A nation once again

The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, which seeks unification with Ireland, hailed a “new era” Saturday for Northern Ireland as it captured the largest number of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time in a historic win.

With almost all votes counted from Thursday’s local U.K. election, Sinn Fein secured 27 of the Assembly’s 90 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party, which has dominated Northern Ireland’s legislature for two decades, captured 24 seats. The victory means Sinn Fein is entitled to the post of first minister in Belfast — a first for an Irish nationalist party since Northern Ireland was founded as a Protestant-majority state in 1921…

The victory is a major milestone for Sinn Fein, which has long been linked to the Irish Republican Army…(Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle) O’Neill stressed that it was imperative for Northern Ireland’s divided politicians to come together next week to form an Executive — the devolved government of Northern Ireland.

There is “space in this state for everyone, all of us together,” O’Neill said. “There is an urgency to restore an Executive and start putting money back in people’s pockets, to start to fix the health service. The people can’t wait.”

One of the worst examples of English Imperialism needs to end sooner rather than later. Too long overdue

Story of Iceland’s HERRING GIRLS

In 2021, Iceland nabbed the top spot on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for the 12th year in a row. A measure of gender parity in politics, the economy, education, health and other key areas, the report praised Iceland’s “strong performance” across the board, which enabled the island nation to close 89.2 percent of its gender gap—an increase over 2020. The United States, meanwhile, ranked 30th on the list…

Iceland’s high level of gender equality traces its roots to a remarkable period of rapid socioeconomic change. At the turn of the 20th century, herring fishing exploded in the North Atlantic, giving rise to boomtowns in northern Iceland—the equivalent of Gold Rush towns in North America. Seasonal influxes of fishermen fed roaring local economies and attracted herring girls, or women who came from across Iceland to take jobs gutting, cleaning and salting barrels of freshly caught fish. Known as síldarstúlkur in Icelandic, they found autonomy and opportunity in places like Siglufjörður, the island’s largest herring hub.

Herring girls helped secure the gender equality and economic agency that Iceland is known for today, fighting for equal pay and labor rights. In addition to financial independence, the boom years brought women a taste of life outside of their hometowns and farmsteads. “[The period is] often referred to as the ‘herring adventure,’” says Anita Elefsen, director of Siglufjörður’s Herring Era Museum, “because it was. It’s just so very different from anything else in Iceland’s history.”

The article is a great read. An important piece of Iceland’s history and an example to Europe and the world.

German elections: Center/Left=363 seats, Center/Right=279 seats in the Bundestag

The center-left candidate fighting to succeed Angela Merkel as Germany’s chancellor declared that his Social Democratic Party (SPD) intends to forge a “social-ecological-liberal coalition” after coming in first in Sunday’s election. With 25.7%, the SPD beat the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), currently in power, which garnered 24.1%, its worst showing in the 70-year history of the party…

In the new Bundestag, the breakdown for the parties will be 206 for the SPD, 196 for the CDU/CSU, 118 for the Greens, 83 for the ultra-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), and 39 for Die Linke (the Left Party).

“The voters have made themselves very clear,” Olaf Scholz, the SPD leader, said at a press conference Monday morning. He declared that his center-left party, the Greens, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) had all picked up significant numbers of new votes, while the conservative CDU suffered a loss in support of almost nine percentage points.

Americans who never peer across the pond have little understanding of the coalitions that rule many nations around the world. Perish the thought we should get the idea to fight for more principled electoral politics here, eh?

Photos from the Winning Side


Elders from North and South embrace, having lived to see Vietnam reunited and unoccupied by foreign powers
1975 – Photo by Vo Anh Khanh

The history of the Vietnam War is one that has been complicated by politics, and it is a history that is still being written and rewritten. The war involved a fratricidal conflict between the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the non-communist Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), and extended to neighboring Laos and Cambodia; however, it was also a proxy war in a Cold War contest between the communist bloc and the western bloc…

Vietnam was a transformational event and became an international symbol for the protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The war had a ripple effect that spread outwards from Vietnam to other countries and continents, an effect that was temporal as well as geographic, reaching not only the wartime generations but also the postwar generations…

The history of the war has been a partial one, underscored by the American dominance of the English-language historiography of the war and the focus on American policies and the American experience of the war, coupled with a mostly negative assessment of South Vietnam.

The so-called first ‘television war’, the Vietnam war was defined and shaped by cameras and the bold photographers behind them. The pictures collected in this article are part of the photographic book Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side and show the war from the Vietnamese perspective.

The collection is available from National Geographic Books / Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side.

You will also find used copies in good condition at Amazon.

After 128 years…

…Mississippi’s new magnolia flag starting to fly after vote to replace Confederate-style flag.

A new Mississippi flag without Confederate images was flying in parts of the state on Wednesday, one day after a majority voters approved the design that has a magnolia encircled by stars and the phrase “In God We Trust.”…

“Mississippi voters sent a message to the world that we are moving forward together,” former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson said in a statement.

Anderson led a nine-member commission that recommended the new flag design. Uncertified election results — which at midday Wednesday did not yet include numbers from Pearl River County — showed the new flag received more than 70% support. It got a majority in all reporting counties except George and Greene.”I have a renewed sense of hope for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and I know this new symbol creates better prospects for the entire state of Mississippi,” Anderson said.

Now’s the time to get more serious about removing all the Jim Crow practices that slide by underneath cosmetic advances. That’s not meant to diminish this achievement. Plenty of racist crud would rather have died than to see the “stars and bars” removed from their flag.

V-J Day remembered


Soldiers and sailors celebrate in Newark, NJ

After the surrender of Japan on 14 August 1945, two days of national holiday were announced for celebrations in the UK, the US and Australia.

Millions of people from the Allied countries took part in parades and street parties.

Germany had surrendered on 7 May 1945, followed by Victory in Europe (VE) Day on 8 May, but World War Two still continued in the Asia-Pacific region…

An estimated 71,000 soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth were killed in the war against Japan, including more than 12,000 prisoners of war who died in Japanese captivity.

It wasn’t until the US had dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on 6 and 9 August, that Japan surrendered and ended the war.

The recorded death tolls of the atomic bombings are estimates, but it is thought that about 140,000 of Hiroshima’s 350,000 population were killed in the blast, and at least 74,000 people died in Nagasaki.

It was sunny and warm in our Bridgeport neighborhood. VJ-day felt just like VE-day to kids – except that now the war was completely ended. We stopped playing war games that day – though our politicians never have.

NO citizenship question on the 2020 census


Wilbur Ross gets to be the front man for this lieElizabeth Brockway

❝ The Trump administration, in a dramatic about-face, abandoned its quest on Tuesday to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a week after being blocked by the Supreme Court…Faced with mounting deadlines and a protracted legal fight, officials ordered the Census Bureau to start printing forms for next year’s head count without the question.

The decision was a victory for critics who said the question was part of an administration effort to skew the census results in favor of Republicans. It was also a remarkable retreat for an administration that typically digs into such fights.

RTFA for all the nice guy analysis and chronology. Two things you should know:

1. There is no need for any NEW inquiry from the census bureau about citizenship. That question is covered in a number of questionnaires and bureau research. As a matter of course, they’ve been asking that question for decades. For the reasons decided in court after court – it simply has no part in the decadal census.

2. Chief Justice John Roberts in all the politesse required of public servants made it clear that Trump and his lackeys can tell all the lies they wish to the American public, including voters, as a Constitutional right. They do not have the right to lie to a Federal Court. And they were caught lying about their reasons for including this question. Scumbags do not get a do-over on their testimony.

UPDATE: The Liar-in-Chief is now contradicting his flunkies in the cabinet. He’s tweeting out silly-storms demonstrating once again his inability to stick to a decision. What a neurotic dork he is!

A Giant Step Forward in the Flint, Michigan, Water Crisis

From Rhea Suh, President NRDC


Unless you’re a Republican, nowadays

❝ For once, I am excited to report that there is good news on the Flint water crisis front. The pipes at the heart of the disaster are going to be replaced. For the first time in the three years since this Michigan city’s water was turned to poison, Flint’s citizens have a guarantee that the resources are in place to replace its estimated 18,000 lead pipes. And for the first time, they know when the pipes will be gone.

Let’s be clear, Flint is not fixed. But things are going to get better.

❝ This did not happen because of the city, state, or federal governments that failed them. It happened because brave people in Flint stood up for their neighbors. They went to court. One of the genius parts of American environmental protections are the citizen suit provisions in our major environmental laws. When the government fails to protect its citizens, we are all empowered to go to court and force the government to do its job.

❝ That happened in Flint. After the city and state trashed the drinking water infrastructure through a series of mistakes and errors, we joined with the Concerned Pastors for Social Action and Flint resident Melissa Mays to petition the federal government to use its emergency powers to help the beleaguered city. They refused. So, along with ACLU Michigan, we sued the city and state. The Safe Drinking Water Act also has provisions for citizens to enforce drinking water rules. Though there have only been a handful of these kinds of cases filed under the act, we all thought Flint seemed like a textbook situation for this type of case…

And today, that suit comes to the end with a settlement that guarantees that in three years, the lead pipes will be replaced. It guarantees that the state kicks in $67 million to help fix the mistakes, along with tens of millions more from federal sources…

❝ …But for today, let’s just celebrate good news for Flint. A city that deserves far more of it in the years to come.

I’ll second that emotion. RTFA for more details, past and present. Rhea Suh is too politely politic to trash-talk the conservatives, mostly in the Republican Party – and some Democrats deserve their share of condemnation for foot-dragging.

Too many folks hold elective office who consider budgets and balance sheets more important than the lives of the human beings they represent.