You are browsing the archive for 2019 March 08.

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Macron's Vision of 'the EU Project' Goes Down Well in Brussels

March 8, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, thinks he’s
discovered an antidote for populism. In a letter published across
Europe this week, the gilets jaunes-battered premier outlined his
vision “for European renewal” based on “freedom,
protection and progress”.

Reading his text, one is struck by two thoughts. First, how risky staying in the EU might have been
for the UK if leaders such as Macron get their way
. Second,
that a glaring omission is anything that would reverse
Europe’s lack of economic dynamism. The agenda is
stereotypically French: every perceived problem political, rather
than economic. The political solution, predictably, is “more

Truly, there are those who want an effective European state.
Much as latter-day free-traders see the EU as just a liberal trade
block, the ideological bent of the commission has always been
towards social and economic protections too.

That’s what makes Macron’s vision important —
it’ll have gone down a storm in Brussels. For Macron, the
problem with “the project” is not its stultifying
conformity, excessive regulation or even the euro (described,
laughably, as essential to resist “financial
capitalism”). No, the EU’s problem apparently is too
much economic freedom and too much openness to the outside world.
It’s perceived as a “soulless market,” when
really it should be bulwark against external threats.

Accordingly, Macron believes the forthcoming EU elections require a mandate
for more EU programmes and solidarity. That requires more
harmonisation, less competition, more EU-wide trade protectionism
and EU-level investment and control over everything from defence
and election watchdogs, through to external borders and asylum.

You wouldn’t know it from the letter, but EU-wide
unemployment still stands at 6.5pc, and 7.8pc for the eurozone.
Germany drags down the overall figure. In France, Italy and Spain,
unemployment rates are as high as 8.8pc, 10.5pc and 14.1pc. The
link between populism and economics is oft-overstated, but it
doesn’t seem crazy to think Italy and France might be less
politically tumultuous with more people in work and some semblance
of robust economic growth.

Macron, though, has nothing to say on either. “Europe
needs to look ahead to create jobs,” he claims. His solution?
Regulating the digital tech giants more heavily. Really, that is
his main policy proposal. The jobs of the future will flow, it is
implied, when Google, Amazon and Apple are forced to share their
data and algorithms or are hit with penalties for “unfair
competition”. The same applies to trade. Macron laments
Brexit as national retrenchment, but extols EU-wide retrenchment

We cannot “suffer in silence”, he mightily declares,
at the hands of those who do not respect European rules. We should
adopt “European preference” for some industries and
public procurement, while banning firms …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Barbie’s Secret Sister Was a Sexy German Novelty Doll

March 8, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

When Barbie dolls were first introduced in 1959, little girls snatched them up in droves. For the first time, midcentury kids could play with a doll that looked like a woman, not a little girl—a doll with a sassy ponytail, heavy eyeliner, a healthy dose of side-eye, and a distinctly adult body.

They had no way of knowing that Barbie had an even more adult side: She was closely related to a sexy German novelty toy.

Barbie had a sister—Bild-Lilli, a buxom, flirtatious and racy doll marketed to men. And though the risqué 1955 doll has largely been overshadowed by the success of the American toy, she plays a part in the origin story of an American icon.

The story of Barbie began with Ruth Handler, an American businesswoman who co-founded the toy company Mattel with her husband, Elliott. As Ruth watched her preteen daughter, Barbara, act out stories with her paper dolls, she wondered why there wasn’t a more grown-up doll for kids who had outgrown baby dolls and bedtime stories. Why not create a womanly 3-D doll that could be styled and dressed up like a paper doll?

Barbie was officially introduced to the world on March 9, 1959. In its first year, 300,000 Barbie dolls were sold.

View the 16 images of this gallery on the original article

But when Handler shared her idea with her husband, Elliot didn’t get it. He said no mother would want to buy her child a doll in the shape of a woman. His colleagues agreed. “They were comfortable with toy guns and rockets, musical instruments and pop-up toys, but the doll Ruth described defied their imagination,” writes business historian Robin Gerber. The Mattel staff told Ruth to forget it—her ideal doll would be controversial, unpopular and too hard to produce.

Then Handler and her family took a trip to Switzerland—and met the doll that would change their lives forever. Her name was Bild-Lilli—but she wasn’t for kids. Rather, the doll was modeled after a popular comic character from the German-language tabloid Bild. Lilli was a gold-digging sex symbol created by Reinhard Beuthein. Single and more than ready to mingle, Lilli was drawn with a comically over-the-top body that featured a disproportionately large bust. The character was often portrayed in scanty clothing and gave snappy and seductive comebacks to slobbering men.

Bild Lilli— a pre-runner to Barbie.

In …read more


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March 8, 2019 in History

By Editors

Pennsylvania’s largest city is known as the home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the “Rocky” statue.

Philadelphia, a city in Pennsylvania whose name means City of Brotherly Love, was originally settled by Native American tribes, particularly the Lenape hunter gatherers, around 8000 B.C.

By the early 1600s, Dutch, English and Swedish merchants had established trading posts in the Delaware Valley area, and in 1681, Charles II of England granted a charter to William Penn for what would become the Pennsylvania colony.

Penn arrived in the new city of Philadelphia in 1682. A Quaker pacifist, Penn signed a peace treaty with Lenape chief Tamanend, establishing a tradition of tolerance and human rights.

But in 1684, the ship Isabella landed in Philadelphia carrying hundreds of enslaved Africans. Tensions over slavery, especially among local Quakers, resulted in the 1688 Germantown Petition Against Slavery, the first organized protest against slavery in the New World.

Penn’s colony thrived, and soon Philadelphia was the biggest shipbuilding center in the colonies. Among those attracted to the city was Benjamin Franklin, who in 1729, became the publisher of The Pennsylvania Gazette.

The Eventful Life of Benjamin Franklin (TV-14; 2:51)

The Pennsylvania State House—later known as Independence Hall—held its first Assembly meeting there in 1735. State representatives ordered a large bell for the building in 1751 with a Biblical inscription: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

British Parliament passed a series of tax acts on the colonies in the 1760s, including the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, sparking colonial outrage. In response, the Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in 1774.

After Philadelphia resident Thomas Paine‘s pamphlet Common Sense met with widespread acclaim, the stage was set to formally declare independence, which the Founding Fathers did on July 4, 1776. Philadelphians were the first to hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud in the State House yard.

The Founding Fathers Debate and Devise the Declaration of Independence (TV-PG; 2:37)

In 1790, after the Revolutionary War (during which the city witnessed the Battle of Germantown), Philadelphia served as capital of the United States. By that time, it was the new nation’s biggest city, with 44,096 residents. The First Bank of the United States and the first U.S. Mint were founded in Philadelphia, and the U.S. …read more


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Everything Should Be on the Table in Korea

March 8, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Virtually no one observing U.S. President Donald Trump’s
preparations for his second summit with North Korean Supreme Leader
Kim Jong Un imagined that the meeting last month would fail. The
president had invested so much—it would be hard to walk away.
In Singapore last year, he had accepted the thinnest of statements
as a victory.

That didn’t stop Trump from canceling the last meeting and final
lunch of his visit with Kim. His theatrical exit, he said,
reflected a substantive disagreement, though exactly what that was
remains in dispute. The parties publicly disagreed on how many
nuclear facilities would be closed down and how much sanctions
relief would be granted under the respective disarmament proposals.
More broadly, the president apparently pushed a quick grand bargain while Kim favored
a slower and more limited process.

Such confusion might reflect the fact that the two longtime
adversaries have only recently returned to the table. The United
States and North Korea had little sustained diplomatic contact
during the Barack Obama years, and the last six-party talks, in
2007, are even more distant. The North also may have sought to
emphasize the Trump-Kim discussions in hopes of taking advantage of
the U.S. president’s lack of experience.

However, it’s possible Trump was playing a deeper game. Abruptly
leaving while claiming that his North Korean counterpart had
offered too few concessions was an obvious bargaining tactic: Any
flea market aficionado knows walking away often wins a better deal.
Moreover, the president quieted domestic critics convinced he had
been bewitched by Kim. Consequently, Trump will have an easier time
selling any future agreement at home.

Failure in Hanoi
reinforces the need for bolder future commitments to

In any case, negotiations should continue. In fact, both the
president and the secretary of state insisted that progress had
been made despite the disappointing outcome. However, success
requires both sides to scale back expectations. The United States
should abandon hopes for a diplomatic Big Bang, essentially trading
all nuclear weapons for all sanctions. North Korea is not going to
rely on America’s good wishes. With obvious logic, the North
Koreans have insisted on first improving bilateral relations and
regional dynamics before moving to denuclearization.

However, the North must also recognize that the United States is
unlikely to sacrifice its most important form of leverage,
sanctions, without receiving corresponding benefits. Just how
disarmament steps balance against sanctions will have to be
determined through sustained negotiations, not a short chat between
the two principals. Trump may drive the summit process, but he
appears to listen to others before making a final deal.

Everything should be on the table in future negotiations, …read more

Source: OP-EDS