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What you want to say – 12 August 2020 August 12, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. Alibaba - August 12, 2020

Opinion polls show a big slump in Trump’s vote. Yet Trump’s tactics are tried and true: consistently stoke fear and make it untenable with no/little evidence of any real issue (vote-by-mail, which he himself does) and create a false crisis (of alleged voter fraud) to get what he wants. 

If it had not been so successful in the past, he would not use it consistently: Obama’s birth certificate, Hillary Clinton’s emails, build-the-wall on southern border, Make-America-Great-Again protectionism, fake news, defence of Confederate monuments, aggressive treatment at Portland … 

The more Trump hits his targets, the more he excites his base of supporters. Bombastic rhetoric attracts white supremacist followers. The billionaire-owned media carries his rants relentlessly. His core base may be shrinking but it remains loyal and will vote for him undisputedly. 

A majority do not want Trump re-elected, but will they act on it? Joe Biden runs a pathetic low profile campaign. Many will surely look askance at a man so lacking in intellect, enthusiasm and energy. Is it possible that alienated voters will abstain allowing Trump’s re-election as can happen with compulsive self-publicists? Or is it more likely his gross mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic will result in an overwhelming defeat? 

Much may depend on Biden’s choice of a black female Asian American as a running mate. In addition, I do wonder if an unexpected dramatic event or the three debates scheduled between Trump and Biden tips the balance either way.

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oliverbohs - August 12, 2020

Wbs has mentioned on here before how plain boredom is freq a factor in political fashions. And maybe that is a factor in Trump’s rise and potential fall. More of a factor than pandemic and death, really. The jokes ain’t funny anymore.

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WorldbyStorm - August 12, 2020

I’m know I’m not the only one but got to say your suggestion seems plausible. That and just the simple March of time. Now he’s a known qty. and agreed I do wonder if that outweighs all the other issues too.

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2. tafkaGW - August 12, 2020

49% of Brits fairly/very happy to see refugees drown, and indeed regard it as a spectator sport facilitated by Sky/BBC (very similar organisations these days).

There is a strong correlation between Leave and Tory voting and ‘lets watch refugees drown’ sentiment.

But of course Brexit had nothing to do with racism.

Brexitania is economically in a bad way, with the worst drop in GDP last quarter of any of the G7 and is about to go into a no-deal / minimal-deal Brexit.

The Cummings government will reach for further Orbanist anti-refugee / furriner scapegoating.

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3. crocodileshoes - August 12, 2020

Re calculated grades: the Scottish and English calculated grades for ‘Highers’ and A levels are shambolic. The Leaving Cert grades will be, here, for reasons I mentioned in a previous post.
Many students in the UK have received grades lower than their teachers’ assessments, algorithms having been applied that are supposed to realign their school’s results with historic performance (and, by implication, their future performance). In some cases, if results had been in line with teachers’ assessments, there would have been a 12% increase in marks over 2019.
The main reason why Irish teachers wanted no part of assessing ‘reformed’ Junior Certs was that they have traditionally been advocates for their students, not judges. It is only natural – admirable, even – to estimate a grade based on the student’s ability rather than the school’s typical exam performance; it’s understandable, too, to compensate for disadvantages that student may have encountered and seek to level the playing field for the underprivileged, educationally and socially.
What you get then is – if you’re DES – grade inflation and the prospect of 2020’s Leaving Cert grades being well out of line with other years’. If you’re a deis school teacher, you risk the prospect of all your estimated grades being cut, of ‘baking in’ educational disadvantage to exam results. And if next year’s results are calculated, too, everyone will overestimate, in the expectation that there will be downgrading. The ‘mocks’ will be another nightmare, since the English system decided to accept mock results and that could easily happen here.
I’d go for the Brid Smith solution: 95% of the third level admissions could be done by just letting in whoever applies. Some form of interview/ aptitude test could be applied to the 5% of very high tariff courses (medicine and such).

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WorldbyStorm - August 12, 2020

That actually makes a lot of sens3 what she and you propose. It cuts out the bottleneck and further down the line third level determines who is able enough to continue.

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benmadigan - August 12, 2020

agree. Even under normal conditions there is always a certain percentage of students who cannot hack their Uni course and exams. Some switch to easier faculties; others opt to leave, perhaps to return when they are older and more mature

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4. CL - August 12, 2020

“Covid-19 has given us an authentic autopsy, debunking the witch doctors of neoliberalism – yet their thinking dominates the corporate media, who are busy finding ways not to link the destruction of the past three months in any way to capitalism….
In many ways, the new normal in India is rather like the old normal. In daily practice, we continue to function as if it is the poor who are the source and the carriers of the virus, not the flying classes who pioneered the globalisation of communicable disease two decades ago….

The search is on for: how quickly can we overcome the problem and “return to normal.” But the problem was not about returning to normal.
The ‘normal’ was the problem…
That the world’s 2,153 billionaires held more wealth than 60 per cent of the planet’s population…
In the words of UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres, “We face the deepest global recession since World War II, and the broadest collapse in incomes since 1870.”…
There’s another thing that Guterres said of Covid-19: “It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all; the fiction that unpaid care work is not work.”

The pre-pandemic normal was an India run by an alliance of socio-religious fundamentalists and economic market fundamentalists, happily married partners cohabiting a bed called the corporate media. Many leaders were ideologically comfortable in both camps….

Kerala’s success in combating the coronavirus is based precisely on the involvement of its people in local committees, in building networks of kitchens supplying many with cheap food; contact tracing, isolating and control – these worked better in that state because of popular participation. There are huge lessons there that go beyond facing up to the perils of this pandemic.”-P.Sainath
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/08/12/we-didnt-bleed-him-enough-when-normal-is-the-problem/

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5. Tomboktu - August 12, 2020

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tafkaGW - August 13, 2020

That is funny. Vlad’s dad is a socialist.

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WorldbyStorm - August 13, 2020

It’s an interesting thought – how problematic would it be to have a close relative an active member of Fine Gael or FF and which would, on balance, be worse? 🙂

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roddy - August 13, 2020

Much is made of “mixed” marriage up here.Have to say I couldnt live in the same house as a stoop or a stick ,let alone a Unionist!

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WorldbyStorm - August 13, 2020

Worse than FG or FF? 😉

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sonofstan - August 13, 2020

Although Leo has described him as ‘the sort of socialist who wants to pay less tax’

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6. CL - August 13, 2020

‘The US government proposed rule changes yesterday that would allow shower heads to boost water pressure, after President Donald Trump repeatedly complained that bathroom fixtures do not work to his
liking….
He said he believed water does not come out fast enough from fixtures.
“So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair, I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect,” he said.
https://www.rte.ie/news/2020/0813/1158921-donald-trump-hair-showers/

“Trump on Wednesday continued his frequent attacks on Obama-era fair housing rules, tweeting “The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me.”
The president went on to claim that as president, Biden would reimplement the rule “in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!”
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/511691-booker-hits-back-at-trump-tweet-mocks-misspelling-of-name

“According to the Aspen Institute, a non-profit thinktank, at least 30 million Americans out of the 110 million who live in rental housing are at risk of eviction by the end of September.”-Guardian

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7. Tomboktu - August 13, 2020

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8. tafkaGW - August 13, 2020

The Cummings government in Brexitania is beyond contempt. Now if you don’t die within 28 days of being diagnosed with Covid19, you don’t count as having died of it.

Simple manipulation of statistics to hide their murderous failure.

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benmadigan - August 13, 2020

Particularly as nobody as yet knows what the long-term consequences of Covid-19 are.Nobody’s had it long enough. Some patients complain of long-lasting problems (long-haulers).
Hospitalized survivors are probably (may be?) being followed-up with regular check-ups.

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tafkaGW - August 14, 2020

They’ve just admitted that 1.3 million (or was that gazillion) claimed tests didn’t happen. You couldn’t make it up.

Many of the contact tracers are still untrained – such as the training is – and have yet to make contact with any contacts.

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9. tafkaGW - August 13, 2020

The PiSer government in Poland is ramping up its repression against LGBT people.

The eternal enemy within.

I can’t help think it’s going to backfire, because, in contrast with previous racially imagined scapegoat groups, if you’re not gay yourself, everyone has a family member of close friend who is gay.

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Alibaba - August 14, 2020

Homophobic attacks in Poland have been increasing for years, and so has the persecution of activists and brutality of the police. Certain towns in the country have declared themselves “LGBT-free zones” early this year. This is not just scary and repulsive, it could be savage.

Good to know there is a protest in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community at the Polish Embassy in Dublin on Thursday 20th August at 6.30pm 

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/575469613149031/

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10. tafkaGW - August 13, 2020

Workers walking out of factories in Belarus. If that spreads it could get serious for Lukashenko.

Police arresting and beating people all over the shop.

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WorldbyStorm - August 13, 2020

That’s interesting. I wonder how widespread it is.

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tafkaGW - August 14, 2020

There’s reports of members of the security apparatus (some at the top of the hierarchy) resigning and burning their uniforms.

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tafkaGW - August 14, 2020

The walkouts, especially in state-owned industries, are increasing today, especially around Minsk and Hrodna.

Truck convoys from the car plant in Minsk heading for the city centre, for example.

The government has already given ground to the workers by releasing many of the detained, who have been beaten up in jail and/or during arrest.

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tafkaGW - August 14, 2020

This sounds like something out of the 1950s, but the tractor plant workers in Minsk have downed tools to join the demonstrations.

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baalthor - August 16, 2020

First time I saw the name “Belarus” was on a tractor !
The USSR was still in existence and this was one of their exports … I didn’t learn until a bit later that it was also the name of one of the (then) Soviet republics and not just a tractor manufacturer.

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WorldbyStorm - August 16, 2020

That rings a bell baalthor, I see to recall that too

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EWI - August 18, 2020

First time I saw the name “Belarus” was on a tractor !
The USSR was still in existence and this was one of their exports … I didn’t learn until a bit later that it was also the name of one of the (then) Soviet republics and not just a tractor manufacturer.

Ah, the old ‘Bell-arr-us’ tractors, you’re right!

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roddy - August 18, 2020

Sorry to say but the “Belarus” tractor was the biggest heap of shite ever to land on these shores.The only “Eastern bloc” tractor to be a major success here was the Zetor.

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WorldbyStorm - August 18, 2020

The Zetor! Haven’t heard that name in while.

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roddy - August 18, 2020

The Zetor still sells successfully here.

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11. CL - August 14, 2020

‘A lot is unknown, because authorities have tried to impose a blockade on information….
Tsikhanouskaya…The authorities allowed her to be registered as a candidate, perhaps because Lukashenka thought that a thirty-seven-year-old housewife would make a convenient opponent….
We may never know exactly how many ballots were cast for which candidate on Sunday, but it appears likely that, if they were actually counted, Tsikhanouskaya would prove the winner….
Tsikhanouskaya made it clear that she did not want to govern, though: she said that her objective was to win the election, free all political prisoners, and organize a free and fair Presidential election within six months of taking office….
On Tuesday morning, Tsikhanouskaya posted a video announcement on what had been her husband’s YouTube channel. It was captioned, “I have left to be with my children.”
https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/after-a-rigged-election-belarus-crushes-protests-amid-an-information-blackout

Tikhanovskaya…. one of the “Chernobyl children”.. spent her summers living with an Irish family in Roscrea, Co Tipperary. …
Ms Tikhanovskaya continued to return for many summers, also working in a local Tipperary factory once she became older in order to save money for her studies back in Belarus.”
https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/belarusian-woman-who-took-on-europes-last-dictator-was-an-outspoken-child-in-ireland-1013753.html

“The Belarusian leadership began releasing thousands of detainees and issued a rare public apology on Thursday in a bid to quell nationwide street protests that pose the biggest challenge to strongman President Alexander Lukashenko’s 26-year rule….
Tens of thousands of protesters on Thursday were joined by workers from some state-run industries that are the pride of Lukashenko’s Soviet-style economic model, including the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) that makes ‎trucks‎ and ‎buses….
A former Soviet collective farm manager, the 65-year-old Lukashenko has faced increasing anger over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic – which he dismissed as a “psychosis” – a sluggish economy and human rights.”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election/we-dont-need-war-belarus-leadership-says-sorry-in-bid-to-quell-protests-idUSKCN25925Z

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CL - August 14, 2020

“The Belarusian opposition candidate who left the country for neighbouring Lithuania after standing in Sunday’s presidential election has resurfaced in a video, calling on supporters to continue their protests against Alexander Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime.
It is the first sight of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya since Monday when a hostage-style video was published, apparently recorded in the office of the Belarusian electoral commission, in which she asked people not to protest.”
theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/14/belarusian-opposition-candidate-svetlana-tikhanovskaya-resurfaces-with-call-for-more-protests

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WorldbyStorm - August 14, 2020

Well there’s a surprise – what’s interesting is this doesn’t seem hugely ideological at least at this remove as much as simple exhaustion with one guy in charge for far far too long. The fact of workers joining the protests is indicative of that.

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12. CL - August 14, 2020

“Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have moved into a nine-bedroom, 16-bathroom home in Santa Barbara, California, that they bought in June for $14.65 million, or about €12.5 million.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/inside-meghan-and-harry-s-new-14-7m-nine-bed-16-bath-california-home-1.4329424

“According to the most recent January 2020 Santa Barbara County Point-in-Time Count, 1,223 homeless individuals were counted, including 674 people living in emergency shelters or transitional housing. Most imagine a stereotypical person suffering from untreated mental illness or addiction as the average homeless person, but in fact, they make up 32 percent of the county’s total homeless population.
Many of those living on the streets or in shelters who are not in the 32 percent were working residents who missed a paycheck or incurred unexpected costs or rent increases they couldn’t afford — nearly half of those surveyed said it was their first time experiencing homelessness…
Of all school-aged children across the county, one in eight is considered homeless”
https://www.independent.com/2020/06/30/grand-jury-slams-santa-barbara-on-homelessness-and-housing/

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CL - August 14, 2020

“The Duchy of Cornwall owns 135,000 acres of land across the nation and made a £21 million profit last year.”
https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/fury-prince-charles-hikes-rent-21741440

“In trying to prove that they would renounce taxpayer money, Harry and Meghan gave Britons a peek at the shadowy world of ostensibly private finance that bankrolls the family and its mansions, gardens and considerable staff….
But what the royals call private contains, by any other measure, a generous mix of public giveaways: medieval landholdings passed from one male heir to the next, sweeping tax relief, indemnity from some laws and exemptions from others, ownership of long stretches of coastline and all the treasure buried in Cornwall….
the uproar over Harry and Meghan’s funding has raised uncomfortable questions for the prince and the royals about whether any of their income can truly be considered private…

Mr. Davis says that among people on the Isles of Scilly around where he lives and pays his rent to the duchy, the mood has hardened against Prince Charles.
“They hate him basically,” Mr. Davis said. “Most people can’t abide him. All the money he gets goes out of the island. And that’s how he can afford to give Harry £2.3 million to live his lifestyle.”

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13. sonofstan - August 14, 2020

There may be more to this story, but prima facie, the presence of Gardai standing by as tenants are evicted by force for no apparently good reason is sickening.
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/housing-activists-assist-tenants-to-re-enter-property-following-eviction-1.4329791

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yourcousin - August 14, 2020

Where are the Roscommon ribbon men when you need them?

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WorldbyStorm - August 14, 2020

In the midst of a pandemic too.

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Alibaba - August 14, 2020

I was told about foreign nationals working and living in a home that was gutted and being redecorated. Once this was finished, locks were changed and they were thrown out along with their few belongings. Gruesome.

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14. gypsybhoy69 - August 14, 2020

Might be a need for a new irregular feature, there could be this one already. Something to add to the what I’ve been reading/gardening tropes. A what I’ve been watching feature.
Ok so we all know of the schizophrenic hydra that is the BBC. The BBC of Laura Kuenssberg, Nick Robinson and Fiona Bruce’s QT at one end and the BBC of BBC 4 and Radio 6 at the other end.
A BBC that the Tories call Marxist and a BBC that Marxists call rabidly right wing. It’s complicated.

So recently I’ve finished two BBC documentaries that I would recommend, the first one to a lesser extent but still powerful tv, that being the The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty. Watching it and following the timeline it left me seriously wondering whether Trump and Brexit were Murdoch’s payback for the personal hell he went through in 2011. Fascinating three parter.

The other documentary was Once Upon a Time in Iraq which just left me enraged but compelled. We lived through this but it’s scary how inured people can become to what is still happening in the name of bringing democracy to Iraq. I seriously recommend this five parter .

I’ve watched episode one of the two part BBC Castro documentary and I can say it’s definitely NOT up to the standard of these other two documentaries. Episode one to me was just plain lazy, it did try to be clear that Cuban revolutionaries had a right to fight for a better Cuba but after that it bent over backwards to equate Cuban international policy with America’s. Didn’t even give any explanation to the nature of the South African state pre the 1990’s.

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WorldbyStorm - August 14, 2020

What I’ve been watching – I like it – will check out those series – sound great – just on Cuba I’d have my criticisms of it in various ways but it’s solidarity in Africa was no small thing.

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6to5against - August 17, 2020

If we’re doing this, I’ve been watching Snowpiercer on Netflix. Seriously gritty, but with enough sympathetic characters to offset the prevailing sense of awfulness.

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gypsybhoy69 - August 14, 2020

That should have read definitely NOT up to the standard of the other two.

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WorldbyStorm - August 14, 2020

Fixed that but was able to gather it from what you wrote

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Fergal - August 14, 2020

What I’ve been watching… Rita… a Danish series about Rita, a schoolteacher… that’s all I’ll say!

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crocodileshoes - August 14, 2020

Watch ‘Bordertown’, the best series I’ve seen on Netflix. Finnish. Great central performances. You’ll thank me.

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WorldbyStorm - August 15, 2020

Right that does it definitely posting up a What we are watching thread!

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AdoPerry - August 17, 2020

The five parter on Iraq was excellent. The personal stories were powerful.

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15. Paul Culloty - August 15, 2020

Perhaps Connolly would genuinely have opposed a worker-led uprising, but I find it hard to believe:

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yourcousin - August 15, 2020

This reply made me laugh.

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Colm B - August 15, 2020

A good article from Jacobin on the workers response to electoral fraud and repression in Belarus.
https://jacobinmag.com/2020/08/belarus-strike-election-fraud-lukashenko

The CYM’s response is typical of those who routinely support the crushing of workers struggles in states which are perceived to be hostile or in conflict with western imperialism.

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WorldbyStorm - August 15, 2020

+1

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Colm B - August 16, 2020

My guess is that, unfortunately, with Lukashenko on the verge of being ousted by popular revolt, Putin will intervene directly to save him. Hope I’m wrong but watch out for either old style tanks rumbling in or little green men, Crimea style. Putin won’t tolerate the loss of an ally (albeit an unreliable one) so close to home.

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Alibaba - August 16, 2020

CYM rushed in to support a despot. Putin, ditto.

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Colm B - August 16, 2020

Another good article on the revolt in Belarus, focusing on the class basis of the popular mobilisation.

http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article6771

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16. tomasoflatharta - August 15, 2020

“Helmut Oberlander”, a whistleblower, explains the recent split in the Workers’ Party / Official IRA. The message below was sent to Ed Moloney.

Once again, in the history of left-wing organisations which degenerate politically, we see the needs of the apparatus (in this case criminal businesses created by a conspiratorial army aided by North Korean forged dollars) prioritised against legitimate struggles waged by the working class and its allies.

This form of left politics is today be emerging via the ideology of “Campism”, where régimes like Xi Jinping’s China (a major capitalist power) are supported when they are competing against Donald Trump’s USA. Xi Jinping and company know that “left wing” puppets in foreign lands can be cynically bought. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/08/15/the-official-ira-and-workers-party-in-the-wake-of-the-de-rossa-split-the-broken-elbow/

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17. sonofstan - August 15, 2020

“Insane Stampede: Britons in France Scramble to Get Home” (sez the Guardian)
There may be some men in Calais with access to inflatables who could help?

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18. Starkadder - August 15, 2020

Depressing – a planned speech by Professor Adolph Reed Jr. to the Democratic Socialists of America has been cancelled after complaints from some DSA activists calling Reed (horrors!) a “class reductionist”.

“God have mercy, Adolph is the greatest democratic theorist of his generation,” said Cornel West, a Harvard professor of philosophy and a Socialist. “He has taken some very unpopular stands on identity politics, but he has a track record of a half-century. If you give up discussion, your movement moves toward narrowness.”

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WorldbyStorm - August 15, 2020

😦 That’s not good news.

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CL - August 15, 2020

“Most, but not all Brooklyn officials – both Jewish and non-Jewish – were quick to condemn news that the New York City branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has been asking candidates seeking their support to run for city council seats next year if they will “pledge not to travel to Israel if elected to City Council in solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation?”….
While many in the Jewish community are alleging the DSA is antisemitic, a growing number of Black elected officials are casting a wary eye at the organization as well….
allegations among a number of Black elected officials that the DSA is a white and white Latino-led organization that puts up token Black candidates in an effort to politically gentrify Black communities.”
https://www.kingscountypolitics.com/bklyn-officials-rip-dsa-for-targeting-israel-in-questionnaire/

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WorldbyStorm - August 15, 2020

Interesting.

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EWI - August 18, 2020

While many in the Jewish community are alleging the DSA is antisemitic, a growing number of Black elected officials are casting a wary eye at the organization as well….

The corruption endemic to the second- and third-generation of black leaders (not the original civil rights activists but their offspring) does call to mind the cashing-in of John Hume’s son and others, here… And the DSA’s call to BDS is a counter to relentless Israeli attempts to bring Americans on Potemkin tours of ‘greater Israel’ to strengthen their grip on US politics.

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roddy - August 18, 2020

What was the story re Hume’s son?

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19. CL - August 15, 2020

“The New York City Police Benevolent Association personally endorsed President Trump on Friday night for the next election as the commander in chief leans into his “law and order” platform….

“I cannot remember when we’ve ever endorsed for the president of the United States until now — that’s how important this is,” said Pat Lynch, the combative PBA president at an event with Trump in his Bedminster club Friday evening….
In a speech that also featured an appearance by Rudy Giuliani, Trump attacked Democrats for waging “a left-wing war on cops” and called out Mayor Bill de Blasio specifically for launching a so-called “crusade against the police.”
We have to bring law and order back to our cities, back to our country,” Trump said”
https://nypost.com/2020/08/14/nypd-union-endorses-trump-nicknames-joe-biden-sleepy-joe/

“Lynch … a man from another time, and an anachronism in the political and social environment in which he is so important.
While the patrol force has become increasingly diverse, the 27-person PBA executive board is overwhelmingly white….
The question is, will the PBA’s long tradition of intransigence, right-wing politics and defense of brutality carry them through this turbulent period, or is a new political dynamic already at hand?”
https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-how-police-unions-got-their-power-20200613-jgqaeq7l4bhyvgixsxx3psx434-story.html

“In December 2014, when Lynch blamed the two officers’ murders on de Blasio, NYPD officers made two-thirds fewer arrests and wrote 94% fewer tickets than they had during the same period the year before…
As a gel-haired, pinstripe-suited union boss, Lynch is in many ways a throwback to an earlier era in New York politics, in which white men with tough-on-crime views were politically mainstream and brass-knuckled political brawlers from public sector unions were the norm. In archetypal NYPD fashion, Lynch was raised in a large Irish-Catholic family in Bayside, Queens…..
Pat Lynch is so famous for racist and vitriolic rhetoric, which fuels the fire,”
https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/meet-men-who-scared-de-blasio-away-police-reform.html

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WorldbyStorm - August 15, 2020

😦

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20. CL - August 16, 2020

“NYPD union endorsed Trump. I’m sure this is part of their neighborhood outreach plan,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district spans the Bronx and Queens.
“Also, does anyone else see a potential problem with police unions – enforcement arms of the state with lethal weapons – promoting “preferred” candidates for office or is that just me?” she added.

“I’m speechless. NYC is a beautifully diverse, working class, democratic city. The NYPD is clearly showing they are not interested in working with the people of our city,” tweeted Jamaal Bowman, a progressive newcomer who overthrew longtime Rep. Elliot Engel in a June primary.”
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/new-york-democrats-angered-nypd-union-endorses-trump

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21. Alibaba - August 16, 2020

Trump seeks to suppress the postal ballot in pandemic times, defunding the service and appointing a new Director that supports him and who will “make it great again”. Oh my.

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CL - August 16, 2020

“The president — who has falsely claimed that mail-in ballots lead to voter fraud even though he himself has repeatedly cast absentee ballots in Florida — said this week that he did not want to give the Postal Service money because it would then be able to deliver mail-in ballots to voters across the country. (He later backtracked.)…
Biden’s campaign released a statement Thursday accusing the Trump administration of “sabotaging” a basic service because “he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years.”
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/clarissajanlim/trump-post-office-usps-election-funding

” Trump sought to reframe the fall election two days before the Democratic National Convention, arguing on Saturday that key economic and pandemic indicators were moving in his favor, while attempting to shift blame for US Postal Service funding problems to Democrats and refusing to acknowledge his administration’s efforts to undermine the agency three months before Election Day….
On Friday, the postal service, which is mired in longstanding funding problems, warned nearly all 50 states and Washington, DC, that mail-in ballots may not be received by election offices in time to be counted….
62% of Joe Biden’s supporters say they plan to cast their ballot by mail, while 72% of Trump supporters say they will vote in person.”
https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/16/politics/trump-election-2020-usps-post-office/index.html

Liked by 1 person

Alibaba - August 16, 2020

Exactly, I see, serious attempts to bring down Biden’s postal ballots and uncommon efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the result in November, in case it goes the wrong way.

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WorldbyStorm - August 16, 2020

Not unprecedented but the sheer blatant aspect of it is something else.

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Alibaba - August 17, 2020

Pelosi recalls House early to fight postal service election ‘sabotage’

‘Her comments echoed those of Bernie Sanders, who told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting and his administration’s efforts to block funds for the US post office amounted to “a crisis for American democracy” ahead of the November presidential election.

“What you are witnessing is a president of the United States who is doing everything he can to suppress the vote, make it harder for people to engage in mail-in balloting at a time when people will be putting their lives on the line by having to go out to a polling station and vote,” he said.’

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/17/us-postal-service-crisis-pelosi-recalls-house-early-to-fight-election-sabotage

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CL - August 17, 2020

“In normal times, you would expect that any politician would be really leery of slowing the mail down. You’re hearing outrage across the country. But we’re seeing the Trump administration digging in and Republicans falling in line behind them. I think we’re seeing the dominance ideology has over logic, to the point where anyone would support a slowing down of vital service like the Postal Service….
if the general public weighs in with the kind of outrage that we’re just starting to hear, that could cause the kind of pressure we need to get the postal service functioning more like it really should to help protect democracy and maintain the service that people expect every day.”
https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/08/13/trump-usps-postal-service-post-office-history-395024

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CL - August 18, 2020

” U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is set to announce later on Tuesday that he will suspend all operational reforms and initiatives until after the November presidential election,…
DeJoy will also announce an expansion of a task force on election mail to include postal unions.”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-post-office-statement-ex/exclusive-u-s-postmaster-general-to-pause-all-operational-reforms-after-outcry-idUSKCN25E2GI

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22. sonofstan - August 16, 2020

Unbelievable shipwreck with A-level results here: Ofqual (ffs) have U turned so many times now, having a mere 5 months to prepare. As Ash Sakara put (before another few iterations of the ‘policy’)

” A teacher might think five of their students are capable of getting an A, but come the exam, only an average of three each year will actually achieve it. So the idea is, in a year without exams, a school’s results should reflect its average performance rather than an assessment of the individual student. But that’s like saying that just because a certain number of people die every day, you shouldn’t mind your mother getting murdered”

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - August 16, 2020

‘Sarkar’

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WorldbyStorm - August 16, 2020

Is there any hint of a possible resolution?

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sonofstan - August 16, 2020

The key will be how universities work it. If most people get what they were offered then it’ll dissipate: but that’s a whole generation of 18 year olds who just needed to be reminded of this come election time.

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WorldbyStorm - August 16, 2020

Okay, so in a way the problem has been dropped in their laps. That point in political terms is potentially crucial.

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sonofstan - August 16, 2020

Yeah. re the universities: I only know how our dept. has done, but almost shockingly we’ve ended up with close to exactly the numbers we budgeted for pre-Covid.
On the political point: 10 years on, I know people who were students then and voted LibDem on the tuition fees promise who will never forgive them.

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WorldbyStorm - August 16, 2020

And who can blame them? What a shower the LibDens were and are.

That’s intriguing re the numbers.

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tafkaGW - August 17, 2020

The Brexiteer government in dUK have fecal-Midas syndrome. Everything they touch turns to shit.

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sonofstan - August 17, 2020

It’s almost impressive that they’d come up with a cock-up almost designed to antagonise their own voters: not students, who are probably lost, but the ambitious parents in southern constituencies who invest great deal of social capital – and ordinary capital – in the educational success of their kids. Hard not to notice that it’s the first time that Tory MPs have criticised one of their own since the election, bar the Cummings debacle.

Liked by 1 person

Alibaba - August 17, 2020

Yes, I’m resisting the temptation to be gleeful.

Liked by 1 person

6to5against - August 17, 2020

I was wondering why the Irish results weren’t being released until Sept 7: as much work as the process entails, they had since the beginning of June to sort it out – which is more than they would normally have to run the exams, organise marking and collate results. Now I ‘m wondering if the delay was intentional, so that they could see how the UK system worked and what sort of flack was thrown at the ‘results’.

But if they were hoping the UK would also provide an easy PR solution to the whole mess, they have been sorely disappointed.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2020

Yep, there’s no PR solution for this one!

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sonofstan - August 17, 2020

Right Tory cock up and where’s Starmer?

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crocodileshoes - August 17, 2020

The pressure will now be on to give all students in Ireland the original, teacher’s estimate. Thing is, a friend who’s a secondary teacher got a cast-iron guarantee from the very top of the ASTI that those original marks and rankings would NEVER be revealed, documents related to their compilation should be destroyed and any possible appeals could query only the process, not the figures.

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Jim Monaghan - August 17, 2020

“and any possible appeals could query only the process, not the figures.”. Makes appeals meaningless.

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23. tafkaGW - August 17, 2020

General strike in white Russia!

Whoop!

Now what the opposition need to do is convince Putin that they will remain neutral and not allow NATO ingress into the country.

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tafkaGW - August 17, 2020

remain->become

come to think of it.

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Colm B - August 17, 2020

Yes, I think that’s Putin’s minimum requirement. Q. is, even if he’s satisfied on the NATO issue, can he tolerate a democracy (in the minimal sense of competitive elections, relatively free press, right to organise free unions etc.) so close to home? The fear of civil unrest spreading into Russia is his real nightmare. It’s not a general strike in Belarus that the Russian ruling class fears but a general strike in Russia.

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24. Paul Culloty - August 17, 2020

Interesting IT article on whether you can say the Irish language is still alive if it largely comprises L2 speakers, that said the differentiation between “Gaels” and “non-Gaels” was offputting, as though clunkily imported from a Scottish context (I know there used to be the Galltacht opposed to the Gaeltacht, but not for many decades now):

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/irish-is-a-language-of-the-sympathetic-middle-class-1.4331515#click=https://t.co/uMnR6TFUaE

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WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2020

I felt much the same. The idea of Gael’s and non-Gaels seems unecessary and in a way exclusionary. That said whatever it takes re the Irish language.

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sonofstan - August 17, 2020

I got interested in current Welsh language pop/rock/indie/ whatever after reading about Adwaith somewhere – there’s tons of great music there. It’s a puzzle as to why Irish has no equivalent (as far as I know – happy to be proved wrong)

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crocodileshoes - August 17, 2020

Mark Abley’s book ‘Spoken Here’ very good on survival or otherwise of ‘dying’ languages – the existence of a youth culture using the language is one of key factors. S4C gets a lot of credit.

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WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2020

Interesting, so enthusing younger people does the trick. It’s amazing how many great acts there are, Gwenno etc, who are in that Welsh cultural field. Really impressive.

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Bartholomew - August 17, 2020

Sonofstan, I can think of two reasons (I’m sure there are others).

First is the relative health of the two language communities. The Welsh-speaking parts of Wales are orders of magnitude bigger than the Irish-speaking parts of Ireland, and also proportionately a lot more urban (small and medium-sized towns).

The second reason is the musical traditions of the two communities going back maybe two centuries. They both had lots of dance music and solo singing, but in Wales the strength of choral singing created a massive musical infrastructure in most areas already by the late 18th century. The Eisteddfod is the best known, and was the model for later festivals in Ireland and Scotland, but there were regional and national choral festivals and competitions continuously alongside it, and a massive popular participation in it. You find printed music in Welsh, some stave but mostly sol-fa for choirs, being produced in the smallest towns, such as Dolgellau and Llanidloes, from 1800 onwards. There’s nothing like that in Irish, or indeed in any other ‘small’ language in Europe. Czech, maybe, and that’s mostly in a big city, Prague.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2020

So the urban aspect would cut out the cringe kneejerk almost anti-rural aspect of this sometimes found in Ireland? That seems very plausible.

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sonofstan - August 17, 2020

” The Welsh-speaking parts of Wales are orders of magnitude bigger than the Irish-speaking parts of Ireland, and also proportionately a lot more urban (small and medium-sized towns)”

Kind of begs the question though as to why Welsh survives in towns with large numbers of English speakers (Bangor for example) whereas Irish seems to perish on contact with the first blow- in to a gaeltacht town or village.

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WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2020

That’s an interesting question. How has it survived in those contexts? Some sense of distinctiveness on the part of those using it and a sense of self-identification that is different to English speakers, something else?

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tafkaGW - August 18, 2020

Reasons:

a) Orthography – Welsh is an order of magnitude easier to read using modern spelling.

b) Welsh somehow became ‘cool’ to speak bilingually, I suspect due to the efforts in popular culture including choirs.

c) A less ‘purist’ approach was taken to learning and using Welsh.

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sonofstan - August 18, 2020

“Welsh somehow became ‘cool’ to speak bilingually”

Dunno – a lot of the people you hear speaking Welsh in north Wales don’t look as if ‘cool’ is a major factor in their decision making. But I don’t know enough to be able to say anymore about this really.

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Bartholomew - August 18, 2020

tafkaGW: ‘Welsh is an order of magnitude easier to read using modern spelling’
That depends. It’s more phonetic than Irish spelling. That makes it easier to pronounce but more difficult to understand. Mutations are visible in Irish, invisible in Welsh. Before the internet, you often didn’t know what word you were dealing with.
An example – the word for chair is very similar in Irish and Welsh – cathaoir, cadair
But then ‘on the chair’ is ‘ar an gcathaoir’ and ‘ar y gadair’. The initial ‘c’ has disappeared in welsh, and a learner doesn’t know what the original word was and can’t look it up in a dictionary. In Irish it’s always visible.
[Sorry for the detail – years of false starts in Welsh have taken their toll!]

Sonofstan – my own feeling about the begged question is that a lot of it was down to organised religion. Welsh non-conformists (methodists and the like) used Welsh as part of their identity, and a lot of the structures of sociability (eg choirs) were connected to churches. Those churches were not territorially organised, you joined the one you wanted, which could be Welsh-speaking or English-speaking. In Ireland, the Catholic church was an international organisation and was organised by parish. Parishes had to pick a language (as well as Latin) and that was almost always English.

That’s partly why you had not just Welsh-speaking communities in towns but also much larger industrial cities in the valleys (like Merthyr Tydfil) where Welsh was the spoken language (up until 1900 or 1914 anyway). Rural-urban migration was often to Welsh-speaking towns – in Ireland it was nearly always to North America and GB.

Sorry for all the detail – but it’s the ‘what you want’ thread, so I’m not derailing anything!

Liked by 1 person

Michael Carley - August 18, 2020

What might also be important is that there was no city in Wales which was as dominant as Dublin is in Ireland. Cardiff has only been a city since 1905 (Merthyr was the de facto capital before that). On top of that there was indigenous heavy industry based on local raw materials so there might not have been a “need” to learn the boss’s language: if hundreds of men are going down a coal mine, they can do the job just as well in Welsh as in English.

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Michael Carley - August 18, 2020

And, canvassing in Cardiff last year (Labour-Tory marginal), I had a doorstep exchange after putting forward the line: a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for the Tories.

“We’re Welsh speakers. We vote Plaid.”

“Yeah, but that’s going to help the Tories.”

“We’re Welsh speakers in this house. We vote Plaid.”

There was no aggression to it, but there was no vote to be had there.

Liked by 1 person

Bartholomew - August 18, 2020

‘If hundreds of men are going down a coal mine, they can do the job just as well in Welsh as in English’

Exactly, or maybe even do it better – in a life and death job like mining, quick reactions and understanding would be crucial, so the first language would be used. In fact, in the mid-nineteenth century, when people from England began to migrate to the valleys, they initially had to learn Welsh to work in mines and steel. That was the case up until 1880 or so, after which the flood of English workers overwhelmed Welsh in a lot of workplaces and towns. Between 1880 and 1900, about 100,000 workers from western England migrated to Glamorgan, the coal and steel county, and that changed the linguistic balance for good.

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sonofstan - August 18, 2020

“That was the case up until 1880 or so, after which the flood of English workers overwhelmed Welsh in a lot of workplaces and towns”

There were quite a few Irish in the valleys before then as well weren’t there?

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Bartholomew - August 19, 2020

There were, from the 1820s onwards, with a big flow during the Famine. They mostly came from south Munster and Kilkenny. As far as I know, they worked in factories and docks much more than in mines, and were a substantial minority in some towns. Like the English later, they didn’t assimilate linguistically. There were anti-Irish riots by Welsh workers throughout the 19th century.

As a musician, if you’re curious about music printing in Welsh (unlikely, but you never know!) you can see the first music theory book printed in Welsh on Googlebooks – search for ‘Mills Gramadeg Cerddoriaeth’. Printing staff music was tricky at the best of times, and this one was printed in 1838 in Llanidloes in mid-Wales, which had maybe 2,500 people living in it at the time, so a very small town. That would be astonishing in any language.

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sonofstan - August 20, 2020

@Bartholomew,
That is interesting – hadn’t thought of it before, but the ways in which music was preserved, transmitted and collected says a lot. The book you point fulfils a practical need, much more than an antiquarian interest, which is telling.

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tafkaGW - August 20, 2020

“We’re Welsh speakers. We vote Plaid.”

But there again there’s evidence a more cunning approach to the preservation and adaptation of the language – Plaid has a non-native speaker of Cymraeg in the dUK House of Commons as leader now.

Plaid Cymru self-identifies as ‘social democratic and democratic socialist’ these days.

@Bartholemew. If you’re familiar with the consonant mutation rules in Welsh you know where to find the word in a dictionary, surely?

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Bartholomew - August 20, 2020

Sonofstan – exactly, a practical manual, mostly bought I imagine by choirmasters, music teachers etc. The print run for a book in the mid-nineteenth century would be at least 200, usually much more. The idea that there would be that amount of choirmasters etc. in the region of a small town in mid-Wales in 1838 is extraordinary. And this is at a time when next to no books of any kind were printed in Irish.

TafkaGW – you’re absolutely right, but you need to know the rules very well and have your wits about you! I find it much easier in Irish when the original word is there in front of you. And there are some cases in Welsh where different initial letters take on the same mutation – words beginning in ‘m’ and ‘b’ both start with ‘f’ in certain cases.

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Colm B - August 17, 2020

I think the use of that terminology in the context of Ireland is non-sensical. It implies ethnic differences that dont exist. Its usage might have some accuracy in relation to Scotland in the past, when there was a clear ethnic division between lowland Scots speakers and Highland Gaelic speakers. Highland gaelic speakers in Scotland reffered to themselves as Gaels to differentiate from the lowland Scots and some still do.
However in Modern Ireland when someone uses the term Gaels, or ‘Na Gaeill’ n Irish, they almost always use it to simply mean ‘The Irish’.

The correct terms, commonly used by linguists and sociologists are: native speakers and neo-native speakers. Native speakers are those for whom Irish was the home language of the family who lived in traditionally Irish speaking areas – it also implies generational continuity – their family having spoken Irish back many generations.
Neo-native speakers are those who were brought up by Irish speaking families in English speaking areas and without generational continuity- in other words their parents or grandparents were not native speakers but revivalists who chose to speak the language at home to their children.
I fall into that category myself. My parents were revivalists who did not come from Irish-speaking families, only one of my grandparents could speak Irish. But because my parents always spoke Irish at home, it was my first language.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2020

That I did not know. Amazing how important the family/home is, perhaps something that in the linked to piece is ignored a bit in favour of a more almost essentialist argument that I find offputting. My mother is originally English but my father was a fluent speaker due I think to being a teacher. His love of it certainly had an effect on me even at the time in regard to respecting it and being more open to it. That said he didn’t really use it much at home.

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25. yourcousin - August 17, 2020
WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2020
26. Tomboktu - August 17, 2020

Is anybody here able to suggest which of Svetlana Alexievich’s books one should pick?

Liked by 1 person

27. CL - August 18, 2020

Democratic National Convention; Steven Stills and Billy Porter

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28. Tomboktu - August 18, 2020

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29. CL - August 18, 2020

“Women leaders acted “more quickly and decisively” to save lives by locking down their nations to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to a study.
Their actions in the early days of the pandemic resulted in “systematically and significantly better” outcomes for their citizens than in countries led by men, the research suggested.”
https://www.breakingnews.ie/world/women-leaders-saved-lives-from-covid-19-by-locking-down-earlier-study-says-1014380.html

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tafkaGW - August 20, 2020

Yes. Too big a sample just to be coincidence.

I have to keep repeating that I’m no fan of Frau Dr. Merkel’s politics, but had she not been in charge Germany would be in a worse place right now, I’m reasonably convinced.

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30. roddy - August 20, 2020

Golfgate includes Pat McCartan.Is he still a judge?

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