You are browsing the archive for 2019 August 15.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why Napoleon Kidnapped One Pope After Another

August 15, 2019 in History

By Una McIlvenna

Between the hours of 2 and 3 on the morning of July 6, 1809, French troops under the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte scaled the walls of the gardens of the Quirinal Palace in Rome and penetrated into the part of the palace occupied by papal servants. After an hour of violent skirmishes with the Swiss guards, they arrested Pope Pius VII, spiriting him away in the night to Savona, near Genoa. He would not return to Rome for another five years.

Pope Pius VII, who became pope in 1800.

The kidnapping was the climax of the combative relationship between the global leader of the Catholic Church and the brash Emperor. From the beginning of Pius VII’s papacy in 1800 to the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the two men were continually at loggerheads, with the French military leader regularly infuriated by the pope’s refusal to meet his demands.

But it wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened: in 1796, during the French Revolutionary Wars, French troops under Napoleon had invaded Rome and taken the previous pontiff, Pope Pius VI, as prisoner to France, where he died in 1799. The following year, after the papal seat sat vacant for six months, cardinal Chiaramonti was elected to the papacy, taking the name Pius VII. But because the French had seized the papal tiaras when they had arrested Pius VI, the new pope was crowned on 21 March 1800 with a papier-mâché tiara.

Despite his desire to control Europe without rival, Napoleon understood that he needed to reach an accommodation with the all-powerful Catholic Church. In long negotiations eight years before his kidnapping, Pius VII eventually signed the Concordat of 1801, which recognized that the Church was ‘the religion of the great majority of the French people’, but simultaneously limited the size of the French clergy and bound its members tightly to the French state, which would henceforth pay their salaries. The agreement strictly constrained the pope’s authority in France, and approved of the Revolutionary government’s selling off of the Catholic Church’s vast landholdings in France.

The relationship between the two men had been fraying for a long time. Even with all the church’s concessions, Napoleon still looked for ways to prove his dominance—and his opulent coronation in Notre-Dame cathedral in 1804 provided a perfect stage to humiliate Pius VII. The pontiff had always traditionally crowned the Holy Roman Emperor, but …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Do Oren Cass’s Justifications for Industrial Policy Stack Up?

August 15, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Oren Cass wants the U.S. government to adopt a manufacturing-focused “industrial

In a speech at the National Conservatism conference last month,
the Manhattan Institute scholar explicitly repudiated the view that
resources are usually best allocated by voluntary market trades
between consumers and producers.

No, said Cass, “market economies do not automatically allocate
resources well across sectors.” Some “vital sectors…suffer from
underinvestment” as a result and, though naturally imperfect, a
“sensible industrial policy” could improve on the outcomes we
currently experience.

A belief that there is such widespread “market failure” to be
corrected through the government thumbing the scale might sound
familiar to those with knowledge of the socialist economic planning
debates. Cass baulks at the idea the socialist label can be
thrown at him. But he has not yet answered the central questions
this analogy poses: Why is the government better placed to decide
the industrial composition of the economy than the interaction of
consumers and producers? And would the political system deliver an
economically-reasoned industrial policy in practice?

Some industrial policy advocates rightly state that
current policy is more interventionist than we would like, and
replete with incentives, subsidies, and tax breaks that could be
considered a de facto industrial policy for the economy

But Cass’s case is not merely a criticism of how current policy
operates, or seeking to level the playing field. He explicitly says
that markets do not allocate funds effectively, thus
implying an explicit manufacturing-focused industrial strategy
from government would be desirable even if today’s current
distortions were eliminated.

Yet his speech gives no indication of how we might judge how
well or badly resources are currently allocated across sectors, nor
a measure of how we could judge whether there is indeed currently
“underinvestment” within them.

Oren Cass asserts that
markets cannot generally allocate resources efficiently by
industry. Yet he provides no meaningful metrics to show this is the
case, nor shows why his policies would deliver better

The closest he gets is a throwaway line about the size of
manufacturing in U.S. output (12 percent) being smaller than in
Germany (23 percent) and Japan (19 percent). No evidence is
presented for why these levels are optimal or even better.

Without this kind of information, how are we to judge Cass’s
industrial policy prescriptions and whether they achieve his goals?
Is economic efficiency his aim? Employment? Or something else?

In the absence of meaningful metrics for success, we must
instead assess the likelihood of what he foresees as the social and
economic benefits from a manufacturing-focused policy shift.

The Supposed Benefits of Manufacturing

Manufacturing, which he defines as making “physical things”
(traditional manufacturing, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Battle of Marathon

August 15, 2019 in History

By Editors

The Battle of Marathon in 590 B.C. was part of the first Persian invasion of Greece. The battle was fought on the Marathon plain of northeastern Attica and marked the first blows of the Greco-Persian War.

With the Persians closing in on the Greek capitol, Athenian general Miltiades took command of the hastily assembled army. Miltiades weakened the center of his outnumbered force to strengthen its wings, causing confusion among the invading Persians.

His strategy was victorious over the Persians’ strength, and the victory of “the Marathon men” captured the collective imagination of the Greeks. The tale of the messenger Pheidippides running 25 miles to Athens to deliver the news of the Persian defeat inspired the creation of the modern marathon.

The Cause of the Battle of Marathon

The Battle of Marathon was fought because the Persian Army wanted to defeat the Greek city-states that supported the uprisings in Ionia, part of modern-day Turkey, against the Persian Empire.

The first encounter on the Greek mainland between East (Persia) and West (Greece) took place in August or September of 590 B.C., on the small seaside plain of Marathon, 26 miles northeast of Athens. The Persian expeditionary force of Darius I was not large, perhaps numbering under 30,000.

Lead by generals Hippias, Datis and Artaphernes, the Persian Army arrived confident after storming the nearby Greek city-state of Eretria. No allies except the Plataeans joined the Athenian resistance of less than 10,000 troops, and some autocratic regimes in Attica supported the invaders in the hope of toppling the fledgling democracy.

What Happened at the Battle of Marathon?

To meet the larger invading force, the Athenian army commander Miltiades thinned out his army’s center and reinforced the wings, hoping that his hoplites—heavily armed foot soldiers—could hold the middle while his flanks broke through the lighter-clad Persian infantry. In fact, the Athenian center broke, but it held long enough for the Athenians to rout the Persian wings and meet in the rear, causing a general panic among the invaders.

The Persians would invade Greece again in 480 B.C. under Xerxes I, son of Darius, who planned to succeed in conquering Greece where his father had failed. The allied Greek city-states under King Leonidas of Sparta held off the Persian invasion for seven days in the Battle of Thermopylae, earning them a place in history for their last stand in defense of their native soil. But it …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Homestead Act

August 15, 2019 in History

By Editors

The 1862 Homestead Act accelerated settlement of U.S. western territory by allowing any American, including freed slaves, to put in a claim for up to 160 free acres of federal land.

President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862 granted Americans 160-acre plots of public land for the price a small filing fee. The Civil War-era act, considered one of the United States’ most important pieces of legislation, led to Western expansion and allowed citizens of all walks of life—including former slaves, women and immigrants—to become landowners.

Why the Homestead Act Was Passed

In a July 4, 1861 speech, Lincoln told the nation the purpose of America’s government was “to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial burdens from all shoulders and to give everyone an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.” He followed through with the passage of the Homestead Act, which remained active for 124 years until it was repealed in 1976, and resulted in 10 percent of U.S. land—or 270 million acres—to be claimed and settled.

The incentive to move and settled on western territory was open to all U.S. citizens, or intended citizens, and resulted in 4 million homestead claims, although 1.6 million deeds in 30 states were actually officially obtained. Montana, followed by North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska had the most successful claims. Native Americans were forced from their lands and onto reservations to make way for homesteaders.

During a speech made in Ohio in February 1861, Lincoln said the act was “worthy of consideration, and that the wild lands of the country should be distributed so that every man should have the means and opportunity of benefiting his condition.”

How People Applied to the Homestead Act

To make a claim, homesteaders paid a filing fee of $18—$10 to make a temporary claim on the land, $2 for commission to the land agent and an additional $6 final payment to receive an official patent on the land. Land titles could also be purchased from the government for $1.25 per acre following six months of proven residency.

Additional requirements included five years of continuous residence on the land, building a home on it, farming the land and making improvements. Homesteaders, who had to be the head of a household or 21 years of age and had to certify they had never borne arms against the …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

5 Reasons Why Woodstock '69 Became Legendary

August 15, 2019 in History

By Editors

The Woodstock music festival was not a smoothly-run event, but it was electrified with moments—musical and otherwise—that made it it unforgettable.

Before mid-August in 1969, no one knew just how big the Woodstock music festival would become. It was organized by people who had originally just wanted to build a music studio in the upstate New York village. When word got out that a event was in the works, locals had fought to cancel it. And, while over 50,000 tickets were sold in advance of the event, ultimately more than 400,000 flooded to the venue on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm.

What unfolded over the next three days from August 15-18, 1969 became legendary—as a music event and as a generational moment. As a long-haired man identified as “Speed” . “The monitors kept breaking. The sound was sh**.”

Read more: How a Music Festival That Should’ve Been a Disaster Became Iconic Instead

Rain soaked the crowds at Woodstock.

The festival opened under blue skies but a brutal thunderstorm rolled in.

Back in 1969, there were no weather apps or 24-hour weather channels and few attendees had come prepared for bad weather. “We didn’t bring any rain gear or ponchos,” says then 22-year-old Nancy Eisenstein. “And back then people didn’t have bottled water. We figured, ‘I’ll get there and there will be water. I’ll get there are there will be food.’”

Another attendee, Carl Porter, remembers watching the skies open up onto the crowds. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he remembers. “Waves and waves of torrential water hitting hundreds of thousands of people who had nowhere to go. It was pathetic. ‘Drowned rats’ doesn’t even come close to describing it.”

Read more: Woodstock, the Legendary 1969 Festival, Was Also a Miserable Mud Pit

Stephen Stills (left) and David Crosby of the group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young perform on stage at Woodstock on August 17, 1969.

Woodstock was one of the first concerts at which Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young played as a group.

Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Graham Nash had recently recruited Neil Young to join their band and add to their acoustic sound. Some say the four first sang together at the home of folk legend Joni Mitchell in Laurel Canyon. While they didn’t always get along (Young only agreed to sing at Woodstock if he wasn’t filmed), their voices together produced stunning harmonies. Woodstock was only their second …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Saving China’s Uighurs: Can Washington Do the Impossible?

August 15, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Almost from the nation’s beginning, Americans have sought
to liberate their geographical neighborhood and the world beyond.
Only a few years after winning independence, they debated aiding
faraway Greeks fighting the Ottoman Empire, even though this was
well beyond their means.

Two centuries later, a far more powerful United States faces a
similar dilemma. There is a growing movement to “do
something” about China’s terrible treatment of its
Muslim Uighur population, a million of whom (and perhaps far more)
have been locked up in reeducation camps. Authoritarian, even
totalitarian, controls have been imposed in Xinjiang province. The
scope of oppression is breathtaking.

Writes the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin:
“Republicans and Democrats, isolationists and
internationalists, the Trump administration and Congress, even
Christians and Muslims all agree: This is a catastrophe the United
States can no longer ignore.” Several House members have
written to express their dismay that “the administration has
taken no meaningful action in response to the situation.”
They insist that the president come up with plans to hold
“Beijing accountable” and “make clear to the
Chinese government that the situation is a priority for the U.S.

Unfortunately America’s
desire to redress injustice far outstrips our ability to do

Laments Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uighur Congress:
“Each time the world swears never again. When will we
actually mean it?” Yet what does “never again”
mean when dealing with a major, well-armed power with nuclear
weapons? During the Cold War, a much weaker People’s Republic
of China committed far worse crimes against its own people. Today,
humanitarian military intervention is inconceivable: the result
would be even worse human carnage. America certainly isn’t
going to war with the PRC.

Economic sanctions have become America’s “go
to” policy when it dislikes what other countries are doing.
However, Beijing is a far more significant power than those nations
typically targeted. China’s commercial ties extend through
Asia and Europe and on to Africa and even Latin America.

Trade penalties have proven ineffective even when applied
against weaker nations, including Russia, Iran, North Korea, Sudan,
Cuba, and Venezuela. At best, those sanctions helped push some,
like Tehran, to the negotiating table. But in no case did those
countries change their internal policies.

Indeed, sanctions do more to hurt the people than their
governments. Consider the infamous exchange with UN Ambassador
Madeleine Albright, who, when pressed to justify the deaths of a
half million Iraqi children due to sanctions, asserted: “We
think the price is worth it.” Someone should have asked the

In response to such criticism, the U.S. insists that it’s
now imposing “smart” sanctions, punishing those
believed to be responsible for offensive policies. However, the
leaders of hostile states …read more

Source: OP-EDS