July 4, 2010 archive

Open Independence


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

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq & Afghanistan/Pakistan – June 2010

Iraq, Rapidly becoming the Forgotten War!!

There have been 4,729 coalition deaths — 4,410 Americans, 2 Australians, 1 Azerbaijani, 179 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, 1 Czech, 7 Danes, 2 Dutch, 2 Estonians, 1 Fijian, 5 Georgians, 1 Hungarian, 33 Italians, 1 Kazakh, 1 South Korean, 3 Latvian, 22 Poles, 3 Romanians, 5 Salvadoran, 4 Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, 2 Thai and 18 Ukrainians — in the war in Iraq as of May 5 2010, according to a CNN count. { Graphical breakdown of casualties }. The list also includes 13 U.S. Defense Department civilian employees. At least 31,860 {31,839 last month} U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. View casualties in the war in Afghanistan

What Day Is It Agin?


Every Fourth of July, Americans gather to celebrate the country’s declaration of independence from … um, what country was that again?

If you answered the above question with the word “England” or “Britain,” you would be obviously correct. But a new Marist poll finds that more than a quarter — 26 percent — of Americans polled couldn’t bring to mind the name of the country from whom the original 13 colonies gained independence.

Results were especially poor among the young: Of respondents aged 18 to 29, only 60 percent correctly identified Great Britain. A full one-third were unsure.

Maybe history class was too long ago. Or maybe, as the New York Daily News would have it, Americans are “pretty dumb.”

Overall, 20 percent of the population answered “not sure” to the question, while six percent declared it to be a country other than Great Britain. “Among the countries mentioned are France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain,” Marist reports.

China? Maybe all this poll tells us is that six percent of people who answer surveys like to screw around with them.

That’s a possibility that Jack Stuef at the Wonkette blog is ready to consider.

Consider that a good 10% of Americans probably have Alzheimer’s. Then another 5% are just regular crazy people. And probably 11% of Americans got offended that some annoying academic called them up during dinner to ask them this single, inane question and answered “the United States won its independence from the country of My Ass.”

Let’s hope Stuef is right. Or this country is in big trouble.

Docudarhma Times Sunday July 4

Sunday’s Headlines:

It’s not just BP’s oil in the Gulf that threatens world’s oceans

No Motors, but Mistrust at Tour de France


As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Billions From Subsidies

America’s heartland sees little need for a political insurrection


War Child and the Bosnian war 15 years on

Italian resort of Forte dei Marmi turns against rich tourists

Middle East

Ahmadinejad: U.S. sanctions attempt to hinder Iran’s progress

Biden to nudge Iraq on sluggish efforts to form a government


In Indonesia, 1998 violence against ethnic Chinese remains unaddressed

Sumo threatened by scandal and crime


Congo: UN says at least 220 dead in oil explosion

Latin America

Sex, death and slaves: Welcome to Haiti’s horror carnival

Fire in Kivu

Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu, between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda


Late Night Karaoke


Happy Independence Day!

For  South America, at least…(not here)

The True Wealth Deficit

“This is an impressive crowd: the Have’s and Have-more’s. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base.”

George W. Bush

“It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.”

Margaret Thatcher

“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.”

Margaret Bonnano

lest we forget …