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Augusto Pinochet President Of Chile Born 1915

(category: History, Word count: 476)
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After seizing power in a bloody CIA-backed coup, General Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile with a rod of iron for two decades, during which human rights violations became the norm of Chilean life.

Hailing from an upper-middle class background, Pinochet entered the military academy in Santiago at the age of 18, graduating three years later as a second lieutenant. By 1968 he had risen to the rank of brigadier general.

In 1970, Salvador Allende, a Marxist, became president of Chile with the backing of the Christian Democrats, and began restructuring Chilean society along socialist lines. In the process he expropriated the US-owned copper-mining companies, alienating the US government and foreign investors. He further annoyed Washington by establishing relations with Cuba and Communist China, which the United States did not recognise at that time. As a result, America imposed tough economic sanctions and the CIA spent millions of dollars destabilising the Allende regime, much of it going into Pinochet's pockets.

By 1972, the Chilean economy had collapsed. With no foreign investment, production had come to a standstill. There were widespread strikes, inflation, food shortages and civil unrest. With the backing of armed forces, Pinochet staged a military coup on 11 September 1973. It was bloody even by Latin American standards. The navy seized the key port of Valparaiso, while the army surrounded the presidential palace in Santiago. Allende refused to step down. When the palace was overrun a few hours later, he was found dead. It appears that he shot himself rather than face inevitable torture and execution.

A junta took over and declared marital law. Those who violated the curfew were shot on sight. Pinochet was named president two days later. He broke off relations with Cuba - Nixon had staged his famous rapprochement with China by then - and moved against Allende's supporters. Some 14 000 would be tried and executed or expelled from the country, while Pinochet claimed he was only trying to 'restore institutional normality' of Chile.

In June 1974 Pinochet assumed sole power, with the rest of the junta relegated to an advisory role. Under Pinochet's tyrannical rule, it is estimated that 20 000 people were killed and torture was widespread.

While Pinochet continued to maintain tight control over the political opposition, he was rejected by a plebiscite in 1988. He eventually stepped down in 1990 after immunity from prosecution in Chile. He stayed on as army chief of staff. However, during a shopping trip to London in October 1998, he was arrested on a Spanish warrant charging him with murder. He was later accused of torture and human rights violations. For 16 months, he fought his extradition through the British courts, and then in January 2000, Home Secretary Jack Straw decided that he was too ill to stand trial and sent him back to Chile.

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Why Democrats Should Fund The War

(category: History, Word count: 619)
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Democrats will be making a profound mistake if they follow through on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's insistence that the party will refuse to provide any funding for the war in Iraq, absent some benchmarks for withdrawal of our troops at least by September 2008.

To be sure, as everyone knows, the American people quite strongly support the notion of cutting off funding for the war in the absence of achieving benchmarks of success for the war in Iraq. And at this point, given the failure of our efforts in Iraq to either stabilize the situation on the ground or to provide the basis for political reconciliation, this is an entirely understandable reaction-one that I share.But as a matter of policy and politics it is simply the wrong judgment. If as is expected, President Bush vetoes the Democrats' legislation that sets a timetable, a stalemate will inevitably result. President Bush will argue, as he already has begun to do, that American troops are being put at risk and the military campaign jeopardized. He will argue that the Democrats are undermining the war effort, as well as national security. The failure to negotiate in good faith, he will maintain, proves the Democrats lack a commitment to protecting our troops and doing what is right.

And while in the short term, the president's arguments can be rebutted, the longer term presents real problems for the Democrats. If the party proves to be intransigent about continuing funding for the war and refuses to even meet the president to discuss the subject, they provide the Republicans with an issue that can be used against them in the run up to election day in 2008.

It is the so called "clean bill" simply providing funding for the war that offers the greatest hope to Democrats going forward. By compromising with the White House-even if it be largely on the president's terms-the Democrats will be able to maintain the high ground with swing voters. At the same time, there is every reason to believe that Democrats can-and indeed should-continue to criticize the prosecuting of the war for its failure to promote political reconciliation, end sectarian violence, and develop an equitable distribution of oil revenue. They should give the President the funding he seeks now, as Senator Carl Levin has suggested, so that there can be no claim that Democrats are undermining the war effort.

Sadly, the most likely result is that the war will continue to go badly. And while that is a very bad result for the United States and our troops, it will take away the only potent argument Republicans have against the Democrats: they are too partisan, they are unwilling to compromise, and that they have jeopardized national security.

Rest assured, the appetite of the American people for this conflict is well beyond its limit. And by working to provide funding for the war with no strings attached, the Democrats will avoid allowing the Republicans to distract the American people from the failed policies of the Bush administration. To be sure, if things do not take a turn for the better on the ground, it is only a matter of time before Republicans as well begin defecting from the White House line. And that matter of time is measured in months not years.

So rather than risking confrontation with the Commander in Chief, the Democrats should provide the funding the White House is seeking for the war effort all the while making it clear that they have not in any way abandoned their commitment to a specific timetable to conclude the war effort as well as benchmarks of success that should be reached along the way.

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Can Illegal Immigration Lead To Terrorism

(category: History, Word count: 192)
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As I watched the evening news, I wondered why no one else seemed to understand that our porous southern borders were open doors for Middle Eastern terrorists. Perhaps it was fresh on my own mind because I'd had a recent conversation with a Virginia Police Chief, who told me his department had been notified by Homeland Security of the potential risk. Our government had received information that Middle Eastern terrorists loyal to al-Qaeda had arrived at the conclusion that the average white American would not know the difference between a Middle Eastern operative and a Latino migrant worker. They could easily get into Mexico, assume Hispanic identities, and simply walk across our borders along with millions of Latinos.

Once in the United States, the terrorists could live amongst the illegal immigrant community. Of course the immigrants would know these people did not belong in their midst, but they would never report them to local law enforcement. To do so would bring the law into their community, perhaps searching house-to-house, and the illegal immigrants themselves could be arrested and deported. Instead, they would mind their own business

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London Bridge Is Falling Down In Lake Havasu

(category: History, Word count: 431)
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London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. You remember that song from childhood no doubt. But did you know that the London Bridge is actually located in the beautiful town of Lake Havasu City in Arizona, United States of America? The world-famous London Bridge in Lake Havasu City attracts hundred of thousands of visitors year-round from all around the world. It is a focal point for the city and a crossing between the Bridgewater Channel from the mainland and a little island on the Colorado River. Here's a little background on the legendary bridge that resides in this historic American city.

In 1962, after standing for over 130 years, the bridge which was originally located in London, was really falling down, just like in the nursery rhyme. It simply could no longer handle the ever increasing traffic flow across the river. Well it was actually sinking in the Thames River.

Nevertheless, an American entrepreneur named Robert P. McCulloch recognized a wonderful opportunity when the British government put it up for sale. He made a bid for ownership of the bridge and on April 18, 1968, won the auction for a sum of $2,460,000. Mr. McCulloch, who was the Founder of Lake Havasu City and also Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, then had London Bridge taken apart. With each stone being carefully marked, it was sent off on a barge to make its journey from Europe to the United States. At the dock of the California coast, it was taken off the boat, loaded up and transported by truck to Lake Havasu in Arizona. It cost an additional 7 million dollars to transport and reconstruct it, which took three years. But the bridge was rebuilt stone by stone and upon its completion, was officially dedicated in the town on October 10, 1971, where it still stands.

After you enjoy taking in the view of the bridge and the beautiful mountainscapes that surround it, you can go down below it for even more fun. Nuzzled underneath the City of Lake Havasu's London Bridge is the 'English Village'. Offering quaint, old-fashioned British spirit for your eating and shopping pleasure, the Tudor style architecture of the shops and restaurants creates an essence that allows visitors to experience the days of "Merry Olde England". You can stroll along the tree-lined walkways, shop and feast at one of the great selection of restaurants which offer something for everyone. Later, stop in at one of the local breweries for a 'homemade' beer - root beer or otherwise!

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You Just Might Be A Liberal

(category: History, Word count: 375)
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Like a duck who doesn't know he's wet, some reasonably bright people have no idea that they are knee-jerk liberals. Now there is a blog - You Just Might be a Liberal - to help them decide. There are a number of helpful tips which can help you reveal your true political colors. For example, "If you spend more time at "Peace" rallies than at church...You Just Might be a liberal"

Here's a few more.

"If you believe the Dixie Chicks got all those Grammys because of their singing ability instead of their politics....You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you think Charlie Sheen is a better role model than George W. Bush...You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you believe Bill Clinton "Never had sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski." You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you didn't find "Brokeback Mountain" the least bit creepy...You Just Might be a Liberal"

"If you've never been north of 125th Street or west of the Hudson River but think you know how Alaska should drill for oil...You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you think Al Franken is funny....You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you feel the UN should have control over America's foreign policy....You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you think Michael Moore is incredibly sexy....You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you hate the military, big oil and Halliburton but "Support Our Troops"...You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you've ever called Forbes magazine a "Capitalist Tool" and meant it in a bad way...You Just Might be a Liberal."

"If you "teach" in any of the Humanities Departments of any major college...You Just Might be a Liberal."

'If you feel anyone who disagrees with you is brain damaged....You Just Might be a Liberal."

By and large the humor is sharply pointed and could draw blood from a few thin skinned liberals. Written by Rod Pennington - who also has the "You Might be a Conservative" Blog - that is just as brutal to the folks on the right as "You Just Might be a Liberal" is to the people on the left.

If you're looking for your daily chuckle, this is a great place to start.

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Finally Secrets Behind Old Glory Revealed

(category: History, Word count: 475)
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If you are an American and grew up attending school in the United States, you were taught the lesson of how Betsy Ross sewed together the first American flag in 1776. But how many recall exactly what the stripes, the stars and the colors represent?

Believe it or not, the colors red, white, and blue didn't have any significance when the flag was adopted in 1777. The Continental Congress actually passed a resolution on July 4, 1776 which authorized a committee to come up with a seal for the United States of America. That committee was instructed to create a design that reflected the Founding Fathers' beliefs of values and independence for the new Nation. It wasn't until the seal was completed and approved on June 20, 1782 that the national colors and symbols on the American flag had any defined meaning. The explanation for the flag's design, taken from a book written by the House of Representatives during that time, is as follows:

* The Stripes - White to denote purity and innocence - Red to represent hardiness and valor

* The Field - Blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice

* The Star - "...a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun."

In 1777, the number of stripes was congressionally mandated to stand at thirteen to represent the original thirteen colonies, however, designs throughout America still varied greatly. A hero of the War of 1812 and Naval Officer named Samuel Chester Reid got together with New York Congressman Peter H. Wendover in 1818 and initiated a bill to establish uniformity for the design of the American flag. Samuel Reid was the person who actually suggested that stars be added as new states were admitted into the Union. That bill was passed on April 4, 1818.

Over the years, there have been twenty-seven versions of the flag. The current design dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the United States of America's 50th state.

You should fly your flag from sunrise to sunset, especially on suggested holidays and any additional state and local holidays, but only if weather permits:

New Year's Day, January 1 * Inauguration Day, January 20 * Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, 3rd Mon in Jan * Lincoln's Birthday, February 12 * Washington's Birthday, 3rd Mon in Feb * Patriots Day, * Armed Forces Day, 3rd Sat in May * Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), last Mon in May Flag Day, June 14 * Independence Day, July 4th * Labor Day, 1st Mon in Sep

Constitution Day, September 17 * Columbus Day, October 12th * Navy Day, October 27 * Veterans Day, November 11 * Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thu in November.

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Real Conservative Don T Drink Lattes Or Do They

(category: History, Word count: 1004)
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If Barry Goldwater were alive today to witness the new transformation of the GOP, he would grow a beard and become a bead vendor on Constitution Avenue in Washington.

While in Indianapolis recently this author noted numerous well dressed business people standing in line waiting to buy coffee. Mostly latte or some contortion thereof was ordered. This city is known for its GOP leaning conservative nature.

Many were rapidly moving in the line talking conservative politics while I was ordered to stand off to the side like an oddball waiting 20 minutes for my street brand coffee.

But one thing was obviously clear. The GOP of the past is not the new GOP. Or better said, the Party has been taken over by a new breed.

The RNC has clearly abandoned its basic principals that drove it to become the majority choice with the Contract With America Initiative in 1994.

Instead they have taken on noble projects such as waging war on the middle class, to pursuing international adventures of questionable value, to ignoring obvious Chinese trade atrocities in our domestic markets, to name but a few.

This begs a few questions.

Since when do Republicans support "budget deficits"? Since when do Republicans support decreases in military spending? Since when do Republicans support Chinese economic invasion of our country? Since when do Republicans advocate runaway growth in government spending? Since when do Republicans support tax increases by another name? Since when does such a great Party constantly resort to the use of terror and scare tactics in order to divert electoral attention away from its own failings?

You would think the GOP is full of traditional liberals sucking down lattes in the morning at the local Starbucks, eating California salad plates for lunch, and ordering up quiche dinners.

Na, they are just good ole fashion George Bush neocons trying to redress the Republican Party to their own liking.

Let's hear some of their wholesale excuses spoon fed the American public.

Budget deficit don't matter. Despite their age old proclamation that deficits don't cause interest rates to increase, well that's water over the dam if the present is any example. Bush and his economic team make Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin look like miracle workers spinning budget surpluses accompanied with historically low interest rates.

Military spending as a percent of GDP, and adjusted for inflation, is near all time lows at 3.3 percent of GDP according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington. Absolute dollars spent on the military is not much more than the waning years of the Reagan Administration, and once it is discounted for inflation, below the Reagan era of 6.1 percent of GDP.

This is why the concept of "overwhelming" force can not be applied to Iraq or any potential enemy for that matter and the real reason we are having trouble containing the Middle East situation and unable to respond to the North Korean threat, at least on a conventional military basis.

The Bush family, and their agents, are all are military "cutters", not builders. Closing military bases, retiring medium range bombers, cutting back the number of active Army divisions, and mothballing our battleship fleet have been their forte. Way back in the Nixon and Ford years, Senior Bush and Rumsfeld supported defense cutbacks.

They argue that historic military spending is down because the Cold War is over. We only hope someone tells that to the billion or so Communist Chinese who chant, "Beat America". They don't know the Cold War has ended.

Not that raising military spending to Cold War levels is a cure all for our present international difficulties. But the America people need to be told the truth, and not boondoggled on this issue, and let them make those defense choices through the electoral process.

And how come federal government spending is increasing at a much faster rate under this Republican Administration than it did under Clinton Clan?

The conservative think tank, Cato Institute, sums it up nicely. "President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson." Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn't cut enough spending to change his place in history, either.

The Institute went on to say, "the federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton's last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush's first term."

Now to pseudo tax increases or whatever you want to label them.

When those low rate adjustable rate mortgages begin to convert in this era of much higher interest rates, personal disposable incomes as a percent of total personal incomes are going to significantly decrease and severely damage the economy. Bush's tax cut is going to look like a nickel in the Sunday collection plate in comparison. And he will exit office in 2009 leaving his party exposed to the electoral backlash that will ensue because of this economic debacle.

And let's not forget that every time the electorate begins to focus on the real economic issues plaguing this economy, an elevated terror alert is issued. Why?

The neocons are trying to blame 9/11 for our vexing discomfort with multiple issues facing the nation. Surely the attack five years ago changed America forever, maybe expelling the remaining vestibules of innocence left over from the Kennedy assassination.

But it has not changed the basic tenants upon which this nation was founded. Only botched economics and a questionable war with almost 4000 dead to its credit, and a bellicose jingoistic attitude toward the world community can harm us. And harm us it has with payback just around the corner for the GOP.

The question is simple.

Will the same old scare tactics, diversionary attacks, and negative campaigning the Bush boys have engineered to such a fine art, once again prevail?

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Hidden Jewel Of The West Lake Havasu Uncovered

(category: History, Word count: 421)
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Lake Havasu City has some of the most spectacular scenery in the Southwest. Actually, the lake was a previous Colorado River reservoir and was formed when the Parker Dam was built between 1934 and 1938. The town was named for the 45 mile long Lake Havasu on the Colorado River by the Chemehuevi Indians and translates into "Land of the Blue Green Water". It remains today, a water lover's paradise.

This pretty little, mountain-scaped town of twenty-six square miles, has a population of around 45,000. It runs along the Colorado River is also home to the Mohave and Sonoran Deserts. Lake Havasu has an unbelievable 300 or more days of sunshine annually making it a perfect location for both water and desert lovers alike. The city is ideal for golf, tennis and desert tours with more than 400 miles of fantastic coastline to invigorate you. It offers an abundance of water sports which include fishing, skiing, kayaking, chair planing and house boating. You can also explore the lake from its beautiful beaches, parks, campsites and scenic hiking trails.

Lake Havasu City is famous for its London Bridge which was actually brought over from Europe by the town's founder in 1968. And yes, it is the actual London Bridge that inspired the celebrated nursery rhyme of your childhood. In honor of the bridge's birth place, you can go beneath it and visit the old-English style village where you can shop and dine to your heart's content.

In addition to all of the sites and activities the City of Lake Havasu has to offer, it also holds a variety of events throughout the year. During the summer months you can enjoy their annual fireworks display which is held at Spectator Point and several regattas that run on the lake. In the fall, the town sponsors several more regattas in addition to the Chill N' Swilling Beer Festival and Homebrew Contest. They have also started an Annual North American Model Boat Association World Cup Final. Every year at the end of October through the beginning of November, you can experience the Annual London Bridge Days which are celebrated all over town!

There is something for everyone at Lake Havasu, with so much to do and see there. The sunsets are absolutely breathtaking and the scenery, with all of its mountain splendor, is simply amazing. The town is very welcoming to tourists and is one place that you might want to consider for your next vacation.

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Secrets Behind Old Glory Revealed Part 2

(category: History, Word count: 443)
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The famous name of 'Old Glory' was originated in 1831 by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard his ship the 'Charles Doggett', his friends presented him with a beautiful flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened and waved in the ocean breeze for the first time, he cried out "Old Glory!" By the time the Civil War broke out, just about everybody in and around Nashville, where he had retired in 1837, recognized Captain Driver's banner as "Old Glory." William Driver's grave rests in the old Nashville City Cemetery and is one of only three places authorized by an act of Congress where the Flag of the United States can be flown 24 hours a day - quite an honor.

Although schools around the country had already been celebrating the American flag's 'birthday' on June 14 every year for over 30 years, it wasn't until August 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th as National Flag Day.

During the War of 1812, a young lawyer and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key wrote what later became the United State's National Anthem. While witnessing the final enemy attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, he became greatly inspired by the flag's survival through the bombings and fires. He wrote his verses on the back of a letter he had in his pocket and after his brother had the words published, it immediately became popular across the country. In October of that year, a Baltimore actor sang Mr. Key's song in a public performance calling it "The Star-Spangled Banner". History had been made and finally, on March 3, 1931, his song was adopted as our national anthem.

As a child growing up in the United States, you learned to pledge your allegiance to the American flag. But did you know, that after all the current controversy about omitting the 'Under G-d' part, that the original pledge went like this: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands - one nation indivisible - with liberty and justice for all." Ironic, isn't it? But true nonetheless. That original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy on September 8, 1892. Bellamy was a circulation manager in Rome, New York and printed those words on thousands of leaflets that were sent out to public schools across the country. Then, on October 12, 1892, more than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance in their morning classes, thereby beginning a mandatory school-day ritual.

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