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10 Memorable Moments in United Nations History

October 23, 2015 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

A man looks at one of the first documents published by the United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  (Credit: Three Lions/Getty Images)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted (1948)

A man looks at one of the first documents published by the United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Credit: Three Lions/Getty Images)

From its earliest meetings, the U.N. General Assembly sought to ensure that atrocities on the scale of those that occurred during World War II would never happen again. On December 10, 1948, the assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which built on the principles of the U.N. Charter and served as a road map to safeguarding the rights of all individuals throughout the world. Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, led the drafting committee and was recognized as the declaration’s guiding force.

First full-fledged peacekeeping force deployed (1956)


UN International Emergency Force assembling, 1956. (Credit: David Lees/Getty Images)

Though the U.N. Charter does not specifically mention the use of international armed forces, under the control of the Security Council, to mediate between warring parties, this type of peacekeeping has been an important part of the U.N. mission since 1956. The U.N. General Assembly met in its first emergency special session that November in order to address the ongoing Suez Crisis, which had begun when Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company, a joint British-French enterprise. After pressure from the United States led Britain and France to accept a ceasefire and end their short-lived military action against Egypt, the first United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was deployed to supervise the end of hostilities and the withdrawal of British, French and Israeli forces.

World Food Program established (1961)

World Food Program distribution center in Pakistan, near the border of Afghanistan. (Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
World Food Program distribution center in Pakistan, near the border of Afghanistan. (Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

In 1960, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed to the U.N. General Assembly that “a workable scheme should be devised for providing food aid through the U.N. system.” The following year, the assembly approved the establishment of the World Food Program (WFP) on a three-year experimental basis. The WFP got off the ground immediately, however, providing urgently needed food supplies to the victims of a 1962 earthquake (Iran) and hurricane (Thailand), as well as to some 5 million refugees …read more

Source: HISTORY

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9 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Agincourt

October 23, 2015 in History

By Evan Andrews

henry v, battle of agincourt, hundred years war
King Henry V. (Credit: The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

1. Henry V pawned some of the crown jewels to fund his invasion of France.
In August 1415, King Henry V led an 11,000-strong army from Southampton to Normandy with the goal of regaining lost territory and asserting a longstanding English claim to the French throne. The invasion required huge numbers of men and arms and involved an armada of hundreds of ships—none of which came cheaply. To finance his quest, Henry persuaded Parliament to levy new taxes and also borrowed large sums from wealthy English citizens and cities. London alone loaned him the modern equivalent of around $5 million. As a guarantee of repayment, Henry gave his backers various pieces of royal treasure including jewels, a gold collar called the “Pusan d’Or” and even a ruby and diamond-encrusted crown that had once belonged to King Richard II.

2. The English lost a third of their troops to disease before the battle even took place.
Upon landing in northern France, Henry marched his army to the mouth of the Seine and besieged the strategically important city of Harfleur. The 28-year-old expected the town to fall in a few days, but the siege dragged on for five grueling weeks, during which at least a third of his army was killed or incapacitated by dysentery. The king pressed on toward Calais, however, eventually covering some 200 miles in 16 days before being blocked by a French army near the modern day village of Azincourt. When the battle finally began on October 25, the English were exhausted, filthy and nearly starving. Many were also reeling from the stomach-turning effects of dysentery. According to historian Juliet Barker, some of Henry’s archers “were reduced to cutting off their soiled breeches and undergarments in an attempt to allow nature to take its course more easily.”


Henry V praying before the Battle of Agincourt. (Credit: The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

3. Henry V ordered his men to spend the night before Agincourt in silence.
Most scholars believe the Battle of Agincourt pitted a scant 6,000 to 9,000 Englishmen against a French force totaling anywhere from 12,000 to 36,000. Fearing an ambush by his much larger enemy, Henry V kept discipline in his ranks by demanding that his troops pass the night of October 24 in absolute silence. Men-at-arms and …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Texas Officials Raid Several Planned Parenthood Offices, Demand Addresses of Employees

October 23, 2015 in Blogs

By Jen Hayden, Daily Kos

Some of the information they were seeking is both bizarre and possibly dangerous for Planned Parenthood employees.


The unbelievable harassment of the largest healthcare provider for American women has been taken to a new low in Texas:

Texas sent agents to Planned Parenthood facilities on Thursday seeking documents, the group said, calling it a “politically motivated” move that comes on the heels of the state's Republican leaders barring it from receiving Medicaid money.

Members of the Texas Office of the Inspector General made unannounced visits at Planned Parenthood health centers in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, staying in some cases for several hours and giving Planned Parenthood 24 hours to deliver thousands of pages of documents stored at its facilities across the state, the organization said.

Some of the information they were seeking is both bizarre and possibly dangerous for Planned Parenthood employees. From Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region Chief Executive Officer Ken Lambrecht:

Lambrecht said Texas had requested what Planned Parenthood sees as unnecessary information such as the home addresses of all its employees as well as their salaries and bonuses.

Earlier in the week, Texas cut off funds for Planned Parenthood, despite no evidence of wrongdoing:

“It is completely outrageous that Texas officials are using these thoroughly discredited, fraudulent videos to cut women off from preventive health care, including cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

“We will fight back against this outrageous, malicious, political attack in Texas with everything we've got, and we will protect women's access to the health care they need and deserve.”

Hats off, Texas! You've taken this whole war on women to a whole new level.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Pictures for the Pope and Progressives

October 23, 2015 in Economics

By Steve H. Hanke

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Steve H. Hanke

In September, Pope Francis visited the United States, where he addressed the U.S. Congress. His address, while nuanced, hit on social justice themes. The Pope’s remarks were well received by left-of-center politicians who embrace progressive policies. When the Pope left the U.S., he traveled to Latin America, where he spoke in his native Spanish and was more direct. While in Bolivia, Pope Francis had this to say: “Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change,” the Pope said, decrying a system that “has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature.”

Has the spread of free markets improved people’s lives?”

Pope Francis’ rhetoric inspired the anti-free market forces in Bolivia, and elsewhere. They believe that the goals of social justice and poverty reduction can best be achieved by collective efforts, not by free markets.

Pope Francis raises an important question. Has the spread of free markets improved people’s lives?

Interestingly, the recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics, Angus Deaton, answers that question. Indeed, Deaton’s 2013 book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, opens with: “Life is better now than at almost any time in history.”

Deaton’s conclusion was echoed in an edifying essay, “The Age of Milton Friedman,” penned by Harvard economist Andrei Shleifer in 2009. In that essay, Shleifer observed that, from about 1980, the world had embraced the free markets that Nobelist Friedman had championed. Shleifer also indicated that living standards had risen sharply, poverty had declined dramatically, while life expectancy had increased. Shleifer asked whether the spread of free markets accounted for the improvements, and he answered with a resounding, “Yes.” With a series of charts, Shleifer let the data talk. In what follows, I do the same.

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The best elixir to address the concerns of Pope Francis and other progressives is more free markets, not fewer. Just look at the pictures. As the saying goes, they are worth a thousand words.

Steve H. Hanke is a professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. You can follow him on Twitter: @Steve_Hanke

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Pharma Bro Whines on Ridiculously About His Treatment by Bernie Sanders

October 23, 2015 in Blogs

By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet

This jerk even challenged Sanders to a debate.


Near-universal outrage over his plan to jack up the price  of a drug used to treat cancer and AIDS patients by 5,000% doesn't appear to have diminished pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli' confidence. On an appearance on Fox Business News, the so-called 'pharma bro' lamented his unjust treatment by Bernie Sanders and challenged the Senator to a debate (one he would win, naturally). 

“I think he's a demagogue. He'll say anything to get a vote,” Shkreli told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. “For me to be his piñata is unacceptable.”

Shkreli then dared Sanders to a pharma showdown. “Ultimately, Bernie has a lot of great ideas, but if he wants to talk about pharmaceuticals, he can do that with me. And he's refusing to do that because I think he's afraid of the issues. I think I'd destroy him in any debate about pharmaceuticals.”

Sanders is not the only Democrat who has wronged the young executive in recent weeks.

“I was going to start a democratic super pac with my own money,” he told Bartiromo. “But after this backlash and the lack of understanding of our economy I've seen from the Democrats, I may support a Republican now.” 

Sanders' path regrettably converged with Shkreli's in the news cycle last week, when Shkreli offered a $2,700 donation to Sanders' campaign. Sanders refused the money and said he'd give a similar amount to an AIDS clinic. 

Watch the interview with Shkreli below(h/t Raw story)

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Source: ALTERNET

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Happy Birthday Ralph!

October 23, 2015 in Economics

By David Gordon

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Happy Birthday Ralph!

October 23, 2015

Today is Ralph Raico's seventy-ninth birthday. He is the greatest living historian of classical liberalism and a leading libertarian theorist. He was a member of Murray Rothbard's legendary Circle Bastiat and one of Murray's closest friends. Ralph has been my friend for more than thirty-five years, and his learning, analytical abilities, and devotion to liberty have always inspired me. He is also extremely funny and a master of the sarcastic put-down. He once said to me, “What's wrong with you? I'm not as stupid as you look.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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New Berlin-Based Master's Degree Program in Austrian Economics

October 23, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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New Berlin-Based Master’s Degree Program in Austrian Economics

October 23, 2015

Hendrik Hagedorn and Stefan Kooths write:

New academic programs in Austrian Economics are not launched every day. Very often, the rigidities and oppositions in the academic system are just too strong. A notable exception, however, is now being implemented at the Business and Information Technology School (BiTS) in Berlin. Established in the year 2000 as Germany’s private “Entrepreneurial University”, the School launches the brand-new Master’s program “Entrepreneurial Economics and Management” (EEM) starting next year.

EEM is the first English-language Master’s program in Europe that combines Austrian Economics with Management Science. The program is open to all candidates holding a Bachelor’s degree and will commence in the summer term 2016. The duration is two years. While the focus is clearly on Austrian Economics, the curriculum offers courses in business science and soft-skills so as to prepare students for careers in the private sector. The underlying idea is that knowledge in Austrian Economics enables businessmen to better judge the environment they operate in, that it makes them independent in their thinking, and thus forms the free-minded entrepreneurial personality that is so much needed in many fields in the private sector, be it in strategy departments, or communication departments, or any of those other fields where critical thinking is an asset.

The program causes in Austrian Economics cover all major aspects of economic thinking both from a subject-oriented as well as a historical perspective. In addition, Mises’ Human Action is read and discussed in full, which creates an interface between these two perspectives. The result is a highly ambitious economics program that is designed to bring students to the frontier of Austrian research. And yet, the program does not only teach the Austrian view. All aspects covered in the coursework are generally approached from various angles. That is, in each single course the competing ideas are contrasted with the Austrian view. Neoclassicism, Marxism, Keynesianism, Behaviorism, etc., the students of this program do not only know these alternatives from hearsay, but are familiar with them, and thus have a double advantage: Through this approach they will better understand the originality of the …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Despite Ample Muslim Bashing, Donald Trump Loses Out to Ben Carson in New GOP Poll

October 23, 2015 in Blogs

By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet

Evangelicals aren't buying Trump's claims of devotion to Christian faith.


A new Iowa poll shows that Ben Carson has edged ahead of Donald Trump among likely Republican caucusgoers, with Carson leading the real estate mogul 20% to 19%. A poll released Thursday also found that Carson has shot ahead of Trump among likely GOP voters, 28%-20%.

Carson's increased popularity appears to come in part from evangelical voters, who (unsurprisingly) don't seem convinced by the New York City billionaire's claims of deep-seated devotion to the Christian faith. 32 percent thought Trump was a committed Christian, while 62 percent of Iowans polled said they liked that Ben Carson's was influenced by his religion, as the New York Times reported. 

Trump's lack of appeal among evangelicals is not for lack of trying. Earlier this week, he made the ominous pledge to force store employees to say Merry Christmas instead of the more demonic Happy Holidays. And both candidates seem engaged in an arms race of escalating Muslim-bashing. On Wednesday, Trump voiced his enthusiastic support for shutting down Mosques. Ben Carson ratcheted up the Islamophobia to a whole new level recently by declaring he would not support a Muslim for President unless they renounced  their faith. 

 

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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This Is Why You Don’t Mess With Hillary Clinton: How the GOP’s Benghazi Crusade Just Crashed and Burned

October 23, 2015 in Blogs

By Jack Mirkinson, Salon

If you're trying to score a political win against an opponent as formidable as Hillary, here's what *not* to do.


Thursday’s meeting of the House Select Committee on Benghazi began not with a bang but a whine. Republican chairman Trey Gowdy wanted everyone to know that he was sick and tired of all the chatter out there about how the committee was just a partisan exercise designed to harm his special guest, Hillary Clinton. That was nonsense peddled by irrelevant cranks like the House Majority Leader. This was a “fact-centric” probe that would sweep the seven previous investigations into the Benghazi attacks into the trash can, where they belonged.

“We are going to write that final, definitive accounting of what happened in Benghazi,” Gowdy intoned, as Clinton adopted a pose of utmost solemnity.

Nearly three-and-a-half hours later, Clinton looked on impassively while Gowdy and his Democratic counterpart, Elijah Cummings, screamed at each other for five minutes about parliamentary procedure. It almost seemed like she was going to jump in and ask if she could head to lunch early while they finished their fight.

No prizes for guessing which image will linger more in the mind. The ultimate impression left by the first half of the hearings was the one that everybody already has: Congress is terrible.

Well, that’s not exactly true. People will think Congress is terrible and also that Sidney Blumenthal must be the most important, consequential person in recent American history. Anybody who thought that Blumenthal was a hanger-on in the vast, shady world of the Clintons who peppered his more powerful friends with email would apparently be mistaken, given the amount of time spent on dissecting his correspondence with Clinton. Gowdy may have pledged to conduct a dispassionate inquiry about what happened in Benghazi, but when the time came for him to interrogate Clinton, he spent literally every second of it asking her about Blumenthal’s emails. In none of those emails did Blumenthal say anything like “just got back from orchestrating the Benghazi attacks,” so little progress was made.

In fact, the only …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Paul Krugman Celebrates Another Deathblow for Know-nothing Conservative Economics

October 23, 2015 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

Canada's election of an avowed liberal who wants to invest in infrastructure inspires Krugman.


Paul Krugman did the happy dance this week after the election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister of Canada. Far from being dull, Krugman suggests in Friday's column, “Canada has surprisingly often been the place where the future happens first.”

Canadian voters, he continues, “swept the ruling Conservatives out of power, delivering a stunning victory to the center-left Liberals. And while there are many interesting things about the Liberal platform, what strikes me most is its clear rejection of the deficit-obsessed austerity orthodoxy that has dominated political discourse across the Western world. The Liberals ran on a frankly, openly Keynesian vision, and won biig.”

The Nobel-prize-winning economist explains all the things the Canadians have done right with their economy, like not pegging their currency to the U.S. dollar, keeping a floating exchange rate, avoiding many of the problems plaguing Europe with its single currency. Canada also escaped the worst of the financial crisis of 2008 because it had never deregulated its banks as the U.S. did.

But the main reason that Krugman is celebrating the Canadian example is that, finally, someone is listening to him! The Liberal Party's platform echoes what he's been hammering away at ever since the economic meltdown, namely: “Interest rates are at historic lows, our current infrastructure is aging rapidly, and our economy is stuck in neutral. Now is the time to invest.”

Allow Krugman to wax on about the common sense logic of that, once again:

Does that sound reasonable? It should, because it is. We’re living in a world awash with savings that the private sector doesn’t want to invest, and is eager to lend to governments at very low interest rates. It’s obviously a good idea to borrow at those low, low rates, putting those excess savings, not to mention the workers unemployed due to weak demand, to use building things that will improve our future.

Oddly, the U.S. isn't getting the message, mostly because, ”in 2010 elite opinion somehow coalesced around the view that deficits, not high unemployment …read more

Source: ALTERNET