Thoughts on ‘La Marseillaise’, the greatest national anthem ever written, and La France, belle et eternelle. July 14, 2011.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

I am not in Paris today, but my mind and heart most assuredly are, for today the pomp and circumstance of the republic will be fully displayed, not least because its president, M. Sarkozy, universally written off as chief executive for a second term, has, thanks to the hijinx and pratfalls of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (once the leading Socialist candidate) been resurrected. Indeed, he might take the name Dieudonne’, the sobriquet of Louis XV; after all virtually every French head of state has regarded himself so… and the suddenly ebullient Sarkozy is no exception.

Down the Champs Elysee the crack troops in full dress regalia will march to tunes well known to every citizen… but only one such tune will make the blood of every loyal Frenchman race… That tune is “La Marseillaise”, the first national anthem, the bloodiest, the most resounding, the greatest of them all. See for yourself…

Many people have sung “La Marseillaise”, but my favorite rendition is by Mireille Mathieu; it is at once elegant, chic, arousing, with every word clear and distinctly enunciated, something most helpful to those of us not to the chateau born. You can find it in any search engine and should go now to find and play it over and over again… “La Marseillaise”, you see, is the greatest recruiting tune, and to hear it is to enlist in the service of France.

The fall of the Bastille, July 14, 1789.

In the heart of ancien regime Paris stood a fortress, grim, outmoded, a prison hardly used at all… but a living reminder of such outrages as lettres de cachet (with which French sovereigns could imprison anyone without a warrant or public reason) and the manifold ways in which the Bourbon dynasty had trampled the people, contravening the enlightened spirit of the late 18th century. This spirit turned all France (except Louis XVI and his Court) into reformers… even though they had no idea what that meant or how soon it would get out of control; reform is what the nation wanted… the ancient Estates General (which hadn’t met since the 17th century) was what they got.

That meant all of the nobility belonged to the First Estate; all the clergy to the Second Estate, and everyone else to the Third Estate, which thus comprised over 95 percent of the population. It was intended by the illiberal Court that the First and Second Estates (presumed conservative in their orientation) would always outvote the Third Estate and that its members would acquiescence, bend the knee, pay the taxes needed, while remaining respectful and silent. Ma foi! Cardinal Richelieu himself might well have found such a task daunting; hapless Louis XVI had no clue whatever.

From the very moment the Estates General was called, the sovereign found himself poorly advised, badgered by members of the Royal Family, the most privileged and ancien of all. He was over his head… and in large measure he failed not because he was a tyrant abusing the powers he had… but because he was a rather enlightened gentleman himself who didn’t use his powers. He was the perfect monarch, if you wanted a leader who could not lead. Into this vacuum, the “people” and their representatives stepped gingerly (grateful that their sovereign had not summarily dismissed and imprisoned them, or worse). To make matters worse for His Most Christian Majesty, his eldest son, the Dauphin of France, died. A doting father withdrew from view, grieving for his beloved child. It was the worst possible moment for such humanity.

The people, patient no longer.

The unimaginable had already happened as Louis XVI and his regime imploded. The monarchy which governed France had, in the person of its king, quite simply ceased to rule. People saw it… but, incredulous, they did not believe it; surely the king was planning his counter offensive right this minute and woe to those on the wrong side of this pressing matter.

Among those who felt sure their sire would retaliate were the people of Paris; rumors were rife that the king’s soldiers were en route. Since such an action might have been expected from any reasonably self-protective sovereign, the people thought their king would do so… but the military was already beyond his majesty’s control. The people didn’t know that…

The result was the fall of the Bastille at the hands of a mob morphing from subjects into patriots. Sadly, its cells were not full of the good, afflicted people of France; in fact, they had hardly a prisoner at all. What matter! The Bastille’s governor, the Marquis de Launay, was a “tyrant” by definition. And his bloody head, hacked from his body, paraded about the town on a pike, was a dandy example of what a righteous and enraged people could do. These were the sentiments of the nation on this date in 1789. And they found themselves in the song originally called “Chant de guerre pour l’Armee du Rhin,” written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792.

From the very first moment the revolutionary solders of the city of Marseille marched through Paris rousing the dead and inspiring the fretful with this most glorious march and its lurid lyrics, “La Marseillaise” has been more than an anthem; it has been the living symbol of La France, enraged, aroused, marching, marching always on the side of right and the people. As such in 1795 it was adopted as the nation’s first anthem… a gauntlet thrown down wherever tyrants abide… wherever people can take inspiration from the most inspirational song of all.

Facts about “La Marseillaise” and its universal significance.

Many people had a hand in its creation. Rouget de Lisle wrote the song and has garnered virtually all the renown that comes from writing its legendary lyrics. The melody is an adaptation of a theme written in 1781 by Giovan Battista Viotti. His contribution is virtually unknown. No doubt the French like it this way; such an anthem on such a subject must perforce be written by a Frenchman.

Right from the moment Rouget de Lisle penned the lyrics, “La Marseillaise” was looked on as far more than a mere anthem. It became the voice of revolution, with its stark rendition of what counter revolutionaries aimed to do and what the good citizens must do to keep the freedoms wrenched from the king.

The imagery is stark! Bold! Unyielding! It calls for the levee en masse of all citizens… and makes it clear what will happen to them all should they fail.

This is a song of resolution! Action! Moral purity and sacrifice; terrible threats and great challenges.

The lyrics are insistent…

“To arms, citizens, Form your battalions, Let’s march, let’s march!”

or, in the original French, each word urgent! Uplifting! Thrilling!

“Aux armes, citoyens, Formez vos bataillons, Marchons, marchons!”

These diamond-sharp words have put tyrants everywhere on notice, which is why such tyrants, even in France, have prohibited its playing. Napoleon Bonaparte did so; so did King Louis XVIII.

But the reason La France is belle et eternelle is because she is at her best the repository and unflinching defender of every virtue found in “La Marseillaise” and when its strident chords were first played “Le jour de gloire est arrive’ ‘”… and since its glorious inception has never left. Vive La France!

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is, where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

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Rupert Murdoch’s free fall, your opportunity to watch a master as he fights to save the world’s greatest communication empire.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Rupert Murdoch only wanted one thing out of life… and that thing was… you. Palaces… fine cars.. every good thing in life, those items he could have had, but those dazzling prizes bored him. But you and your mind never palled or lost their interest. He craved you… wanted you… and always remained faithful to you, doing everything possible to control every thought in your mind. Rupert Murdoch is a great lover… and you were the unceasing object of his profound, unswerving devotion.

Like many other lovers, Rupert’s interest in you grew from the casual to the obsessive. He wanted to be with you every step of your life… supplying you with everything you needed….and going to great, exorbitant lengths to ensure you got it.

He gave you everything… and only wanted one thing: your full and total devotion. Love Rupert and Rupert would love you… Daddy was there to provide. And if along the way he broke a law or two or made the odd misjudgment, what matter? He did it all for you… and he’d do it all again; such is the true measure of his affection. He loved you, you see, not wisely but too well.

Keith Rupert Murdoch, born 11 March, 1931.

Rupert Murdoch was born in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a place named after Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister, Viscount Melbourne. This wouldn’t matter much except for one of his lordship’s celebrated aphorisms, “That is no use at all. What I want is friends who will support me when I am in the wrong.” It’s something Murdoch should keep in mind these troubled days… the problem is he does not have, maybe never had, friends in the first place, a fact more glaring by the day….

From Adelaide to the world.

From his earliest youth, Murdoch had a fascination with getting his thoughts, ideas, quirks, eccentricities, idiosyncrasies and hobby horses into your head. This can only be done if you control media sources… and Murdoch knew instantly that he had to have such sources… lots of sources… maybe every such source to achieve his goal, to be a man worthy of himself.

His father, Sir Keith Murdoch was a wealthy man, money made through a series of regional Australian newspapers. Sir Keith was an empire builder… and made sure his son and heir had every advantage, including a stint at Worcester College, Oxford University where he supported the Labour Party.

When he was just 22, his father died, prompting his return from Oxford, becoming director of News Limited in 1953. To celebrate, he acquired the “Sunday Times” in Perth, Western Australia. He colored in this part of the world on his map, thereby showing where he had influence. He liked what he saw and knew he wanted more, much more. He had well and truly commenced his lifetime’s quest… exhilarated rather than intimidated at how much there was to accumulate and control… and how little time he had to do it.

His models, his inspirations were the truly great media moguls, people like William Randolph Hearst, Max (Lord) Beaverbrook, Joseph Pulitzer.. He aimed to beat the pants off these titans and become the greatest media giant ever, the man who acquired all, beat all, and surmounted all, triumphant and unassailable. On this basis for years he satisfied himself as he not only took over one key media source after another but developed as a crucial player in the “you scratch my back…” culture of Great Britain, Australia, Canada, the United States… and beyond. It was a marvelous, dazzling, thrilling formula for success:

* Buy media sources (print and television).

* Influence politicians.

* Keep politicians eager to please you, so you support their agendas and careers.

* Ensure that all governments know your power and want to please and appease you.

* Buy another media source… and do it all again.

“Content is king.”

The problem with acquiring media sources is that they are worthless unless people like you and me want and are willing to buy the content they deliver. Thus, every time Murdoch and his News Corporation acquired a new media property, they acquired the problem of keeping and increasing its audience. Another titan, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, knew the solution. His celebrated aphorism is “Content is king.” He used it in reference to the Internet, but it applied as well to Rupert Murdoch’s far-flung, always expanding empire.

It boiled down to this: if Murdoch’s empire was to grow and thrive, he needed superior content and he needed it every single day. That’s what we readers and viewers demanded… and we demanded we get it… or else.

With the stakes so high, so very high and always growing, with the voracious engines of Murdoch’s empire needing more and more customer-pleasing content, it soon became understood (but never, you understand, made public) that all means were permitted to get information that would help circulation. “You understand what I mean by ‘all means’?” he might have said… with his auditors bowing their heads, nodding, winking, thus signifying that they, too, understood what was at stake… and thereby entered into a conspiracy that grew and grew as the need for cash grew apace. It was a deal with the Devil which resulted in immoral deeds, illegal deeds, disgusting and disreputable deeds.

But Mr. Murdoch and the great news media he controlled needed copy… and, after all, we have our own deals with the Devil, don’t we? And so the stage was set… and the very gods of Olympus stopped what they were about, anxious to see what developed and what a man like Murdoch, with a mind without trammels, might do.

The action broke July 4, 2011, when it was that Murdoch’s “News of the World” tabloid ordered the hacking of the voice mail of Milly Dowler, a 13-year old girl abducted and murdered in 2002. The publication of that news was like the line that starts all horse races, “And they’re off…” And so they were as each day since then has brought an ever-expanding litany of what Murdoch would like us to believe were a “few minor mistakes”. But were they so slight?

* Item: Murdoch employees hacked the bank records for former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. They also hacked the medical records for Brown’s four year old son, Fraser, who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

* Item: Murdoch’s operatives bribed the Queen’s royal protection officers to give them details of Her Majesty’s schedule.

* Item: Murdoch’s hackers, busily at their dark work, accessed the bank, medical and other personal records of thousands of people, looking for who-knows-what for who-knows-why.

In a moment, Murdoch’s unstoppable machine stopped… as politicians, who had kow-towed before the master, scented blood… and wanted it at once, not because of “vengeance” of course (never that) but only for the best and loftiest of reasons.

And so one story of deception, lies, and privacy violation after another surfaced, Murdoch and his empire swooned…. until on July 13th Murdoch had to withdraw a $12 billion offer for shares he does not already own in Britain’s main satellite television broadcaster. And this is only the beginning of miseries as Murdoch’s emboldened critics will now avenge their many abasements and humiliations at his hands, for they have all awaited this satisfaction for many seasons. Murdoch, the consummate street fighter, will never go softly into that good night… but go he must, or lose all. Then when asked why he who had so much had to have more, at any cost, he will say this: “I had to do it, for you, you, the only person I have ever loved.”

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is , where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

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An appreciation for the life of Stanley Seeger, rich enough to do exactly what he liked. Dead at 81, June 24, 2011.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. You’re old enough now to know that life, for most of us, is a series of compromises. You get some of what you want… and lots of what you don’t want. You have to buss body parts for people who insist upon you bending the knee, the better to exalt them. And all the while you think “If only…” This is an article about a man who didn’t say “If only…” He did what he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted… and literally laughed all the way to the bank.

Frank Sinatra, the Chairman of the Board, knew something about this syndrome. He snapped his fingers at conventional behavior and did it his way. That’s why he was the perfect, entirely believable person, to sing one of his signature tunes, “My Way” (recorded 1968). You’ll find it in any search engine. Go now… and listen a couple of times to get yourself in the mood and mind-set for this tale of Stanley Seeger… a man you never heard of before and never saw a picture of… who, whilst you were following The Man’s instructions… lived your dream, and smiled.

Eccentric, idiosyncratic.

First, let’s dispose of a couple of silly words found in every obituary of and article about Stanley Seeger… “eccentric” and “idiosyncratic”. Like clockwork their writers unfailingly use these highly loaded words, pointing out that Seeger lived the exact life he and his life partner (since 1979) Christopher Cone desired. Such pedestrian writers clearly believe and want you to believe that if you live the life you want you are odd, peculiar; that the only normality is living the way everyone else does. The truth is, as soon as people have the ability to live life their way, they seize the opportunity and do. The eccentric folk are the ones who live by the dictates, orders and whims of others… and never know the thrill of the open road, the road that goes to where they want to go. But which you, only dreaming of freedom, will never see…

Seeger selected just the right parents.

I often wonder how smart babies got that way, for even before they are born they have shaped so much of the remainder of their lives, making it just so. When therefore I read how odd Seeger was, I laugh. Why, he had the tremendous good sense (for openers) to select a family rich from timber and oil, two commodities the world never gets enough of. Born in 1930 in Milwaukee; the city the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company immortalized in its long-running ad as the “beer that made Milwaukee famous”, Seeger wanted out of this beer-drenched paradise.

His first step out came when he was sent to boarding school in Arizona. There he went to a traveling exhibition of works from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. These paintings, dramatic, evocative, rule-breaking, challenging spoke to something in the boy. They had, as art and its masters will do, hooked him. The ramifications of this catch would be played out for the rest of his life.

Next, he went to Princeton, the most genteel of the Ivies. Like other boys of aesthethic temperament (Christopher Forbes comes to mind) he flowered at Princeton…from which he graduated in 1952 but stayed on as a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts composition. It was then he took the fatal step of beginning to buy his first serious acquisitions. Like all collectors he needed good advice; he got his from New York dealer Catherine Viviano, who represented a group of young British and Italian painters.

One fateful day, he bought his first ticket to Greece, like so many of us have. The cerulean Aegean… the riches of the Academy… the sharp taste of retsina on a beach too perfect to be true, worked together to capture him forever; it’s what Greece does best. So, he well and truly left Milwaukee behind by becoming a Greek citizen… while giving Princeton $2 million for their Hellenistic studies program. He put his money where his heart was; no one, especially no one at beautiful Princeton, thought that eccentric or idiosyncratic.

London

In the late 1970s Seeger settled, if such a peripatetic fellow ever really settles, in London. There he met Cone, a staff member at Sotheby’s Belgravia branch. There he had another “aha” moment… this time for Victorian art. He liked Fuseli and Turner… He also began to like moderns like Graham Sutherland, Ben Nicholson, Malcolm Morley, and Howard Hodgkin. Just where to put his burgeoning (and valuable) collection was always a challenge, for he not only collected fine art… but residences, too. He had a yacht enchantingly named “Rosenkavalier” and homes in Barbados… St. Moritz…in Berkshire… Devon…. then Yorkshire. Ownership bored him; acquisition did not.

Art needs a home, so Seeger got one… one of the best.

In 1980, Seeger bought one of the most famous estates in the realm of Britain, fabled Sutton Place. It was a red-brick manor house built in the 1520s. Among its celebrated owners was J. Paul Getty, oil magnate, then the richest man on terra firma. Getty got irked by servants and visitors using his phone to rack up huge long distance charges. When he installed a pay phone, the world ridiculed… but the world always expects rich people to cover their tabs. It’s most irritating…

Sutton Place, at the time of Seeger’s purchase, was grand, very grand indeed… 14 bedrooms, large banquet hall, 100 foot library, and more than 700 acres of grounds. But even this was not quite good enough for Seeger, who to the intense irritation of certain British critics who think foreigners should buy but never change these historic properties, started re-modeling. He modernized the decor and, imagine, hung paintings from his avant-garde collection, which hadn’t a Holbein or portrait of Queen Bloody Mary, favoring instead the bold Francis Bacon triptych of contorted nudes he had acquired for $8.5 million in 1979. This was not merely a painting; it was a bold declaration of who Seeger was and what was important to him, let the consequences be what they may. In 6 years he got tired of the effort…. and profitably sold, as usual.

And so this whirligig of a man kept collecting, enjoying, selling and acquiring some more, rich, restless, living out his dream… endlessly searching for a beauty which may only have existed in his mind. Now he’s passed on… and wherever he has gone, I feel sure he is, this very moment, focused on its enhancement… and having achieved that, be it in heaven itself, will pursue the even more perfect and desirable. It is his still unfinished destiny.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is , where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

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INDEPENDENCE DAY 2013. ON THE ROAD AGAIN. MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA. AND A GRANDE DAME WITH THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP AND JOY. COME AND GET ACQUAINTED.

“… OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES AND OUR SACRED HONOR.” INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2013. “FROM THE MOUNTAINS, TO THE PRAIRIES, TO THE OCEANS WHITE WITH FOAM….”

Picture

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. She made the request as if she thought I might deny it, as if I might deem it inappropriate for a business website. However, if she thought this, she didn’t think it for long. “Of course you should read the Declaration of Independence in the Live Business Center. I’m only irritated that I didn’t think of it myself.” And thus did Barbara Buegeler, Senior Monitor in Worldprofit’s LBC, do what every Citizen should do one day each year this day: that is not just to think about this exalted document, but to actually read it aloud as our ancestors used to do, beginning on July 4, 1776.

Sadly, most people do nothing, no thought, no reading, no consideration at all of one of history’s signature documents, the document that laid the revolutionaries’ case, our case, before the bar of public opinion worldwide, thereby not only alerting our English masters that a new reality was at hand, but every oppressive government wherever it might be, not just then but forever after.

And so the lady from rural Texas began to read, each word famous, but some touched by God Himself…

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of this earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Having thus forthrightly stated their risky intentions through the genius of young Thomas Jefferson (just 33 at the time he put quill pen to paper) the members of Congress assembled; each now a marked man, a man venturing everything that makes life comfortable and sweet, thrilled to the riff each hoped would unify 13 fractious colonies; the riff that would forever brand George, by the Grace of God, King as the very archetype of tyranny, when in fact he was anything but.

To make his point and to foment the revolution to which he and his resolute colleagues were committed, he did what all revolutionaries do: he contorted the truth. He exaggerated, misstated, rearranged, and reshaped, the better to achieve his treasonous goal. For make no mistake about it, these were men who were playing for the biggest stakes and were betting everything on being right, for the consequences were staggering if they were not, for each one individually and for all collectively.

And so Jefferson, a world-class propagandist, gifted with the power of words, took sharp aim at his anointed sovereign, never mind that hapless monarch and the monster of iniquity conceived and portrayed by Jefferson had virtually nothing in common. No matter.

Thus, at least 18 times in prose that grew in harshness and intensity with each new clause beginning “He has…”, Jefferson walloped his king and liege lord, the man, he asserted, who never tired of menacing, upsetting, exasperating and even destroying the colonies which were the jewels in his imperial crown. Thus….

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary to the public good”… to…  “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

It was splendid, masterful invective, broad, audacious, designed to outrage and turn every colonial, no matter how disengaged, loyal and pacific, into a fervent partisan, a new breed called Americans.

However, there was a problem, a big problem. The real king George III and Jefferson’s bogeyman were not the same person… no way. How to handle this conundrum? Lie. For after all, if a man is proposing treason, what matter a lie or two? You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.

About the King, a true revolutionary himself.

But if Jefferson had carefully distorted his facts, sometimes in degree, sometimes in veracity, sometimes by a word or two of artful arrangement, sometimes false in every particular, who then was the man for whom his subjects worldwide sang “God Save The King”?

That man, George William Frederick (1738-1820) was the product of revolution, the heir of revolution, the living pledge of revolution and the man whose very life confirmed that the promise and settlement of the great and Glorious Revolution of 1688 abided; that the sovereign reigned but ruled as little as Parliament allowed, and that year by year was less and less.

For this revolution, lead by renegade aristocrats, assured the final victory of Parliament over Crown, thus turning this Crown, however radiant and burnished into the creature of the people and their potent legislature, from whence came everything, including whatever colonial policy they thought best, whatever obstreperous colonials might think.

And this presented Thomas Jefferson with a stupendous, daunting problem which would surely have confounded and thwarted many a lesser man. What’s more Jefferson had many other things on his always active mind. For one thing, he was physically uncomfortable as all the delegates were. It was insufferably hot in Philadelphia those crucial days of argument and revolution. Delegates grew irritable from tossing night after miserable night, unable to find the rest they sorely needed for matters of such high
importance.

Worse, they discovered the tenacious presence and bite of bed bugs, determined creatures, no respecters of persons or causes, savoring the flesh of delegates, happy in their work.

Then there was the matter of his parlous financial condition. Throughout his long life, Jefferson lived like the wealthy man he never was. He spent money he didn’t have, borrowing money he had no way, and perhaps no intention, of paying back. He was well acquainted with duns pestering him for long overdue sums. And so it was in Philadelphia, where its many Quaker residents curiously adhered to the quaint notion that what was borrowed needed to be repaid in timely fashion, a point of view entirely
foreign to Jefferson, a man of careless finances and high living.

But there was another reason, too, and that was his beloved wife, Martha Wayles Skelton, who was a 23-year-old widow when he married her January 1, 1772. Theirs was a love match with all that entailed and in the long, uncomfortable nights he missed her to the core of his ardent being and longed for her passionate embraces. Remember, he was just 33…

However, the revolution needed him and so he put his genius to work crafting the words of revolution. Fortunately he had opponents who were not remotely as gifted in that department, opponents who failed to answer Jefferson and his colleagues, and so lost the crucial battle for hearts and minds. Jefferson made a brilliant case; his opponents relied on their established rights and disdained the messy business of human persuasion. And this wasn’t remotely good enough…. as the loyal royalists learned to their eternal detriment and rue.

Lord North.

This brings us to the very antagonist Jefferson might have wished to have…
Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, Knight of the Garter, Privy Councillor (1732-1792) known to history by his courtesy title, Lord North, the man who, along with his dread lord, threw away the greatest of empires. His tenure in office running from 1770 to 1782 was disastrous for the Crown and the greatest possible benefit to Jefferson and the Great Republic which grew from the great Declaration. In short Jefferson and his colleagues lucked out, and as Napoleon later said, “Give me the lucky man.” That was most assuredly Jefferson, most assuredly not North.

And the sad thing is, North knew it and often begged his sovereign for permission to resign. But the King wanted a man as prime minister he trusted, and that was North, a man of no vision, no knowledge of Americans and the colonies, without empathy, inspiration or the ability to cut a deal that would keep them British. He pleased the king and so his majesty kept the man congenial to him, catastrophic to his realm. How Jefferson, brilliant, dazzling, splendid Jefferson must have whooped at his unrivalled fortune in having such a hack, such a mediocrity as his opponent…

Thus was the greatest empire sundered; thus did the Great Republic grow apace, the one lead by the blind and inadequate, the other driven by determination, brains, and growing expertise in the artistry of revolution. In such circumstances, the English could not prevail; they had so little to offer whilst the revolutionaries promised everything including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, the hand that trumped
all.

“God Bless America!”

Thus we arrive at today by stages short and long, difficult and easy, losing and winning, proud and abasing. But always important and influential for such is our destiny, and we must play it out. But I have this question for you, my reader, my every reader. How can we do so with massive ignorance about who we are, where we came from, what we have done and why it matters, for that is our painful and dangerous situation today when so little is known of America and that little so often wrong. How long can we sustain our might and mission under such enfeebling circumstances… and how can we possibly help the world and be that bright city while presenting such a poor and tawdry example?

That is why I urge you to read the great Declaration aloud and help rescue the Great Republic from her sad plight today, so dangerous, so inglorious, so abashing in every way.

Then go to any search engine, and find Irving Berlin’s great hymn to the Great Republic, “God Bless America,” first written in1918, revised in 1938. I recommend the stirring version by Kate Smith, a chanteuse who belted it out and brought a tear to the eye of every true American, every lover of freedom, and every citizen trustee for our great story,

“Through the night with a light from above”.  

Of blueberries. They’re mine!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

We are just now in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts being fried by one of the worst heat waves in our long history. Mitigating factors are few and far between, and meteorologists are enjoying themselves digging for obscure facts that do nothing to reduce the debilitating heat. Only one thing helps in this climate, and that is… blueberries.

And so that is the subject of today’s reflections. And not a moment too soon, for today promises to be another scorcher.

Author’s Program Note. Before continuing, I want to remind you of a most appropriate tune that will provide just the right background for remarks. You’ve known this tune your entire life. It was recorded by many artists, perhaps most notably Louis Armstrong in 1949. Then Fats Domino, in the 1950s, recorded a rock n’ roll version. It is, of course, “Blueberry Hill”, and I suggest you go to any search engine and find your favorite rendition. If you’re alone (but only if you’re alone) belt out your favorite version. You’ll have fun doing it. But make sure the neighbors are not in ear shot. They will not understand.

My sentiments on blueberries.

I am a prodigious eater of blueberries. I don’t just eat them, I live for them. Why, the room in which I am writing you today was even painted in a delicious shade called “blueberry muffin”. At $3.99 a box at Montrose Spa (the nearest place for blueberries) but not always the best quality (Shaw’s Market in Porter Square takes the prize) I am a significant supporter of the entire blueberry industry. Indeed, I say (with pride) that during blueberry season I dispose of thousands of them, very few (I confess) shared with another. Which is why I want to share my special poem about blueberries with you. It is in the nature of a declaration and must be treated as such:

“They’re mine.”

Touch my blueberries at your risk; each one is mine and must for me be kept.

Of course you want a basket, then you want more but have them here you must not nor even dream.

For these berries each and every one are mine.

And don’t attempt to beg for more these berries are as I have politely said all mine and shoo you off I would if you should transgress.

A scene is small price for every berry on the hill.

And now I sense you are about to cry and beg for blues you cannot resist but these (I must insist) are mine.

And if you fail to find and pick (for fail you must) and forced to other hills and selfish folk the same will be… those berries, too, will be for me.

Sorry.

But that’s the way it must be for berries and I make two and have no need of thee, for three.

Some facts about blueberries.

Blueberries are flowering plants of the genus Vaccinium (a genus that also includes cranberries and bilberries). The berries themselves are blue and sometimes purple in hue and are perennial. Species in the section Cyanococcus are the most common fruits sold as “blueberries” and are mainly native to North America.

Blueberry flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is a berry 5-16 millimeters (0.20-0.63 inch) in diameter with a flared crown at the end. They are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally dark blue when ripe.

Blueberries have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season; fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude, so the height of the crop can vary from May to August.

Cultivated or wild bushes.

Blueberries may be cultivated, or they may be picked from semi-wild or wild bushes. In North America, the most common cultivated species is V. corymbosum, the Northern highbush blueberry.

So called “wild” (lowbush) blueberries, smaller than cultivated highbush ones, are prized for their intense color. The lowbush blueberry, V. angustifolium, is found from the Atlantic provinces westward to Quebec and southward to Michigan and West Virginia.

Blueberry connoisseurs may engage in heated exchanges on the merits of both varieties. I aver, indeed I insist, that the so-called wild version is not only the most beautiful variety but the most tasty, too. I came to this unshakable conclusion one afternoon when returning from Maine, arguably the capital of blueberry nation. The traffic moved so slowly I was able to stop at every roadside stand to taste, purely in the spirit of science, both varieties in ample measure… first sampling one, then the other, then back to the first, thereby avoiding any hint of prejudice. My verdict is final.

Where blueberries are grown.

Maine produces 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America, easily making it the largest producer in the world. Its blueberry industry was propagated from native plants that occur naturally in the understory of its coastal forests. The Maine crop requires about 50,000 beehives for pollination, with most of the hives trucked in from other states for that purpose. The wild blueberry (my favorite as noted above) is Maine’s official fruit, and rightly so. Taciturn Mainers do not like to admit its superiority; for them, as for me, “they’re mine”.

It should be stated here (in the interests of fairness) that Michigan, not Maine, is the leader in highbush production. 32 percent of such blueberries are grown there; New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina also grow them in large numbers… but, as I told you, these (though they will always do in a pinch) lack the distinguishing characteristics prized by adamant purists like me.

Uses of blueberries.

Blueberries are sold fresh or processed as individually quick frozen fruit, puree, juice, or dried or infused berries which in turn may be used in a variety of consumer goods such as jams, jellies, blueberry pies, muffins, snack foods and cereals.

Blueberries have a diverse range of micronutrients, with notably high levels (relative to respective dietary reference intakes) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber.

Especially in wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments and various phytochemicals, which possibly have a role in reducing risks of some diseases, including inflammation and certain cancers. These facts, of course, bolster our affection but cannot account for our passion for this supreme fruit, enticing, seducing, secure not merely on our palate but in our hearts. For this we must turn to our musicians, our poets.

I give you “Blueberries” by Robert Frost (1874-1963). In this rattling poem, Frost, who so well knew the land and its bounties, described blueberries “as big as the end of your thumb, Real sky-blue and heavy, and ready to drum in the cavernous pail of the first one to come!” He made sure he was that first one, for he too knew the necessity of coming early and making sure “they’re mine”.

But we leave this colloquy with Fats Domino, who, rightly too, found his thrill on Blueberry Hill, where he, no doubt, made it clear to all comers, those blueberries, each and every one “are mine”.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is , where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

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Of the nation’s heat wave and how we kept cool in years gone by. A story of high summer. July, 2011.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. When one is sweltering in the immensity of unbearable summer, one does (as you well know) what one can to cool off, and promptly, too. Music helps… especially if it’s as cool as Martha and the Vandellas and Cole Porter. They have provided me with the background sound of the day, the sound of this article.

In 1963 Martha and the Vandellas (known from 1967 to 1972 as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas) released an absolutely sizzling dance number entitled “(Love is like a) Heat Wave.” It was a jump-up sound then, urgent in its insistence that you get up and dance, whatever the thermometer. And all these years later, it hasn’t lost the zest that made this popular Motown group a pulse for the nation. It’s one of the reasons “Rolling Stone” in 2004 ranked Martha and the Vandellas #96 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

An entirely different — but equally cool — sound distinguished Cole Porter’s come-back musical “Kiss Me, Kate” based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”. It came after a string of disappointments, which made America wonder whether this master of wit and sophistication had lost his touch. He had not… and it became the first musical to be given a Tony Award, in 1949. “Too Darn Hot” comes from this, Porter’s biggest hit and summarizes exactly how I feel about the terra caliente. You can easily find both songs in any search engine. Find them now… listen carefully… and of course do so in a very cool room. Otherwise, you may not be tempted to get up and dance…

Heat, more heat, no break in sight.

I checked the 5-day forecast today in the Greater Boston, Massachusetts area, though it only reinforced my pronounced sense of doom that we are in for it and no mistake. Today will reach an insufferable 94 degrees F. Tomorrow even worse and on Saturday but paltry “relief”. I plan to remain in the house, swathed by “cooler” air; be clear I do not say “cool”. I suffer from the completely characteristic belief of all true New Englanders that there are only a few unbearable summer days and that one falls far below one’s hardy Puritan ancestors if one gives way and “coddles” oneself with refrigerated air… when God’s own, good enough for grandpapa, should be good enough for me. I suffer accordingly and am derided by my air-conditioned friends, whom I publicly chide for their lack of grit and fortitude… and secretly envy and covet.

Summer at 4906 Woodward Ave. when we burnt and never worried.

These punishing days of discomfort, perspiration and self-pity go to my memory at once and return me to the searing days of a 1950s summer in Illinois, where humidity and high temperatures produced a keen desire for escape, to anywhere else at all. Even to one’s own backyard turned water park and entrepot for experiments in cooling off. My family with three children and young parents (but without air-conditioning) lived outside as much as possible, and had all the necessary accoutrements for comfortable surviving.

Liberally strewn about the yard, much lived in, never immaculate with carefully tended grass, were the symbols that made clear an active, kid-centered environment. There was a simple garden hose, turned into aqua-weapon with deadly effect… little brothers with attitude soon learned to peer around the corner of the house before advancing, since big brother prided himself on ever new, more exacting forays and gambits. When all else failed on a brutal summer’s day, the hose always worked, the water clear, frosty, unpolluted, never in plastic bottles with pompous names and pictures of snowy mountain tops.

Then came the Slip ‘n Slide.

Slip ‘n Slide is a toy manufactured by Wham-O, first introduced in 1961 after being invented by Cody Abramson. The toy is a long sheet of thin plastic, flanked lengthwise on one side by a heat-sealed tubular fold. The tube can be attached to any ordinary garden hose. Water runs through the tube and out small perforations, spraying into the sliding surface. The Slip ‘n Slide then becomes very slippery, enabling users to jump onto the plastic and slide the length of the sheet. June, for the record, is National Slip ‘n Slide month, but only by company fiat.

Slip ‘n Slide provided years of fun and also, no doubt, a plethora of plastic burns, scuffs of every kind and a body deeply red from one “watch me mom!” stunt after another. Years later both manufacturer and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended that only children use the toy because of back and neck injuries when teenagers and adults use it. Injuries occur because people heavier or taller than children might stop suddenly while diving onto the toy. Between 1971 and 1991, seven adults and one teenager reported injuries while using Slip ‘n Slide including neck injuries, bone fractures, quadriplegia, and paraplegia. No doubt we sustained bruises of various kinds… but the only member of the family to complain was Mrs. Whiskers the cat, who was often (and always hilariously) taken down the yellow plastic slide to howls of feline indignation and outrage. By contrast, Missy the beagle delighted in the hub-bub and spray. On one memorable day when an unknowing neighbor sought to remove “that dog” from the Slip ‘n Slide, my 4-year old brother put her firmly in her place: “Is no dawg,” he pointed out, “is Missy”, an unanswerable line that makes me laugh to this day.

One necessary kid device after another.

This yard extensive with woods where wild animals were still to be seen, before the unceasing growth of this suburban sprawl drove them away, this yard featured amusements both handmade and manmade. There was the much-used remains of a real fort my father (talented with his slender hands), built for us. It was a minor work of art, soon demolished by older jealous boys with less nimble fathers. We built another, more practical, always well stocked in buried storage bins with the hard crabapples we knew so well to throw and sting. Illinois, remember, prides itself on its handy young men, and we were surely such.

And so it went, our yard an open-to-the-sky toy box… here featuring the shoebox lifted by a stick, pulled by a string the better to catch the careless robin; we did one day… and, having succeeded in our task… promptly let it go again. We were not a family that killed for fun, sport, or pleasure… and I am proud of that.

In due course, my father had his way and constructed one of the large plastic pools where the water was six feet, or more. It instantly became the center of young, leisured Illinois, to the extent that when the municipality built a brand- new facility, we refused to go… to my father’s chagrin, since he was one of the trustees who made that pool possible. Frankly, the raspberry and blackberry bushes that grew beside our pool, made ours seem desirably rustic and secluded. After all, what is summer moonlight for?

And still the unending heat beat down, but we were not done with our responses yet.

About this time, my grammie came, who always knew a thing or two about families and the need of parents (however young) for a respite. In her immaculate Oldsmobile she drove us to the Walgreen’s in the center of town, the only place to get the ardently desired and soon gone cherry phosphate or raspberry-lime rickey. I’d know their taste anywhere.

And then home, dinner and the last sacred rite of a sultry summer’s evening: running behind the DDT truck as it sprayed the neighborhood with poisons, the fleet of foot (myself in the lead) at the pipe, quaffed and quaffed some more. The dense chemical clouds, the whoops of joy and laughter didn’t lower the temperature one degree… but they raised our spirits… and thus exhilarated we moved out of the heat… towards the livable September temperatures which would liberate us all for another year.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is, where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

Atlanta, Georgia school cheating scandal. How a pencil eraser and mendacious educators shamed a great city and robbed its students.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. The great city of Atlanta and many other Georgia towns are, at this very moment, in the throws of the latest installment of their ongoing school cheating scandal. It’s a scandal that could take place in most any school district, but which is worst in Atlanta, a city that has well and truly lost its moral compass . Here no one, whatever their high titles and educational degrees and licenses, is responsible for anything.

And so I have selected for the music to accompany this article, Chaka Khan’s tune “Ain’t Nobody” (released 1983)… because in Atlanta ain’t nobody educatin’, ain’t nobody learnin’, ain’t nobody leadin’, ain’t nobody truth tellin’… and ain’t nobody cleanin’ up the mess and galvanizing the folks so that Atlanta can hold up its head again… proud of its achievements, not abashed by its lies, deceptions and deceits. You can find Chaka Khan’s tune in any search engine. Get it now… and let its pulse get you in the mood not just for disgust, outrage and indignation but for the hard work of school and municipal reform which must start at once, this very day… And don’t read this article with any smugness at all… for you cannot be sure the “educators” in your town aren’t doing the same things but just haven’t been caught yet.

Who’s bright idea was this anyway?

Investigators and the public may never know the name of the first educator who erased the wrong test answer and entered the correct one, and if there were only one such infraction, or even just a few more, we could simply say, “There are always some bad apples in any barrel.” But this is not what happened in Atlanta… where, at least 178 Public School employees in 44 schools, including 38 principals, all decided, some independently, some working together, to alter standardized test results.

Now think about this for a moment.

Each of these educators has gone through years of (we hope) rigorous training, with degrees and licenses to prove their hard work and diligence.

Each will swear on a stack of Bibles that they believe in education and that they are well and truly dedicated to helping students achieve success through the application of high standards of learning and instruction.

Each would take the most sacred oath that cheating, altering test results, passing off another’s work as your own, and all the other egregious forms of educational mendacity are wrong… and can never be tolerated at any time…. and that educators who perform these deeds should and must be punished and driven out of the Academy forthwith fueled by the indignation of the worthy.

Every teacher, every administrator would, I know, signify in any way requested their adamant belief in these propositions… and yet an astounding, astonishing number of these same teachers and administrators altered test results with their own hands… risking their careers and sacrificing their self-respect and honor to do deeds which all knew were wrong and which each abominates and deplores.

How had so many gone so wrong?

While there is finger-pointing all around, the most digits are pointed at former Superintendent Beverly Hall (1999-2011). Her mantra was “performance, performance, performance” which was what the people wanted…. but which morphed over time to “performance at any cost” with the emphasis on the “any”. In the Hall Administration you got the Superintendent’s eye (and extra bennies and emoluments) by demonstrating improved, increasing, dazzling performance. She, once so voluble, now has “no comment”.

The problem is, education doesn’t work like a machine process, a conveyor belt delivering better product for less. Oh, no, education is not remotely like that. Education is a slow, incremental process, where results today, with today’s students, are determined by what each previous teacher in each grade was able to achieve with each student. There is no activity slower than education… nor one in which so many each have a part to play.

Each and every teacher and administrator knows this… but each one decided that pleasing the powers that be was more important than doing the hard work of focusing on each student, with painstaking dedication, effort, and patience. And thus with a simple pencil eraser did each erase everything each knew to be true, good and necessary about their vocation… thereby shaming themselves, their city, their honorable colleagues, and, of course, the students who were, with each erasure and substitution, bereft of what they needed so desperately, a real education, an education of merit, of high standards set and high standards achieved, and above all of honest endeavor and honest testing and review.

As I said, finger pointing is rampant as everyone scurries to save themselves in an environment where there is now intense scrutiny and a desire to see heads roll and so demonstrate that there is a new broom sweeping clean. Interim Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. says that the prevailing “culture of fear and intimidation” in his predecessor Hall’s regime must be changed. “People,” he says, “felt that it was easier to cheat than to miss their goals and objectives.”

Not just one incident, but a series of incidents.

Americans, of course, want fast answers to endemic problems. And here is no exception. The people don’t want to believe they were thoroughly betrayed by the very people they must rely upon the most: the teachers, educators, and administrators charged with the sacred objective of lifting their children, one step at a time,to a higher, better place.

But the current scandal is just that — “current”, for the good citizens of Atlanta have been cheated by the cheaters since 2001 at least, and quite possibly longer.

Over the course of the last decade, one cheating scandal after another has punctuated the Atlanta school calendar. All bear a dreary resemblance to each other. High standards are set which cannot be met, though those setting them reap a torrent of praise for such daring and boldness.

In due course, though, the high standards are shown to be too high, unrealistic, overly ambitious. Cheaters enter to bridge the difference between what is… and what could never be. And, in due course, these cheaters, or at least some of them, are caught… to the outrage of citizens and short-changed students.

And so new leaders are brought in, who set unrealistic goals and tell you they have the necessary skills, you betcha, to achieve the objective and make Atlanta proud… yet in due course they, too, fail — but only after reaping educational awards and honors for proclaiming goals too steep to achieve. Thus they, too, are discarded and villified.

And all the while the students of Atlanta are bereft of the education they must have and have every right to expect. They do not get it because their parents, their teachers, their elected officials and bureaucrats at every level will pontificate about education… but will not engage in the slow painstaking business of educating one student at a time… for they want an education to be what no education has ever been: a machine process, an assembly-line activity… and until the citizens of Atlanta know this and demand this these humiliating, demeaning, abashing scandals must and will continue.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates , providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses.

Book now for the bicentennial of America’s least necessary war, The War of 1812. The scenery will be unbeatable!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Most Americans don’t know we had a dust-up in 1812 with our not-so- distant British colonial masters. Well, we did and from June 30-July 6, 2012 we’ll be celebrating it in high style in Boston, Massachusetts, then in 11 other East Coast American cities that had a role in the war. The festivities will run from 2012-2015, with millions expected to come see.

No doubt the most popular and easily the most photogenic part of this commemoration will be the parade of the world’s tall ships, with more of these graceful relicts of days gone by assembled in one place than ever before. How many tall-ships will there be? William Armstrong, a spokesman for Operation Sail, the sponsor of this event along with the U.S. Navy, could not say exactly. But he did say that 120 nations have been invited to participate, and no doubt most of them will. As such it will draw visitors from around the globe to this living reminder of maritime majesty.

Two extra special features make a trip to Boston de rigueur when the tall-ships come. First, this is the home port of the USS Constitution, launched in 1797. It is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Dubbed “Old Ironsides” in sea battle where enemy cannonballs were seen to bounce harmlessly off her timbers, she defeated 4 superior British vessels, uniquely earning each of her captains a Congressional gold medal, perhaps in part because the Constitution’s victories were one of the very few aspects of the war in general to go well.

The second reason why Boston was selected to lead off the festivities has absolutely nothing to do with commemorating the war and absolutely everything to do with creating a truly whiz-bang of a program. While the tall-ships grace the harbor and capture every eye, the city of Boston (and all true believers in America’s national past-time) will be celebrating the centennial of Fenway Park, a theme which will inspire every sportswriter to wax poetic, nostalgic, with nary a dry eye in the (uncomfortable, over-priced) bleachers.

Not worth remembering.

Sadly all this hard work and the unbeatable thrill of seeing a large percentage of the most graceful and interesting sailing vessels still extant celebrates an entirely forgettable war that should never have occurred and which showed that Yankee rhetoric (always soaring and bombastic) far outpaced Yankee management, efficiency, and organization. In short, the Yanks, having pulled off the biggest victory of the 18th century, eviscerating British North American power and gaining independence, took the wrong moral from the tale and assumed their old nemesis was a paper tiger, always and forever to be defeated by the vainglorious sons of America. It was an arrogant point of view that was soon shown to be wistful thinking, and nothing more.

Family quarrels are always the most pernicious and hurtful.

From the very moment the British accepted the loss of her American possessions every patriotic Briton ached for a rematch with her now liberated and bumptious former colonies. Because this was a family quarrel, each side (and particularly the British) took the greatest possible pleasure in irritating Americans, outraging Americans, belittling Americans and humiliating Americans. The colonies might be lost, well then, let the regime of insult, condescension, and mutual irritants commence. And because both sides were Britons, who knew each other as well as the back of their own hand, they knew exactly what to do to cause maximum pain and umbrage… and they did it with relish and unbridled joy, “Take this, serves you right!”

For such antagonists another conflict was, and everyone knew it, inevitable. It was simply a matter of when… thus both nations bided their time; Britain bit by inexorable bit undoing Napoleon and his evanescent imperium, anxious to face again the unlikely winners who had humbled them with the gall and wormwood of 1776 and all that. It was a truly memorable antagonism, entirely personal, no holds barred, each and every encounter seen as an insult by the other. As I said, it was a very nasty family matter, casus belli unnecessary.

Historians will tell you the War of 1812 had many causes and no doubt they are right. But all those who have fought for victory in their homes and offices will know the messy battles in operation “Top Dog” in which the opponents battle for ultimate supremacy. In such a situation, with the need for overall power and control paternal, primal, with mutual good will and correct relations impossible until the fundamental matter is well and truly settled. They fought because each existed and that each found affronting and profoundly irksome.

The British goal in the War of 1812, a war which commenced as Napoleon then retreating from Russia after his fate-tipping disaster, thereby liberating British power, money and focus to upend the Yanks, was to continue her near absolute command of the world’s seaways. “Rule Britannia” was not a song; it was profound national policy.

By contrast, the Yanks, now controlling the most valuable real estate on earth, were anxious to get the rest… and this meant seizing Canada, every Yank believing that Canadians were anxious to be liberated. They weren’t, but that made absolutely no difference. Liberated and Americanized they would be, like it (and they surely would), or not.

The War of 1812 shaped up accordingly.

The British, the world’s greatest sea power, aimed to cripple the new American navy while making it quite clear that it would continue to impress seamen (particularly American seamen) into her vessels, whatever howls of outrage that might engender. Ships might be built… but able seamen were, as always, in short supply and thus England, whose very existence was predicated on maximum sea power, seized Americans wherever they could be had… without a shred of remorse.

The goal of the Americans was to justify their (to them) hefty allocations of limited national resources in a navy. Thomas Jefferson and friends (one of whom, James Madison, was president in 1812), profoundly provincial, regarded a navy as an expensive luxury, hoped to hobble it. The navy needed victories to prove how essential it was. And, of course, there was the great prize, Canada. Voltaire may have regarded the Canadas as a patch of snow… but the War Hawks in Washington, D.C. did not. They craved Canada in the worst way, and the way they went about wooing her showed just how bad that could be.

The ins and out of this struggle go beyond the confines of this article and may be found in “The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict” by Donald R. Hickey. Suffice it to say the Yanks made a dog’s dinner of their Canadian incursions and not a single Canadian was sorry. Thus, they kept their snow to themselves. The British burnt Washington, D.C. including the White House, to avenge a similar barbarity by the Yanks when they invaded Canada. And the greatest victory of the war by either side was the Battle of New Orleans, which in due course made General Andrew Jackson, president of the United States. Ironically that great victory took place after the peace treaty between the belligerents had been signed in Ghent.

No doubt some of this history will be told next summer, but the futile inconsequence of the war will be mentioned, if at all, sotto voce.

You, however, now know and will astonish all who pontificate in front of you. For you have heard the story here… so do book your reservations now with Operation Sail the better to see the key places in this forgettable conflict about to be commemorated more grandly than the war itself ever was.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is . at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates , providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses.

Casey Anthony: Now that your trial is over, your true sentence will be delivered, for you are now and truly a marked woman for life.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

These are the facts.

Caylee Marie Anthony (born August 9, 2005) was last seen with her mother Casey on June 16, 2008 and was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, on July 15, 2008. Her skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area near the family home on December 11, 2008. Casey Anthony was indicted on charges of first degree murder and pled not guilty.

The prosecution sought the death penalty and the trial lasted for six weeks. On July 5, 2011, the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child, but guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. Anthony received a sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each count. With credit for time served and good behavior, she was released on July 17, 2011, free to walk out of the courtroom and resume her life as an ordinary citizen. But the fact is since the eye of the media (lead by legal commentator Nancy Grace) came to focus on you and your predicament, you have ceased to be in fact the “ordinary citizen” you are in law.

According to journalist Geraldo Rivera, you are the “most reviled acquitted defendant”, even more so that O.J. Simpson or Michael Jackson. Rivera was also quoted on the Fox News Network as saying, “We feel she is a murderer who has escaped the death penalty” Public outrage was immediate and intense.

You contributed to the mayhem by engaging in behaviors the public felt were inappropriate for a mother:

Item: lying to detectives from the Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Department.

Item: failing to report your child missing despite the fact you admitted you had not seen her for 31 days.

Item: partying around the town both before your missing daughter was found… and, worse, after her decomposed body was discovered.

Item: Having a tattoo reading “Bella Vita” (beautiful life) placed on your body just weeks after Caylee’s death.

The prosecution’s case was based on who would benefit from Caylee’s death… with the accusing finger firmly pointed at … you! The media, which loves stories like yours that grab public attention and won’t get go… tried and found you guilty… and you only aided and abetted these folks by your endless prevarications, deceits, deceptions and lies. In short order you were turned into a pleasure-seeking monster, cavorting on the grave of your innocent child, Caylee, who, quite simply, got in the way of your selfish, sybaritic life.

The prosecutor thought their bird was cooked, when their expert maintained that you made 84 computer searches seeking detailed information about chloroform. (It was only later than this same “expert” admitted he was wrong; there had, in fact, only been a single such search. Still…

Then the unthinkable occurred: you were found innocent on all counts, except for one which convicted you of lying to police officers. I saw your face on television at the moment the verdict was handed down; you wept… perhaps just for simple relief… perhaps because you thought that your ordeal was well and truly over. But in fact that verdict immediately moved you and the entire matter to a different, much more difficult place than the penal system you had just avoided.

Millions of people were astonished and outraged by the jury’s finding and from the immediate instant it was delivered shouted their acute, their adamant disapproval and disgust. Never mind that your constitutional rights meant you were innocent until proven guilty or that the jury did its arduous work correctly and honorably. They had “reasonable doubt” and were, whatever their personal opinions, forced to decide as they had.

The people knew” (by some primal calculus), egged on by the media, that you were guilty… and now, aghast, flabbergasted, disbelieving, they watched as you, who had certainly murdered Caylee, walked. Millions of folks, certain in their minds as to what really happened and who was guilty and needed maximum punishment, wanted Justice for Caylee… and were frustrated they were not about to get it through the judicial system.

At that moment of what had to be joy for you… the system which had just given you freedom… ensured you would be a haunted, hunted, despised and disdained woman for the rest of your life. Your life on the lamb started even before you left the courtroom and was ordained for the rest of your life. For, whatever the legal system says, public opinion, fed by powerful media, have ensured that you will be seen as a child murderer, the worst crime in all the calendar, with vigilante vengeance likely and popular vindication for anyone disposing of you certain.

Let’s look at what this means for you…

You will be in a store like Wal-Mart ready to take advantage of a fantastic sale. Soon you’ll feel rather than see that there are three, now four women whispering about something… you don’t need to be told that what they’re whispering about is… you.

You hope the check-out girl hasn’t seen… but one of the women walked over to a supervisor who, without batting an eye, told the check-out girl to take a 15-minute break,that her shift is over. The supervisor stands there, looks you in the eye and says, “You’re Casey Anthony, aren’t you?”

You decide to lie…. you’re good at lying… but he’ll only ask to see your i.d. and then his strong surmise will become irrevocable fact. So, you say nothing, drop the things you so much wanted on the floor… and, for the thousandth time put your chin up and, looking dead ahead, walk out.

But, like the sentence of the people itself, this incident continues.

You are Casey Anthony… and you are beginning to understand what that means.

The women who were whispering about you inside… are now a growing group. They do not know for sure that you are Casey Anthony (you do your hair different now) but they sense it.

You see your car. You know that if you can get in and drive off before their suspicions harden into fact, you’ll be ok. And so you walk faster… and as you do you see in the corner of your eye that the women are screaming now…. You don’t need to hear the words… you have heard them all before…. over and over again.

“Baby killer! Murderer! Murderer!”

And as you open the car door,the first stone hits the windshield… the second hits you and you feel the blood run down your head.

You manage to get in… get the key in the ignition… reminding yourself to stay cool… and get out fast.

This time you get away… but you are Casey Anthony and you know that such an incident can happen any day, every day.

Then one day, you’re getting ready for a date with a boy who simply knows you as “Casey” and you’re hoping he’ll never find out. You’re leaving the beauty parlor, looking terrific for the first time in months. All of a sudden there’s a sharp pain in your chest… and you see Toni the beautician, the lady who has just done your hair. She’s got blood on her hands… the pain from the sharp instrument she’s thrust into your body is unendurable. But she’s smiling… “That was for Caylee Marie…” And amidst the chaos and confusion, you hear the women in the beauty parlor cheering, for Toni, for Caylee… and for the end of you…

… the woman found innocent of murder by a jury of her peers… and guilty by an outraged nation scoffing at the verdict, determined to get justice for the dear little thing you cared so little about. You are Casey Anthony, innocent, and your dead body lies in a heap on the floor of the beauty shop… your eyes open, seeing nothing.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is . at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associate , providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses.