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    Free Essay
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    Real conservative don t drink lattes or do they

     

    If Barry Goldwater were alive today to witness the new transformation of the GOP, he would grow a beard and become a bead vendor on Constitution Avenue in Washington. While in Indianapolis recently this author noted numerous well dressed business people standing in line waiting to buy coffee. Mostly latte or some contortion thereof was ordered. This city is known for its GOP leaning conservative nature. Many were rapidly moving in the line talking conservative politics while I was ordered to stand off to the side like an oddball waiting 20 minutes for my street brand coffee. But one thing was obviously clear. The GOP of the past is not the new GOP. Or better said, the Party has been taken over by a new breed. The RNC has clearly abandoned its basic principals that drove it to become the majority choice with the Contract With America Initiative in 1994. Instead they have taken on noble projects such as waging war on the middle class, to pursuing international adventures of questionable value, to ignoring obvious Chinese trade atrocities in our domestic markets, to name but a few. This begs a few questions. Since when do Republicans support “budget deficits”? Since when do Republicans support decreases in military spending? Since when do Republicans support Chinese economic invasion of our country? Since when do Republicans advocate runaway growth in government spending? Since when do Republicans support tax increases by another name? Since when does such a great Party constantly resort to the use of terror and scare tactics in order to divert electoral attention away from its own failings? You would think the GOP is full of traditional liberals sucking down lattes in the morning at the local Starbucks, eating California salad plates for lunch, and ordering up quiche dinners. Na, they are just good ole fashion George Bush neocons trying to redress the Republican Party to their own liking. Let’s hear some of their wholesale excuses spoon fed the American public. Budget deficit don’t matter. Despite their age old proclamation that deficits don’t cause interest rates to increase, well that’s water over the dam if the present is any example. Bush and his economic team make Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin look like miracle workers spinning budget surpluses accompanied with historically low interest rates. Military spending as a percent of GDP, and adjusted for inflation, is near all time lows at 3.3 percent of GDP according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington. Absolute dollars spent on the military is not much more than the waning years of the Reagan Administration, and once it is discounted for inflation, below the Reagan era of 6.1 percent of GDP. This is why the concept of “overwhelming” force can not be applied to Iraq or any potential enemy for that matter and the real reason we are having trouble containing the Middle East situation and unable to respond to the North Korean threat, at least on a conventional military basis. The Bush family, and their agents, are all are military “cutters”, not builders. Closing military bases, retiring medium range bombers, cutting back the number of active Army divisions, and mothballing our battleship fleet have been their forte. Way back in the Nixon and Ford years, Senior Bush and Rumsfeld supported defense cutbacks. They argue that historic military spending is down because the Cold War is over. We only hope someone tells that to the billion or so Communist Chinese who chant, “Beat America”. They don’t know the Cold War has ended. Not that raising military spending to Cold War levels is a cure all for our present international difficulties. But the America people need to be told the truth, and not boondoggled on this issue, and let them make those defense choices through the electoral process. And how come federal government spending is increasing at a much faster rate under this Republican Administration than it did under Clinton Clan? The conservative think tank, Cato Institute, sums it up nicely. “President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson.” Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn’t cut enough spending to change his place in history, either. The Institute went on to say, “the federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush’s first term.” Now to pseudo tax increases or whatever you want to label them. When those low rate adjustable rate mortgages begin to convert in this era of much higher interest rates, personal disposable incomes as a percent of total personal incomes are going to significantly decrease and severely damage the economy. Bush’s tax cut is going to look like a nickel in the Sunday collection plate in comparison. And he will exit office in 2009 leaving his party exposed to the electoral backlash that will ensue because of this economic debacle. And let’s not forget that every time the electorate begins to focus on the real economic issues plaguing this economy, an elevated terror alert is issued. Why? The neocons are trying to blame 9/11 for our vexing discomfort with multiple issues facing the nation. Surely the attack five years ago changed America forever, maybe expelling the remaining vestibules of innocence left over from the Kennedy assassination. But it has not changed the basic tenants upon which this nation was founded. Only botched economics and a questionable war with almost 4000 dead to its credit, and a bellicose jingoistic attitude toward the world community can harm us. And harm us it has with payback just around the corner for the GOP. The question is simple. Will the same old scare tactics, diversionary attacks, and negative campaigning the Bush boys have engineered to such a fine art, once again prevail?

         
    Republicans vs democrats

     

    Currently in the United States there are two main political parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. While not every person ascribes to every belief of their stated political party, generally, the beliefs held are as follows: REPUBLICAN PARTY Republicans prefer a small federal government, only performing those functions that are specifically stated in the Constitution. They believe the federal government should provide for the defense of the country, mint the money and raise the military. They place the freedom and rights of the individual over that of the majority. They believe that taxes should be for the benefit of local government and are opposed to high taxes. Republicans preserve peace by strengthening defense. The strength of the nation's economy is in free enterprise and individual and national prosperity. The role of the individual and the family is placed before that of government. Decisions about local matters are made at the local level. DEMOCRATIC PARTY Democrats believe the government should be focused at the federal level. They believe the federal government is empowered to do anything that is not specifically prohibited by the Constitution. They believe that the rights of the individual are less important than the good of all. Taxes should be increased and sent to the federal government to disperse for the benefit of the poorest. Democrats believe that money should be spent on social programs rather than defense. They believe world peace can be based on discussion and good intentions. Democrats believe in stronger business regulations and requirements as well as higher taxes. Democrats have been responsible for many of the social programs that place importance on the government's role in care giving rather than that of the family. Democrats want more federal and state control over the quality and structure of education, particularly at the local level. Each party believes that they are doing the best for the country. Let no one think that either one or the other is less patriotic. However, good intensions can still harm the country and its people.

         
    Russian cruise the best way to travel in russia

     

    There are many ways to explore Russia, but some ways are better than others. Cruises to Russia is one of the best ways to explore Russia and there are plenty of reasons why. First, Cruises to Russia take you to many great places. When you go on a land tour you visit Moscow or St Petersburg, or possibly both. When you go on a river cruises, you visit Moscow and St Petersburg as well as many of Russia's ancient capitals in between. On a river cruise, you can visit a famous Kizhi Island that can only be reached by water or sail across Russia from St. Petersburg to Volgograd. Second, river journeys are much better deals than land tours. Since you travel on a ship, you don't have to pay for hotel, which could be quite expensive, especially in Moscow. On Cruises to Russia, you pay from $140 to $200 per day for an all-inclusive treatment, cabins, delicious food, drinks, shows, excursions and even on-board classes of Russian history, culture and art. Third, traveling on a Russian cruise is usually more fun than traveling on land. In your trip, you will be accompanied by travelers from other parts of the world. You can share your personal stories and your experience in Russia. You will have a wonderful time on board in the ship's restaurants and bars. You will make plenty of new friends and have an unforgettable experience as your ship carries you across the Russian territories. Fourth, arranging Cruises to Russia is much easier than a land tour. There is a cruise departing every week so you can choose the one that suits you best. There are dozens of cruises designed for English-speaking customers sailing across western Russia from north to south and vice-versa. You can set a sail from Moscow to St Petersburg or from St. Petersburg to Moscow. You can sail on the famous Volga River and explore Russia's southern territories, including the famous cities of Volgograd and Astrakhan.

         
    Sandy berger ruling fair or not

     

    For all intents and purposes, justice was served when Sandy Berger was fined $50,000 by U. S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson in her ruling on September 8, 2005 regarding Sandy Berger’s mishandling of classified documents. Moreover, Sandy Berger will surrender his security clearance for three years following the ruling. Sandy Berger graciously accepted Judge’s Robinson’s decision. In fact, some would easily believe that Sandy Berger got stiff penalties because his negotiations with chief prosecutor Noel Hillman and company involved only $10,000 in fine. His loss of security license compounded the penalties. Overall, Judge Robinson’s decision made both the Republicans and the Democrats, the U. S Justice Department and the Sandy Berger camp, extremely happy and relieved. Some people both in the government and the private sector, however, do not think that the ruling was fair at all. For these people, the penalties levied upon erring former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was comparable to mere a slap on the wrist. For an error so grave, the fine should have been steeper and Sandy Berger should have been sent to jail. It was a criminal act according to the law. The Sandy Berger camp got around saying that what Berger committed was a mere violation of the National Archives’ regulations, but it was hardly a criminal act. In fact, however, what Berger did can easily be classified as a violation of Section 793 of Title 18 of the U. S Code. Under this section, intentional dissemination of classified documents and materials is criminal. Even accidental dissemination of or losing classified materials due to gross negligence under this code is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment of at most 10 years. It was a difficult thing for Berger’s critics to swallow that Sandy Berger got off so lightly when under this law, he could have been sentenced 10 years. Even if no one could realistically expect Berger to be given the full maximum, critics still believed that Sandy Berger should have been fined AND imprisoned for a term. Sandy Berger deliberately removed the documents. At first, Sandy Berger wouldn’t admit to deliberately taking the documents from the National Archives. He insisted, when he was first questioned by National Archives officials about missing documents, that he accidentally shoved them in with his papers when he collected his things into his portfolio. He promptly returned these documents. However, after due investigation, it was found out that Berger took more than those two copies. He in fact took three more on a prior visit. He later admitted to cutting these up when he admitted to have deliberately taken the classified materials. Critics believed that even if they concede that Sandy Berger had no intention of disseminating the sensitive information, they had no intention of conceding that Berger made an honest mistake. The fact that he is a former National Security Advisor means that he knew proper procedures and protocols when it comes to classified materials. Sandy Berger knew that however crucial his interview with the 9/11 commission was, it was even more critical to protect national security by following the National Archives’ regulations about these documents. The fact that Berger deliberately put himself above the law should have merited more than a slap on the wrist but a wallop on the butt.

         
    Scare mongering juggernaut sacked now what

     

    The Chickens have home to roost, so to speak. The corrupt Republican smear & scare mongering juggernaut has been sacked! A strong Democratic onslaught has left the "Quarterback" limping badly, and his "Receivers" are scattered all over the political playing field. Throw in Pastor Ted Haggard's Methamphetamine laced gay sex scandal, and not even a "Saddam Finale" could rescue the Republicans. Over the last three weeks the Republican strategy has been basically a chorus of fear mongering and the raining of shameless, desperate and Racist ads into our living rooms. Here goes: - A win for the Dems is a win for terrorists! - Nancy Pelosi is an "Extreme Liberal" from "Gay San Francisco!" - Oh my God! Charlie Rangel (a black Congressman) will be running the Ways & Means Committee! - The Dems will raise your taxes! - 20 million "filthy" immigrants have invaded us and are tearing this country asunder! Profane and blasphemous inflammations! The American people are not that stupid after all, they are tired of being treated like fools, and have issued a strong rebuke to this arrogant and grossly incompetent Republican administration. Never in my life have I ever witnessed a political machine so perfectly "precisioned," yet so dangerously flawed, but as the wise have said before -- "a thief has forty days!" The story of the Republican party in the last six years has similarities to the proverbial boy who liked to cry "Wolf!" pretending that he was going to be eaten by a wolf. When people came running to help him, they found the boy laughing because he was not really in danger. This happened a number of times until people stopped believing him when he cried, "Wolf!" Finally, the boy was attacked by a real wolf and no one came to save him because they all thought he was just crying wolf. The real wolf in this instance is the Democratic Party and the fed up people are Americans(excluding the right wing nuts). The people have had enough of this charade and have clearly indicated that they want change. It's neither a total Democratic avalanche nor is it a revolution, but a clear sign that the majority are fed up with being hoodwinked, cajoled and demeaned. Having said the above, now what? The primary issue at hand is Iraq -- It is very clear that this ill-conceived and badly executed war is being poorly managed and a looming confrontation between George Bush and Congress is simmering. Sources indicate that this government, faced with a "Vietnam" like failure, is pondering partitioning Iraq into three autonomous regions. The Baker commission, a bi-partisan "Iraq study group" set up by Congress and led by former Secretary of State James Baker, to study the hopeless situation in Iraq, is set to recommend to the Bush government to split Iraq into three regions, namely Kurdish, Shi’ite, and Sunni. Classic "Divide and Rule" Imperialism The invasion of Iraq was an imperialist act cleverly camouflaged under the fear of terror. Dividing a country to "win" is a well known tactic, perfected by colonial Europeans notably "Master Imperialist" Great Britain, during and after the World Wars. A thieving tactic whose primary aim is to maintain exclusive control of natural resources and to impose economic and cultural imperialism even after withdrawal -- Mr. Bush calls it "Spreading Democracy." If the Baker commission recommends the partitioning of Iraq, the issue for the Bush government will not be the equitable division of oil wealth to the three Iraqi sectarian groups, but rather how much of this oil wealth will Bush's squad of "Hyena" oil cronies control and exploit. Colluding with the Kurds will be relatively easy, but the Shi’ites and their Iranian brothers will be tough nut to crack, meanwhile the Sunni's who had previously enjoyed Saddam Hussein's patronage for years, will not take it lying down. Expect the bloodshed to triple the current levels -- Imperialism has met a brick wall. Thousands of lives of brave American soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians have been lost in vain, for it is impossible to win this war. Some form of retreat is the only way out. If 140,000 troops have not been able to "win" in three years, I don't see them doing so in ten years. For the record, Colin Powell, a decorated military general warned them prior to go to war: "you break it, you own it." In two years, if this administration does not clean up it's act, I see George Bush withdrawing from Iraq....in utter shame, and in the process cementing his place in history as one of the worst presidents in the history of the United States -- the president who wantonly destroyed one of the oldest civilizations in the world -- Mesopotamia. While Bill Clinton will succeed in repairing his legacy, besmirched by a sexual encounter, I do not see Bush doing likewise even if he attempts to, for his is tainted in blood, plus he neither has the propensity nor the capacity to rally anyone in the world to his side, and he seems determined to "stay the course," to nowhere. A Democratic Congress salivating in the mouth like a starved "Nile crocodile," will just make it worse for him if he doesn't toe the line. There are several other domestic issues to be tackled including Health Care, Social Security Reform and notably Immigration. If the Republican party keeps on insisting that the millions immigrants who are already here be deported summarily, without any humane considerations as to whether they have built strong roots and affiliations in this country, they can kiss the Latino and all other future "immigrant votes" goodbye, permanently. If the Democrats grab this opportunity and play their cards right over the next 2+ years, the Republican team may be punting into the stands for many years to come.

         
    Secrets behind old glory revealed part 2

     

    The famous name of ‘Old Glory’ was originated in 1831 by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard his ship the ‘Charles Doggett’, his friends presented him with a beautiful flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened and waved in the ocean breeze for the first time, he cried out "Old Glory!" By the time the Civil War broke out, just about everybody in and around Nashville, where he had retired in 1837, recognized Captain Driver's banner as "Old Glory." William Driver's grave rests in the old Nashville City Cemetery and is one of only three places authorized by an act of Congress where the Flag of the United States can be flown 24 hours a day - quite an honor. Although schools around the country had already been celebrating the American flag’s ‘birthday’ on June 14 every year for over 30 years, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th as National Flag Day. During the War of 1812, a young lawyer and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key wrote what later became the United State’s National Anthem. While witnessing the final enemy attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, he became greatly inspired by the flag’s survival through the bombings and fires. He wrote his verses on the back of a letter he had in his pocket and after his brother had the words published, it immediately became popular across the country. In October of that year, a Baltimore actor sang Mr. Key’s song in a public performance calling it "The Star-Spangled Banner". History had been made and finally, on March 3, 1931, his song was adopted as our national anthem. As a child growing up in the United States, you learned to pledge your allegiance to the American flag. But did you know, that after all the current controversy about omitting the ‘Under G-d’ part, that the original pledge went like this: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands - one nation indivisible - with liberty and justice for all." Ironic, isn’t it? But true nonetheless. That original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy on September 8, 1892. Bellamy was a circulation manager in Rome, New York and printed those words on thousands of leaflets that were sent out to public schools across the country. Then, on October 12, 1892, more than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance in their morning classes, thereby beginning a mandatory school-day ritual.

         
    Sityodtong muay thai legacy

     

    Kru Yodtong Senanan's place in Muay Thai history is legendary. That's why just two Muay Thai academies in the United States qualify as recognized affiliates of the Thailand camp that bears his name. The significance of Muay Thai's Kru Yodtong Senanan's recent U. S. visit may have been lost to those unfamiliar with his celebrated contributions to the ancient art. But for students and trainers devoted to the art and sport of Muay Thai, his presence was treated with the kind of reverence usually reserved for dignitaries of international distinction. So important is Kru Yodtong's role in preserving the history culture that the Kingdom of Thailand recognized him as a "Superior Teacher of Muay Thai." With the proclamation issued directly from the Royal Family, Yodtong's place of honor as a master, teacher and conservator of the sport will be forever documented in the annals of Thai history. On a recent U. S. trip, Kru Yodtong accompanied Yodsanan 3k Battery, a WBA super featherweight world boxing champion and just one of many titleholders from Yodtong's namesake camp - Sityodtong Muay Thai Training Camp. Along with producing number of skilled Muay Thai champions, the camp also turns out an equally impressive number of Western-style boxing champs, all of whom are students of the master himself, Kru Yodtong Senanan. Muay Thai Master Born 68 years ago as Erawan Sriwaralak, Yodtong's study of Muay Thai began at a distance, as the sport was then considered too dangerous for boys under the age of 15. Still, from the time he was four, Erawan observed and studied until he was old enough to begin formal training. That training began in earnest at Detrprasit Muay Thai camp when Yodtong was 14. His natural proclivity for the art became evident early on. Fighting under the moniker "Erawan Detrprasit" to honor his camp, he had his first bout just one year later. At 17, Yodtong moved to the Senanan Muay Thai camp and competed for six years before becoming a trainer to a string of Muay Thai champions. Though there are many camps throughout Thailand that specialize in any number of techniques, the heralded success of the champions hailing from the Sityodtong Payakaroon Camp comes down to teaching refined basics. "Sityodtong is best known for our comprehensive instruction in all basic Muay Thai techniques," Yodtong said, adding that his camp is especially known for teaching the proper techniques for the use of elbows, kicks and knees. The age restriction placed on young fighters back when Yodtong was a boy have since been removed, allowing training to begin much earlier. In fact, many of the young fighters at Yodtong's camp are orphans, some even juvenile delinquents. Not only are they trained in the fighting arts, they are also given food and shelter and attend school as well, allowing Yodtong to train the whole person. In addition to his rigorous training regimen, Yodtong offers sage advice to young fighters: "Be a good student, become a good teacher and stay away from a path of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. To be a good person is the most important thing." Sityodtong Muay Thai Training Camp is located near the resort town of Pattaya Beach, about a 90-minute drive from Bangkok. In operation for over four decades, the camp has turned out a long list of champions that include Daotong Sityodtong, Gongtalanee Payakaroon, Samart Payakaroon, Yoddamrung, Khaosai Galaxy and a host of others. The Payakaroon brothers are the two most-celebrated champions from Sityodtong. In fact, it was the Payakaroon name and reputation that literally put Sityodtong Muay Thai Training Camp on the map, thus the Camp name, Sityodtong Payakaroon. To be a stadium champion is an incredible feat. When you consider that Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand, becoming a stadium champion can be likened to winning the Super Bowl, the World Series, being NBA champs or winning the Boston Marathon. As a result, it's easy to see how an icon like Samart Payakaroon, a four-time Lumpinee Stadium champion plus a WBC champion and his older brother Gongtalanee Payakaroon, a five-time Lumpinee Stadium champion, are held in the highest regard. To appreciate the significance of Muay Thai and Kru Yodtong's place of prominence in bring the fighting skill to its current level of notoriety, you must first appreciate Thai culture and history. Yodtong sums up the unique entwining of Muay Thai and Thai culture this way: "As anyone familiar in Muay Thai will tell you, one can benefit from improved health, develop a sense a personal safety while also enjoying the pleasures of out culture." Heart of the People, Sport of Kings There are two schools of thoughts about how Muay Thai became a national sport of Thailand. Some say that during the time of the Burmese invasions of Siam (Thailand), warriors indigenous to the land fought off their would-be invaders using their bodies as weapons, thus the legend of the most-famous and revered Thai boxes, Nai Khanom Tom. In the 1700s during the fall of the ancient capital, Burmese soldiers captured and imprisoned many Thai citizens. Among the imprisoned populace were Thai boxers. However, the King of Burma granted Nai Khanom Yom his freedom and the freedom of the other Thai boxers after he defeated nine Burmese boxers. Not only did Nai Khanom Tom destroy his capturer's elite warriors in a spectacular fight to the finish, he also defeated a boxing instructor from a neighboring city. The other school of thought holds that Muay Thai developed as Thai people moved from China. Whether indigenous or introduced by immigrants, all agree that while much of the history of Thailand - and hence the origins of Muay Thai - were destroyed during the Burmese invasions, the emergence of Thailand and the national sport of Muay Thai go hand in hand. The effectiveness and popularity of Muay Thai as a combat skill was further reinforced during the reign of King Naresuan, who required all Thai soldiers to train in the fighting art. Later, Phra Chao Seua, "The Tiger King," also played a role in the development of Muay Thai as the national sport of Thailand, through his support of prizefights and the creation of early 18th-century training camps. In the 2,000 years that have transpired since the earliest known occurrence of Muay Thai, the popularity of the close-combat art has exploded beyond Thailand's borders, making Muay Thai an internationally recognized sport. Two Schools, One Name As the art of Muay Thai is interweaved in the Culture of the Thai people, so too are the champions of the Sityodtong camp steeped in traditions of the camp founder's fighting techniques. As the sport continues to gain in popularity among Westerners, Muay Thai gyms in the United States are increasing in numbers. However, of the many gyms that can be found throughout the country, Yodtong has bestowed only two with the distinct honor of being recognized as affiliates of his legendary camp: Sityodtong USA-Boston and Sityodtong USA-Los Angeles. As Yodtong explains, "The name Sityodtong refers to students of Kru (teacher) Yodtong, my family name. Yod in Thai means above all else and tong means flag (i. e., a flag that flies above all)." Fighters from Sityodtong USA in Boston and Los Angeles represent a long line of champions who collectively are a force with which to be reckoned. Sityodtong USA-Boston is the East Coast affiliate of Sityodtong Thailand. Owner and operator Mark DellaGrotte lived and trained at Sityodtong Muay Thai Training Camp. A current Muay Thai champion, Yod Mark's fight record includes a second-round KO at the famous Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok. He was also ranked tenth at Rajadamnern. Yod Mark's trainer is Kru Toy, Kru Yodtong's son. Kru Toy is also the manager of Sityodtong Thailand, and has traveled to several countries to promote and preserve his father's teachings in the art and sport of Muay Thai. DellaGrotte's martial arts training includes Jeet Kune Do Concepts, Kali, Silat and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. "Kru Yod Mark" has been personally appointed by Kru Yodtong to teach and promote Muay Thai around the world. His school, located in the Somerville area of Boston, has been in operation for seven years and has turned out a number of champions. The other school in the United States that has the honor of being recognized as an affiliate of his Thailand camp is Sityodtong USA-Los Angeles (Sityodtong LA). The school is owned and operated by Walter "Sleeper" Michalowski and his wife, world-renowned martial artist, June Castro-Michalowski. Walter, a former Junior Middleweight Muay Thai champion, also trains and has fought for Kru Gongtalanee Payakaroon representing Sityodtong Thailand. Michalowski's training began as a young boy in the sport of boxing. He also trained in traditional martial arts and later in the Jeet Kune Do Concepts under Sifu Richard Bustillo. In fact, Michalowski met his first Muay Thai trainer, Nanfa Serchadeco, an Olympic silver medalist in Boxing and Rajadamnern Stadium champion, while training at the well-known IMB Academy (International Martial Arts and Boxing) in Torrance, California. Michalowski's impressive list of accomplishments includes a kickboxing title and six Muay Thai belts. At his last professional fight he was featured on Thai television as the Main Event at the newly built Pattaya Stadium in Thailand. Michalowski ended the fight with an exciting first-round knockout over a formidable opponent, Phothong Sor Preapan. Thanks to his mastery of the art and respect for the Thai culture, when he and his wife opened their Pasadena location (Pro Training, Inc.) in September 2003, Michalowski, a certified senior instructor in Muay Thai, was approached by Kru Yodtong and was asked to be the U. S. West Coast affiliate. The facility was officially anointed the West Coast affiliate of the Sityodtong Muay Thai Training Camp. Not only have DellaGrotte and Michalowski honed their craft at the namesake bearing Kru Yodtong's name, both men understand that the art of Muay Thai is one with the Thai culture. To separate one from the other is to denigrate the art. Both Michalowski and DellaGrotte speak Thai, which comes in handy for the regular trips they make to Thailand with their students. And, by earning the honor of becoming affiliates and conservators of Muay Thai in their own right, both continue a lasting relationship with master trainer, Kru Yodtong. Most important is the humility and respect that every level of student from both camps have for the Muay Thai master whose traditions and techniques are taught under the banner of Sityodtong USA.

         
    Six years later a failed presidency

     

    President Bush came into office with great promise, and the reality has been one failure after another, and this is coming from a writer who was a conservative Republican before the President knew what the term meant. Let’s use former President Ronald Reagan’s requirements for a successful Presidency. Do you remember the last debate between then President Jimmy Carter and candidate Reagan? The former Republican Governor of California asked the American people in closing if they thought they were better off today in 1980, than they were when President Carter took office four years earlier in January of 1977. The following Tuesday, the American people threw the failed President from Georgia out of office in a landslide. Here we are now six years into another Presidency, and the only thing that I believe has been successful about this Presidency is the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is somewhat above the same level it was in 2000 when this President was elected. Let’s look at a few of the big issues this President has faced and to which he has reacted poorly in resolving. 1) The tragedy of 9/11 – Six years later, Osama Bin Laden the direct murderer of almost 3000 Americans remains FREE, and unencumbered by the United States military. Do we still have military units assigned to hunting him down? There is not a word in the press about it if we do. 2) Making America SAFER in response to terrorism – Do you really believe we are safer? I for one believe that no American passenger airplane will ever be taken hostage again by terrorists. I believe this only because of the American passengers on board who will react immediately to a hostage situation, not because of the marshal program but because Americans still remember how to defend themselves, and they will. As for planes crashing into buildings, do you really think all those FED EX, UPS, and US Postal Service planes are secure? Do you think private corporate aircraft are secure? What about the tens of thousands of private airplanes in America? Recently a private airplane in NY flew up the East River, made a U-Turn and crashed into an apartment building on the East Side of Manhattan. Nobody realized what was going on until the crash occurred. As a result the government has not banned flights up the East River. It’s kind of late, don’t you think? 3)The Docks are not safe – How difficult would it be for a terrorist group to sneak a low yield nuclear weapon into this country aboard one of the tens of thousands of merchant transport ships that bring cargo into this country each year? Only a small percentage of the cargo is inspected. 4) Subway and Bus System still completely exposed – The terrorist acts in Madrid and London in the last several years exposed flaws in our own public transportation systems that have not been addressed. Do you really think that terrorists carrying backpacks with explosives in them would have any problem getting on a NYC bus or subway car, and committing their insane acts? 5) Hurricane Katrina – This terrible tragedy exposed government ineptness, and lack of responsiveness. There were bodies of American citizens floating down the Mississippi River in the streets of New Orleans, and this is the 21st century. FEMA which is the Federal Emergency Management Association proved to be completely incapable of handling, or even helping in this crisis. Do you really believe that these inadequacies have been addressed? If chemical or biological warfare were used against the United States by terrorists, do you think that we would have anything approaching an adequate response to such an attack? I don’t believe it. 6) Initial Iraq decision making process – You have got to be kidding us, Mr. President. We know in retrospect that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein posed no direct threat to America. In other words, he was not going to attack us. The basis for the war was in error, and I personally supported it. We have wasted 3000 American lives during the invasion, and 3000 subsequent to the invasion in ERROR, plus 30,000 men who have been injured including terrible losses of their limbs. 7) Post Invasion decision making - Wow, could it really have been worse? Could the people reporting to the President have done a poorer job in post war Iraq, if they had wanted to? We had the unnecessary disbanding of the Iraqi army, to the throwing out of the Sunni civil servants that knew how to run the day to day government operations. We then installed the Shia civil servants who had not run the government in several hundred years. The whole thing was a series of colossal, could have been ANTICIPATED mistakes. Our window of opportunity to do the right thing has now passed. The American electorate has lost its patience with this President, and this war. Our options are running out, and there is no good ending in site for us. 8) Largest deficits in American history – You have got to be kidding when this man calls himself a conservative President. There is nothing conservative whatsoever about his spending policies. He has systematically outspent every one of his predecessors in history to the tune of trillions of dollars. He has not vetoed one Congressional spending act – first time in history. His prescription drug bill for seniors is costing almost $50 billion dollars per year more than it should because he included overpayments to drug companies, and created unnecessary giveaways to insurance companies to act as intermediaries in the program. Who would have believed that a Republican President would do such a thing? 9) Tax policies that don’t make sense – I believe in the lowest rate of taxation possible. I do not believe that you cut taxes for the rich in a time of deficit, borrow the money from Japan, China, and Europe to fund the deficits, and then send tax refund checks to the richest 2 percent of the population with the borrowed funds. Furthermore, I do not believe that the very rich in our society believe you should do this either. Yet, that’s what the President has done, an act of fiscal irresponsibility at best, and insanity at worst. You figure it out for yourself. Look at the above and it equals a failed Presidency. All of this from a man who has never once consulted his father as to what he should do about Iraq. Both men have stated that they have not talked about it. This is a President that still can’t talk about issues, or give even a minor speech without READING the entire prewritten document. He is that uncomfortable in his own skin. How will we survive another two years of this kind of leadership?

         
    Slavery in the usa

     

    Spanish settlements in the territory of the current-day USA owned slaves as early as 1526. Twenty one African chattel slaves were first brought to British North America ( to Jamestown, Virginia) in 1619. They joined white indentured laborers (servants) from all over Europe as well as Indian (Native-American) and Caribbean slaves. All the colonies legalized race-based (black) slavery and introduced "slave codes" by 1670. In total, 10-13 million Africans were abducted (mainly by other Africans and Arabs) and sold as slaves (mostly in the Americas) between 1620 and 1880. The slaves were transported across the ocean in especially fitted ships. They were kept lying on narrow ledges, chained, but were brought above deck in good weather. Women and children were not shackled. Even these harsh conditions did not prevent the would-be slaves from frequently attempting to rebel, though, usually, unsuccessfully. Overcrowding, minimal and monotonous diet (two meals per day and a pint of water), poor hygiene, epidemics, and lack of physical activity decimated, on each and every 1-2 months long trip, a whopping one seventh to one fourth of the "cargo" and one sixth to one half of the crew. Another 10% of the slaves died during the process of "seasoning" - getting used to local conditions in their destinations. Initially, all types of unfree workers, regardless of color, were treated the same way: bought, sold, and worked, sometimes to death. Gradually, starting in the 18th century, light-skinned slaves ("house negroes") and whites were tackled more leniently. Surprisingly, slave rebellions were rather rare - perhaps because cruel slave-owners were socially ostracized and miscegenation (white-black sexual liaisons) was frowned upon. Most slave-owners regarded themselves as custodians of their slaves. They properly fed the working adults (though children usually went malnourished), allowed them to grow vegetables in their own garden plots, provided them with clothing (four suits) and housing (one wooden cabin per family). In wealthier and larger plantations, the slaves were cared for by qualified physicians. The master felt it his obligation and right to constantly intervene, interfere, and meddle in the lives of his inferiors. Slave life was richer than portrayed in literature and cinema. Slaves belonged to churches and were ordained as ministers and preachers. A few learned to read and write. Music was a favorite pastime. Understandably, so was drinking. Slaves were allowed to moonlight or work on their own free time. Actually, only a minority of the white population in the south were slave-owners (347,525 out of 6,000,000 in 1850). Only 1,800 people owned more than 100 slaves. There were 250,000 freed slaves in the south by 1860. The average cotton plantation had only 35 slaves, about 50-60% of them engaged in the production of the immensely profitable crop and its processing. Still, slaves constituted more than half the population in some southern states (South Carolina, Mississippi) and two fifths of the total southern populace (compared to an average of 5% in the north and 10% in New-York). Of the first 12 Presidents of the USA, 8 were slave-owners. Some slave-owners were themselves black and former slaves. The Law, even in the Deep South, recognized slaves as both chattel and human beings. Slaves were held responsible for criminal acts they had committed, for instance, and enjoyed many human rights (e. g., the right not to be killed, tortured, or beaten brutally, to be cared for in old age or sickness, to receive religious instruction, to bring suit and give evidence in some cases). Case law and non-binding custom endowed them with additional privileges: the right to marry, own private property (peculium), have free time, enter contracts, and (if female or child) be consigned to lighter labor. Still, a minority of slave-owners ignored these legal protections and social censure and indulged their sadistic urges and sexual appetites. In some plantations, nutrition was so lopsided or deficient that slaves resorted to eating clay to supplement their diet. In others mutilation, branding, chaining, torture, murder, and rape - all criminal acts prohibited by Law - were common. But while individual slaves were, at least theoretically, protected by law and social custom - not so the negro family. The owner had the right to sell his slaves separately, regardless of their familial ties. Some states, like Louisiana in 1829, passed legislation prohibiting the sale of children under the age of ten. Others (Alabama and Georgia) forbade the separation of inherited slave families. But these were the exceptions to the widespread practice. Though not recognized or protected by Law, many slaves accumulated property. A few hundred slaves even purchased their freedom from their white masters. Slave-owners in the USA usually retained ownership of sick, disabled, or infirm slaves and took care of them. Suicide among slaves in the USA was a rarity. Many slaves (especially in the coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina) were free to do as they chose once they had completed their daily assignments (the "task system"). On the eve of the American Revolution, c. 400,000 slaves amounted to one fifth of the population of the rebellious colonies. Slavery in the USA was abolished in stages and decades after it was eliminated in Britain. Rhode Island banned it as early as 1774. Pennsylvania, New-York, and New Jersey followed suit. In 1787, the Continental Congress prohibited the practice in the Midwest. The slave trade - or, more precisely, the importation of slaves into the USA - was banned altogether in 1808. Even so, between 1808 and 1865, traders smuggled 270,000 slaves into the USA. But the major engine of growth of the slave population was reproduction. Twenty thousand slaves were born every year during the 1790s - and 70,000 annually in the 1840s. As a result, the ratio between the sexes was equal and the slave population skyrocketed from 1.2 million in 1810 to 4 million in 1860. Some slave-owners even established "breeding farms" and sold the off-spring in the markets of "deficit" states. Gradually, all the states north of the Ohio River and the Mason-Dixon line became slave-free. Northerners resented the presence of fugitive slaves (about 1000 per year) who crossed the Ohio River in what was known as the Underground Railroad, but they often clashed with federal authorities when the latter tried to extend their jurisdiction to the escapees under the Fugitive Slave Laws. Most abolitionists - as well as President Abraham Lincoln (who was never one) - wanted to repatriate the blacks (return them to Africa) and, in any case, expel all free blacks from northern and, later, southern territories. The African nation-state of Liberia was established specifically to accommodate former North American slaves. It was widely acknowledged that slave-owners should be compensated for the loss of their property. Not a single abolitionist supported or even discussed reparations (compensating the slaves for their free labor, denial of freedom, brutal treatment, and hardships). It was accepted wisdom that blacks - both slaves and free - should never be allowed to carry arms. Slaves in the South (the Confederacy) were finally emancipated in 1863, during the Civil War. But, even then, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to some states within the Union. These other slaves remained in slavery until December 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted.

         
    Stock research republican congress in hot seat

     

    If the Republican Party is able to hold onto its majority in both the House and the Senate in the coming elections, it will be because of the ineptness of the Democrats. The Democrats have become a party without ideas, with an ideology that hasn’t worked in years, and I am not hopeful that it will work in the immediate future. At the same time we must recognize the notion of ACCOUNTABILITY. In my work managing money, I have to go back decades to understand certain companies and their institutional cultures. The same thing is true in politics. Yes, we have had scandals before. I remember vividly Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Baker, and John Kennedy and his German mistress who supposedly worked for the East German secret police, the Stasi. There’s something about POWER. The historians tell you that “POWER CORRUPTS, and ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY”. The greatest compliment you can pay our country is to recognize that we settle things in the voting booth. When the voting booth can’t settle it as in the Presidential election in 2000 in Florida, the courts settle it. In the 2000 contested election, it was the Supreme Court of the United States that settled it. In most countries of the world, they settle things with a gun, or several guns, or better yet, the military settles things with a coup. Our way is far superior, always has been, always will be. There is something in the air that’s different this time. I am a conservative by nature. I have been since Barry Goldwater ran for the Presidency in 1964. I believe in minimizing government intervention in people’s lives because I believe that the government contributes very little in the end to the human condition. They take, but create nothing. They do very few things well, and overpay vastly for what they do provide. An example is $225 per day, per soldier, to Halliburton to feed our troops in Iraq. You and I can eat in the finest restaurants for that amount of money. Only a government can spend money like that. What I am mostly disturbed by is the vanity, conceit, and complete disregard for the rest of us that this government has shown. We have a President that needs to spy on its own citizens in the name of national security, but finds no requisite need for oversight. The key here is OVERSIGHT. I happen to know that there are federal judges who sit in the FBI headquarters every day, whose sole job is to sign off on the government’s need to record conversations. The same procedure could very easily be implemented by the CIA, and NSA, but nobody wanted it. They obviously thought of it, but didn’t want it. When governments work in secret, the tyranny we seek to end overseas visits us right here. Our founding fathers fought against it and so should we. We have a war in Iraq where we are all part of the dance NOW. The President has put forth no objectives for determining when we can get out. Is it a national police force of 150,000 Iraqis before we can get out, or an army of 300,000 Iraqi troops before we can go? We are now stuck in a war without end, without even the hint of an end, and we are suffering a slow death attrition to our troops. It’s just the kind of thing that Americans HATE, a war fought without objectives, just sucking up money, resources, and the flower of our youth. It’s all in the name of nothing really. I say this because you either have clearly defined objectives in war or you have chaos. This President has chosen chaos. Sometimes I think this is Vietnam all over again, doesn’t anybody ever learn from history? Bush has degrees from Yale and Harvard, and didn’t learn a dam thing apparently, except how to spend money. You know, I couldn’t wait for Clinton to get out of office, and now I wonder if his wife isn’t such a bad idea. The Congress spends billions likes its play money, and doesn’t even tax the citizens to do it. Instead they borrow the money, spend it and then owe the debt to Europeans, Japan, and China by continuing to build up the national debt. I haven’t checked this number in years, but I would be willing to bet that between 80% and 90% of the total national debt has been built up by the Republicans who call themselves the party of fiscal responsibility. Maybe I am just getting older, but I am getting far more cynical as the years go by and more liberal too, but it’s not the liberal’s definition of liberal. Barry Goldwater taught me that abortion rights are a woman’s decision, not 9 old people sitting on a Supreme Court. There should be a separation of church and state as provided by the constitution. If deeply religious people in this country want to vote, than they absolutely should vote and participate in the political process, just like everybody else. Recognize that this country was founded by good hardworking people who left their rigid religious societies for something a lot better. We call it America. Now when I sit back and look at this Republican dominated Congress, I find it pathetic. The majority leader Tom Delay had to resign in disgrace. The House Speaker, Denny Hastert is totally asleep at the switch over information he received, didn’t received, received, and then didn’t receive over the gay Congressman’s escapades. Why is it that it’s all right to be a gay Democratic Congressman (aka Barney Frank), but you can’t be a gay Republican Congressman (aka Mark Foley). Republicans are in the closet about it, and Democrats are screaming it out loud. The Democrats should be running on one issue and one issue only, “HAD ENOUGH”, forget about it’s time for a change. It’s time for a revolution. I could very easily see the Republicans getting wiped in this election, losing both houses in fact, and then in essence making this current President impotent. How much more damage can President Bush do if he faces a hostile Congress. He could propose whatever he wanted to propose but if the Democrats control the Congress, and won’t FUND IT, the game is over. This scenario would not be much better than the horror show currently on stage, but you must hold the politicians in power ACCOUNTABLE, and nobody has done that in six years. Maybe I was better off when my party was on the outs, and I could at least fantasize how much better things would be when, and if we got into power. My fantasies have turned into a nightmare with these people in office who are not MY REPUBLICANS, and then there’s Donald Rumsfeld, but that’s another story.

         
    Supporting our troops we re behind them no matter what

     

    The United States military is the strongest and most disciplined military in the world. The troops in the U. S. military have fought and died for many of the freedoms that we enjoy today. Without our troops we would not have independence at all, because they rose up against the tyrannical reign of the British government to fight for our freedom. As the United States became a super power the U. S. military has also waged many wars in defense of our nation as well as other nations that could not defend themselves. I do not believe that war should be glorified, but I do believe that sometimes war is necessary. Also since our country is the most powerful country in the world, I believe that we should look out for the “little guy”, and defend smaller nations that can not adequately defend themselves. No matter if you believe in a war or not you should always support the troops that are fighting in the war for us. Some wars that America has fought in have not been very popular wars, but we should never lose sight of our troops that are fighting in that war. Vietnam was one of the bloodiest wars that we have ever been apart of. Also it was a very unpopular war in the U. S., with millions of people protesting daily. The wonderful thing about America is that we have the freedom to protest a war. However we must not forget the troops that are fighting in that war. One thing in our history that I am very ashamed of is the fact that when the troops from Vietnam returned to America people did not show their appreciation. In fact many people actually taunted the troops and made them feel bad for fighting in the war. We should not have done this, because the troops did not have a choice whether to fight in the war or not. Many of the troops were drafted and if they did not fight they would have been put in jail. We should have given the soldiers a parade and cheered for them when they returned. We are currently in a very unpopular war in Iraq. At the beginning of this war, the American people were behind the war, because we thought it was a good start in the war on terrorism. However the usefulness of this war has far been surpassed by the amount of American lives that have been lost. Many people in America believe that we should end this war and bring our troops back, because we are never going to be able to gain a complete win. I am actually starting to believe that we should bring our soldiers back now as well. However no matter what happens with this war or the decisions our government makes, we need to make sure that we show our troops the support that they deserve while they are fighting and when they return.

         
    Terrorists and freedom fighters

     

    "'Unbounded' morality ultimately becomes counterproductive even in terms of the same moral principles being sought. The law of diminishing returns applies to morality." Thomas Sowell There's a story about Robespierre that has the preeminent rabble-rouser of the French Revolution leaping up from his chair as soon as he saw a mob assembling outside. "I must see which way the crowd is headed", he is reputed to have said: "For I am their leader." salon/tech/books/1999/11/04/new_optimism/ People who exercise violence in the pursuit of what they hold to be just causes are alternately known as "terrorists" or "freedom fighters". They all share a few common characteristics: A hard core of idealists adopt a cause (in most cases, the freedom of a group of people). They base their claims on history - real or hastily concocted, on a common heritage, on a language shared by the members of the group and, most important, on hate and contempt directed at an "enemy". The latter is, almost invariably, the physical or cultural occupier of space the idealists claim as their own. The loyalties and alliances of these people shift effortlessly as ever escalating means justify an ever shrinking cause. The initial burst of grandiosity inherent in every such undertaking gives way to cynical and bitter pragmatism as both enemy and people tire of the conflict. An inevitable result of the realpolitik of terrorism is the collaboration with the less savoury elements of society. Relegated to the fringes by the inexorable march of common sense, the freedom fighters naturally gravitate towards like minded non-conformists and outcasts. The organization is criminalized. Drug dealing, bank robbing and other manner of organized and contumacious criminality become integral extensions of the struggle. A criminal corporatism emerges, structured but volatile and given to internecine donnybrooks. Very often an un-holy co-dependence develops between the organization and its prey. It is the interest of the freedom fighters to have a contemptible and tyrannical regime as their opponent. If not prone to suppression and convulsive massacres by nature - acts of terror will deliberately provoke even the most benign rule to abhorrent ebullition. The terrorist organization will tend to emulate the very characteristics of its enemy it fulminates against the most. Thus, all such groups are rebarbatively authoritarian, execrably violent, devoid of human empathy or emotions, suppressive, ostentatious, trenchant and often murderous. It is often the freedom fighters who compromise their freedom and the freedom of their people in the most egregious manner. This is usually done either by collaborating with the derided enemy against another, competing set of freedom fighters - or by inviting a foreign power to arbiter. Thus, they often catalyse the replacement of one regime of oppressive horror with another, more terrible and entrenched. Most freedom fighters are assimilated and digested by the very establishment they fought against or as the founders of new, privileged nomenklaturas. It is then that their true nature is exposed, mired in gulosity and superciliousness as they become. Inveterate violators of basic human rights, they often transform into the very demons they helped to exorcise. Most freedom fighters are disgruntled members of the middle classes or the intelligentsia. They bring to their affairs the merciless ruthlessness of sheltered lives. Mistaking compassion for weakness, they show none as they unscrupulously pursue their self-aggrandizement, the ego trip of sending others to their death. They are the stuff martyrs are made of. Borne on the crests of circumstantial waves, they lever their unbalanced personalities and project them to great effect. They are the footnotes of history that assume the role of text. And they rarely enjoy the unmitigated support of the very people they proffer to liberate. Even the most harangued and subjugated people find it hard to follow or accept the vicissitudinal behaviour of their self-appointed liberators, their shifting friendships and enmities and their pasilaly of violence.

         
    The abdication crisis revisited

     

    The love affair of Edward, Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) and Wallis Simpson in 1936 is the stuff of romantic dramas. Alas, reality was a lot less inspiring. Even as she was being wooed by her regal paramour - and while still being married to Ernest Aldrich Simpson, who knew of the Prince's attentions and even discussed the adulterous relationship with him - Wallis had an affair with Guy Marcus Trundle, a car salesman. So reveal documents released in January 2003 by the Public Record Office in the United Kingdom. Trundle is described as a "very charming adventurer, very good looking, well bred and an excellent dancer". He lived at 18 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London (a prestigious address). Simpson's first husband was Earl Winfield Spencer. The King met her on January 10, 1931 but was not impressed. Even in the months after May 1934, when he met her for the second time, dined with her and her husband in their London flat and invited them to his country retreat - she did not captivate him. He did take her on a cruise, two years later, unaccompanied by her husband. He tried to introduce her in court, but George V was outraged. Upon his death, the Prince of Wales became King on January 20, 1936. Ernest Simpson - who was having a long-term affair of his own - moved out of the Simpson household in July 1936. Nor was Wallis the Prince's first American liaison. He contemplated marrying one, Thelma Furness, but then dumped her for Simpson. The British media - though perfectly aware of all the goings-on, reported noting almost until the King's abdication. The European and American press, in contrast, provided extensive coverage of the developing romance. At first, the King did not wish to marry Simpson, merely to make her his consort by changing the law to allow for a morganatic marriage (of people from different classes, with no rights of inheritance). Simpson herself thought of giving up the marriage. Yet, finally, they got married after the abdication, in France. Though Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor, she could not be addressed as "Her Royal Highness". Additionally, the King was not allowed by the British government to address the British people and the Empire through the BBC. The government's constitutional experts wrote: "If the King disregarded it, constitutional monarchy would cease to exist. The King is bound to accept and act upon the advice of his ministers ... for the King to broadcast in disregard of that advice would be appealing over the heads of his constitutional advisers. "The last time when this happened in English history was when Charles I raised His Standard at the beginning of the Civil War on 22 August 1642." Edward abdicated from the throne on 11 December 1936, making a different speech. After having abdicated the throne, in exile, not allowed to return on pain of losing their allowance, the couple visited Adolf Hitler in 1937. Simpson was thrilled to be "entertained by Herr Hitler" but there is no proof of further contacts with the Nazi regime with the exception of a telegram from Edward to Hitler, urging peace. Edward was later appointed Governor of the Bahamas. Recently released FBI files identify Simpson as a Nazi sympathizer, though. The FBI suspected her of having an affair with a leading Nazi and spied on her.

         
    The american revolution

     

    The American Revolution was a civil war between Loyalists to the British crown (aka Tories, about one fifth of the population), supported by British expeditionary forces, and Patriots (or Whigs) in the 13 colonies that constituted British North America. About 20-25% of the populace in the colonies - c. 600,000 - were blacks. About one third of the white denizens were non-British. Local patriotism ran high. All adult, white, property-owning, men (about two thirds of the male numbers) were eligible to vote in elections to the lower house of the legislative assembly of the colony they resided in. Each colony also had its governor. Some colonies (e. g., Rhode Island and Connecticut) were, in effect, incorporated under royal charter as semi-commercial ventures. Others belonged to the descendants of their founders (proprietary colonies such as Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware). Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire were royal provinces, under direct British rule. Some of the colonists - for instance, the New Englanders - were among the wealthiest and best educated people in the world, better off than the British themselves. But, per capita, they paid only 3% of the taxes levied on a typical Briton. The colonies supplied the West Indies with most of their foodstuffs and consumed British finished products - but they were not economically crucial to the British Empire. In the years leading to the War of Independence (1765-1776), the British actually repealed all the taxes on products imported into the colonies - with the single exception of tea (and even this tax was drastically reduced). The colonists' slogan "no taxation without representation" was, therefore, more about local representation than about foreign taxation. And even this bit ringed hollow. The Encyclopedia Britannica: "The assemblies had the right to tax; to appropriate money for public works and public officials, and to regulate internal trade, religion, and social behavior". The role of British government was confined to foreign affairs and trade. But both parties to the conflict breached this modus vivendi. During the Seven Years (French and Indian) War (1754-1763), the colonies refused to relinquish control over their militias to the British command and smuggled French goods into British North America (France being Britain's enemy). The British, on the other hand, began interfering in the colonies' internal affairs, notably (but not only) by imposing taxes and customs duties in order to ameliorate Britain's growing national debt and by rendering tax officials financially independent of the local colonial assemblies. Add to this a severe recession in the colonies brought on by unbridled spending financed with unsustainable personal indebtedness and, not surprisingly, acts of resistance to British taxation - such as the Boston Tea Party - were organized mainly by smugglers, artisans, and shopkeepers. Secret groupings, such as the Sons of Liberty resorted to violence and intimidation to achieve their (mostly economic but disguised as "patriotic") goals. Even women got involved in a "buy American" campaign of boycotting British goods. Many British merchants, bankers, politicians, intellectuals, and journalists supported the colonies against the crown - each group for its own reasons. The merchants and bankers, for instance, were terrified of a mooted unilateral debt moratorium to be declared by the colonies if and when militarily attacked. Others found it distasteful to kill and maim white British subjects (as the insurgents were). Yet others resisted imperialism, the monarchy, taxes, or all three. Even within the British Army there was strong dissent and the campaign against the rebellious colonies was carried out half-heartedly and lackadaisically. On the other hand, British die-hards, such as Samuel Johnson, demanded blood ("I am willing to love all Mankind, except an American"). The denizens of the colonies tried, till the last moment, to avert a constitutional (and, consequently, military) crisis. They suggested a model of two semi-autonomous nations (the United Kingdom and the colonies), united by the figurehead of the King. But it was too little and way too late. Violent clashes between the citizenry and British units started as early as October 1765 with the First Nonimportation Movement, directed against the Stamp Act. They continued with the Boston Massacre (five dead) in 1770; the attack on the British customs ship, the Gaspйe, in Rhode Island, in 1772; and the Boston Tea Party in 1773. In April 1775, General Gage, governor and military commander of Massachusetts, suffered a humiliating defeat in a skirmish in Concord and Lexington. The Patriots were alerted to his movements by Paul Revere who rode all night to inform them that the "regulars (not the British, as the legend has it) are coming." He was one of many such scouts. The Loyalists fielded 50-55,000 armed men and the Patriots countered by organizing "militias" - irregular units of ill-trained and undisciplined volunteers. The Continental Army was established only in June 1775, under the command of George Washington, a veteran of the French and Indian War. At their peak, the rebels mastered less than 100,000 men in arms - only 25-30,000 of which were on active duty at any given time. The Continental Army was, in the words of General Philip Schuyler of New York “weak in numbers, dispirited, naked, destitute of provisions, without camp equipage, with little ammunition, and not a single piece of cannon.” Late pay caused frequent mutinies and desertions. In 1783, Washington had to personally intervene to prevent a military coup. Only repeated promises of cash bonuses and land grants kept this mob of youngsters, foreigners, and indentured servants intermittently cohesive. Still, they outnumbered the British and the "Hessians" - the 30,000 German mercenaries who participated in the 8 years of fighting. In all of North America, the British had 60,000 soldiers as late as 1779. They had to face a growing presence of hostile French, Spanish, and Dutch armies, supplies, and navies. The Native-Americans (Indians) supported mostly the British, especially west of the Appalachians. This provoked numerous massacres by the Patriots. The War spread to other parts of the world: the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, India, the Netherlands, the Mediterranean. The US Navy even invaded the British port of Whitehaven in 1778. The conflict affected the civilian population as well with both sides committing war crimes and atrocities aplenty. With many men gone, women took over traditionally male roles and vocations, such as farming. Hyperinflation - brought on by $500 million in newly minted and printed money - led to mob scenes as storekeepers were attacked and warehouses looted. The blacks largely sided with the British - but many joined the Patriots and, thus, won their freedom after the war. Virginia planters alone manumitted 10,000 slaves. By 1800, slavery was abolished in all the states north of Delaware. All told, less than 7000 Patriots died in battle (and 8500 wounded). About 1200 Germans perished, too. No one knows how many British troops, Indians, and other combatants paid with their lives in this protracted conflict. About 100,000 Loyalists emigrated to Canada and thousands others (mainly of African ancestry) went to Sierra Leone and the Bahamas. They were all fully compensated for the property they left behind in what came to be known as the United States of America (USA).

         
    The armenian genocide

     

    The Armenian massacres in Turkey started in the 19th century and continued well after the Armenian genocide of 1915 in which some 600,000 Armenians perished. The Armenians were also raided by Kurdish tribesmen on a regular basis. An Ottoman military tribunal, convened between 1919-21, even convicted for the crimes members of the administration of the Young Turks, including cabinet ministers. Many of the perpetrators fled the country only to return, triumphant, after the establishment of modern Turkey in 1923. The Turkish government today denies that an organized, premeditated genocide ever took place and pegs the number of Armenian fatalities at 200-300,000 at the most. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Armenians formed guerrilla movements in eastern Van (the Armenakans, in 1885) and in Russia. Radical nationalist parties were established by Russian-Armenian emigrants in 1887 (Hunchak or Henchak, "The Bell") and in 1890 in Georgia (Dashnak or Dashnaktsutyun, "Union"). Mass demonstrations in the Turkish capital (in 1890 and 1895) and armed uprisings followed (in 1894-5). The Dashnaks even invaded Turkey from Russia in 1896 - a demonstrative act which resulted in the slaughter of 50,000 Armenians. The suppression of these revolts claimed 200,000 Armenian lives. In 1909, in Adana, more than 23,000 Armenians were massacred as the warships of the Great Powers stood idly by. In 1912-3 the Great Powers, led by Russia, pressured Turkey to cease its mistreatment of the Armenians. This intervention was resented by the Ottoman authorities. By 1915, Armenian calls for autonomy were deemed a danger to the disintegrating realm, now at war with Russia. When the first world war broke, Turkey allied itself with the Germans. All Armenian men aged 20-45 were conscripted to the army as soldiers, soon to be disarmed and serve as pack animals or in menial jobs. When Russian Armenians recruited Turkish Armenians for the anti-Turkish Russian Army of the Caucasus, in April 1915, the elite of the Armenian community was arrested and executed. Between May and June 1915 the Armenian population was deported to Mesopotamia. The deportation followed mass executions. Many more died from starvation, exposure, dehydration, abuse and outright torture. The survivors - less than 300,000 - were subjected to additional slaughter in Syria. People were beaten with blunt instruments, burnt alive or drowned forcibly. The massacres were carried out by military officers with dictatorial powers, aided by criminals especially released from jails and assigned to their gruesome duties. Armed resistance in Van province, Mussa Dagh, Shabin Karahisar and Urfa - as well as setbacks in the war - prevented the Turks for deporting the urban Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire's major cities. Today there are less than 60,000 Armenians in Turkey compared to at least 1.8 million in 1910.

         
     
         
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