Beth Klein Boulder – talks DUP, the Tory’s Puppetmaster

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Beth Klein Boulder talks politics – May and Foster
After failing to win a majority, the Conservative Party forged an alliance with the right wing Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to form a government. Government needs to have an overall majority of 326 MPs to get legislation past the House of Commons. Let’s meet the DUP which is akin to the Westborough Baptist Church as a political party, now, with power.

The DUP was founded in 1971 by radical Ian Paisley during the Troubles.  It is a Unionist party, a group that favors northern Ireland’s union with the UK and is primarily Protestant.  An Irish nationalist party favors a united Ireland and is typically Catholic.

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Beth Klein Boulder talks politics Ian Paisley
Northern Ireland was in the midst of an ethnic-nationalist conflict known as the Troubles, which began in 1969 and would last for the next thirty years. The conflict began amid a campaign to end discrimination against the Catholic/Irish nationalist minority by the Protestant/unionist government and police force. This protest campaign was opposed, often violently, by unionists who viewed it as an Irish republican front. Paisley had led the unionist opposition to the civil rights movement. The DUP were more hardline or loyalist than the UUP and its founding arguably stemmed from insecurities of the Ulster Protestant working class.

The DUP opposed the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973. The Agreement was an attempt to resolve the conflict by setting up a new assembly and government for Northern Ireland in which unionists and Irish nationalists would share power. The Agreement also proposed the creation of a Council of Ireland, which would facilitate co-operation between the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The DUP organized general strikes which led to the downfall of these shared-power peace initiatives.

During 1981, the DUP opposed the talks between British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey. That year, Paisley and other DUP members attempted to create a Protestant loyalist volunteer militia—called the (Ulster) Third Force—which would work alongside the police and army to fight the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

In November 1986, a rally was held in which DUP politicians Paisley, Robinson and Ivan Foster announced the formation of the Ulster Resistance Movement (URM). This was a loyalist paramilitary group whose purpose was to “take direct action as and when required” to bring down the Agreement and defeat republicanism. Recruitment rallies were held in towns across Northern Ireland and thousands were said to have joined. The following year, the URM helped smuggle a large shipment of weapons into Northern Ireland, which were shared out between the URM, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Most, but not all, of the weaponry was seized by police in 1988. In 1989, URM members attempted to trade Shorts’ missile blueprints for weapons from the apartheid South African regime. Following these revelations, the DUP said that it had cut its links with the URM in 1987.

The DUP opposed the other peace initiatives including the Good Friday Agreement referendum, in which the Agreement was approved by 71.1% of the electorate.

In 2016, seeds of alliances with the Conservatives/Tories were planted. The 2017 election bore fruit of power for the DUP. May will have to make concessions to the DUP in order to maintain her government.

Arlene Foster, is the current leader of the DUP. Foster was raised in the town of Dernawilt and is a member of the Protestant Church of Ireland. Her experience with political violence began early in her life when her father was the victim of a failed assassination attempt — shot at their home. As a teenager, Foster was on a school bus that was bombed by the IRA, the vehicle targeted because its driver was a soldier in the Ulster Defence Regiment. Foster is a degreed lawyer.

The DUP formerly campaigned against the legalisation of homosexual acts in Northern Ireland through the “Save Ulster from Sodomy” campaign,and in recent years has vetoed the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. In December, the DUP’s Trevor Clarke was criticised by Sir Elton John after the politician admitted he did not know heterosexual people could contract HIV until a charity explained the facts to him.

DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson, a devout climate change denier, was once Northern Ireland’s environment minister. Mervyn Storey, the party’s former education spokesman, once called for creationism – the belief that human life did not evolve over millions of years but was created by God – to be taught alongside evolution in science classes. He has also objected to an exhibition on evolution in the Ulster Museum and signs at the Giant’s Causeway in his North Antrim constituency.

The DUP has called for a debate in the House of Commons over the death penalty. The party maintains that it is “pro-life” and unanimously opposed a bill by Labour MP Diane Johnson to protect women in England and Wales from criminal prosecution if they ended a pregnancy using pills bought online. The DUP opposes funding for international family planning programs.

The party backs “soft Brexit” and a soft border in Ireland.

We are Marching!

350 women attorneys are flying from Colorado to march in D.C. on January 21, 2017, and Beth Klein Boulder Attorney is preparing to be invigorated and inspired to stand up for the rights of all.  The buzz is that this march is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history. The Women’s March now has almost 200 progressive groups, large and small, signing on as supporting partners. The issues they represent are as varied as the environment, legal abortion, prisoners’ rights, voting rights, a free press, affordable healthcare, gun safety, racial and gender equality and a higher minimum wage. Donald Trump’s ceremony may take a back seat to our protest.  I hope so.

I will be documenting the voices of the marchers and the event this week.  So please engage!

It’s never happened that so many people have gathered in opposition to a new administration on day one.

But it is the correct response to a man who has smashed decorum and frightened millions.

 

Daily Letters to Trump: Day 11

cuba-picThe Spirit of the Cuban People

I spend most of the month of May 2016 in Cuba with a delegation from Trees, Water People. Our delegation included solar power experts, a bilingual pediatrician, the Founder of Mother Love (a plant expert), an ornithologist, music promoters, lawyers, a Red-Diaper Baby who runs a toy store in Colorado, and Peace Corps employees. We traveled across the entire country (except Guantanamo) and met scores of Cubans in the cities, country, beaches, and forests. We arrived just after President Obama left and the Rolling Stones had given a free concert in Havana. There were new things in the air – the internet, the transition of power, and fear of losing their identity to American consumerism.

The Cuban people are resilient and creative. They are highly educated. Painters, musicians, dancers, mechanics, writers abound. The founder of one of the premier sustainable organic urban farms said it best, “We make things work from nothing; if I could go to Home Depot for a day, I could entirely change my country.” Live music. Creative and hard working hands hold up the culture.

The Cubans are a blended culture – Spanish, Tribal, Black, Communist, Entrepreneur. Jeweled eyes matched with stunning skin tones. The people are stylish and unique. They move with rhythm and are infected with song and beat.

Practitioners of Santeria practice their religion and create beautiful home alters to heal, prevent misfortune or curse in the decaying neighborhoods of Havana. Santeria is also known as Regla de Ocha or Lucumi. In Spanish Santeria translates into devotion to the saints or “santos.” It is religious syncretism of West African religions and Catholicism. There is no unified writing; the traditions are passed orally from generation to generation by priests and priestesses. The idea is to underwent the ache or the spiritual energy present in the universe. Practitioners hope to acquire more ache through ethical good lives. Through this, they evolve as human being. In many ways is a very colorful and ancient expression of mindfulness.

When initiated into Santeria, for the first week the individual symbolically dies and is reborn. The old life ends and a new one begins. Initiates wear white for purification. Music is a means to communicate with the eternal.

Hollywood sensationalizes possession in Santeria as it does with Catholic exorcism. Neither is the norm.
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The Greek Orthodox church is active, and the government has made some effort to show that it respects religion. In 2002, St. Nicholas Church was built in Old Havana. Castro attended the dedication of the Church.
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In the gardens surrounding St. Nicholas Church there is a beautiful and active mosaic baptismal pool. It was filled with hibiscus and fragrant leaves. The street noise does not penetrate here.

The Ladies in White are a political group. The Ladies ritualistically walk to St. Rita’s Church in Havana to pray for their imprisoned loved ones that were tried and condemned during the Black Spring in 2003. At that time the Cuban government arrested and sentenced 75 journalists, librarians, and human rights defenders to decades in prison. The activist Laura Pollan formed the group two weeks after the arrests and modeled the action after the Argentinian Madres de Plaza De Mayo who lost children in the Junta in the 1970’s. Each lady wears a button with a photo of her jailed relative. They Cuban government has labeled the Ladies in White as a subversive association of American-backed terrorists.

The friends that I made are all highly talented and educated. Julio, my favorite of all, accompanied me to Ernest Hemingway’s house. He has a PhD, and is well-read and writes poetically about his love for Cuba and his friends. He studied abroad in the Cuban exchange program in eastern Europe and communist affiliate countries. Julio knew all of the stories of Finca Vigia, the black dogs, the mahogany boat, and the old man and the sea. Julio could have worked for the government for 60 CUC a month but he has chosen to be a guide and guard because it it more lucrative and better for his family. Literature is universal, and so is entrepreneurship and a desire to better the lives of your children. He chose to stay and help his country.

In Cienfuegos, we stayed in a house that was frozen in time in 1960. Nothing had been changed – the astroturf in the back courtyard, white iron patio furniture, and garden gnomes. Melmac plastic atomic style dishes. A dead white caddie sinking on rotten tires. The former owner was a funeral director of the town. He and every member of his family fled to the United States. They left behind a distant very tired relative who cares for the house but wishes she could be with her family. The Cuban refugees in America long for the things they lost – the land, houses, mines, fincas – they could not regain in the doomed Bay of Pigs (Giron) operation in April 1961.

Among the mid-century furnishings was a santos of the Black Madonna that had been carried in religious processions. The Madonna is covered with shells, coral and fish. Her mantel is blue, and she is the patron saint of fishermen. The Madonna is sitting next to lightly gilded 1950’s white wigged porcelain figures from Spain, France and Dresden that are worthless in Cuba. The owner hopes to sell these statutes to a traveler so she can buy a ticket to live with her family and freely roam in new worlds.

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The buildings on the boulevards are painted in old pastel plaster. The Parque Jose Marti is the square where the church and government buildings in Cienfuegos are located. At night in this square hundreds of Cubans gather with smart phone around hot spots. Separated families Facetime for hours into the night. The Cubans see our culture through webpages – YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, and Miami local news channels. The Cuban people are conversational and connected. They spend time on their front porches, sharing meals, playing games, watching children. They see that Americans are engaged more with electronics than their families and friends, and they do not want to become detached from each other.

In Vinales we stayed in a Casa Particular with a grandmother named Ida. Her husband is a farmer, and he lives in the red soil in the country. She tends her rose pink BnB on a dirt road filled with children walking to school with their parents in the morning and playing endless games in the sun after school. She watches the parade of horse carts and hodge podge Chevys and is glad that the hard times of starvation after the fall of the USSR are over. Now she is learning to be a business woman with the other ladies on her road who rent out rooms. The old and young make communal dinners for their tourist guests – some cook the meat, some cut the fruit, and other set and wash up. They keep tight books and share the profits

We caused confusion when we tipped Ida, and she thought we did not understand money or the charges. I found myself surrounded by grandmothers who were telling me that I gave them too much money, and me telling them about tips in my kindergarten Spanish. The women put their heads together and decided to share the tip with the whole neighborhood. Some luck to help them improve their gardens, rooms and websites. The men stayed wisely out of the controversy, but somehow the money was spent on building materials to expand the houses. Young black men in tattered clothes unloaded the rock, rebar and cement.

The people with whom I connected are excited about having businesses and new people to talk to, but they want to do it in the Cuban way. They love music and dancing everywhere and anytime. They love each other, and do not want to loose their friendships and laughter around tables full of rum, rice and beans. They want materials to create and build their unique ideas.

The loss of Fidel is more important to people who believed in the revolution and less to their children who cherish smart phones and cards that connect them to everywhere and everything. In this moment and nine days of national mourning for a lawyer who changed a nation for better and worse and who ran the Mafia out of his country with pigs, my friends say that there is a unifying confusion and the desire for a future that will blend the best of the two generations and worlds. I hope that the Cuban defend their unique identity and beauty. I also wish that they have the opportunity to integrate the best of America and take from our culture as they have for centuries from Pirates, slaves, Spain, and Marx. We are entering the next era of Cuban syncretism, and Americans may gain more than simply a new market. The old is dying and something new is being birthed.