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A Tribute to Haitian Soldiers for Heroism in the American Revolution

Posted by: Audiegrl

Dedicated to the people of Haiti both in the US and abroad, please except our profound thanks, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you…

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

After 228 years as largely unsung contributors to American independence, Haitian soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War’s bloody siege of Savannah had a monument dedicated in their honor. On October 9, 1779, a force of more than 500 Haitian gens de couleur libre (free men of color) joined American colonists and French troops in an unsuccessful push to drive the British from Savannah in coastal Georgia.

Chairman Daniel Fils-Aime

“We were here in 1779 to help America win independence. “ said Daniel Fils-Aime, chairman of the Miami-based Haitian American Historical Society. “That recognition is overdue.” “To see a monument in downtown Savannah and the commemoration of the involvement of the Haitian Americans, it’s a dream come true.” said Savannah Mayor Floyd Adams Jr. “This will help educate Americans but also Haitian youth about the significant contribution their ancestors made.” “The role of Haitian soldiers in the battle had long been ignored“, said North Miami Mayor Josaphat Celestin. “It means recognition for our efforts, that we were here all along, that Haiti was a part of the effort to liberate America and that they came here as free men, not as slaves,” Celestin said. “We hope this country will recognize this.”

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“It’s a huge deal,” said Philippe Armand, vice president of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, who flew to Savannah from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. “All the Haitians who have gone to school know about it from the history books.”

Though not well known in the U.S., Haiti’s role in the American Revolution is a point of national pride for Haitians.

After returning home from the war, Haitian veterans soon led their own rebellion that won Haiti’s independence from France in 1804.


The Siege of Savannah

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The Siege of Savannah on October 9th, 1779 presents the Revolutionary War as a world conflict more than does any other engagement of the Revolution. The memory of this battle also reminds us of the fact that significant foreign resources of men, money, and material contributed to the eventual success of the cause of American independence. French, Polish, Native Americans, African slaves, free men of African descent, Germans, Hessians, Austrians, Scots, Welsh, Irish, English, Swedish, and American and West Indian colonials also participated as individuals or whole units in this most culturally diverse battle of the war. For six weeks this diverse force was assembled in three armies to contend for the possession of Savannah. This battle resulted in the largest number of casualties the allies suffered in a single engagement.

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The presence of the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue as the largest unit of soldiers of African descent to fight in this war is worthy of commemoration. The fact that their number was made up of free men who volunteered for this expedition is startling to most people and surprising to many historians. Their presence reminds us that men of African heritage were to be found on most battlefields of the Revolution in large numbers. As a new and relatively inexperienced unit, the Chasseurs participated in the siege warfare including the battle of September 24th and the siege of October 9th.

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The Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue served as a reserve unit to American and French forces fighting a British contingent. As battered American and French soldiers fell back, the Haitian troops moved in to provide a retreat.

Twenty-five of their number has their names recorded as wounded or killed during the campaign. Over 60 were captured in the fall of Charleston eight months later. The British Navy captured three transports carrying Chasseurs; these soldiers were made prizes of war and sold into slavery. Other members of this unit were kept on duty away from their homes for many months as part of French garrison forces. A subsequent unit of Haitians was a part of the French and Spanish campaign against Pensacola where they faced some of the same regiments of British troops that their comrades faced in Savannah.

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The efforts of Haiti to secure its independence from colonial rule beginning in 1791 are remarkable for the fact that what began as a slave revolt was to ultimately succeed in prevailing over the resources of the French Empire and to form a government of Western Hemisphere Africans. Haiti, much smaller in population than the United States, was attacked by armies as large as those sent against America by Britain. The Haitian victory over the legions of Napoleon was achieved with much less foreign assistance than the United States enjoyed.

Henri Christophe

Henri Christophe, Click to enlarge

Many key figures in the Haitian War of Independence gained military experience and political insights through their participation in Savannah — most notably Henri Christophe, a youth at the time but in his adult years a general of Haitian armies and king of his nation for fourteen years. Many of the Haitian soldiers later fought to win their country’s own war of independence, crediting their military experience in Savannah. Influenced by both the events of the American Revolution and the rhetoric of the French Revolution, the people of Haiti began a struggle for self-government and liberty. The first nation in the Western Hemisphere to form a government led by people of African descent, it was also the first nation to renounce slavery.

Sources: Haitian American Historical Society, We Haitians United We Stand For Democracy, Wikipedia, and the Associated Press.


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CANCELLED!! Tea Party Group To Get ‘Fired Up For Freedom,’ Burn Rep. Perriello In Effigy

Posted by Audiegrl

Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA)

Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA)

TPM/Eric Kleefeld—The local Tea Party organization in Danville, Virginia, is taking their opposition to freshman Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello to a whole new level — announcing that they will burn him in effigy, along with a similar image of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at a rally called “Fired Up For Freedom.”

At this point we feel we have no representation in Congress,” Danville Tea Party chairman Nigel Coleman told the Chatham Star Tribune, with the chief complaint being Perriello’s vote for the House health care bill this past weekend.

Perriello’s office declined to comment to TPM about this.

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***TPM Update I***

DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen has responded in a statement. “These shocking and despicable acts are becoming all too common at extreme right-wing Republican rallies. Hanging Members in effigy or displaying images of Nazi concentration camps on the steps of the Capitol have no place in any debate and Republican Members of Congress must condemn these actions,” said Van Hollen. “While there should be a robust debate about reforming America’s broken health insurance system, violent expressions are beyond the boundaries of a respectful debate. The American people are counting on Republicans to join Democrats in a constructive debate to help President Obama bring about urgently-needed health insurance reform.

***TPM Update II***

TPM: The plan by the Danville TEA Party Patriots to burn Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in effigy — a sort of Tea-Party Burning Man — has been called off, Greg Sargent reports: “We will not be going forward with the plan,” a crestfallen Coleman told me by phone moments ago. “We had to cancel it. The property owner won’t allow us to do it. The media attention was something that he didn’t want.”

Coleman said he was upset that people had gotten the wrong idea about his plan. “I’m disappointed that the story got out of hand and people misinterpreted something we thought would be a little historical lesson. They made people believe that we were committing an act of violence,” he said, adding that the “they” in question were the “liberal blogs.”

On Nov. 5, Perriello had a conversation with several of the TEA Party members, attempting to explain his position while they talked over him:

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Danville TEA Party to burn Rep. Perriello in effigy

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South Carolina Republicans Use Jewish Stereotype to Defend DeMint

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)

CBS News/Charles CooperWith friends like these…

Last week, State Senator Bakari Sellars wrote in The State that United States Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., had failed to do enough to get federal funding for the state. On Sunday, a couple of South Carolina Country Republican Chairmen defended DeMint in a joint letter to a local newspaper where they resorted to the stereotype of penny-pinching Jews to make their point.

In their response, published in The Times and Democrat, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer offered the following logic:

There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves,” Ulmer and Merwin wrote in their letter. “By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.”

Update from GOP Chairman James Ulmer’s office

Last week I co-authored a letter to the editor which focused on the vital importance of reining in the unsustainable and excessive federal government spending which is going on currently in Washington, D.C. In one of the paragraphs which I wrote, I quoted a statement which I have heard many times in my life, truly in admiration for a method of bettering one’s lot in life.

I admit that perception is indeed reality to many and that I could have certainly worded that sentence much better. I sincerely apologize for this great error. If I had quoted that great man from Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin, using his, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” I doubt I would be writing this note.

I meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people. I hope that anyone and all who were offended by my comment will accept my humble apology.~~James Ulmer

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Texas Governor Perry May Have Put a Lid on Arson Report

Posted by Libby Shaw

Republican Governor Rick Perry

Republican Governor Rick Perry

According to the Houston Chronicle Perry received an arson report from an expert in 2004 but he won’t reveal if he read it before Todd Willingham was executed.

In a letter sent Feb. 14, three days before Willingham was scheduled to die, Perry had been asked to postpone the execution. The condemned man’s attorney argued that the newly obtained expert evidence showed Willingham had not set the house fire that killed his daughters, 2-year-old Amber and 1-year-old twins Karmon and Kameron, two days before Christmas in 1991.

On Feb. 17, the day of the execution, Perry’s office got the five-page faxed report at 4:52 p.m., according to documents the Houston Chronicle obtained in response to a public records request.

But it’s unclear from the records whether he read it that day. Perry’s office has declined to release any of his or his staff’s comments or analysis of the reprieve request.

A statement from Perry spokesman Chris Cutrone, sent to the Chronicle late Friday, said that “given the brevity of (the) report and the general counsel’s familiarity with all the other facts in the case, there was ample time for the general counsel to read and analyze the report and to brief the governor on its content.”

A few minutes after 5 p.m., defense lawyer Walter M. Reaves Jr. said he received word that the governor would not intervene. At 6:20 p.m. Willingham was executed after declaring: “I am an innocent man, convicted of a crime I did not commit.”

Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in Texas

Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in Texas

In the past, as recently as during George W. Bush’s term, gubernatorial reviews were made public. Rick Perry, however, does not believe any of his or his staff reviews should be.

A Forensic Science Commission was about to disclose a report that seriously questions the arson evidence in the Willingham case. But Perry had immediately fired three of the Commission’s members, including the Chairman. The meeting at which the report would have been revealed was canceled.

His 2004 execution gained renewed prominence this year after the newly formed Texas Forensic Science Commission, created by the Legislature to explore and fix forensic flaws, released a report that criticized the arson evidence. Two days before the panel was to review that report, Perry abruptly replaced three members, including the chairman, and the meeting was canceled. The governor also attacked the report, according to other media reports.

The report reveals that the investigators in Willingham’s case made serious errors and had relied on junk science.

The five-page opinion faxed to Perry’s office on Willingham’s execution day in 2004 was the first. It said investigators made “major errors” and relied on discredited techniques akin to an “old wives tale.”

It was authored by Dr. Gerald Hurst, an Austin-based arson expert who holds a doctorate in chemistry from Cambridge University.

By 2004, Hurst already had received national media coverage for helping to obtain a string of high-profile exonerations by debunking arson evidence in other criminal cases. Hurst said in an interview that his previous analysis of flaws in another Texas arson-murder case had helped prompt the Board of Pardons and Paroles in 1998 to free a woman convicted of setting a fire that killed her infant son. She had served six years of a 99-year sentence.

By his actions one can only assume that Governor Rick Perry is attempting to cover up his negligence. Otherwise, he would admit if he did nor or did not read the report. For a man with 20 executions on his watch, one would think Governor Perry should, at the very least, want to know if the state has executed an innocent man. A person’s life is far, far more important than an election outcome.

Please call Rick Perry’s office and demand that he release all reports at 512 463 1782. Please also check Scott Cobb’s post over at the The Burnt Orange Report and Daily Kos. He provides links to a petition and the site to send an email to Perry.

Texas must immediately declare a moratorium on all executions until a complete and thorough review of all procedures on all levels is done by an outside, non-partisan board of experts. One innocent death is one too many.

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Pentagon Airs Criticism of ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ in Journal Article: Backs Gay Troops, May Signal Brass Open to Debate

Posted by TheLCster

Joint Force Quarterly Magazine, Issue 55,  4th Quarter

Joint Force Quarterly Magazine, Issue 55, 4th Quarter

Boston Globe/Bryan Bender—An article in the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal calls in unambiguous terms for lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, arguing that the military is essentially forcing thousands of gay men and women to lead dishonest lives in an organization that emphasizes integrity as a fundamental tenet.

The article in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, which is published for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was written by an Air Force colonel who studied the issue for months while a student at the National Defense University in Washington and who concludes that having openly gay troops in the ranks will not hurt combat readiness.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs’ “flagship’’ security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military.

While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journal’s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nation’s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published.

“After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,’’ writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. “Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.’’

More @ bostonglobelogo

related story: Sen. Reid Letter Appeals Directly To Obama: “Help Us Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Full Text here:: Sen. Reid’s Letter to President Obama

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Michael Steele Calls Thomas Friedman A “Nut Job” For His Concerns Over Psychotic Rhetoric

Posted by Audiegrl

Steele appeared on CNN's American Morning Wednesday.

Steele appeared on CNN's American Morning Wednesday.


CNN— Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Wednesday beat back suggestions from some political commentators — most recently from the New York Times’ Tom Friedman — that conservative opposition to President Obama is creating a political climate that may foreshadow attempts of violence against the commander-in-chief.

“Where do these nut jobs come from? Come on, stop this,” Steele told CNN’s John Roberts on American Morning in direct response to a quote from Friedman’s column Wednesday equating the current political environment to that which occurred ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995.

“To make those equations, examples and put that out there that way, to me is just crazy and yeah, I’m sorry, but if you’re going to approach this discussion, approach it from a rational position,” Steele continued. “[They’re] saying, because you disagree with the president on policy, that all of the sudden we’re going to make this leap into, you know, assassinations and all this other stuff. I mean, at the height of all this stuff on Bush and people complaining and protesting, and jumping up and down, you didn’t have this kind of conversation.”

“There are passions that run deep and long on both sides of the aisle,” Steele also said. “Don’t necessarily jump to the conclusion that, because someone says something vitriolic or hot that’s necessarily from the right or the left. It’s reflecting deep-seeded frustrations people have.”

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Gibbs: Is Steele Rooting For Brazil To Get Olympic Games?

Posted by Buellboy

RNC Chairman Michael Steele

RNC Chairman Michael Steele

Huffington Post—Pushing back against criticism that the President is too busy to stop in Copenhagen to pitch Chicago as a host site for the 2016 Olympics, the White House played the patriotism card on Tuesday.

Asked about remarks by RNC chairman Michael Steele accusing Obama of leaving Congress directionless on health care by making the trip, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs shot back by suggesting that Steele was rooting for Brazil to win the Olympic bid

“Who is he rooting for?” Gibbs asked. “Is he hoping to hop a plane to Brazil and catch the Olympics in Rio? Maybe it’s Madrid?”

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Related Story: Dems: Boehner, Who Criticized Obama Olympics Bid, Took World Tour In August

Boehner went to Mongolia as part of an August trip around the world, and point to a report claiming Boehner didn’t hold any traditional health care town-halls this summer.

“It’s the height of hypocrisy for Boehner to criticize President Obama for his brief overseas trip to support the United States’ 2016 bid, when Boehner took a two week trip around the world while refusing to hold a single health care event the entire month of August,” DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer emails. Read more: The Plum LineGreg Sargent’s blog

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