Shore to Shore: Bridge Textile Arts Project at Shorelines Arts Festival 2013

It really was a sight to behold. I loved how colorful the nets were and the reflections in the waters of the Shannon were reminiscent of the Water Lilies paintings by Claude Monet.

Artist and project director Kate O’Brien did exactly what she set out to do, capture a piece of, “elusive beauty.”


The Dandelion Wars

Turf, in the English speaking world, means the ground beneath our feet. If we’ve paid for it, we own it. If it was passed down through the generations, we own it. Turf in Ireland is a tradition that goes back far. It is emotionally tied into the land ownership issue in Ireland, and it is directly tied to the famine.

Telling the Irish to stop cutting turf is akin to asking them to cease practicing their religion. In rural Ireland, cutting the turf in summer is a natural way of life for many. It is part of the identity of the Irish.

A turf-cutter in a peat bog in Ireland (Picture via

A turf-cutter in a peat bog in Ireland (Picture via

In 1801 the Act of Union joined Ireland to its neighbor, Britain, and all lands in Ireland belonged to the nation across the Irish Sea. It resulted in a struggle for independence for over one hundred years. Home Rule became a dream.

That dream was brutally pushed to the limit with the Easter Rising of 1916. Ireland was finally granted Home Rule and independence from Britain in 1922. The land was once again owned by the Irish.

During the 123 years of foreign rule the Irish experienced penal laws; that is, they were forbidden to practice Catholicism, speak in Irish, play any Irish sports, were penalized for renovating their cottages, which now belonged to a Land Lord, were rewarded for becoming protestants through the Laws of Ascendancy, and were starved during the Great hunger of 1845 to 1847.

During the great hunger and harsh years that followed, many evictions occurred. In some cases families were reduced to living in sheds, and others resorted to living in scailpeens; makeshift shelters on the side of the roads, in ditches, or in bogs.

The issue of the owners of 53 raised bogs in Ireland defying laws and continuing to cut turf is a prime example of history repeating itself. Much like the years of hardship endured by the Irish during the years of 1801 to 1916, a foreign power, the new land lords in The Hague are telling the Irish what to do and turning neighbor against neighbor.

Police/Gardaí are being told to travel 50 miles away from their designated areas to patrol bogs that have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation by the European Union. Helicopters and airplanes from the coast guard are leaving the shores they should be protecting to spy on bog cutters.

The argument that bog owners who still persist in cutting these special areas of conservation make is that some of the 53 bogs designated as SACs were incorrectly designated. And even though the Minister for Environment claims that monetary compensation and re-locations of new bogs have been offered, some bog owners’ state that no relocation bogs have been found for them.

It is an uncivil law that permits a government to take away land from its owner, coerce law enforcement personnel to spy on their neighbors, and hand over land rights to a foreign power without telling the voters first, or even asking their permission.

There are allegedly 70 million people in the Irish Diaspora. The reason the Irish have a diaspora is due to impoverished conditions created by a foreign government. I keep thinking how wonderful it would be if the Irish Diaspora could band together and create a fund, one that the Irish government couldn’t get its hands on, to help the Irish people. Much like what our ancestors did by sending money home to their families still remaining in Ireland.

Take a look at the Barroughter Clonmoylan Bogs’ Action Group Facebook Page and see how the Irish bog owners are being kept under constant surveillance and contact them to see how you can help.

Read Boggers of the World Unite in the Irish Independent and let Ian O’Doherty explain, “why is the EU so steadfast in insisting on imposing massive fines on any turf cutter who uses prohibited areas and why, more pertinently, why are our Lesser Spotted Gardaí, who according to cop watchers are virtually extinct, constantly spotted whenever ‘illegal’ turfing (I’m assuming that’s the word) takes place.”

Saving the turf (Image source: Loretto Leary)

Saving the turf (Image source: Loretto Leary)

Consider the question that O’Doherty poses to us all: “Would you be prepared to accept someone coming onto your home turf – literally – and telling you to stop what you have been perfectly entitled to do all your life because there might be an endangered dandelion growing there?”

When I was in national school in Ireland I remember vividly being told by the teachers that the corn crake was threatened with extinction because of the use of combine harvesters to cut corn. That was in 1980. In 2011 the bird had increased in population in most rural areas, according to the NPWS. Maybe the same will be held true of the “dandelion” (←click on the link to be utterly bamboozled), growing in the 53 raised bogs in Ireland.

“Mohamed Bouazizi did not set himself on fire so Barack Obama could be re-elected.” Julian Assange

Julian Assange of Wikileaks

Julian Assange, via video link from the Ecuadorean embassy in London to a side meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, said that the US is now claiming the Arab Spring as their conquest, that Barack Obama and his administration is audacious in claiming this as their doing.

According to Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, “Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may have been designated an “enemy of the state” by the United States. U.S. Air Force counterintelligence documents show military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or its supporters may be at risk of being charged with “communicating with the enemy,” a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.”

Watch Assange’s UN video address here.

What do you think? I’d love to know.

Assange: Talk Show Host, Homer Simpson’s Neighbor, and Sex Symbol?

Financial woes still plague the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

The site continues to ask for donations due to blockades by major credit card companies, such as Visa, Mastercard in addition to Paypal, against Wikileaks.

More recently Assange was ‘scooped’ by his own publishers, Canongate, who released his biographical account of cablegate, unbeknownst to Assange.

Assange claimed that though the publishers and he had agreed to read the final draft for approval, he was never given the final draft of his book and was now forced to read it like everyone else, by buying it off the shelf.

Today The Guardian informs us that Assange is to host 10 half hour talk shows with visionaries and politicians on the Russian channel, Russia Today.

In addition, The Guardian announced that Assange will also voice a character who will be a neighbor to Homer Simpson in an upcoming episode of The Simpsons.

Julian Assange appears before seven, as opposed to the regular five, Supreme Court Justices in the UK on February 1st and 2nd to fight his extradition to Sweden to face sexual abuse allegations against two women.

Assange recently revealed that he was the focus of attention of “hundreds” of besotted women who have turned up at his door; Chat show host, cartoon character, visionary, journalist and now sex symbol?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen at the Norfolk mansion where he spent most of the past year. He moved out last month. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Picture from The Guardian

Anders Breivik declared unfit to stand trial by evaluators

November 28 2011, Anders Breivik, the Norweigan mass murderer who killed 77 poeple in shootings and bombings on July 22  was declared unfit to stand trial by evaluators this week.  Here’s the story from France 24

Business reporter Sverre Rorvik Nilsen, who witnessed the bombing in Oslo, told FRANCE 24  “That [Breivik] will never be a free man ever again. There is no doubt about this.”

Nilsen also said that “A life in a mental hospital is not at all an easy way out,” he said and added, “It’s said to be harder on the mind to be around insane people for the rest of your life.”

“The one thing [Breivik] fears the most is to be deemed insane, as he just was,” Nilsen said.

Anders Behring Breivik being driven from court

Early Snowfall in CT and Halloween Cancelled

I did this video yesterday. Halloween had been cancelled in our town and neighboring towns. Some people disregarded the advice and went trick or treating anyway.

9 deaths have been reported due to the early nor’easter. Connecticut still has 736,000 homes without power. Some areas may be without power for up to a week or more.

Connecticut is the third most tree populous state in the US. CT was not naturally forested, and the trees that were planted here are now nearing the end of their life span. So, just a lethal combination of a previous tropical storm to weaken limbs, an early snowfall to cause massive destruction, and older trees. The state has now been issued extra emergency funding to deal with the aftermath of the early snowfall.’%20rel=’nofollow?unit=c

Wikileaks suspends activity

RT news website reporting today that WikiLeaks was killed by payment ban

Wikileaks has suspended activities today due to a shortage of cash.

Companies such as Mastercard, Visa and Paypal no longer transfer donations and funding to Wikileaks.

Jullian Assange said that 95% of Wikileaks income existed via supporter subscriptions.

Jullian Assange’s attempt at fundraising for Wikileaks was hijacked earlier when his un-edited biography by Canongate hit the shelves of book stores without his consent, depriving him and Wikileaks of funding Assange has said.

For now the controversial website is focusing on fundraising. The Wikileaks website itself has not made any formal announcement regarding suspension of activities other than not accepting any submissions due to re-engineering improvements to the site.

On Tuesday, October 25th, the site’s status changed and a youtube video featuring Assange appears on the opening screen. See the video below, “Wikileaks needs you.”

Official Wikileaks fundraising plea by Julian Assange on youtube.

USA To lose another AAA Rating

The Guardian reporting today that Moody’s or Fitch may reduce the US credit rating by November or December. S&P dropped the US from AAA to AA+ in August.

Merrill Lynch’s North American economist, Ethan Harris, said. “We expect at least one credit downgrade in late November or early December when the super committee crashes.”

November 23 is the deadline for Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement on a deficit deal which aims to reduce the debt by 1.2 trillion.

Andy Coulson Sues News International to Pay Legal Fees

Andy Coulson Photo: AFP

Will Coulson’s move to sue News International to pay his legal fees start a trend among others that could potentially leave Rupert Murdoch’s empire at a loss? This might be the precedent that other people involved in the phone hacking scandal that shook the UK in July will adhere to. Not just journalists, but police and politicians too.


Julian Assange “Unauthorized” Autobiography

Julian Assange, the man who exposed cable gate, is now being exposed by publisher Canongate in the same manner as his own Wikileaks exposed communications between world governments; unedited.

Today Assange delivered this statement on Wikileaks;

“I have learned today through an article in The Independent that my publisher, Canongate, has secretly distributed an unauthorised 70,000 word first draft of what was going to be my autobiography.”

Assange alleged that Canaongate is “profiteering” and added, “Canongate are not about freedom of information — they are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity—screwing people over to make a buck.”

The autobiography, ghost written by Andrew O’Hagan, was to fund further operations at Wikileaks and Assange’s ongoing legal bills. Wikileaks has experienced financial issues since sexual allegations were made against Assange in December 2010. The allegations of rape are unfounded he said and that the relations were consentual. He remains under house arrest in England until his case is put to trial.

“On the 7th of December 2010 Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and Western Union folded to US pressure by arbitrarily and unlawfully cutting WikiLeaks off of its financial lifeline. The blockade continues,” Assange said in his online statement.

Canongate shipped thousands of copies of the unauthorized autobiography to hundreds of bookstores secretly, sales of the book begin tomorrow.

Assange said that the sale of the book is taking from his, and other’s potential earnings of the final transcript, “denying me and many others of market opportunity for the book I wished to publish, and depriving me of the earnings I would eventually have made with the second and third instalments of the advance,” he added.

Assange will now have to learn what he said and how it was transcribed like the rest of us, by buying his own autobiography.

“I will have to buy ‘my autobiography’ in order to learn the extent of the errors and inaccuracies of the content of the book, but the damage is done,” Assange said.