Posts Tagged ‘Communism’

Robert Conquest, RIP

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Robert Conquest, one of the leading historians of Soviet genocide, has died at age 98.

It’s hard to remember now, but for most of the Cold War, western liberals vehemently denied that genocide had occurred in the Soviet Union (or other communist nations) at all. Conquest’s The Great Terror helped crack that facade of willful ignorance, as did Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s monumental The Gulag Archipelago.

I once reviewed The Harvest of Sorrow, his work on the Holodomor, Stalin’s terror famine in the Ukraine, and it’s a devastating, amazingly well-researched book. “In the actions here recorded about 20 human lives were lost, not for every word, but for every letter, in this book.”

He was also a poet, and dabbled in science fiction as a writer and editor, but it was as a historian he made far and away his greatest impact. Communism was the great evil of the 20th century, and Conquest had a key role in exposing it. “Over all, Mr. Conquest estimated the death toll for the entire Stalin era at no less than 20 million.”

Here’s an obituary from The Telegraph. “Conquest personified the truth that there was no anti-communist so dedicated as an ex-communist.”

Here’s Christopher Hitchens’ essay on Conquest from 2007.

Jim Wright, RIP

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Former Texas Democratic congressman and Speaker of the House Jim Wright has died at age 92.

As Speaker, Wright was a hyper-partisan that ran roughshod over the Republican minority while committing sleazy ethical lapses. As Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) once noted, “Jim Wright was like an evil fog that floated over everyone’s head.”

Alas, Wright’s death means I’ll never get a chance to get him to sign my copy of Reflections of a Public Man.*

Wright Reflections

It’s a slender collection of personal reflections and pithy aphorisms that even at 117 pages is badly padded. It was also a blatant scam to bypass congressional limits on personal honorarium.

The real focus of the marketing effort for Reflections of a Public Man was on bulk sales to trade associations and other groups. Almost 98% of all sales of “Reflections of a Public Man” were bulk sales of 15 or more books. In some instances, Wright’s staff informed various groups Wright spoke to that because he had already reached the maximum limit on outside earned income for that year, he would not be able to keep an honorarium offered to him. The staff then recommended that instead of paying Wright an honorarium, the organization could purchase books for the same amount . . .

For example,) Wright spoke at a Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Assn. trade show in September, 1985, just several weeks after SBCA had purchased 1,680 copies of “Reflections of a Public Man” for $10,000. SBCA testified that although it historically has paid honoraria and expenses to congressmen for their appearances, in this case SBCA’s legal counsel, who arranged for Wright to speak at the trade show, suggested that SBCA purchase the books instead. Thus, Wright received a $5,500 “royalty” for his appearances before the SBCA.

So that works out to a 55% royalty rate. 10-15% royalties for hardbacks is industry standard. It’s possible that J. K. Rowling and Stephen King might (might) get as much as 25%. If J.K. Rowling demanded a 55% royalty rate, her publisher would have no choice but to turn her down, since they’d be losing money on every book sold.

Through Wright resigned, his strong-handed tactics helped lead to the rise of Newt Gingrich and his Contract With America, which helped pave the way for the 1994 Republican takeover of the House. (And don’t let the New York Times obituary fool yeah; Wright had squat to do with bringing peace to Nicaragua, which was achieved through the pressure of the Reagan Doctrine and the crumbling of the Eastern block, which finally realized it was too broke to prop out communist dictators in Central America.)

*Though I did get Newt Gingrich to sign it…

(Hat tip: Dwight.)

LinkSwarm for May 5, 2015

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo! My efforts to move the LinkSwarm back to it’s usual Friday position by posting early have failed, so I’m trying to get it there by letting it drift back one day later each time…

  • “Canadian Partnership Shielded Identities of Donors to Clinton Foundation.” Just in case you missed that. Because trying to keep up with all the sleazy bribery angles of the Clinton Foundation is like trying to drink from the firehose…
  • Speaking of which:

  • “Hillary may want to talk about inequality, but is there any better example of a couple who gorged at the trough of Wall Street and foreign autocrats, chose not to follow the rules, never could stop chasing more and more money and (in Hillary Clinton’s case) went to extraordinary lengths to destroy “personal” e-mails that might have pulled back the curtain on all that?” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Hillary hires Scott Hogan, an organizer of the failed “Everytown” gun-grabber astroturf to run her “Grassroots” campaign. Hopefully he’ll bring Hillary the same outstanding success he brought to gun control…
  • Russian stooges in Ukraine: “Soviet terror famine? No, that was all just a big misunderstanding!” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Islamic State murders 600 more Yezidis. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • The Islamic State also claimed post facto credit for the Garland attack.
  • Speaking of which, here’s an interview with Bosch Fawstin, the winner of the Draw Mohammed contest. (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • Emergency room visits up under ObamaCare.
  • Lefty lawyer Laurence Tribe calls Obama’s “force everyone to use green energy without congressional approval” plan unconstitutional. “After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority.”
  • Drug cartel violence heats up in Mexico: “Gunmen shot down a Mexican military helicopter Friday in the western state of Jalisco, killing three soldiers, and set fire to buses, blocked roads, and attacked banks and gas stations in a sharp escalation of violence against the government.” This is evidently the handiwork of the New Generation drug cartel.
  • Minimum wage hike hits San Francisco Comic Store.
  • When the Social Justice Warriors started attacking the company Protein World over their “Beach Ready” ad campaign, Protein World didn’t cave, they fought back. Result: They earned an additional $1 million in four days.
  • Not understanding that the Presidency is not an entry level job, and that the Republican field was already packed, Ben Carson joins the Presidential race.
  • Ditto Carly Fiorina, whose tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was not an unqualified success, and whose 2010 California Senate race lost to Barbara Boxer by 16 points.
  • And evidently Mike Huckabee is going to run as well.
  • Texas Democrats are furious that a new ethics bill might keep them from scratching each other’s backs. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • The Austin American Statesman is moving printing and packing operations to San Antonio and Houston, resulting in about a 100 jobs lost in Austin. Previously. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Social Justice Warriors can’t even win elections at UCLA.
  • Austin’s Highland Mall closed on April 30th.
  • Reminder: Today is Victim’s of Communism Day

    Friday, May 1st, 2015

    Just a quick reminder that today is Victims of Communism Day, the day when we remember the 100 million plus victims of the 20th century’s most deadly totalitarian ideology.

    Lithuania Reintroduces Conscription

    Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

    With Russia still fighting it’s thinly disguised proxy war in Ukraine, other former Soviet states have to be nervous. That’s why Lithuania is reintroducing conscription.

    To my mind, all of the Baltic countries should go to a universal service model like Switzerland or Israel: Everyone does a stint in the military, and everyone has an assault rifle at home (with a good smattering of handheld antitank weapons amidst the civilian populace as well).

    The Baltic countries should all make it as hard as possible for Russia to occupy any parts of their country. Indeed, I would suggest that right now, disguised Ukrainian special forces units should be attacking critical infrastructure (rail lines, bridges, transmission lines, pipelines, etc.) all across Russia.

    Evidence suggests that Putin regards the economic damage being done to Russia by sanctions as an acceptable cost for digesting part of the Ukraine. That cost needs to keep rising to deter both present and future aggression.

    LinkSwarm for November 28, 2014

    Friday, November 28th, 2014

    Here’s a small LinkSwarm to tide you over for Black Friday:

  • 62% of voters oppose Obama’s illegal alien amnesty.
  • Barack Obama: Troll in Chief.
  • “If you want to see the end point of Barack Obama’s shining path, visit Detroit.”

    The Democrats, if they had any remaining intellectual honesty, would hold their convention in Detroit. Democratic leadership, Democratic unions and the Democratic policies that empower them, Democrat-dominated school bureaucracies, Democrat-style law enforcement, Democratic levels of taxation and spending, the politics of protest and grievance in the classical Democratic mode — all of these have made Detroit what it is today: an unwholesome slop-pail of woe and degradation that does not seem to belong in North America, a craptastical crater groaning with misery, a city-shaped void in what once was the industrial soul of the nation. If you want to see the end point of Barack Obama’s shining path, visit Detroit.

  • “The group toward whom [Obama]’s shown the greatest contempt, however, is low-skilled American workers, particularly blacks.”
  • “At what point do we stop enabling the grievance industry to override our core constitutional protections?”
  • Did Obama prevent Missouri from deploying the National Guard to prevent Ferguson rioting?
  • Communist agitators stirring up a civil rights protest sounds like a bad ‘60s flashback, but that’s just what happened last week in Ferguson.”
  • Jim Webb’s career show’s how badly Democrats have been hollowed-up in the Obama era:

    Consider: There will be only five red-state Senate Democrats left in the next Congress if, as expected, Sen. Mary Landrieu is defeated in next month’s runoff. Even more striking, there will be only five House Democrats left representing districts that Mitt Romney carried in 2012. The once-influential Blue Dog Caucus of fiscally hawkish Democrats is all but extinct. Republicans now boast twice as many blue-state senators (10) and five times as many blue-district representatives (25) than their Democratic counterparts in red territory.

    While lots of ink has been spilled charting the GOP’s drift rightward, the Democratic Party’s move toward ideological homogeneity has been shorter and swifter.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit, who notes “The Democratic Party has become an aging, regional party with a diversity problem.”)

  • It’s not that the Vietnamese communist leadership is good, it’s just less bad than all the other communist leaderships.
  • Ann Althouse is right: They really did choose a superbly illustrative picture for this Chuck Hagel resignation piece.
  • Only 50% of climate scientists think climate change is human induced.
  • Who should be Secretary of Defense? “America needs Dick Cheney. Now more than ever.”
  • You could read this Penny Arcade as a parable about Islam. Or trusting Obama.
  • “Tear down this wall!”

    Sunday, November 9th, 2014

    Today is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.

    Communism is evil, no ifs, and or buts, and the dramatic difference between freedom and slavery on different sides of the Iron Curtain was too stark for any but the most blinkered leftists to ignore. Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher (among many others) all saw that difference clearly and worked to bring it down. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the beginning of the end not only for East Germany and the Warsaw Pact, but the Soviet Union as well. Freedom won and tyranny lost.

    Here’s the relevant passage from Reagan’s speech:

    And here are scenes of the wall coming down:

    LinkSwarm for October 10, 2014

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    Another Friday, another LinkSwarm. I think i may have to stop watch Houston Texans games for the sake of my health…

  • The American MSM may be reluctant to tell the truth about Obama’s many manifest failures, but UK’s Telegraph isn’t.
  • Most Americans see Obama as a failure.
  • I’m shocked, shocked to discover that the IRS is auditing the producer of an anti-ObamaCare movie.
  • One in five Americans will have medical bills in collections this year. Thanks, ObamaCare!
  • How do you know your foreign policy sucks? When even Jimmy Carter is dissing it. And he’s right!
  • Even Piers Morgan calls Obama’s governance as marked by “lethargy and complacency.”
  • Why Harry Reid is attacking Koch: Big money Democratic donors will spend more in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa than all RNC spending across the country combined.
  • Democrats 2014 = Republicans 2006.
  • Democrats pull out all the stops to save Kay Hagen’s North Carolina senate seat. If she wins, I’m sure her family will appreciate the opportunity for more graft in the coming years…
  • Michael Barone says that trends, with so many Democratic incumbents still polling below 45%, indicate the Harry Reid-controlled Senate is still toast. “Rewind back five years: The Obama Democrats expected their major policies to be popular. They expected that most voters would be grateful for the stimulus package, for Obamacare, for raising the tax rate on high earners. They aren’t.”
  • Obama slams billionaires while attending while attending fundraiser at the home of billionaire Rich Richman. Yes, that’s his real name. If I put that in a novel, editors would reject the symbolism as too heavy-handed…
  • Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes won’t even admit to voting for Obama.
  • While the New York Times has gotten around to talking abut American children dying from Enterovirus D68, they’re still refusing to talk about how Obama’s illegal alien influx might have helped bring it here. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Michael Totten reports from SE Asia: “Sweden is more socialist than Vietnam.” Except for the stupid propaganda loudspeakers…
  • Philadelphia’s deeply indebted public school system actually cancels it’s contract with the teacher’s union. “The move, in which the Philadelphia School Reform Commission invokes emergency powers, comes after the teachers’ union spent more than a year resisting concessions that the commission was seeking even though rising personnel costs have crippled the budget.” How crippling? “The schools’ budget projects spending $44,100 a year in benefits for every $68,700 in wages earned by the average teacher.”
  • NYC School therapist helps handicapped student launch successful Kickstarter. Reward? 30 day suspension.
  • John Kerry spent Wednesday consulting with allies on ISIS and Ebola. Ha, just kidding! He toured a wind turbine.
  • Islamic State supporters threaten to behead U.S. soldiers in Iraq. And by “soldiers” I mean “elementary school children” and by “Iraq” I mean “Rhode Island.”
  • Remember when Bill Clinton ginned up an “epidemic” over a dozen random church burnings? Boko Haram has torched 185.
  • Brett Easton Ellis on Generation Wuss.
  • Iranian professor jailed for associating with “known Zionists.” Like Noam Chomsky. To Islamists, not even an actual hatred of Israel is enough to remove the taint of your Jewishness…
  • “That’s 21st-century U.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.”
  • Top aide to Al Sharpton and boyfriend of top De Blasio adviser in trouble with the law? Inconceivable!
  • An inside view of feminist groupthink and #GamerGate from a former social justice warrior.
  • Random meme pic I made:

  • Random Twitter exchange with Michael Quinn Sullivan:

  • BattleSwarm extends best wishes for a speedy recovery to Borepatch, who wiped out on his motorcycle to the tune of “7 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and a bruised lung.” Ouch…
  • LinkSwarm for July 25, 2014

    Friday, July 25th, 2014

    Time for another random roundup of news and links:

  • Jimmy Carter looks like frickin’ Bismark next to the feckless dorm-room intellectual currently haunting the golf courses of the greater DC area.”
  • Even Thomas “What’s The Matter With Kansas” Frank calls Obama “ineffective and gutless.” (Warning: Salon Liberal Whining Ahead.)
  • Liberal law professor Lawrence Tribe thinks that ObamaCare is probably doomed due to the Halbig decision. “I cannot see how this Court could do anything other than decide the same way as the DC Circuit did. The statue is clear on its face.”
  • Even “ObamaCare Architect” MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber said the same thing back in 2012: “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”
  • Mark Steyn on the Halbig ruling:

    As to Mr Earnest’s point on “what Congress intended”, who can say? No Congressman who voted for the bill read it. Presumably, some legislator’s staffer wrote that actual line about “established by the State”. If we could locate him among the vast entourages of the Emirs of Incumbistan, we could ask him what his “intention” was. Until then, calibrating the competing degrees of deference to a corrupt bureaucracy, a contemptuous executive, a politicized judiciary and a feckless hack legislature brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s line about arguing the precedence of a louse and a flea, with a tick and a cockroach thrown in.

  • Missing from my Gaza roundup: “Shalom, motherf****r.” “I will not apologize for surviving.” (Hat tip: Josh Perry.)
  • Bill Whittle makes the case for Israel:

  • Obama won’t help arm Ukraine because he had a key role in disarming them.
  • Democrats plans for November: All race card, all the time.
  • 50 years of Democratic rule and now Detroit is cutting off people’s water. “Just goes to show that nothing is so expensive as when it is ‘free.'”
  • “That’s not funny.”
  • Republicans should stand firm and let the Export/Import Bank corporate welfare boondoggle expire. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Che Guevara, racist:

  • Maureen Dowd is never so readable as when she’s slamming the Clintons.
  • “Canadian Candidate Drops Out After Masturbation Video Surfaces.”

  • Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr against Lamar Alexander in Tennessee senate primary. I don’t think anyone who watched Alexander’s “Lamar!” flannel flameout in the 1996 Presidential race has ever really trusted him since…
  • A New York City cupcake truck seems a little unclear on who their clientele might be. (They’ve since deleted both this tweet and the one where they implored people not to “snitch” to cops when they see crimes committed…)
  • Evidently nobody is actually reading Thomas Piketty’s book.
  • In praise of Power Girl’s boob window.
  • Reminder: Tomorrow is Victims of Communism Day

    Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

    Remember that tomorrow is May 1st, which means its time to observe Victims of Communism Day again, since the victims of a brutal ideology that killed over 100 million people deserve their own day of remembrance.

    Here’s an Amazon carousel widget featuring a small selection of books on victims of communist oppression (and doesn’t seem to cause the redirect problem).

    Here’s a link to The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, who also have an online museum about the Gulag.

    More on estimating just how many people communism killed on R. J. Rummel’s Democide page.