You are browsing the archive for 2019 November 21.

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Thanksgiving: A Timeline of the Holiday

November 21, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

From the earliest Fall feasts to the first Thanksgiving football game to the Macy’s Day parade, here’s the full background on how the U.S. holiday evolved to the tradition it is today.

There’s no holiday that’s more quintessentially American than …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Tecumseh

November 21, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Tecumseh was a Shawnee warrior chief who organized a Native American confederacy in an effort to create an autonomous Indian state and stop white settlement in the Old Northwest Territory (modern-day Great Lakes region). He firmly believed all Indian tribes must settle their differences and unite to retain their lands, culture and freedom. Tecumseh led his followers against the United States in many battles and supported the British during the War of 1812. But his dream of independence ended when he was killed at the Battle of Thames, which led to the collapse of his Indian confederacy.

Early Years

Tecumseh, whose name in Shawnee means “shooting star” or “blazing comet,” was born in 1768 in the western Ohio Valley to the Shawnee war chief Puckeshinwa and his wife Methoataske. After Puckeshinwa was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant (Lord Dunsmore’s War), Methoataske migrated to Missouri with other tribe members, leaving Tecumseh and his siblings behind to be raised by their older sister Tecumapease.

Tecumapease taught Tecumseh the tenets of Shawnee culture; his older brother Cheeseekau taught him how to be a warrior. By his teenage years, Tecumseh had come to despise Americans after witnessing the atrocities they committed against the Shawnee people and their land; however, the brutal tactics some Indians used to fight the white man also horrified him.

In the late 1780s, Tecumseh participated in a series of raids on settlers, then accompanied his brother Cheeseekau and a small band of Shawnee warriors to Tennessee to join a group of Cherokee Chickamauga. After Cheeseekau was killed, Tecumseh became leader of the Shawnee band and returned to Ohio to help Chief Bluejacket battle the U.S. Army.

Treaty of Greenville

Under Bluejacket’s direction in 1791, Tecumseh led a scouting party to help defeat General Arthur St. Clair’s army at the bloody Battle of Wabash. He then fought at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on the Maumee River, where General Anthony Wayne and his army decisively defeated the Indians, and both sides signed the Treaty of Greenville which forced the Indians to forfeit much of their land in the Old Northwest Territory.

Tecumseh refused to sign the treaty, however, because he felt the Indians didn’t own the land they’d given up. He believed the land was shared by all Indians and could not be negotiated away. Native Americans abided by the Treaty of Greenville, but white settlers and their leaders did not.

Prophetstown

By the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why Pilgrims Arriving in America Resisted Bathing

November 21, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Early American colonists rarely bathed, instead they believed other practices, like regularly changing their undergarments, qualified as good hygiene.

When the Mayflower Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth in the early 17th century, they didn’t smell terrific, according to Native American accounts. Unlike the Wampanoag, these Europeans didn’t bathe regularly. A surviving member of the Patuxet nation named Tisquantum (or “Squanto”) even tried and failed to convince them to start washing themselves, according to a 1965 biography.

“Bathing as you and I know it was very, very uncommon [among western Europeans] until the later part of the 18th century,” says W. Peter Ward, a professor emeritus of history at the University of British Columbia and author of the new book The Clean Body: A Modern History.

This went for people of all social classes. Louis XIV, a 17th-century king of France, is said to have only taken three baths in his entire life. Both rich and poor might wash their faces and hands on a daily or weekly basis, but almost no one in western Europe washed their whole body with any regularity, says Ward. The Separatist Pilgrims and the Puritans who followed them may have even thought that submerging their whole body in water was unhealthy, and that taking all of their clothes off to do so was immodest.

“The idea of being clean wasn’t closely associated with water in the 17th century anywhere in the western world,” Ward says.

READ MORE: What’s the Difference Between Puritans and Pilgrims

Although bathhouses did exist in the colonies, they were not for bathing in the modern sense. Rather, bathhouses were thought of as a kind of medicinal cure, or else a place for wealthy people to relax. In the 1770s, the royal governor of the Colony of Virginia used his bathhouse to cool down on a particularly hot day. And the handful of baths Louis XIV took? Those were on the advice of a doctor, to treat his convulsions.

“Cleanliness, to the extent that people thought about it in the 17th century, had much more to do with what we now call underwear than anything else,” Ward says. Colonists kept themselves “clean” by changing the white linens under their clothes. The cleaner and whiter the linens, the cleaner the person—or so the thinking went.

“It was thought that the linen underwear was what really kept the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Arab Spring 2.0: Don’t Get Any Ideas, Washington

November 21, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Middle East is erupting again, as angry youths lead demonstrations in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. In fact, protests reach much further: Hong Kong and Chile have been similarly convulsed. If nothing else, political elites around the world are sleeping a little less soundly.

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In 2011, popular discontent swept the Arab world, but only Tunisia looks remotely successful. Syria and Libya were convulsed by devastating civil wars. Egypt ended up ruled by an even more brutal despot. Bahrain’s Sunni royal family relied on the Saudi military to ensure the subservience of the Shia majority. The other Gulf kingdoms bought political peace, increasing welfare payments to their largely dependent populations. No country in the region looks particularly stable.

The most striking though least noted demonstrations may be those in Egypt. In September, several thousand people took to the streets in Cairo and a half dozen other cities demanding the ouster of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The regime arrested some 4,300 protesters. About them, the Trump administration said nothing, since President Donald Trump likes the brutal new pharaoh.

Sisi has jailed and tortured more people than his predecessor and closed down NGOs that monitored Cairo’s human rights abuses. Yet despite the near-certainty that they’d face extended prison terms, demonstrators turned out against his regime. Their courage demonstrated his fragility. People are angry over the continued lack of economic growth and jobs. Corruption rages unabated: Sisi represents the statist commercial class, dependent on government favors. Moreover, he has reinforced the armed services’ extensive control over the economy, which has turned soldiers into a privileged class. He no longer makes any pretense of political liberalization, having crushed all activism, and not only that of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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In the short term, he is unlikely to be ousted. However, his long-term survival is less certain, since he is widely hated and seen as vulnerable. Even the military has put distance between it and the president; he had to arrest and intimidate officers to prevent them from …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Trump Must Understand a War with Iran Would Be Hell

November 21, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Key point: The entire Middle East could go up in flames.

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Sixteen years ago, the George W. Bush administration manipulated intelligence to scare the public into backing an aggressive war against Iraq. The smoking gun mushroom clouds that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned against didn’t exist, but the invasion long desired by neoconservatives and other hawks proceeded. Liberated Iraqis rejected U.S. plans to create an American puppet state on the Euphrates and the aftermath turned into a humanitarian and geopolitical catastrophe which continues to roil the Middle East.

Thousands of dead Americans, tens of thousands of wounded and maimed U.S. personnel, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and millions of Iraqis displaced. There was the sectarian conflict, destruction of the historic Christian community, the creation of Al Qaeda in Iraq—which morphed into the far deadlier Islamic State—and the enhanced influence of Iran. The prime question was how could so many supposedly smart people be so stupid?

Now the Trump administration appears to be following the same well-worn path. The president has fixated on Iran, tearing up the nuclear accord with Tehran and declaring economic war on it—as well as anyone dealing with Iran. He is pushing America toward war even as he insists that he wants peace. How stupid does he believe we are?

Naturally, the administration blames Iran for not accepting its supposedly generous offer to talk. However, Tehran has no reason to believe that Washington is serious. One doesn’t have to be a hardline Shiite ayatollah to see little point in negotiating with a president seemingly determined on surrender or war—and who can’t be counted on to keep any agreement he makes.

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Indeed, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently proposed talks without preconditions, other than that Iran needed to behave as “a normal nation” and accede to Washington’s many impossible demands even before sitting down at the negotiating table. National Security Adviser John Bolton later explained the president was “prepared to talk about what the future” but only after Iran gave up “their nuclear and other unacceptable …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Trump’s Bold East Asia Defense Financial Burden-Sharing Campaign

November 21, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

President Donald Trump’s repeated demands that the NATO allies pay more of the costs for collective defense have received abundant attention in Congress and the foreign policy community. Defenders of the status quo, alongside media personalities, have screeched that Trump has put in jeopardy Washington’s sacred transatlantic security architecture. But the president’s complaints about U.S. allies free-riding on America’s security efforts are not confined to Europe. As far back as the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump criticized Washington’s East Asian allies, especially South Korea and Japan, for similar laxity.

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He has now launched a new phase in his effort to secure greater financial burden-sharing. The first salvo was his demand that Seoul agree to a five-fold increase in its annual payment to offset some of the costs of U.S. troops stationed in that country—a boost that would bring the total to $4.7 billion. Just days later, he called on Tokyo to quadruple its payment for U.S. forces deployed in Japan from $2 billion to $8 billion. There is now rampant speculation that he will adopt a similar stance toward the European allies, especially Germany, leading up to the NATO summit in early December.

In one sense, Trump’s demands are logical and long overdue. Historically, empires typically do not subsidize their security dependents. Washington’s policy since the late 1940s is an oddity in that respect. U.S. leaders have long complained about how its allies shamelessly allow the United States to pay for their security, but they have never taken substantive actions to halt this financial tactic. And despite Trump’s bombast during his presidential campaign and first months in the office about an America First foreign policy that would insist on greater burden-sharing, his actions followed the pattern of impotent grousing. Indeed, one of the Trump administration’s first actions was to dispatch Secretary of Defense James Mattis on a mission to reassure the NATO members and the East Asian allies of Washington’s undying dedication to their security. As with previous administrations, such fawning undercut any incentive the allies might have had to alleviate U.S. alliance burdens.

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