Monday, May 20, 2019

The Russian Intervention in the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)


by Alex Krainer, Russia Insider:

Basically, the Russian intervention saved the North from losing the war.

“The arrival of the Russian fleet to New York and San Francisco “unleashed an immense wave of euphoria in the North.” “The Russian visit … ended the last chance of European intervention.”

The U.S. Civil War has become a popular topic of late, but as it turns out, what nearly everyone thinks they know about that event is wrong, in part – and this part is very significant.

My high school and university history classes left me with the impression that the war was fought over the issue of slavery: the “North” (good guys) was against slavery and wanted it abolished; the “South” (bad guys) wanted to keep the slaves, so they all went to war. Good guys won, bad guys lost, slaves got their freedom, and the world was made a better place.

That, in a nutshell, is what I thought I knew about the Civil War. I’m not sure why I had that idea so, to make sure I wasn’t mistaken I conducted an informal survey among my American friends and acquaintances, all university educated people, some of them with advanced degrees. I asked about a dozen of them what they thought U.S. Civil War was about.

To a person, all of them unhesitatingly answered that it was about the abolition of slavery. Furthermore, none of them were aware that Russia played any role at all in the Civil War.

It struck me that maybe my friends and I all had the same basic idea about that event because we were meant to have that idea, which is now pretty much part of the popular culture. However, the popular interpretation omits some critical aspects of history.

While slavery was one of Civil War’s pivotal issues, the notion that the war was fought over slavery alone is simply wrong. The main issue on the opposing sides’ agendas was the secession of the southern Confederation vs. the preservation of the Union.

The issue of slavery was a distant second on President Lincoln’s agenda and he showed no intention to force the southern states to free their slaves.

In his inaugural address he said:

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it now exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Lincoln did not change his position even well into the war. In his August 22, 1862 letter to Horace Greely, he wrote,

My paramount objective is to save the union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the union without freeing any slave, I would do it.” [2]

Far from being a domestic affair about the human rights of the slaves, Civil War was a momentous geopolitical event with massive international implications. In his 1960 book “War for the Union,” historian Allan Nevins wrote that,

It is hardly too much to say that the future of the world as we know it was at stake. … Anglo-French intervention in the American conflict would probably have confirmed the splitting and consequent weakening of the United States; might have given French power in Mexico a long lease, with the ruin of the Monroe Doctrine; and would perhaps have led to the Northern conquest of Canada. … The popular conception of this contest is at some points erroneous, and at a few grossly fallacious…” [3]

Behind the veil of overt neutrality, British and French governments both worked to bring about the breakup of the Union, covertly siding with the Confederation. A powerful faction in the British cabinet, which included the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone, and Foreign Minister Lord John Russell, strongly advocated British intervention on the side of the Confederation. However, for a variety of reasons, Britain had to be extremely cautious about taking any strong actions.

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Was Marc Faber Blackballed For Speaking The Truth?


by Karl Denninger, Market-Ticker:

Well-known “Doctor Doom” Marc Faber was effectively expelled (“resigned” technically) from three boards and CNBC has said they will not book him in the future after his latest newsletter came out.

In it he said:

“Thank God white people populated America and not the blacks,” wrote Mr. Faber, who is managing director with investment advisory and fund management firm Marc Faber Ltd., in his latest monthly newsletter.

“Otherwise the U.S. would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority.”

This of course was instantly pounced on by damn near everyone as an outrageously racist statement.

When challenged he doubled down:

“If stating some historical facts makes me a racist, then I suppose that I am a racist,” Mr. Faber later told Bloomberg news service in an e-mail.

There’s a point in there that nobody wants to talk about, of course, because it will instantly lead you to being branded “racist” — exactly as happened here.

Can we have a debate or talk about facts in a civil society today without being instantly blackballed if your point of view isn’t sufficiently politically correct?  It appears not.  Does it matter if you cite actual facts?  Apparently not.

For example, if you remember the “bathroom bill” screamfest one of the points made is that it enables creeps to sexually assault people, including children.  I don’t recall anyone saying that all transgender people are creeps, however, that it enables creeps was alleged.  The retort was that such an assault has never happened and won’t.

It turns out that’s a lie: A 10 year old girl was in fact assaulted by a man claiming to be a woman.  Said person has now been convicted.  The not-funny part of this is that I cannot find in the news stores on this conviction when the assault happened.  You don’t go to trial on a felony criminal count in an afternoon; it frequently takes a year or more.  Was that assault known during the debate on the North Carolina Bathroom debacle, and intentionally buried by the media so it could not be part of the debate and ensuing lawsuits?

Should we re-examine the current status of same in light of the fact that the existence of this assault was intentionally buried, is now known, and balance the risks with the rewards of allowing people who are in fact men into the women’s room?


Will we?


Zimbabwe and what has happened there is a historical fact.  What happened here in America is also a historical fact.

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Half a Million March in Massive Uprising Against Spanish Plan to Overtake Catalonia

by Julia Conley, via Lew Rockwell:

Catalans poured into the streets of Barcelona Saturday following the Spanish prime minister announcement that he would move to take control of their region

Thousands of Catalans were expected to protest Saturday afternoon after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced he would take control of Catalonia by invoking Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, weeks after the region’s independence referendum.

Defying the majority of Catalan voters who approved of a split from Spain in Catalonia’s independence referendum this month, Rajoy spoke at a press conference about his plans to transfer the power of the region’s president, Carles Puigdemont, to the central government, and hold early elections in the next six months.

Forty percent of Catalonia’s 5.5 eligible voters cast ballots in the referendum, despite a show of force by Spanish police that left nearly 900 people injured ahead of the October 1 vote.

Ninety percent of those who voted approved of independence, according to the regional government. Officials said that in addition to police violence, Spanish law enforcement raided polling stations, resulting in the loss of 770,000 ballots.

Following the vote, large crowds in Barcelona last weekend called for peaceful negotiations to determine the next step, but Rajoy has rejected dialogue on the grounds that the Spanish government sees Catalonia’s referendum as illegal.

Observers and supporters of Catalonia’s independence movement denounced Rajoy’s planned power grab on social media.

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Poll Finds that Opinions are Unchanged on Guns following Vegas Shooting


by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

A poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has found that people’s opinion about guns and gun rights are largely unchanged after nearly 60 people were murdered and more than 500 wounded in the Las Vegas mass shooting.

People who favor the law that restricts government, not citizens, regarding arms rights are shown in a minority, according to the poll, but the opinions of those who want to infringe on others’ rights with tighter gun laws, which only lead towards gun confiscation and prohibition, are seen to be in the majority.

The Associated Press reports:

The survey was conducted from Oct. 12-16, about two weeks after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired on a crowded musical festival taking place on across the street from his hotel room, killing 58 and wounding more than 540 before killing himself. It’s the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

In this latest survey, 61 percent said the country’s gun laws should be tougher, while 27 percent would rather see them remain the same and 11 percent want them to be less strict. That’s similar to the results of an AP-GfK poll in July 2016.

Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats, but just a third of Republicans, want to see gun laws made stricter.

Of course, this is consistent with political ideology.  Those opposing stricter gun laws are actually siding with God-given rights and the law while the opposite side longs to violate law, and I’m betting it isn’t just on this issue.

The AP continued:

About half of Americans said they think making it more difficult to buy a gun would reduce the number of mass shootings in the country, and slightly under half said it would reduce the number of homicides.

About half felt it would reduce the number of accidental shootings, 4 in 10 that it would reduce the number of suicides and only about a third felt it would reduce gang violence.

Again, there is nothing that will stop a criminal from obtaining a gun, and making it more difficult for a person bent on murder to obtain a weapon “legally” will not stop them from obtaining one “illegally.”

I love how the AP words things too, which gets at the heart of the issue.

“About half felt…,” the report stated.

This is the problem.  People feel and respond emotionally rather than rationally.

Even the notorious gun grabbing senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, continues this little escapade.  She responds emotionally to every single shooting that goes national with a call for bans and more laws against law-abiding citizens.  Then, 

However, she continues to push the delusion that more gun laws will stop mass shootings, just like many of these people in the survey, even though they know it to be a lie.

The AP continued:

Some 59 percent voiced disapproval with Trump’s handling of the issue, while 40 percent said they approved. About half of Americans age 60 and over approve of how he is handling the issue, compared with fewer than 4 in 10 of those under 60. Politically, 79 percent of people who identify as Republican approve of Trump’s handling of gun issues, while 61 percent of independents and 89 percent of Democrats disapprove. Sixty percent of gun owners approve of Trump on the issue.

The poll also showed Americans divided over which party, if any, they trust to handle gun control. Close to a third give Democrats the edge while 28 percent prefer Republicans, and 31 percent say they don’t trust either party.

Well, I’m not necessarily happy with Trump’s response nor the NRA’s either, but I’m not surprised at it.  I assumed that sooner or later he would begin to “consider” certain violations of the Second Amendment, and the NRA has a long history of compromising our rights, though at times they do stand up for them, for which I’m thankful.  I just wish they were a bit more consistent in that regard.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats have been given any authority to handle gun control.  That’s why neither party would be good at handling it.

The Second Amendment is abundantly clear, which politicians and citizens want to trample all over.

“…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

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“It Could Open A Pandora’s Box”: Italy’s 2 Richest Regions Are Voting In Historic Autonomy Referendums


from ZeroHedge:

Voters in Italy’s two wealthiest northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto are voting on Sunday in referendums for greater autonomy from Rome, in which a positive outcome could fan regional tensions in Europe at a time when neighboring Spain is cracking down to prevent Catalonia from breaking away.

Lombardy, which includes Milan, and Veneto, which houses the tourist powerhouse Venice, are home to around a quarter of Italy’s population and account for 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of Italy’s economy, the Eurozone’s third largest. Unlike Catalonia, the consultative votes are only the beginning of a process which could over time lead to powers being devolved from Rome. Also unlike Catalonia, which held an independence referendum on Oct. 1 despite it being ruled unconstitutional, the Italian referendums are within the law. Like Catalonia, however, Lombardy and Veneto complain they pay far more in taxes than they receive.

At its core, today’s vote is about whether taxes collected in the two wealthy regions should be used far more for the benefit of the two regions, or diluted among Italy’s other, poorer regions, especially in the south. Lombardy sends €54 billion more in taxes to Rome than it gets back in public spending. Veneto’s net contribution is 15.5 billion. The two regions would like to roughly halve those contributions – a concession the cash-strapped state, labouring under a mountain of debt, can ill afford.

The two regions are both run by the once openly secessionist Lega Nord, or Northern League party, which hopes that the result will give it a mandate to negotiate better financial deals from Rome. The Northern League was established in the 1990s to campaign for an independent state of “Padania”, stretching across Italy’s north, from around Lombardy in the west to Venice in the east. It no longer campaigns for secession but argues that taxes the north sends to Rome are wasted by inefficient national bureaucracy.

While the twin referendums are non-binding, a resounding “yes” vote would give the presidents of the neighboring regions more leverage in negotiations to seek a greater share of tax revenue and to grab responsibility from Rome. The leaders want more powers in areas such as security, immigration, education and the environment.

Enthusiasm for today’s vote will be critical as the level of turnout will have a direct significance of the results: in Veneto, it has to pass 50{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} for the result to be considered valid. There is no threshold in Lombardy but low voter participation would weaken the region’s hand in any subsequent negotiations with the central government.

* * *

Even though secessionist sentiment in the two wealthy regions is restricted to what has been dubbed “fringe groups” with little following, nonetheless with both regions expected to vote in favour of the principle of greater autonomy, analysts see the referendums as reflecting the pressures that resulted in Scotland’s narrowly-defeated independence vote, Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the Catalan crisis according to AFP.

With dynamic economies and lower unemployment and welfare costs than the Italian average, both regions are large net contributors to a central state widely regarded as inefficient at best.

Public opinions covered both extremes of the spectrum:  

“Lombardy and Veneto have two efficient administrations and public services work well, much better than in other Italian regions … this is why I think it is worth asking for greater autonomy,” said Massimo Piscetta, 49, who voted “Yes” in a small town outside Milan.

“Our taxes should be spent here, not in Sicily,” echoed says Giuseppe Colonna, an 84-year-old Venetian, speaking to AFP.

“I am not going to vote because I think this referendum is useless, expensive, ambiguous and unfair,” countered Giovanni Casolo, 54, speaking to Reuters and expressing concern that the text of the Lombardy referendum did not spell the areas where the region wanted to increase its autonomy.

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Anonymous Group Hackers Target Websites of Spanish Government, Popular Party


from Sputnik News:

A hacktivist group dubbed Anonymous has targeted Spanish institutions for the second time this week.

MADRID (Sputnik) — The Anonymous group carried out a number of attacks targeting websites of Spanish ministries and the country’s Popular Party (PP), a Sputnik correspondent reported Sunday. In addition to governmental websites and the one of the PP, the hackers had also targeted the website of the Francisco Franco Foundation. However, the activities of the websites were restored by Sunday morning.

This is already the second round by the Anonymous group aimed at supporting Catalonia’s independence aspiration. The day before, hackers attacked the website of the Spanish Constitutional Court.

The Anonymous group has been expressing their sentiment over the independence bid since it launched Operation Free Catalonia on September 24. They asserted it was a protest against Spanish efforts to block the stance. On October 20, the Spanish Homeland Security Department warned of a massive campaign being plotted under the slogans #OpCatalunya and #FreeCatalunya.

More than 90 percent of over 2 million Catalans cast their ballots in favor of Catalonia’s secession from Spain on October 1. This move was called illegal and unconstitutional by Madrid and set alight violent clashes between independence supporters and Spanish police. Also, Spain ordered the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to define the region’s position on the separation bid by October 16.

As Puigdemont failed to meet the target date, Spain’s government has held an emergency meeting to start the procedure of invoking Article 155 of the constitution, which allows them to take power from the region and to set an early vote for the Catalan parliament. The attacks began soon after the meeting.

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Doug Casey on the Recent NFL Protests


by Doug Casey, Casey Research:

Justin’s note: It’s one of today’s most controversial topics. Everyone’s talking about it. Even Donald Trump’s getting up in arms over it…

I’m talking about the recent NFL protests.

I still can’t help but wonder if people should even care about this. So to make sense of this, I called up Doug Casey…who I knew would have an interesting take on this matter…

Justin: Doug, I can’t wait to get your take on the recent NFL protests. But first tell me what you think of the National Anthem. Is it a worthy tradition?

Doug: I don’t see what sporting events have to do with nationalism. I don’t think they should go together.

The idea of playing a national anthem at sporting events or other gatherings is foolish and dangerous. It elevates the notion of the state, it keeps the presence of the government in front of people. It’s almost as bad an idea as having kids pledge allegiance to the flag at the start of the school day—another fairly recent innovation.

I looked into the history of this, and the anthem apparently first started being played sporadically at baseball games, during World War 1. It only turned into a tradition during WW2. Needless to say, during the ’30s, the Germans, the Italians, and the Russians always used their anthems to get the crowd thinking in the mode of “nationalistic citizens” watching the home team battle the enemy team, as opposed to sports fans just out to watch a game and have a good time.

Playing the National Anthem before a game is a bad idea. But every country in the world does it now. I think the crowds generally dislike it as a distraction and a waste of time, but nobody will say anything for fear of being lambasted for being “unpatriotic.” It’s groupthink in action.

Apart from the fact that anthems all sound discordant, and grate against the ear drum. They’re all basically military music—which is itself a contradictory term. I’ll only except the Marseillaise—which really is a noble tune, but inappropriate for US audiences.

Ultimately, it’s up to the team and stadium owners. If they want to do it, that’s their business. But it’s become such a tradition that—especially in view of the US being constantly involved in a war somewhere—it’s likely going to be impossible to eradicate. It no longer matters that it’s a bad tradition—it’s now a tradition.

And let me go further. I think that it’s in very bad taste and negative influence for the US government and the US military to use football games for military display. Flying fighter planes around and having military bands marching, is much more what I’d expect of the Germans in the ’30s than an ostensibly peaceful country in today’s world.

That said, I think that it makes sense to show respect for things like the National Anthem. They’re part of the national ethos. Disrespecting them upsets a community at a very gut level; it’s unwise, like telling someone his mother is ugly and has low morals.

Justin: Are you saying NFL players shouldn’t protest by taking a knee?

Doug: Well, anybody has a right to do anything, as long as it doesn’t aggress against other persons or their property. But just because something is legal and moral doesn’t mean it can’t also be stupid.

I’m not even sure what point these players are trying to make. In some cases, these athletes are making tens of millions of dollars a year. These guys are young, rich, famous, good-looking and generally on top of the world. They’re not subjects of “discrimination.”

So, why are they doing this? Do they feel that they’re actually in some danger of being shot? The answer is no, unless they’re hanging out in the ghetto, or acting out as thugs somewhere—some of them do. There’s certainly no reason to think these guys are moral paradigms. The rates of spousal abuse and off-field violence in the NFL—which is about 70{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} black—are way above the norm. The guy who started this nonsense, Colin Kaepernick, is actually just a scam artist. A crybaby looking for attention.

Frankly, I don’t care what they do or feel. It’s foolish and in bad taste for them to use their athletic platform to say whatever they’re saying. It’s unclear to me exactly what they’re trying to say.

Justin: You’re right, Doug. Colin Kaepernick was the first player to make this protest. He did so last year before a preseason game. And he kneeled to take a stand against police brutality and racial injustice.

Now you have entire teams doing it. Could these “showings of unity” repair race relations in this country?

Doug: No. Instead, they will damage race relations further.

The problem is that people are genetically programmed to be suspicious of those of a different race or even a different community.

A couple hundred thousand years ago, you’re out hunting a deer. If you met somebody else out there hunting that deer, and he wasn’t part of your immediate clan, he was probably an enemy. There’s a good chance that he was going to kill you after the deer goes down. The more different he was, the greater the odds violence would ensue.

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