Saturday, 28 May 2011

No Longer Change, But Revolution a Necessity

Former MP Price calls for a revolution in our thinking

THE 14 men of Welsh ancestry who signed the American Declaration of Independence epitomised the kind of independent thinking needed in the world today, according to former Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price.
Yesterday Mr Price, who has been studying for a mid-career Masters degree in Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School, delivered his message to 32,000 graduates, staff and guests at the top American university’s annual graduation ceremony.
Long tipped as a future Plaid leader, Mr Price surprised many when he stepped down from Westminster last year and left for Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He later decided not to seek a seat for this month’s National Assembly election, and will be staying at Harvard for a further year as a Fellow in Harvard’s Center for International Development, where he will study the economic challenges facing small nations like Wales.
With one of his heroes – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia – sitting next to him as he delivered a speech on behalf of all graduates, Mr Price told the audience: “In Harvard Yard in 1775 George Washington’s army was housed here in Hollis Hall, wracked by exhaustion and fear, sustained only by coffee, canteen food and the promise of future happiness – it sounds a bit like finals week.
“Lined up on the opposite bank of the Charles river were hundreds of my Welsh ancestors, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, fighting for the British Army against the American Revolution.
“So I guess I am here to apologise really. You seem to have made a real success of this independence thing. Well done and thanks for leaving us Canada.
“But the people I think about most today are those of my Welsh ancestors that were on this side of the river, fighting for the revolution, who showed an independence of mind and spirit I want to invoke today.
“Fourteen of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence were Welsh, who had found here in America, as I have at Harvard, a space to think and chart their own course; who were inspired by the dream of freedom, first forged here, that is still troubling tyrants from Tripoli to Damascus.
“Unlike the hide-bound British who never broke ranks, the American Revolutionaries knew the value of fighting for each other, yet thinking for themselves. They struck out on their own, and built something new together.”
Referring to the colours of the graduation gowns before him, Mr Price said: “Today we are bathed in a sea of black and crimson. But in this university of knowledge lies a diversity of understanding.
“In the 133 countries represented here today ... it is our differences that give us our distinction
“Yet we live in a world of creeping homogenisation. A blue planet that’s becoming small and grey. Where a language is set to die every 14 days. Where globalisation puts a Starbucks on every street corner. Where Google has made the transfer of knowledge as easy as the click of a mouse. How else would we have finished our dissertations on time?
“Are we all slowly beginning to speak, to see, to sound the same? And even think alike.
“In one recent study half of all college students showed no improvement in their capacity for independent thinking by the end of their sophomore year. Even while sober.
“At its best the university is the incubator of independent inquiry, a cacophony of voices, opinions, arguments, a living debate that reshapes us as we shape it.
“In a world where the deepest problems defy easy resolution, surely the greatest risk is not taking risks at all. So will we have the courage to mount our own quiet revolution?
“Generations ago, there was an army of people drawn here from many lands that rejected the status quo. That turned their world upside down.
“So let’s today salute them: dissenters, the mavericks and heretics, pioneers and prime movers.
“Who know that without our willing to be wrong, we can never be right. That only by questioning what is can we begin to imagine what might be. That it’s in our originality we will find humanity’s greatest hope.”

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Some day Adam Price will be back home in Wales, to reinvigorate Plaid Cymru and bring original thinking and revolutionary ideas into the administration of Wales. Change has become a much-overused word, bandied around by all political parties. As a result it has lost impetus and meaning and the world still awaits a truly radical change in the thinking of many dyed-in-the-wool politicians and administrators. An exception is Alex Salmond, the chief minister of Scotland. Wales/Cymru awaits the kind of leadership and vision which he epitomises. Change must give way to revolution in which the world is transformed out of all recognition and Welsh society and economics along with it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Way Forward to Cymru Rhydd

From Penddu and the Act of Disunion

The Way Forward

In order for Wales to move progressively towards independence, then we will need to adress our constitutional status, by pursiung the transfer of powers from Westminster to Cardiff, and establshing the institutions neccesary to wield those powers.

However, this can not be done in isolation, and we need to make progress on two other fronts in parallel.

Firstly - the economy. An independent Wales will not succeed if we remain in our current economic mess, and we must look to build on our limited economic success stories, strengthen the weaker performing ones and identify new opportunities. It is apparent that the more successful independence movements in Europe (Catalonia, Basque, Flanders) all have strong economic bases to give themselves confidence. We can not simply say that we will become rich after independence - we must start building today.

Secondly - hearts and minds. Wales will never gain independence if its people consider themselves to be anything but Welsh. Recent polls have shown an increasing number of people who consider themselves Welsh before British, but a disappointing number still cling to the approns of the British Empire. Welsh conciousness has grown dramatically in the last few generations but it is still a work in progress and we must take every opportunity to build our nation in the hearts and minds of the people.

To achieve these two objectives it may be neccesary to discard current practices and start to think outside of the box. To challenge and cross current party battle lines and disregard political correctness. We need to shake things up!!
What a Libertarian Is - and Is Not
by Sam Wells
      A libertarian is a person - any person - who consistently advocates individual freedom and consistently opposes the initiation of the use of coercion by anyone upon the person or property of anyone else for any reason.  (Coercion is here defined as any action taken by a human being against the will or without the permission of another human being with respect to his or her body or property.  This includes murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, trespassing, burglary, robbery, arson and fraud.)  Some libertarians (such as the late Robert LeFevre) not only oppose all forms of initiatory coercion, but also the use of retaliatory coercion (revenge or criminal justice).  The vast majority of libertarians, however, maintain that physical force used in self-defense or defense of one's family or property is fully justifiable.
     But, all libertarians, by definition, at least oppose the initiatory use of coercion.  They support the rational principle of the individual human rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.  This means that each individual has the right to keep what he earns for himself and his family, and this includes the right to use, trade, sell, give away, or dispose of his property as he sees fit.  A person who violates the rights of others by initiating coercion, violence, or fraud against them forfeits his right to be left alone by government and may be arrested, charged, tried, and imprisoned, deported or executed if convicted (depending on the nature of his or her crimes).   The basic, proper function of lawful government is therefore limited to protecting these rights of the peaceful individual from criminals and foreign aggression, and in not violating these rights itself, for if government is allowed to go beyond this legitimate function and itself initiates force in violation of the rights of peaceful citizens, it necessarily contradicts the only rational justification for its own existence by acting criminally itself.
     Real libertarians take individual rights seriously - seriously enough to consistently uphold them against the initiation of the use of force by anyone (including government) for any reason.  This means that government must be bound by the policy of "laissez faire" - which means that government has no business coercively interfering with the lives of peaceful (non-coercive) citizens in their private affairs and voluntary (market) relationships.
     Libertarians may or may not approve of some of the things that some people may do in private or in voluntary relations, but whatever their own code of personal moral conduct is, they do not seek to ban any private or voluntary activities by the use of force, including the force of government action.  To do so would be to violate the very principle of individual rights of person and property, and thereby undercut any rational argument in favor of freedom or defense of the free-market system.  Those exception makers and outright coercive busy-bodies in our midst (referred to as "interventionists" or "statists" by libertarians) who do want to abandon government by principle and instead put Whim in charge of the use of legal coercion are the people who help set the stage for arbitrary and capricious governmental tyranny - leading in the direction of totalitarian dictatorship.
Libertarians Are Not Conservatives
     Libertarians are not "conservatives"; libertarians are radicals (principled advocates) for individual freedom and responsibility - and the pure free-market private-enterprise economic system which would result from a consistent application of that principle.  A "conservative" on the other hand is one who wishes to preserve the status quo.  The status quo in America today is the semi-socialist, semi-fascist mixed-economy welfare-state - a system inimical to personal freedom and responsibility.  Libertarians do not support such a system, and oppose any and all measures to expand it while favoring the total repeal of interventionist laws and regulatory agencies.
     Conservatives of the William F. Buckley or William Bennett variety are generally more concerned with imposing "order" than with allowing freedom.  Although they often (and rightly) complain that government has got "too big" and too meddlesome in our lives, on some specific issues they themselves favor using the political power of government to legislate and enforce their view of morality upon the populace in "the national interest" or for the "social good."   William Bennett, for example, opposes the legalization and/or decriminalization of the sale and use of heroin and cocaine, and he continues to support the no-win "War on Drugs" which is causing violence to escalate in our society.  Libertarians, on the other hand, realize that "enforced morality" (in such personal matters) is a contradiction in terms; without freedom of choice there can be no moral responsibility and personal growth.
     Libertarians also perceive that freedom brings about a more complex, dynamic and harmonious order in society (co-ordinated by the market price mechanism) than any static view of order imposed by central political planning and regulations of our non-coercive behaviors.
     Libertarians are for individual freedom - and this includes the freedom of people to do some things that we and other people may disapprove of.  A person should be free (from coercive interference) to do what he pleases with his own life and property, as long as he does not violate (through coercive interference) the same right of other peaceful persons to do what they want with their lives and properties.  (The second clause is logically implied in the first.)  Libertarians do not oppose non-coercive persuasion, educational efforts, private advertising campaigns, organized boycotts, or even social ostracism as means of trying to effect changes in the private behavior of others.  (Many people have stopped smoking tobacco in recent years partly as a result of education and persuasion by friends and family members.)  What libertarians do oppose is the attempt by anyone (individuals or government officials) to impose their own views of "fairness" or personal morality on others through the initiation of the use of coercion, by either personal violence or political legislation and governmental action.  This principled position sets libertarians apart from conservatives as well as other non-libertarians.
Libertarians Are Not Welfare-State "Liberals"
      Libertarians are not to be confused with the so-called "civil libertarians" which typify the membership and leadership of the American Civil Liberties Union.  It is true that the ACLU has come to the defense of freedom of speech for certain minorities (e.g., nazis, communists, and anarchists) and this is commendable - but the podium has often been at taxpayers' expense, which is a "no-no" from the real libertarian perspective.  Many "civil libertarians" believe that some people have a "right" to violate the rights of others; they claim there is a "right to a job" or a "right" to welfare payments or a "right" to "free education" or a "right" to free child care - all at the expense of the people (usually the taxpayers) who are forced to pay for these so-called "rights."   Real libertarians are for true freedom, not "freedom" at the forced expense of others.  The only obligation that true rights impose on persons is of a negative kind:  not to interfere with the rights of other people - i.e., to refrain from the initiation of the use of coercion. This is the core principle of libertarianism and is sometimes called the 'Non-Aggression Axiom'.
      Welfare-state "liberals" and "civil libertarians" speak of "rights" of people as members of specially privileged groups, such as "women's rights" or "gay rights" or "rights of the handicapped" or even so-called "animal rights"!  Real libertarians know that there are only individual rights, not group rights.  There is no such thing as "gay rights" or "black rights" or "white rights" or left-handed Martian rights.  Government must not be used to dish out special privileges to any group for any reason, since government cannot give anyone anything unless it takes it away from others by force, thereby violating their rights.  There can be no such thing as a "right" to violate the rights of others.
      No doubt there are some well-intentioned ACLU members who do promote true civil liberties and uphold human rights; however, the ACLU has not come to the defense of the rights of school children whose freedom is being violated daily by compulsory attendance laws and the tyranny of Federally-ordered forced busing.  Nor do I know of any case in which the ACLU has defended the constitutional rights of businessmen who are being harassed by OSHA agents and other bureaucrats, or hounded by such arbitrary and subjective laws as the antitrust acts.  Indeed, many "civil libertarians" seem callously insensitive to the victims of crime and legal plunder - while they defend known criminals from justice.
      Because of their consistent adherence to the principle of individual rights, libertarians are the only true defenders of liberty -- civil or otherwise.  Real libertarians understand that freedom of speech and other civil liberties depend on the sanctity of private property - not its violation by anti-discrimination laws and other forms of government intervention.
Libertarians Are Not for Unlimited Majority Rule
     Libertarians are not democrats.  While majority rule may or may not be as good as any other mechanism for selecting the men and women who administer the offices of government, libertarians deny that anyone or any group has a right to rule over other peaceful (non-coercive) citizens - whether they are in the majority or minority at any given time.  If stealing is wrong for an individual to do, it is still wrong when conducted by a large group or by a majority vote.  The number of people involved in an act does not change the rightness or wrongness of the act.  There is no magic number that turns an individual wrong into a collective right.   In a libertarian republic, the basic policy of government (i.e., laissez faire) is set by reference to fundamental principle -- the principle of individual rights -- and not determined by a show of hands.  Libertarians uphold the right of the peaceful individual to self-ownership and private property against any who would violate this right - even a majority.
Libertarians Are Not Anarchists
     Libertarians are not anarchists.  While it is true that some individuals favor a political system of competing vigilante committees, and refer to this position as "anarcho-capitalism" (a view formerly held by libertarian economist Murray Rothbard), this is a confusing misnomer based on an apparent failure to clearly distinguish between the nature of market institutions (which do not involve the use of coercion at all, either initiatory or retaliatory) and the nature of coercive entities (criminal or legal).  Actually, libertarianism rests on the concepts of individualism, self-ownership, private property, & voluntary (market) exchange.  Classical anarchism not only opposed the political state, but also some voluntary organizations of which it disapproved.  Most importantly, true anarchists opposed private property - without which no voluntary relationships are possible.  Today's libertarians are in the classical liberal tradition of Algernon Sidney, John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Edmund Burke, Herbert Spencer, and Frederic Bastiat -not the anarchist tradition of Proudhon, Kropotkin, and Bakunin.
Libertarians Are Not Pragmatists
     Libertarians do not advocate freedom or the free-market economy merely because "it works" (which it does better than any other system); they support it as the only non-coercive and just system - the system in which people are free to deal with one another on a voluntary basis as traders (exchangers of goods and services) instead of as masters and slaves - or as privileged class and exploited host.  Others advocate government by whim.  Libertarians adhere to certain principles, and without the guidance of principles and standards, all that is left is pragmatic expediency and the tyranny of government by whim. One might say that libertarians are "idealists" in the popular sense of that word; after all, libertarians stand for certain ideals - goals to strive for (e.g., less government intervention, more individual freedom and moral responsibility, free markets, etc.).  Because libertarianism is based on man's nature and the nature of reality, it is the most practicable social system.  Libertarians are practical idealists.

Monday, 23 May 2011

How a Welshman May Become a Cymro

book cover (Phenomenon of Welshness, The - Or, 'How Many Aircraft Carriers Would an Independent Wales Need?')

Siôn Jobbins

published: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch 03.03.2011
binding: Paperback
price: £7.50
ISBN: 9781845273118

Siôn Jobbins sometimes walks a tightrope between being thought-provoking and provocative. He writes of the Treachery of the Blue Books report in the 19th century and its continuing effect; the invention of St Dwynwen's Day; Welsh-language pirate radio in the 1960s; language protests; the changing Welshness of Cardiff and Swansea and the idea of a new Welsh royal family.
Mae Siôn Jobbins weithiau'n troedio'r ffin denau rhwng pryfocio a chythruddo. Yn y gyfrol hon mae'n sôn am 'Frad y Llyfrau Gleision' a'r effaith barhaus a gafodd yr adroddiad; dyfeisio Dydd Santes Dwynwen; radio answyddogol Cymraeg y 1960au; yr angen am brotestiadau iaith; Cymreictod cyfnewidiol Caerdydd ac Abertawe, a'r posibilrwydd o gael teulu brenhinol Cymreig

Irish Americans - 45,000,000 Descendants Include Obama

In Ireland, A Homecoming (Of Sorts) For Obama

Audio for this story from Morning Edition will be available at approx. 9:00 a.m. ET
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May 23, 2011
President Obama is in Ireland on Monday kicking off a six-day European trip during which he will visit Buckingham Palace, address British Parliament, attend the Group of Eight summit in France and meet with Central European leaders in Poland.
First though, the president has some family business to attend to: As Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny explained on St. Patrick's Day, the land of O'Connells, O'Neills, and O'Donnells is also the land of O'Bamas.
"I can tell you that in the history of the English language, never has a single apostrophe meant so much to so many," he said to applause.
Obama's personal connection to Ireland is on his mother's side. It was discovered four years ago, when researchers traced Falmouth Kearney, his great-great-great grandfather, to the village of Moneygall in County Offaly. Kearney was a shoemaker's son who sailed to America in 1850.
Canon Stephen Neill found Kearney's family records at Templeharry Church, just outside Moneygall. He's been fielding questions about Falmouth's most famous descendent ever since.
"It's good fun, but it's pretty tiring," he says, chuckling.
Two months ago, on St. Patrick's Day, Obama announced his plans to visit Moneygall during this European trip. Neill says the village of 296 people has been tidying up in anticipation ever since.
"The whole town has been painted from one end of the village to the other. A ... paint company provided paint for the entire village," he said. "And that really created a great community spirit because everyone was out simultaneously painting their own houses.
"That was lovely. People have been putting up window boxes. There was a flag-raising where 50 Irish flags and 50 American flags were raised simultaneously up the street. All in all, the place is looking really very well, and I'm sure the president will be impressed when he comes."
Irish old-timers can recall when President Reagan paid a visit to his family's village, Ballyporeen, and the temporary lift that gave the town. Many in Moneygall would welcome a similar moment in the spotlight.
"It's given people something positive to think about. Like yourselves, we've been living through particularly dire economic circumstances," Neill said. "It's given people, I think, confidence in themselves. And that positivity is already reaping rewards in terms of business and tourism.
"I hope certainly in the future that will continue to be the case."
Ireland's recession was deeper than the U.S. downturn, and the Irish economy is only just now beginning to grow again. The country has also had to swallow tough austerity measures in exchange for a European bailout. But Michael Collins, the Irish ambassador to the U.S., says his country will rebound.
"We're very much open for business," he said. "Ireland is a country whose business relationship with the United States is of vital importance to us. And the president's visit gives us a real boost and a real opportunity to promote that."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

O' Bama Visits Great-Great-Great-Grandfather's Home

Obama to kick off Ireland tour with Croke Park speech

82,000 set for stadium date with US president
By Eimear Ni Bhraonain 
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
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US President Barack Obama will address the Republic from a rally at Croke Park during his flying visit to Ireland on May 23.
Mr Obama will also stay in the capital overnight after his whirlwind tour of Dublin and Offaly. His security team is finalising his itinerary, which includes a trip to Croke Park where he will make a speech to the nation from the famous GAA stadium before heading onwards to Moneygall, Co Offaly.
He will then return to Dublin where he will stay before heading to Britain the next day.
Mr Obama's visit is due to take place on Monday, May 23. But sources said there is still a possibility of switching the date of the visit to Sunday, May 22, depending on the president's schedule.
Mr Obama's team is concerned that it might prove too difficult to fill Croke Park on a Monday, and that Sunday would be a better day.
It is not yet clear if the stadium event will be ticketed, or whether people can simply turn up on the day.
But it is understood that anyone attending the event will be screened by an army of Irish and US security officials.
Mr Obama's security detail has already checked out Lawton House in Moneygall, which is owned by Health Minister James Reilly, as a possible landing site for the presidential helicopter.
It is not yet known how many hours Mr Obama will spend in his Co Offaly ancestral home, but it is believed that this will be decided tomorrow when Offaly county manager Pat Gallagher meets the American ambassador, Dan Rooney, to discuss the arrangements in detail.
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen is expected to be asked to play an official role in welcoming Mr Obama to Moneygall.
Mr Cowen was the first person to extend an invite to the US president to visit Offaly.
Meanwhile, Marie MacDonogh, the daughter of the late author Stephen Mac- Donogh, who wrote 'Barack Obama -- The Road From Moneygall,' has been asked to present Mr Obama with a copy of the book during his visit.
The book contains details of Barack Obama's family tree, which can be traced all the way from the president's mother back to the Kearney family in Moneygall.
Mr MacDonogh spent months in the US researching the book, which describes how Thomas Kearney from Moneygall emigrated in the 1780s to Maryland, USA.
A year later his son, Falmouth, followed him as did the rest of his family from Moneygall. Falmouth Kearney was Barack Obama's great great great grandfather.
Mr Obama will be brought to the Kearney homestead, which is now vacant, on Moneygall's Main Street, where he will be asked to unveil a plaque.
It is understood the nearby village of Shinrone, where the Kearneys originally hailed from before later settling in Moneygall, will also be given recognition during the presidential tour.
Villagers in Moneygall were in overdrive yesterday as preparations continued ahead of the May stopover.
Contractors replaced pavements in the area and fresh paint is due to arrive next week.
A booklet is also being made by locals to commemorate the visit and to detail the history of Barack Obama's Irish roots.
Meanwhile, new research published in the 'New York Times' has revealed First Lady Michelle Obama also has Irish roots.
Megan Smolenyak -- the genealogist who uncovered the Moneygall connection to Mr Obama traced Mrs Obama back to young slave girl Melvinia Shields. Melvinia went on to have children with an Irish-American slave owner named Shields.

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