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Woodstock 1969: How a Music Festival That Should've Been a Disaster Became Iconic Instead

April 23, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Things were not looking good for the music festival. A month out, the organizers had lost their permit and were scrambling to find another location. In the scramble, the organizers couldn’t get everything ready in time. When the festival-goers poured in, there weren’t enough toilets or medical facilities, and there certainly wasn’t enough food or water. To top it off, the festival grounds were hot, humid, rainy and muddy.

No, this wasn’t Fyre Festival. This was the original . “The monitors kept breaking. The sound was sh**.”

So why is Woodstock remembered as the greatest rock concert ever? For starters, “it was definitely the launchpad for a number of acts,” Makower says. This was especially true if the acts were featured in the Woodstock documentary that Warner Brothers released several months after the festival. “A lot of people really lived Woodstock through the movie,” Makower says. “And so the movie influenced, I think, more people than the actual event.”

Carlos Santana (right) and bassist David Brown perform with the group Santana at the Woodstock Music Festival.

Carlos Santana’s band wasn’t very well-known before it played Woodstock and appeared in the film. Joe Cocker, too, became famous for his unusual singing movements and his unique cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends” that appeared in the documentary (his cover later became the theme song for The Wonder Years). Richie Havens’ opening act, also captured in the film, expanded his audience beyond the folk scene.

In addition, Woodstock was one of the first concerts at which Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young played together as a group. In one memorable part of the concert and the documentary, Stephen Stills tells the crowd: “This is the second time we’ve ever played in front of people, man. We’re scared sh**less.”

Both Makower and Perone say that, for many of the festival-goers, the music wasn’t the most important part of Woodstock—it was the general atmosphere that made it memorable. That’s not to say that everything was perfect. There were plenty of people who had a bad time or a bad trip, as well as one person who died of a drug overdose and another who died from being run over by a tractor in his sleep. But despite Woodstock’s extremely poor conditions, the crowds remained relatively peaceful and nonviolent.


Jimi Hendrix performing ​at the Woodstock Music Festiva​l.

The fact that Woodstock was …read more

Source: HISTORY

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How a British Secretary Who Spied for the Soviets Evaded Detection for 40 Years

April 23, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

In 1999, an 87-year-old British woman held a press conference in front of her home to announce that for nearly four decades, she’d worked as a spy for the . Burke, who later wrote The Spy Who Came In From the Co-op: Melita Norwood and the Ending of Cold War Espionage, noted that Norwood kept repeating “I thought I’d got away with it.” Yet as Burke wrote, she actually did get away with it: even after her outing, the government still declined to prosecute her.

Norwood died in 2005, but people have remained fascinated with her story. In 2013, author Jennie Rooney published a novel, Red Joan, loosely based on Norwood’s life. And in April 2019, a film adaptation premiered in the U.K. and the U.S. starring Judi Dench as Joan Stanley, the fictional counterpart to Melita Norwood, the real-life spy.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Panic over 'Social Media Addiction' Threatens Free Speech

April 23, 2019 in Economics

By Jeffrey A. Singer

Jeffrey A. Singer

It has been more than 10 years since China’s health ministry
officially recognized “Internet Addiction Disorder” as a disease.
And although the evidence for such a designation remains far from
solid, the consequences of that designation have been startlingly
clear.

The Chinese government has, among other things, restricted new internet cafes from opening,
requiring them to be closed during certain times of the day, and
limiting time adolescents may spend at internet cafes. Meanwhile, a
network of boot camps, many of which are government run, have
sprung up across the country in which many of the
government-estimated 23 million young “internet addicts” are
enrolled to receive treatment for what has been dubbed “electronic heroin.” These facilities employ
military-style discipline and often brutal corporal punishment. In
2017, BBC News reported the death of an 18-year-old registered in one of those
camps, sparking Chinese newspaper editorials calling for tighter
regulation of these centers.

China’s experience is a warning about the perils of medicalizing
heavy internet use. Yet other countries are following its lead by
recognizing social media or internet addiction as a behavioral
disorder, often in conjunction with public funding for counseling
and addiction treatment centers. Japan’s Ministry of Health, for
example, pays for “internet fasting camps” in which
young addicts receive help in a tech-free environment. And in 2011,
despite objections from parents that it infringes on their
autonomy, South Korea placed a curfew on teen internet gaming, blocking gaming
sites after midnight for people ages 16 and younger.

Journalists,
commentators, and lawmakers must be more accurate and precise with
their terminology. They must resist the temptation to confer
legitimacy on an unproven “addiction,” and they should be called
out when they do so.

Fear of the internet’s addictive potential isn’t confined to
Asian countries. The year China made its designation official, an
editorial by a leading U.S. psychiatrist appearedin the American Journal of
Psychiatry
applauding the decision. Since then, an internet
addiction rehab industry has sprung up in the States. And a growing
number of media reports in the West have stoked concerns about a looming crisis of
social media addiction, sometimes loosely coined “internet
addiction.”

Lawmakers in Washington, meanwhile, have begun to express
similar concerns. Last September, during a Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence hearing on “Foreign Influence Operations’ Use of
Social Media,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Mark Warner
(D-Va.), and others raised the subject of “social media addiction.”
They were worried that media users, compelled by their addiction to
face repeated exposure to propaganda and misinformation, might be
increasingly <a target=_blank href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/06/07/global-addiction-social-media-ruining-democracy/Ta9316Ma628HQaJ5PyM8uI/story.html" …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A Calculated Attack on Christianity

April 23, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Another country, another terrorist attack, another slaughter.
This time the location was Sri Lanka, where a series of bombs
targeted Catholic and Evangelical churches and foreigner-friendly
hotels, killing more than 300 people and wounding another 500,
almost all Sri Lankan citizens. The Easter killings were a
calculated attack on Christianity.

No one took responsibility, but the Sri Lankan government
initially concluded that the attack was carried out by seven
suicide bombers from a local extremist Islamic group, National
Thowheed Jamath. (NTJ was largely unknown until last year, when its
members were accused of defacing Buddhist statues — a far
different crime.) Later State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene
indicated that the lesser-known Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim also
was involved. He suggested that the attacks were in retaliation for
the March attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, but
admitted that was simply an assumption based on the targeting of
Christians and foreigners.

Police arrested 24 members of NTJ but said they suspected it
received outside assistance. Health minister and cabinet spokesman
Rajita Senaratne opined that “we do not believe these attacks
were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this
country. There was an international network without which these
attacks could not have succeeded.” Similarly, a presidential
spokesman announced: “The intelligence reports [indicate]
that foreign terrorist organizations are behind the local
terrorists.” The government offered no supporting evidence or
details, but one security official called NTJ an ISIS front;
American officials also indicated that the group had had contacts
with ISIS, though their significance was unclear.

The religion’s dominant
role in American culture has obscured the fact that it is the most
persecuted faith globally.

Anti-terrorism experts initially assumed direct foreign
responsibility. Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group
observed: “Sri Lanka has never seen this sort of attack
— coordinated, multiple, high-casualty — ever before,
even with the Tamil Tigers during the course of a brutal civil
war.” He thought “the dynamics are global, not driven
by some indigenous debate.” The carnage was of the sort
typically sought by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, the latter
especially as it shifts from creating a caliphate to generating
bloody chaos. Indeed, the Islamic State attacked a Catholic church
in the Philippines in January. On Tuesday ISIS claimed it had
carried out attacks, though absent further evidence, that could
reflect opportunistic posturing.

Compounding the tragedy, foreign governments warned Colombo of
potential attacks more than two weeks ago. Rauff Hakeem, minister
of city planning, criticized the “colossal failure on the
part of the intelligence services.” Housing Construction
Minister Sajith Premadasa denounced the security services’
“negligence and incompetence.” Telecommunications
Minister Harin Fernando even reported that he …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Problem with Sanctions: Feel Good Versus Effective Policy

April 23, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Colombia to strike a
Reaganesque pose when he called on Venezuelan President Nicolas
Maduro to open a bridge to allow entry of humanitarian aid. The
effort fell flat.

The bridge didn’t offer much of a backdrop, certainly not
one comparable to the Berlin Wall, where President Ronald Reagan
memorably urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down
this wall.” Moreover, Maduro didn’t pay the slightest
notice to Pompeo. In contrast, Gorbachev almost certainly took note
of Reagan. After all, the former had begun dismantling the
totalitarian system’s worst oppressions. Indeed, in the end
Gorbachev essentially did as asked by simply announcing that the
Red Army would remain in its barracks, leaving East Germany’s
leaders on their own.

The biggest difference, however, is that Reagan made a demand
that was plausible and grew out of their growing relationship.
Ronald Reagan’s determination and optimism together helped
create an international environment that invited the USSR’s
collapse. But Mikhail Gorbachev also was a critical player. Reagan
rightly judged that his Moscow counterpart just might be the man to
lower the most brutal symbol of the Evil Empire.

Administration officials
appear to be fulfilling the classic definition of insanity – doing
the same thing while expecting a different outcome

In contrast, Pompeo doesn’t talk to Maduro. The American
secretary of state doesn’t even consider Maduro to be
president any longer. The latter is simply expected to concede
defeat and quit. Yet Maduro has no inclination to surrender. He is
no humanitarian, and cares not at all about his nation’s
continuing implosion. And where would he go? Enjoy poverty with his
fellow dictators in Cuba?

Most important, Maduro seems to be winning. Since the
administration recognized the National Assembly’s Juan Guaido
as president, Pompeo, and the administration that he serves, have
offered mostly words. But there isn’t much else to do.
Military action was never a good option. War always should be a
last resort, limited to protecting vital interests, most obviously
where America is under attack. Venezuela, however, is a tragedy,
not a serious security interest. Sanctions are effective only in
making the already poor worse off. Those in power do best avoiding
the worst effects. Trying to save the nation by destroying its
economy and society is a dubious venture anywhere. In Venezuela it
appears to be ineffective as well.

Yet sanctions appear to be the administration’s policy de
jure, irrespective of impact. Two years ago the president reversed
much of President Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba. He demanded
that Cuba implement democracy and liberty, worthwhile objectives to
be sure, but ones no self-respecting communist government would
allow.

More recently he …read more

Source: OP-EDS