘We should not hold Northern Ireland to a standard higher than we apply to ourselves.’

    In fact, the peoples of Northern Ireland, indeed, all of Ireland and most of Scotland, have fewer actual differences of ethnicity, language, culture and history than who identify as either Shi’ite or Sunni, Leave or Stay, or Red or Blue.

    In Northern Ireland, the discrimination and disagreements of the past few centuries to today are based solely on religion. In contrast with the over 3,000 years of shared history between these Islands, including Ireland, most of Scotland and even parts of what are now northern England, these two sects of ‘Christianity,’ are a recent development, less than 500 years old.

    Gaels, Picts and Brytons circa 500 BCE

    Too many people forget about these millennia of shared history. When the Romans conquered the Brythonic speaking southern part of the island of Britannia, they wrote about the ‘Scoti’ the Roman name for the Gaels who inhabited the north-western portion of Britannia and all of the adjacent island, Hibernia. After the the Romans left in 437 CE, came a thousand year period during which the real kingdom of Dalriada spanned the short 12 miles of the Northern Channel of the Irish sea, uniting the peoples of both islands. In the 5th century, Irish monks, along with the people of Dalriada, converted the pagans of Scotland to Christianity. These Christian Irish expanded and took over the entire west of Scotland and northern England (albeit some of the latter was with the Vikings who had founded Dublin).

    The Gaelic language in Scotland today, (Gàidhlig or Erse), is the direct descendant of the Goidelic Gaelic of Ireland and Scotland of the Roman period and earlier. It is the same, one language.

    Both cultures had clans and clan warfare, and didn’t see kings as having divine rights and deserving to be slavishly followed unquestioningly. The people of both regions were equally capable of murdering kings and chiefs and did so when greatly displeased by them. Neither had come up with the idea of repeating elections nor impeachment yet. Both peoples were accomplished herdsmen and fishermen and metal workers and used the same designs in metal work and other crafts, reflecting their shared religious and philosophical beliefs about the world about them. Both lived and confronted some of the least arable land and worst climates in the world–when almost 90% of all people in the world lived solely by farming and herding.

    Religion, though, is only one part of any people’s culture, and the Christian religion is a MERE 2000 years old. Yet it is solely on the choice of religion and the few differences between the two sects of a CHRISTIAN religion that occurred only about 500 years ago, that these very Celtic brothers have been willing to murder, to discriminate on the basis of self-acclaimed ‘superiority’ in choice of religion. The major tenets of Christianity, such as a belief in commandments that came to Christianity from an earlier religion include ‘thou shalt not kill,’ ‘thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods (including lands, businesses, etc.)’. Both these religions claim to espouse these proscriptions, but they are consistently ignored by followers of Christ, Islam and Judaism alike. Where is the ‘love thy neighbor as thyself?‘ in anything that is being heard and done today in Northern Ireland? Neither Catholic nor Protestant seem to be very Christian to an objective observer.

    The real irony is that, in the contrast to the discord in Northern Ireland or the electorate in the UK that voted for Brexit last year, the English monarchy, who initially set up most of these frictions, (particularly after the English King, Henry VIII, changed the religion to suit himself), is currently showing some leadership in greater tolerance. Prince Harry, with the consent of the queen and royal family, has set an example for all allegedly vehemently Christian, intolerant, bullying, warring Irish and Scots who seem to behave like ‘Cain and Abel’, by marrying a mixed-race American actress, Meghan Markle. Her ancestry also apparently includes both Scots and Irish–Protestants and Catholics alike!

    Politicians, and voters, especially those with a stake in Northern Ireland, including Arlene Foster and Theresa May, should take note of this courageous leadership and honor their more recent agreements, like the recent agreement to maintain an open border, post Brexit, or risk their political futures or worse. We’re also guessing that if the break-down continues to worsen and bloody civil strife resumes, the Queen, and her successors, will ‘not be amused.’ Neither will many Americans who have mixed Scots and Irish, Protestant and Catholic heritage.

    Email the authors Tony and Celia Becker at



    Theresa May and Leo Varadkar meet

    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.

    DUP leader Arlene Foster Responds

    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.



    Editorial: Ireland’s Future

    Biotech and Pharmaceuticals

    By Cecilia Fábos-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.



    Taoiseach of Ireland, Leo Varadkar

    Remarks of 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 PM, a reception was held for the new Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, 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,, San Francisco city employees and many more Irish community organization members.

    Consul-General of Ireland
    For the Western US
    Robert O’Driscoll

    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.

    Ambassador of Ireland
    Daniel Mulhall

    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.


    Andrew Whittaker

    UK Consul-General, 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,, 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.



    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: 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: Shopping at Celtic Festivals

    One Persons Perspective – Spring 2017

    by Cecilia Fabos-Becker – 2017-05-19

    When hosting at a Celtic festival booth, it’s often difficult to get a break, much less have time to browse through the vendor areas thoughtfully. As my husband Tony takes more questions from folks asking whether they are Scots, Irish, Welsh, English or some mixture thereof, as most usually are, from the books and maps we bring, last weekend, I got a chance finally to spend a little time browsing the small but good selection of vendors at the Silicon Valley Irish Flead, in Mountain View. On a budget, I especially appreciate vendors that have beautiful, unusual work, whether it be in fabric, leather or jewelry, and priced under $50, or even $30!

    In more than 20 years of hosting, I’d seen a lots of gifts at the many Scottish and Irish festivals and when you are hurrying, the unusual stands out. For some years, stand outs have been rare. Quite a number of vendors have the mass produced silver claddagh rings (two hands holding a heart) and the same few styles of earrings and pendants using a few of the variations of Celtic knots. It’s almost all real sterling and good quality but, well, there is a lot of it, and a lot looks the same. It’s also almost all produced outside of the U.S. in large factories, though blessedly, not a lot has a “made in China” label on it.

    There are a few vendors who have started appearing in recent years who are different. For a long time for higher cost unusual Celtic and art-nouveau style jewelry, collectors and Celtic-fashionistas at some festivals have long appreciated “Postgate Jewelers“, a small design and self-manufacturing studio up near Truckee, California. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to afford their gorgeous gold work, but I certainly admire it every time I see them at a festival, and on others. You can recognize a Postgate piece at a distance. They are that good, but so is the price. “Nagle Forge & Foundry” has a unique mixture of higher and medium cost, unique designs all done in house. I once bought an unusual belt buckle there. I absolutely loved for its combination curves and waves design, and being just the right size for a woman’s belt. At the Silicon Valley Irish Fleadh, though, I finally had a chance to spend some time examining the displays of three more vendors, newer, primarily jewelry, who do some or most of their own design work and either their own manufacture, or work closely with small, U.S. designer-manufacturers. I also revisited a more unusual gifts vendor whose wares attracted me from the first time I saw them at the Ardenwood Historic Farm Park Tartan Day in early April. All of these vendors will be at the San Francisco Caledonian Club Gathering and Games at the Alameda County Fairgrounds at Pleasanton in early September 2017, and several will be at the Costa Mesa Gathering and Games in southern California on the Memorial Day weekend. Some will also be at smaller festivals such as the Mother Lode Scottish Festival at the Amador County fairgrounds in the small town of Plymouth along Highway 49, on June 10-11, and either Reno or Big Trees (Felton) the second weekend in October.

    For those who are looking for different new designs in affordable jewelry, locally made, often with gems, I urge you to spend a little time looking at the offerings of “Willow Jewelry and Phoenix and Crow.” Both have excellent jewelry designs using Celtic themes, art-nouveau and some what I’d call art-deco elements; elegant jewelry that suggests nature and classic historic design, and uses gems in addition to metals, mostly silver. I have a collection of jewelry history and design books and used to design jewelry a little when I had my own store, so I’m not just tossing around these descriptions lightly.

    Willow specializes in unusual, natural, gem stones, but you will see some of these, colorful, less commonly seen gems at Phoenix and Crow also, and a few at A&A, in the next paragraph. Willow does all of her own design and manufacture. Bev Rafferty of Phoenix and Crow does some design herself but mostly works with others who then produce the items in their own facilities, in the U.S. and some, locally. I especially liked the collections of rainbow moonstone and labradorite (mineralogical siblings of kind) rings at Phoenix and Crow. Some had an art-deco look, some were set in art-nouveau vines and leaves style of ring mounting. She also had some stones set in an unusual thistle design ring mounting. Phoenix and Crow, also had an unusual collection of hand-made cast-iron “Thor’s Hammer” pendants, and Viking design small piece pottery, offering dishes or candle holders, also locally made. At Willow’s booth, I saw several pendants and a gorgeous pair of rose quartz drop earrings that had me lingering at, and then returning to her booth, as well as her gorgeous Venezuelan amethyst jewelry. I used to own a jewelry shop myself 15 years ago and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen natural amethyst that nice. (An awful lot of good colored amethyst, the really purple stones, these days, isn’t: it’s Chinese made jewelry glass or else irradiated inferior quartz, originally another color). Willow also had a cute collection of hand-puppets for children and adults who have children in their families they like to entertain made by Folkman’s Puppets, including dragons! The puppets and jewelry work well to keep the attention of both parents and children. There were families lingering by this vendor’s booth.

    Another vendor that doesn’t have jewelry but has a lot of colorful, original Celtic legend/ mythology themed designs that also use Celtic knotwork, on T-shirts, handbags/tote bags, change purses/small wallets, glicee wall art and even small jigsaw puzzles, is “Celtic Art Studio” owned by Jan Delwyth. On my first visit, I bought a t-shirt and a jigsaw puzzle. I live with a budget and don’t usually find myself making a snap decision like this. The color and design were absolutely just right to go with about four pairs of my favorite colors in pants and a couple of skirts. Even my even more fiscally conservative husband understood the appeal of this one. I heard a number of persons complimenting this vendor and the very beautiful unusual designs of her merchandise, and reasonable prices, at both the Tartan Day festival and the Fleadh.

    A&A Company once had its own shop in the Stanford Shopping Mall. The couple who own this little company now travel to major weekend festivals around the U.S., and they sell on Etsy. designer Anita McKenzie, was not present at the Silicon Valley Fleadh, her husband was the sole salesperson that weekend, Anita does some of her own design and limited self-manufacture. Those were the best items at the A&A booth and caught my attention at once. (Most of what A&A had was built by someone else). Anita’s husband explained that they once owned their own manufacturing facility as well as having their brick-and-mortar store, but it got to be too much as they got older and rents and other costs escalated. Some of her designs are not mass manufactured and may be made by local craftspersons, but some is clearly supplied by the same manufacturers who supply a number of other festival vendors, particularly the rings that were being sold. A&A’s best and most unusual pieces bore Anita’s own label, “Anita McKenzie” (Watch for that label). I saw several very striking pairs of paua or abalone shell earrings with Celtic knotwork or classic scroll and vine work around the pieces of shell and some very nice, bright red jasper earrings with similar work. These all were eye-catching at a distance. She had also some nice clusters, and drop earrings, like leaves on a vine, of faceted garnets, and earrrings and pendants using blue topaz and iolite (a natural stone similar to sapphires in color).

    So, when you are visiting and enjoying the Scottish and Irish festivals throughout the year, and know you have birthdays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas gifts needs coming up, and don’t have a fortune to spend, keep these vendors in mind and look for them. They’ll appreciate it when you do, and your intended recipients will love you for the beautiful and unusual gifts you buy to give them–and your bank account will probably still have something in it at the end of the day.



    MEP Martina Anderson


    Brexit Progress and Movements by Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland

    by Cecilia Fábos-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 it 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 importance 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 is 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 opinion, 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.



    Editorial: Celtic American Heritage and Collaboration

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

    By Cecilia Fábos-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


    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

    Last month, on Thursday, November 17th, 2016 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 Higginsthe 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.



    Donagh Mc Keown

    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.



    Consul General Philip Grant

    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:

    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 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.



    Editorial: 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!


    Flight Of James II

    Flight Of James II

    Editorial: Antecedents of the American Revolution

    Published June 17th, 2016

    by Tony Becker and Cecilia Fábos-Becker

    New Primary Sources on

    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.