Tag: American Revolution

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Alcohol

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go to link America has a long interesting history with alcohol that dates back to the Pilgrims running through what really started the American revolution to Prohibition. The follow url Discovery Channel began a three part series, “ acquistare viagra generico 50 mg a Milano How Booze Built America,” that examines the history of alcohol in the American culture. Mike Rowe, the series host, spoke on MSNBC’s get link The Cycle about the series and making history fun.

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Did you know that the Puritans landed the Mayflower early on Plymouth Rock … because they ran out of beer? Or that Johnny Appleseed was actually creating farms to sell hard apple cider?

It was all the fault of demon rum.

Making Sense of Revolutions

We are witnessing what may be the birth pangs of nascent democracy in the Middle East.  Or, we may be witnessing something else entirely.  A region which has long trailed the rest of the Western world in basic freedoms for its citizens is in the process of long-needed transition.  What it will be and what form it will eventually take has yet to be established.  This doesn’t mean, of course, that we won’t try to transpose our own understanding upon the scene that lies before us.  Especially when we contemplate the unknown, we can fall so easily into dichotomies.  When comparing two things simultaneously, it is easy to believe that everything must belong to one part or the other, or, failing that, nothing can belong simultaneously to both parts. Egypt is not Libya, nor is Tunisia exactly like Egypt.

We owe it all to France and King Louis XVI

In the USA, we tend to selectively omit (or at least not accurately reflect) true historical facts in our collective understanding of history.

Our revolution being funded by King Louis XVI and the French monarchy is not the first thought we have when we watch fireworks on the 4th of July. Nor do we think of the direct causal effect of American War funding with King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette losing their lives due to US war funding bankrupting France… but let’s revisit our history.


The French government regarded the American revolution as an opportunity to weaken the British empire. Since its defeat in the Seven Years’ War, France had been rebuilding its military power and mending diplomatic fences.

Humbling the arrogant British would be sweet revenge and would have the practical advantage of evening out the balance of power in Europe.

The French foreign minister, Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes, saw the potential advantages of aiding the American rebels. A prudent statesman, he would not lightly risk the possibility of a disastrous war with Britain. Differences of opinion within the French government also inclined him to caution.

King Louis XVI was dubious about helping enemies of a monarch with whom he was at peace. The Comptroller General of Finances, Baron Turgot, passionately declared that a war with Britain would push France into bankruptcy.

Vergennes persuaded the King and his fellow ministers to agree to a policy that he considered both practical and safe, providing covert assistance to the Americans. A sum of 1 million livres was set aside for this purpose.

The French Alliance :: The Politics of War

The Boston Tea Party

The East India Company’s first corporate charter was granted in 1600 for a period of fifteen years. The company struggled to advance its trading and turn a profit initially but by 1609, business was picking up and King James I renewed the charter in 1609, for an indefinite period of time.

Imperialism worked like it always has and the corporation was able to expand toward many different places and grow bigger and richer. Thanks in large part to the stockholders and other rich people, deregulation of the company proceeded to occur over the years.

Monopolies were imposed soon enough. Another company was briefly set up by the government to try to compete, but they soon argued that there really was no strong competition against the company, so the companies merged.  

Our Nation is a “Severe Liberty” Test?

It doesn’t cease to amaze me that there are Obama apologist’s willing to cover anything that he, and his administration, does no matter how bad.  What does get me is when someone, in doing so, goes so far as to call into question that it takes a person who, and I quote, states:

It isn’t going to be to the liking of a severe civil liberties test.

A “severe liberties” test?

THAT is what this commenter thinks?  That our Constitution, and those who wish for it to be enforced, are calling for?  A “severe liberties” test?

(crossposted at Daily Kos)

Wall Street Bailout Costs More than US History.

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Casey Research, of Vermont, has analyzed the costs of the government bailouts of the housing crisis, the credit crisis and others and has concluded that the total is $8.5 trillion, which is more than the cost of all US wars, the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan and the NASA Space Program combined. According to CRS, the Congressional Research Service, all major US wars (including such events as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the invasion of Panama, the Kosovo War and numerous other small conflicts), cost a total of $7.5 trillion in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars.

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hat tip to Ilargi.

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Happy Evacuation Day – March 17th

Here in the Boston area it’s a legal holiday. It’s also a holiday in Cambridge and Somerville. Evacuation Day is one of only two celebrated in the U.S. The other is in New York.


On March 17, 1776 the 11-month siege of Boston ended when the Continental Army, under Washington, fortified Dorchester Heights with cannons captured at Ticonderoga, forcing General Howe’s garrison to attack or flee. To prevent what could have been a slaughter of his troops, Howe agreed to retreat to Nova Scotia via his ships without setting the city on fire as he left.

Both celebrate the departure of the forces of darkness of the time. The forces who sought to deprive the people of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

March 17th is also, and very obviously, a celebration of the Irish in America. I’m a full-blooded member of the Celtic tribe (pronounced keltik, from Greek (Keltoi)) and Boston born so it’s a double celebration day here. It is for a lot of Irish-Americans and has been since the original Evacuation Day.

Many of the soldiers who volunteered to serve under General George Washington to break the yoke of British colonialism were Irish Catholic. These soldiers and their families experienced first hand British occupation and suppression. Many of their sacrifices during the War of Independence were critical in bringing about the establishment of the United States of America. After a failed movement in 1876, the holiday was finally proclaimed on the 125th anniversary in 1901.

So a Happy March 17th to all of you and there’s more…

Hessians

From Wikipedia’s entry on the American Revolutionary War

Early in 1775, the British Army consisted of about 36,000 men worldwide… Additionally, over the course of the war the British hired about 30,000 soldiers from German princes, these soldiers were called “Hessians” because many of them came from Hesse-Kassel. The troops were mercenaries in the sense of professionals who were hired out by their prince. Germans made up about one-third of the British troop strength in North America.

On December 26th 1776 after being chased by the British army under Lords Howe and Cornwallis augmented by these “Hessians” led by Wilhelm von Knyphausen from Brooklyn Heights to the other side of the Delaware the fate of the Continental Army and thus the United States looked bleak.  The Continental Congress abandoned Philidephia, fleeing to Baltimore.  It was at this time Thomas Paine was inspired to write The Crisis.

The story of Washington’s re-crossing of the Delaware to successfully attack the “Hessian” garrison at Trenton is taught to every school child.

On March 31, 2004 Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a convoy containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA.

The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were dragged from their cars, beaten, and set ablaze. Their burned corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hung over a bridge crossing the Euphrates.

Of this incident the next day prominent blogger Markos Moulitsas notoriously said-

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=miglior-sito-per-acquistare-vardenafil-generico-20-mg Every death should be on the front page (2.70 / 40)

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly.

That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

( http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=discount-propecia-without-a-prescription From Corpses on the Cover by gregonthe28th.  This link directly to the comment doesn’t work for some reason.)

Now I think that this is a reasonable sentiment that any patriotic American with a knowledge of history might share.

Why bring up this old news again, two days from the 231st anniversary of the Battle of Trenton?

Warnings Unheeded On Guards In Iraq

Despite Shootings, Security Companies Expanded Presence

By Steve Fainaru, Washington Post Foreign Service

Monday, December 24, 2007; A01

The U.S. government disregarded numerous warnings over the past two years about the risks of using Blackwater Worldwide and other private security firms in Iraq, expanding their presence even after a series of shooting incidents showed that the firms were operating with little regulation or oversight, according to government officials, private security firms and documents.

Last year, the Pentagon estimated that 20,000 hired guns worked in Iraq; the Government Accountability Office estimated 48,000.

The Defense Department has paid $2.7 billion for private security since 2003, according to USA Spending, a government-funded project that tracks contracting expenditures; the military said it currently employs 17 companies in Iraq under contracts worth $689.7 million. The State Department has paid $2.4 billion for private security in Iraq — including $1 billion to Blackwater — since 2003, USA Spending figures show.

The State Department’s reliance on Blackwater expanded dramatically in 2006, when together with the U.S. firms DynCorp and Triple Canopy it won a new, multiyear contract worth $3.6 billion. Blackwater’s share was $1.2 billion, up from $488 million, and the company more than doubled its staff, from 482 to 1,082. From January 2006 to April 2007, the State Department paid Blackwater at least $601 million in 38 transactions, according to government data.

The company developed a reputation for aggressive street tactics. Even inside the fortified Green Zone, Blackwater guards were known for running vehicles off the road and pointing their weapons at bystanders, according to several security company representatives and U.S. officials.

Based on insurance claims there are only 25 confirmed deaths of Blackwater employees in Iraq, including the four killed in Fallujah.  You might care to contrast that with the 17 Iraqis killed on September 16th alone.  Then there are the 3 Kurdish civilians in Kirkuk on February 7th of 2006.  And the three employees of the state-run media company and the driver for the Interior Ministry.

And then exactly one year ago today, on Christmas Eve 2006, a Blackwater mercenary killed the body guard of Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi while drunk at a Christmas party (the mercenary, not the guard or Vice President Abdul-Mahdi who were both presumably observant Muslims and no more likely to drink alcohol than Mitt Romney to drink tea).

Sort of makes all those embarrassing passes you made at co-workers and the butt Xeroxes at the office party seem kind of trivial, now doesn’t it?

So that makes it even at 25 apiece except I’ve hardly begun to catalog the number of Iraqis killed by trigger happy Blackwater mercenaries.

They say irony is dead and I (and Santayana) say that the problem with history is that people who don’t learn from it are doomed to repeat it.