Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25th is ANZAC day

On April 19, 1915 combined British and French forces attempted to open a passage through the Turkish controlled straits known as the Dardanelles. Subsequently, on April 25, 1915, allied forces conducted an amphibious assault - the largest ever attempted at the time - along several beachheads of the Gallipoli peninsula.The goal was to capture the western side of the straits by land and neutralize the Turkish defenses preventing the navies advance. The larger purpose was to capture Constantinople and thereby open a sea route to the Entente's beleaguered third member, Russia. The resulting operations would become known as one of the greatest disasters in British military history. Ironically, it would also become a defining moment for the young nations of Australia and New Zealand, whose forces, collectively know as ANZAC's, would feature prominently in the ensuing months of trench warfare along the coast of Gallipoli.

On Democracy

Perikles on Athenian Democracy
Perikles ( Περικλῆς "surrounded by glory"; c. 495 – 429 BCE)
Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.
- Perikles' Eulogy for the Athenian Dead of the 1st year of the Peloponnesian War as quoted by Thucydides (2.37)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen from the Constitution of Year I (1793)

Source: Frank Maloy Anderson, ed., The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789­1901 (Minneapolis: H. W. Wilson, 1904), 170­74. Reprinted in Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution, Jack R. Censer and Lynn Hunt, eds. (American Social History Productions, 2001)

The French people, convinced that forgetfulness and contempts of the natural rights of man are the sole causes of the miseries of the world, have resolved to set forth in a solemn declaration these sacred and inalienable rights, in order that all the citizens, being able to compare unceasingly the acts of the government with the aim of every social institution, may never allow themselves to be oppressed and debased by tyranny; and in order that the people may always have before their eyes the foundations of their liberty and their welfare, the magistrate the rule of his duties, the legislator the purpose of his commission.
In consequence, it proclaims in the presence of the supreme being the following declaration of the rights of man and citizen.

1. The aim of society is the common welfare. Government is instituted in order to guarantee to man the enjoyment of his natural and imprescriptible rights.
2. These rights are equality, liberty, security, and property.
3. All men are equal by nature and before the law.
4. Law is the free and solemn expression of the general will; it is the same for all, whether it protects or punishes; it can command only what is just and useful to society; it can forbid only what is injurious to it.
5. All citizens are equally eligible to public employments. Free peoples know no other grounds for preference in their elections than virtue and talent.
6. Liberty is the power that belongs to man to do whatever is not injurious to the rights of others; it has nature for its principle, justice for its rule, law for its defense; its moral limit is in this maxim: Do not do to another that which you do not wish should be done to you.
7. The right to express one's thoughts and opinions by means of the press or in any other manner, the right to assemble peaceably, the free pursuit of religion, cannot be forbidden.
The necessity of enunciating these rights supposes either the presence or the fresh recollection of despotism.
8. Security consists in the protection afforded by society to each of its members for the preservation of his person, his rights, and his property.
9. The law ought to protect public and personal liberty against the oppression of those who govern.
10. No one ought to be accused, arrested, or detained except in the cases determined by law and according to the forms that it has prescribed. Any citizen summoned or seized by the authority of the law, ought to obey immediately; he makes himself guilty by resistance.
11. Any act done against man outside of the cases and without the forms that the law determines is arbitrary and tyrannical; the one against whom it may be intended to be executed by violence has the right to repel it by force.
12. Those who may incite, expedite, subscribe to, execute or cause to be executed arbitrary legal instruments are guilty and ought to be punished.
13. Every man being presumed innocent until he has been pronounced guilty, if it is thought indispensable to arrest him, all severity that may not be necessary to secure his person ought to be strictly repressed by law.
14. No one ought to be tried and punished except after having been heard or legally summoned, and except in virtue of a law promulgated prior to the offense. The law which would punish offenses committed before it existed would be a tyranny: the retroactive effect given to the law would be a crime.
15. The law ought to impose only penalties that are strictly and obviously necessary: the punishments ought to be proportionate to the offense and useful to society.
16. The right of property is that which belongs to every citizen to enjoy, and to dispose at his pleasure of his goods, income, and of the fruits of his labor and his skill.
17. No kind of labor, tillage, or commerce can be forbidden to the skill of the citizens.
18. Every man can contract his services and his time, but he cannot sell himself nor be sold: his person is not an alienable property. The law knows of no such thing as the status of servant; there can exist only a contract for services and compensation between the man who works and the one who employs him.
19. No one can be deprived of the least portion of his property without his consent, unless a legally established public necessity requires it, and upon condition of a just and prior compensation.
20. No tax can be imposed except for the general advantage. All citizens have the right to participate in the establishment of taxes, to watch over the employment of them, and to cause an account of them to be rendered.
21. Public relief is a sacred debt. Society owes maintenance to unfortunate citizens, either procuring work for them or in providing the means of existence for those who are unable to labor.
22. Education is needed by all. Society ought to favor with all its power the advancement of the public reason and to put education at the door of every citizen.
23. The social guarantee consists in the action of all to secure to each the enjoyment and the maintenance of his rights: this guarantee rests upon the national sovereignty.
24. It cannot exist if the limits of public functions are not clearly determined by law and if the responsibility of all the functionaries is not secured.
25. The sovereignty resides in the people; it is one and indivisible, imprescriptible, and inalienable.
26. No portion of the people can exercise the power of the entire people, but each section of the sovereign, in assembly, ought to enjoy the right to express its will with entire freedom.
27. Let any person who may usurp the sovereignty be instantly put to death by free men.
28. A people has always the right to review, to reform, and to alter its constitution. One generation cannot subject to its law the future generations.
29. Each citizen has an equal right to participate in the formation of the law and in the selection of his mandatories or his agents.
30. Public functions are necessarily temporary; they cannot be considered as distinctions or rewards, but as duties.
31. The offenses of the representatives of the people and of its agents ought never to go unpunished. No one has the right to claim for himself more inviolability than other citizens.
32. The right to present petitions to the depositories of the public authority cannot in any case be forbidden, suspended, nor limited.
33. Resistance to oppression is the consequence of the other rights of man.
34. There is oppression against the social body when a single one of its members is oppressed: there is oppression against each member when the social body is oppressed.
35. When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is for the people and for each portion of the people the most sacred of rights and the most indispensable of duties.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Little Big Horn: 135 years ago, today.

via Wikipedia
The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand and, by the Native Americans involved, the Battle of the Greasy Grass, was an armed engagement between combined forces of LakotaNorthern Cheyenne and Arapaho people against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. It occurred on June 25 and June 26, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, near what is now Crow Agency, Montana.

Alleged photo of Crazy Horse in 1877

The battle was the most famous action of the Great Sioux War of 1876 (also known as the Black Hills War). It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Gall, inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. Seventh Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by George Armstrong Custer, suffered a severe defeat. Five of the Seventh's companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. Total U.S. deaths were 268, including scouts, and 55 were wounded.

more here


Drones via The Big Picture