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Meanwhile, away from the spotlight… July 16, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Of course there are curiosities about the Trump/Putin relationship, not least, as one commentator put it, the extraordinary deference exhibited by the former to the latter. It’s not that one would want discourtesy, what would be the point, but rather that what is said is odd in the extreme even from the perspective of many who would like a more congenial tone in international relations.

But away from those highly visible events there’s this, the continuing deconstruction of what partial protections exist within the US economy for workers and others. And yet again the sub-‘workerist’rhetoric of Trump (and Bannon et al) is shown up for the entirely hypocritical cant that it is… So for example the ‘war on poverty’ is declared over and mission successful in order to strip out social protection programmes:

That new messaging strategy provides fresh support for the administrations stated goal of tying public benefits to work requirements more closely. The report argues that more than half of those who are not disabled and receive benefits work fewer than 20 hours per week. “Expanding work requirements in these noncash welfare programs would improve self-sufficiency,” the report said, “with little risk of substantially reversing progress in addressing material hardship.”

Unrequited love (of sorts) July 16, 2018

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Thought this was worth reading, from Feargal Cochrane of the University of Kent on the RTÉ website as he examines the following:

Recent polling from Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft suggests that two-thirds of pro-Brexit voters would rather leave the Customs Union than avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Six out of ten people surveyed “would not mind either way” if Northern Ireland voted to leave the UK.

I’ve mentioned it before, but his book on Unionist Politics and the Politics of Unionism since the Anglo-Irish Agreement is one of the best. Well worth a read if you haven’t already.

Left Archive: Marxism Today April 1968 (CPGB) July 16, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link. mt-april-1968.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who scanned and forwarded this to the Archive.

Of most interest is an article on Neo-Colonialism and Ireland by C. Desmond Greaves which engages with a variety of issues relating to Ireland.

It concludes that:

For many years neo-colonialism in ireland as elsewhere was able to divert attention from its activities by flaounging the Communist bogy. Partly as result of international developments, but also partly because its increased blatancy has opened the eyes of many formerly ucmomprehending sections fothe preopl, all has now changed. A national united front, including the communists (Irish Workers Party in the twenty-six counties, Communist Party in the six), is being forged in the course of vigorous struggles on such issues as evictions, land consolidations, co-operative farming, Anglo-Irish Trade Relations, entry into the EEC, as well as such international issues as the Vietnam ar, and apartheid in South Africa. Not for a generation has the Irish movement been so vigorous and united.

In 1967 both the Irish Labour Party and the Sinn Féin party introduced socialism into their programmes. It is a sign of the times.

There is also mention of the June 1968 issue of Marxism Today “the month of the centenary of Connolly’s birth, will devote a large part of its space to his work and writing”.

Religious divides… July 15, 2018

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As a former reader of the Church of Ireland Gazette, some of my closest relatives in the house I grew up in were ex-CofE and went over to the CofI on arrival in Ireland, I was always entertained by the pseudonymous Cromlyn who had a regular column in that august publication. Now I think it fair to say Cromlyn was no radical. That said I cannot recall his view on the motions passed the CofI General Synod in 1984 in regard to accepting women to the ministries of deacons, priests and bishops/archbishops.

This article in the IT by Canon Marie Rowley-Brooke goes some way to showing how progressive and conservative divides manifest everywhere. For example…
 

The Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) was initiated in 2008 as a conservative reaction to a partnered gay priest in the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church being appointed a bishop.
In April 2018, Gafcon opened a branch in Northern Ireland. Gafcon has an intense concern about “purity” in sexual matters, and promotes the expulsion of those who do not conform to its own particular reading of scripture.
It self-defines as the “true” voice of Anglicanism. It is not.

And:

It supports a theology of “headship”, ie, the “biblically-mandated” submission of women to their husbands and other men in positions of church authority. (Its general secretary, Peter Jensen, did not ordain women at all when he was Archbishop in the Sydney diocese).

And:

Two of our 12 Church of Ireland bishops are Gafcon members – I wonder how they cope with this tension when dealing with the sole woman bishop in the Church of Ireland. Do they practise “mental reservation”? Similarly when they ordain women as deacons and priests?

She very reasonably wonders how the two CofI bishops who are Gafcon members (from 12 bishops on the island)…

…cope with this tension when dealing with the sole woman bishop in the Church of Ireland. Do they practise “mental reservation”? Similarly when they ordain women as deacons and priests?

It’s an interesting insight into a Church which is grappling like others with the realities of changed social contexts.

This ain’t no meritocracy… July 15, 2018

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Really interesting interview conducted by Marc Maron on his show a while back with Bradley Whitford – of Get Out, the West Wing, etc. Whitford made a great point about acting which has much broader applicability:

I talk to young actors… [one] who said ‘if you’re good, and you work hard, and you really want it … you can have an acting career…’

And he said his reply was… ‘if you’re lucky’. And Maron and himself discussed how few people can be actors or stand-ups, that in some ways ‘if you’re good, work hard and really want it… you can have a good life in story telling in some way’.

Both noted that acting and comedy were no meritocracies… and this underscores the contradictions intrinsic in the narratives around success in our societies…

CLR Reading – Week 4 July 15, 2018

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On media David Wendling’s book is particularly interesting. I hadn’t heard of Breitbart’s first video interview at the White House with Sean Spicer. It’s not great. Nor, despite Bannon saying that Breitbart had become ‘the platform for the alt-right’ the fact that subsequently the site ‘would later kick back at descriptions that it was an ‘alt-right’ website, lodging complaints with several major news organisations that used the label when defining the site. But in truth Breitbart had started out, as Wendling notes, as potentially a right wing version of the Huffington Post (God help us all).

Breitbart himself while no shrinking violet, was no alt-righter – condemning birtherism for example. And then… he died in 2012. And enter Bannon as executive chairman. And following that there was a tilt away from the then recognisable shores of Republicanism (US style) to something… different. Obnoxious and coat-trailing, with folk like Milo Y on board. And the point is made for those outside the alt-right media bubble the site might look troll-like but it was consistent… consistently anti-immigration, anti-political correctness (as it defined the term), anti or skeptical of women’s equality, globalism and so on.

Objectivity wasn’t an issue. And by way of example Wendling examines the site’s coverage of the murder of Jo Cox MP by far right supporter Thomas Mair.

Breitbart joined the fray. It ran a live blog in the hours after the murder in an attempt to disassociated the killer… from eh far right – and indeed from politics at all. The site’s attempts to keep Mair at arm’s length from the far-right exceeded even Britain’s most fervent anti-EU tabloids, some of which played down or cautiously reported details pertaining to the killler’s potential motivations.

When the truth came out the site pivoted to… ‘pumping out stories – more than 30 in all in the week after Cox’s murder – several of which accused the pro-EU ‘Remain’ campaign of using the killing for political ends’. Furthermore as Wendling notes ‘given the intense effort devoted covering Cox’s murder it might have been expected that Mair’s sugsqeuqnt trail would be of big interest to the Breitbart audience. And yet the site was largely done with the story. Unlike most of the rest of the British media it gave only cursory coverage of the case… the concluding story (of two it did on that issue) made no mention of Mair’s Britain first’ shout’.

There’s more on Milo Y and his centrality to Breitbart and to the links between it and the alt-right more generally. Though surely his is a cautionary tale – with a fascinating rise and fall (perhaps tellingly Wendling quotes friends of his saying in the early 2010s he while no less flamboyant and argumentative was not at all marinated in alt-right tropes). And his role in publicising the alt-right is not merely restricted to a piece he wrote on ’An establishment conservatives guide to the alt-right’ written in 2016 which functioned as an entree and apologia for the ‘movement’ neglecting to mention the less savoury aspects. It also sought to put distance between the alt-right and those on the far right who supposedly preceded them. Though not too much of a distance. It was, by any reasonable definition positioning itself within a toxic discourse relating to race and culture.

From there we are on to the Daily Stormer and how it has attempted to fly the flag for anti-semitism. And the book agues that:

The cleavage between the identifiable neo-Nazi’s and the people who are simply obsessed with race and eschew outright whet supremacy is one of the key splits in the alt-right.

Sunday and the Week’s Media and other Stupid Statements July 15, 2018

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[Mary McAleese’s] assertion that baptised children are “infant conscripts” is grossly insulting to parents who sincerely wish to raise their children in their own faith tradition, be it Catholic, Church of Ireland or Presbyterian.

And yet not a sentence later one will read:

I do accept there can be a routine, culturally traditional attitude towards the subsequent sacraments of first Holy Communion and Confirmation. Confirmation has sadly almost become the “sacrament of exit” from the Catholic Church.
I would like to see it delayed to age 16 (as in some countries). There would be far fewer candidates, but they would be freely choosing to personally follow Christ.

Grossly insulting but more than half correct – eh?

Then…

In The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President, which will be released on 24 July and a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian, Spicer dramatically compares the work of a press secretary to that of fighter jet pilot, champion boxer and tightrope artist.

And there’s this…

Another straw in the wind is the unprecedented level of support in Ireland for the English World Cup team. Some of that is due to the modesty and honesty of the English manger and his players but it is also a sign of the more mature relationship between the two countries which has developed in recent decades. Hopefully that will help ease the path to a soft Brexit.

All other contributions gratefully accepted…

Bad singer July 14, 2018

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I kind of liked this. Stewart Lee writing about Morrissey and raising, yet again the issue of when do we separate art from artist?

But what to do when our idols disappoint us? Like a lot of the centrist dads that constitute his audience, I suddenly found I finally had to decide what to do with my Morrissey records.
I’ve got vintage psychedelic vinyl by actual murderers, and books of poetry by antisemites and paedophiles, who are hard to write out of literary history. And the increasingly reactionary comments made by Mark E Smith in his latter years will not tempt me to part with even the most unnecessary Fall compilation. But somehow, illogically and sentimentally, I held Morrissey to different standards.

Perhaps that is because Morrissey seemed, and I was never a fan, to hold himself to different standards. One might agree or disagree with Meat Is Murder – but it was a strongly articulate and political point that he made. And likewise with what seemed to be a genuine sympathy and understanding of what it was like to be different or poor or marginalised in society.

Stewart has taken matters in this direction:

As it happened, the break came easily. The last few weeks I’ve been smashing the plastic cases of my CDs, and filing them in folders, to save my children a tedious purge of obsolete physical media when I die.
Oddly, when I got to S (I file Morrissey’s solo stuff alongside the Smiths) I found myself putting Morrissey’s entire works, without really giving it any thought, into the box I was taking to the charity shop. I kept the vinyl of the Smiths’ debut, and the Hatful of Hollow compilation, totemic physical objects that link me to a certain mindscape, but the rest just suddenly seemed irrelevant.

Funny, that’s precisely what I’d keep.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Pixies, Trompe Le Monde July 14, 2018

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My favourite Pixies album? By a mile. Followed by Bossanova (which takes a completely different aesthetic, slower, more turgid). I liked Surfer Rosa a lot. Doolittle perhaps a little less. But Trompe Le Monde is where it’s at for me.

Why? In part because it’s the least Pixies of the lot of them. It has all the ingredients, but there’s something else at work here. Joey Santiago noted that there was no end of guitar shredding, the sound is more metallic but I think it’s more than that. There’s an expansiveness to the sound – it is less tightly wound than their previous works.

Granted a couple of the tracks are throwaway and one major criticism is that Kim Deal isn’t more prominent in the mix, but their loss was ultimately the Breeders gain. The Jesus and Mary Chain cover? Kudos, even if I listen very very rarely to the JAMC any longer – bar the first few EPs and the last album. The overall speed? Further kudos. The fact that this possibly deterred those who had climbed on board when they charted big? Excellent.

You’ll gather I like it.

Planet of Sound

Alec Eiffel

Head On

Subbacultcha

Motorway to Roswell

Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons – their most JAMC song. And fantastic with it…

The awful new Oireachtas web site July 13, 2018

Posted by Tomboktu in Complete nonsense, Crazed nonsense..., Democracy, Luddite protest, Uncategorized.
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Who the f*** in their right f***ing mind f***ing would ever the-f*** think the f***ing useless new f***ing design of the f***ing g*d f***ing awful f***ing Oireachtas f***ing website was a good idea?

A basic starting point they missed: most of it is essentially a reference library of texts: dull, boring but important speeches, parliamentary questions, bills, amendments and other procedural documents which nerds, activists, scholars, civil servants, and (some) journalists and (some) politicians need to look up. The main content of parliamentary proceedings is not graphic-led — it is driven by the spoken and written word — and the removal of documents like the sedate boring PDFs of the debates in favour of the large chunky font size hip-to-the-groove ‘infographic’ that might fit well on a news magazine’s web site (albeit a decade ago) is just not suitable for presenting sober, technical, official records to the public.

Form won over function there.

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