LIBERATION OF PARIS (AMERICAN VERSION)

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TV: The Great War (BBC)

Books & Boots

9 March 2012

In 1964 the BBC produced a major documentary series about The Great War, feted with prizes and widely seen as the precursor to ITV’s landmark World At War. I toyed with buying the box set off Amazon but it’s a surprising £60 and I suspected would join all the other half-watched box sets in the cupboard.

Whereupon I discovered the whole thing is available free on YouTube! Just search for the titles of each episode, as listed on Wikipedia.

Having watched 23 episodes I’m struck by a) just how much footage seems to exist of specific events and b) the cumulative effect of hearing just a few pieces of classical music over and again: the brooding opening of Shostakovitch’s 11th symphony, the most intense parts of his 5th and 7th symphonies; the titanic opening chords of Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antarctica (occasional snippets of his pastoral…

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1848: Year of Revolution by Mike Rapport (2008)

Books & Boots

1848 became known as ‘the year of revolutions’ and ‘the springtime of nations’ because there was political turmoil, fighting and unrest right across Europe resulting in ministries and monarchies being toppled and new nation states proclaimed.

Causes

The underlying causes were agricultural, economic and demographic.

1. Agricultural failure

From 1845 onwards grain harvest across Europe were poor and this was exacerbated when the ‘fallback crop’, potatoes, were hit by a destructive ‘blight’. The result of the potato blight in Ireland is estimated to have been one and a half million deaths, but right across Europe peasants and small farmers starved, often to death. Hence the nickname for the decade as a whole, ‘the Hungry Forties’.

2. Economic downturn

Food shortages combined with an economic downturn resulting from overproduction, particularly in the textile industry, which saw textile workers and artisans  thrown out of work in all Europe’s industrialised areas, the north…

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BBC journalist Tweets inaccurate portrayal of Gaza riots

BBC Watch

As anyone who has been following the ‘Great Return March’ agitprop will be aware, the six weekly instalments (to date) of that publicity stunt organised by Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip have included stone-throwing, shooting and tyre burning, the use of petrol bombs, incendiary kites and IEDs, attempts to sabotage the border fence and attempts to infiltrate Israeli territory.

The phrase ‘largely peaceful’ is therefore hardly the most accurate term that could be chosen to describe the pre-planned actions of the Palestinian rioters, some of whom have already been shown to have links to terror groups.

However, that was exactly the term used by the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF – in a statement put out on May 4th.

“Over the past five weeks, five children were killed and hundreds were injured in largely peaceful protests in Gaza.”

Despite at least one…

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5 Reasons “Social Justice” Should be Rejected

While there are some notable similarities between classical liberalism and contemporary liberalism (or progressivism), it has become increasingly obvious that the differences between two philosophies are growing ever larger.

This is in large part due to the fact that progressives, particularly at universities and in coastal cities, have embraced, to seemingly an extreme degree, political correctness and cultural Marxism in the form of feminism, social justice, and race and gender based identity politics.

Now, these social justice oriented philosophies do have legitimate concerns and often do produce ideas that may improve our society. But generally, the “good” beliefs and ideas coming from the social justice movement are almost universally recognized already. Simultaneously, the worst parts about social justice ideology are almost entirely exclusive to it.

For example, nearly everyone accepts that many women and minorities will face certain social pressures and barriers to their success that most whites or men will rarely if ever face. The social justice left…

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Which Nation Has the Most Per-Capita Government Spending on Healthcare: France, Italy, the United States, Sweden, Canada, Greece, or the United Kingdom?

International Liberty

What government spends the most on health care?

  • Is it Canada or the United Kingdom, which are famous (or, if these stories are any indication, infamous would be a better description) for single-payer healthcare systems?
  • Is it Sweden, the home of the cradle-to-grave welfare state?
  • Or France, the land of the world’s most statist people?
  • How about Italy or Greece, nations that have spent themselves into fiscal crisis?

Nope, nope, nope, and nope.

The United States spends more money, on a per-capita basis, than any of those countries. Here’s a chart from a Forbes analysis prepared by Doug Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy.

Per Capita Government Healthcare Spending

There are three big reasons why there’s more government-financed healthcare spending in the United States.

1. Richer nations tend to spend more, regardless of how they structure their healthcare systems.

2. As you can see at the 1:18 mark of this video, the United…

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The Miracle of Modern-Day Prosperity…and the Ideas and Policies that Made it Happen

International Liberty

Why are some nations rich and other nations poor? What has enabled some nations to escape poverty while others continue to languish?

And if we want to help poor nations prosper, what’s the right recipe?

Since I’m a public finance economist, I’m tempted to say a flat tax and small government are an elixir for prosperity, but those policies are just one piece of a bigger puzzle.

A country also needs sensible monetary policy, open trade, modest regulation, and rule of law. In other words, you need small government AND free markets.

But even that doesn’t really tell us what causes growth.

In the past, I’ve highlighted the importance of capital formation and shared a remarkable chart showing how workers earn more when the capital stock is larger (which is why we should avoid punitive double taxation of income that is saved and invested).

But that also doesn’t…

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Bernie’s (Latest) Boondoggle

International Liberty

When I wrote about “crazy Bernie Sanders” in 2016, I wasn’t just engaging in literary hyperbole. The Vermont Senator is basically an unreconstructed leftist with a disturbing affinity for crackpot ideas and totalitarian regimes.

His campaign agenda that year was an orgy of new taxes and higher spending.

Though it’s worth noting that he’s at least crafty enough to steer clear of pure socialism. He wants massive increases in taxes, spending, and regulation, but even he doesn’t openly advocate government ownership of factories.

Then again, there probably wouldn’t be any factories to nationalize if Sanders was ever successful in saddling the nation with a Greek-sized public sector.

He’s already advocated a “Medicare-for-All” scheme with a 10-year price tag of $15 trillion, for instance. And now he has a new multi-trillion dollar proposal for guaranteed jobs.

In a column for the Washington Post

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Looming Catastrophe: Power Grid Collapse Now In Sight in New York

Watts Up With That?

“…many staff people at DPS, DEC, and NYISO who know this is going to end badly.”

Guest essay by John Droz Jr.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Station in New York. It sits on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 36 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, plans to shut down both of its operating reactors by April 2021.

Here is a fascinating and revealing news article behind a paywall that I’m alerting you to. It is about just a few of the complications that will result from New York State’s (NYS) Clean Energy Standard (CES).

It discusses the NYISO (New York State Independent System Operator) 2018 Power Trends Report which (paraphrasing Winston Churchill):

…defends itself against the risk of being read by its very length and obfuscating technical jargon.

Note that the article observations are coming from a top NYISO person. In other words, this is someone on the electrical energy front…

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