Bitcoiners’ dubious sense of economic history 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — Banks are all evil, right? Especially the Federal Reserve Bank, which if you believe Sen. Ron Paul (R-TX), is unconstitutional and shouldn’t even exist. And governments shouldn’t control currency, because … free markets! That’s pretty much the reasoning behind bitcoin and its various clones. Although I have playing with bitcoin and other crypto-currencies for the last month, I don’t totally buy into the philosophy behind their creation. For one thing, bitcoin fans don’t know their economic and political history too well. Here’s a tip, guys. It’s important to get your history straight before you introduce a whole new currency to replace something that’s been used for centuries. Maybe I’ve put the cart before the horse, but only now have I had the time to review the rationale for introducing bitcoin and its offshoots. Quite simply, I am not impressed. The wiki for Devcoin, an offshoot of bitcoin, links to this so-called “History of Money,” which contains this reference to Colonial Scrip (paper money) and Parliament’s regulation of it. In Response the world’s most powerful independent bank [The Bank of England] used its influence on the British parliament to press for the passing of the Currency Act of ...

And long those same lines, here’s Ulysses S. Grant …

JISHOU, HUNAN — Serendipitously, here’s a quote from President Grant, speaking before Civil War veterans a century after Adams wrote his letters. Let us all labor to add all needful guarantees for the security of free thought, free speech, a free press, pure morals, unfettered religious sentiments, and of equal rights and privileges to all men irrespective of nationality, color or religion. Encourage free schools, and resolve that not one dollar, appropriated for their support, shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian schools. Resolve that neither the state nor nation, nor both combined, shall support institutions of learning other than those sufficient to afford to every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a good common school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or atheistical dogmas. Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate. With these safeguards, I believe the battles which created the Army of the Tennessee will not have been fought in vain. (Source) The context for his remarks were sectarian battles in many cities about what religious ideas should be taught in tax-supported schools. Grant’s ...

Working on blogging again … meanwhile, here’s a “guest blogger” 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’ve been very lax in writing anything lately, but I’ll get around to writing something when my muse finally stops by for a visit. My guest blogger is John Adams, who among other things was a former schoolteacher and the second President of the United States. He supported public education, which politicians of late would rather dismantle in favor of privatization and similar wrong-headed ideas. In a 1785 letter to John Jebb, Adams wrote this: The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves. (Source) A year later, Adams wrote this in a letter to Mathew Robinson, Jr. But before any great things are accomplished, a memorable change must be made in the system of Education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of Society nearer to the higher. The Education of a nation, instead of being confined to a few schools & Universities, for the instruction of ...

Next step, actual flames …

Next step, actual flames ...
  SANGZHI, HUNAN — OK, so I’m not really Johnny Storm, but it’s a cool photo, anyway. My friend snapped it as we were leaving Jiutian Cave here. After a long climb out of the cool, humid cave into the warm, drier surface air, I was sweating and my head was literally steaming. The cave trip Thursday was my last excursion for the week-long National Holiday. Earlier in the week, I accompanied two friends (a young married couple) to a wedding in Huarong, a small city near Yueyang, Hunan. Then they drove me to Yueyang, where I met another friend and visited that city for two days. When I came back to Jishou on Wednesday, I literally turned right around and headed out again to Sangzhi with another friend, her cousin, aunt and uncle. We also visited the reconstructed home of He Long, a revolutionary leader who was later purged during the Cultural Revolution. He was thrown into prison (where he died at age 74), his original home was razed, and his siblings were prevented from attending university. He didn’t get a formal state burial until 40 years after his death. On our way back to Jishou, we stopped at ...

Erase. Rewind.

JISHOU, HUNAN — Sarah Palin erred in one way. Wikipedia got “corrected” in another. Somehow the twain met and still exposed the weaknesses of both. If the current Wikipedia page about Paul Revere is to be trusted (the citations look solid, anyway), Paul Revere did in fact warn the British about the Massachusetts militiamen ready to fight them. But he didn’t do it at all like Palin said he did. Predictably, Palinites are declaring victory for Saint Sarah, ignoring that the truth that she’s still embarrassingly wrong about a well known moment in American history. Here’s the play-by-play. At a rally Friday in Boston, Palin told the crowd that Revere rode through town, firing shots off like John Wayne and ringing bells like Bing Crosby, to warn the British (the British –OK?) that the red-blooded colonists were not going to give up their arms to any Redcoats without a fight. Here’s the exact quote, complete with her folksy diction: “He who warned, uh, the…the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and um by makin’ sure that as he’s ridin’ his horse through town to send those warnin’ shots and bells that ...

Paul Revere and Palin’s Raiders

[UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, people have also revised the Paul Revere entry at Andy Schlafly’s Conservapedia to match the Palin version of history. And the battle at Wikipedia is still going on, it seems.] JISHOU, HUNAN — Can American politics get any stranger? Alleged presidential contender and full-time media hog Sarah Palin recently mangled the story of Paul Revere in a public address, and soon after some of her fans went to Wikipedia to change the Paul Revere entry to match Failin’ Palin’s version. Because, they said, Palin is a “reliable source,” so her imaginary version of events entitles them to rewrite history. One imagines if Palin told them the Moon was made of green cheese, they’d try to rewrite its wikipedia page, too. Dumb and dumberer. In case you missed the gaffe, Palin told a crowd in Boston on June 2 that native son Revere rode through the streets toward Concord ringing bells and making a lotta noise to warn the British. “He who warned, uh, the…the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and um by makin’ sure that as he’s ridin’ his horse through town to send ...

It was about slavery 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — A century and a half ago on Dec. 24, South Carolina seceded from the USA, the first act of rebellion in what became the American Civil War. From what I’ve read in the US news lately, it seems some people have forgotten why South Carolina and the other Confederate states withdrew from the Union. Teabaggers and revisionists would like us all to believe the War was all about State’s Rights, and a tyrannical federal government, led by the Yankee scum. They avoid the unpleasant reality that the main issue was slavery. There were of course many factors that led to the Civil War, but the catalyst for it was the issue of slavery. The South did not want to give it up, and the Union was making it more and more difficult for the South to conduct its slave-dependent business. So, yeah, at a certain level, the issue of state’s rights was a major cause of the Civil War, but they weren’t talking about general issues of interstate commerce or interstate laws. The specific issue was slavery, and no amount of whitewashing (pun intended) by today’s neo-confederates can conceal that truth. South Carolina, on Dec. 24, 1860, ...

Rand Paul: USA crumbling like Roman Empire. Wrong. 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — The USA now is just like the Roman Empire before it collapsed, says Rand Paul, GOP nominee for Senator from Kentucky. Wrong. Here’s what he said to a Tea Party crowd in Shepherdsville: "In the latter days of Rome, the economy was crumbling, the emperor ... would placate the mob with bread and circus -- food and entertainment to placate them since the economy was in shambles and dwindling around them," Paul told several hundred people gathered for the rally in a Bullitt County park.   "Now in our country, as our economy is in shambles, they give us Cash for Clunkers and a stimulus check and they tell us to go to the mall and spend your money and everything will be OK ... That's not how you become prosperous as an individual or a country," he told the crowd of supporters. And the crowd cheered wildly, I’m sure. (“Yay! The USA is falling apart. Yay! Let’s go to Shoney’s afterward to browse the salad bar!”) Comparing the USA to the declining Roman Empire is as sensible as equating President Obama to Adolph Hitler, the latter of which right wingers (like Glenn Beck) seem to do ...

The lies of “noseparation.org” and the Christian Nation-ists

JISHOU, HUNAN — I got a bee in my bonnet about the Christian Nation billboards that I heard are all over the Tampa-St. Pete area. My post turned out to be so long that I made it a page. You can read it here.

Pat Buchanan: Hitler was just misunderstood 8

JISHOU, HUNAN — Is Pat Buchanan mindnumbingly stupid, or does he secretly adore Adolph Hitler? Nevermind, I can answer the question myself. A couple of the blogs I visit refer to Buchanan’s essay for Chronicles magazine, in which he suggests that the Allies pushed Hitler into declaring war on practically everyone in Europe. No, says the big B, it wasn’t that Hitler really intended to go to war; he really had no choice. Well, being somewhat of a history buff, with World War II one of my interests, I decided to read the essay myself to see exactly what Buchanan has to say on the 70th anniversary of the war’s beginning. The man is a blithering idiot, and/or an apologist for one of history’s most power-hungry dictators. Following World War I (the last time Germany tried to take over Europe), the Treaty of Versailles gave Danzig, a city that was heavily German in population, to Poland. Kind of unfair, in retrospect, but the winners of the war were trying to keep Germany weak. Buchanan suggests in his essay that Hitler, in occupying Danzig in 1939, was merely taking back what Germany should rightfully have had. Those stubborn Poles, “a junta ...

Happy Fourth of July! 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — Since I don’t have easy access to baseball games, parades and big fireworks displays here, I have had a little time to contemplate our nation’s 233rd birthday. My mostly rambling thoughts follow. Roughly one-fourth of my ancestors were colonists in New York, New Jersey and New England. The rest of my family emigrated from Sweden in the late 1800s. So I like to think of myself as a representative of two kinds of American: the “founders” and the immigrants who came after the nation was founded. [The third kind are the original inhabitants. As as I know, there are no Indians among my ancestors, but my family research has turned up surprises before.] My great x 3-grandfather served in the New Jersey militia during the Revolution, and his in-laws — mostly seamen — served in the navy (or were pirates — the distinction is a bit murky). One was held prisoner in a British warship in New York Harbor. Unfortunately, we don’t know why they came to the colonies. My family has never been especially religious, though those colonial ancestors were Baptists and Quakers. It’s possible they came to the colonies to worship freely, or to take ...
WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com