The USA, lately. #politics #uspoli

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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Europe, Part I. 1815-1827 In 1812, Viscount Castlereagh is passed over for the leadership of the House of Commons and it is instead given to Charles Bathurst (and later George Canning). This frees Castlereagh having to support Lord Sidmouth’s Six Acts in order to retain his position as Foreign Secretary, and instead of slowly withdrawing after the Aix-la-Chapelle Congress, Castlereagh and the United Kingdom maintain a strong presence in the Concert of Europe. Castlereagh is a decisive, intelligent personality with a strong dislike, and the other Great Powers welcome the protocols he authors for the Congress of Vienna and it is him we thank for the modern concept of “balance of power”. In addition, Castlereagh had the ear of Alexander I of Russia, though he and the other leaders were suspicious of his religious zeal and Austria and Prussia of his seeming Jacobin sympathies. Klemens von Metternich, Chancellor of the Austrian Empire, is oddly initially allied with Castlereagh. Even though balance of power means the prevention of another Napoleonic chaos in Europe to both powerful men, their ideas on implementation are very different. Metternich is a strong reactionary, intent upon stifling any republican or nationalistic tendency anywhere, whereas Castlereagh is a staunch anti-interventionist who sees the United Kingdom’s obligation to the Vienna Congress resolutions as supporting the territorial boundaries but not political ones. Castlereagh’s relationship with Alexander, though nominally an absolute monarch like the Austrian Kaiser, did not help him in Metternich’s eyes. This difference of opinion eventually leads to the two becoming more and more at odds at later Congresses, most notably Troppau where Castlereagh is able to convince Alexander to denounce Metternich’s protocols for military intervention in other states. In 1820, Colonel Rafael del Riego y Nuñez leads a mutiny in Cádiz that turns into national revolution which by March pressures King Ferdinand VII into restoring the 1812 constitution. Liberals in Portugal, receiving encouragement by the successes of their political brethren in Spain also start a revolution that brings John VI home from Brazil, where he had fled from the invasions of Bonapartist Spain in 1807. When the unrest in Portugal and Spain spreads to the peninsular parts of both the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Castlereagh is adamant in his policy of non-intervention. His relationship with Tsar Alexander I since Aix-la-Chapelle and Carlsbad is sufficient to keep Alexander in a more liberal frame of mind and out of Metternich’s orbit. As a result, Metternich’s desire to answer the calls of the two Italian monarchs is stifled. Ferdinand I and Charles Felix are forced to accept the constitutions they or they regents had granted, or face full-scale revolt. Metternich views this as insupportable, and when Ferdinand VII appeals to him in 1822 for help in restoring his power, Metternich calls for it to be added to the issues to be discussed in Verona that fall. Austria and Prussia, absolute monarchies, are for intervention in Spain and restoring Ferdinand to absolute status instead of the constitutional monarch he had agreed to become under duress. Castlereagh and the United Kingdom are against any intervention in Spain, as is Alexander, who had remained in Castlereagh’s orbit since Troppau. The French plenipotentiaries, Montmorency and Chateaubriand push, against the directives of Louis XVIII and his Prime Minister Villèle, for France to be allowed to intervene, trying to gain prestige for the Ultra-Royalist faction’s vision. But they are humiliated when both Castlereagh and Alexander denounce their plans as “trying to resurrect the shade of Napoleon”. Back home, this humiliation leads to political recriminations and the fall of the Villèle ministry and the restoration of Decazes to the post of Prime Minister. The Progresista’s hold on power in Spain has never been that strong or pervasive, and their continuing attempts at a Bonapartist-like centralization angers various regions that had retained some autonomy from the Habsburg days when the Spanish crowns were all legally separate entities. In 1825 Aragon, Valencia and Catalonia declare independence from the Progresista Cortes in Madrid and claim the reconstituted Crown of Aragon and elect Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este as their new king. The Progresista Cortes attempt take back Aragon, as well as further ham-fisted ventures in centralization, but in a country still devastated by the Peninsular War, this spells the end of the frail liberal coalition. Six months later, the Andalucian, Leonese, Navarrese and Basque regions also declare independence. With the military support that a handful of years earlier had allowed the Progresistas to defeat the absolutists falling away as battalions declare for their local governments, two years later the Castilian rump-state is forced to acknowledge the independence of Aragon, Navarre and Leon. Castile is only able to keep hold of Andalusia because of the alliance between moderate liberals and the absolutists, leaving Ferdinand VII with greatly reduced powers. To satisfy the absolutist regimes of Austria, Prussia and Russia, Leon is required by the COncert of Europe to elect a King and they chose Leopoldo of Salerno, second youngest brother of the newly crowned King Francis I of the Two Sicilies.


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Monday, 9 November 2015

Trying to install Eclipse(+Subversion+Maven) on Windows. And here I thought it was a PITA on Linux.
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Thursday, 5 November 2015

https://youtu.be/CT1u-HO1VFg “I understand you’re in need if an interim leader.” Rae of Hope Interim Services"
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