+3 votes
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This the story of Gareth Jones-a Welsh journalist who met an untimely end after exposing Stalins starvation of Ukraine.

-trailer.

4 Answers

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Still a very timely topic, Sirfurryanimal

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My Ukrainian friend on another forum says he is something of a hero.And she recently went to the war zone there with a film crew.

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Didn't just about anyone that exposed anything on Stalin meet an untimely end?

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Good video but I'm surprised that he even was able to show any of it before Stalin's goons took him down.

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What a contrast between Jones and that swine Walter Duranty, the NY Times bureau chief in Moscow at the time.

Duranty wrote glowing pieces praising the Soviets and denying the famine, even receiving a Pulitzer for his efforts, a prize that the scoundrels at the 'The Paper of Record' have to this day not renounced, although they have belatedly admitted that Duranty's reports were false.

Beneath contempt then, as now.

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I did not realize their perfidy went so far back...one of the journalists I now follow was with NYT for 20 years...although ultimately did get pushed out, of course...

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What journalist is that? Sounds like someone I should follow.

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Might be a bit liberal/progressive for your own life experience Tink...but I did find him as a result of the information from you and Marianne...he was the NYT bureau chief in the revolutions of Eastern Europe for 20 years, and I do suspect he has PTSD which would color his own pessimistic outlook. Still for me his work has been extremely valuable. 

Here is a video (~20 min) I came up with rather quickly for you to consider...it's Christopher Lynn Hedges, and in this one he goes after the liberals...he is not traditionally conservative either, oh and he is an ordained minister!


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Well, he's an intelligent guy, but I think he misses a few fundamental points.

At 15:35, he says that when it becomes clear that the liberal elites are phonies, it can result in a generalized disdain for liberal values and institutions, especially if there is no effective left/progressive movement. Now maybe by effective, he means a movement that values free speech, for example, something the American left is not currently known for.

He says he fears an economic collapse, because a far-right movement could arise as a result, as it did in Weimar Germany. But who brought the US out of the Great Depression? Not Walter Duranty or Pete Seeger, or any of the other foolish admirers of the USSR. It was FDR, the scion of a wealthy family, who governed with an unlikely coalition of liberal Democrats and southern Dixiecrats, and no, the KKK didn't take over the country in crisis.

It was interesting to read that Hedges considers himself a Christian anarchist. Maybe he had this in mind:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."

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Hi Tink,

Without trying to speak for someone else, I think I can respond to your second point, that it was indeed FDR, the scion of a wealthy family who assembled the unlikely coalition bringing us out of the Great Depression...

Hedges believes that the response of FDR was the rational response of a governing aristocracy to such a crisis -- unlike the response of the Obama administration, which simply bailed out the people who brought on the Great Recession and then continued business as usual. The Obama administration left us with a wealth discrepancy that continues to widen, further weakening the economy...and I have become convinced a strong economy depends on a thriving middle class/working class. It may be true that our economy was quite strong for a few decades after the New Deal...until the New Deal got dismantled.

I did rather anticipate you would not find Hedges as helpful as I do...he is one of the journalists I follow closely, even have his book AMERICA: THE FAREWELL TOUR. Hedges makes a case that the USA is an empire in collapse...I do buy that, but I hope the outlook is not as bleak as he paints.

I will likely be asking you for more of your knowledge on WWI, maybe II also...I am still looking at those for how they contributed to our current situation...

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"Hedges believes that the response of FDR was the rational response of a governing aristocracy to such a crisis..."

And Hedges is right, but there was no better alternative, certainly not Soviet socialism or fascism. FDR is rightly ranked among the one or two greatest Presidents by historians, second only to Lincoln.

"...unlike the response of the Obama administration, which simply bailed out the people who brought on the Great Recession and then continued business as usual. The Obama administration left us with a wealth discrepancy that continues to widen, further weakening the economy..."

Well, if they hadn't been bailed out, we might very well have been in another Great Depression right now. And don't forget, it was Congress that changed the rules on subprime mortgages, leading to the housing bubble, with Chris Dodd and Barney Frank (on their respective banking committees in the Senate and House) assuring us all the while that everything was just hunky-dory. Maybe they were bought out by banking interests? If so, certainly not by Bear-Stearns, unless the latter was planning to go belly-up.

Regarding Obama, I think he was not up to the job because he wasn't ready to be President. I think he did not expect to beat Hillary in 2008, but was only in it for name recognition buildup, in preparation for a real run 4 or 8 years later.

" I have become convinced a strong economy depends on a thriving middle class/working class."

I agree. And it seems to be the political Left that is hell-bent on undermining the middle class, promising govt programs that it can't possibly deliver on.

" Hedges makes a case that the USA is an empire in collapse..."

I would say decline. But collapse? I don't expect a collapse remotely as devastating as what Germany suffered in the first half of the 20th century. And where are the Germans now? Doing very well, and mostly by a form of capitalism that is under better control than it is in the US. I think existing American antitrust laws should and must be applied to companies like Google, who don't merely monopolize the prices of individual commodities like cars or oil, but far worse-- they monopolize information and thought.
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I voted for Obama the first time...NOT the second...and that was my reservation the first time, that he was inexperienced. His disastrous presidency did confirm that...you are likely correct he never expected to win.

Yes there is a difference between decline and collapse, and I was using the terms interchangeably. In looking into all this, apparently it took the Roman Empire something like 1300 years to collapse. You and I have talked about tipping points, and I would like to think the USA tipping point has not passed yet. (Merriam-Webster = "the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.")

As far as bailing out Wall Street, I don't know what would have really worked but Obama did not get it. I based those ideas on FDR, he went to the unemployed/homeless/hungry the lower classes and bailed out from the bottom up...trickle-up...his programs were not perfect but they worked, with a boost from WWII of course.

Then as I understand the dismantling of New Deal began almost immediately, but did not really gain momentum until 1971, the Powell letter or memorandum or something...so we had those few decades, which was the time I came of age, very formative for me, I took democracy/American exceptionalism/overall trajectory upward, I took all that for granted.

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" I based those ideas on FDR, he went to the unemployed/homeless/hungry the lower classes and bailed out from the bottom up...trickle-up...his programs were not perfect but they worked, with a boost from WWII of course."

Well, in fairness to Obama, he was not facing the same magnitude of crisis that FDR faced; i.e., literally millions of unemployed people not knowing where their next meal was coming from. FDR had to do something about that first. Obama's bailouts presumably saved companies like GM from going out of business and adding tens of thousands of people to the welfare rolls. Yes, the fat cats at the top undoubtedly didn't suffer any hardships, but think of all the people whose jobs were saved.

"Then as I understand the dismantling of New Deal began almost immediately, but did not really gain momentum until 1971, the Powell letter or memorandum or something..."

The New Deal was dismantled? On the contrary, Social Security was expanded, as was unemployment and disability compensation, Medicare was instituted, and Johnson got the War on Poverty legislation passed in the mid-60s, all of which continue to this day, to the point where well over half (58%) of the federal budget is for social programs.

image

I looked up the federal budget for 1936, which was about $8.5 billion total, of which about $4.5 billion (53%) was for recovery and relief.

https://books.google.com/books?id=9-n_-bHLlbIC&pg=RA2-PR3&lpg=RA2-PR3&dq=federal+budget+summary+1936&source=bl&ots=6IHsXn5K75&sig=ACfU3U1U_zdk9nmb96VpmLUm-n1ThF8ZVw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwih_s_Ru5zmAhWJm1kKHRAjDyg4ChDoATACegQICRAB#v=onepage&q=federal%20budget%20summary%201936&f=false

Per capita spending on recovery and relief (population in 1936 was about 128 million) was about $4.5 billion/128 million = $35 in 1936 dollars, which translates to about $700 current dollars after inflation.

In 2016, the federal budget was about $4 trillion, of which over half was for social programs for a population of about 300 million, so per capita spending on these programs was approximately $2 trillion/300 million = $6,700, almost TEN times as much in buying power as in 1936!

So I really don't understand how the New Deal was dismantled.

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What you have written is what I would have said...until 2017...except you have done it more thoroughly and precisely.

I am not saying it any more. What I am seeing might be something one cannot even believe until you encounter it first-hand... I hope that is not true, but a big concern.

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So it's not a question of how much money the govt is spending, but one of life experience.

Does that mean there were fewer dishonest and rapacious people during the Great Depression, who were ready and willing to take advantage of the poor and the helpless? Maybe so... I've heard that Americans in those days had more of a "we're all in this together, let's help each other out" attitude than nowadays.

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Tink, even though I have looked into what might be going on, still I am not certain I have a really fully functional picture...looking from the gold standard of 'truth' considered as what is it that will lead us in a fruitful direction?

I have working conclusions that I act from...always changing, as I learn more...here are a few of those for you...for example I was thinking about the chart you found? I am convinced such figures are skewed, to promote an agenda...those statistics don't reflect what is happening here on the ground. Kinda dangerous, too, their destructive potential in society.

Then, the Obama bailout...it has perpetuated what some call a "bubble economy." Leaves the middle/working classes dangling...and very unstable too, and because of the low interest rates there is no Plan B left (ie, we cannot now lower interest rates much more, for stimulus) as the economy weakens further....

Something else I was thinking about as we dialog this morning/afternoon...not something I have read anywhere, but I myself am concerned we (USA) may already be in a form of civil war...as you know I live now only 50 miles from where I was born, and the violent difference now and back then (1940's-50's) is alarming. I grew up in the wake of the New Deal, and this is not it.

Last (for the moment), is your suggestion of a culture of "We're all in this together;" that is intriguing...one of the ideas I work with from Hedges is something he calls anomie...a kind of collective despair. And maybe the community bonds were indeed stronger during the Great Depression -- and the loss of those social bonds is devastating...possibly another symptom of a declining empire.

* I'm not giving up, don't get that impression; at age 75 I am doing all I can. Rooster thinks we will muddle through, I am putting my bets there but I think the obstacles are greater than you do, our circumstances more dire.

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"....for example I was thinking about the chart you found? I am convinced such figures are skewed, to promote an agenda...those statistics don't reflect what is happening here on the ground."

I can't really believe that those govt spending figures are wrong by a factor of ten... they are easy to check by demographics, average Social Security income, etc. It sounds more as if we are seeing a cultural/societal shift towards meanness and violence, despite the larger govt safety net.

"-- and the loss of those social bonds is devastating...possibly another symptom of a declining empire."

Maybe even a cause of the decline.

Did you ever see the short comedy films from the 30s and 40s by Edgar Kennedy? I find them screamingly funny, but there is also a poignant human side to the protagonist's situation: despite being continually harassed by his domineering mother-in-law and ne'er-do-well brother-in-law, he lets them live in his house, because in the end, it is the kind thing to do; they would really have no other place to go.

Today, Kennedy would probably kick them out and tell them to go on welfare.


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Oh Tink that is so funny, no I have not seen them before! Enjoyed it thoroughly...

The welfare programs... if you would like I can give you a few examples...from first-hand experience and I think the process is endemic now, nationwide...

Because much of what is listed under social programs for the lower classes, actually falls under creative ways of funneling wealth upwards ... ends up as corporate welfare, socialism for the rich -- camouflage under public assistance for the poor...

This has been a long thread, but I will continue if you wish... ;)

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"The welfare programs... if you would like I can give you a few examples...from first-hand experience and I think the process is endemic now, nationwide..."

Yes, I would like to learn of the examples. I don't doubt that a lot of skimming is going on, but 90%? Everything is run like the Clinton Foundation? :O

I'm glad you enjoyed Edgar Kennedy... there are lots more episodes on YouTube. :)

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Tink I am going to give you the examples...but all this is quite disheartening for me, I seem to need to go about learning it in stages, even discussing it little by little...and I am needing a bit of a break. So look for another post tomorrow, or later today perhaps?

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Ok, anytime, Virginia.

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Hi Tink, I want to get back to you...here are two examples from my time in Iowa, living in the old folks apartment building there.

1. If you are going to be a successful landlord, you must provide housing at a rate that enough people can afford, in order to get the income. And that was how my building did it in Des Moines; my small apartment was a beautiful 300 sq. ft, for which I paid $386 per month. The church-run management was able to turn a healthy margin from all this, their reserve fund was so large they were thinking of paying off the remainder of the construction loan.

Then management changed hands into the corporation, and rent for my apartment jumped to $550. You were expected to pay it or leave, or die (which some did after some months of struggle; an old person can die easily, just shut your door and stop taking your essential meds).

The new renters brought in by the corporation were government-funded; Section 8, or veteran program, some of the newbies had mental health issues and were on gov programs...but bottom line, now the rents were market, and profits increased accordingly. 

All these gov programs that now took up old folks rent increases, are in turn paid by citizen taxes, which burden as you will already know is borne primarily by middle/working classes...the result being a funneling of wealth upwards into the hands of wealthy corporations, and, increasing income inequality.

2. The same management company also did remodels and they quickly undertook our building, again using government funding. A disaster...the beautiful, high quality materials replaced with cheap new stuff that was both unsightly and very often just did not work. So old people were left with heating/air conditioning that was non-functional, relying instead on space heaters in the 20* below zero winters and various fixes in the 105*F summers (can get 98% humidity too). Oh; and the warranty was expired on the climate control units...thus picked them up for a song, and no accountability from the mgmt. co.; just maximizing profit, publicly funded and into private hands.

I learned that construction companies take their profit from the difference between what they pay out for materials and labor, and the funds they get from the gov program. Our building was degraded by the rehab, we were much better off before it happened. Again, I now see that as a funneling of tax money from middle/working class taxpayers upward.

As I look into all this, I doubt that even half of the program money in the circle graph goes where intended; I think almost all of it is a plunder of the US treasury, widening the income inequality.

*  *. *

It was the best financial investment I ever made, and one of a half dozen best decisions of my whole life ever.

The point being, I don't think a person can even believe this is happening until you experience it...not the USA, cannot be. I have given you these couple of examples for you to hold in your heart for the future, but I am also studying the extensive psyops used to rationalize and justify all this (like the circle graph) and while I now understand what the underlying story often is, and I don't want to spend lots of time trying to counter the specious but high-sounding houses of cards. 

All this is very disheartening for me; I was raised by the Greatest Generation, celebrating the end of WWII and the New Deal was just a step in a process of evolution, might be small down-blips, but overall bound to be upward always...and that is not what is happening. 

With loving regards from your online friend.

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Thank you so much, Virginia, for your moving account. I can believe that in government programs, profiteering contractors steal a large fraction (maybe half) of the funds they are paid by overcharging, paying bribes to local inspectors to pass shoddy materials and construction, etc. I haven't researched how serious a problem this was during the New Deal, but I am willing to believe it wasn't nearly as bad then as it is today. I do remember a snippet from Ken Burns' Civil War series, in which a military contractor is quoted as bragging, "You can charge the government whatever you like... they'll pay it."

And I am simply awe-struck at your following Christ's teaching about giving away your wealth to the letter. I wouldn't have the courage, at least not at this stage of life. *hugs*

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OtherTink, I do think your hypothetical question about comparing historical situations with the present day is significant... " haven't researched how serious a problem this was during the New Deal, but I am willing to believe it wasn't nearly as bad then as it is today."

To understand the historical context is the reason I look back in history, especially WWI but also WWII. Even the Black Plague, how that shaped Western civilization...and then, there was a Peasant's Revolt in Europe, maybe 1389, I will look back at that video again someday...

The necessary conclusion (for me) is that humankind is at a (much) lower level of ethics and integrity than I always believed...our mean/median/mode, our set point if you will, is lower than I ever imagined. And, along those lines, here is another question for you, if you are familiar?

One video I watched, WWII, the brilliant German push through the Ardennes Forest; the Allies did not believe that was possible because the forest is so dense. So they were totally unprepared; and that successful, rapid initiative pushed the Allies into a corner, with speculation Allies could have been defeated right then. But Hitler then pulled back! ...to the great frustration of his generals. So Dunkirk happened...then Germany could have invaded the poorly protected England mainland...Hitler declined. Even the Battle of Britain; England did not win, Germany lost and it was because Hitler diverted the Luftwaffe to bombing cities, in retaliation for Allied bombing of German cities. Otherwise the Luftwaffe would have won the Battle of Britain.

The online speculation is that Hitler saw the British as so similar heritage, the racial superiority, that he did not want to conquer them, he wanted to rule with them.

Have you encountered any of this? What do you think?

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Yes, Virginia, I think Dunkirk was Hitler's best chance to win the war. Had he captured the hundreds of thousands of British troops there, that would have been a very strong bargaining chip with which to offer a peace to Britain, especially if he were careful not to bring the US into the war, as he foolishly did a year and a half later after Pearl Harbor. He was under no treaty obligation with Japan to do so unless the Japanese themselves were attacked. And yes, Hitler regarded the British as fellow Aryans. As he stated in Mein Kampf, his territorial aims were toward eastern Europe.

Speaking of Dunkirk, I saw the film of that title a couple of years ago. It was excellently done. I found myself getting scared when the screaming Stukas were dive-bombing the troops on the beaches.

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