Sasi Krishnasamy - history Sasi Krishnasamy was born on January 22, 1984, in the village of Palani, Dindigul district. His parents were Mr. Krishnasamy and Mrs. Nageshwari. When he was five years old, his family moved to Coimbatore city, where he completed his schooling and higher education. After finishing his studies, he worked for a private company and then joined the jewelry industry in 201112. He married Mrs. Gokila Sasikrishna in September 2009 and had two children, Sowmiya Sasikrishna and Gowtham Sasikrishna. Sasi Krishnasamy had a keen interest in spirituality, yoga, and meditation since his childhood. He learned from various masters and scriptures and developed his own insights and teachings on mindfulness and self-awareness. He also had a passion for social service and helping the needy and the oppressed. In 2020, he founded the Ayngaran Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Palani, with the vision of spreading spiritual wisdom and uplifting humanity. The foundation offers various programs and activities such as meditation camps, yoga classes, motivational talks, free education, health care, environmental protection, and animal welfare. Sasi Krishnasamy has a large following of devotees and admirers who seek his guidance and blessings. He has also written several books and articles on spirituality and social issues. He has a YouTube channel where he uploads his videos and podcasts. He is also active on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Biopage, AllAuthor, GoodReads, BookBub, and BookLife. Sasi Krishnasamy is regarded as one of the most influential spiritual leaders and social activists in India. He is known for his simplicity, humility, compassion, and charisma. He is often invited to speak at various national and international events and forums. He has received many awards and honors for his contributions to society.
Happy Women's Month. One of the most fundamental issues that still need attention, especially in third-world countries is education for women as an empowering tool to uplift themselves. There are still voices of dissent and people who scoff at women who rise in their ranks and claim their places as leaders of an industry, or masters of their chosen profession. Here I would like to share a little bit about Education in Women. Shobana's Musings (https://shobanasmusings.blogspot.com/2023/03/education-for-women.html) I have incorporated a spotlight on my daughter who has just completed her Master's in LLB. A proud moment for us indeed. I have started a Weekly Newsletter and I hope that you will consider following the blog where I share my views on all and sundry. I have a new book published which has garnered great reviews so far on Amazon. You can read the first 2 chapters and the reviews at https://www.amazon.com/Where-Rain-Falls-Shobana-Gomes-ebook/dp/B0BWK6YBH6, Or read it on Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/my/en/ebook/where-the-rain-falls Have a great week. Best wishes, Shobana Gomes https://alittletimewithshobana.blogspot.com
Thomas Brennan's family grew and as teens became young adults, they accepted many jobs to help support the family. Yet, Thomas gave his sons one requirement, “Serve your country.” James served in the Civil War, Harold, WWI. There were many other sons in the Brennan Family who served but this is about Harold, my father-in-law. As I said previously, Harold served in World War 1 as a Private in the 308th Infantry. Yes, like his siblings and relatives before him, enlisted. He was proud to serve. His nightmare was about to begin. He and his battalion fought bravely following the orders given to their leader, Major Charles Whittlesey. They carried two forms of communication: radio and pigeons. They were headed to the Argonne Forest to push the German army back and regain control for France. They were flanked by the French soldiers on one side and the English on the other – or so they thought. The Argonne battle ensued on October 2, 1918. The Germans thought the Americans would never fight for something that didn't belong to them and pushed on. They fought hard; our American troops fought harder. The Germans sent their best snipers. They weren't good enough. Then they were gassed. While hundreds of American troops died, others forged on. The Germans sent in their “storm troopers” with flame throwers to either discourage or kill the American soldiers. The Americans persisted. The American troops suffered horrific confrontation with the enemy. They were also hungry, thirsty, and were running out of ammunition. They radioed their command post but received no answer. They tried again. Same result. A scout went send out only to find the radioman KIA, the lines cut, and the radio box destroyed. They soon realized – they were alone – alone in a foreign land with the enemy surrounding them. They had one hope left. Cher Ami! A baby pigeon with truly little experience in “home travel,” but they had to try. After attaching a brief message to her leg, they kissed her beak and let her fly. They watched as the bullets from the German rifles soared in the air strategically aiming at the little bird. Finally, they lost sight of her. Some of the solders prayed while other began to lose hope. Major Whittlesey took a headcount. About 194 soldiers were still standing. The others were either killed, captured, or missing. He took inventory of the remaining weapons. Approximately fourteen rifles were in working order, but they only had about six bullets left. As Major Whittlesey was about the sit down with his men and report his findings, he realized everything was quiet. Too quiet. Suddenly, the major heard what sounded like vehicles. Vehicles? The Germans wouldn't approach with trucks and or tanks, would they? Then he heard his name. “Major! Major Whittlesey!” The voice was American. Then Major stood and saw his commanding officer, General Alexander heading towards them with other men, jeeps, and a transport truck. The battle for the forest was over. The Germans, underestimating the Americans, retreated. Harold married his fiancé in 1819 and soon welcomed their first child, Harold Jr. Not long after, his health began to wane. He coughed, wheezed, and often struggled for breath. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was sent to a facility for six months to treat him. Home again, he was ordered not to dine or interact with his wife and son. Close contact was forbidden for another six months. Once the doctors felt he was regaining his health, his normal activities resume but so did the nightmares. For six days, he had no idea if he would live or die in the heavily vegetated forest in France. He sat, slept, ate, and breathed in the damp cold atmosphere with dead bodies strewn around him. And yet, he still insisted that his sons serve the country that he loved. While I never met Harold, he passed away due to a massive heart attack before I met my husband, I will always admire the bravery he and his fellow soldiers demonstrated in France. Truly, they are all heroes.
The word "special" is one of the most used words in this current age. There were times where this word didn't had this much weight behind it, times where the people had other worries and ideals, and the priorities were different. The human species is immense and has a lot of story, and every single individual has infinite necessities, besides the basic one's (like hunger and thirst) needed for survival, there are still a number of necessities needed to live, giving us meaning and a reason to survive. These necessities changed throughout the years, evolving side by side with the species, but there are no infinite resources to satisfy all these necessities, so management is necessary to solve this problem. That is the base of all problems, and since the human isn't a god like being, we have limits, so we must face a problem at a time. Every time we solve a problem, there is another around the corner, and that's the main reason we keep on evolving and changing, until we got to our current stage. We solved so many problems that our quality of life increased dramatically, and now instead of focusing on the survival necessities, we focus on the living necessities, which also made us be more aware of our existence and question our purpose, thinking of how to live the best life. That's what made us realize that there were people in really bad places, like the slaves or the homosexuals, that's when we begun to change for the better in that case. Now a days we are a long way in our fight for life quality for everyone, and now believe that everyone is special, since we are all unique and different, even use the word special to empower the ones who need our help the most. That's why special is the name of this chapter of humankind. But this is also a dangerous chapter, since this topic can be a double sided knife. Now that everyone has their minds thinking they're focus is life quality, and they can achieve it because they're special and have they're own unique traces. So they open up their minds to reflection, trying to find what makes them special, like it was an object, they end up stumbling against a realization of simple logic: "If everyone is special, no-one is", we still move as a species and community, even though everyone is different, and when people realize these things disappointment and desperation hits, leading them to keep reflecting on existence and get further and further away from their goal of life quality. This is why nowadays there are so many people with depression and the number of suicides is bigger, and I can only imagine those of us who live in country's with problems in the survival necessities area, if they heard about this kind of life and how so many people are self destructing, they would lose all hope. We may spread positivity to try and avoid people to get into these depressions but this is not something we can help them solve like that. After going in that well, the person has to manage to climb his way out, or else he may never find the answer that he was looking in the first place, it would be a temporary solution to help them climb. We must keep on living our life's while keeping an empty seat for the person in the well, so that he learns to climb out to seat with you. You see, it is true that everyone and everything is different and that may make it look like nothing is special, but it does not change the fact that they are still different from one another, and that makes them special, how it looks to us is irrelevant, its not gonna change the universe, it will keep on being special because it is unique and was made through many and many trillions of years. If you will keep looking for answers like if it was a lost sock in your bedroom, you will never find them, you will end up finding more problems. Go out of the well and seat on that empty seat your friend left open for you, and when you notice, you involuntarily found the answer and closed the well. I apologize if my English wasn't perfect in this text, I'm only now starting to write and English is not my language, so there could be some mistakes.
So I just finished watching this AMAZING Iranian Series based on the life of Prophet Joseph (A.S) also named as #YusufPayambar and I was left simply mesmerized and amazed by the kind of execution of the story the makers did! I'm really thankful to my mom who recommended this show to me and to #786 stories4u YouTube channel which has all the 45 episodes dubbed in English as well as in Urdu 😍🙏 @mostafazammanif won my heart by playing #ProphetJoseph and his mild and patient act with explicitly showing husn e akhlaq and forgiving nature made me fall in love with the REAL #ProphetJoseph even without seeing him ❤ Another stong and dominant acting and portrayal of #BanoZulaykha flipped my perspectives of love, devotion and piety all at once. As much as I had a strong prejudice against Zulaykha's character especially after knowing what she did with #YusufAS but @katayounriahiofficial7 turned the tables of my views for Zulaykha and by the show ended, I had an idea of what she might have gone through and how she was tempted for Yusuf. This temptation and a wait of 30 long years later paved her way for knowing Allah (the only God) ❤ Loved the performance of #JaferDehghan as #Potiphar (Ameer of Egypt) which gave off kind and affectionate fatherly vibes for Yusuf even when he had to put him in jail under Zulaykha's pressure 💕 @rahim_noroozi excelled in convincing me that he was the real King of Egypt and a pro-Islamic & kind king since his childhood observations and his deep friendship that he shared with #Yusuf was so blissful! 👌🏻👌🏻 At the end, if I don't praise the Director of the show, the DOP, the makeup and the set makers and all the huge sets used to make us feel ourselves in real ancient Egypt, I would really be unfair and unjust cz it just made the aura of the show so grand and impactful 👏 Lastly, @mahmoidpakniat left a deep rooted impact on my faith by playing #ProphetJacob and his intensity of sorrow for his lost son which made him go blind, showed a next level of devotion he had for Yusuf 😭 Strongly recommended!All 45 episodes are available on YT dubbed in both English and Urdu. Ur reviews and opinions about the show (after watching it) are welcomed🙏🖤
I was watching this video the other day on YouTube about a peculiar place where they treat senior citizens who are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. This facility is designed to look like 1950's America: complete with 50's cars, diners, signs, technology, etc. There's a lot of interesting stuff in this video to talk about, for instance I find it intriguing that the most memory-provoking time for these elders apparently is the period where most of them were in their teens or twenties. There's also of course the tragic topic of the Alzheimer's disease itself. But I actually want to focus on one specific thing in the video that caught my attention: the newspapers. They had some replica (Or at least I assume they're replicas, they might actually be real, just preserved.) newspapers on display. The headline of one of the newspapers read: "Planes Drop 90,000 Men Behind Germans in France", a title obviously referring to World War Two, probably the mass airborne paratrooper invasion that took place around D-day. Considering the fact that this facility is supposed to be represent 1950's America, having this newspaper displayed here is technically inaccurate. The end of WW2 was in '45. Not that it really matters in this case; the care facility is more so meant to represent that general time period rather than to have complete historical accuracy. Besides, with all due respect to the elders suffering from Alzheimer's, they probably won't notice such a relatively small detail anyway. However, it may not just be the elders who skip over this detail. I wonder how many of my generation or younger would have looked at this headline and thought that WW2 took place during the 50's. Maybe I'm being a bit pessimistic and frankly rude to the intelligence of my own generation when I think this way. I hope I'm mistaken and that only a tiny fraction actually believes the war took place during the 50's. But I'm not so sure. There's an obvious statement I could try to make here about the quality of our educational system, but I'd rather look at this thought in a different way. Instead of deriding the newer generations for not knowing their history, perhaps we should see it as a natural consequence of time moving forward. What I mean by that is, the further along in time we get, the fuzzier people's perception of historical events becomes. This is not just true with one's ability to remember their own past life events, but also with general world history. The reason for this I think has a lot to do with people's personal connection to past events. People care less about an event the less they're personally connected to it. For instance, many people know the exact year that President Obama was elected and the year he left office. They know because they experienced it themselves firsthand. In contrast, the number of people who know the exact years emperor Caesar reigned over Rome is minuscule. We can discuss and compare the historical significance of each ruler but I think they're both at least somewhat similar in importance to each other. Yet one is far more familiar within the minds of today's public than the other. That's because no one alive today has any strong personal connection to Julius Caesar. No one knows any immediate family members that have lived during Caesar's time, nor does anyone feel like their lives have been personally impacted by Caesar's policies and politics. So they care less to know about him. As time goes by, events which are unmistakable to the people living through them become vague to newer generations. This happened to the citizens of Rome, it's happening to our elderly, and one day it will happen to us as well. 1950 was 70 years ago. Imagine teenagers in the year 2090 being asked something like: "What year was the first Iphone released: 2007 or 2017?" Probably a fair percentage of them would get the answer wrong! But can you really blame them? I'm not advocating we should forget our history because it's natural to forget. On the contrary. This is a call to recognize that with the passing of each new day, we are losing more and more our personal connection to the past. Age and Alzheimer's may be fuzzying the memories of our elders, but it doesn't have to be so for us youth.
Color: The Visual Spectrum by Black Box Gallery is a visual prism of color. Check out Portland, Oregon's Black Box Gallery and my piece featured in their on site gallery, "By Gones Here By" in which the perfect moment for the perfect picture came along ringing its bell. Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock, AR and the city's trolley meet in a riot of color as you are taken back in time to an artistic era of architecture. This courthouse was built in the 1880s in Romanesque Revival where clock tower and turrets stretch toward the sky. This clock tower is a taste of her now ...
Hello. I greet you without any physical approach whatsoever. With this COVID-19 situation, people don't really greet each other at all in public places. Eye contact is fleeting and hesitant. The only interaction is a team-work effort to keep away and make space. Friends who see each other give a brief acknowledgement and say "Stay safe!" It's hard to give this COVID environment a one-word description. "Strange" is close, but anything associated with "strange" before is different from the "strange" that COVID-19 has brought us. The world has seen a lot, but this seems new. There are bits and pieces from history that can be sort-of related to now, like the Great Depression, The Dust Bowl, maybe World War II, but all of those were longer in time, less abstract, and definitely more American feeling. American as in patriotic. This... this is different. This is a world on hold. Never has the world been on hold; the major population voluntarily frozen, in place, waiting. In a movie about surfing, an expert surfer said to his pupil, "One thing you gotta know: Fear and panic are two separate emotions. Fear is healthy, panic is deadly." But his pupil responded, "If you're scared to death, how do you not panic?" The surf expert answered, "By identifying the fear, and what it is that you're afraid of." With the COVID-19 upthrust, there is probably panic in more people than the virus has physically affected. Panic, because in a hasty attempt to identify their fear and where it is coming from, they found something hard to identify. Something that seemed new under the sun. But is it? Those who are not panicking must have identified the source of fear. They must have recognized COVID-19 as something simple. Something that is not new under the sun. Something more or less as a part of a cycle that is unmeasurably old. And so it must be. Older than the sun.
In such freedom of topic, there is great mystery. In the open field there is more adventure than in the box in which we live. History and poetry have always been two of my favorite subjects in school. The two rarely seemed to merge though, despite my own fascination. History never seemed too far from metaphor, and poetry never seemed too far from documentary. I always wondered how my classmates or teachers did not see the same. This bred forth my stepchild-like education. Always stuck in the middle of two irreconcilable parents. At mom's house I pledged allegiance to rhythm and rhyme and at dad's house to men stepping in time. Poetry to me is like an eye into the soul. A place abstract in words but profound in meaning. It always struck me as interesting that other forms of writing, seeking after explication and understanding were never able to contain the depth of understanding and true heart of meaning as did poetry. History has continued to peak my interest not so much in meaning, but in manipulation. The question of ‘who is writing history books?' has been a haunting one to me. Who is determining which current events make it into the cannon of history taught to future generations? Will huge current events like the bombing of Solemani in Baghdad be written into importance in the future or will it simply be a blip on the radar? Will we ever learn from human atrocities, or will we simply choose to write them out of history? History is both formed and formative. That is the both exciting and terrifying thing about the field. Throughout my educational journey I have wrestled with how to marry these two concepts, and I think finally, after twenty-two years that I might have an answer. History can easily be made about hate. Country A hated Country B, therefore they went to war, but I think there is more to the story. I think that hate is merely the symptom of the fearmongering written into our history. I think history and poetry collide at the intersection of writing a better story. If poetry captures the soul, what better way to tell our histories. I think the horizon of tomorrow's sunrise is dependent upon the love stories that we whisper to our children tonight.
The current global climate is confusing, anxiety inducing, and even a little bit frightening. There are multiple radical political figures on the rise, and a continual denial of human rights and equality. But these factors are met with resistance, the voices of social activists and ecological defenders are becoming louder and louder. Our world is steeped in complexity, for every person who can imagine a more liberated future there is one who fights for the comfortable status quo. As stated by Emma Goldman, “Every daring attempt to make great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labelled Utopian” (Goldman). Utopian thinking is making an important comeback, both socially and artistically. The idea of utopia or paradise is something almost every human has longed for, individualistically and collectively. Humans desire fulfillment and an ideal sort of happiness, which we have searched for across art, literature, and religion. A photographer who we do not often associate to the ideologies of utopia is Robert Mapplethorpe, an artist more known for intense imagery and the beautification of queer sexuality. Robert Mapplethorpe uses the power of the camera to break through distinctions such as race, gender, and sexuality expressing the longing for equality and intimate comfort within a queer space. Mapplethorpe created the image "Embrace" in 1982, capturing a passionate moment between a mixed race homosexual couple, providing an alternative to what was a traditionally accepted relationship. Mapplethorpe's use of black and white film, shadow, and positioning to capture his subjects creates a passionate yet raw image. His models fill the direct center of the frames entirety pronouncing the passionate grip shared between the two men, hinting at the emotionally and physically secure bond that is shared. Mapplethorpe's dominating use of formalism in capturing his subjects provides for a beautiful image of a typical gesture, yet hints at the emotional depths that must be shared between a discriminated couple. The flexing muscles of the arms along with the closeness of the chests shows us the deep affection shared between the two, allowing us as viewers to imagine the comfortability and potentiality that this relationship has. Using a Utopian lens while analyzing this work gives us a glimpse into the ideal qualities of a personal relationship and its future, features which can extend to society as a whole. Examining Mapplethorpe's photography through a Utopian methodology critiques important aspects of everyday life exposing both the negative social stigmas while also pointing to the positive and hopeful desires. Both Utopian and queer studies focuses on the idea of what is not yet here, and how we can use this potentiality of what is missing to create a future (Munoz). The blending of race and sexuality that is provided by "Embrace", ignores the previous notions of what is acceptable in a relationship combating the “perfect relationship” ideal that heteronormativity provides. He visually poses the question of what could happen when we accept hybridity into our lives, evoking an intrinsic look in order to find the answer. Mapplethorpe's "Embrace", gives us an insight of the Utopian principles we can instill in our everyday relationships, allowing us to find bliss within the ordinary (Munoz) . The dreams of utopia prompts us to reject the status quo, and contemplate within ourselves as to what's important. As humans we always strive to obtain the ultimate good, and it is by first finding what is desired within ourselves that we can learn how to create this reality. Examining the work of Robert Mapplethorpe under a utopic lens shows us that intimacy, acceptance, and community bonding are essential tools in creating a personal utopia. These images gives us a glimpse into the qualities that are ultimately desired in our interpersonal relationships, while hinting at what's missing in contemporary culture. Utopian thinking creates a concrete possibility for another world, providing tangible tools that can lead us in the direction of a hopeful new future. Sources: Goldman, Emma. Utopia Quotes. Goodreads. Web. Munoz, Jose Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and Now of Queer Futurity. New York University Press, November 2009. E-book. Pg. 118.
Edgar Allan Poe lived in The Bronx from 1846-1849. The cottage in which he lived still stands today at Poe Park, on the Grand Concourse and East Kingsbridge Road, where he wrote "The Cask of Amontillado," "Annabel Lee," and "Eureka." One of Poe's favorite haunts was the High Bridge, which was just completed at the time. The High Bridge stands today as the oldest bridge in New York City.
Part III: Are We Blind To It All? Theodore Roosevelt cared. I wish that wasn't a billion times more credit I could give to most presidents. Born into a wealthy family, he somehow grew up to understand class struggle and the fact that people who were just slaves forty years ago weren't going to rise up without the help of their much better off neighbors. Modernizing Jefferson's statement a century prior, “The debasement of the blacks will, in the end, carry with it the debasement of the whites.” Yet again, a prophecy? Yes. Was it acted upon? No. What Teddy was able to accomplish though was the dismantling of multiple corporations, food and drug regulations, and great strides in workers' rights. The crippling imperialism at the heart of this country also starts with Teddy. He cared, but that care couldn't stay domesticated. Yet, no one was a greater threat to the system than Woodrow Wilson. His fourteen points serving as a modern political ninety-five theses that explicitly described the dismantling of colonialism, world peace, open borders, and free trade. He implemented a federal income tax with the top being taxed at 77%, lowered tariffs, and reformed big banks. Wilson was a nightmare to the establishment. As we'll see with all three of the major progressive presidents, there was a catch. Woodrow Wilson was pro-segregation and even let it occur in his own office as he said after firing 15 black federal employees, "There are no government positions for negroes in the South. A negro's place in the corn field." as well as outlawing interracial marriage in DC. His excuse? It was in the manner of “If you keep them apart there's no possible way there could be any racial tension”. Was that true? The lynching postcards, race riots, and theatrical release of “Birth of a Nation” would all say otherwise. His policies would cause a massive economic boom though. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. On May 31st, 1921 a race based massacre would demolish the richest black community in the country, Greenwood. On October 24th, 1929 the wealthiest nation in the world would collapse. Part IV: What Have We Become? Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran the country for 12 years and didn't waste a second of it. The New Deal immediately struck at the structure that had been ironically keeping America down. The housing act, social security, wealth tax, major bank reform, and Wagner act. Eleanor championed civil rights while Franklin wrote in an executive order that outlawed race based employment. FDR oversaw a new America, one able to escape a Great Depression due to a great revelation. It was beautiful. Oh sorry, there is a catch. After Pearl Harbor, it was ordered that over 100,000 Japanese-Americans had to stay in camps during a time known as Japanese Internment due to terror induced impulses. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” he said. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!”, so what did JFK do exactly? Well, Frank Zappa sums it up perfectly with “What's there to live for, who needs the Peace Corps?” as the warmongering Kennedy had every American fearing for their lives on a daily basis. He never got to see the escalation of the Vietnam War. Now the question is, who would get to see its end? Richard Nixon was swept up by political theater. A man of restoration, peace, and development quickly destroyed by a stupidity that hid deep inside him. Desegregation, peaceful ties with China, strides in medicine, deescalation of the cold war, and attempts to fix the fractured middle east all swept away because of three things. Kissinger, the fact that strategy is nothing in the face of politics, and Watergate. A scandal that still stands as the largest blemish on Nixon's record over nonstop wars erupting in the area he sought to repair most and United States backed state backed terrorism: the ultimate proxy. Ronald Reagan was an existential crisis. A conservative hero who gave amnesty to 3 million immigrants, a Capitalist that backed the Khmer Rouge, a war on drugs while selling cocaine to fund a fraudulent arms deal. Reaganomics destabilized the markets and budget while we try it again. He proved that the people could become nothing and that's exactly what we did.
Part I: Were We Always Like This? What William Basinski saw on September 11th, 2001 was a government epiphany. It's easy to say there's a clear difference between pre and post 9/11 American societies simply due to heightened airport security that should have been there in the first place. America's history for the last half of a century shows no difference though, there was just now something tangible to justify it. It wasn't the “Spreading of communism” which makes you wonder why we were bombing rice farmers with zero concept of socioeconomics into oblivion. It was now “They flew planes into the World Trade Centers and also have weapons capable of mass destruction” while carefully forgetting to mention where those weapons may have come from. It's hard to believe, but there was a time where America wasn't distorted by corporation friendly politics and an undying love for showing everyone just exactly what “Democracy” means. The Revolutionary War still stands as the easiest to explain conflict in our history, it's clear as day. Americans wanted their independence from a tyrannical government so they fought through buckets of blood for it. Yet, there is something often lost in discussion. It wasn't all just a bunch of random men ready for a brutal fight against a massive British army, they were backed by powerful French and Spanish armies as well. That's always been our persona though, a bunch of stray idiots who just happen to hold all of the world's power in their palm without question. Bush humanized that. There seems to always be a layer to American History, including the dark irony that while fighting for freedom, slavery was huge and we we're consistently taking away the freedoms of Natives. Nobody can tell The United States what do though. Thomas Jefferson couldn't even stop himself as he called slavery “The greatest threat to the survival of the new nation” while owning upwards of 200 slaves. A prophecy? Yes. Was it acted upon? No. The War of 1812 was caused by the United States trading with France when Britain said not to. Conflict over conscience. We only converge when surrounded by blood. Part II: What Do We Stand For? There was a time when half of the country fought to keep blacks enslaved and it is somehow surprising that the same country may still mistreat that population. The bloodiest conflict in our nation's history still, Jefferson was right. 163 years before we elected the definition of incompetent after having a president who had great character, but ultimately failed in his seat of office, there was Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan. The former was a anti-abolitionist people pleaser who couldn't do anything for a fracturing nation while the latter was just an obnoxious centrist that literally both bought slaves as well as freed them and couldn't help a single soul if he wanted to. Then the unanimous saint of America came into office. Abraham Lincoln would cause the south to recognize the 10th amendment to its limits and to a much larger extent, their disgusting practice was actually in danger. Law was entirely in the south's favor and believing they would notice the moral horrors of slavery was a political pipe dream. So it happened, we actually had to fight a devastating war over something that had been outlawed by our allies for decades or even centuries. We've never been the ultra progressive society that we love to portray. It goes far beyond our current president. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1st, 1863. I wonder if there were political commentators back then saying black people shouldn't fear for their lives just because a piece of paper was signed. Regardless, the slaves were legally free. Where would they go and what did they have? Nowhere and nothing. They had to stay in the same place that just saw them as property and lesser beings. To make matters worse, Lincoln was assassinated and replaced by the bigoted Andrew Johnson. A man who halted reconstruction to such a degree that he was impeached although for whatever reason they just couldn't remove him nor would the greatest heel dragger in political history resign. It would take 36 years after Lincoln's death to get another leader of his caliber. Before Bush, there was another cowboy that shifted American politics forever.
King Henry VIII ruled over England from 1509 until 1547. He married six times, struggled with the Catholic Church, dissolved the English monasteries, started wars on a whim and executed more than 70,000 of his subjects. He was a complex mix of proud athlete, spoilt child and sexual predator, yet still became one of history's greatest English kings. The young Henry Tudor was never meant to be king it was supposed be his elder brother Arthur, the first born son of King Henry VII who won the crown from Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire in 1485. King Henry VII, was very frugal and closely managed England's economy by raising taxes so that a prosperous kingdom would be passed to his son. England was always in danger of invasion from its powerful enemies, Spain and France. The king was determined to diminish this threat through a marital pact with Spain thus assuring a long lasting peace. Prince Arthur was to marry the King of Aragon's daughter, Catherine of Aragon which would cement the two countries in friendship. They were married in 1501 but Arthur suddenly died of the sweating sickness a few months later. This made the young Henry Tudor heir to the throne whilst Catherine of Aragon became an expensive embarrassment for both England and Spain. Prior to his brother's death Henry Tudor had lived the life of a wealthy young nobleman, he had enjoyed all of the privileges but avoided the responsibilities of an heir to the throne. He had lived an outdoor life, hunting and fishing, Henry excelled at physical sports such as archery, swordsmanship, wrestling and even tennis. He had become a free spirit. In addition Henry had a keen brain, finely nurtured by the best tutors in Europe which he shared with his brother. King Henry VII died in 1509, the young Henry being only eighteen years of age. Prior to his death the father had grave concerns about Catherine of Aragon and the possible collapse of the peace with Spain. He considered marrying young Henry to her, but the Catholic Church, the primary English religion, would not countenance such an option. His only hope was to persuade the Pope in Rome to issue a special dispensation based upon Arthur and Catherine's marriage never being consummated. The Pope eventually did this as a favour to the king rather than being based on proven facts. However, the young Henry initially refused, as a very pious religious scholar it conflicted with his Catholic teachings, although he finally recanted when requested by his father's dying wish. King Henry VIII and his Queen Catherine were crowned on 23rd June 1509 at Westminster Abbey. At the time Henry VIII was a fine specimen of six feet one inches tall and powerfully built. He had striking red hair and small watchful eyes. Living in an age where the average man rarely grew past five feet six inches, the new king must have appeared as a giant when moving amongst his people. Henry started his reign with good intentions. He recognised his father's rule had imposed excessive taxes and fostered corruption in the offices of power, he also saw the strain suffered by the average family when merely struggling to survive. To prove he would make things change he immediately arrested two of his father's most hated tax collectors and had them publically executed, he then redistributed a proportion of the taxes previously extorted from the poorest in society. This new king and queen soon became much loved, but Henry, unlike his father, was a spender. Fine clothes, expensive jewels, lavish settings and elaborate ceremonies became the order of the day and the kings court quickly became a running party for the most rich and famous nobles in the land. Still young, athletic and wallowing in self glory, Henry was hailed as the most handsome king in Europe. He was also a proud and boastful sportsman who would challenge any takers when an adoring audience could be attracted. Queen Catherine was also adored by the people in her own right and they were delighted when she fell pregnant at the thought of a male heir joining the fold. The king in readiness arranged great celebrations and jousting competitions, plus he had written hundreds of letters announcing the new prince's arrival. But when the child was born a girl, Mary, all such festivities were cancelled and the king's feigned joy of a first born soon faded. The king desperately wanted a son to follow the Tudor line and the queen's next pregnancies were miscarried or stillborn. Catherine was getting older and Henry took solace in his mistresses. One, Elisabeth Blount, gave him an illegitimate son which he acknowledged as Henry FitzRoy (son of the royal Henry), he was groomed for succession in the absence of a proper Tudor boy. But getting rid of Queen Catherine became the ‘Kings Great Matter' in a Catholic world where divorce was forbidden.
Iraq 2004 Sunday Morning We were running four or five route clearance missions a day. We were awake and receiving our briefing by 0430, and on the road by 0500. Our first mission today was to take us up to the palace on the far side of Mosul and then back route Tampa to camp Marez. The second half of the mission took us through the heart of the city where the buildings were clustered together and averaged about four stories in height. The main route was crisscrossed with alleys that disappeared down winding back streets. This made it a perfect spot for an ambush as enemies could fire on us and retreat into a maze of buildings that were even more dangerous to follow them into. That was not their plan today however. I remember noticing how quiet it was. Sunday morning is not their holy day, so there should have been more cars out by the time we got there. Still, it was before 0700 and still early by most people's standards so I kept a sharp lookout but took no other action. My vehicle was the lead vehicle so the first RPG was aimed at us. I heard the explosion as it hit a dump truck on the other side of the street. I did not see where it came from, and I quickly checked my team to see if anyone else had seen it. I confess that I really wanted a chance to engage the enemy. We had been playing games with IEDs for a long time and rarely got a chance at actual combat. The presence of RPGs meant that the enemy would likely stand and fight at least for a minute or two, and I really wanted that chance to shoot back at them. I ordered my driver to slow down to allow us to see where the enemy was and to give my gunners a shot at him. Two seconds later an RPG ripped into my Stryker, and we never got a shot off. My gunners were stunned by the impact, and we were engulfed in smoke. I yelled down into the hatch for the status on my crew. I got a thumbs up from the gunner and my driver. One of my soldiers was banged up, but everyone was going to be fine. The Stryker had shrugged it off. We had lost the bustle rack and some equipment that had been blown off in the explosion. I went to radio our status to the platoon leader, and the radio was dead. As I started yelling down to get somebody to fix the radio I heard the distinctive sound of bullets flying by my head. I looked up and saw the flashes from four gunmen on the rooftop above us. From the position of the flashes, I could tell the gunmen were not even looking down. Instead, it looked like they were just pointing their barrels over the edge of the roof and firing blind. At the time, I remember thinking how stupid that was, much later however, I realized how lucky I was. I responded to the hail of bullets by yelling to the gunner to target the roof and telling the driver to move out to the rally point. Under the circumstances proper English suffered greatly and it came out as a rush of obscenities punctuated by commands. Then I started yelling about the radio not working until one of my soldiers poked his head up and told me the radio was toast. Then a quiet calm settled on me. I watched as the gunner opened fire on the insurgents and cleared the rooftop. The Styker surged forward as the driver stepped on the gas hard. I became slightly worried as I saw the rest of the platoon falling behind, but I was not about to tell the driver to slow down a second time. We reached the rally point some 200 yards away and I had the Styker turn so that the gunner could lend covering fire for our platoon as they approached. No sooner had we stopped however then we came under fire again. They were just bullets and no RPGs so I ignored them until I could see the platoon heading our way. Besides, my gunners were returning fire. When the platoon got about 100 yards away I ordered the driver to continue mission. We drove for over a mile under enemy fire the entire time. Finally, we got out of the buildings and into open fields. I had the driver hold up and wait for the platoon. When they got close enough I gave them hand signals to indicate that we had no serious injuries so they could radio it up. Then we headed back to base. That ended my first real mission as a squad leader.