Day: October 1, 2019

Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War by Pierre Asselin

Books in Review II

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If you have any doubt that the war waged by North Vietnam against the Republic of (South) Vietnam and the United States was, above all, a political one, Pierre Asselin’s Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (University of California Press, 319 pp., $55), should change your mind.

Asselin, a Hawaii Pacific University history professor who specializes in the Vietnam War, has come up with a well-researched, in-depth look at the decision-making process in Hanoi from the signing of the Geneva Accords in 1954 to the start of the American war in 1965. He makes a strong case that North Vietnam’s communist leaders—led by the General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Le Duan, who wrested real power away from the slightly less doctrinaire nationalist/communist Ho Chi Minh—were dogmatic revolutionaries who shaped their war against the Americans in three “separate but related modes of struggle”: the political, diplomatic and military.

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Civil Rights in Song (5): the Politics of the Folk Revival, and the story of Josh White

RGS History

800px-Josh_White,_Café_Society_(Downtown),_New_York,_N.Y.,_ca._June_1946_(William_P._Gottlieb_09091)The day Martin Luther King stood by the Lincoln Memorial and spoke of his dream, also saw some of the great luminaries of the folk music scene of the day. Among those performing were someone most people have probably heard of: Bob Dylan.  I suspect very few have heard of Josh White. But, White’s story, and the story of America’s folk revival, gives us a slice of American social, political and cultural history. It takes us from the dust bowl to New York City, from the White House to the HUAC.

Cover_of_Francis_James_Child's_''English_and_Scottish_Popular_Ballads''Interest in the traditional music of Europe and America was hardly new. In the later part of the 19th century, James Francis Child was a Harvard academic: he wrote one of the most important studies of Chaucer, for example. What he is perhaps best remembered for is his collection of 305 traditional English and Scottish folk songs, colloquially…

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Overloaded: Australia’s Eastern Grid Threatened by Proposal for Monster Tasmanian Wind Farm

STOP THESE THINGS

Electricity grids are finely balanced systems, which depend upon order and are wrecked by chaos; chaos of the kind these things deliver on a daily basis across Australia’s Eastern Grid.

Pictured above – courtesy of Aneroid Energy – is the output of every wind turbine connected to Australia’s Eastern Grid, situated from Far North Queensland, down through New South Wales, all over Victoria, Northern Tasmania and South Australia, with a combined notional capacity of 6,702 MW during June.

Throwing 2-3,000 MW into the grid one minute and sucking the same magnitude out, the next, the chaotic intermittency associated with wind power threatens the Eastern Grid with a complete ‘system black’ this coming summer – to match the complete ‘system black’ enjoyed by South Australians in September 2016, thanks to its obsession with wind power.

A couple of Australia’s leading electrical engineers, Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly, take a critical look…

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Legal Succession: Henry VII Part One.

European Royal History

This is the Legal succession issue which inspired me to do this series. It is complex so I will divide it into a couple of blog entries.

Many know that Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field on August 22 1485 in the last battle of the War of the Roses and that the victor on the field of battle, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, a scion of the House of Lancaster, mounted the English throne to become King Henry VII. The question I ask is, did Henry VII have any legal claims to the throne? Was he a usurper or did he obtain the crown by conquest? My assertion is that his blood claim to the throne was weak, there were many ahead of him in the order of succession, therefore that he obtained the throne by right of conquest.

First of all I would like to examine his blood claim…

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The Painful Impact of a Financial Transactions Tax

International Liberty

I was interviewed a couple of days ago about rival tax plans by various Democratic presidential candidates.

It’s the “Class Warfare Olympics,” and even Joe Biden is thinking about going hard left with a tax on financial transactions.

It’s not just Joe Biden’s crazy idea. Other Democratic candidates have endorsed the idea, as has Nancy Pelosi, and CNBC reports that legislation has been introduced in the House and the Senate.

House Democrats are reintroducing their proposal of a financial transaction tax on stock, bond and derivative deals, and this time they’ve signed on a key new supporter: left-wing firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. …“This option would increase revenues by $777 billion from 2019 through 2028, according to an estimate by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation,” the Congressional Budget Office’s website says. …The House bill comes on the heels of its companion legislation introduced by Sen…

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A NYT interview with Bill Maher

Why Evolution Is True

This Sunday’s New York Times Magazine has a long interview with Bill Maher (click on screenshot below)—complete with footnotes, something I haven’t seen in the NYT.

I’ve always been a big fan of Maher: there are in fact few things he’s said on his show that I don’t agree with. I suppose it’s because both he and I criticize both the Right and the Left, and Maher, one among many, has suffered for doing that. The Left wants to be immune from criticism by others who profess to be Left, but Maher is not only a Leftist, but an incisive social critic.  And now I learn that he’s a huge Beatles fan as well. What’s not to like? And so, to celebrate International Blasphemy Day, treat yourself to a read. I’ll put a few excerpts below.

By the way, in the interview Maher defines political correctness as “the elevation of…

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