Bookshelf update – The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976

May 29, 2016

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Frank Dikötter’s  “The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976”.

Book Cover Dikotter Cultural Revolution

 

I’m only a few chapters into it, so far, but it seems to be another proof of something I’ve long believed: that Human history produces far more horror than any story by King or Lovecraft. The Cultural  Revolution, like so many other Leftist attempts to remake humanity –the French Revolution during “the Terror,” Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy (2), the USSR, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Cuba, North Korea– shows how dangerous it is to let one person, one group, or government in general to have too much power.

The Cultural Revolution is available in both Kindle (1) and hardcover formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found no typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.
(2) Yes, Fascism and Nazism, two variations on statism, are products of the Left.


#ConArtist #NeverTrump This is what you’re voting for

February 28, 2016
Approved by Juan Peron!

Donald J. Trump — approved by Juan Peron!

Of all the strange things that have been a part of the 2016 presidential campaign –experienced well-regarded Republican governors turned away, the leading Democrat under federal investigation and her chief rival is a leftover Socialist from the 60s, the media’s blatant bias– perhaps what’s gobsmacked me the most is the rise of Donald Trump.

This started as a year when, of the 16-17 Republican candidates that started the race, 8-10 could make a credible case for their nomination, and several were outstanding. At the time, I thought this was the strongest field to come along in decades and that we were more than able to take on a very weak candidate in Hillary Clinton.

Silly me. I didn’t reckon with a significant portion of the party preferring a blowhard bully with a demonstrable record of supporting progressive positions, screwing American workers, advocating tyranny (1), and having dealings with questionable characters of the organized crime sort.

Let’s take a look at the leading candidate of the nation’s “conservative” party, shall we?

Trump refuses to release his tax returns. Ted Cruz has speculated that’s because they will show Trump has organized crime ties. There is reason to believe he does, including with the Russian Mob.

Just the kind of inspiring figure we want in the White House, right?

He is also content to take praise and endorsements from White supremacists and former Klan leaders. Well more than half of the posts he retweets on Twitter are from White supremacists. After being endorsed by former Klan leader David Duke , Trump has repeatedly refused to repudiate this endorsement or denounce the Klan.

Just the person to repair all the damage Obama has done to race relations in this country, right?

And this fake who pretends to be tough on illegal immigration and spouts inane plans to stop it, who claims he’s the only guy looking out for the American worker, in reality hires foreign workers to do jobs Americans are quite willing to do. Just ask the Polish laborers imported to New York to build Trump Tower. The ones he ripped off. Or the Floridians who couldn’t get jobs are Trump’s Mar a Lago resort because he hired foreign workers on the false claim that no Americans were available to do the job.

This is the guy you just endorsed, Senator Sessions? Kind of makes a mockery of your claim to be an immigration hawk concerned about American jobs, right?

There’s so much more: these are just the items I ran across today. You almost can’t do any research without stumbling across even more appalling stories.

Finally Senators Rubio and Cruz are attacking him where it hurts –his overwhelming ego– and it’s getting to him. We can only hope it’s not too late to persuade those who haven’t sold their souls to him. This emotionally unstable would-be American Peron should never, ever, reach the nomination or, God help us, the presidency.

Never Trump.

Footnote:
1) What else can you say about a guy who praises China for the way it handled Tiananmen Square? Maybe he and Tom Friedman should become roomies.

 


North Korea: more sudden deaths, totally coincidental

January 5, 2016
"You are too short! banished!"

“Likes long walks on the beach and unusual executions.”

I mean, look. Two ex-pat North Korean doctors working in the same clinic die of simultaneous heart attacks after a night of drinking. What’s suspicious about that?

The doctors, An Hyong-chan, 56, and Chol Ri-mun, 50, died in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, late on Friday or early on Saturday after suffering heart attacks. That they died at around the same time from the same cause and in the same location is just the beginning of the tale.

The men, who worked at a clinic that also served as their home in the city’s Tuol Kork district, reportedly died after their wives – also doctors – injected them with an unnamed drug to counteract the effects of an evening of heavy drinking.

The women grew concerned after their husbands developed fevers, abnormal heartbeats and weak pulses after the couples returned home from a night out with 10 other North Koreans, during which the two men had drunk “numerous cocktails”, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

The women told local police they had injected their husbands with “a medicine and a serum” to counteract the effects of the alcohol, and that the men died of heart attacks about an hour later, the newspaper said.

Note that the wives informed the embassy first, then –“hours later”– finally told the locals. Time enough for a clean-up crew and to get stories straight?

As The Guardian notes, this is far from the only mysterious death in which North Korea is part of the picture. One of Kim’s close advisers died in a car wreck just a few days ago. And the regime does have a habit of creatively executing those who somehow offend it. (1)

So, it’s possible it happened as described, but I see other, more likely scenarios:

The wives murdered their husbands on their own. Perhaps the men were abusive, or maybe they were cheating on their marriages, or the women wanted their men gone for other personal reasons. The wives call the embassy because that’s what’s expected of Norks overseas. North Korean officials show up, figure out the plot, and cover things up to prevent embarrassment to the regime and will administer “justice” on their own.

The wives were agents of the regime, willing or unwilling, and executed their husbands on State orders. “Why” is anyone’s guess, but Pyongyang has never been shy about having people killed. In this case, the embassy was called once the mission was completed, and they showed up to get all the details straight before the Cambodians can ask awkward questions. The women will be whisked away and never seen again. Case closed, too bad for the honored dead.

Either one is possible, though I think the last is most plausible.

But the truth? I doubt we’ll ever know.

Footnote:
(1) I was so sorry to learn that the story of Kim feeding his uncle alive to starving dogs was a hoax. Dude, I was counting on you!


From the farcical to the surreal: Putin endorses a grateful Trump

December 17, 2015
Fine as long as the mouth stays shut

Endorsed by dictators

When did I cross into Bizarro World?

Russia’s strongman took time out from bumping off political adversaries, putting his muscle in Iran’s service, and annexing other countries’ territory to praise GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump as “an outstanding and talented personality.”

A grateful Trump reacted: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”

So, the currently leading Republican candidate is honored to be endorsed by a man intimidating and dismembering the countries around him, having opponents and critics assassinated, and generally acting like a global thug.

Analyst Tom Nichols offered this apt analogy:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I won’t go as far as Tom did in another tweet and call Trump a “traitor,” but I do think he is a contemptible buffoon — and a dangerous one, should he win the nomination and the presidency.

Are we sure Rod Serling didn’t introduce this story?


North Korea: Border Guards raided, purged for murdering Chinese?

August 29, 2015
Hungry?

Hungry?

If you’re Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader pudgy, alcoholic, and murderous dictator of North Korea, the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, the last thing you want to hear is that your soldiers have crossed the border into the territory of your one ally and murdered its citizens.

And when you do hear that, you bring the hammer down. Hard.

Scores of officers and rank-and-file soldiers from North Korea’s border guard unit have been rounded up and are under investigation by a special inspection team of the country’s Workers’ Party, following an incident earlier this year in which two of the guards crossed the border and killed two Chinese, sources inside the country said.

The team stormed the headquarters of the 25th brigade in the neighborhood of Yonbong 2 in Hyesan city of Yanggang province earlier this month, and arrested as many as 40 soldiers on the spot, said Hee-yun Doh, a representative of the Seoul-based Citizens’ Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, citing information from a local North Korean source.

Those arrested included the leader of the third platoon from the fourth company of second battalion and six staff sergeants, he said.

 

The head of the Border Guards was replaced after this incident (no word of him being executed in Kim’s usual creative manner), and three staff sergeants were quietly shot — pour encourager les autres, no doubt, for word inevitably got around. North Korea already had a problem with guards being open to bribery to let Koreans cross the Yalu to escape this hellhole (How bad do things have to be to make China look good? Shudder…); if they’re going around shooting people in China, too, well, that’s a problem of a whole other order of magnitude, as Beijing made very clear to Pyongyang.

But the reason they committed these murders should also worry Kim Jong Un:

It was not clear why the North Koreans crossed into the border area, but it is believed that they were trying to obtain food when they killed the two Chinese, according to reports.

In other words, the food situation in North Korea is so bad, Kim hasn’t enough to adequately feed the guys with guns, who are there to keep the rest of North Korea crushed underfoot.

Not good, from a North Korean dictator’s point of view.

Not that the Border Guards are likely to overthrow the government, but this shows Kim is starting to have to put the squeeze on the elites as there just isn’t enough food to go around. I’m willing to bet government officials allowed to live in Pyongyang get plenty, as well as the commanders of key military units and elite bodies of troops. But, if things get worse and reduced rations move (ahem) up the food chain, you can bet there will be grumbling among senior officers already worried about Kim’s predilection for executing people on a whim.

Hence the need to make an example, now.

Long ago, the Roman emperor Septimius Severus is reported to have told his sons, “Ignore everyone else, but take care of the Army.” He knew where the real power in Rome resided, and on whom the Emperor’s safety depended.

Kim, or at least his close advisers, likely knows that lesson, too, but whether he can do it is another question altogether.


North Korea: At this rate, Kim is going to run out of people to shoot

August 12, 2015
"So many to choose from!"

“So many to choose from! Let’s shoot them all!”

But, really, the man had criticized Kim’s reforestation policy. Some things just cannot be tolerated, you know:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly ordered the execution of the country’s vice premier earlier this year, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday.

Citing unnamed sources, Yonhap reported Choe Yong-gon, 63, was shot dead in May this year after expressing “discomfort” over Kim’s forestation policy.

In a statement carried by the agency, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said: “Choe has not been seen publicly for about … eight months since he was last witnessed in December last year at the ceremony to mark the third anniversary of the death of North’s former leader Kim Jong Il.

“The government is closely watching to see what might have happened to him.”

North Korea is suffering from a massive drought, and Kim evidently ordered tree-planting to prevent soil erosion, but it wasn’t going fast enough to suit him. Big surprise for Leftists: Lysenko not withstanding, biology will not bend to crude human will. I’m guessing the late Vice-Premier made the mistake of pointing to Psycho III Dear Leader II that his plan was a bit… “unrealistic.”

In North Korea, that’s a bad career move.

Meanwhile, I’m worried about Kim. No, really! He’s had people machine gunned, fed to wild dogs, executed by anti-aircraft gunfire, mortared to death… If he’s only having them shot, now, he may be losing his touch.


The real reason North Korea has mandatory voting

July 21, 2015
The only vote that counts.

The only vote that counts.

You might think it’s because the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation thinks this is genuine democracy: after all, even though there’s just one candidate (Party-approved, natch) for each post, you can still vote your disapproval by putting your ballot in another box for “no” votes. But nobody does that, probably because of the obvious wisdom of the Party’s choices, guided as they are by Juche spirit and the wisdom of Kim Jong Un.

You might also be a bit more cynical and think it’s so they can boast a 99.7 percent turnout to prove how enthusiastic the people are about their People’s Democracy life in Hell.

But you’d be wrong. Per the CNN article, here’s the real reason the “mountain bandits” have compulsory voting:

The compulsory universal turnout, analysts and defectors say, serves another important purpose for the government.

The election acts as an unofficial census, allowing the government to discover who has defected or otherwise gone missing. And that spells big trouble, not only for the missing voter, but also for his or her family.

Get it? If you don’t vote, your family probably gets sent to Kim’s gulag.

President Obama, who has himself shown authoritarian tendencies, has expressed interest in mandatory voting.

Let’s not encourage him, okay? (1)

Footnote:
(1) To the humorless Left — I kid! I kid! Maybe.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,087 other followers