Category Archives: American history

This looks mainly at the American Revolution and the buildup to the American Civil War. It may be expanded later.

trump’s impenitence


never explain never apologise

ignorance is encyclopedic to paraprhase abba eban

christian ethic. redepemtion. confession. contrition.

moral courage. face up to failure. accept responsibility

take ownership. JFK

not change anything. hoax. udner control. hydroxchloroquine. disinfectant.

ventilators to russia. thailand. let people in from china.

reopen. if good the do it. federal workers.

polls behind. biden. good ideas.

lies. stockpile. obama. obamagate. no particulars

divert attention. misdirect. mudsling.

fool some of the people all the time.

inarticulacy, illogic

germane questions. cannot engage with substantive issue. ad hominem. spite, snarling.

blithering idiot.

face up to present reality. what of america’s destiny

eliminate reason. disorganised. lies defended. stiuck to with tenacity. almost impressive.

impudence in persisting in moronic falsehoods. not even half truths. ocean going lies.

proclaimed victory before problem had even started. disregarded expert advice. refused to face facts.

false hope. cry victory prematurely.

worst practice. unwilling to learn. full marks for insincerity.

the american people’s right to know. tell the triuth

communications catastrophes.

rise to the challenge. re election coronavirus could have been a gift. strengthened by handling it wisely.

hyper polarisation.

no dilagie with other side

no tolerance for reason. decisively selfish

hysteria. emotion bereft of reason.

crisis. engages neither heart nor mind. his suibject is himself. cares not for the agony of people

currents of thoughtless and inexperience.

fashioned contours of trumpism

what sense of nationhood>? common bond, solidarity

his stupidly is beyong controversy.

conflict exosts between the reality based community

refugees problem. distraction

odious and desperate fallaces like birther

immigration at heart and centre of america station.

existence maintained by immigration. not to be defended. to be apologised. more immigration is inexoerable.

no intellect. no discipline. force of facts. ignores them. cannot separate wishful thinking from reality

unfree people cult f the personality

univeesal culture – truth, lofic, evidence. hypothesis. without these a disease cannot be duly understood

mind full of fallacies

gross anf vulgar. sees ethnic minorites are external or inorganic

speaks same tongue. many share same faith. christian hispanics. their land 500 years ago. long before tumps british and german ancestors

euro americans do not monopolise US life. America is a concept which cannot be exhausted in white terms alone

great civilsiaiton. determined shape of civilisaiton. china. culture. existed long before europe wrote

preusmption of innoence. iraq. take that out then we evaucte western civislaition of many of its experience. the flood. monotheism

self determintion

proportions and dimensions of disease

his aspiration to reopen in so short a time.

independnce. internation co -operation., how can we previal ahaisn the disease.

seak with a single voice. crisis lays heavy burdens on leaders

might tax even a seasoned statesmen

are trumpists buying? Bogus unsubstantiated accusations against oba,ma/. ? JOE Scarborough. murder of his staffer

intellectual community. understands its role. tell the truth

uniformly against his policies. he wants them to be uncritical.

duty to inform the punlic on great issues. go  forward ina  logical measure.

large and decisive place to reason. margin of doubt about modeling – spread of disease. vaccine

lunatic fringe drives trumpism. pastor – coronaviryus is a plot

deplore lockdown.

envy the blindness of their acolytes.

what is trumps strategy. ? VAST Stupidity?

inequitable distribution of stockpile. electoral consierations foremost. public obeisance to trump from governors.


tyranny. withhold life saving treating from those who need it.

claims for himself what he denies to others – absolute power without any responsibiluty.

acknowledge for others what he demans for himself. compassion.

effects world freedom

democracy threatened. elections. postal votes

does not want people ti listen to health experts. sacked. under threat

final act in trump drama

no distinction between trump’s personal advantage and what he does as president

prospect of millions dying in US is serioisly discussed

wild exhortations to mingle.

embattled, bieseged. encircle. by lies.

physical extinction

reason fights for survival

sacrifice of doctors and nurses. story of survival due to them. unlimited pride in them.

righteous. legitimate. where should sympathies lie?

plenitude of health. multi ethnic identity

world community scorns trump. smaller, poorer have done manifestly better

be on your guard against a philosophy that reason is bogus.

lineal descent of obscurantism. field of collective imbecility.  peril

opportunity for some companies

inferiority of US healthcare system. finance.

civilised conscience cannot accept it. rehabilitation

shall not allow to continue

obliterate trumpism. no compromise.

world community. accommodate US. fill expresison fo trumps personality –

inundate hispitals.

lockdown desotry national personality

withdraw his lies. authentic statements

ceasfire with liberal media.

victims of aggression.

permanent and agreed strcutrue- truth. evidence.

fundamentalism. modify a few things? pray for cure en masse

peace of the world. issue. iran/. martyred by aggressions. mutilated.

security system. treaties. START. JCPOA

attachement to truth or honesty. problem with peace

rational treatment of neuralfgic issues.

war exploded. in conformoty with intl law/

build peace. reconstructing conditions that caused war.

nationhood of iran. mysterious claims of breaking the deal

boundaries of israel. unilateral dictation and force.

shall not negotuate. sanctity of agreements. mutual co existence. regional co operation. commerce.

social problems. economic predicament. misery. peace

solutions. does not care.

coming weeks obstacles. disease. second wave, unemployment

unacceptance of reason and truth.

vigour in economy. hope burns bright.

iran only because trump tore up agreement. can they reach new agreement

devote attention to domestic woes. change the script. deadlock with iran


no greater fallacy to believe that coroan will go away

cancelled by him wanting it to be

moral imperative to solve disease. vital. solitary problem. federal framework is there for this. in point of fact national emergency. total authority. in contradciciton of the constitution

shared responsibiltu.our stockpile  jared kushner. americans live in states

democrat. previous wisdom.

mandate to drain the swamp. help the working class. bring back jobs. peace

invalidate truth.

immemorial attachment to reason.

withdrawl from middle east. old traditiomn of short victorious little war. no progressive policy.

maintenance of rancorous and sterile quarrel. havoc inflicted on middle east.

hatred raised. hopes kindled. reconcicl. harmony’ . tension is deep

ovations for stoking animosity. appreciative. love a good hate

deficines thrown into sharep rellief contras obama

academic rostrum. pellucid prose.

alluring pastures of academe. deservedly lauded as an icon.

trump causing the hecatomb. no end in sight’

prominent and central role in causing disease to spread

major preoccupaiton re election

scientiic communbity ahs not effect on his thoyght; outer margin

intellecutal presitge loathed. egg heads why there

not even a disctrene measure of literacy. fatal disadbatgeh in politics reasgion, bush sneru

haervard yard.  bush juniour.

issues distorted by saying it i bias.

against freed soicusuon. marginal manifdtation of anti enlighhtmenetn bigotyr,

enemy of free speech. enmies of the people.

history teaches us that society needs  free exprresison fo opinion and dissent,.

universal conscience gripped by coroanvirus.

trump does not understand his role. trumpsts uncritca of him . unformy against truth


media duty to ensure dialogue on great issyues . tolerabce.,



the fake tan fuhrer =========================


natural de selection. darwin awards. winnow out the feeble minded.

affecting NYC . california. densely populated

spreading to red states. diffused. peoples by illogical people.

Temper tantrums
of adult life are rather pathognomonic of psychopathy,. somnambulent

fox hypothesised that china deliberately created corona.

eugenically spekaing this might be welcome. providential.



enriched idiocy

weapons grade whackoes

presidential authrity limited. separation of powers

liberatarianism never solves . no good in crisis. look at 9.11. habeas corpus.

bo jo has got it.

red states. jesus saves.

singapore eased off. got worse.

gallows humour

black comedy.

90s trump. display mode. a deux.

fake fuhrer’s approval up. rally to president. 9.11

popularity dip

perfect storm. expensive tests. ventilaors. insurance. doctors and nurses. overpaid.

no more a bone of contention – corona.

trump a hindrance not a help. burden.

#his rationale is economy matters more than health


by that logic why do anything?

no more tangible problem than coronavirus.

unverifiable that many more have it. #


isolation helps. uncontested.

adjudication on limit of federal and state authority

demented. not constitutional. acquired.


feebleminded substandard. lacks adaptability.

psychopathic. offends the law. superiority complex. inferiority complex.


no impulse resistance. self control.

delusions. hallucinations. not raining at inauguration

memory defects?

ablation might be needed. lobotomy

impressive verbalist. given chance after chance. forgiven.

betrayals. broken homes. tragedies

untouched by this. smiles abd boasts

constant distortion

mental deformity.

inadequate. could have impressed. cauterise the problem. grasp the nettle. be presidential

poses fundamental questions about assumptions underpinning democracy when such a popinjay can be elected.

done nothing constructive

noisy, shallow. severe eccentricities

such rich seam of material for commentary.

deviate from norm.

hysterical. had no many advantage yet claims to be hard done by. victim mentality.

has to be humoured. handled with kid gloves. fiend. never candid.

folly . bigot.  republicans worshippers of him not dogma

dogmatist – against publicly funded healthcare.

nuisance. silly impulsive. impetuous. uniquely vain disposition.

unpardonable slow response to coronavirus. indecisive. perservere with social distancing. non -persistent.

flip floppers. situation unsettled to say the very least. shortcoming. hostile to the idea of isolation

doubly unfortunate to have trump and republicans.

cannot appreciate achievements of others. egocentric.

notoriety mistaken for fame.

senile become paranoid.

impending doom. what antidote|?

hubris and trump ========================


high office and hubris

hubris syndrome and acquired personality disorder – in brain magazine

prof jonathan Davidson and dr d owen

the psychiatrist magazine . 2011.

#power goes to his head


rhetoric by aristotle

hubris is a compulsion to demonstrate superiority

masks inner doubt . why impelled to reinforce one’s paramountcy?

to belittle others . it is a weakness

hubristai means insults

watch corionalus and its rings true


an occupational hazard for a leader

smooth talking flatterers

aggressive arrogance

no pm leaves downing street sane

intoxication of power

addicted to the limelight

a media ho

a loafer but a tireless self publicist

cheats at games like napoleon

causal link between conduct and office?

susceptible to temptations of power

lord acton4

indifference to truth

lack of humility

no need to acknowledge truth which is often beyond human agency to  control

fixation with reputation and retribution

potency is a heady substance

no sense of humour or irony. decency and detachment – insult dying mccain

not tethered to reality

slipped his moorings

overweening pride

snarling and insolent towards those who thwart him

trets reasonable questions as impudence

lost his marbles

aberrant behaviour

magical thinking

disdain for expoert opinion that he does not like

pride comes before a fall

whom the gods wish to destory

david e cooper on excessive self – belief. it really is about SELF.

split thinking

double think. he paid stormy and did not pay her.

the big lie. loss is profit. truth is a lie. fake news.

surrounded with smooth talking flatterers

massage his ego

democracy trammels power. restrain. vacillate, consider

medidatte and pause. no mistake can be too big

checks and balances

slow, indecisive and half measures

liberty requires hypervigi lance against the power hungry

usurp liberty in times of crisis.

fronto striatal and limbic stratial dopamingeric pathways in brain regulate impulsitivty and rigidity


lassitude by trump

seldom exultant.



diagnostic and statistical manual IV

antisocial personality disorder

histrionic personality disorder

narcissistic personality disorder – hubris syndrome probably the same . have many components in common


sign trump si hubristic

breaching godwin’s law


tendency to see world as a forum for his aggrandizement#a

all the world is s stage. glory boy

not expendiect or problem solving

judges actions by whether they make him look good

preoccupation with image and reputation

messianic. speak in extravagant praise about certain others as well as themselves


consider the nation and themselves to be inseparable.

l ‘etat c est moi

talking in the third person

unwarranted trust in their own decision making

pooh pooh unwelcome advice or bad news

shoot the messenger

want to believability. wishful thinking. mindless optimism

belief that they have special almost preternatural powers

given to undue self confidence beying what one would expect in an extrovert and exhibitionist

a sense that they cannot be scrutinised by lesser mortals even judges or legislatures – that the almighty or posterity will judge them

unwavering sureness that such a court would acquit them and even adulate them

history shall absolve me

the goddess who presides over the eternal court of history

notion that they are slected for some august destiny

things are written in the stars – preordained

beliefs in portents

today it seems to me providential.

no grip in reality.

becoming ever more detached from ordinary people or even unbiased advisors

insistence on access only to toadies, place hunters and groupies


inordinate exaltation is no more than his due

demand craven obeisance from others

impatience, volatility, imprudence

attention span of a may fly

indifference to particulars.

never asking to see files.


belief that their mission is correct. a frightening conviction in their own moral uprightness

moral imperative to achieve goals. machiavellian

no law or ethics will hold them back. mercilessness.

but they still apply such standards to others and demand they be bound by law and ethics

their belief in the moral supremacy of their cause precludes any need to consider feasibility, cost in blood or treasure, time scale or anything prosaic

refusal to face up to the possibility that even parts of it will go awry or that unforeseen circumstances may arise

incompetence. not doing homework

refusal to do anything tedious. cannot be fagged with anything petty or time consuming or painstaking


trump has no inquiring mind

no languages



nonchalance in the face of grave difficulties. it will all work itself out.

these traits were apparent by 18

total dearth of objectivity or probity

self pity. woe is me. surrounded by foes

many enemies – much glory

self love

relying on adrenalin


charismatic. cult of personality

me, I , mine, us, name,





red can me military in afghanistan

triumph – remember you are only a man


locked in dispute with press corps

New course lesson 5. Dr Samuel Johnson


Dr JOHNSON New course 5.

Samuel Johnson was born in the small city of Lichfield. Lichfield lies in the county of Staffordshire. Staffordshire is a county in the Midlands of England. When Samuel Johnson was born the United Kingdom had been formed not many years earlier.

The Johnson family was an Anglican family. That meant that they were members of the Church of England. This accorded them many advantages since the Church of England was the church by law established. Samuel attended King Edward School in Lichfield. It was named after Edward VI. Edward VI was a boy king in the 16th century who founded many schools.

Johnson’s father was a bookseller. Samuel was to follow in his father’s footsteps. The boy did exceedingly well at school. He was a voracious reader.  Samuel was fixated with learning about certain subjects. He was utterly obsessed with history, literature and divinity. The boy amassed a staggering vocabulary. However, he was ungainly. Despite being well built and well above average height he was a laggard at sports. His hand eye co-ordination and gross motor skills were very poor. To look at him you would instantly perceive that he must be either a genius or a simpleton. He could not be anything in between.  As he was a substandard athlete he did not fit in well with his own generation. As a child he sought out the company of adults. He was by all accounts a most peculiar character. Samuel made small involuntary movements. His gait was strange and his manner of sitting was distinctly odd. He spoke in a florid and formal fashion. The boy was relentlessly logical even when this was deeply unpopular. His stilted and highly articulate speech made him a target for derision and mockery from less bookish types.

An attack of smallpox almost killed Samuel Johnson. It left his face pockmarked and it blinded him in one eye. Smallpox was a disease that claimed tens of millions of lives. It was only wiped out in the 1970s.

Samuel Johnson attended Oxford University. There undergraduates studied classics – Latin and Ancient Greek. Through these languages they read history, philosophy and other subjects. Samuel spent only one year there before leaving. Therefore he did not graduate. That was not unusual for an undergraduate at the time. Very few people attended secondary school. To have finished it at all was a distinction. Some people did not even attend primary school in those distant days.

Having gone down from Oxford Samuel Johnson went to London. There he worked as a teacher for a while. Back then a male teacher was called a ‘schoolmaster’. Later Samuel Johnson set up a book shop. He also founded a printing press. He prospered in trade. This made him able to afford hearty dinners. He had a ferocious appetite and his girth expanded precipitously. This was to cause him some health complaints in the evening of life.

Johnson was well known for his waspish aphorisms. He was a journalist – not reporting the news but commenting on society. His witticisms had people in stitches. He had a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue. As well as journalism he made money from translating English into Latin.

Samuel Johnson was a regular worshiper in his local church. His religiosity was no affectation. He was a sincerely spiritual man. He also wrestled with questions of morality. He came to regard slavery as an unutterable wickedness. This was a deeply unpopular opinion in 18th century London. London was a city that had profited much from human bondage.

The Tory Party was the party that commanded Samuel Johnson’s allegiance. No one was a member of the party as such. Nor did he ever seek public office. He was broadminded and accepted people of contrary views could be decent. He was also willing to change his view of things. He was not rigid or blinkered. Johnson had no objection to the death penalty. He quipped that the death penalty ”wonderfully concentrates the mind”. However, he scorned the jury system. After a jury retired it was not given food, water or fire until it rendered a verdict. In those days people needed a fire to keep warm because there were no radiator. The jury were inclined to hurry up and vote guilty so they could go to eat and drink. ”Innocent men hang that jurymen may dine” Johnson fulminated.

The Jacobite Rebellion took place in 1745. Johnson later acknowledged that he felt a certain sympathy for the objective of the Jacobites. To wit, placing James III on the Throne. After the comprehensive defeat of the Jacobites Samuel Johnson came to accept the Hanoverian dynasty.

By the mid 18th century Samuel Johnson was a well known London character. Samuel would discourse for hours. He may have suffered from Tourette’s syndrome.  Budding writers and journalists congregated at his shop. They hung on his every word. His conversational patter was enthralling. His razor-like intellect was marveled at by literary London. He was able to distill issues very quickly. His crystalline prose expostulated his opinions splendidly. He is best known for publishing one of the earliest English dictionaries.

In the 1770s there was much kerfuffle in America. In those days Britons were wont to allude to America as ‘the Colonies’. Dr Johnson did not agree with the claim of some in America to be exempt from tax unless they were represented in the legislature that taxed them. He penned a pamphlet ‘Taxation no tyranny’. Johnson felt nothing but withering contempt for the pretensions of the American Revolutionaries. He quipped ‘why do we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of negroes?’

When the American Declaration of Independence was issued the British Government did not officially respond to it. Dr Johnson was secretly paid by the government to write a riposte. This was then published.

Dr Johnson married but had no children. In old age he suffered gout and numerous other ailments. He was known for his liberality to his friends even when his own financial situation was not good.

Oxford University awarded Samuel Johnson a doctorate in humane letters. This was an honorary doctorate. There were no substantive doctorates in the anglosphere in those days. Because of his honorary doctorate he is always known as Dr Johnson.

Dr Johnson loathed travel. Travel was slow and dangerous in those days. He despised sailors as louts and drunkards. He spent almost his whole adult life in London. He but rarely returned to his birthplace. His health complaints plagued him and rendered travel even more uncomfortable on bockety roads in his old age. Towards the end of his days he suffered from several maladies such as gout.

After Johnson died a book about him was published by James Boswell. It was entitled The Life of Johnson.

Many of his quotations survive. One of these is ‘When a man is tired of London he is tired of life.’


  1. In which city was Johnson born?
  2.  What was his Christian name?
  3.  What was his father’s occupation?
  4. What religious denomination did the Johnson family belong to?
  5. Which university did he attend?
  6.  How long did he spend at Oxford?
  7. What did he study at Oxford?
  8.  Did he graduate?
  9.  What was his first job?
  10.  What business did he set up?
  11. Describe his appearance?
  12.  What was his manner of speaking?
  13. Was he religious?
  14. Was he generous?
  15.  What did he think of the Jacobites?
  16.  What did he make of slavery?
  17. What did he think about the American Revolution?
  18.  What is his most famous book?
  19. Which other languages did he know?
  20. Was he married?
  21. What is the best known biography of him?
  22.  Who wrote it?
  23. What disease did Johnson suffer as a child?
  24.  Was he sporty?
  25. What did he say about Americans calling for liberty?
  26. What did he say about people who are tired of London?
  27.  In which city did he spend most of his life?
  28.  What was his political party?
  29. Is he still alive?
  30.  What was his nationality?
  31.  Which is his most famous book?
  32. What do you think of him? Five sentences.



Jonathan Pollard



In 1954 Jonathan Pollard was born in the United States. Mr Pollard is Jewish and his family identified very strongly with the worldwide Jewish community. Despite that his family was not fervently religious.

Pollard did well at school. He went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s. Thereafter he found gainful employment as a civilian intelligence analyst in the US Navy. Soon afterwards he wed. He was privy to all sorts of secret information. The United States and Israel had a very cordial relationship and shared intelligence. However, this did not extend to sharing everything. Mr. Pollard came across information that was potentially useful to the Israelis that was not passed on to them by the US Government.

At a party in New York in the early 1980s Pollard met an Israeli diplomat. He spoke to the diplomat about his job and his enthusiasm for helping Israel. The diplomat was suspicious of Pollard’s exuberance. Could he be a crackpot? Was he coat trailing? Was he trying to get the Israeli intelligence services to recruit him so the USA could then expose Israeli espionage in the country? Mossad looked into Pollard’s case. They soon arrived at the conclusion that he was genuine.

Handlers met Pollard frequently. He handed over information to his handlers. They were specific in requesting certain file numbers. Pollard was doing this because of his ardent Zionism. He found out about anti-Israeli plots in much of the Muslim world. The Israeli Government paid Pollard handsomely for what he was doing.

Jonathan Pollard approached the Pakistanis, Chinese and others offering to sell them secret information. They declined perhaps not trusting him. Why would an avowed Zionist assist Pakistan? Pakistan does not recognize Israel and is a sworn enemy of the country. Pakistan does not allow Israelis into the country.

Mr Pollard slipped up when he was seen accessing files that were beyond his remit. This aroused suspicion. He was  asked if he was willing to be questioned. Pollard agreed. During the interview He asked to make a phone call to his wife. As it was a voluntary interview the FBI agreed. He had the right to leave at any time. He made a phone call to his spouse. In it he slipped in the anodyne word ‘cactus’. This was a prearranged code word to indicate that he had been caught. His wife knew this innocuous word meant to remove evidence. She removed sacks of sensitive documents from the house. Later Mr Pollard was arrested. He and his wife were charged with espionage. The charges against Mrs Pollard were reduced to being an accessory after the fact.

Some Israeli diplomats fled the country within hours of Pollard’s arrest. Pollard agreed a plea bargain with prosecutors. He had to give them chapter and verse on all he had done. The intelligence services wished to assess the damage. They also believed there was another Zionist mole in US Naval Intelligence. How else had Mossad known which files to ask for? This person was known as Mr X. He has never been unmasked. Pollard was also required to refrain from speaking to the media.

At his trial Pollard was found guilty. The bench awarded him life imprisonment. He felt hard done by. However, he had given a media interview whilst awaiting trial and this was a material breach of his plea bargain. He contended that he pleaded guilty because his wife had medical treatment withheld from her until he pleaded guilty. His wife had the temerity to claim that medical treatment in prison was worse than in concentration camps. This was an outright lie and hideously offensive. It hugely trivializes the Holocaust. She was treated humanely and she exploited the Holocaust to gain sympathy. People are not worked to death in US prisons.

Mr Pollard renounced his US citizenship and became an Israeli which in a federal penitentiary. His wife was soon released.

It was put to Pollard that there was nothing anti-Jewish about his conviction. Some of the lawyers on the prosecution side were Jewish. He likened them to kapos in extermination camp. This extremely insulting and self-serving statement made light of the Holocaust. He was not going to be killed. These lawyers were upholding the judicial system and democracy.

If Pollard was so Zionist why did he accept payment for his work? Why did he offer to spy for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pollard said what he did was justified because his primary loyalty was to Israel. A Palestinian-American could advance the same argument. How about a Chinese-American or an Iranian-American. He was paid by the USA. The USA spent money and time amassing this secret information. Sources were lost to the USA as a result of his actions.

President CLinton almost released Pollard in the 1990s. Several intelligence chiefs lobbied very strongly against it and threatened to resign if Pollard were set at liberty.

Pollard became a cause celebre for Zionists. Netanyahu visited him in prison. In 2014 Pollard was set free. He moved to Israel.


  1. In which year was Pollard born?
  2. Which country was he born in?
  3. What is his faith?
  4. Which degrees did he obtain?
  5. Which branch of the armed services did he work for?
  6. Was he a sailor?
  7. Which country did he spy for?
  8. Which other countries did he offer to help?
  9. Was he paid?
  10. Was he married?
  11. Was he imprisoned?
  12. What was his sentence?
  13. What is his current status?
  14. Which president almost released him?
  15. Why did Clinton not let him out?
  16. Where does Pollard live?
  17. What did Pollard say about Jewish lawyers who prosecuted him?
  18. Was his wife sent to prison?
  19. What is your opinion of him?


farewell McCain ================================================


88. born in panama

us navy. family in navy


shot down. POW. refused rlease. chritsin

republican politics. cold warrior

pro life

against big money but took it

tried for GOP nomination 2000. dirty tricks from bush

loayl to bush. for liberation of Iraq.

2008. candidate. backing from Lieberman. mixed up sunni and shia

knew little about economics

anti-racist. Bangladeshi daughter

loathed trump

brain cancer.



Trump’s inauguration speech.


President Trump has delivered his inaugural address. There was eclat to the delivery. There were no new themes. The content was the usual drivel. It was a study in inarticulacy, cliches and a failure to use commas.

Donald J Trump demonstrated yet again his trademark illogicality. He wants to return power to the people and at the same time use his presidential powers to create jobs. If the president is doing that is he not arrogating to the White House prerogatives that are not his?

Mr Trump was decent enough to laud the Obamas for their dignity and patriotism in welcoming him to the White House after the election. They have sought to make the handover of the presidency as hitch-free as possible. When it came to his address Trump proceeded to slate Obama’s record. So much for his partisanship.

Trump said that the United States defended other countries borders. What was he alluding to? Perhaps this refers to NATO – a cornerstone of American defence since 1949. Trump has talked about leaving it. He then walked back this ambition. Was he referring to troops in Iraq? He said he wants to annihilate ISIS. If so he needs troops in ISIS. Trump then said that the United States was not defending its own border which is false. There are illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico. There has been illegal immigration since 1607. This is by no means the most severe problem that the USA is facing. Trump proposes to erect a wall along the border with Mexico. There already are walls there at points that are populated and where many people might cross illegally.

Trump seems to have broken with Republican orthodoxy which was that since 9/11 foreign wars have been necessary. This is why the GOP was very chary about him. Now Trump has changed his tune. There really is no telling with him. He is totally erratic.

In this oration Trump said ”For too long a small group in our nation’s capital enriched itself and the costs were borne by the people. The establishment protected itself”. This takes some nerve to say. Trump is one of the most egregious members of the establishment. He is in that clique. He said himself that he donated generously to politicians to have laws made that favoured the likes of himself. It was part of the disingenuous rhetoric that he pedalled all through the campaign. He constantly spat bile about the supposedly wicked establishment. He was born in New York to millionaire WASP parents. He is as much of an insider as it gets. Trump bilked his workers. He defrauded students at Trump University. He has made himself stinking rich by ripping off ordinary people. He is utterly shameless and has not the slightest regard for veracity.

”Their victories have not been your victories. Their trials have not been your trials. There has been little to celebrate for struggling families all across this land”. This was perhaps the only part of his oration where he told the truth.

Trump went for a soft target. Like many an inadequate politician he chose to castigate teachers. ”An education system flush with cash leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” Students are not deprived of all knowledge. It was typical of his extremely irresponsible hyperbole. St It is true that there is much wrong with education in the United States. Many schools are not overfunded. In higher education costs are exorbitant. That is due to ostentation. It is about building sports facilities and the like for the sake of vanity. Many people leave third level education with ruinous debts. Excessive profiteering has led to dumbing down as colleges give out higher and higher grades just to keep customers happy. Who has been rooking students? That would be Donald J Trump with his bogus university. Fordham certainly left Trump with no knowledge.

”We are one nation. We share one heart and one home” – that was a sea change from his acridly divisive rhetoric in the campaign. He made

Trump proved he cannot pronounce ”industry.”

”We subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing the very sad depletion of our army.” Would that include Israel? I hope he cuts off all subsidies to the Israeli Defence Force. His Republican Party has pursued these policies of giving military aid to other lands. It suited the weapons industry in the United States. The US military has experienced tiny cuts. The US still spends more on defence than the next 20 countries combined most of whom are allies. The notion that the US defence capability is too feeble is a toxic myth. WHat he said will be music to the ears of the arms industry. They will be pleading for him to ask Congress to expand the military. This will mean more taxation or more likely a larger deficit.

Trump chanted ”America first”. This vacuous slogan signal nativism, exceptionalism and ultra nationalism. ”Buy American and hire American” as he said later. He accused foreigners of ”stealing our companies.” Stealing means buying. He owns companies abroad. Is that stealing?

”I will never, ever let you down.” When he does these words will come back to haunt him.

”It is the right of all nations to put their own interests first”. That applies to Palestinians too.

Trump said he would eradicate Islamic terrorism. He must be reminded that some of his allies arm, fund and provide intelligence to such people.

It was hilarious that he was false enough to cite the Bible.

Trump called for solidarity and unity. He had denounced swathes of Americans as haters. He has spewed hatred even at fellow Republicans.

”Think big and dream even bigger.” He does not think but he is certainly a dreamer.

”All talk and no action” is what he abominates. He may turn out like that as many of his goals are impractical. What he plans to do may well backfire. Even if he could cancel NAFTA it would probably harm the USA.

”We stand at the birth of a new millennium”. Er that began 17 years ago. He wants to heal disease. If that were so he would support more funding for medical research and he would want to give free healthcare to all citizens of the United States.

”You will never be ignored again”. He certainly wishes to ignore the poor and his political opponents. Most Americans disapprove of him. He is starting off already reviled.

Trump took a swipe at the wealthy for exporting jobs. It shows chutzpah for a billionaire to denounce the affluent. He is a Washington insider. He did not stand for elected office before but he was well connected to many politicians. He was a Democrat and a Clinton donor in 2009! Moreover, he is as Wall Street as anyone. He suffers selective amnesia. He can tell the most bare faced lies. Does his company not hire workers from abroad? He also has things manufactured abroad because it is cheaper and he has offshore bank accounts. He is grossly hypocritical. It is always do as I say not as I do. Furthermore, his wife worked illegally as a nude model. Yet more flagrant hypocrisy from him.

The new president mentioned the middle class. Of course he did not mention the working class. They do not exist. Or do they not count?

The 45th president stated that he would make the United States more respected in the world. The US recovered its image very considerably under Obama. What does Trump intend to do in order to improve America’s image? He seems to be against the George W Bush way of doing things. Trump said that he opposed the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan – although that is a lie. Will he be more isolationist? Or will he be more interventionist? He accused Obama of not doing enough to wipe out ISIS. That would be getting the USA back into the Iraqi quagmire. It appears that Trump neither knows or care. He can perform policy U turns every day. It is no longer a business he is running. He is not on reality TV anymore. He is running the mightiest country in the world. This is beyond a joke.

The president heaped praise on the armed forces. This is one of the usual pieties. It is nauseating to see to what degree some people are adulated for doing what they are paid to do. Many of the military are stupid and bigoted. This self-congratulation and flag waving sticks in the craw. There will be yet more childish chauvinism in this presidential term. Trump seldom appears without an American Flag badge on his lapel.

It was sick making to hear Trump say that the country was under the protection of God. God plainly does not love the USA that much. Otherwise he would do a better job of protecting it. D J Trump did not claim to be religious until very lately. He reasoned that it would stand him a better chance of being elected. Some Christian wingnuts were naive to fall for this transparent charade.

Trump said that the slaughter of Americans stops no. Carnage was the word he used. The next time there is a high school shooting or a bomb goes off he will have been proven wrong. He has thrown out promises like confetti. These are pledges he cannot possibly keep. The deglutition of these insincere promises by the gullible is very disconcerting. President Trump is going to prevent this carnage. At the same time the Donald is opposed to any gun control. If he wished to save his people from being killed he should look at the 33 000 gun deaths per year.

Prepare for endless hubris from Trump. He is very thin skinned. It is worrying to have someone so touchy with his finger on the nuclear trigger. He is very easy to provoke. A country can easily launch a false flag operation: insult Trump and make it appear that this comes from another source.

Trump will tell endless barefaced lies. He will perform a policy volte face everyy week. His supporters will be bitterly disappointed if NAFTA is not cancelled. If tariffs are not imposed on the whole world. Even if that happened it would not bring back many jobs and might make the situation much worse. The Republican Congress is not as deranged and inconsistent as Trump is.

Trump changes his mind every few days. No one is totally consistent. Consistency can be over rated. However, Trump is completely inconsistent. Because he expresses so many contradictory opinions he occasionally makes sense.


Mr Trump ended with his vapid slogan ”Make America Great Again.” When was the USA greater? Was it when unemployment was higher? Was it when 20 000 000 people did not have health insurance but now do? Was it when the United States had tens of thousands of troops in Iraq? Was it when America’s popularity was at an all time low? Was it when crime was higher? Was it when people could be sent to prison in several states for possessing a speck of a plant?

Forecasting Trump’s policies is very foolish. It is so hard to predict. He was going to prevent all Muslims coming to the United States. Then that was scrapped. He would deport all illegals. Then it was only criminals. He wanted to abolish Affordable Healthcare. Now he wishes to retain parts of it. He is totally short termist.

His term of office could well be mired in law suits. His victims of sexual assault will take action against him. He could be blackmailed with sex tapes. If he upsets another government they can play a tape of him boasting that he commits sex crimes. This pervert is a disgrace.  Hopefully he will be impeached. Mike Pence or even Paul Ryan are little better. They at least believe what they say and are consistent.

Watch out – if the United States cuts off military aid to the Ukraine then the Ukrainian military could quickly collapse. Russia may yet annex half of the Ukraine. Where then? European NATO countries would be chary about facing down Russia without American backing. Admittedly this is partially the fault of European NATO countries almost all of whom spend less than 2% of their GDP on defence.




Was the US intervention in Grenada justified?


It is 30 years to the day that the US military and six Caribbean countries sent their armed forces into Grenada. Grenada was then ruled by a socialist dictator named Maurice Bishop. Bishop had killed the previous Prime Minister. I am not sure how bad his rule was. He tried to spread literacy and he provided free healthcare. This gives him some moral credit.

Bishop was friendly with the Soviet Bloc. He had hundreds of Cuban troops on the island and they were building an airfield. This was supposedly for peaceful purposes but it could have been used for military purposes. In view of what happened Bishop was sage to beef up his armed forces. His government really was under threat of attack by the United States, Jamaica and other US allies in the region. On the other hand by building up his armed forces he alarmed Washington and that precipitated the invasion. 

Grenada was a sovereign state and she was of course allowed to forge close relations with whichever nation she so desired. The Grenadan Government did not purpose to launch an invasion of any other state. I have never heard it argued that the increase in her military capability was for an aggressive intention. Further, the Grendan Government was entitled to pursue whatever policies that she wished so long as these were not inconsistent with international law.

There were over 1 000 Americans on the island. President Ronald Reagan said that he sent the troops in to protect these people. There was no evidence that they were in danger. One must ask oneself how it would have been had the boot been on the other boot. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Would Reagan have accepted it if Grenada invaded the United States in order to protect Grenadans in the USA? I suspect not. This justification is specious since by making Grenada a war zone Reagan put these Americans in danger. Dozens of civilians were killed in the conflict though so far as I know none of them were American. 

Bishop and some of his acolytes were captured. They were executed by firing squad. I am unsure who slew them. The bodies have not been located which is highly suspicious? If I were behind such an operation I would make sure that Grenadans killed the so the finger could not be pointed at the USA. 

A high majority of states in the United Nations condemned the US action. The United Kingdom abstained on this vote. 

Elizabeth II was and is Queen of Grenada. Maurice Bishop was her Prime Minister. Reagan professed himself to be a Britophile so it was a little off colour to kill the queen’s man! The Commonwealth was aghast at the invasion of a tiny and unoffending Commonwealth country. 

The British Government was not informed of the American intention. Reagan even denied to Margaret Thatcher that he was about to invade.

 It weakened the Western moral position viz a vis the Soviet Union. It was hard to speak out against the Red Army’s presence in Afghanistan when American attacked Grenada. The Afghan Government had invited the Soviets in. The communists of Kabul held the Afghan seat in the United Nations. I know they were undemocratic but so were half the countries in the world and few questioned the legitimacy of the governments of most states such as China. Much though I detest the communists in Afghanistan they were the lawful government of that country. In Grenada’s case the claim for legitimacy for Bishop’s government was feebler since he had ousted a democratic system.

Bishop was swiftly replaced. The US could truthfully say that democratic elements in Grenada had appealed to them for assistance. When these freedom loving people beseeched Ronald Wilson Reagan for succour he could not turn them down.

That was the end of the New Jewel Movement in Grenada. Democracy was restored. Some of Bishops cronies continued in politics and later won office. 

If Reagan had not taken strong action then maybe that land would have become fully communist. There might have been a Red Army base there and nuclear missiles. This is all conjecture.

If in doubt – stay out. So as I am unsure about this military intervention I have to say I think it was wrong. It is no use sitting on the fence. Militarily it was a complete success for the US. All the objectives were achieved for minimal casualties. Cuba was bested. I wonder if the prisoner yielded any useful intelligence or any were turned into spies. But I do not think that this action was morally or legally justified.

The Fenian Risings.



The American Civil War broke out in 1861. There were Irishmen on both sides of the conflict. Both the Confederates in the South and the Union side in the North formed Irish brigades. John Mitchell, an IRB man, was a soldier on the Confederate side and a vociferous advocate of his cause.

The American Civil War ended in 1865. The War between the States had distracted the IRB in the US from its goal of severing the Union of Ireland and Great Britain. IRB men in the United States or the Confederacy had been preoccupied in the intra-American conflict for 4 years. It became difficult to ship weapons out of America and into Ireland.

Once the Civil War was over it became apparent that conflict had in fact been beneficial to the IRB. Thousands of IRB supporters had had military training and indeed combat experience. America had produced guns like billy-o for four years. Enormous quantities of weapons were lying around unneeded and could be bought very cheaply.

The IRB in the United States was known more by the name Fenians. In fact the IRB in the USA soon changed its name to Clan na Gael. IRB men in both the South and the North of the United States set aside their differences with remarkable speed. They then looked to their common objective – to smash the Union between Ireland and Great Britain.

From 1865 onwards the IRB smuggled significant amounts of weapons into Ireland. Of course the Government soon grew aware of this. It was impossible to get all arms shipments through without any of them being intercepted. Informants tongues soon wagged. Dublin Castle know that something was in the offing. Irishmen who had obtained military experience on both sides of the American Civil War traveled back to Ireland to prepare for the anticipated uprising. Some of these men had become American citizens and some had not.

The IRB claimed to have tens of thousands of members. The figure of 50 000 was bandied about. The British Army in Ireland was to a great extent composed of Irishmen. The IRB claimed that thousands of Irish soldiers were in fact sworn members of the IRB. This turned out to have been mostly false. A ship sailed from the United States to Ireland carrying arms. The ship was called Erin’s Hope.

In 1867 the plan was for the IRB to launch its uprising. The rising was to begin with a raid on Chester Castle in Great Britain to seize the weapons there. From Chester the arms would be taken to Ireland for the rising to begin. This scheme was hopelessly over ambitious. The aim was for a train to be hijacked and telegraph lines shut. A train would then transport the arms to Holyhead – this port would also have been seized. A ship would be commandeered and the weapons take to Dublin to effect a rising there.

The Catholic Church was very against the IRB.The Catholic Church was a conservative force and it despised republics. Republic up until that point had turned out to disestablish the Catholic Church and even to be anti-clerical. Nationalist movements in Italy had clashed with the Roman Catholic Church. The French Republican movement was anti-clerical. The Roman Catholic Church was committed to upholding the status quo. As the bishop of Kerry said, ”hell is not hot enough nor eternity long enough to punish such miscreants.’

‘ The Protestant churches were also against the IRB. This was because their congregants were most Unionist. Many people had good reason to oppose the IRB. Some were against the IRB because they were Unionist. Constitutional nationalists were against it because they disliked the IRB’s radical policies. Those who were faithful communicants of the Catholic Church were guided by the injunctions of their clergy. Some people were more pragmatic. Even if they shared the goals of the IRB there was every reason to doubt that the IRB would succeed. Risings in the past had been quickly defeated. There was a danger that a rising would soon degenerate into a sectarian bloodbath as had been the case in 1798.

. _________________________________________________________________________


In February there was an attempt at a rising in Kerry that did not amount to much. In Kerry many of the local gentry panicked at the thought of the IRB killing them. The landlords fled to the county hotel. Some took the train to Dublin. On the fateful day in Chester some Fenians turned up and milled around. The attack was desultory and a complete failure. This sort of fiasco was to typify IRB actions for the next few decades. Bombastic rhetoric, a timid gathering of loudmouths whose much boasted valour deserted them at the first sign of danger.

Outside Dublin several hundred Fenians gathered at a village called Tallaght. It was a snowy day – 5 March. The IRB men were confronted by men of the Irish Constabulary. Sub Inspector Burke was reluctant to kill anyone. He called on the Fenians, ”Disperse or so help me God I will fire.” The Fenians did not disperse – at least not yet. Firing broke out. One Fenian was wounded in the leg. The rest executed a well-known Fenian manuevre – rout. The fact that only one man was hit and not fatally suggests that both sides wanted to avoid bloodshed. Such scenes were repeated in various points around Ireland. The Battle of Tallaght as it became known occurred on the same day as various actions around Ireland. This at least showed a little co-ordination. 12 people were killed that day.

In Drogheda men gathered on the streets. They fired a few shots and then scarpered. In Cork there was a small demonstration by the IRB who scattered when the authorities made a move on them. In Killmallock the IRB succeeded in storming a police station. A rebel ballad remarked, ” twas the hottest fight of all.”

The 1867 turned out to be a clear and shameful defeat for the IRB. The tens of thousands of devotees of the Fenian cause turned out to be either fictitious or just full of hot air. The state had very easily beaten the IRB. The IRB had little public support. IRB men were put on trial for various offences including treason. Some were sentenced to death. Not one was executed. They had their sentences commuted to lesser sentences. Some were transported to Australia. The very next year, 1868, the Government ceased using transportation as a punishment. In the end under 20 people were killed in Ireland in what was supposed to be a huge uprising. This author has not heard of a single soldier who mutinied in favour of the IRB. The Fenian Rising was mostly just hot air. The north of Ireland had been all but free of violence

. ———————————————————————————————————


A Fenian named Timothy Deasy was in prison in Manchester. IRB men in Great Britain decided to try to rescue him. They attacked the horse-drawn prison van that was transporting Deasy. One of the IRB men fired at the lock holding the van shut. A police man inside the van was struck by the bullet and died. Deasy was freed and fled abroad.

This incident is recorded in the rebel song, ”The smashing of the van.” The public was horrified that a policeman had been killed. Several Fenians were arrested and put on trial for murder. One was acquitted. Another was an American sailor. He and the others were sentenced to death. The American had his sentence commuted . Presumably this was done so as not to antagonise the US.

From the dock the Fenians shouted, ”God save Ireland!”

At dawn outside Strangeways prison a huge crowd gathered. Dozens of soldiers were there in case there was trouble or an attempt to save the condemned men. At Strangeways Prison the three Fenians were executed by hanging. The executions were carried out on the walls of the prison in full view of thousands of people who came to watch. This was the last year in which executions were carried out in public.

The three men who were hanged were known as the Manchester Martyrs. Many people in Ireland prayed for them. Moderate nationalists also expressed sympathy for these men. Some people adulated these three because they approved of the IRB. There was a great deal of sympathy for them because some maintained that these three were innocent. It is dubious if it was one of these three who fired the fatal shot. In any even it is certain that only one man fired on the van – not three. Therefore that three should be punished with death was held to be unfair. The IRB insisted that they had never intended to kill anyone that day and that the bullet had been fire merely to break the lock. Under the law of the time a doctrine of common purpose existed. These men had conspired to commit a crime. As a result of a wilful act of violence a man had died. This made it murder even if the intention had not been to kill. These men were reckless as to the possibility that someone should suffer death as a result of their actions. Therefore all those who were concerned in the plot were legally culpable.

T.D. Sullivan, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, composed a song dedicated to the Manchester Martyrs. ”God Save Ireland said the heroes/ God Save Ireland say we all/ Whether on the battlefield we die/Or on the scaffold high/ What matter when for Erin dear we fall.” This song called ”God Save Ireland” became the virtual national anthem of Nationalist Ireland.

Karl Marx wrote that there was a considerable degree of respect for the IRB’s demands among the working class of London. A leading Fenian was held in Clerkenwell prison in London. The IRB decided to free him. The IRB left a wheelbarrow full of explosives outside the prison wall when they knew their man was exercising in the yard. The plan was that the bomb would blow a hole in the wall enabling the IRB prisoner to escape. The bomb exploded. This did not cause a breach in the wall but injured many others, many of them died of their wounds over the coming weeks. 12 people were killed. Public opinion in Great Britain turned sharply against the Fenians. As Dr Marx noted, one cannot expect people to want to be blown up.

Michael Barret was convicted of laying the charge outside Clerkenwell Prison. He was sentenced to death. He had the dubious distinction of being the last person to be publicly executed in the British Isles. The Fenian Rising caused a recrudescence of anti-Irish feeling in Great Britain. This was mostly against Irish Catholics as it was recognised that Irish Protestants were seldom in the IRB and indeed most Irish Protestants were stalwartly opposed to the IRB.



The Fenians in the US trained openly. As the US Constitution guaranteed the right to bear arms the US Government could do nothing to stop private militias preparing to fight. The Fenians purposed to attack British North America – which is now called Canada. There was much dissension within Clan na Gael in the United States as to whether attacking Canada was a sensible use of energy and manpower or was a diversion from the actual target – Eire.

From1865 to 1870 there were several Fenian attacks on Canada. Some of them involved over a thousand men. The main battle was called the Battle of Ridegway. One Fenian who was killed was buried in the United States with the name of an organisation called, ”The Irish Republican Army” on his headstone.

It is suspected that the US Government did little agaisnt the raids at first for a few reasons. The United Kingdom traded with the Confederate States of American during the American Civil War and this was condign punishment for the British Empire. More than a few Americans, even those who were not of Irish blood, felt sympathy for the Fenian cause. There was electoral good sense in tolerating Fenian activity. Some Americans believed that the existence of Canada as a dominion of the British Empire was offensive. The American Revolution had some unfinished business. The Monroe Doctrine stated that no European country should control any portion of the American Continent. The US Government did intervene after a time. Troops were sent under the Union commander from the Civil War, Ulysses S Grant to disarm the Fenians. The Fenians did not resist. John O’Neill was the chief Fenian commander for these invasions of Canada.

Canada was much more a focus for immigration from Great Britain than from Ireland. There were Irishmen who moved to Canada but they were mainly Protestant. Toronto became a centre for the Orange Order. Canadian Orangemen march in 12th July parades in feather war bonnets. The ethno-religious composition of the Canadian population (outside French-speaking Quebec) explains why the Fenians got short shrift when they invaded Canada.

Canadian Orangemen were to the fore in the defence of the dominion. Alexander Muir a Canadian Orangeman originally from Great Britain, was one of those who served in the militia against the Fenians. Muir wrote, ”Maple Leaf Forever” – a Canadian patriotic anthem.



In Ireland an amnesty campaign was started. Letters were written to newspapers and petitions were handed in to the government requesting that IRB prisoners be released. The amnesty campaign drew support from many people who had not supported the IRB. Over time the Government acceded to these requests.

William Ewart Gladstone was made to sit up and take notice of Ireland on account of the Fenian Rising. The Liberal leader was chopping wood at his estate at Hawarden in 1868 when a message arrived for him. The Liberals had won the election and Her Majesty the Queen asked him to form as government – he was to be Prime Minister. He said, ”My mission is to pacify Ireland.” W.E. Gladstone looked for legitimate grievances.

One of the most obviously unfair laws in Ireland was that which said that the Church of Ireland was the established church when no more than 15% of the populace belong to it. W.E. Gladstone resolved to disestablished the Church of Ireland. The Church of Ireland would continue to exist of course but it was no longer to be the state religion and supported from public funds. It would be a private institution on the same footing as the Catholic Church, the Religious Society of Friends, the Wesleyan Church and so on and so forth.

In 1869 a bill was passed to disestablish the Church of Ireland. Some hardline Protestant supremacists in the Conservative Party argued against it. They said it was a surrender to terrorism and it was strengthening Popery. The act became law and was phased in over a couple of years.



In 1880 the IRB decided to set off bombs in Great Britain. The aim of this was to pressurise the UK Government into giving the IRB what they wanted.

Tom Clarke was an IRB man born in Great Britain who was one of the dynamitards. He was found guilty of terrorist offences and he served a few years in prison for his crimes.

Hammersmith Bridge suffered a bomb blast courtesy of the IRB. Minor damage was done. The Continuity IRA set a bomb off at this bridge in 2001.

Thanksgiving – a simple explanation.


The Pilgrim Fathers were a group of religious extremists who originated in England. England was then governed by James I. The Church of England was the established church in that country. Those who were outside that church were discriminated by law. The Pilgrim Fathers belonged to a more hardline form of Protestantism. The Pilgrim Fathers had moved from England to the Netherlands for a few years where there was greater religious liberty. Their time in Leiden, the Netherlands did not work out for them they returned to England. They Pilgrim Fathers believed in a form of Protestantism called ‘puritanism’ as in they thought they were ‘pure’. They believed in clean living. They were against sports, jewellery, singing, dancing, eating too much, theatre, gambling, makeup and everything fun.

There had been English settlements in North America since 1607. The Pilgrim Fathers decided to take an enormous risk and to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to make a life for themselves in America. Virginia was a colony on the eastern coast of the American Continent. Virginia was named in honour of Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, who had died in 1603. The Pilgrim Fathers purposed to move thither.

Who would cross 3000 miles of ocean? Who would settle in a strange land that had never been under the plough? Who would dwell in a land that was said to be peopled by naked savages who loved nothing better to slay and ravage good Christian folk? The chances of perishing were high? There could be strange diseases in that country. Why risk it all? Only the religiously inspired or the desperate were likely to make the voyage. The voyage was long, dangerous and expensive. It was a voyage that people seldom made more than once. If someone moved to America they would probably never return. It was the modern equivalent of moving to another planet.

Those who were likely to cross the Atlantic were often on the lower margin of the society. These people were very poor. In a time when many died of malnutrition poor meant very poor indeed.

In 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from the British Isles. They had with them many emigrants who were not members of their religious sect. They sailed in a convoy of three ships. The most notable of these was the Mayflower. The other two ships had been poorly built and they had leakage problems. One baby was born on the voyage.

Whilst on the ocean the Pilgrim Fathers decided to figure out how their new settlement in America would be governed. They signed a document about this called the ‘Mayflower Compact’. This was an agreement that every man would have an equal say in political affairs. This was revolutionary at the time. Women were still excluded from public affairs.

After some weeks they cried ”land ho!” This meant that they had sighted the New World. Navigation back then was primitive to say the least. They had intended to make land fall in the Colony of Virginia. They had missed by a few hundred miles. They landed in what we now call Massachusetts. The point of land where the Pilgrim Fathers disembarked they named Plymouth Rock. They named it after the port in the British Isles from whence they had set sail. Massachusetts is much further north than Virginia so it is colder.

The Pilgrim Fathers and the others disembarked. They set about building themselves some houses. Some people had died on the voyage and others had fallen ill. They planted crops and tried to hunt. Their attempts to produce food for themselves were not very successful. They did however happen upon a large bird that came to be called a turkey. Turkeys were far larger than any animal they had ever seen. It is three times larger than a chicken.

The English settlers began to drop like flies. Of those still living most were taken ill.

Then in November some Native Americans emerged from the woods and approached the English immigrants. The Native Americans were not the brutes of English legend. The Native Americans brought food to the starving English settlers. They also taught them how to grow crops. The immigrants suffered some more deaths but most did make it through the winter. Had it not been for the aid of the Native Americans then it is probable that the English immigrants would have died out.

The next year and ever after the immigrants into America commemorated the fact that they had made it through the winter. Near the end of November the Pilgrim Fathers marked the occasion with Thanksgiving. They gave thanks to god for saving them. They did not give thanks to the Native Americans.

Americans make a great effort to be with their relatives at Thanksgiving. They are grateful for having a home and family at this time. Some celebrate it in a religious manner. This public holiday was fixed in the 1930s by President Roosevelt as the 4th Thursday in November. There are occasionally 5 Thursdays in November so it is not necessarily the last Thursday that is Thanksgiving.

Only the Thursday is a day off work. In reality most people also take the Friday off. This is called Black Friday. Christmas sales begin then.

Thanksgiving is a very bad time to travel in the United States as so many people are on the move. The film Trains, Planes and Automobiles testifies to this.

Thanksgiving is a time when many of the most important American Football games are played.

At Thanksgiving Americans eat Turkey and apple pie. Apple pie is seen as a very American dish. The saying goes that something is, ”as American as apple pie.” People often drink eggnog which is indeed based on eggs. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of eggnog exist.

In the White House a turkey is presented in a cage. The President reprieves it and the bird is not killed.

Thanksgiving is almost as important as Christmas for Americans. If people cannot be with their relatives for Christmas they make sure they see them at Thanksgiving.

Americans are often surprised that the rest of the world does not celebrate Thanksgiving.

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving. However, they mark this feast at the end of October – just to be different from the Americans.


  1. Why did the Pilgrim Fathers leave England?
  2. Which other European country did their briefly inhabit?
  3. What was the established church in England?
  4. In which year was the first English town set up in America?
  5. What is the name of the first English settlement in America?
  6. Why did Jamestown have that name?
  7. Which colony in America did the Pilgrim Fathers want to sail to?
  8. At which exact point did the Pilgrim Fathers land?
  9. What state is that now in?
  10. What was the health of the Pilgrim Fathers like in November 1620?
  11. Who saved the Pilgrim Fathers from starving?
  12. What was the Mayflower Compact?
  13. What very large bird did they find in America?
  14. Which president fixed the date of Thanksgiving?
  15. Is Thanksgiving a working day?
  16. What is the exact date of Thanksgiving?
  17. What sport is played at lot at Thanksgiving?
  18. What do people do with apples at Thanksgiving?
  19. What special drink is consumed at Thanksgiving?
  20. What happens to a turkey in the White House at this time?
  21. When does America celebrated Thanksgiving?
  22. What do you think of Thanksgiving? Five sentences.
  23. Why were people reluctant to leave England and go to live in America in the 17th century? Five marks.