You are browsing the archive for 2019 October.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Taking a Stand against Imperialistic Chinese Censors

October 31, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Maserati of Italy is the latest Western business racing to prostrate itself before Chinese censors. Owned by Fiat, the car company recently requested that its local Taiwanese dealer drop sponsorship of the Golden Horse Awards, the Asian equivalent of America’s Academy Awards.

,

Last year, a Taiwanese award recipient declared that she was looking forward to when her country would be treated like, well, a country, which sparked wailing and gnashing of teeth in the People’s Republic of China. So the luxury carmaker is now groveling, lest it lose access to all of those new billionaires on the mainland. “Maserati always respects China’s territorial integrity, history and culture,” it said, “and firmly upholds the one-China principle.” What other Chinese Communist Party principles does Maserati uphold?

One suspects that President Xi Jinping and his CCP apparatchiks are enjoying as those in the West who once invaded and occupied Imperial China now prostrate themselves and parrot the Beijing line. And alas, it isn’t just Maserati. Despite its progressive pretensions, the NBA went into full submission mode after Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the Hong Kong demonstrators (it did flip back a bit under public pressure). Apple, Christian Dior, Gap, Zara, and a gaggle of airlines have also engaged in high-level sniveling.

,

,

The Xi regime targeted 44 international airlines, insisting that they not list Taiwan as a separate nation. It also insisted that the firms’ entire websites, not just their Chinese language variants, treat the Republic of China, still officially recognized by a handful of small nations, as Chinese territory. American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United were the last to comply, but comply they did—although the PRC still complained when Taipei was listed without a country rather than as part of China (Chinese cities are named the same way).

Other cases involve Activision Blizzard, Cathay Pacific Airways, Marriott, Mercedes Benz, Tiffany, Versace, and many more. This all is “Orwellian nonsense,” as Washington complained last year, in requesting talks …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Harriet Tubman becomes the first African American woman to appear on a U.S. postage stamp

October 30, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Antislavery crusader and Civil War veteran Harriet Tubman becomes the first African American woman to appear on a U.S. postage stamp, the first in the Post Office’s Black Heritage Series. Tubman’s appearance on stamps was emblematic both of the progress made in recognizing African Americans’ contributions to American history and of the ongoing effort to put abolitionists on equal footing with slaveowners in the nation’s historical canon.

Tubman was a singular figure of the abolition movement, a slave who escaped captivity in Maryland and made at least 19 trips back to free more slaves. Tubman is estimated to have helped several hundred slaves find freedom in Canada via the Underground Railroad and is said to have “never lost a passenger.” During the Civil War, she freed 700 more when she led Union forces on a raid on Combahee Ferry in South Carolina. In her later life, though she had little money of her own, Tubman worked to house and feed the poor and became an important figure in the fight for women’s suffrage. Despite these extraordinary efforts, which earned her the epithet “the Moses of her people,” Tubman did not receive a pension for her services in the war until 1889 and died with little to her name.

READ MORE: 6 Strategies Harriet Tubman and Others Used to Escape Along the Underground Railroad

Her deeds were not forgotten, however, and in the wake of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements there was a push to recognize overlooked figures like Tubman. Her inclusion in the Black Heritage Series put her alongside figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Booker T. Washington and Jackie Robinson and spread her image around the country. In 2016, following years of calls from activists, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Tubman’s face would replace that of President Andrew Jackson, a slaveowner and avowed white supremacist, on the twenty-dollar bill. The following year, however, Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, cancelled the switch, saying, “We’ve got a lot more important issues to focus on.” In response, a grassroots movement began to stamp Tubman’s image over that of Jackson.

READ MORE: Harriet Tubman: 8 Facts About the Daring Abolitionist

…read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses"

October 30, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Salman Rushdie likely understood he would cause a controversy when he published a novel titled The Satanic Verses. The book mocked or at least contained mocking references to the Prophet Muhammad and other aspects of Islam, in addition to and a character clearly based on the Supreme Leader of Iran. On February 14, 1989, that Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued just about the strongest response possible, calling on “all brave Muslims” to kill Rushdie and his publishers.

Although many of the most controversial things said about Islam and Muhammad in the book come from the mouths of disreputable or comic characters, it was undeniably critical and insulting. The title refers to passages said to have been removed from the Qur’an in which the Prophet spoke the words of Satan instead of God, and many were particularly incensed by the depiction of a brothel where the prostitutes shared the names of Muhammad’s wives. Khomeini, who had suddenly deposed a U.S.-backed monarch a decade before, was the leader of a group of clerics who had turned Iran into a theocracy. As such, he was perhaps the most prominent Shi’a authority in the world. Muslims around the world had already condemned The Satanic Verses—it was publicly burnt in Bolton, UK, sparked a deadly riot in Pakistan and was banned entirely in multiple Muslim countries—but Khomeini’s fatwa brought the controversy to new heights.

Booksellers the world over, including many Barnes & Noble stores in the United States, refused to sell The Satanic Verses for fear of retribution. Many that did sell it were bombed. Free speech advocates and anti-religious figures vociferously defended Rushdie, but many Muslim leaders and even moderate Muslim cultural figures outright condemned him or at least stated he had gone too far. Rushdie apologized both to the Ayatollah and to Muslims around the world in 1989 and 1990, but protests and violence continued. The novel’s Japanese translator was stabbed to death in 1991, while its Italian translator was critically wounded by an assailant. Rushdie later said he regretted apologizing.

A fatwa is a judgement issued by a religious scholar and can only be repealed by that same scholar, meaning that the fatwa against Rushdie could never be taken back after the Ayatollah’s death in June of 1989. In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would neither “support nor hinder” Rushdie’s assassination, and private groups inside Iran and …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

6 Strategies Harriet Tubman and Others Used to Escape Along the Underground Railroad

October 30, 2019 in History

By Jesse Greenspan

From elaborate disguises to communicating in code to fighting back, enslaved people found multiple paths to freedom.

Despite the horrors of slavery, it was no easy decision to flee. Escaping often involved leaving behind family and heading into the complete unknown, where harsh weather and lack of food might await.

Then there was the constant threat of capture. So-called slave catchers and their dogs roamed both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, nabbing runaways—and sometimes free blacks like Solomon Northup—and transporting them back to the plantation, where they would be whipped, beaten, branded or killed.

Yet those willing to brave the risks did have one main ally: the Underground Railroad, a vast, loosely organized network of constantly-changing routes that guided slaves to freedom.

All told, in the decades preceding the Civil War, up to 100,000 slaves escaped. Some went to Mexico or Spanish-controlled Florida or hid out in the wilderness. Most, though, traveled to the Northern free states or Canada.

Harriet Tubman, circa 1860s.

1: Getting Help

No matter how courageous or clever, few slaves threw off their shackles without at least some outside help. Assistance could be as slight as clandestine tips, passed by word of mouth, on how to get away and who to trust. The luckiest, however, followed so-called “conductors,” such as Harriet Tubman, who, after escaping slavery in 1849, devoted herself fully to the Underground Railroad.

In about 13 trips back to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she had been brutally mistreated as an enslaved child, Tubman rescued some 70 people, mostly family and friends. Like her fellow conductors, Tubman cultivated a network of collaborators, including so-called “stationmasters,” who stashed her charges in barns and other safe houses along the way.

Tubman knew the Maryland landscape inside and out, generally following the North Star or rivers that snaked north. She knew which authorities were susceptible to bribes. And she knew how to communicate—and gather intelligence—without being caught.

She would, for example, sing certain songs, or mimic an owl, to signify when it was time to escape or when it was too dangerous to come out of hiding. She also mailed coded letters and sent along messengers.

2: Timing

Over the years, Tubman developed certain extra strategies for keeping her pursuers at arm’s length. For one, she usually operated in winter, when longer nights allowed her to cover more ground. She also preferred …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

8 Creepy Halloween Tales & Traditions

October 30, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Halloween’s focus on horror and make believe has spawned creepy legends, ghost stories—and hoaxes.

On Halloween, people shed reality for a day and mark the holiday with costumes, decorations and parties. Creepy legends and characters have evolved based on real, terrifying events. And a Halloween tradition of confronting the dead has led to legions of ghost stories—and hoaxes.

Read about Halloween traditions and legends below:

A Fear of Vampires Spawned by Consumption

Illustration of a family member dying from consumption in the 19th century.

During the 19th century, the spread of tuberculosis, or consumption, claimed the lives of entire families in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and other parts of New England.

Before physicians were able to explain how infectious diseases were spread, hopeless villagers believed that some of those who perished from consumption preyed upon their living family members. This spurred a grim practice of digging up the dead and burning their internal organs.

Read more about the 19th-century exhumations here.

Why Haunted Houses Opened During the Great Depression


Halloween night mischief inspired communities to open haunted houses during the Great Depression.

In the period leading up to the Great Depression, Halloween had become a time when young men could blow off steam—and cause mischief. Sometimes they went too far. In 1933, parents were outraged when hundreds of teenage boys flipped over cars, sawed off telephone poles and engaged in other acts of vandalism across the country. People began to refer to that year’s holiday as “Black Halloween,” similarly to the way they referred to the stock market crash four years earlier as “Black Tuesday.

Rather than banning the holiday, as some demanded, many communities began organizing Halloween activities—and haunted houses—to keep restless would-be pranksters occupied.

Read more about Great Depression-era Halloween pranks here.

Jack-o-Lanterns and the Legend of ‘Stingy Jack’


The original Jack-o-lanterns were carved out of turnips.

An Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack” is believed to have led to the tradition of carving scary faces into gourds. According to the legend, Jack tricks the Devil into paying for his drink and then traps him in the form of a coin. The Devil eventually takes revenge and Stingy Jack ends up roaming Earth for eternity without a place in heaven or hell. Jack does, however, have a lighted coal, which he places inside a carved turnip, creating the original Jack-o-lantern.

Read more …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

How Versailles' Over-the-Top Opulence Drove the French to Revolt

October 29, 2019 in History

By Hadley Meares

The palace with more than 2,000 rooms, featured elaborate gardens, fountains, a private zoo, roman-style baths and even 18th-century elevators.

In the early morning of October 6, 1789, hundreds of starving, defiant women and men (some disguised as women) from Paris stormed the palace of Versailles, the legendarily extravagant seat of government in France. They tore through the gilded halls, beating and beheading palace guards, displaying one grisly head on a pike.

The mob headed through the marbled corridors adorned with art celebrating the Bourbon dynasty, towards the private apartment of the half-dressed Queen , “the Marquis d’Argenson thought that the palace had signaled the arrival on French soil of ‘oriental regal extravagance.’”

It is not surprising the Louis XIV (1638-1715), known as the “sun king” and the “vainest man ever” was the royal responsible for turning what had once been a small royal hunting lodge into the most extravagant court that Europe had ever known. Entrusting Europe’s master architects, designers and craftsmen with what he termed his “glory,” he spent a huge amount of taxpayer money on Versailles and its more than 2,000 rooms, elaborate gardens, fountains, private zoo, roman style baths (for frolicking with his mistress) and novel elevators.

The Hall of Mirrors

The Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, on the occasion of the marriage of the Dauphin, in 1745.

At a time when most of his subjects lived bleak lives in little more than wooden or stone hovels, Louis was paying for the Hall of Mirrors, whose Baroque splendor dazzles to this day. As Francis Loring Payne describes the 240-foot-long hall in The Story of Versailles: “Seventeen lofty windows are matched by as many Venetian framed mirrors. Between each window and each mirror are pilasters designed by Coyzevox, Tubi and Caffieri—reigning masters of their time…Walls are of marble embellished with bronze-gilt trophies; large niches contain statues in the antique style.”

On May 6, 1682, Louis officially moved his court—including his government ministers, his official family, his mistresses and his illegitimate children—to Versailles. He also demanded that nobles and minor royals be in attendance at Versailles and live in whatever small apartments they were given. This move was designed to neutralize the power of the nobles. This it did, but it also created a hotbed of boredom and extravagance, with hundreds of aristocrats crammed together, many with nothing to do but gossip, spend money and play.

Royal …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why E-Verify Is Failing

October 29, 2019 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Politicians of all stripes have rallied around the federal government’s E-Verify system as a low cost and effective way to keep undocumented immigrants out of the United States. Congress needs to reauthorize E-Verify this fall when funding for the government runs out. Between now and then, members of Congress need to take a serious look at this failed program.

,

E-Verify is a database system that checks identities of newly hired workers against government records. Employers are supposed to fire new employees if the system flags them as being in the United States illegally. In this way, the program is supposed to turn off the jobs magnet that attracts undocumented immigrants in the first place. Proponents of the system believe that without the jobs magnet, illegal immigration would stop.

E-Verify’s theoretical simplicity is one reason why it was initially so popular in some southern states and Arizona. If a quick computer check could accurately tell whether a worker is an undocumented immigrant then workplace raids, mass roundups of undocumented immigrants and a massive deportation force becomes unnecessary. Most would just self-deport, in the famous words of Sen. Mitt Romney, while he was a presidential candidate in 2012.

,

,

That’s the theory anyway. In reality, three groups of people—workers, companies and even the politicians who trumpet it—have come together to ensure that E-Verify remains completely powerless.

Congress has not mandated E-Verify nationwide, but states have been experimenting with it as an immigration enforcement tool for more than a decade. In these cases, state-level employers were required to run the identity information provided by new hires through the online E-Verify website, then wait for government permission to keep the worker on the payroll.

The first state to mandate E-Verify for all new hires was Arizona in 2008. Former Arizona Republican state Sen. Rich Crandall said E-Verify “was promised as the silver bullet to immigration problems. E-Verify …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

NBA Controversy Highlights China’s Bullying Tactics

October 28, 2019 in Economics

By Tanja Porčnik, Visio Institut

Tanja Porčnik and Visio Institut

Even though Hong Kong operates under separate laws within the ‘one country, two systems’ model, the invisible hand of mainland China is becoming increasingly visible in the territory. In response, mass protests have been ongoing for four months in Hong Kong.

,

This political crisis in Hong Kong represents one of the major challenges to Communist Party authority since the Tiananmen Square protest three decades ago.

People around the world have been expressing support of Hongkongers in their fight for human rights and democratic political institutions. One of them, Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets general manager, tweeted an image that stated: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

,

,

His tweet drew immediate and fierce condemnation in China (ironically, Twitter is banned in China) followed by substantial retaliation from several key partners, such as the Chinese Basketball Association, China’s state-run television network CCTV, Chinese Internet giant Tencent Sports, and Alibaba, biggest online retailer in China.

In response to their wrath, Morey deleted the tweet and the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, defended freedom of expression of players, coaches, and team owners. LeBron James said Morey was “misinformed.”

After the NBA’s decades-long push to develop China into its largest overseas market, the financial consequences of a conflict with China will amount to billions of dollars. While some may not like it, the NBA has a prerogative to act in its own interest, whatever that might be, even if that interest is based solely on making money. After all, the United States upholds the economic freedom.

The same applies to the coaches and players in the NBA. Not just their pecuniary interest, they might not be prepared to put their careers on the line to speak out against human rights violations. They might also be selective about which causes they support publicly.

After all, it is their freedom to lead their lives as they wish, just like it is their right to publicly express their opinion, or not, if they wish.

International companies doing business in the Chinese 1.4 …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Families Love School Choice, but Elizabeth Warren Loves Taking It Away

October 28, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Sometimes it’s better to have no plan at all than to have an awful one. If only Sen. Elizabeth Warren took that advice.

,

The Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate just released her education plan, which calls for more money for government-run schools and more regulations for the private and charter schools which compete with the public school system. Warren’s plan plainly ignores the wishes of families and their children. Nearly 30,000 students are desperately waiting in line for a chance to attend charter schools in Warren’s home state, but apparently, the senator thinks she knows what’s best for these children better than their parents.

My new study, just published at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, compares family satisfaction levels for private schools and charter schools to government-run schools in the United States. Using a nationally representative sample of over 13,000 students, I find that families are more satisfied with private and charter schools than government-run schools on six key measures of satisfaction.

,

Reason-Foundation-Tweet.jpg

,

Specifically, families with children in charter schools are 16% more likely to report being “very satisfied” with school than families with children in government-run schools. This increase in school satisfaction compared to government-run schools is 26% for Catholic schools, 30% for non-Catholic religious private schools, and 27% for nonreligious private schools. The study’s results also suggest that private and charter school families are more satisfied with their teachers, academic standards, discipline, staff interaction with parents, and student enjoyment.

None of the models found any satisfaction advantages favoring government-run schools.

Because students likely differ on characteristics that affect school satisfaction, the analytic models include over 200 controls for factors such as household income, parent education, and family engagement. The overall advantages for private and charter schools remained even after controlling for the student’s grades and whether the school was their first choice, suggesting grade inflation …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Congestion Kills, so Why Are Politicians Making It Worse?

October 28, 2019 in Economics

By Randal O’Toole, Christopher Legras

Randal O'Toole and Christopher Legras

After evacuations bogged down during 2008 wildfires near the town of Paradise, California, a grand jury warned that Butte County needed to upgrade evacuation routes, which then consisted of three two-lane roads and a four-lane road. Instead, officials put the four-lane road on a “road diet,” reducing it to two lanes of travel. Obstacles known as “traffic calming measures” were installed throughout the town, including bulb-out’s, center medians, and extended sidewalks.

,

These measures were taken in the name of safety but they were far from safe. When the Camp Fire obliterated the town in 2018, many people were unable to evacuate due to congestion. Eighty-six people died, some of them in their cars as they tried to flee.

Despite experiences like this, more than 1,500 American jurisdictions, ranging from New York and Los Angeles to small towns like Waverly, Iowa, are using road diets and similar measures that reduce the capacity of streets to move traffic. It’s all in the name of “vision zero,” a planning fad that claims slowing traffic will reduce accidents and fatalities. In fact, it is increasing them.

,

,

The mass-produced automobile is one of the greatest inventions in American history because it brought both physical and economic mobility to the masses. These benefits were accompanied by pollution and safety issues, but such problems have dramatically declined. Cars today are 99 percent cleaner than cars in 1970, and fatality rates per 100 million vehicle miles have declined more than 75 percent.

Vehicle fatalities did increase in 2015 and 2016, which has given momentum to the vision zero movement. However, they dropped again in 2017 and 2018. Before setting policy, we have to understand why they increased in those two years.

The numbers reveal that fatalities plummeted 21 percent after the 2008 financial crisis. This was because total driving fell by 2.3 percent, reducing congestion and apparently increasing safety. When driving and congestion increased again during the …read more

Source: OP-EDS