Wolf Pangloss's Fish Taco Stand

"But, reverend father," said Candide, "there is horrible evil in this world."

"What signifies it," said the Dervish, "whether there be evil or good? When his highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he trouble his head whether the mice on board are at their ease or not?"

"What, then, must we do?" said Pangloss.

"Hold your tongue," answered the Dervish.

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Location: Edge City, Titan

07 October 2007

34 Victims of the Stalinist Purges and More Marxist Breadcrumbs

34 bodies with bullet holes in skulls found buried near old KGB HQ
Conor Sweeney writes for the Scotsman:

BUILDING workers in Moscow have found the remains of 34 bodies and a rusty pistol buried underneath a building on a street connecting the old KGB headquarters to Red Square.

The bodies are thought to date from the 1930s, when Josef Stalin's NKVD secret police - the KGB's predecessors - shot scores of people in the deep, thick-walled basements of buildings near their Lubyanka HQ. This period of political purges was known as the Great Terror; hundreds of thousands were murdered or simply disappeared.

Police who examined the bodies discovered bullet holes in the skulls. "The shots were fired at close range. The wounds and the posturing suggest that the workers discovered an execution room. The bodies had been in the basement for at least 60 years," a police source said.

Bradley Cook and Torrey Clark add in a Bloomberg report:
Josef Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union for three decades, was responsible for the deaths of 15 million people in purges before his death in 1953, according to Memorial, the Moscow-based human rights group. The dictator was officially denounced for the crimes in 1956 by his successor, Nikita Khrushchev.

Other mass graves from the Stalin era have been turned into memorials, including the Butovo shooting range near Moscow, where more than 20,000 people were murdered between August 1937 and October 1938. In August, a giant cross was erected there after being transported from an island monastery in the Arctic that was one of the first Soviet political prisons.

More Marxist Breadcrumbs

In the real world Communism has been discredited as a system. When the USSR failed, it proved that ideological socialism coupled to the apparatus of state terror is no way to run a country, though it is an effective way to create Hell on Earth. And yet Marxist and Communist memes persist because there are still useful idiots lurking like parasites who continue to spread Marxist propaganda to people who never thought about it.

And there are those who for some reason need to educate their fellow man about the inhuman evil that is Communism and Socialism.

Rush Limbaugh, Stalinists Have Taken Over the Left

RUSH: In fact, folks, I'm going to say something that might surprise you a bit. I'm beginning to consider the possibility that the Democrats have just moved beyond ideology, in terms of what propels them. And by that I mean, I don't think that it's just liberalism that's propelling them. There is something further and more disastrous and more dangerous going on, and I think they've become Stalinist-like. What we're seeing here from Wesley Clark, Media Matters for America, all the Democrats on the floor of the House and Senate, denouncing me, a private citizen, this is not just liberalism. It's Stalinist, using the power of the state to intimidate citizens. I have mentioned to you I don't know how many times, and I've asked you to conduct this experiment: When you are with a group of people at a party, I don't care where, even your friends and maybe some in the group you don't know but most of the people you do -- notice how scared everybody is to say anything for fear of making others uncomfortable, or for fear of offending somebody, or for fear of being ripped to shreds for making somebody uncomfortable, or offending them.

We are allowing ourselves to be shut up by virtue of political correctness, not willing to offend anybody and so forth, and you try this test. If you really want to try the test, the next time you're in one of these situations like this, don't hold back, say what you really think about something and gauge the reaction. I guarantee you that you are going to stand alone, you're going to stand out, and people are going to go, "How can you say that?" "What do you mean? My mouth opened, the tongue moved, and syllables came out, that's how I said it. It's what I think." "No, I don't mean that. I mean, how can you say that?" "Because it's what I think." So few people are unwilling to tell anybody else what they really think because they are scared. Right now they're just scared of controversy; they're scared of other people not liking them; they're scared of other people being offended; they're scared of other people criticizing them. But, in a lot of places in the world, the same fear exists, but it's fear of the state.

Kim Andrew Elliott, The Kremlin versus RFE/RL
"The state is paying more attention to international media, especially international broadcasting. The authorities have focused on the broadcasts of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, whose radio programming provides an alternative news voice to listeners across the country. The Kremlin has undertaken an intimidation campaign against RFE/RL's partners -- Russian radio stations that rebroadcast Radio Liberty programs -- subjecting them to debilitating harassment. In August, Bolshoye Radio, a Moscow radio station, announced that it would no longer carry the BBC's Russian-language broadcasts. Although technical violations were cited as the official reason for the station's decision to pull the BBC off the air, many condemned the act as censorship." Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung, Moscow Times, 5 October 2007.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Nicaragua: Deal with U.S. sought to destroy Soviet missiles
Nicaragua and the United States are negotiating the destruction of hundreds of Soviet-made SAM-7 missiles that Nicaragua acquired to fight U.S.-backed rebels in the 1980s.

The U.S. government has long pressured Nicaragua to destroy the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles as part of a global effort to eliminate old weapons that could fall into the hands of terrorists.

Ian Pindar, in God delusions, reviews Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda, by Michael Burleigh (Penguin, £9.99)
The big idea bouncing around in this book is that fascism, nazism and communism mimic the doctrine of salvation of established faiths. They are in fact "political religions". This is a study of the horrors of fanaticism, religious or political, the two fusing perfectly in al-Qaida (Burleigh even notes that the "simpering smile" of the Antichrist in a Renaissance painting "resembles that of Bin Laden"). [...] In totalitarian regimes, he says, the religious instinct has been "metabolised", leading to the "sacralisation" of politics and the politicisation of religion, especially during the second world war.

As reviewer Antonio Nunez notes on Amazon.com, "As envisioned by Burleigh, in the future secular authorities in European cities will be able to keep order only by devolving authority to Muslin religious leaders who will police their own kind. That will be a fine paradox: irreligious democracy only subsisting through the cooperation of extremist theocratic religion."

This book is the second half of a pair of books about totalitarianism and religion, the first half of which was Earthly Powers: The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe, from the French Revolution to the Great War. A Publishers Weekly starred review describes this earlier work thusly:
Given the continuing discussion of religious values and secular ideals in American life (most recently in "the war on Christmas"), as well as the international crises brought by the perversion of faith into political ideology and of politics into religious fanaticism, this first in a two-volume work is most timely. In a masterful survey of European history, British historian Burleigh (The Third Reich) demonstrates that religion and politics are rarely directly opposed, but instead influence, shape and feed off each other in complex ways. Thus, the violent secularist ideologies of Jacobinism, communism and Nazism, he says, were actually surrogate religions that worshipped nation, class and race, while some 19th-century churches involved themselves in the radical politics engendered by industrialization and dispensed with the belief in a literal Hell and Day of Judgment. Burleigh's lengthy introduction is perhaps not the best place to start (with, for example, a discussion of the phrase "immanentizing of the eschaton"), but readers who persist will find this a fascinating, enjoyable and beautifully written book, whose planned sequel, on the tumultuous religious-political conflicts of the 20th century, should be eagerly anticipated.

Reuters, New book tells of silent suffering under Stalin
"The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia", by award-winning historian Orlando Figes, is based on hundreds of interviews with survivors of the era of Josef Stalin, and their stories still have the power to shock.

A slain boy becomes the hero of a propaganda cult, lionised in the press for denouncing his father to the police, neighbours betray neighbours, bravery is punished, cowardice is rewarded and innocents are executed.

The human suffering during Stalin's rule is nothing new. The strength of "Whisperers" is in personal testimony, the stories behind staggering statistics of arrests, imprisonment and death.

Huliq.com, 'Burmese Way to Socialism' Ruins Burma's Economy
Burmese citizens were shocked when a video of the wedding of Senior General Than Shwe's daughter found its way into public markets and onto the Internet last year. The video shows a portly bride adorned in diamonds and emeralds. Military police are shown escorting wedding guests out of luxury vehicles into a banquet hall decorated with grand bouquets, tray after tray of delicacies, and a five-tiered wedding cake. [...]

The country is one of Asia's poorest, and its government one of the most repressive in the world. But when the government sharply raised the price of fuel in August, tens of thousands of citizens were desperate enough to take to the streets to protest. Last month those demonstrations were stopped with deadly military force.

Burma was not always so poor. Fifty years ago, it was known as the "rice bowl of Asia" - one of the region's richest countries. But the prosperity started to fade in 1962, when leaders of a military coup implemented a plan called the "Burmese Way to Socialism."

Sean Turnell of the Burma Economic Watch at Macquarie University in Australia says the military generals nationalized everything - from major enterprises down to the local corner store.

"After that, Burma begins to sink into deepest poverty as this agenda, this Burmese Way to Socialism, gradually dismantled all of the institutions you need to run a functioning market economy," he said.

Turnell says over the past four decades, military leaders have mismanaged Burma's economy by combining a rigid, Soviet-type of central planning with superstitious beliefs.

"In 1987, a round of demonetization took place where they just declared whole units of the legal currency no longer legal tender and they replaced them by currencies based on the number nine," continued Turnell. "The reason for that was astrologists had told the leading general at the time that the number nine was especially auspicious for him.

He says the military leaders have little formal education and are often advised by astrologists. This has led to spending sprees, like the construction of a new multi-billion dollar capital in the jungle town of Naypidaw. The move from the old capital, Rangoon, began two years ago at 6:37 a.m. - a time recommended by an astrologer.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that combining totalitarian socialism with central planning and rule by astrologers (astrocracy?) will turn out suboptimally.

El Universal (Venezuela), Government Should Govern Private Property
"Socialism is the substantial transformation of the juridical and economic design of the private property of the means of production with a view to attain a more equitable society where the right to property of the means of production is governed by the State in order to promote equality among citizens," Rodríguez said in his radio show Fiscalía Contigo.

According to Rodríguez, private property of the means of production stops the development of society somehow.

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Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

                Matthew 7:15-16