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The Best Government that Money Can Buy

Queen Bona Sforza and her minions grant protection to anyone willing to pay and when that transaction is complete, her minions go to the opposing group and shake them down for protection money too. Her husband, King Sigismund the 1st, the King of Poland, is less corruptible, supporting Protestants and Jews when it seems like the right thing to do. This year Queen Bona institutes tax reforms, sets up farming units called voloks (almost 53 acres), introduces "Italian vegetables" (cauliflower, tomatoes and lettuce) and institutes a three-crop rotation. She also improves the roads, demanding that they be as straight as possible. Tax revenues quadruple. Perhaps she won't have to take bribes any more? Not a chance. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Cauliflower, tomatoes and lettuce are NOT Italian vegetables but to the people of Poland and Lithuania, they were (and still are) called "Italian" because Queen/Duchess Bona was Italian. She was considered a beautiful woman which is probably true since she was the daughter of the model who posed for the famous Mona Lisa portrait. In my reading I had the impression that she was either a very bad person or the most brilliant leader in Lithuania. Although I've given the impression that she was running a protection racket, in fact she was doing what most modern politicians do today... accept money from their constituents, listen to their complaints and then pass laws that protect them from other constituents who have not given money to the politician. Oh... wait. Maybe that is a protection racket. Never mind. [5] [6]

Treason and the Two Witness Rule *

With the passing of King Henry the 8th of England, and the succession of his son, King Edward the 6th, the Parliament has decided to correct some of the excesses in the previous laws. The Treason Act of 1547 now requires two witnesses to convict a person of treason. [7] This law remains in effect in the United States through its Constitution, Article 3, Section 3:

No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Even though King Henry the 8th passed laws stating that the law could not be revoked, the Parliament could circumvent the law by changing the rules of evidence, thus making it more difficult to convict someone of a crime with a particularly onerous penalty. Judaism uses this method to avoid convicting people of certain capital crimes, placing conditions so difficult to meet that one would have to be committing suicide by a jury of one's peers in order to gain a conviction. The President of the United States should never say that he will not enforce a law. That encourages disrespect for the law. The proper way is to pass legislation that changes the circumstances under which the law is applied, or repeals the law, or through jury nullification. [9]

Ivan and Anastasia... a Terrible Love Story

Ivan the 4th is not simply the Prince of Moscow. He declares himself the first Tzar of all the Russian people! He is 17 years old and he's just getting started. A proper beginning needs a proper bride so Ivan the 4th lines up 2,000 of the prettiest girls in Moscow, ages 12 and up. (Yuck!) He inspects them carefully. Out of this crowd he selects Anastasia Romanovna to be his bride. (What a guy!) She is 17 years old but she will be dead before she is 30. Ivan will suspect poison and go mad... becoming Ivan the Terrible. [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Apparently Anastasia really was murdered. Test of her remains reveal unusually high levels of mercury. Ivan the Terrible suspected his noblemen. He lost his mind and killed people at random, suspecting them of... who knows what. It didn't matter what he thought. He killed and killed and killed, earning his name in spades. [13] [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1547, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Poland's Italian Queen: Bona Sforza on the 500th Anniversary of her Birth. info-poland.buffalo.edu (2009). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “With the infusion of funds it proved possible to free up many of King's estates that had been acquired by the magnates as collateral for loans. Bona then multiplied them by buying up additional estates and administered them wisely. She improved them, introduced new crops. erected churches, established parishes, improved hygienic conditions, even showed the advantages of building houses along a straight street, instead of randomly. She also mediated in personal squabbles promised her protection to peasants, Jews, and burgers. Being a descendent of the gentry class, she was watchful of any transgressions on the part of the nobility.”
  2. Volok Reform - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 February 2015. “The reform was started by Grand Duchess Bona Sforza in her possessions to increase the revenues of the state treasury but soon was expanded state-wide and was copied by other nobles and the Church. The reform increased effectiveness of agriculture by establishing a strict three-field system for crop rotation. The land was measured, registered in a cadastre, and divided into voloks (land unit of about 21.38 hectares (52.8 acres)). Volok became the measurement of feodal services. The reform was a success in terms of the annual state revenue that quadrupled from 20,000 to 82,000 kopas of Lithuanian groschens.”
  3. Emancipation reform of 1861 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 February 2015.
  4. Bona Sforza - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “To increase state revenue, she implemented various economic and agricultural reforms, including the far-reaching Wallach Reform in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Her reforms made her the richest landowner in the Grand Duchy.”
  5. Isabella of Aragon (Mona Lisa). kleio.org (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “Duchess of Milan and Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa', 1489”
  6. BONA SFORZA. JewishEncyclopedia.com (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “She was remarkable for her beauty and energy, but thoroughly hated in Poland for her intrigues and avarice. She sold high government offices, and her courtiers and 'voyevod's' were bribe-takers. Her favorite, the influential crown marshal, Peter Kmita, obtained bribes simultaneously from both Jewish and Christian merchants, promising either party to protect its interests at the Diet or before the king.”
  7. Treason Act 1547 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “The Treason Act 1547 (1 Ed. 6 c.12) was an Act of the Parliament of England. It is mainly notable for being the first instance of the rule that two witnesses are needed to prove a charge of treason, a rule which still exists today in the United States Constitution.”
  8. U.S. Constitution - Article 3 Section 3. The U.S. Constitution Online (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”
  9. jury nullification, legal definition of jury nullification. legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “A sanctioned doctrine of trial proceedings wherein members of a jury disregard either the evidence presented or the instructions of the judge in order to reach a verdict based upon their own consciences. It espouses the concept that jurors should be the judges of both law and fact.”
  10. (1968) Nicholas and Alexandra (BOOK), New York: Random House. ISBN 9780345438317. “The Romanov dynasty was the fruit of a marriage in 1547. The bride was Anastasia, daughter of the Romanovs, a popular family of the Moscow nobility. The groom was the seventeen-year-old Muscovite prince Ivan IV, who had just proclaimed himself Tsar of Russia.” 
  11. Best of Russia --- Royal Family --- Ivan the Terrible. tristarmedia.com (2011). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “Three weeks later he married, having chosen his bride in a national virgin competition. Virgins over the age of twelve were brought to the Kremlin to be paraded before him. He married the youthful Anastasia Zakharina, who charmed him with her beauty and soft femininity.”
  12. Ivan the Terrible - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 January 2015.
  13. Fire of Moscow (1547) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “The fire displaced about 80,000 people and killed about 2,700 to 3,700 (not including children), and led to widespread poverty among the survivors.”
  14. Anastasia Romanovna - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “Anastasia Romanovna Zakharyina-Yurieva (1530 – 7 August 1560) was the first wife of the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible and the first Russian tsaritsa. She was the daughter of Boyar Roman Yurievich Zakharyin-Yuriev, Okolnichi, who died on 16 February 1543, who gave his name to the Romanov Dynasty of Russian monarchs, and wife Uliana Ivanovna, who died in 1579.”

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