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[VIDEO] Stalin: Inside the Terror 

This is a BBC2 documentary from 2003 and probably one of the best on Stalin. The archive footage is very good and it draws upon some excellent evidence from close witnesses, including Stalin’s own family.

stalin-funeral

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A Statue of Vladimir Lenin has Been Mysteriously Beheaded in Moscow 

A puzzling note and small bits of rope had been left at the scene. The note, which had an image of a clothes hanger and a tank top, appeared to suggest the word ‘hangman.’

A statue of the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin has stood tall in a park off of Moscow’s Klimashkina Street for decades, but this week it came down to earth with a crash.

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Worse still, the statue’s head apparently came off in the process. The communist revolutionary, still widely admired in Russia, was beheaded in the very Russian city he had restored as the capital almost 100 years ago.

It’s a somewhat mysterious story. According to reports in the Russian media, the statue was discovered on the ground early Tuesday. At first, utility workers suggested that the statue had been brought down by winds. However, weather reports for Moscow showed that the wind that day was hardly gusty enough to knock down a heavy statue.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

More intriguing still, Life.ru reported that a puzzling note and small bits of rope had been left at the scene. The note, which had an image of a clothes hanger and a tank top, appeared to suggest the word “hangman.”

hangman

Later, it was reported that authorities arrested two young men in connection with the statue’s fall. Read the rest of this entry »


Bureaucratic Collectivism: The Naked Self-Interest of the Government-Worker Class

Adjustment Bureau

Of the Bureaucrats, by the Bureaucrats, for the Bureaucrats

If anyone’s gonna find a text written by an obscure, largely forgotten Communist author, it’s NRO’s Jonah Goldberg. The statistics he cites, too, are telling: I knew Federal employee job security and unaccountability has gotten deeper and more entrenched in recent years, but I didn’t know it was this secure. Example: “In 2010, the 168,000 federal workers in Washington, D.C. — who are quite well compensated — had a job-security rate of 99.74 percent.”  Read the whole thing here.

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For National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg writes:

For understandable reasons, the IRS scandal has largely focused on the political question of whether the White House deliberately targeted its opponents. To date there’s no evidence that it did. That’s good for the president, but it may not be good tyranny-of-clichesfor the country, because if the administration didn’t target opponents, that would mean the IRS has become corrupt all on its own.

[Jonah’s book, The Tyranny of Cliches, is available at Amazon]

In 1939, Bruno Rizzi, a largely forgotten Communist intellectual, wrote a hugely controversial book, The Bureaucratization of the World. Rizzi argued that the Soviet Union wasn’t Communist. Rather, it represented a new kind of system, what Rizzi called “bureaucratic collectivism.” What the Soviets had done was get rid of the capitalist and aristocratic ruling classes and replace them with a new, equally self-interested ruling class: bureaucrats.

The-Adjustment-Bureau-Review

“School-choice programs and even public charter schools are under vicious attack, not because they are bad at educating children but because they’re good at it.”

The book wasn’t widely read, but it did reach Bolshevik theoretician Leon Trotsky, who attacked it passionately. Trotsky’s response, in turn, inspired James Burnham, who used many of Rizzi’s ideas in his own 1941 book The Managerial Revolution, in which Burnham argued that something similar was happening in the West. A new class of bureaucrats, educators, technicians, regulators, social workers, and corporate directors who worked in tandem with government were reengineering society for their own benefit. The Managerial Revolution was a major influence on George Orwell’s 1984.

“Specifically, they are good at it because they don’t have to abide by rules aimed at protecting government workers at the expense of students.”

Now, I don’t believe we are becoming anything like 1930s Russia, never mind a real-life 1984. But this idea that bureaucrats — very broadly defined — can become their own class bent on protecting their interests at the expense of the public seems not only plausible but obviously true.
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President Obama’s Magic Words and Numbers

Politico.com

Politico.com

George Will writes:  Barack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for george-f-will-114x80thinking that saying things is tantamount to accomplishing things, and that good intentions aregood deeds. So, his presidency is useful after all, because it illustrates the perils of government run by believers in magic words and numbers.The last progressive president promised Model Cities, with every child enjoying a Head Start en route to enjoying an Upward obama-magician-150x150Bound into a Great Society. Today’s progressive president also uses words — and numbers — magically emancipated from reality.

Thirty months have passed since Obama said: “The time has come for President Assad to step aside.” Today, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, says Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power has “strengthened.” In last month’s State of the Union address, Obama defined success down by changing the subject: “American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated.” If saying so makes it so, all is well.

 “…Obama’s critics should reconsider their assumption that he is cynical. It is his sincerity that is scary.”

Assad, however, seems tardy regarding this elimination, perhaps because the threat of force was never actually made. The Democratic-controlled Senate nullified the threat by its emphatic reluctance to authorize force. Reuters recently reported that Assad had surrendered “4.1 percent of the roughly 1,300 tonnes of toxic agents” he supposedly has. The “.1” is an especially magical number, given the modifier “roughly” attached to 1,300 tons.

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