The Garlands of May Day

Spring Fundraiser 2016, Day Two

Our fundraiser weeks (which grew into an eight-day octave over the years) used to scare me. Being a random writer, I was always afraid I’d end up with nothing to say. Or, even worse, I’d be so dysphoric that readers would be chipping in for my coffin.

Tip jarBut those times are finally behind me: not only are the Quarterlies events to look forward to, but that dysphoria is fading into the past. Logically, it shouldn’t be: we’re all sitting here getting older, after all, and the handbasket the world was hellbent on climbing into for the trip down has morphed from its modest size into a big honking bus full of “immigrants” who hate us. What’s to laugh about? Who in his right mind wants to celebrate this state of affairs, right?

Wrong, at least in this case, since I’m an inveterate Pollyanna kind of girl.

I suppose one ought grow up and assume a mantle of sober mien. But now I’m finally getting to the point where anything is possible if you’re of a certain age (“she’s dotty, surely?”). I’m still Pollyanna.

As I’ve mentioned before, during the years I lived in the Girls’ Home I spent my free time reading; it was my great escape over the walls. We had lots of books because people would clean out their attics and donate the detritus to “those poor little girls at the home”. One great gift was a set of all the Pollyanna Glad books, with their yellowed brittle pages. Along with the books were sometimes crates of old dresses that looked suspiciously like the ones Pollyanna was wearing in those books from the 1930s. Most of us managed to resist the nuns’ suggestions that these “frocks” were perfectly wearable.

Still, I was in heaven: here was a girl who knew how to live in spite of adversity. She ate adversity for breakfast and asked for more. As Pollyanna famously said, “…if God took the trouble to tell us eight hundred times [in Scripture] to be glad and rejoice, He must want us to do it at least some of the time…” or another favorite, when she declares “if you keep hunting long enough you’re bound to find something to be glad about”. Sometimes you can just be glad when you get to quit hunting.

To this day, I intermittently practice Pollyanna positivity: at night I write down five things I experienced during the day that made me happy. This is a good night-time exercise because if I do it in the morning, I often can’t remember what I did the day before. Without work or children it becomes hard to structure one’s days. When a friend of ours was fired from her long-term job because her work in the Counterjihad was exposed (her employer was bullied into it. He didn’t want to let her go and have the trouble of training another personal assistant), I remember her reaction: how would she ever remember what day it was without keeping someone else’s calendar straight? I understood her dismay completely because it is — or was — often mine.

But thanks to your donations, I’ve been able to hire a house cleaner. She’s far more than that, though: she works in the garden with me (and I get to teach her about plants), she reminds me what needs to be done and she’s even gotten out some CDs I haven’t felt like listening to for a long time. As the Baron says, she fills the hole in my life where my daughter used to be. In fact, she’s the same age. We go shopping for house-organizing gadgets. She brings me the offal from her chickens when she and her farmer husband slaughter them. I even talked her into bringing me the chicken feet for broth.

My lady’s home companion comes for two hours, three times a week. Any longer than two hours triggers my fatigue. Any less and we wouldn’t get much done. Without your donations, I couldn’t have this woman in my life. Now I can’t imagine not having her company and ideas. It sure eases the burden on the Baron, too. He looks forward to hearing that doorbell ring on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…

Of all the uses to which we’ve put your gifts, this one has caused a paradigmatic change in my life. Pollyanna never left me completely — after all, she came along in my formative years, but she’s really back now. And now I’m looking for a Pollyanna book for my companion/cleaner’s relative. I’ve seen that little girl and I know a Pollyanna girl when they happen along. I even talked her into piano lessons!

One other way we use your donations (beyond getting from quarter to quarter) is to tithe to Vlad, our videographer. I always mention him in these fundraising weeks, but I don’t know if I’ve ever said what a perfect spot he fills in the Baron’s work life. Not only do they conspire collaborate extensively and build on one another’s ideas, but more importantly Vlad makes the Baron laugh. In addition to being collaborators, they are companions in the ways that only men can be for each other. At least once a day the B comes downstairs to tell me something funny Vlad has said.

In the same way that my lady’s home companion fills out what was missing in my life, Vlad does that for the Baron. It’s definitely a guy thing.

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Ever since we decided to use International Socialism’s May Day iconography as our theme for this Spring’s Quarterly (yes, it is at least partially an excuse to use those pictures) I’ve been pondering why the USSR would make it such a big deal in May particularly? Was it because the eternal Russian winter was finally over? Well, no. After a brief search, I had to laugh at the reason: they actually chose an American tragedy to anchor their parades and puffery and strutting about. From the Wiki:

The date was chosen for International Workers’ Day by the Second International, a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties, to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886.

Notice that’s the Second International?? What was the First? Now we’re getting back into the mists of time, well before the death knell revolutionary events of 1917 when the Tsar’s Okhrana would morph into Lenin’s dreaded Cheka. I’ll bet some of them were even the same people.

But let’s stick with the First International for a moment. It was headquartered in London, and the founders’ list reads like a Who’s Who of 19th century ideologists:

Karl Marx, Mikhail Bakunin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Louis Auguste Blanqui, and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

You can almost feel the hope in what was termed “The International Workingmen’s Association”:

The International Workingmen’s Association (IWA, 1864—1876), often called the First International, was an international organization which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and trade union organizations that were based on the working class and class struggle. It was founded in 1864 in a workmen’s meeting held in St Martin’s Hall, London. Its first congress was held in 1866 in Geneva.

In Europe, a period of harsh reaction followed the widespread Revolutions of 1848. The next major phase of revolutionary activity began almost twenty years later with the founding of the IWA in 1864. At its peak, the IWA reported having 8 million members, while police reported 5 million.

In 1872 the organization split in two over conflicts between socialist and anarchist factions. It dissolved in 1876. The Second International was founded in 1889.

By 1904, the Second International held its sixth conference, this time in Amsterdam. They called for “all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.” My heavens — they really did say things like that!

Thirteen years later Russia had its Revolution and the U.S. cheered them on. See those wonderful peasants up top, happy and productive and well-nourished? Our propaganda barons insisted all was well in Russia, lying in the teeth of a grim murderous reality. In America, the CPUSA worked to infiltrate the government and did a bang-up job. During WWII, Roosevelt and his brain trust stepped all over Britain to send material to Russia. No loans, just gifts. It took Britain until the 21st century to pay off its war debt to America. Meanwhile, after the war, Russia reached Berlin first and took many American POWs, sending them to the gulag where they’d never be heard from again. No one seems to know how many of the MIAs listed in Germany were really Soviet captives.

In the post-war years it took us a long time and a lot of cultural dissension and division to get rid of the Communist cancer. In some ways, we’re still not rid of it, when you consider Obama’s Communist parents: his mother, his putative Kenyan father, and his (probably) real father, Frank Marshall (see Marshall’s other children for a comparison). Marshall was a close friend of Obama’s maternal grandparents, also Communists. Our president kicked off his campaign from the home of an unrepentant Communist-linked terrorist whose only regret was that he didn’t kill enough of us. And this moral midget has academic tenure, of course.

It’s a miracle we survived domestic Communism. No matter what the legends say, the U.S. didn’t defeat the USSR. What really happened is that the USSR finally imploded, unable to maintain a clunky, obsolescent command economy and a modern military.

But the USSR is not the only socialist failure of record. You have only to look at the bloody trail world Communism left behind to know what a horror it was and how destructive its remnants (Cuba and North Korea, mostly. China is a totalitarian state which retains some of Communism’s outer trappings but has been forced to deal with market capitalism to survive…and thrive).

And you have only to peruse the pages of the heavily ironic People’s Cube, written by survivors of Soviet Ukraine, to understand the total lie of totalitarianism, no matter what it is that the nightmare calls itself. These “news items” from the People’s Cube sidebar, are perfect parodies of Russian humor translated into American current events. It’s only a partial list; the whole thing goes all the way down the page:

  • News from 2017: once the evacuation of Lena Dunham and 90% of other Hollywood celebrities to Canada is confirmed, Trump resigns from presidency: “My work here is done”
  • Trump suggests creating ‘Muslim database’; Obama symbolically protests by shredding White House guest logs beginning 2009
  • Iran breaks its pinky-swear promise not to support terrorism; US State Department vows rock-paper-scissors strategic response
  • Women across the country cheer as racist Democrat president on $20 bill is replaced by black pro-gun Republican
  • Federal Reserve solves budget crisis by writing itself a 20-trillion-dollar check
  • Widows, orphans claim responsibility for Brussels airport bombing
  • Che Guevara’s son hopes Cuba’s communism will rub off on US, proposes a long list of people the government should execute first
  • Susan Sarandon: “I don’t vote with my vagina.” Voters in line behind her still suspicious, use hand sanitizer
  • Campaign memo typo causes Hillary to court ‘New Black Panties’ vote
  • New Hampshire votes for socialist Sanders, changes state motto to “Live FOR Free or Die” [Europeans: The real motto of the state of New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die”. Many highly-taxed blue-staters move there]
  • Marx-Sanders Statisticians: one out of three Bernie Sanders supporters is just as dumb as the other two
  • Obama stops short of firing US Congress upon realizing the difficulty of assembling another group of such tractable yes-men
  • In effort to control wild passions for violent jihad, White House urges gun owners to keep their firearms covered in gun burkas
  • Green energy fact: if we put all green energy subsidies together in one-dollar bills and burn them, we could generate more electricity than has been produced by subsidized green energy
  • State officials improve chances of healthcare payouts by replacing ObamaCare with state lottery
  • NASA’s new mission to search for racism, sexism, and economic inequality in deep space suffers from race, gender, and class power struggles over multibillion-dollar budget
  • Shocking new book explores pros and cons of socialism, discovers they are same people
  • Pope outraged by Planned Parenthood’s “unfettered capitalism,” demands equal redistribution of baby parts to each according to his need
  • John Kerry accepts Iran’s “Golden Taqiyya” award, requests jalapenos on the side

Lots more on the People’s Cube home page. Nobody does Russian humor better than an escapee from the system.

That’s why the Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is an anachronism. His call for a socialist solution to problems socialism was never able to address in the first place has some appeal to folks who think the “right kind” of socialism hasn’t been tried yet. Poor Bernie — he’s never held a real job in his whole career, only “serving” in government positions — would be a genuine disaster if he were a real threat. But the experience of Obama has reminded Americans that the unicorns and the hope for human perfectibility is simply a dream. Or more accurately, a nightmare.

Populism is on the rise throughout the West and it’s bringing a push-back in its wake. Such a political worldview is a more natural state for Americans, given their long experience with those delineated, written-down Constitutional rights. We are ornery, contentious, and given to altercations over our differences. This is especially true for those “safe space” fragile flowers so afraid of the bullies outside their social ghettoes. Yet they feel perfectly free to deny your rights while they shout you down or climb over your battered body to reach for whatever new shiny toy they’ve been promised by Daddy Government. For an amusing video demonstrating their SHUT UP techniques and an effective answer, watch this excerpt of a panel discussion sponsored at the University of Massachusetts by the student Republican Club. That such a group as the R.C. even exists in Amherst is surely one of the seven wonders of Taxachusetts’ cultural life.

Milo Yiannopoulos, the main speaker in this excerpt from a longer video, discusses both Britain’s problems and his own experience in public speaking in America. He is making a name for himself in the U.S., first as the technology editor of Breitbart, a conservative news aggregator which has finally decided to put some of its focus on Europe. [His co-panelists are well-known to many right-wing Americans: Christina Hoff Sommers and Steven Crowder. She is a philosophy professor and author. He is a ‘conservative’ comedian.]

You can see why we — Americans and Europeans — have much in common as we face the future. Despite the last gasps of the tyrant Putin, Communism is dead. He may have to resurrect Imperial Russia, again failing to ever allow his people to develop a middle class. In America, though, we are in danger of losing the middle class. It’s already shrinking. There hasn’t been a genuine rise in income for men since 1975. Read the whole essay to grasp what forces are at play here.

Obama is a historical first: the first president who failed to see a single year of a three percent growth in the GDP.

So if you’re wondering why normally sane Americans are on the Trump bandwagon, try to see the forces at play: Trump transcends party politics. He’s a businessman who wants to use business to grow American business. He wants a border and sovereignty, which the transnationals claim is too 20th-century. Is he full of hot air? That’s the question. Without doubt, those running against him are so propped up by the system that, were he not running, many Americans would not be voting. We’re not Australia: we aren’t required by law to vote. If we had such a law on the books, I fear that without Trump’s voice more than a few Americans would be voting for Darth Vader or Mickey Mouse.

I’m looking forward to our week of socialism-on-a-spit. Perhaps a contrast-and-compare of the tyranny of International Communism and the equally tyrannical International Ummah.

We’re off to a good start this time. That’s always heartening: the old what-if-no-one-comes-to-the-party hump of Day One has been successfully negotiated. Whew! Don’t have to look into that abyss after all.

Yesterday y’all came from the following places:

Stateside: California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia

Near Abroad: Canada and the Dominican Republic

Far Abroad: Australia, Germany, India, Portugal, and the UK

Now today, be sure to click the donate button on the side bar early and often: I’m in a contest with the Baron on this. Sure, he does most of the work around Gates of Vienna, but that doesn’t mean we don’t compete a bit. And, yes, it’s fun! Just like all the years of Scrabble games in the evenings, but with more words this time around.

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32 thoughts on “The Garlands of May Day

  1. I would suggest to our friends to take the 1 1/2 hours to watch the entire presentation. It is remarkable. Failing that, Google TrigglyPuff . She is the state of discourse on American college campuses. “Trigger Warning.” Once you see her you won’t be able to un-see her! Clearly a mentally ill person that hates herself. But that is where we are today.
    Where did these people come from? They didn’t just spring up in freshman year at college. No, they have been nurtured (if that’s the word for it) through dysfunctional families and a failed school system.
    My son #2 called me one day from college and told me that some born again minister was going to speak on his campus and that his friends were going to protest outside the venue. What did I think? I told him to go buy a small spiral notepad and a pen. Go to the talk and whenever he disagreed with a point to write it down. When it came time for Q & A to go to the microphone and challenge the speaker. If you can’t do that you are not qualified to join in the debate.
    But all of these people screaming and in some cases causing violence be it at a Trump rally and, just for the record Trump is not my candidate of choice, or on a college campus are not capable of debating their ideology on a level playing field. They are just like the Muslim hoard that threatens violence if any dissent is voiced.
    More and more this is not working in society. In fact, after the Trump rally in Orange County, which went national, more and more people are appalled by this behavior and wish to vote, either in their minds or at the ballot box, to put this down. Wave a Mexican flag and become violent at a peaceful gathering to hear a candidate for the US presidential election?
    You are your own worst enemy. Carry on!

    • I would suggest to our friends to take the 1 1/2 hours to watch the entire presentation. It is remarkable.

      Indeed it is. I didn’t know about the excerpt until I went looking for the whole thing, which is what I saw first. Yani seemed to pin their ears back and shut them up more forcefully than the other two presenters, though I like them also.

      Here’s what seems to be the most complete version. It may be this one that has gone viral. That’s something when you consider its length. It’s a general rule for videos that the long ones exist so people can clip out the best parts. However, despite the one-and-a half hours it is worth watching. Someday it will be in a time capsule.

      The B was most surprised when I told him I’d watched the whole thing. But it’s so entertaining in a Trigglypuff kind of morbid way that I was drawn in.

      As for Trigglypuff (the name being a take-off on a Pokemon character), here she is in all her adipose glory:

      However, I offer Babs’ all-too-accurate trigger warning: “once you see her you won’t be able to un-see her…” Even if you wash your mind out with great lashings of Mozart (or Bach, for some of us) she will still be waiting in the interstices of your mind, waving her wide arms and screaming so loud you hope wonder if she’ll pop a vocal cord.

      It is ignorant, coddled social justice warriors like T.P. who have contributed to Donald Trump’s success.

      • It turns out that Ms. Puff and her friends are now trying to stop the dissemination of their bad behavior on the internet.
        Sorry girls, your wild tantrums are immortalized.
        Letters to academy officials and threats of law suits will not stop the internet media from recording your insanity.

        Ms Puff and her sycophants are truly disgusting characters. They have been horribly embarrassed as they should be.
        I imagine that watching themselves on camera took them up a bit.
        #trigglypuff trended on twitter for a day.
        That is the state of social discourse on American college campuses today.

    • I went to college in California in the very early 80’s and there was a bornie who came onto campus to preach. He was an idiot. His name was Brother Jed and he had a sidekick named Cindy. There would form a big circle around him when he spoke and it was always a spectacle. Some people would call him out on his knowledge of the Bible and like I stated, he was an idiot. Jed and Cindy would work themselves up into a fever and finally end up with frothing mouths, pointing fingers at the crowd and calling all the assembled students sinners and whore mongers.

      One day a big guy stepped up to Brother Jed While he was speaking to a crowd and started taking him apart, point by point, on his explanation of Christian scripture. Jed gave the young man a shove and the fellow clocked him but good. The campus police came and hauled Brother Jed away and it was the last we saw of him.

      I’ve spoken to other who attended universities in Southern California and some of them have told me that Jed and Cindy visited their campuses too.

      Babs, I don’t think it’s brother Jed visiting your son’s campus – he would be in his 70’s. Maybe … but more likely it’s his reincarnation. And I expected him to come back as a fly.

  2. While I agree that communism was a vile system built on coercion, terror and lies, I do not think it was an economic failure. Russia would not have lasted five weeks against Hitler had there been no Soviet Union. The inefficient and brutal industrial buildup the Soviet Union plunged into in the 1930s (heavy industry base, full electrification, roads’n’railways, housing complexes) gave it the resources to fight back. The Soviet Union *did* save Europe from long-term German occupation, despite the misery it brought in its train.
    What has happened in China since 1980 is similar to the Soviet economic drive of the 1920s and 1930s, though done in a much more market-friendly way. If you doubt that it has worked, ask yourself, why is it that Chinese and Indian communities are equally hardworking and successful outside China and India, but China’s GDP per capita is now nearly three times India’s?

    All that said, the system is only useful for early-stage development. Once you get to the consumer society, communism is useless–in fact deeply destructive–unless watered down, as has happened in China. The true historic role of communism, which sets up “dummy” versions of the institutions and networks that characterise the modern state, has actually proved to be preparing countries for advanced capitalism.

    OK, back to unblocking the sink.

    • The Soviets stripped resources from the country to develop an inefficient and distorted industrial sector. It was a hugely destructive process not least for its descending on Ukraine like the locusts they were. It was as though all of greater Chicago were stripped in order to produce pencils. Adequate pencil production could be a measure of economic success but not if the overall costs are considered.

      • If only Detroit could produce pencils; how about scotch tape dispensers? Could a few hundred workers be employed?
        Or is the tax burden on business so onerous that it could never happen?

        • You propose the impossible. I recommend the collection of aluminum beer cans as the signature industry for Detroit. After I have emptied the contents, of course.

    • I find a 1/4″ Snake that can be driven from a heavy duty drill motor works well. Try to avoid chemicals, like liquid plumber, ineffective and they harm your pipes. My drill of choice is the Milwaukee Magnum Holeshooter. God, I love that drill. I have two of them. One is a 1/2″ hammer drill, but the hammer action can be switched off.

      OK, back to drinking beer.

  3. ” Despite the last gasps of the tyrant Putin, Communism is dead. He may have to resurrect Imperial Russia, again failing to ever allow his people to develop a middle class.”

    In case you haven’t noticed, (1) Putin is not a communist, (b) Russia is not communist – and hasn’t been for 24 years, actually, and (c) with Putin’s help, Russia is developing a noticeable middle class. For example, 85% of Russians own their own home, the biggest IKEA stores in the world are in Russia, and Russia has the 5th largest number of cell-phone users in the world. If America weren’t constantly stabbing Russia in the back, Russia would be doing even better.

    I stopped reading at this point, Dymphna. I hardly know what to say.

    • I mis-spoke myself. Putin is an murderous oligarch who rules Russia with a firm hand. I had assembled some sources re Russia’s high rate of alcoholism (men’s life expectancy now down to age 60), the number of Russian journalists murdered, and a GDP that is not only stagnant, it’s actually shrinking. This in a country that was rich in natural resources.

      Russia has no genuine rule of law, no solid property rights, or any of the other liberties we take for granted. He says he still has his Communist membership card and considers himself one. While the Obamas have enriched themselves in the tens of millions (each), Putin’s wealth is estimated to be “Bill Gates’ level”.

      As for picking on Russia, we’ve had a spate of Russian military planes buzzing American cities. Google it.

      I mentioned the People’s Cube as a fount of information about Russia. I believe Oleg fled after the Soviet Union fell, but Russia was still Russia. I recommend reading Oleg’s book. As a Ukrainian expatriate, he knows the price of being Russia’s neighbor: you get swallowed. Putin wants Ukrainian ports and he shall have them:

      Shakedown Socialism: Unions, Pitchforks, Collective Greed, the Fallacy of Economic Equality, and other Optical Illusions of “Redistributive Justice”

      I’d offer to loan you my copy but my Kindle is broken.

      To equate the number of cellphones and a huge Ikea outlet as indices of a middle class is to miss the point of what “middle class” means…Russia has managed to build a consumer class but that’s not the same as having a bulwark of free speech, rule of law, or property rights. Those same lacunae in South America has prevented the rise of a middle class there.

      See Thomas Sowell for the economics of the problem.

      • I don’t know, Dymphna. You went so hard on Russia… I’m of mixed Belarusian/Ukrainian/Russian blood and lived in the USSR/Belarus much of my life. I settled overseas much later than Oleg from People’s Cube and I keep in touch with my Belarusian and Russian friends while closely watching the situation in Ukraine.

        Live in the ex-USSR countries is not easy, that’s true. Yet it’s not that horrible, as you could imagine from the books and Oleg’s site. What I’ve gathered from his site, he’s a professional hater. His obsession with hate towards Russia is multiplied by his professional deformity (Soviet agitprop artist, as he introduced himself) and the fact that he hails from Ukraine. Nothing is black and white in Russia as Oleg and the other sources you mention say.

        I am not happy with many of Putin’s moves, but I believe in Russia and Russian people. The country is haunted by its past, it makes mistakes, and it will always be different from the west, but it can be a strong partner in many ways, especially at these challenging times.

    • Thanks for putting this in…….I’ve been puzzled by Dymphna’s assertions re Putin, along with enjoying mostly all else she has to say.
      What with the greatest ‘hope’ for the USA (or should that be DSA –Divided States of America) being held in Donald Trump, I find Russia being the better hope for the rest of the world…..outside Islam.

      • I’m sorry my assertions re Putin are a puzzle. I would suggest some research on his record.

        Donald Trump is a rich businessman who has to operate within the law. Putin is bound only by what he can get away with, and that’s a long list including the murder of dissidents, journalists, and those who insult the mighty Putin.

        If you really think Russia is a hope for the rest of the world, I would urge you to read the state of affairs as it exists in Russia today under Putin. Google is your friend. Here are some query strings you could use:

        Putin’s net worth
        number of journalists who’ve been murdered since Putin came to power
        Russia’s current GDP a negative number
        violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty
        why Russia thinks it MUST have Ukraine’s ports
        what Russia is doing to control petroleum via Gazprom
        why Europe fears Russia
        life expectancy for Russian males since end of the USSR
        Russia’s former client states fear it as much as they fear Islam
        Russia’s demography in a death spiral

        Here’s a long excerpt on the underlying reasons for the massacre at Beslan, and Putin comes up for important mention as a causus belli:

        in 1992 ended in a full-scale fighting.

        Moreover, Chechen nationalists sought independence from Russia and this resulted in a war. The First Chechen War took place between 1994 and 1996 with Shamil Basayev, previous soldier in the Russian army, rising as a leader and the most important terrorist. Finally, the Second Chechen War (started in 1999), led by Vladimir Putin who was trying to claim over Chechnya, resulted in massive civil casualties as well as more than 300,000 Chechens being driven out of the republic. This was followed by a reign of terror to establish the order in the republic (Tuathail, 2009: 6). Therefore, to sum up, ‘the residents of Chechnya and Ingushetia were exposed to years of personal experience with terror, torture and death’ (Tuathail, 2009: 7) and had grievances against Russia. This was the main reason for the emergence of Chechen suicide terrorism. According to Speckhard and Ahkmedova, most of the terrorists have experienced torture themselves or they were forced to witness deaths of their relatives. Terrorist organisations offered a place for these people who were experienced post-traumatic sense disorder a place for redemption and revenge, as well as ‘the hope of achieving some modicum of social justice through terrorism’ (Speckhard and Akhmedova, quoted in Tuathail, 2009: 7). However, it is arguable whether the trauma experienced can possibly make a massacre just.

        When analysing any act of violence or terrorism, it is crucial to understand the goals and motives underlying it. As for the Beslan massacre, the motives were mainly related to grievance and revenge, whereas describing the goals or expected outcomes of the attack is not that clear. The terrorists failed to articulate the demands when they took over the school even though one of the hostages was told that they wanted for the federal forces to be withdrawn from Chechnya (Tuathail, 2009: 7). Moreover, there was a distinction, as well as a tension, between Inguish-specific and Chechen-global demands: Inguish terrorists demanded for the rebels captured during an earlier attack to be released whereas Chechens wanted a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from their territory (Tuathail, 2009: 8). However, there is a possibility that Beslan was not meant to be anything more than a suicide attack, especially considering the fact that the leader of the terrorist group kept saying ‘I came here to kill’ (Tuathail, 2009: 7). ). One of the main Chechen rebels at the time, Shamil Basayev admitted he was responsible for the Beslan massacre a few weeks after the incident. He said in his interview for the Channel 4 in February of 2005 that,

        ‘Cynical though it may look, we are planning these operations, and we will conduct them, if only to show the world again and again the true face of the Russian regime, the true face of Putin with his Satanic horns, so that the world sees his true face. And the most important reason is to stop the genocide of the Chechen people, and to stop the bloody slaughter that is raging in our land’ (Interview of Shamil Basayev to Channel 4 News, 2005

        [my emphases- D]


        If you “find Russia being the better hope for the rest of the world” then perhaps some research is in order?

        • Dymphna,

          One thing I love about you is that you never back down. You go, girl!

          • I wasn’t trying to start an argument. But Putin is evil, no doubt about it. People may disagree with me on that and I will listen to their reasoned explanation of why it isn’t so.

            Which is not to say that America doesn’t have deep pockets of corruption. But we didn’t have to climb out of the hole Russians did back when they had to bribe teachers to get their kids into class. And they had to do that because of the low rate of pay for teachers. Has that improved? I don’t know. But you don’t go thru three quarters of a century of death and horror and come out unscathed…

        • Research is necessary, yes, that is what recently led me to this blog.
          With limited time available, I am trying to cut to the quick about what is going on in the world and avoid lies and propaganda as much as possible.

          Admittedly, hope in Russia is based on personal experience where I was being trained to defend my country of birth against the biggest apparent threat, which was communist Soviet Union. Fact that some of my ‘leaders’ were Nazi’s who were sorry that Hitler did not win his war, may explain why I have ideas differing to the average US citizen. Also why I come to accept that there may of necessity be a choice between two evils, now that the Soviet threat has fizzled (–most definitely in comparison to it’s former self — and we now have extra rampant mohammedanism to contend with.

          In fighting this last mentioned evil, it might best be taken for granted there is no hope in pussyfooting around and meeting it with a vengeance such as Putin is capable of, is perhaps our best hope.
          I do hope that Donald Trump is successful, otherwise Hillary Clinton is no doubt going to continue promoting the Muslim Brotherhood, aiding the spread of Islam.

          A perfect world needs the second coming of Christ, so in the meantime we have to make best with what we know we have

      • Well, Islam has hopes for Russia. I have an email subscription to Mercatornet, an online magazine from New Zealand focused on culture and ethics. They had an essay on Russian Islam:

        For all of its differences with the West, Russia sees itself as a European country. However, the dismaying decline in the Russian birthrate and the life expectancy of Russian males means that the country will become more and more Muslim in the years to come. A detailed survey of the challenges faced by Russia produced by the Finnish Ministry of Defence says that the growing presence of Muslims in Russian society will affect both domestic and foreign policy.

        Umar Idrisov, head of the Muslim Religious Directorate in the Nizhniy Novgorod region, was asked whether a future President of the Russian Federation could be Muslim. He replied, “I may not live long enough to witness the wonderful miracle but I hope that, sooner or later, it will happen. Russia emerged from two civilizations – the Turkish and the Slavic, Islamic and Christian. The first state religion in the area of Russia was Islam, so why couldn’t Russia have a Muslim president?”

        There is growing hostility towards Muslims as people begin to realise how Russian society is changing.

        Here are some statistics gleaned from the report.
        There are 20 million Muslims out of a total population of 142 million. Figures from 2002 show that about 60% of Russians are Russian Orthodox, and 10-15% are Muslim. Between 5 and 30% declare that they are atheists.

        In 1991 there were about 300 mosques in Russia; now there are nearly 8,000. Half of the new mosques have been built with foreign donations, mainly from Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.


        Sadly, Russia faces worse problems than we do, and their death spiral demographics are even worse than ours. Too bad they killed off so many people during the Soviet era…

        …ironically, China has woken up to the same reality: after killing off so many people, they are rescinding the “one-child-per-family” rule they used to have. But people are reluctant to form families in China. It’s simply too expensive. The old family-is-sacred structure has vanished, largely due to central command edicts.

  4. Garibaldi left a worthwhile legacy in unified Italy.

    The Soviets came up with the T-34, one of the best tank designs of WW2, based on the prewar theories of an American designer; following the Nazi invasion, the factory was moved east of the Urals and back in production within weeks. These innovations were were ignored by the US and Britain, who had to put up with the American Sherman, available in huge quantities, but inferior to Soviet and German tanks. Saying among Panzer crews in Normandy: “A Panther is worth five Shermans, but the enemy always has six”.

  5. Sent my small donation. It was the least I could do, I spend a lot of time on this site and I treasure it for the information it brings me that I wouldn’t find elsewhere. It wasn’t much, I’m trying to figure out how my budget works on an early retirement that I didn’t choose for myself. And I’ll admit that I was a good bit more generous for Tommy recently, but then nobody is seriously trying to kill B & D and every bit helps, right?

    • Exactly. On all points. We live on donations but I donated to Tommy, too.

      And we share your ‘early un-chosen retirement’. Good luck figuring it out. You’ll soon decide what are luxuries (for us, vacations, non-free books or movies, restaurants), and what are necessities (foods made from scratch – they taste better. Garden supplies in the early Spring). Everyone has differing “must haves”. Oh – and coffee. We bought an espresso machine way back when the B was working. It has lasted forever. As has the car.

      • The car? My daily driver is a 1971 Datsun. I’ve been driving it as my daily driver for about 35 years. I’ve driven many times on trips from San Diego to the SF Bay Area, sometimes so loaded down there was less than an inch left on the rear suspension and I’ve buried the speedo at 120 MPH. It’s had tire chains on more than once. I have it lowered on alloy wheels (280 ZX from the junk yard at $18 each) and the list of mods would take a full page. You have to know how to turn wrenches to pull something like that off, but, even with different color body parts, the car gets compliments almost every time I go out. I’ve once had a guy in a $120k V12 Mercedes pull up and tell me he liked my car. 510, ’nuff said.

        It has a good stereo and I have AAA because I never know what is going to fall off next. But I can take a Lexus into a corner real fast and make the yuppie driving it spill his Starbucks and by the time he’s back on the right side of the road, I’m a half a block away. I have a newer Chevy Tahoe(16 years) for longer trips.

        I’m thinking about growing veggies. Tomatoes and zucchini have gone very well in the past. And I’m thinking about a dwarf lime tree. I’m kind of thinking of it as a Margarita tree.

        • I remember our Datsun. I loved that car. I do believe that was the one when I learned to drive a stick shift. We keep cars a long time, but you have me beat. The B did oil changes and tune ups and minor repairs until cars got too complicated to try. They have become more durable over the years…

          What I’d really like to see are some of the UCs (Ugly Cars are the venerable ones with different colored body parts) in Cuba. If that country ever really opens up, the antiquated cars will be worth a lot of money to people who have it to spare. It’s truly amazing to see what they’ve kept on the road.

          Our car is only 15 years old. Barring misfortune, a long way to go. I hate having electronic windows and such, though, because there may come a time when we won’t be able to open them and will have to decide how far down we want the mechanic to set them permanently. Just enough for air circulation…

          • They used to say you didn’t want a car built on a Monday or a Friday but these days a lot of it is done by robots that don’t care. I’ve heard some stories about interesting things people have discovered while working on their older cars. A friend with a Corvette found a handful of nuts and washers in a frame section and a fellow on a car forum was disassembling his car to paint and found obscenities scrawled on body parts.

            As for older cars my Datsun is one of my newer ones, it’s a ’71. I also have a ’68 Mercury. My dad taught me to drive in a ’47 Willy’s Jeep CJ2A that’s still our work vehicle at the summer place. The Jeep is all original and only has about 28,000 miles on it.

          • You must have never driven it to town for supplies?? That’s almost 70 years divided in 28K miles?? I used to drive that much each year just going back and forth to work…

          • The Jeep gets driven for two or three weeks every year, but we keep it on the dirt roads around our cabin. My great grandfather bought it for his ranch in Wyoming but passed away soon after that. It was handed down to my father who drove it in high school in Idaho in the ’50s. Dad then took it to the cabin where it’s been for at least 50 years.

            The Jeep is in great tune and all original. Thankfully I’m a bit of a mechanic. The starter was just rebuilt two years ago, I put a new spark wire set on it last year and I have a reproduction radiator for it in front of my fireplace. The Jeep has a very special place in my heart.

        • My ’89 Honda has 450,000 miles on it and a rebuilt engine as of 420,000. I don’t think I’d take a new car even if it were free.

          • I’m sticking with my 1999 Mercedes C180 Combi now @ 200,000 plus kilometers.

          • Y’all are playing dueling cars with my favorites. I remember an old Mercedes I had as a young woman. Living in the city, I didn’t really need a car as much as I ended up needing the money so it got sold a year later for more than I paid for it. At the time I didn’t consider that inflation might have been at work…but that sure was a solid-feeling car. The doors even sounded more solid on closing them.

            We had a friend who owned a Christmas tree farm. The man thought the only car worth owning was a Subaru and he had various pieces and parts in his workshop and several carcasses he liked to work on for fun. On a Christmas tree farm there was plenty of room to hold all that machinery. Since I’d never had a Subaru, I had no opinion to offer…not that he’d have listened to a gurrl’s opinion anyway. However, he did avoid dissing my Honda, so I presume they were in the “acceptable” class in his eyes.

            Hondas are my favorite for durability but as someone once told me, your car is only as good as the day on which it happens to be assembled because work quality on the assembly line improves as the week goes on, though by Friday you’re back into the zone of “who-cares-it’s-almost-the-weekend-and-I’m-outta-here” attitude, which is close to blue Monday’s “who-cares-I-feel-so-bad” work ethic. Thus well-assembled cars, this former auto worker told me,come together from Tuesday through Thursday.

            Is that true? Was it once true when Dee-troit ruled the car world? Whatever. It makes an interesting story to ponder.

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