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The Story of John Smith, Pocahontas and the Gullible Public

OK kiddies. Gather around while I tell the story of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas, the Indian Princess. Do you want the short story or the long one? OK... here is the short story: John Smith is a smooth-talking storyteller who thinks the public will believe almost anything he can shovel out the door for his own benefit. The long story is a little better. The Jamestown colony needs to work. If no one works, no one eats. Captain John Smith is holding the whip and none are too happy about it. Luckily, Chief Powhatan is willing to help the colony with an initial gift of food. He sends the food along in a cart with his favorite daughter, Pocahontas. (Unlike the Disney version of the story, this girl is 11 years old and Smith is close to 27. Not much romance potential there.) During the summer, a drought reduces crop yields so the Chief doesn't have enough food to be giving as gifts. Smith threatens the Chief and they come to an agreement but the deal falls apart when Smith can't deliver the goods for the trade. Pocahontas slips away and they never see each other again. Later on, Smith is injured in a gunpowder accident and goes back to England. The End. The Disney story is better. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... where did that BS about the Indian Princess saving the brave Englishman's life come from? It's a story that John Smith either made up or mixed up with a different adventure he had in Hungary when he was captured by Turks. (Sarcasm on.) My daughter-in-law is visiting Turkey right now and she mixes up Turks and American Indians all the time! (Sarcasm off.) John Smith could always use some help at court. Pocahontas was living in England at that time and could use some social credibility as an Indian Princess rather than as a heathen girl following her new husband around England like a puppy. The Chief (her father) was trying to make peace with the English and Pocahontas could be that link. They all turned to Smith who came up with this story that tied them all together in a noble fashion and made Smith look pretty darn good too. What really happened? No one really knows, but John Smith wasn't that bad. He was a bit of a smooth-talker but it ain't bragging if you can do it and more often than not, John Smith did it... often to the benefit of all. [6] [7]

Spain Stiffs the Banks. Have a Nice Day *

Spain has run out of money... again, so they have "suspended payments" to their Genoese creditors. This has caused what is essentially a bankruptcy of the banks of The Serene Republic of Genoa. (Yes. That is what it is called.) It's difficult to explain but there is not much difference between the "Serene Republic" and "Genoa, Incorporated." Genoa will protect these banks because most of the investors are Genoese old family aristocrats. Contracts normally due within the year are extended for 2 years with a remarkably small interest rate of 1.5 percent. Trading contracts called acientos are turned into juros which are perpetual debts with no final due date. By next year Genoa will put their national debt onto their collective Visa® and MasterCard®, making only the minimum payment. In the coming years, people will blame the aristocracy because of their CONTINUING investments in Spain. Unfortunately, the truth is not as important as the aristocracy's investments so the government will arrest these truth-saying disruptors of the public peace. Have a nice day. Even though this time is called "The Century of Genoa," this is a major hiccup. [8] [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day, Spain is about to do it again. Most people are focused on the economic disaster in Greece. When the New York Stock Exchange recently shutdown, I thought it was due to a Greece meltdown, but they said it was a technical problem with the network. If Greece stops payment on their national debt who will go down next? Spain is in the crosshairs along with Italy, Cyprus and Portugal. Bundesbank suggested in January of 2014 that before these countries look to European banks for help, they should first impose a levy on its citizens which... "corresponds to the principle of national responsibility, according to which tax payers are responsible for their government's obligations before solidarity of other states is required." Greece has stopped electronic funds transfers as of June 27th of 2015. Alpha Bank of Greece said it was due to a "technical problem." Sure... right... technical problem. Cyprus recently restored full banking services after 2 years of "technical problems" otherwise known as state control of financial transactions and an almost 10% levy on deposits. If you think your stash is safe in "safe" deposit boxes, think again. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

Harvard is Born... The Man, not the University

The preacher, John Harvard, is born this year. He will move to New England and integrate into the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Colony will start a small college for the education of its up-and-coming clergy which John will attend. When John dies, he will bequeath half of his fortune and his massive library to the college on the condition that it be renamed "Harvard College." [19]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is some controversy over whether John Harvard was really the founder of the University. Obviously if he made a deathbed contribution after the college was already going he was not "THE" founder but the college considers him "A" founder. It was a group effort with John Harvard making a significant contribution at a time they needed a big boost.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1607, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. John Smith (explorer) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “In True Travels (1630), Smith told a similar story of having been rescued by the intervention of a young girl after having been captured in 1602 by Turks in Hungary. Karen Kupperman suggests that he 'presented those remembered events from decades earlier' when telling the story of Pocahontas.”
  2. Pocahontas - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “In a well-known historical anecdote, she is said to have saved the life of an Indian captive, Englishman John Smith, in 1607 by placing her head upon his own when her father raised his war club to execute him. The general consensus of historians is that this story, as told by Smith, is untrue.”
  3. Pocahontas wedding re-enactment: John Rolfe, John Smith, and Native Americans at Jamestown.. Slate.com (June 22, 2014). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “To clear up a common misconception for those who live outside Virginia—four out of five college graduates I polled in an East Village Starbucks got this wrong—Capt. John Smith, leader of the Jamestown settlement, who claimed Pocahontas saved him by begging her father to release him moments before certain death, was never married to Pocahontas. He left Jamestown after being injured by a gunpowder explosion, never to return.”
  4. Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend - Historic Jamestowne Part of Colonial National Historical Park. U.S. National Park Service (August 2010). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “By the winter of 1608-1609, the English visited various Powhatan tribes to trade beads and other trinkets for more corn, only to find a severe drought had drastically reduced the tribes' harvests. In addition, Powhatan's official policy for his chiefdom was to cease trading with the English. The settlers were demanding more food than his people had to spare, so the English were threatening the tribes and burning towns to get it. Chief Powhatan sent a message to John Smith, telling him if he brought to Werowocomoco swords, guns, hens, copper, beads, and a grindstone, he would have Smith's ship loaded with corn. Smith and his men visited Powhatan to make the exchange, and ended up stranding their barge. Negotiations did not go well.”
  5. Pocahontas (1995) Trailer. YouTube (2015). Retrieved on 3 July 2015. “Disney's 33rd Full-Length Animated Film”
  6. Alex Shrugged notes: I'm speculating here but historians have been doubting John Smith's credibility for years. I'm not alone.
  7. John Rolfe - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “Their marriage created a climate of peace between the Jamestown colonists and Powhatan's tribes for several years; in 1615, Ralph Hamor wrote that 'Since the wedding we have had friendly commerce and trade not only with Powhatan but also with his subjects round about us.'”
  8. Asiento - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 July 2015. “In Habsburg Spain, asientos were a basic method of financing state expenditures: 'Borrowing took two forms – long-term debt in the form of perpetual bonds (juros), and short-term loan contracts provided by bankers (asientos). Many asientos were eventually converted or refinanced through juros.'”
  9. Genoa and the Sea: Policy and Power in an Early Modern Maritime Republic. Google Books 89-91. JHU Press (December 17, 2012). Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  10. Republic of Genoa - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 July 2015. “The Most Serene Republic of Genoa was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, incorporating Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean.”
  11. Levinthal, Louis Edward (April 1918). "The Early History of Bankruptcy Law (reprint)". Google Books. University of Pennsylvania Press Law Review 66: 21. https://books.google.com/books?id=LaYMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA21. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  12. Alex Shrugged notes: I publicly thank Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak for their excellent No Agenda Show podcast and their searchable show notes which helped me put together this segment.
  13. "NYSE resumes trading after unprecedented shutdown", Washington Post Company, July 8, 2015. Retrieved on 9 July 2015. “Asked about the 'coincidence' of three major technical failures in a single day, FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the incidents had 'obviously that caught my attention.'” 
  14. "New York Stock Exchange Blames Shutdown on 'Configuration Issue' as Dow Falls", ABC News, July 8, 2015. Retrieved on 9 July 2015. “Exchange officials blamed the shutdown on a 'configuration issue' with their systems, according to a statement, and not a 'cyber breach,' according to a NYSE tweet. The configuration issue pertained to how the exchange's systems interact with one another, a source said.” 
  15. "Bundesbank calls for capital levy to avert government bankruptcies - Reuters", Reuters, 2015. Retrieved on 9 July 2015. “Recent reforms and adjustments in the euro zone's struggling countries - Ireland, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal - have improved conditions for sustainable growth, the Bundesbank said, but remained concerned about high debt levels.” 
  16. "Greece's Alpha Bank Freezes e-Transfers until Monday", GreekReporter.com, June 27, 2015. Retrieved on 9 July 2015. “Amidst fears of capital controls being implemented in Greece as soon as Monday the bank noted that the limitation of transfers and other limitations in its e-banking system are solely related to a technical problem.” 
  17. "Greek debt crisis: What are capital controls?", BBC News, 30 June 2015. Retrieved on 9 July 2015. “Individuals are allowed to take out only €60 (£42; $66) a day for this period, although they can bank online more freely, so they can pay their bills online. They cannot move money to accounts abroad.” 
  18. "Greeks Offered Cash Boxes in Dublin as Ireland Spies Opportunity", Bloomberg Business, 2015. Retrieved on 9 July 2015. “Fahy is offering a 15 percent discount for Greeks who want to store cash and valuables at Merrion Vaults, where 3,000 deposit boxes are protected underground in Dublin’s city center. He says he’s had about 20 Greek customers in recent months as concern mounted about how long the nation could stay in the euro region.” 
  19. John Harvard (clergyman) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 July 2015. “In an oral will spoken to his wife the childless Harvard, who had inherited considerable sums from his father, mother, and brother, bequeathed to the school £780 (half of his monetary estate, with the remainder to his wife) as well as—and perhaps more importantly —his 320-volume scholar's library. It was subsequently ordered 'that the Colledge agreed upon formerly to bee built at Cambridg shalbee called Harvard Colledge.' (Even before Harvard's death, Newtowne had been renamed Cambridge, after the English university attended by many early colonists, including Harvard himself.)[”

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