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Sun, 24 Jun 2018
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Gold Bar

In the 1930s when the US Government defaulted

American Default book
One of the most pervasive myths about the United States is that the federal government has never defaulted on its debts. There's just one problem: it's not true, and while few people remember the "gold clause cases" of the 1930s, that episode holds valuable lessons for leaders today. - Sebastian Edwards, Project Syndicate, May 21, 2018
My friend, UCLA professor, Sebastian Edwards, is out with a must-read summer book, American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle over Gold.

Sebastian has also published an excellent synopsis of the the book, Learning from America's Forgotten Default, on the Project Syndicate (PS) website. It is an excellent introduction to the subject material but only scratches the surface and should not be a substitute or excuse for not purchasing the book.

Archaeology

Denmark: Archaeologists discovered mangled remains of slaughtered barbarian tribe

Bog bones Denmark
© Holst et al./PNAS/CC by 4.0
One of the nearly 400 slaughtered barbarians buried at Alken Enge in Denmark.
Some 2,000 years ago, a ragtag troop of about 400 Germanic tribesmen marched into battle against a mysterious adversary in Denmark, and they were slaughtered to the last man.

Or at least that's the story their bones tell. Exhumed from Alken Enge - a peat bog in Denmark's Illerup River Valley - between 2009 and 2014, nearly 2,100 bones belonging to the dead fighters have given archaeologists a rare window into the post-battle rituals of Europe's so-called "barbarian" tribes during the height of the Roman Empire. In a new study published online May 21 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark dug into the bloody details.

"The ferocity of the Germanic tribes and peoples and their extremely violent and ritualized behavior in the aftermath of warfare became a trope in the Roman accounts of their barbaric northern neighbors," the authors wrote in the new study. Despite these historical accounts, little evidence of these practices has ever been discovered in archaeological finds - until now.

Dominoes

How Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon tore his administration apart

Gerold Ford Donald Rumsfeld watergate
© Associated Press
Gerald Ford and Donald Rumsfeld
Gerald Ford and the decision that overshadowed his legacy.

When Gerald Ford became president minutes after Richard Nixon's resignation, Ford surprised many of us with how dramatically different he was in the role than his predecessor, starting with his very first Cabinet meeting.

During Nixon's administration, I had been a member of the Cabinet as counselor to the president, among other roles, and one of the Nixon-led Cabinet meetings still remains vivid in my mind. Fresh from his historic triumph in 1972, in which he'd won 49 out of 50 states, Nixon entered the Cabinet Room to rousing cheers and an extended standing ovation. But rather than enjoying the moment and expressing warm appreciation to his team, Nixon began a meandering yet colorful lecture with seemingly no clear point. He spoke of various British prime ministers and other men he admired, tossing in unusual comments, like, "Richard Nixon doesn't shoot blanks" and noting that Winston Churchill's father was a "brilliant man whose career was ruined by syphilis." Then he mentioned "exhausted volcanoes," a phrase he said British politician Benjamin Disraeli had used to describe public servants drained of their energy and inspiration.

Boat

Holy Grail of shipwrecks: Details released on discovery of treasure laden Spanish galleon found near Colombian coast

Shipwreck San Jose Spanish galleon Colombia

The 62-gun, three-masted galleon, went down on June 8, 1708, with 600 people on board as well as a treasure of gold, silver and emeralds during a battle with British ships in the War of Spanish Succession. The treasure is worth as much as $17 billion by modern standards.
A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of Colombia more than 300 years ago was found three years ago with the help of an underwater autonomous vehicle operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the agency disclosed for the first time.

New details about the discovery of the San Jose were released on Monday with permission from the agencies involved in the search, including the Colombian government.

"We've been holding this under wraps out of respect for the Colombian government," said Rob Munier, WHOI's vice president for marine facilities and operations.

The exact location of the wreck of the San Jose, often called the "holy grail of shipwrecks," was long considered one of history's enduring maritime mysteries.

Comment: See also: Columbia discovers 'holy grail' of shipwrecks with treasure valued between $4 and $17 billion


Star of David

The story of Israeli spy Eli Cohen, who infiltrated deep into the Syrian political and military apparatus

eli cohen
© Albert Abraham Cohen
Last Friday marked the 53rd anniversary of the execution of Eli Cohen, the Egyptian-born Israeli spy who burrowed his way so deep into the Syrian state apparatus he nearly came to head it. Speaking to Cohen's brother, and to Israeli and Syrian intelligence experts, Sputnik has pieced together a new look at the superspy's incredible life story.

Early Years

Eli Cohen was born into a family of eight in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria, Egypt on December 6, 1924. Receiving his primary education at a local Jewish community school, Eli nevertheless considered himself a patriot of Egypt, the country in which he was born.

After graduation, Cohen enrolled at the University of Alexandria, where he studied electrical engineering. During his time there, the young man organized student protests against Egypt's occupation by the British.

Book 2

What you weren't told about WWII: Part 1

Soviet soldier WW2 Stalingrad

A Soviet soldier waving the Red Banner over the central plaza of Stalingrad in 1943
If news is fake now, imagine the inaccuracies of history books. How often were they distorted to make the victor look good and the loser look evil? How often do history books leave out cause-effect relationships that reveal the true nature of geopolitics? How often do they simply leave out important information on accident? The more one researches history outside of what is taught in school, the more one comes to realize that the answer to the above questions is "pretty darn often." Let's now look at some of the more interesting things that are left out of the discussion regarding World War Two.

The Soviets Defeated The Nazis

In America, it is often taught that the US stepped in to put an end to Nazi's expansion through Europe. However, it was the Soviets that sacrificed the most and stopped the Nazi's from dominating the region. In the Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted over five months, Soviet troops suffered over 1 million casualties compared to over 700,000 casualties for the Axis countries. Although the Soviets lost more troops, they handed the Germans their most significant loss up to that point in the war. That was truly the beginning of the end for the Nazis.

Comment: New WW2 documentary 'Remembrance' corrects distortions of Anglo mainstream media on the defeat of Nazism (VIDEO)


Magnify

X-rays of 1,400-year-old hymn book reveal ancient Greek medical text

Galen of Pergamon text x ray
© (University of Manchester/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
In the image above, the vertically oriented characters are the religious text of the 11th century, while the fainter horizontal Syriac is Galen's translation hidden underneath.
They say never judge a book by its cover - but sometimes you can't even trust the words written on the pages.

This week, scientists in California are busy investigating an archaic hymn book of religious text dating back to the 11th century. In ordinary circumstances, this weathered volume would be a priceless historical artefact in its own right. But these are not ordinary circumstances.

This time around, the religious script is a smokescreen: an ancient cover-up concealing a far older truth - one that dates back many more centuries into the past, to a man considered one of the fathers of the medical science we have today.

That man was Galen of Pergamon, a Greek physician and philosopher born under the Roman Empire during the 2nd century, who through his teachings and writings became known as one of the greatest medical minds of antiquity.

Comment: See Also:


Vader

The Empire never sleeps

empire us hegemony
© C Dawes
Part 1: The Indispensable Nation Folly

Like the case of Rome before it, the Empire is bankrupting America. The true fiscal cost is upwards of $1.0 trillion per year (counting $200 billion for veterans and debt service for wars), but there is no way to pay for it.

That's because the 78-million strong Baby Boom is in the driver's seat of American politics. It plainly will not permit the $3 trillion per year retirement and health care entitlements-driven Welfare State to be curtailed.

The Trumpite/GOP has already sealed that deal by refusing to reform Social Security and Medicare and by proving to be utterly incapable of laying a glove politically on Obamacare/Medicaid. At the same time, boomers keep voting for the GOP's anti-tax allergy, thereby refusing to tax themselves to close Washington's yawning deficits.

More importantly, the generation which marched on the Pentagon in 1968 against the insanity and barbarism of LBJ's Vietnam War has long since abandoned the cause of peace. So doing, boomers have acquiesced in the final ascendancy of the Warfare State, which grew like topsy once the US became the world's sole superpower after the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history in 1991.

Info

Top Russian official: Churchill had Stalin killed, US bombed Russian Far East in 50s

Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill
"We hid this from the rest of the world? - We hid a lot of things. Actually, we live in a fog of historical myth..."

What if everything you think you know about Joseph Stalin isn't true?

Similarly, what if the icon you perceive Winston Churchill to have been - is a mere illusion of history?

Anomalies in the way history is written is nothing new; the more or less objective truth is published many years later.

Info

The dark history of Israel's independence

Nabka
© AP
Palestinians driven from their homes in Galilee are on the road to Lebanon, November 1948.
On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. Each May 15, Palestinians solemnly commemorate Nakba Day. Nakba means catastrophe, and that's precisely what Israel's independence has been for the more than 700,000 Arabs and their five million refugee descendants forced from their homes and into exile, often by horrific violence, to make way for the Jewish state.

Land Without a People?

In the late 19th century, Zionism emerged as a movement for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Although Jews ruled over kingdoms there more than 2,000 years ago, they never numbered more than around 10 percent of the population from antiquity through the early 1900s. A key premise of Zionism is what literary theorist Edward Said called the "excluded presence" of Palestine's indigenous population; a central myth of early Zionists was that Palestine was a "land without a people for a people without a land."