College of Political Knowledge
I have been watching the actions of our Congress both Senate and House, since the Clinton days and have seen just how dysfunctional the institution really is, at least in the near past…….the partisanship has made the organization a non-workable endeavor……its approval rating is dismal…..its bill success rate is in the toilet…….and most of the players appear to be nothing short of clowns in a circus……..
The next question should be….how can we as a nation find a way for our legislative branch to function more efficiently? Or is it possible at all to make it an institution worth saving?
One idea that was floated during the founding era, especially by Franklin, was a unicameral legislative system as opposed to what we have now, bicameral……
Franklin wrote Queries and Remarks Respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania to record his opposition to bicameralism.
The Combinations of Civil Society are not like those of a Set of Merchants, who club [combine] their Property in different Proportions for Building and Freighting a Ship, and may therefore have some Right to vote in the Disposition of the Voyage in greater or less Degree according to their respective Contributions; but the important ends of Civil Society, and the personal Securities of Life and Liberty, these remain the same in every Member of the society; and the poorest continues to have an equal Claim to them with the most opulent [wealthy], whatever Difference Time, Chance, or Industry may occasion in their Circumstances. On these Considerations, I am sorry to See the Signs this Paper I have been considering [the proposed Pennsylvania Constitution] affords, of a Disposition among some of our People to commence an Aristocracy, by giving the Rich a predominancy [superior power] in Government, a Choice peculiar to themselves in one half the Legislature to be proudly called the UPPER House, and the other Branch, chosen by the Majority of the People, degraded by the denomination [name] of the LOWER; and giving to this Upper a Permanency of four Years, and but two to the lower.
Franklin felt that every member of society should have an equal say in the legislative branch of government. He disagreed with the theory of bicameralism that favored one chamber for the wealthy and another chamber for the rest of society. (version can be found on Yahoo Answers)……….
There are benefits to unicameralism…..can almost hear the butts slamming shut!
1. No Duplication of Work-
Law making is done through a process. If there is one house the process is followed once only. There is no repetition of the same process. So time is saved, money is saved and energy as well.
2. No Hindrance-
The people’s will is reflected in the single chamber and there is no check on progressive legislation by any reactionary or conservative second chamber. If the legislature is bicameral in nature there will be differences in the outlook of the two houses.
3. Singleness of Purpose-
When the legislature consists of only one house, singleness of purpose will be maintained. Hence, there will be no confusion in the law making process. Benjamin Franklin said: “Legislative body divided into two branches is like a carriage drawn by one horse in front and one behind pulling in opposite direction.”
4. No Divided Responsibility-
It adds to the quality and dignity of the legislators by avoiding conflict between two chambers. The single chamber is responsible for all legislative matters. There is no divided responsibility as is found in a bicameral legislature.
5. More Representative and less Expensive-
The unicameral legislature can be composed of members who are the true representatives of the people. The composition can be simple. Because it is unicameral, double expenditure for maintenance of two houses is not necessary.
The benefits sound too good to be true…….it would streamline the process and as stated it would be less expensive, something we all should aspire to in these days of looming austerity……so I return to the beginning question……Could one house be better than two?
Early American History
I spend most of my time doing research into the early days of the nation, years 1750-1820, the time frame has always fascinated me and after years of my research I have found a lot of info that leads me to believe that there was way more to the founding and the war then we are ever taught…….I feel that it is my duty to correct erroneous thinking………..
For instance, Paul Revere…..what do you know about this man? For instance he was a silversmith and did the engraving for the country’s first currency, the Continental Dollar” (America’s first journey into deficit spending)………but how many know of him from his famous ride? I would guess…..most people know of him from the poem by Longfellow………
The Red coats are coming…..the red coats are coming………was the yell as he rode through the countryside warning the colonists of the impending invasion from the Brits…….
On the 18th of April 1775, Revere was given a message to deliver to Sam Adams and John Hancock that the British were en route…..after he successfully did that he was ordered to ride to Concord warning people of the coming storm…….he was warned that there were Brits in the area and to be careful…..(here’s a thought…..they were not coming, they were already there!)………..he was captured after only a short ride and detained and questioned…..in his statement afterwards there is NO mention of lanterns as a signal. Revere never completed his mission/ride.
Basically, at best Revere is a footnote that has been made larger than life………he is a myth. The truth of the matter is of all the so-called messengers the only one that completed his mission was Dr. Prescott…although he ad been captured by the Brits he made his escape and continued his ride to Concord to warn of the Brits approach.
A typical historian trick…..find an event and romanticize it.
And then there is the myth of Bunker Hill!
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Early American History
George Mason….not the B/ball team in your past brackets…..but rather a founder of the United States……his name is rarely mentioned in the mythology of the founding. While turning some of the undeserving men into political icons, some of the founders fall between the cracks and George Mason is one such founder……..
September 1787 as the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gathered at the State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia to sign the new Constitution. Only three present refused to add their names. One of them was the Virginian George Mason. Because the Constitution created a federal government he felt might be too powerful, and because it did not end the slave trade and did not contain a bill of rights, he withheld his support from the document he had played so large a role in crafting.
In 1776, Mason, then 51, had been appointed to a committee charged with drafting a “Declaration of Rights” for Virginia. From the writings of English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), Mason had come to a then-radical insight: that a republic had to begin with the formal, legally binding commitment that individuals had inalienable rights that were superior to any government.
One other committee member did play a significant role: Mason’s young friend James Madison, who kept his (and Mason’s) friend Thomas Jefferson apprised of Mason’s progress in drafting the declaration. Mason’s work began, “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights…namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” Jefferson’s U.S. Declaration of Independence included the immortal words of what may be the most famous political statement in history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In 1787, toward the end of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Mason proposed that a bill of rights preface the Constitution, but his proposal was defeated. When he refused to sign the new Constitution, his decision baffled some and alienated others, including his old friend, George Washington. Mason’s stand nonetheless had its effect. At the first session of the first Congress, Madison introduced a Bill of Rights that paralleled Mason’s Declaration of Rights of 1776.
What were the “Bill Of Rights” that were not acceptable until Madison offered it?
In the original words offered by Mason…….
That there be a Declaration or Bill of Rights, asserting and securing from Encroachment, the Essential and Unalienable Rights of the People, in some such manner as the following. —
1. That all Freemen have certain essential inherent Rights, of which they cannot by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing and protecting Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.
2. That all Power is naturally vested in, and consequently derived from the People; that Magistrates therefore are their Trustees and Agents, and at all Times amenable to them.
3. That Government ought to be instituted for the Common Benefit, Protection and Security of the People; and that whenever any Government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a Majority of the Community hath an indubitable unalienable and indefeasible Right to reform, alter or abolish it, and to establish another, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public Weal; and that the Doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary Power and Oppression is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good and Happiness of Mankind.
4. That no man or Set of Men are entitled to exclusive or separate public Emoluments or privileges from the Community, but in Consideration of public Services; which not being descendable neither ought the Offices of Magistrate, Legislator or Judge, or any other public Office to be hereditary.
5. That the Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers of Government should be separate and distinct; and that the members of the Two first may be restrained from Oppression, by feeling and participating the public Burthens, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private Station, return into the Mass of the people, and the vacancies be supplied by certain and regular Elections, in which all, or any part of the Former members to be eligible or ineligible, as the Rules of the Constitution of Government and the Laws shall direct.
6. That the Right of the People to participate in the Legislature is the best Security of Liberty, and the Foundation of all Free Governments; for this purpose Elections ought to be free and frequent; and all men having sufficient Evidence of permanent common Interest with, and Attachment to the Community, ought to have the Right of Suffrage: And no Aid, Charge, Tax or Fee can be set, rated or levied upon the People without their own Consent, or that of their Representatives so elected; nor can they be bound by any Law to which they have not in like manner assented for the Public Good.
7. That all power of suspending Laws, or the Execution of Laws by any Authority, without Consent of the Representatives of the People in the Legislature, is injurious to their Rights, and ought not to be exercised.
8. That in all capital or criminal Prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause & nature of his Accusation, to be confronted with the Accusers and Witnesses, to call for Evidence and be admitted Counsel in his Favor, and to a fair and speedy Trial by an impartial Jury of his Vicinage, without whose unanimous Consent he cannot be found guilty, (except in the Government of the Land and Naval Forces in Time of actual war, Invasion or rebellion) nor can he be compelled to give Evidence against himself.
9. That no Freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned, or desseized of his Freehold, Liberties, privileges or Franchises, or outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, or deprived of his Life, Liberty or Property, but by the Law of the Land.
10. That every Freeman restrained of his Liberty is entitled to a remedy, to enquire into the Lawfulness thereof, and to remove the same if unlawful, and that such Remedy ought not to be denied or delayed.
11. That in Controversies respecting Property, and in Suits between Man and man, the ancient Trial by Jury of Facts, where they arise, is one of the greatest Securities to the Rights of a Free people, and ought to remain sacred and inviolable.
12. That every Freeman ought to find a certain Remedy, by recourse to the Laws, for all Injuries or wrongs he may receive in his person, property or Character: He ought to obtain Right and Justice freely, without sale, compleatly and without Denial, promptly and without Delay; and that all Establishments or regulations contravening these Rights are oppressive and unjust.
13. That excessive Bail ought not to be required, nor excessive Fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual Punishments inflicted.
14. That every Freeman has a Right to be secure from all unreasonable Searches and Seizures of his Person, his papers, and his property; all Warrants therefore to search suspected places, or to seize any Freeman, his Papers or property, without Information upon Oath (or Affirmation of a person religiously scrupulous of taking an Oath) of legal and sufficient Cause, are grievous and Oppressive; and all General Warrants to search suspected Places, or to apprehend any suspected Person, without specially naming or describing the Place or Person, are dangerous and ought not to be granted.
15. That the People have a Right peaceably to assemble together to consult for their common Good, or to instruct their Representatives, and that every Freeman has a right to petition or apply to the Legislature for redress of Grievances.
16. That the People have a right to Freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their Sentiments; that the Freedom of the Press is one of the great Bulwarks of Liberty, and ought not to be violated.
17. That the People have a Right to keep and to bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free State; that Standing Armies in Time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided as far as the Circumstances and Protection of the Community will admit; and that in all Cases, the military should be under strict Subordination to, and governed by the Civil Power.
18. That no Soldier in Time of Peace ought to be quartered in any House without the Consent of the Owner; and in Time of War, only by the civil Magistrate in such manner as the Laws direct.
19. That any Person religiously scrupulous of bearing Arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an Equivalent to employ another to bear Arms in his stead.
20. That Religion or the Duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by Reason and Conviction, not by Force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural, and unalienable Right to the free Exercise of Religion according to the Dictates of Conscience, and that no particular religious Sect or Society of Christians ought to be favored or established by Law in preference to others.
The GOP is trying to be a milder, kinder face on the party these days….well at least the supposed leaders, that is…….mellowing their message and trying to appear more “populist” than they really…..they are jumping on the minority voter bandwagon, the immigration and the women’s bandwagon…..but after listening to them for a week or so…I ask just what part of their plans sound “populist”?
Do you even know what a populist is?
Populism–any of various, often antiestablishment or anti-intellectual political movements or philosophies that offer unorthodox solutions or policies and appeal to the common person rather than according with traditional party or partisan ideologies.
Digest that for a minute.
One of the most famous populists of all time was Huey Long, governor of Louisiana and here is what he ran on…………
Number one, we propose that every family in America should at least own a homestead equal in value to not less than one third the average family wealth. The average family wealth of America, at normal values, is approximately $16,000. So our first proposition means that every family will have a home and the comforts of a home up to a value of not less than around $5,000 or a little more than that.
Number two, we propose that no family shall own more than three hundred times the average family wealth, which means that no family shall possess more than a wealth of approximately $5 million—none to own less than $5,000, none to own more than $5 million. We think that’s too much to allow them to own, but at least it’s extremely conservative.
Number three, we propose that every family shall have an income equal to at least one third of the average family income in America. If all were allowed to work, there’d be an income of from $5,000 to $10,000 per family. We propose that one third would be the minimum. We propose that no family will have an earning of less than around $2,000 to $2,500 and that none will have more than three hundred times the average less the ordinary income taxes, which means that a million dollars would be the limit on the highest income.
Does any of that sound like populism of today? Personally, I do not like the word populist because it has been misused for too long. Likewise the use of progressive to describe a liberal……it may be PC today but they are two different political animals….
In the truest sense of the term, the GOP can never be a populist movement, not with the issues it champions today.
College of Political Knowledge
I have had enough of this Fiscal Cliff and the debt drama crap! I will go back to writing about government and such….at least for now…….
Seems that this is a reoccurring theme and no one wants to learn what they are really talking about, instead they just revert to name calling and insults……personally, I have started just glossing over these types of comments…..to me it shows no idea what the person is talking about…they cannot tell me why they feel the way they do……their answer is that I am just a no good liberal and that is all they need to know….a shallow mind swims in the shallow end of the gene pool…..
Let’s be honest……democracy was never the intention of the Founders…….republicanism (small “r”) was………but for the sake of argument we will call what we have as democracy……….
Democracy is a wonderful thing and many around the world try to achieve it….few succeed….but in these times it has become a catch phrase or slogan or ………..few know it and even fewer know why they think it is a wonderful thing……….first, we do not have a democracy…..we have a republic…there is a difference….no matter how much you embrace the term….we do NOT have a democracy in the US……
Democracy is a much maligned and admired word or concept…….and in the last couple of years it appears as if it is under assault from a couple of directions….some say from the Left and then others say Right…..but if their assumptions are correct where is the danger coming from and how do we avoid it?
First, my ideal democracy is what some people call “direct democracy”….that basically is where the people are in control of the government….kinda on the lines of ancient Greece……unfortunately it will not work! The people are not what this is all about…..it is about power…..achieving and retaining……..
One of the prerequisites of democracy is voting…….but in the US it is more about the way the votes are allocated not who voted for who…..(or should that be ‘whom’?)……..I am talking about gaming the electoral college……I have written in the past that I am all for getting rid of the electoral college altogether and go with the vote and the vote alone…….I could cite the 2000 election….but why? We all are aware of the debate on that election…….the new plan of the GOP for the way the electoral votes are handed out is a game……a political power game.
From a piece written by Joshua Spivak for The Week…………
Since Obama’s landslide victory in November, all of the talk about changing the system — and there has been a lot of it — has been on the Republican side. Thanks to the GOP’s big wins in the 2010 elections, Republicans control the legislatures and the governors’ offices of a number of states that voted for Obama, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia. These states are now targets for a switch to the district-based method.
This would clearly damage Democrats’ short-term political prospects. For example, under the system proposed by Virginia, the state’s electoral votes would have gone from 13 for Obama to 9-4 in favor of Mitt Romney — because he won a bunch of congressional districts despite decisively losing the state’s popular vote.
Such rule changes would immediately nationalize state legislative elections. Thanks to their role in gerrymandering, state legislative elections are already receiving increased attention from national figures. If states started fussing with the rules of the Electoral College, this attention would skyrocket. Consider this: In the 2011 Wisconsin recalls of nine state senators, total campaign spending topped $44 million. Imagine how much would be spent if the presidency were thought to be on the line.
From the point of view of federalism, this would destroy the ideal of state governments as “laboratories of democracy.” These state legislative races would no longer focus on local issues — instead, they would be decided by national topics that have nothing to do with an average legislator’s job. We could also expect an increase in recall elections run to gain a majority in a closely divided legislature.
Basically, a candidate could win a majority of the popular vote and still lose the election……I am not talking about a couple of votes in a close election…..but rather 100,000s to millions of votes……and still be the loser……
This is a try at gaming the so-called “swing states”……….and in doing so could very well make the days of the electoral college numbered (an idea that I am all for but not in this context)……..that is if all these attempts are successful…….
Addendum: Since I wrote this post draft most of the states that were thinking and talking about this move have had a change of mind…..but there are a couple that are still trying to influence the vote of their citizens…..will they succeed?
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Early American History
This is the week that we stop and celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and as usual I post some American history that I feel has been overshadowed by the doings of the DoI issue….we spend all our energy patting people like Jefferson on the back (my readers know that I am not enamored with Jefferson at all)…….I feel we spend too much time on the action and not enough on what lead up to the situation that the Founders felt that they needed to declare our independence from mother England………
We all know the story of Concord and Bunker Hill and Valley Forge…..we are, for the most part, acquainted with the Stamp Act, the Taxes on tea and eventually Bunker Hill….first let me say, the action was not fought on Bunker Hill but rather the smaller hill next to it, Breed’s Hill, I believe…..one of the many revisionists views of what happened…….
Our Founding Fathers were rebel, in the loosest sense of the word and not radicals…..most were hoping for an eventual reconciliation with England…..in the beginning many were not even thinking about independence……so where did the idea of an independent America come from, is a question that is seldom asked.
It was Samuel Adams who took the first step toward its construction, though the idea had been first suggested in 1705 by the great preacher Jonathan Mayhew. In order to provoke the colonies to assemble in a continental congress, it was only necessary that the British government should take the aggressive upon some issue in which all the colonies were equally interested. The sending of the tea-ships in 1773 was such an act of aggression, and forced the issue upon the colonists. The management of this delicate and difficult affair, down to the day when Massachusetts virtually declared war by throwing the tea into the harbor, was entirely in the hands of the committees of correspondence of Boston and five neighboring towns, with the expressed consent of the other Massachusetts committees and the general approval of the country. In this bold act of defiance Samuel Adams was from first to last the leading spirit.
He had been the first of American statesmen to come to the conclusion that independence was the only remedy for the troubles of the time; and since 1768 he had acted upon this conviction without publicly avowing it. The “Boston tea party” made war inevitable. In April, 1774, parliament retorted with the acts for closing the port of Boston and annulling the charter of Massachusetts. This alarmed all the colonies, and led to the first meeting of the continental congress. In this matter the other colonies invited Massachusetts to take the lead, and the work was managed by Mr. Adams with his accustomed shrewdness and daring. When the legislature met at Salem, 17 June, 1774, in conformity to the new acts of parliament, he locked the door, put the key into his pocket, and carried through the measures for assembling a congress at Philadelphia in September. A Tory member, feigning sudden illness, was allowed to go out, and ran straight to the governor with the news. The governor lost no time in drawing up the writ dissolving the legislature, but when his clerk reached the hall he found the door locked and could not serve the writ. When the business was accomplished the legislature adjourned sine die. It was the last Massachusetts legislature assembled in obedience to the sovereign authority of Great Britain. The acts of April were henceforth entirely disregarded in Massachusetts.
Adams served Continental Congress until his return to Boston in 1781. He initially opposed the new Constitution of the United States, but finally supported its ratification in Massachusetts. Adams served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1793 to 1797.
In my mind Samuel Adams holds a special place as a radical who always wanted a separate and independent America……he along with Thomas Paine made the independence we so cherish more than just a pipe dream….they made it a possibility.
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Early American History
From time to time when I am talking with people a subject comes up that puts my brain into overdrive and I just have to post something before it can rest………this was a conversation I was having with a conserv friend and he used the ‘equality’ about 5 times in a sentence………BANG! My mind went to work…….
Let me inject that I am not saying that what we believe about our founding era is wrong just that the thinking may not be the same as it is today or has been portrayed by history books……..I have spent many years studying and researching the founding period a….by read papers and thoughts from those men that we hold in high regard….and in doing so I have found an insight in the thought processes from those days……..
Who does not know those magic words from our founding, “….that all men are created equal……”? Words that we Americans are proud of and hopefully we aspire to live by…….words that have echoed through out our history……but what we the Founders thinking? What can explain the continuation of slavery? Or women not being allowed to vote? What were they thinking?
Well the liberal definition is that people are born equal….legal and political equality but equality of opportunity as well….the conservative definition is more an abstract and unachievable goal…..but where did the Founders fall in this scheme?
Most of the Founders were well schooled and being such would have been exposed to John Locke……..Equality is the driving force of Locke’s political theory because it is the basis for our consensual participation in society, a requisite for the establishment of any state. As such, equality is not just necessary in the establishment of government but is also a requisite in maintaining a safe and stable nation. Locke describes the responsibility of the government (specifically the legislative power) as “the preservation of the society, and of every person in it” (Locke, Treatise, 69), showing his belief that the obligations of the government are to provide safety and protection to all its citizens equally.
But was Locke the driving thought of the day?
Let’s start with the person who put the idea in the minds of average Americans, Thomas Paine, in his mind equality meant just what it sounds like……for men, women, slaves………Paine thought everyone in the society was equal there were no one person or group that was better than the others……Paine wrote about women and they voting, wrote about free all slaves and even wrote about a social security type of fund for retirement……he foresaw all people living as equals in a just society.
But that is about where the Founders departed from the whole equality thing…..at least in my opinion.
Equality is a magical word but what did it mean in the context of our founding documents? Personally, I do not think the the Founders were speaking about ALL men…….their idea was that Americans were equal to citizens of England….that they should have all the rights and privileges of their English brothers…..
I give you the decision written by Taney in the Dred Scott vs Sanford……..Taney — a staunch supporter of slavery and intent on protecting southerners from northern aggression — wrote in the Court’s majority opinion that, because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.”
Yes, he was a supporter of slavery but also I believe that he was interpreting what the DoI was stating…..that all white free men were equal to the free men of England and all others were subordinate to that…….I want to believe that the Founders were that forward looking but their writings and papers just does not bear that out…..
I know not many people will care about Western Sahara……but that does not matter…..why? Because I care………
After I finished my studies in International relations I applied for a job with the UN in Tunisia….I did not get it but I did get an offer from a Spanish newspaper…..which I accepted and that allowed me to travel in North Africa and the Middle East…..the area of my studies…..and while I was working in Morocco I worked on a piece about a disputed area called Western Sahara (I have written about this area in the past….in case one is interested)…….and I got the chance to visit the area and got to know several people within the freedom movement and the people, the Sahrawis…..a great, generous and passionate people. Since Spain pulled out in 1974 the land has been claimed by Mauritania and Morocco, who has possession today….but the freedom movement has continued and the US is siding with Morocco, who has promised limited self rule for the area……
Morocco then fought a war against an indigenous Sahrawi group of fighters, the Frente Polisario, which ended in 1991 when the UN brokered a ceasefire and pledged to hold an independence referendum within six months.
The referendum has still not been held. Morocco retains control of Western Sahara and its lucrative phosphate and fishing resources. The country is now the last United Nations-designated “non-self-governing territory” in Africa, and is home to between 100,000 and 140,000 Moroccan military personnel (despite a total population of just 500,000).
Morocco’s reigning King Muhammad VI has said that “the issue of our Saharan provinces is central” in order “to complete our territorial integrity”.
In April, Amnesty International reported that: “Sahrawis advocating self-determination for the people of Western Sahara remained subject to restrictions on their freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and leading activists continued to face prosecution.”
Despite the danger of documenting unrest - anyone caught filming or taking pictures of protests in Western Sahara faces punishment, and usually the destruction of the camera equipment – Coordination Gdeim Izik say they have video evidence of the attacks on their protests.
In one video seen by this reporter, a 55-year-old woman is savagely beaten and kicked to the floor by two riot policemen; in another, uniformed military personnel beat a young girl so severely she had to be hospitalised, according to her friends. A senior member of the group, Sidi Muhammad Ramadiy, pointed to the screen and said: “This is human rights for Morocco.”
The group’s de facto leader, Lahib Salhi, said: “We live here always under the eyes, and under the clubs of the Moroccans. The world must do what it promised to do when the UN first came: hold the referendum, and give us the chance to live as we wish to live.”
Many Sahrawis in fact blame the international community. “The Moroccans make the claim on our land because they can, because they are strong and because they are supported by France, the United States, and Britain,” said Salhi. “But they know the claim is false. The Mauritanians once claimed Western Sahara for themselves. Where are they now? How much longer will the world permit this injustice?”
What happened to the US and their support for democracy and freedom?
Subject: Women’s History
It is Women’s History Month and as my regular readers know that I try to post little known people of note in history….I especially enjoy pointing out courageous women of history…..this lady caught my fancy when I was reading a book entitled, The Sahara–A cultural History written by Eamonn Gearon….an excellent book if you are a history nerd, very informative and entertaining reading…..
In the 7th century, Arab armies were sweeping across North Africa and bringing with them the Islamic beliefs…….the Arabs met their match when they invaded the land of the Berbers, a native people of the Sahara……….
By Eamonn Gearon
Far from being natives of North Africa, Arab armies only entered Egypt in 639. Just 71 years later they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to begin their invasion of Europe. These remarkable conquests were greater and swifter than any achieved by Greece or Rome. Even so, it was not a story of unbroken victories.
Some uprisings persisted for decades, prompting one Arab governor to declare, “The conquest of Ifriqiya is impossible; scarcely has one Berber tribe been exterminated than another takes its place.” The Roman term of opprobrium for any non-Roman – barbarian – became a proper name, creating a Berber identity uniting a people. Unfortunately for the Berbers, this common identity did not equal united resistance.
The most serious Berber resistance was the campaign led by the Berber tribal elder al-Kahina, or “the prophetess.” Variously claimed as a Jewess and a Christian by co-religionists, and described as a witch or a sorceress by her detractors, al-Kahina’s bravery and desire to remain free of foreign domination inspired others to mount numerous, ultimately doomed, revolts.
Described as a beauty with the gift of prophecy, she put this last skill to good use, sending her sons to her Arab enemies. The Arabs, recognising the skills inherent in the boys’ mother, raised them to become successful commanders of Arab armies. In this way, the Berbers were able to claim some glory from a story that is otherwise characterised by defeat and subjugation.
Al-Kahina herself died fighting the Arabs in around 702. Since then, al-Kahina has inspired Berber nationalists, Maghrebi feminists and, in the 19th and 20th centuries, French colonialists! Even today, while virtually unknown in the West, al-Kahina’s name is legendary across North Africa, but perhaps she foresaw that too.
A noble warrior that would have NO place in Arabic society……..she should and is an inspiration to women everywhere…. a woman that met a trial and fought to protect her and her people’s way of life……she did what must be done……..not much more can be asked of anyone……..
Subject: Women’s History
“Listen my children
And you shall hear
The midnight ride
Of Paul Revere……..”
We all know that poem from our youth and our studies of American history……
Paul Revere’s ride lasted about an hour and was captured by the British and held for questioning……the person that did a Hell of a lot more as a messenger was Sybil Ludington………I know……who?
Sybil Ludington was the eldest of twelve children. Her father, Col. Ludington, had served in the French and Indian war. As a mill owner in Patterson, New York, he was a community leader, and he volunteered to serve as the local militia commander as war with the British loomed.
When he received word late on April 26, 1777, that the British were attacking Danbury, Connecticut, Colonel Ludington knew that they would move from there into further attacks in New York. As head of the local militia, he needed to muster his troops from their farmhouses around the distict, and to warn the people of the countryside of possible British attack.
Sybil Ludington, 16 years old, volunteered to warn the countryside of the attack and to alert the militia troops to muster at Ludington’s. The glow of the flames would have been visible for miles.She traveled some 40 miles through the towns of Carmel, Mahopac, and Stormville, in the middle of the night, in a rainstorm, on muddy roads, shouting that the British were burning Danbury and calling out the militia to assemble at Ludington’s. When Sybil Ludington returned home, most of the militia troops were ready to march to confront the British.
The 400-some troops were not able to save the supplies and the town at Danbury — the British seized or destroyed food and munitions and burned the town — but they were able to stop the British advance and push them back to their boats, in the Battle of Ridgefield.
Sybil Ludington’s contribution to the war was to help stop the advance of the British, and thus give the American militia more time to organize and resist. She was recognized for her midnight ride by those in the neighborhood, and was also recognized by General George Washington.
Sybil Ludington continued to help as she could with the Revolutionary War effort, in one of the typical roles that women were able to play in that war: as a messenger.
Women played a pivotal part in the War for independence and they are only now getting the credit they truly deserve……I hope I have help in some small way…….