Continued American silence will convince China that it can advance on other fronts. We must show Beijing that Hong Kong’s freedom isn’t up for grabs.
Marion Smith writes: Would the United States have let the Soviet Union invade West Berlin? Never. Yet America is on the verge of allowing Communist China to enslave the free city of Hong Kong. If this happens, it will be one of the greatest abdications of U.S. moral leadership in history.
Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects Chinese troops of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison at the Shek Kong Barracks in Hong Kong, Friday, June 30, 2017. Xi landed in Hong Kong Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of Beijing taking control of the former British colony, accompanied by a formidable layer of security as authorities showed little patience for pro-democracy protests. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Right now, Communist China is massing paramilitary forces on its border with Hong Kong. The purpose appears obvious: Intimidate the pro-freedom movement that has brought parts of the city to a standstill in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Beijing’s rulers have labeled Hong Kong’s protesters “terrorists,” while stating that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” The echoes of the Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago are unmistakable.
These developments are eerily familiar to the Soviet Union’s attempts to dominate West Berlin. Yet the United States always made it clear that we would defend the city. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan even traveled there personally, proving by their presence that America stood with its residents.
It’s time to admit that we’re in a new Cold War. The blockade of Berlin in 1948 was widely seen as the opening salvo of the decades-long struggle between freedom and communism. With Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong already well underway, maybe now we’ll admit that another struggle has arrived. The Soviet Union is gone, and America’s new adversary is the Chinese Communist Party.
Alice Su reports: The latest protests in Hong Kong appear to have touched a nerve in Beijing, where officials and state media have escalated rhetoric against the pro-democracy movement, accusing the United States of interference and ominously affirming the People’s Liberation Army’s ability to intervene at the Hong Kong government’s request.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said at a news conference Wednesday morning that the protests on Sunday were “intolerable.”
“Some radical protesters’ actions challenge the authority of the central government and the bottom line of ‘One Country, Two Systems,’” Wu said, adding that the ministry would follow Article 14 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
“One Country, Two Systems” is China’s way of referring to its administration of Hong Kong, under which it is part of China but allowed to maintain some degree of autonomy. Article 14 states that the Chinese government’s military forces stationed in Hong Kong will not interfere in local affairs unless the Hong Kong government requests assistance “in the maintenance of public order” or for disaster relief.
As mass protests against a proposed extradition bill morphed into a desperate pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong over the last two months, the local government has denied rumors that the Chinese military might intervene. Some analysts who study Hong Kong expressed skepticism that Beijing would send its military, which could have devastating consequences.
But Chinese officials and media are now stoking nationalist anger with rhetoric that’s been used to pave the way for crackdowns in the past, specifically with accusations of foreign intervention and condemnations of “chaos” and “disorder.”
Sunday’s protests broadened the scope of conflict as protesters shifted from targeting the Hong Kong territorial government and police to directly challenging the Chinese government.
Jeff Dunetz reports: Oops, the left is upset. Some leftists lambasted the Berkeley PD because they outed violent Antifas goons arrested Sunday by posting the mugshots of those arrested, along with their names, and the alleged crimes for which they were arrested. A practice that is not unusual for the Berkeley PD. These leftist are claiming that the cops were looking to arrest only the Antifa gangs during the protests when actually the cops were looking to arrest only the violent protesters.
According to the police number of Antifa counter-protesters arrested is now twenty, “most of them for possession of banned weapons in parks, and on streets and sidewalks. Dozens of weapons were confiscated.”
Even though there were many hundreds of people, many of whom came armed and hostile, there were no significant injuries to anyone in the public or to City staff. The lack of injuries is fortunate given that extremists threw explosives at Berkeley Police and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office mutual aid officers. Berkeley Fire treated and released three members of the public for minor injuries.Read the rest of this entry »
SHAPIRO: It’s really interesting because when you watch your movies, there are…some lines that have become just part of the American parlance. Obviously, there’s the whole “Chicago way” speech from “The Untouchables,” or the speech that, in the movie version, Alec Baldwin gives in “Glengarry Glen Ross” – the “always be closing” speech.
A lot of folks on the Left tend to use these particular lines actually a fair bit. So, Barack Obama famously suggested that you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight in his sort of political heyday, and people on the Left are constantly suggesting that capitalism is this dog-eat-dog business where people are attempting to tear each other down, and they use that as an excuse for government interventionism. But it sounds like your basic view of human beings [is] that all human beings are basically at each other, and that’s why we have to come to these basic agreements to leave each other alone.
MAMET: Well, yeah. I was watching yesterday the great Tucker Carlson – I’m crazy about him. He had some cockamamie, I think Democrat something or other congressmen or something, and he says to the guy, the Democrat, he says, “Wait a second,” he says, “you guys got nothing left in the golf bag. What in the world are you gonna run on in the midterms?” And the guy says, “Economic justice and social justice.”
So I said, okay, you know, let’s break it down to the English language, right? What does economic justice mean at the end? How is that different than justice, right? It’s communism. It’s statism. It means that someone is going to stand above whatever rules we have for commerce, and decide what’s just to whom, right?
As Thomas Sowell said, whenever anybody says, “It’s gonna help A,” you say, well, who’s it gonna hurt?
No government can equitably divide what it does not first control. And controlling the economy also requires controlling the rest of society.
Jeremiah Keenan writes: When I was about 14 I overheard a close family friend comment on another woman’s hair. “Such long hair! Quite expensive in terms of shampoo.” The involuntary exclamation illustrates a part of the world I grew up in. Some women really did view their hair from the standpoint of incurred expenses in shampoo, and kept it short as a result.
My family was better off than that, but we still lived along the U.S. poverty line. We didn’t own a house, car, or TV. My parents rented a three-bedroom apartment in a ramshackle compound, made us kids a big bookshelf out of plywood, and taught us how to type on a used Mac with a 1995 facing-smile logo that spent a lot of time looking at me above progress bars on the screen.
That life wasn’t bad. Or, at least, most of the bad parts weren’t caused by “poverty.” You see, we lived in a socialist country where the government allowed enough free enterprise to fuel economic growth but maintained firm control to ensure economic equality. President Xi Jinping described our government’s strategy: “We want to continuously enlarge the pie, while also making sure we divide the pie correctly. Chinese society has long held the value of ‘Don’t worry about the amount, worry that all have the same amount.’”
Previous instantiations of this long-held value meant pretty much everybody (except powerful Communist Party members) did not have enough to eat. But 1980s reforms aimed at enlarging the pie had improved matters a great deal, so the common people lived better every day. Kids of my generation had soft little jaws and even chubby tummies. We did not eat the leaves off trees. We lived in apartments with electricity and, in the cities, running water.
The bad part of life was that the government maintained such a firm control of everything. This meant no freedom of speech or of religion. A couple million innocents were ground through the labor camps while I grew up, and one or two family acquaintances subjected to physical torture, but it was the only way government could firmly control everything. Without this control, they could not ensure that the pie, instead of simply growing larger, would be correctly divided. No government can equitably divide what it does not first control.
From Poverty to People’s Ideas of Poverty
From this environment, I was grafted, at the age of 18, into the American Ivy League. I became interested in U.S. politics: wrote for the newspaper, attended debates, tickled my brain with honors classes and the popular books of the American elites.
Young American elites love to talk about income inequality. Last spring, a great lecture hall was filled with them, debating a proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to fight poverty in America. The Left side of the room gave impassioned speeches on the moral necessity of fighting poverty. Read the rest of this entry »
Alain Tolhurst writes: Living under communism makes countries poorer and less healthy for decades, according to a landmark new study.
Researchers testing historical connections between cultures found that whether a country had been under communism was the biggest factor for those with lower health, income and educational levels.
In the first undertaking of its kind, they analyzed the fortunes of 44 countries across Europe and Asia and looked at geography, religion, systems of government and a more intangible quality called “deep cultural ancestry.”
Russian Communist Party supporters attend a memorial ceremony March 5 in Red Square to mark the 65th anniversary of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s death.
Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, they matched these factors against where they ranked on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures per-capita income, life expectancy at birth and the number of years its citizens spend in education.
Most of the issues they looked at appeared to have little or no effect on the disparities between the countries, except for Islamic countries scoring a little worse on education. Read the rest of this entry »
There are several great things about living in a non-democratic society. Here’s my top-ten list.
You’re not responsible for what happens to your country. Your kids won’t be asking you, “How did you guys allow these morons to ruin our health care/ education /defence?” Your conscience is pristine.
You spare lot of time and effort consumed by civil activity and the fight for your interests. Why did China become so strong and wealthy in so short time? Because they were busy making money, not rallying in the streets, or shouting slogans at each other.
If the regime gets repressive, you can make a few good career moves snitching on your colleagues and neighbors, doing little else.
Noisy minorities, bums and panhandlers disappear from the streets, which visibly enhances the urban environment.
Police violence and corruption disappear for good. Effective order maintenance takes its place.
There is much more stability in the corridors of power. It makes relationship-building much more predictable, if you know who you want to make friends with, and how to do it.
The yoke of political correctness is gone. Your rulers, your boss, and the police are the only ones who you might offend, and you always know what they do like to hear, and what not. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek Hunter reports: Progressive director Michael Moore participated in an anti-Trump protest in New York that was organized by Russians, according to information released Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein announced indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller Friday against 13 Russian nationals for meddling in the 2016 election, highlighting how the Russians used social media to stir up strife and anger on social media using memes and unwitting Americans to do their bidding. One Russia-sponsored event was a protest of then President-Elect Donald Trump on Nov. 12, 2016, called “Trump is NOT my President,” and it involved Moore.
Besides having bad taste, our mainstream media is revealing our ruling class once again.
Kurt Schlichter writes: America’s most effective advocate of the principle of an armed populace is now officially the liberal media that usually seeks to do the ruling class’s bidding and strip us Normal Americans of that sacred right. But after the media’s bizarre display of eager tongue-bathing of the semi-human savages who run North Korea, any patriot has got to be thinking, “I best load up, because it’s pretty clear what the establishment’s desired end state is.”
Let’s clarify something – this Kim Yo Jong woman, a key leader in a giant death cult that is torturing and killing people at this moment, is not cute, not figuratively and not literally. She’s not even a Pyongyang 6. Maybe at closing time. After a lot of soju.
But besides having bad taste, our mainstream media is revealing our ruling class once again. You watch the non-stop squee over these monsters and the only conclusion you can reasonably draw is that, for our worthless establishment, the North Korea murderocracy is not a cautionary example. It’s an objective.
Just think of it! The ability to simply make all those Normals who disagree with you go away – either for good or by exiling them to rural fun camps. No fuss, no muss, no more tiresome dissent by those banjo-jockies between the coasts!
“What? That’s crazy talk! How could you draw the conclusion from our giddy, giggling media lovefest that we approve of those adorable, wonderful North Koreans?”
Well, that’s fair. Maybe our elite doesn’t really dig the Great Big Leader’s vibe. Maybe our elite is just composed of morons. If the explanation for the media serfs’ tender fondling of these blood-drenched sadists is not a result of our morally illiterate elite’s desire to emulate the insane wickedness of the Juche Idea, then that leaves gross stupidity as the only other option.
Either they want us Normals dead or enslaved, or they are just idiots.
“The ideas of socialism, that the means of production, distribution and labor should be owned, controlled and regulated by the community as a whole are the worst sort of collectivist ideas which exist.”
Its ‘Red Century’ series portrays communism as a noble cause.
Marc A. Thiessen writes: The Trump administration marked this week’s 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution by declaring a National Day for the Victims of Communism. The New York Times marked the same anniversary in a different way: by running a series of articles extolling the virtues of communism.
The irony of the series’ title, “Red Century,” seems lost on the Times’s editors. The 20th century was “red” indeed — red with the blood of communism’s victims. The death toll of communism, cited in “The Black Book of Communism,” is simply staggering: In the USSR, nearly 20 million dead; China, 65 million; Vietnam, 1 million; Cambodia, 2 million; Eastern Europe, 1 million; Africa, 1.7 million; Afghanistan, 1.5 million; North Korea: 2 million (and counting). In all, Communist regimes killed some 100 million people — roughly four times the number killed by the Nazis — making communism the most murderous ideology in human history.
Never mind all that. University of Pennsylvania professor Kristen R. Ghodsee writes that Communists had better sex: “Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women . . . [who] had less sex, and less satisfying sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper.” She has tough words for Joseph Stalin because he “reversed much of the Soviet Union’s early progress in women’s rights — outlawing abortion and promoting the nuclear family.” Yes, that was Stalin’s crime. Not the purges, not the gulag, but promoting the nuclear family.
In “How Did Women Fare in China’s Communist Revolution?” Helen Gao recalls her grandmother “talking with joyous peasants from the newly collectivized countryside” and writes that “for all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big.” Mao’s revolution killed tens of millions of Chinese — not counting the millions killed under China’s brutal “One Child” policy, which led to widespread female infanticide. Those Chinese girls never got a chance to dream at all.
In “Lenin’s Eco-Warriors,” Yale lecturer Fred Strebeigh writes that Lenin was “a longtime enthusiast for hiking and camping” who turned Russia into “a global pioneer in conservation.” He fails to mention that Lenin was also a mass murderer who executed more of his political opponents in the first four months of his rule than the czars had in the entire previous century. In one telegram, reproduced in “The Black Book of Communism,” Lenin orders the Cheka (a predecessor of the KGB) to “Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers.” (The telegram concludes with an eerie “P.S. Find tougher people.”) Maybe he was camping when he wrote it.
Berkeley professor Yuri Slezkine explains “How to Parent Like a Bolshevik,” noting that “At home, the children of the Bolsheviks read what they called the ‘treasures of world literature,’ with an emphasis on the Golden Ages analogous to their own” and that “Soviet readers were expected to learn from Dante, Shakespeare and Cervantes.” He does not say whether they were also expected to learn from Orwell. Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Sixsmith writes: We must give the Bolsheviks their due. Their success in gaining power was astonishing. A ragtag gang of activists and intellectuals, they seized control of Russia in October, 1917, and defended their rule in a vicious, bloody civil war. No one can deny the force of their conviction, or the scale of their courage, or the keenness of their talents.
Bolshevik forces marching on the Red Square, 1917
But wielding power was a different matter. Revolutionaries dream that crops will grow out of their fire but in most cases it leaves scarred and arid earth instead. Collectivisation, with its monstrous violence and inefficiency, left millions dead in Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus. Paranoia and persecution, all too evident in Lenin’s “cleansing” of “harmful insects” — landowners, dissidents and priests the Bolsheviks interned, starved, tortured and killed — reached its absurd apotheosis in Stalin’s purges.
Stalin killed so many people in the Great Purge that it is remarkable that anyone was left to do the killing. Former comrades, artists and intellectuals, military officers, clergymen, dissidents, outcasts and normal Russian men and women were slaughtered in a tidal wave of blood. What is striking is not just who Stalin killed but who he spared. While hundreds of thousands of innocents were massacred, Lavrentiy Beria, who was not just a bloody killer but a known rapist, received generous promotion.
Partial view of a plaque with photos of victims of the Great Purge who were shot in the Butovo firing range near Moscow. The photos were taken after the arrest of each victim.
Having carved up Eastern Europe with Adolf Hitler, and oppressed its beleaguered inhabitants with such atrocities as the Katyn massacre, where 22,000 men from the Polish officer corps and intelligensia were shot in cold blood, Stalin was himself subjected to invasion. The Red Army fought with startling courage and conviction to prevail, but as the West looked on they became embarrassed. A storm of rape and murder followed the Soviets, carried out by callous and vengeful soldiers. The Nazis in Eastern Europe were replaced with cruel and subservient Stalinist officials. Bierut in Poland, Hoxha in Albania, Rákosi in Hungary and Gottwald in Czechoslovakia kept their people mired in poverty and persecution.
The Soviets inspired others. Mao took power in China and launched a sweeping campaign of modernisation that left millions of expendable victims starved or killed. Juche arose in North Korea, wrapping itself around the country in a chokehold that has persisted to the present day. Pol Pot butchered almost a quarter of Cambodians. Mariam mass-murdered in Ethiopia. Perhaps the most successful of the communist states was Cuba, where, at least, there was not large-scale killing or famine.
As the years dragged on, and Marxists alternately identified with and then disassociated themselves from regimes which took power and promptly used that power to wicked and foolish ends, their search for an impressive Marxist state became a kind of force. The great red hope of the 21st Century was Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez gained popular support and some economic success. Any achievements were undone as the economy shrank, inflation sky-rocketed and violent crime left tens of thousands of people dead. Now, a statue of Chavez has been pulled to the ground as Venezualans, sick of queuing for hours to pay thousands of bolívares for bread and toilet paper, have marched in the streets.
It would be simplistic to blame all of these events on ideology. We live in an imperfect world and those imperfections have been unequally distributed. No conceivable government of Russia, or China, or Venezuela would have left no citizens impoverished or oppressed. Nonetheless, a hundred years of communism has presented us with an intimidating record of catastrophe, in a moral, political, and economic sense. Time and again, ambition has exceeded potential. Time and again, coercion has encouraged conflict. Time and again, violence has perpetuated itself. Time and again, absolute power has hardened into tyranny. Read the rest of this entry »
People gathered to honor Stalin’s victims at a ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, last year. Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters
Communism Through Rose-Colored Glasses.
Bret Stephens writes: “In the spring of 1932 desperate officials, anxious for their jobs and even their lives, aware that a new famine might be on its way, began to collect grain wherever and however they could. Mass confiscations occurred all across the U.S.S.R. In Ukraine they took on an almost fanatical intensity.”
I am quoting a few lines from “Red Famine,” Anne Applebaum’s brilliant new history of the deliberate policy of mass starvation inflicted on Ukraine by Joseph Stalin in the early 1930s. An estimated five million or more people perished in just a few years. Walter Duranty, The Times’s correspondent in the Soviet Union, insisted the stories of famine were false. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for reportage the paper later called “completely misleading.”
How many readers, I wonder, are familiar with this history of atrocity and denial, except in a vague way? How many know the name of Lazar Kaganovich, one of Stalin’s principal henchmen in the famine? What about other chapters large and small in the history of Communist horror, from the deportation of the Crimean Tatars to the depredations of Peru’s Shining Path to the Brezhnev-era psychiatric wards that were used to torture and imprison political dissidents?
Why is it that people who know all about the infamous prison on Robben Island in South Africa have never heard of the prison on Cuba’s Isle of Pines? Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? Do the same people who
rightly demand the removal of Confederate statues ever feel even a shiver of inner revulsion at hipsters in Lenin or Mao T-shirts?
These aren’t original questions. But they’re worth asking because so many of today’s progressives remain in a permanent and dangerous state of semi-denial about the legacy of Communism a century after its birth in Russia.
No, they are not true-believing Communists. No, they are not unaware of the toll of the Great Leap Forward or the Killing Fields. No, they are not plotting to undermine democracy. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they’re colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.
The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon.
The recordings themselves are not believed to be dangerous to those who listen. Sound experts and physicians say they know of no sound that can cause physical damage when played for short durations at normal levels through standard equipment like a cellphone or computer.
What device produced the original sound remains unknown. Americans affected in Havana reported the sounds hit them at extreme volumes.
Whether there’s a direct relationship between the sound and the physical damage suffered by the victims is also unclear. The U.S. says that in general the attacks caused hearing, cognitive, visual, balance, sleep and other problems.
The recordings from Havana have been sent for analysis to the U.S. Navy, which has advanced capabilities for analyzing acoustic signals, and to the intelligence services, the AP has learned. But the recordings have not significantly advanced U.S. knowledge about what is harming diplomats.
The Navy did not respond to requests for comment on the recording. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert wouldn’t comment on the tape’s authenticity.
Cuba has denied involvement or knowledge of the attacks. The U.S. hasn’t blamed anyone and says it still doesn’t know what or who is responsible. But the government has faulted President Raul Castro’s government for failing to protect American personnel, and Nauert said Thursday that Cuba “may have more information than we are aware of right now.”
“We believe that the Cuban government could stop the attacks on our diplomats,” said White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Not all Americans injured in Cuba heard sounds. Of those who did, it’s not clear they heard precisely the same thing.
Yet the AP has reviewed several recordings from Havana taken under different circumstances, and all have variations of the same high-pitched sound. Individuals who have heard the noise in Havana confirm the recordings are generally consistent with what they heard.
“That’s the sound,” one of them said.
The recording being released by the AP has been digitally enhanced to increase volume and reduce background noise, but has not been otherwise altered.
The sound seemed to manifest in pulses of varying lengths — seven seconds, 12 seconds, two seconds — with some sustained periods of several minutes or more. Then there would be silence for a second, or 13 seconds, or four seconds, before the sound abruptly started again. Read the rest of this entry »
CARACAS (AP) — The new constitutional assembly assumed even more power in Venezuela by declaring itself as the superior body to all other governmental institutions, including the opposition-controlled Congress.
That decree came Tuesday just hours after the assembly delegates took control of a legislative chamber and put up pictures of the late President Hugo Chavez, who installed Venezuela’s socialist system.
Delcy Rodriguez, the head of the ruling socialist party and leader of the body, said the unanimously approved decree prohibits lawmakers in Congress from taking any action that would interfere with laws passed by the newly installed constitutional assembly.
“We are not threatening anyone,” said Aristobulo Isturiz, the constitutional assembly’s first vice president. “We are looking for ways to coexist.”
Leaders of Congress, which previously voted not to recognize any of the new super-body’s decrees, said lawmakers would try to meet in the gold-domed legislative palace Wednesday, but there were questions whether security officers guarding the building would let them in.
The opposition to President Nicolas Maduro also faced another fight Wednesday before the government-stacked Supreme Court, which scheduled a hearing on charges against a Caracas-area opposition mayor. The judges convicted another mayor Tuesday for failing to move against protesters during four months of political unrest.
In calling the July 30 election for the constitutional assembly, Maduro said a new constitution would help resolve the nation’s political standoff, but opposition leaders view it as a power grab and the president’s allies have said they will go after his opponents. Before its decree declaring itself all-powerful, the assembly ousted Venezuela’s outspoken chief prosecutor, established a “truth commission” expected to target Maduro’s foes and pledged “support and solidarity” with the unpopular president.
The latest surge of protests began in early April in reaction to a quickly rescinded attempt by the government-supporting Supreme Court to strip the National Assembly of its powers. But the unrest ballooned into a widespread movement fed by anger over Venezuela’s triple-digest inflation, shortages of food and medicine, and high crime.
Opposition lawmakers said security forces led by Rodriguez broke into the congress building late Monday and seized control of an unused, ceremonial chamber almost identical to the one where lawmakers meet.
“This government invades the spaces that it is not capable of legitimately winning,” Stalin Gonzalez, an opposition lawmaker, wrote on Twitter, alluding to the opposition’s overwhelming victory in the 2015 congressional elections.
Before the assembly met Tuesday, the pro-government Supreme Court sentenced a Caracas-area mayor to 15 months in prison for not following an order to remove barricades set up during anti-government demonstrations. Read the rest of this entry »
To fight state mediacensorship in Venezuela, journalists are using cardboard television screens to present news reports on city busses. “El Bus TV” is aimed at providing news to people who lack access to the internet or social media.
PORTLAND, Ore. — What began as a peaceful march for labor rights on May Day in Portland turned violent as a group of self-described anarchists threw objects at officers and officers fired non-lethal weapons back. Police canceled the permitted march and deemed it a riot as tensions escalated.
“Various fires were set in the street and in garbage cans, a police car was spray-painted and vandalized, and there were attempts to set at least one business on fire.”
Portland police arrested 25 protesters, on charges ranging from arson to assault, criminal mischief and theft. All 25 suspects were cited for failing to obey a peace officer, and police said the arrests will be reviewed for additional charges.
Three minors, ages 17, 14, and 17, were among those arrested (full list of names and charges below). All three were charged with riot and released to their parents.
Rallies began at noon and a march started at about 3 p.m. Portland police reported members of an anarchist group threw rocks, smoke bombs, a full Pepsi can and other objects at police officers at about 4:10 p.m.
The Pepsi can struck a Portland Fire and Rescue paramedic, police said.
Police first said protesters with children should leave the march, then told everyone to disperse.
At 4:30 p.m. police said the permitted march was canceled as it was an “unlawful march” based on the violence. Police said anyone in the roadway was subject to arrest.
“Various fires were set in the street and in garbage cans, a police car was spray-painted and vandalized, and there were attempts to set at least one business on fire,” said a news release from Portland police late Monday night. Read the rest of this entry »
Moscow (AFP) – It was the year that ended centuries of royal rule, brought two revolutions, ushered in Soviet domination and changed the course of Russian history irrevocably.
A century later, the country seems unsure how to treat the tumultuous events of 1917 that saw it hurtle from the abdication of the last tsar Nicholas II to a Communist dictatorship in a matter of months.
During seven decades of Soviet rule the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks was celebrated with pomp by the Kremlin and the tsarist regime was demonised.
But after the collapse of the USSR in 1991 there was a u-turn that saw the royal family canonised and public opinion increasingly view the upheavals not as a triumph but as a tragedy that sparked generations of bloodshed and suffering in Russia.
Now, over a quarter of a century after the Communist empire founded by Vladimir Lenin vanished, current leader Vladimir Putin appears to be performing a balancing act.
Some 500 conferences, round tables, exhibitions and art festivals are planned to mark the centenary — but so far, at least, there are no signs that there will be any major fanfare.
“Russian society needs an objective, honest and profound analysis of these events,” Putin said in a speech last year.
“The lessons of history are needed primarily for reconciliation, to strengthen society,” he said, adding that it is “impermissible to let the splits, malice, resentment and bitterness of the past into our life today.”
A former Soviet-era intelligence officer, Putin has turned himself into what many see as a kind of modern tsar and surrounded himself with a new super-wealthy elite.
A Soviet soldier buys a ticket for the performance of the Seventh Symphony in Leningrad in August 1942
His mantra has been restoring stability, strength and unity to the country after the upheaval that followed the end of the Soviet Union, and returning Russia to the conservative values of the past.
Following mass anti-Kremlin rallies in 2011-12 and the ouster of the Russian-backed leader of Ukraine by protesters in 2014, authorities have been increasingly wary of any popular revolt that could impact their grip on power. Read the rest of this entry »
Perhaps you’ve wondered why so many college professors are so left-wing. In your freshman year, you might have noted with dread—as I did—some of your fellow students “going with the flow” and molding their beliefs to fit in. Perhaps one of them was you, before you grew up and snapped out of it! The Frankfurt School is the answer to why so many universities are Social Justice Warrior factories.
The origins of the Frankfurt School
They began as a Communist think tank at the Goethe University Frankfurt. They noted that the masses didn’t rise up during the First World War to overthrow capitalism; instead, the citizens fought for their countries. Only Russia became Communist, a place they didn’t expect Communism to take hold. Since they took the writings of Marx as gospel, all this was quite shocking. They decided they needed to prepare the way by breaking down traditional social ties—country, family, and religion—and afterwards the masses would embrace rule by a global Communist state. That’s not working out too well lately, but all that’s another story.
Andrew Breitbart was instrumental in exposing pervasive influence of the Frankfurt school
They found themselves unwelcome in Germany during the 1930s, and one of the two reasons was that all of them were Communists. They moved to the USA, settling down in Columbia University. How did they repay the country that gave them refuge? By subverting it, of course. If all this sounds like McCarthyist alarmism, note that the Communists themselves claim them.
Because the proletariat just wasn’t interested in revolution, they rebranded Communism, taking out the elements of class struggle, and adding contributions from Freudian theory. This was a mistake; Communism emphasized hard work and heroism; that much is respectable even if the rest of the ideology is badly flawed. If you compare the Motherland Calls statue to Trigglypuff, you’ll understand.
Barack Obama was instrumental in advancing ideas formed in the 1930s at the Frankfurt school
How cultural Marxism took root
“You see, what Antonio Gramsci called ‘hegemony’ is, like, the value system of the Establishment, man! So don’t trust anyone over thirty, dig?”
They had two strategies: ensconcing themselves into academia, and the criticism of society (hence “critical theory”).Ultimately, this meant ideological subversion and basically badgering society to death. (It seems incredible that they did so much without picking up a single rifle.) They stressed moral relativism and the “question everything” atmosphere that became the 1960s counterculture zeitgeist. A few of their books, such as Eros and Civilization by Herbert Marcuse and The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor Adorno, have become classics in academia.
Many of their students graduated and became professors elsewhere, just in time for the 1960s. Young people are at the most impressionable time of their lives, so indoctrinating college students was a very effective strategy. It’s little wonder that campuses became hotbeds of student activism! College draft deferments surely helped them reach more students sympathetic to their message.
Further, the ideological seeds of the Frankfurt School—along with the Communist Party USA—fell onto fertile ground. There were several groups that they—cultural Marxists and garden variety Communists—infiltrated and subverted, for instance:
There was already a feminist movement, mostly moderate and mostly simply about equal rights (a goal which was nearly complete by then). Under leftist influence, second wave feminism began, which was anything but moderate and effectively about deconstructing society.
There was already a beatnik counterculture. With a little encouragement, this became a much larger youth counterculture, the hippies. Having a significant toehold in academia put the Critical Theory folks in a very good position to influence the young Baby Boomers.
There was already a civil rights movement, which the Communists had put a lot of effort into influencing. This included figures such as W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Stanley Levison (MLK’s top advisor), and Frank Marshall Davis (called “Pops” in Obama’s autobiography).
The gay movement was heavily influenced in the beginning by the Mattachine Society, founded by Harry Hay, of which most members were Communists.
Connecting the dots
Earlier I had assumed that the Frankfurt School was an independent movement, with no particular encouragement or guidance from the USSR. Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that. Read the rest of this entry »
Intellectuals and socialism have a long, sordid history
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is a smart cookie, no doubt about it. In fact, she used to vote Republican, so it appears at once she might have had a tiny soft spot for the free market… not that Republicans really believe in a free market either but… forget them, this is about Warren.
Intellectuals and socialism have a long, sordid history. Academics are generally thought to be highly intelligent, so since so many university professors tend to lean left, wouldn’t that mean that socialism is good because smart people back it?
Not so fast.
In “The Intellectuals and Socialism” by F.A. Hayek, the Austrian economist argued that we may be suffering from what’s known as “sample selection bias,” meaning that there are lots of intelligent people who don’t favor socialism, but these people are more likely to find a productive job in the marketplace, rather than join the academy and teach. In other words… in the famous words of polemicist H.L. Mencken: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” And don’t forget that “intellect is not wisdom,” from Thomas Sowell.
Let’s see if Liz Warren has any wisdom to offer in accordance with her intellect.
1. “No one in this country should work full time and still live in poverty.”
Poverty is about more than just how many hours you work. It’s about the decisions you make with the money you earn. Poverty isn’t always a choice, but it isn’t always mandatory either. The US federal government uses poverty thresholds to determine which and how many households have pre-tax income which they claim is insufficient to meet minimal food and basic needs. Really it’s about determining who should receive government assistance, but if you only look at these dollar amounts in American figures, you’re not getting a very good picture of what true poverty is on a global scale. You don’t want to be poor in Europe, trust us.
And it’s a complete fallacy that the poor are getting poorer in America. The bottom fifth of U.S. households in 1975 earned $28,000 more in 1991. Not only that, but the poor’s purchasing power has increased. Here in the good old US of A, even poor people have microwaves, smart phones, and a vehicle or two parked in the old dirt road. Some people are poor and happy. Some people aren’t, but here in America, at least poor can be a choice rather than a mandate.
2. “The federal government will make $ 51 billion in profits off student loans. That’s more than wrong. It’s obscene.”
There’s that old bugaboo word there “profit” again. As if making a profit was a bad thing. Libertarians don’t think the government should be in the student loan business at all. Read the rest of this entry »
The Soviet Union bombarded its citizens with such facts in the seventies and eighties. No one was fooled.
Mikhail Iossel writes: There was no real cognitive dissonance existing in the minds of most people in the Soviet Union of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Everyone knew that everything said on the radio or on television, everything (with the exception of weather reports or sports results) was a blatant lie, spoken pro forma, just because that’s the way things were and had to be: outside, it was dark or light or drizzly or sunny or cold and snowy or pleasantly warm or too hot for comfort—and on the radio and on TV and in newspapers and magazines the untold legions of official-propaganda folks talked about the kind of reality which did not remotely exist in the reality of Soviet people’s lives.
“Everyone knew that they, the Soviet people, lived in a veritable funhouse of a giant isolated world unto itself, in the parallel reality of that endless hall of crazily distorted mirrors.”
Just because from dawn to dusk everyone was forced to hear on the radio and read in newspapers that everyone’s life in the Soviet land was wonderful and was going to be infinitely better still, and that everyone else out in the capitalist world envied the happiness of Soviet people’s lives, no one was duped into thinking this was actually how things were, neither in their own lives or in the lives of people all around them, in their cities and villages.
Everyone knew the truth, even in the absence of any alternative, more reality-bound source of information. Everyone knew how things were in reality. How could one not? One had one’s eyes and ears and one’s own life to live. Read the rest of this entry »
…Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes‘ lecture at NYU was cancelled halfway through amid protests and violence. McInnes has a history of controversial and intentionally provocative statements, saying in the past that transphobia should be encouraged and that feminism makes women unhappy.
Several disruptive students were arrested by police after McInnes was reportedly pepper-sprayed by a critic. But in video taken at the scene that went viral, the professor denounced police for arresting the students and demanded they attack McInnes.
Watch above, via YouTube (starting at around 10:07)
“Who’s protecting NYU from this bullshit?” she shouted. “Why are you here? You’re not here to protect these students from Nazis? No, you’re not!”
“How dare you assholes protect Neo-Nazis? Fuck you! Fuck you!” she shouted. “They’re trying to learn about human rights and against racism and xenophobia and LGBTQ rights and you’re letting these fucking Neo-Nazis near here!” Read the rest of this entry »
An unapologetic liberal, he was no fan of firearms. He had never owned one before. But Waugh, a 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, couldn’t shake his fears of a Donald Trump presidency — and all of the chaos it could bring. He imagined hate crimes and violence waged by extremists emboldened by the Republican nominee’s brash, divisive rhetoric. He pictured state-sanctioned roundups of Muslims, gays, and outspoken critics.
“We’re tired of being perceived as wusses who won’t survive when shit hits the fan. I, for one, don’t like to be thought of as some precious snowflake.”
— Stacy, a Texas Democrat who recently caught the prepper bug
“I kept asking myself, ‘Do I want to live under tyranny?’” said Waugh, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and later backed Hillary Clinton. “The answer was absolutely not.”
“With the new administration I worry about Nazi-style camps that would include my wife, our twins and myself.”
— Melissa Letos, who lives with her family on a five-acre spread near Portland, Oregon
With Trump now days away from assuming the White House, Waugh’s preparing for the worst. He’s made “bug-out bags” stuffed with ammo, energy bars, and assorted survival gear for his wife and their three cats. He’s begun stowing water and browsing real estate listings in Gunnison County, Colorado, which he’s determined to be a “liberal safe-haven.” Last month, Waugh added a 9mm handgun to his arsenal.
His advice to others on the left fearful of the next four years? “Get ready. Pay attention. Keep your wits about you.”
Waugh’s not alone. He is among a new cadre embracing extreme self-reliance in the wake of Trump’s surprising victory. Long a calling among conservatives spooked by big government boogymen and calamitous natural disasters, the so-called prepper movement is gaining a decisively liberal following.
“Occasionally, posts on the Liberal Prepper seem to veer close to parody. One debate thread last week centered around the merits of stocking up on recycled toilet paper rolls versus buying Angel Soft, a brand produced by Koch industries, a notorious climate change foe.”
“We’re tired of being perceived as wusses who won’t survive when shit hits the fan,” said Stacy, a Texas Democrat who recently caught the prepper bug. She spoke with Vocativ on the condition we not publish her last name. “I, for one, don’t like to be thought of as some precious snowflake.”
“And in another discussion, vegetarian and vegan members talked about the best meat- and dairy-free food supplies to have during a sustained crisis.
After years cast as a fringe survival group, preppers entered a kind of golden age during the Obama presidency. A horrific housing crash and the spectacle of Hurricane Sandy helped give rise to reality television shows like Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Bunker, and fueled a multi-billion dollar survival industry. Branded by some as a foreign-born, gun-grabbing socialist, Obama aroused deep suspicion among the patriot groups, right-wing conservatives, and apocalyptic Christians at the center of the growing movement.
“It’s the nature of the political beast. Obama had many on the right really wound up. Now it’s the left’s turn.”
— Kevin O’Brien, a conservative prepper and realtor who specializes in off-the-grid properties in eastern Tennessee
Trump’s provocative posturing and unpredictability is now inspiring a fresh wave of panic on the left. Those who spoke with Vocativ have envisioned scenarios that could lead to military coups led by loyalists of the president-elect and internment camps packed with political opponents, bloody social unrest and an all-out civil or nuclear war. Sound bonkers? Perhaps. But, for many, so was the prospect of a President Trump.
“It’s the nature of the political beast,” said Kevin O’Brien, a conservative prepper and realtor who specializes in off-the-grid properties in eastern Tennessee. “Obama had many on the right really wound up. Now it’s the left’s turn.”
The signs of change are surely in the air. Groups that cater to gun-toting bleeding hearts — such as the aptly named Liberal Gun Club — say they’ve seen a surge in paid membership since the election. Candid talk of disaster preparedness among progressives is showing up on social media. Even companies that outfit luxury “safe rooms” — which protect their wealthy owners from bombs, bullets, and chemical attacks — attribute recent boosts in business to the incoming administration. Read the rest of this entry »
Kevin D. Williamson writes: Applause was a serious business in the Soviet Union, as it is in Cuba, as it is in Venezuela, as it is in all unfree societies and at our own State of the Union address, which is modeled on the ex cathedra speeches of unfree societies. The less free you are, the more you are obliged to applaud. Joseph Stalin’s pronouncements were greeted with perfervid applause, which would continue, rapturously — no one dared stop — until Stalin himself would order its cessation.
“The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior.”
But what to do when Stalin was not there? The mere mention of his name, even in his absence, would trigger fanatical applause, and nobody wanted to be the first to stop. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn related one famous story:
The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter.
Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.
That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them.
That same night the factory director was arrested.
Stalin is long gone, and the Soviet Union, too, having been deposited, as Ronald Reagan predicted, onto the “ash heap of history.” But the craven instinct on display in the scene Solzhenitsyn described remains.
The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior. There is something atavistic in us that is older than the human part — the inner chimp — that makes those who listen to its voice keenly aware of their places in the social hierarchy. Even a predator instinctively recognizes a predator higher up the food chain.
“The language there is interesting: She did not write that Price ‘did not applaud,’ ‘refrained from applauding’, or even ‘failed to applaud,” but that he refused to applaud, a formulation that converts passivity into a positive act, one from which we are to derive something of significance about his fitness for the role of secretary of health and human services.”
Which is not to say that National Public Radio’s Marilyn Geewax is a Stalinist, but rather that they were what she is, representatives of the same species.
Geewax, who is a senior business editor for NPR, is very interested in applause. This week, she expressed some concern that Representative Tom Price has been nominated to serve as the next secretary of health and human services. Read the rest of this entry »