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UFO Investigations: Revealing Documents from HISTORY's 'Unidentified'

May 31, 2019 in History

By History.com Staff

From Episode 1:

Resignation letter of Luis Elizondo

Why did Luis Elizondo, director of the Pentagon’s hush-hush program investigation UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena, step down from his post? “It was because of my allegiance to the Department of Defense and the American people,” Elizondo told HISTORY. For the full letter, read below:

From Episode 1:

Tic Tac UFO Executive Summary

This Executive Summary of the 2004

Check back next week for more insider documents from “Unidentified.”

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Tiananmen Square Protests

May 31, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China. They were halted in a bloody crackdown, known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, by the Chinese government on June 4 and 5, 1989.

Pro-democracy protesters, mostly students, initially marched through Beijing to Tiananmen Square following the death of Hu Yaobang. Hu, a former Communist Party leader, had worked to introduce democratic reform in China. In mourning Hu, the students called for a more open, democratic government. Eventually thousands of people joined the students in Tiananmen Square, with the protest’s numbers increasing to the tens of thousands by mid-May.

READ MORE: Communism Timeline

At issue was a frustration with the limits on political freedom in the country—given its one-party form of government, with the Communist Party holding sway—and ongoing economic troubles. Although China’s government had instituted a number of reforms in the 1980s that established a limited form of capitalism in the country, the poor and working-class Chinese still faced significant challenges, including lack of jobs and increased poverty.

The students also argued that China’s educational system did not adequately prepare them for an economic system with elements of free-market capitalism.

Some leaders within China’s government were sympathetic to the protesters’ cause, while others saw them as a political threat.

Martial Law Declared

On May 13, a number of the student protesters initiated a hunger strike, which inspired other similar strikes and protests across China. As the movement grew, the Chinese government became increasingly uncomfortable with the protests, particularly as they disrupted a visit by Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union on May 15.

A welcome ceremony for Gorbachev originally scheduled for Tiananmen Square was instead held at the airport, although otherwise his visit passed without incident. Even so, feeling the demonstrations needed to be curtailed, the Chinese government declared martial law on May 20 and 250,000 troops entered Beijing.

By the end of May more than one million protesters had gathered in Tiananmen Square. They held daily marches and vigils, and images of the events were transmitted by media organizations to audiences in the United States and Europe.

Tiananmen Square Massacre

While the initial presence of the military failed to quell the protests, the Chinese authorities decided to increase their aggression. At 1 a.m. on June 4, Chinese soldiers and police stormed Tiananmen Square, firing live rounds into the crowd.

Although thousands of protesters simply …read more

Source: HISTORY

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7 of History's Most Fearless Female Daredevils

May 30, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Whether on wheels or in the air, these thrill seekers achieved feats few others would attempt.

From the first-ever Hollywood stuntwoman to the first lady of drag racing, these seven intrepid women stunned audiences with their death-defying feats. With their gutsy performances in traditionally male-dominated fields like aviation and extreme sports, they’re known for breaking barriers, setting records—and getting our adrenaline pumping.

READ MORE: 7 Death-Defying Historic American Daredevils

Bessie Coleman: Pioneering Black Aviatrix

Bessie Coleman, circa 1920.

While working as a beautician in Chicago, Texas-born Bessie Coleman was inspired to become a pilot by the daring exploits of World War I aviators. U.S. flight schools turned her down due to her gender and race, but Coleman headed to France, where in 1921 she received her international pilot’s license. The first black American woman to perform publicly in the United States, “Queen Bess” wowed crowds at air shows around the country with stunts like “loop-the-loops” and figure-eights, as well as parachute jumps. Tragically, she was killed in 1926 when her plane malfunctioned during a test flight before a Florida air show, and she was thrown from an open cockpit to the ground, several hundred feet below.

Helen Gibson: Rodeo Performer & Hollywood’s First Stuntwoman


Helen Gibson in the 1916 movie, “To Save the Road.”

Born Rose Wenger in Cleveland, Ohio, Gibson joined a Wild West show in 1910, at the age of 18, learning to pick up a handkerchief from the ground while riding a galloping horse. In the show’s off-season, she started working in silent films and rode in Los Angeles rodeos, where she met and married cowboy Hoot Gibson. At the time, men in drag typically performed stunts for female actors, but Gibson became the first-ever professional Hollywood stuntwoman when she doubled (and later replaced) Helen Holmes in the long-running serial Hazards of Helen, performing such feats as leaping from the roof of a building onto the top of a moving train car (a stunt she would call her most dangerous). Her star power had dimmed by the 1920s, but Gibson did bit parts and stunt-double work in Hollywood for three more decades, appearing in her last film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, in 1962.

Lillian La France: Motorcycle Stunt Racer


The Wall of Death Motor Drome, similar to where Lillian La France would perform her stunts.

Around 1916, young Agnes Micek fled …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Trump Is Wrong to Be 'Tough' on Trade with China

May 30, 2019 in Economics

By Simon Lester

Simon Lester

President Trump seems to think he is in the midst of a
hard-nosed negotiating battle with China, and talking tough is a
big part of that. His morning Twitter rants often include barbs
aimed at China. And he has a bipartisan batch of legislators
cheering him on.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has urged Trump to
“hang tough on China,” as “strength is the only way to win.”

And Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has told the president,
“We’re behind you!”

Reform in China will not
happen with a trade policy that slaps tariffs on all U.S. trading
partners and turns our allies into foes.

Toughness has its merits, but it also has its limits. Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were certainly tough when they emerged
from their hideout and began shooting at the Bolivian soldiers who
had surrounded them. But sometimes it is better to look for smart
strategies rather than tough ones.

Unfortunately, Trump’s approach to the China trade issue is
tough but unlikely to be effective. It relies exclusively on
unilateral tariffs, and as a result, any deal that is reached will
not be the best one possible. Instead of pushing him to come out
with guns blazing, members of Congress should argue for a strategy
that would work much better: Cooperating with allies to put more
pressure on China.

There is widespread agreement around the world that China
engages in protectionist and other problematic trade practices:
failure to protect intellectual property adequately; high tariffs;
restrictions on foreign investment; forcing foreign investors to
transfer technology to their joint venture partners; industrial
subsidies; state-owned enterprises that compete unfairly; and
opaque regulatory practices that can be used to discriminate
against foreign companies.

The only debate is about what to do about this. The Trump
administration has chosen to go it alone, by imposing tariffs on
China in a way that violates the rules of the World Trade
Organization (WTO). In the view of the Trump administration, these
tariffs have “forced China to the negotiating table,” but that is a
misconception, as the Obama administration was already in the midst
of its own negotiations on investment with China (which the Trump
administration seems to have abandoned).

Regardless, so far the only outcome from Trump’s tariffs has
been economic pain on both sides, as China has retaliated with
tariffs of its own: consumers in both countries pay higher prices,
and many producers in both countries suffer as their exports are
suddenly at a disadvantage.

The administration has convinced many people in Washington that
tariffs were the last resort, because nothing else has worked with
China. But this talking …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Time a Bachelorette Picked a Serial Killer on TV

May 30, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Before The Bachelorette pitted 30 men against each other to win one woman’s heart, Americans watched a different show about random strangers competing for a mate: The Dating Game. Starting in 1965, the ). “This creep comes up and he puts his face practically in my face, and he says: ‘I always get the girl.’”

Alcala was very upset by Bradshaw’s rejection, and authorities believe it motivated him to increase his murder spree between then and his arrest in July 1979. Right before his arrest he met a 16-year-old girl named Cynthia Libby and told her, “I could do anything I want to you, and no one would know.” Libby, not taking him seriously, agreed to go out with him again. But he stood her up, and when she told her mom his name, her mother informed her that he’d just been arrested for murder.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Libby told People three decades later. “I still have a hard time believing it. I could have been one of the dead girls.” So too could Bradshaw if she hadn’t turned him down.

Timeline of Alcala’s murder spree shown in the courtroom during his trial in 2010.

Alcala is now in prison for the murder of several women and a 12-year-old girl, although investigators believe the real number of murders he committed could be in the dozens. Alcala used photography to get close to his victims, and police have not yet identified all of the people they found in his photo collection.

It’s not clear if the producers of The Dating Game knew about his conviction in 1978, but modern dating shows continue to struggle with male contestants who are violent toward women. In 2017, viewers criticized Bachelor in Paradise for treating an alleged sexual assault on set as a cliffhanger. The next year, a Bachelorette contestant was convicted of indecent assault and battery just days before the season premiered. And only three episodes into Hannah Brown’s 2019 Bachelorette season, the producers removed a contestant without explanation amid allegations about his past treatment of women.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Is America Prodding Taiwan Towards Conflict with China?

May 30, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

For decades, U.S. policy toward Taiwan has reflected a desire to
perpetuate the island’s de facto independence while not
unduly agitating the People’s Republic of China.

Under these conditions, Washington depends on the Chinese
government (PRC) to refrain from adopting coercive measures
(especially military actions) aimed at forcing the island to
reunify with the mainland. In return, Taiwanese authorities are
expected not to push for formal, internationally recognized
independence.

For its part, the United States has tried to balance two
difficult objectives—reassuring Taipei of its own protection
while at the same time not antagonizing Beijing. Joseph Nye, an
assistant secretary of defense during Bill Clinton’s
administration, described the approach as one of “strategic ambiguity.” Although Washington has an
implied commitment in the 1999 Taiwan Relations Act to defend
Taiwan against aggression, Nye and other officials have indicated
that the commitment is not unconditional, especially if Taiwanese
leaders provoke Beijing by pursuing formal independence.

Tensions are building as
Beijing cracks down on the island’s hopes for independence. But
should Washington be choosing sides?

The U.S. approach has worked reasonably well, despite some
occasional tense moments. But there are now multiple signs of
trouble in China, Taiwan, and the United States.

Xi Jinping’s government is adopting an increasingly
aggressive strategy toward Taiwan, both diplomatically and
militarily. And the victory of the pro-independence Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan’s 2016 elections dashed
Chinese hopes that proliferating economic ties with the mainland
might gradually condition the Taiwanese people to accept political
reunification.

Angry at the apparent failure of that strategy, Beijing
increased Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation by luring away the
handful of small nations that still maintain formal relations with
Taipei. The PRC’s saber rattling has also increased. Both the
number and size of Chinese military exercises in and around the
Taiwan Strait have soared over the past two years. The U.S. Defense
Intelligence Agency’s 2019 report to Congress concludes that
Beijing is building up its ground, air, and naval forces to achieve
a more robust capability to invade Taiwan.
Taiwanese officials and outside experts see signs that Beijing may
be preparing for an invasion as early as 2020 or 2021. Taipei also contends
that Chinese intelligence infiltration attempts have markedly
accelerated.

Under President Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwanese government has
firmly rebuffed Beijing’s bullying behavior. It has also
sought to assert its own separate international identity, pursuing
territorial claims in the South China Sea and maximizing its
influence as a significant player in the global economic system.
The government has sought and received new weapons shipments from
the United States. Nevertheless, Tsai has proceeded more cautiously
on the independence issue than did …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A Common Defense Could Make the European Union Great Again

May 30, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The European people have voted and left political devastation in
their wake. The established ruling order continues to collapse. To
do more than simply survive, the European Union needs to reconsider
its geopolitical ambitions.

European leaders need to abandon their attempts to create an
ever more intrusive continental government and instead emphasize
tasks that only international cooperation can achieve. The most
obvious EU responsibility should be sustaining a free European
market. The most transformational would be developing a serious
European security system.

The EU began in 1951 as an organization limited in function and
membership. It was designed to help reconstruct the continent after
World War II and reconcile long-time enemies France and Germany.
Six years later came the European Economic Community, or Common
Market, which freed trade among the organization’s members.
Still, old antagonisms refused to die: French President Charles de
Gaulle blocked membership for his wartime allies in London.

The supranational giant
has assumed unnecessary powers-but protecting the continent should
be its responsibility.

In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty transformed the so-called
European Project, setting the objective of an “ever-closer
union among the peoples of Europe.” The EU’s
institutions came to resemble those of an actual government,
including a parliament and various executive bodies and agencies.
The EU also expanded its legal and regulatory supremacy over
national policy.

The organization still was not a real state, but more than a few
European leaders envisioned creating a United States of Europe. A
growing gaggle of bureaucrats, politicians, lobbyists, and
journalists filled Brussels. A new Eurocratic elite continued to
expand EU authority and even created a common currency, the Euro.
When tying together economies with substantially different fiscal
and monetary policies resulted in crisis, Eurocrats pressed for
further political integration, including oversight by Brussels of
national budgets, the core responsibility of any sovereign
government.

Still, even Euro-friendly Germans were not willing to turn
control of their economy over to the fiscal wastrels in Rome,
Athens, and elsewhere. And the EU is no country. It has a flag that
no one salutes and three squabbling presidents whom people mock. No
one roots for a European football (soccer) team: fan enthusiasms
are strictly national.

The greatest gulf between theory and reality is the EU’s
pretension to be a Weltmacht even though it has no military. And
despite decades of proposals to develop a formal European defense
and security policy, little of substance has occurred.

EU members remain deeply divided on many international issues.
Much more separates European countries than American states, which
had independent identities but shared cultures and histories; the
colonies also fought together to win independence and forge a
nation. Despite the Civil War, they did not …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Fed's Dangerous 'New Normal'

May 29, 2019 in Economics

By George Selgin

George Selgin

The American public doesn’t have much appetite for
monetary matters, and most of that limited attention has been
riveted on the political fights over President Donald Trump’s
controversial nominees to the Federal Reserve Board. But
there’s a far more serious piece of news on the Fed
front.

The Fed’s once-revered independence and traditional
controls on government spending have been dangerously eroded, with
almost no public notice or debate. And unless the Fed itself or
Congress does something about it, our financial system is at
risk.

When did this happen? In a news conference in March, Fed
Chairman Jerome Powell announced that the central bank would stop
unwinding its balance sheet this September. That decision, phrased
in the typically dry language of central bank news releases,
didn’t make headlines. Yet it was a watershed: It was the
most obvious sign yet that the Fed’s program to
“normalize” monetary policy, as it had promised to do
since 2009, was coming to an end. In essence, the Fed has decided
to keep its emergency monetary powers and stick to its new methods
of managing the supply of money in the economy indefinitely.

Is the Fed becoming the
president’s piggy bank of choice?

That “new normal,” which the Fed adopted during the
financial crisis, includes novel methods for controlling interest
rates. During the crisis, those methods allowed the Fed to engage
in “quantitative easing,” meaning large-scale purchases
of government bonds and other securities. But while they helped it
fight the Great Recession, the Fed’s quantitative easing
powers also fudged the traditional boundary line between fiscal
policy, which Congress controls and which includes decisions about
government funding, and monetary policy, which the Fed controls and
which is supposed to be dedicated solely to fighting recessions and
limiting inflation.

BY BLURRING THAT boundary line, the Fed’s
new methods threaten to undermine its critically important
independence. An independent central bank ensures that neither the
president nor Congress can decide to fund special projects or tweak
economic growth by compelling the Fed to print more money. But the
longer the Fed retains its “new normal,” the more that
independence is at risk.

To understand why this new normal is so risky, you first need to
understand how we got here.

Before the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed controlled inflation
by creating or destroying bank reserves. When the Fed created
reserves, interest rates declined, banks increased their lending
and the supply of money in the economy expanded. When it supplied
fewer reserves, it checked inflation.

But after the failure of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, the
Fed started paying interest on banks’ reserves — the cash that banks must hold
to meet …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Justice Reform: A Surprisingly Hot Topic

May 29, 2019 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

While we should expect the upcoming presidential campaign to
focus on traditional issues of the economy, taxes, foreign policy,
trade, and immigration — as well as the elephant in the room
that is Donald Trump — criminal-justice reform has become a
surprisingly hot topic on the campaign trail.

At one point, every presidential candidate pretended he was
running for sheriff. “Tough on crime” was considered
the ultimate badge of honor — in both parties. Bill Clinton
even rushed home during his campaign to execute a mentally disabled
murderer. Times have clearly changed.

This is in part due to the growing evidence of racial and class
inequities within the criminal-justice system. Studies also show
that failures within our criminal-justice system contribute to
poverty and dependence. A recent YouGov poll conducted on behalf of
the Cato Institute found that 22 percent of the unemployed and 23
percent of people on welfare had been unable to find a job because
of a criminal record. Scholars at Villanova have concluded that
mass incarceration increases the U.S. poverty rate by as much as 20
percent. It has also become clear that overcriminalization and mass
incarceration have not necessarily made us safer. Support for
criminal-justice reform now cuts across party lines.

Criminal-justice reform
has become a surprisingly hot topic on the campaign
trail.

But there is also a large degree of politics behind the sudden
importance of criminal-justice reform on the campaign trail. Most
important, Democratic front runner Joe Biden is perceived as being
vulnerable on the issue. Biden’s supported and partially
wrote the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which
led to an increase in incarceration — especially among
African Americans. He also supported and sponsored several pieces
of legislation that enhanced sentencing for drug-related crimes,
once again contributing to the mass incarceration of
minorities.

Even President Trump has taken the opportunity to tweak Biden on
the issue, tweeting, “Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime
Bill will not have a chance of being elected. In particular,
African Americans will not be able [sic] to vote for you. I, on the
other hand, was responsible for Criminal Justice Reform, which had
tremendous support, and helped fix the bad 1994 Bill!” And in
a second tweet, Trump noted that “Super Predator was the term
associated with the 1994 Crime Bill that Sleepy Joe Biden was so
heavily involved in passing. That was a dark period in American
History, but has Sleepy Joe apologized? No!”

Trump is not exactly the best messenger on this front, given his
at least implied support for police abuses. But he is correct that
he signed the FIRST STEP Act, the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Kamala Harris’s Misguided Plan to Close the Gender-Pay Gap

May 28, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

California senator Kamala Harris has unveiled a new plan to close the gender-pay gap.

Under Harris’s proposal, companies with 100 or more employees
would have to report pay differentials between men and women,
controlling for “differences in job titles, experience, and
performance.” If they could not show that men and women were paid
the same after factoring these controls in, they would be fined 1
percent of profits for every 1 percent gap in pay.

This “solution,” at one level, is curious. The statistic on
which widely reported claims of a “gender pay gap” are based – that
full-time female workers are paid only about 80
percent
of what full-time male workers make — doesn’t
account for job types, experience, or performance. In that sense,
Harris’s legislation recognizes that such metrics are meaningless
or, at least, too crude. But that means there’s also no reason to
think that beefing up “equal pay for equal work” legislation by
putting the presumption of compliance onto employers will close the
headline rate everyone discusses.

In short, Harris’s plan does not really target the “gender pay
gap” at all. It attempts to further stamp out gender pay
discrimination by “policing at the elbow.” That aim will have fewer
opponents. Yet the truth is, more factors than she accounts for
determine wages. Her legislation would create significant
compliance costs and avoidance strategies, lead to potential
surpluses and shortages of workers, and could even hurt women who
currently enjoy flexible working arrangements.

To see why, consider the Game of Thrones cast. Playing
each character really constitutes a different “job.” The company
producing the show could easily argue it has no pay gap at all
then, in a literal sense, even before collecting any information.
Yet suppose there were two extras running from Drogon in King’s
Landing in that penultimate episode – one male and one female -
with the same role, number of lines, screen time, and measurable
prior experience. There still might be good reasons why they could
command different pay rates.

The man, for example, may be of a certain height or look that is
in high supply among the pool of prospective extras. The woman
might perfectly reflect the needs of the show but have a lucrative
offer to appear in another show, requiring higher payment to
attract her. Quite simply, beyond “job titles, experience, and
performance,” supply and demand and other factors determine pay in
actual markets. Not accounting for them risks finding
discrimination where it doesn’t actually exist.

Indeed, it doesn’t make sense to think that work is of “equal
value” because you’ve controlled for observed performance factors.
It’s a …read more

Source: OP-EDS