Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Private Life of Stalin

There is a facinating film about Stalin posted on Youtube titled Monster: A Portrait of Stalin in Blood. The film was made by Russian historians and film makers. The first two posts in the sections dealing with the private life of Stalin make the case that Stalin had a relationship with the Czarist secret police, the Okrana, and that he was an agent provocateur. Revolutionaries he associated with were often arrested by the police. Later, Stalin cut his ties to the Okrana.

Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, and part 7.

See also the sections on Stalin's secret police.

Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6.

In my previous post, I included clips from this film called
"Stalin and Mind Control." This section of the film discusses the regime's creation of the Stalin myth and its mobilization of intelligentsia, writers, and poets: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Russian Poet Osip Mandelstam Punctures the Stalin Myth

"You will go, my little book, without me to the city,
but I don't envy you. Go on--go to the city forbidden to me--forbidden to your master."
--The opening lines of Ovid's five-book poem Tristia

The Russian poet Osip Mandelstam is pictured above after his 1934 arrest by Stalin's NKVD for writing a biting epigram/suicide note that has become known as "The Stalin Epigram," an unflattering poem about Stalin and his literary syncophants.

The poem has been characterized as "a 16-line death sentence." To get in the mood, here is an article about the Polish Suicide Tango and the song in Russian.

Time (1-7-66) tells what happened next. Mandelstam went over to Boris Pasternak's apartment to recite his new poem. The brave but reckless poet was too excited to be careful; one of Pasternak's four other guests informed on Mandelstam, and he was sent to the GULag after being forced to write a humiliating panygeric to Stalin. Listen to Mandelstam's poem and the tragic story of Stalin's revenge against Mandelstam here. You can also watch Voronezh T.V. discuss Mandelstam's life and legacy when a statue to him was unveiled in the city where he was exiled and where the poet wrote a series of poems called Voronezh Notebooks. Wikipedia notes:

Nadezhda Mandelstam's Hope Against Hope, the first volume of her memoirs concerning the dreadful fate of her husband, the poet Osip Mandelstam, provides many details about life and hardship in Voronezh in the 1930s under Stalinist rule.

Time (1-7-66) reports:

Mandelstam hated the Bolshevik tyranny from the day it took power, and with a crazy courage that still takes the breath away, he made his feelings known. One night he saw a secret-police official swilling vodka in a public house and drunkenly transcribing the names of political undesirables on a large stack of execution writs. Outraged, the pint-sized poet charged across the room, snatched up the warrants, ripped them to shreds and ran out into the night...

In 1937 Mandelstam was briefly set free. But his energies were drained away by illness, and he was still in a sickbed when he was arrested again on a trumped-up charge of counter-revolutionary activity and sentenced to five years in a concentration camp in far-eastern Siberia. The shock of his new sentence drove Mandelstam out of his mind. Under the delusion that his own food was poisoned, he began to steal food from other prisoners. Time and again his fellow prisoners caught him and beat him cruelly. In the end they threw him out of the barracks into 30-below-zero cold. Filthy, emaciated, dressed in rags, he lived on for several weeks, sleeping in sheds and eating garbage. And then he died.

Mandelstam's tragic fate after he penned his "sixteen line death sentence" reminds me of the tragic banishment of the poet Ovid to the Black Sea village of Tomi, for what Ovid has characterized as "a poem and a blunder." The reasons for Ovid's banishment remain obscure, but he may have composed a poem mocking the adulterous nature of Emperor Augustus' daughter, Julia.

The banished Ovid penned futile letters to Emperor Augustus whom he addressed as "Caesar" and even "God." Ovid begged the Emperor for a reprive from his harsh exile, but he died in Tomis 10 years after his banishment. In the opening lines of his five-book poem Tristia, Ovid laments:

You will go, my little book, without me to the city,
but I don't envy you. Go on--go to the city forbidden to me--forbidden to your master. [Full text of Tristia]

Mandelstam himself published a book of poems called Tristia and a poem of the same name which is performed in Russian and in Joseph Brodsky's English translation. [See another translation here.]

"Stalin's myth is still alive and it will live on from generation to generation in Russia until the last born in of 20th century has died or until the world looks upon his like again."---Monster: A Portrait of Stalin in Blood, a documentary made by Russian historians and film makers

This painting depicting the Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin receiving flowers from children appeared in Harpers (1-29-08) and was followed by Mandelstam's "Stalin Epigram." The epigram begins "We live, not sensing our own country beneath us..." (1933).

See the excerpts from Monster: A Portrait of Stalin in Blood about the regime's creation of the Stalin myth and its mobilization of intelligentsia, writers, and poets: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6.

Stalin wanted to become a poet, according to part 6, and as a young person penned an "Ode To Freedom" on the theme of hope. Stalin failed to become a poet, so he became a god. The narrator says that "Stalin's myth is still alive and it will live on from generation to generation in Russia until the last born in of 20th century has died or until the world looks upon his like again."

Is our incoming President Obama, who appears to have let the Maoist communist Weather Underground terrorist Billy Ayers pen "his" memoir Dreams From My Father, a total fake made in his ghostwriter's image? Are the American people going to open their eyes and look behind Obama's glib promises about hope? Is the media going to continue to uncritically dismiss Obama's troubling relationship with a communist terrorist who wanted to overthrow the U.S. government, set up reeducation camps, and carry out mass-executions of 25 million Americans?

Unlike many gifted Russian intellectuals who leapt into Stalin's arms, Osip Mandelstam initially spoke truth to power. He mocked the writers who sang Stalin's praises as "half-men":

One whimpers/whistles, another warbles, a third miaows.

The meaning of the word raspberry/malina in the poem's closing lines is unclear. Harpers suggests that the word "raspberry" in "The Stalin Epigram" is criminal jargon for "the underworld":

The word “raspberry” (малина) is code language from the criminal underworld, of which Stalin was a denizen under the code name “Koba.” Stalin hailed from the city of Gori in Georgia, near the South Ossetian region, which is why Mandelstam refers to him here as an Ossetian. This poem led to Mandelstam’s arrest in 1934, imprisonment and death in December 1938.

I think "raspberry" is thieves' jargon for a the criminal underworld or perhaps sometimes gang's hideout, like the hut in Pushkin's famous narrative poem Zhenikh, ("The Bridgroom"). The young bride in Pushkin's poem shows Russian people how to expose a gang of murdering thieves. She holds her tongue and plays along until she can expose the criminal with the evidence of the murder of a young girl.

The word "raspberry" may also be an allusion to Stalin's secret police chief Genrikh Yagoda, who was head of the NKVD from 1934-36. Yagoda's name means "berry." According to the poem, raspberry and Stalin are present whenever there is an execution. Perhaps the use of the enigmatic word "raspberry" has multiple conotations. The word raspberry/malina may be a complicated play on Yagoda's name and the word's meaning in criminal jargon--a den of thieves/the underworld.

Unlike the innocent bride in the Pushkin's Zhenikh, Mandelstam didn't hold his tongue. He bore witness to Stalin's criminal regime in his poem "Stalin Epigram."

Here is Scott Horton's translation in Harpers (1-29-08):

We live, not sensing our own country beneath us,
Ten steps away they dissolve, our speeches,
But where enough meet for half-conversation,
The Kremlin hillbilly is our preoccupation.
They’re like slimy worms, his fat fingers,
His words, as solid as weights of measure.
In his cockroach moustaches there’s a hint

Of laughter, while below his top boots gleam.
Round him a mob of thin-necked henchmen,
He pursues the enslavement of the half-men.
One whimpers, another warbles,

A third miaows, but he alone prods and probes.
He forges decree after decree, like horseshoes–
In groins, foreheads, in eyes, and eyebrows.
Wherever an execution’s happening though–

there’s raspberry, and the Ossetian’s giant torso. [See the Russian here.]

Here is a second translation:

The Stalin Epigram

by Osip Mandelstam Translated by W. S. Merwin

Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
At ten paces you can’t hear our words.
But whenever there’s a snatch of talk
it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,
the ten thick worms his fingers,
his words like measures of weight,
the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,
the glitter of his boot-rims.
Ringed with a scum of chicken-necked bosses
he toys with the tributes of half-men.
One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.
He pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom.
He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes,
One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye.
He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries.
He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home.

Here is some background about the poem and a third translation by A.S. Kline:

Stalin Epigram

We live, but we do not feel the land beneath us,

Ten steps away and our words cannot be heard,

And when there are just enough people for half a dialogue,

Then they remember the Kremlin Highlander.

His fat fingers are slimy like slugs,

And his words are absolute, like grocers' weights.

His cockroach whiskers are laughing,

And his boot tops shine.

And around him the rabble of narrow-necked chiefs-

He plays with the services of half-men.

Who warble, or miaow, or moan.

He alone pushes and prods.

Decree after decree he hammers them out like horseshoes,

In the groin, in the forehead, in the brows, or in the eye.

When he has an execution it's a special treat,

And the Ossetian chest swells.

Here is the Mandalstam's poem in Russian from Harper's:

Мы живем, под собою не чуя страны,
Наши речи за десять шагов не слышны,
А где хватит на полразговорца,
Там припомнят кремлёвского горца.
Его толстые пальцы, как черви, жирны,
А слова, как пудовые гири, верны,
Тараканьи смеются усища,
И сияют его голенища.
А вокруг него сброд тонкошеих вождей,

Он играет услугами полулюдей.
Кто свистит, кто мяучит, кто хнычет,
Он один лишь бабачит и тычет,
Как подкову, кует за указом указ:
Кому в пах, кому в лоб, кому в бровь, кому в глаз.

Что ни казнь у него—то малина
И широкая грудь осетина.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Terrorist Bill Ayers' Non-Denial Denial

"[Barack Obama] is a talented and well-educated and erudite and articulate guy and he wrote two really brilliant and well-written memoirs. But somebody [Jack Cashill] did a textual analysis that proved that the nautical images in Fugitive Days were similar to his work and I was the ghostwriter...It's amazing where the paranoid mind can take you."---Weather Underground Terrorist Billy Ayers (Salon 11-17-08, page 2)

Ayers is calling Cashill "paranoid"? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Bill Ayers, a leader of the murdering Maoist Weather Underground terrorist organization was interviewed by Walter Shapiro of Salon (11-17-08). Young Billy probably picked Mao for his revolutionary hero because he was born on Mao's birthday, December 26.

Shapiro and Ayers tried to discredit research by Dr. Jack Cashill that demonstrates that Bill Ayers had a hand in writing Barack Obama's memoir Dreams From My Father (2001). Shapiro and Ayers were so afraid of Dr. Cashill that they didn't even disclose Dr. Cashill's name or provide a link so readers could see the allegedly "paranoid" evidence in his long series of articles. Instead, they dishonestly dismissed Dr. Cashill, a published author, as "a right-wing blogger"; and I notice that they didn't say that Dr. Cashill was wrong. This is called a "non-denial denial."

Dr. Cashill also noticed Ayers' non-denial denial and responded with a rebuttal (11-20-08).

I have also been reading Fugitive Days (2001) and Dreams from My Father and agree with Dr. Cashill that Bill Ayers, the author of Fugitive Days, had a hand in Dreams From My Father (1995).

It is clear that the communist Ayers and his friend from the old days Walter Shapiro are really dishonest people because they denigrate Dr. Cashill's achievements, call him paranoid, and mischaracterize his evidence. It's a classic communist smear-job.

On page two, Shapiro asks Ayers:

Did you follow the right-wing blogger [Cashill], I believe it was, who was totally convinced that you wrote Barack Obama's books?

Ayers responded:

I saw that because my oldest son, who is a writer, sent it to me. It was something that struck us as very, very funny. Barack Obama is a brilliant man, obviously. He is a talented and well-educated and erudite and articulate guy and he wrote two really brilliant and well-written memoirs. But somebody did a textual analysis that proved that the nautical images [here] in "Fugitive Days" were similar to his work and I was the ghostwriter.

Ayers' dismissive ridicule hardly qualifies as a denial.

Billy Ayers is nothing but a psychopathic maniac who was turned on by firecrackers and bombs. In Fugitive Days, Ayers describes US bombs dropped on Vietnam as "eggs" being "delivered" after doors "ease open." The plane is described as a bird laying an egg; it is an image of death juxtaposed on an image of birth:

[T]he doors ease open and millennial eggs are delivered on the green canopy below

In Fugitive Days, Ayers' mother “explodes” when Billy is born. She is both Billy's egg and a bomb, "swollen to explosive proportions and absolutely ablaze."

The air crackles expectantly in the Ayers' home on Christmas Day before Billy is born and is aromatic with the smell of cooking. Even the sweet potatoes baking in the hot oven are "splitting."

Billy Ayers may try to perfume his terrorism with the scent of his mom's Christmas kitchen, but since I know that the Weather Underground organization cooked-up bombs and murdered people, Billy Ayers' olfactory reminiscences evoke in me not the smells of Christmas, but the distinct and disagreeable whiff of that fictional culinary artist, the predatory Hannibal Lecter.

Fugitive Days recounts that Billy is the last "unopened present" who explodes on the scene moments after Christmas--December 26, Mao's birthday--and takes his place in the "hatchery":

Inside everything was hot and glowing—the flickering red and green lights on the little Christmas tree, the butter cookies fresh from the oven cooling on a rack, the chestnuts, the steaming cider. And, of course, Mom herself, two weeks past her due date, swollen to explosive proportions and absolutely ablaze. The aroma of roasting turkey and sweet potatoes splitting their skins mixed with the close and pungent scent from the nursery, and the air crackled expectantly. The presents had all been opened, wrapping paper and ribbon littering the living room, when Mom felt me stir and stretch. Here it is, she said, the last unopened present…and then—boom!—

...there I was, scrambling, I imagine now, for space and food in the hatchery

Elsewhere Billy Ayers describes his rebirth into the revolution, “a world in flames,” using the image of the egg:

I woke up one day—hatched out of the hard, white protective shell of my privileged prep school upbringing—to a world in flames.

Ayers' memoir Fugitive Days opens with a phone call from the terrorist Bernardine Dohrn. She tells Billy that his girlfriend Diana Oughton, Terry Robbins, and Ted Gold have been blown to bits while assembling a bomb. In the opening of Barack Obama's book, Dreams From My Father, young Obama also gets a phone call from Africa announcing that his father has died violently in a car accident.

As he sits on the couch absorbing the news of his father's death, Obama smells the eggs he had been cooking burn in the skillet and notes the cracks in the plaster of his apartment.

The kitchen scene in Dreams From My Father may be the rough draft of Billy Ayers' subsequent pungent olfactory descriptions and the egg imagery in Fugitive Days: In Obama's memoir, eggs--a symbol of birth--are transformed into a pungent symbol of a burning death. Why does young Obama note the cracks in the plaster? Perhaps because the father's death is a symbolic bombing:

I was in the middle of making myself breakfast, with coffee on the stove and two eggs in the skillet, when my roommate handed me the phone….your father is dead….I sat down on the couch, smelling eggs burn in the kitchen, staring at cracks in the plaster, trying to measure my loss.

Well, all I smell is a rat. And mainly what I remember from my Lake Forest idyll is Billy's demonic wife Bernardine Dohrn holding up three fingers and celebrating Charles Manson's grisly crimes:

Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim's stomach! Wild!

If Billy Ayers cooked-up the passage in Dreams about the death of Obama's father, what does it say about Obama? Was he unable to authentically recount his feelings about his long-absent father's death? Obama must be an empty shell if he let this predator concoct his own father's death.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

KICK THE FOOTBALL, CHARLIE BROWN!

"Poor Charlie Brown. He just wants to kick the football. But Lucy has plans of her own! Will Charlie Brown ever learn?"---Amazon Editorial Review

Today, on November 16, 1952, Lucy began pulling the football away at the last moment when Charlie Brown tried to kick it.

Charlie Brown just can't win! For 56 years the infamous Lucy Van Pelt has been hijacking his football.

Watch her do it again in "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" - 1 of 3.

Why Was Barack Obama Elected President of the Harvard Law Review?

Here is a photo in Vanity Fair (2-4-08) showing young Barack Obama after he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review.

It is not clear to me how Barack Obama was elected president of the Harvard Law Review. The previous president, Peter Yu, is quoted by the New York Times (2-6-90) saying that Mr. Obama's election ''was a choice on the merits, but others may read something into it.'' Mr. Yu doesn't spell out Mr. Obama's merits or the requirements for the office of president, and the NYT (2-6-90) only explains how the rules worked in 1990 for electing the HLR editors:

Until the 1970's the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank...

That system came under attack in the 1970's and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.

Note again that the New York Times article did not explain the rules that governed the election of the president in 1990; The Times only explained the rules that governed how the editors were elected.

President-elect Barack Obama's 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father is a very well-written book; so perhaps Obama had superior grades and wrote a superior essay.

Still, we actually don't know why the editors elected Mr. Obama. In fact, the writer Jack Cashill believes that Mr. Obama is not a particularly accomplished writer and that the Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers had a hand in writing the young Obama's Dreams From My Father. The Weather Underground bombed Americans, trained in Cuba, and tried to overthow the United States by force.

In the preface of his 2004 edition, Mr. Obama wrote:

ALMOST A DECADE HAS passed since this book was first published [in 1995]. As I mention in the original introduction, the opportunity to write the book came while I was in law school, the result of my election [in 1990] as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. In the wake of some modest publicity, I received an advance from a publisher and went to work with the belief that the story of my family, and my efforts to understand that story, might speak in some way to the fissures of race that have characterized the American experience, as well as the fluid state of identity---the leaps through time, the collision of cultures---that mark our modern life.

Like most first-time authors, I was filled with hope and despair upon the book’s publication---hope that the book might succeed beyond my youthful dreams, despair that I had failed to say anything worth saying.

Nowhere does Barack Obama's book identify his qualifications for being elected president of the HLR. Did he have superior grades? Was his writing competition superior?

I looked up the current process for election to the Harvard Law Review:

Membership in the Harvard Law Review is limited to second- and third-year law students who are selected on the basis of their performance on an annual writing competition. Harvard Law School students who are interested in joining the Review must write the competition at the end of their 1L year, even if they plan to take time off during law school or are pursuing a joint degree and plan to spend a year at another Harvard graduate school. Students who spend their 1L year at other law schools and are applying to transfer to HLS must write the competition in the spring before they enter HLS as 2Ls. (More specific information for prospective transfer students can be found here.)

In recent years, the number of students completing the competition has ranged from 200 to 255. Between 41 and 43 students are invited to join the Review each year.

Fourteen editors (two from each 1L section) are selected based on a combination of their first-year grades and their competition scores. Twenty editors are selected based solely on their competition scores. The remaining editors are selected on a discretionary basis. Some of these discretionary slots may be used to implement the Review's affirmative action policy.

The competition consists of two parts. The subcite portion of the competition, worth 40% of the competition score, requires students to perform a technical and substantive edit of an excerpt from an unpublished article. The case comment portion of the competition, worth 60% of the competition score, requires students to describe and analyze a recent U.S. Supreme Court or Court of Appeals decision. You may view a video recording of a 2008 presentation explaining the contents of the competition here. (You will need Real Player 10 to view the video.) [See full article.]

That page also only explains how editors are elected. I assume that current editors elect the new members.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Significance of Riverine Imagery in Mao's Poems

Here is a photo that is said to be Mao swimming the Yangtze. The photo appears on a site about The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China,1966-1976.

Time Asia (9-27-99) comments about Mao's swim:

Although Mao was in his early 70s, party propagandists claimed that the Chairman had swum nearly 15 km in 65 min. that day--a world-record pace, if true. The contention elicited guffaws from foreign observers...

A site that promotes river cruises on the Yangtze explains:

All his life Chairman Mao loved swimming and regarded it as the best of sports, the struggle of man against nature. The Yangtze had powerful associations for him. He grew up with the stories of the heroic battles of the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220--65) which took place along the Yangtze and often sailed the river. His Luxurious boat, the Kunlun, later became a tourist vessel. A constant theme in his writings is the overcoming of natural and man--made obstacles through sheer determination and courage. As he once observed; 'The Yangtze is big river, people say. lt is big, but not frightening. Is imperialist America big? We challenged it, nothing happened. So, there are things in this world that are big but not frightening.' Naturally the idea of taming the Yangtze greatly appealed to him. In his 1956 poem 'Swimming', written about the Yangtze, he dreams of a great bridge and a dam to reshape the river forever.

The author of this tourist article has made an important point about Mao's poem "Swimming." The poem is indeed a "dream," but it is also the fantasy of a psychopath so intoxicated by his own absolute power that he believes a god will marvel at his ability to transform nature:

SWIMMING

-to the tune of Shui Tiao Keh Tou
June 1956

I have just drunk the waters of Changsha

And come to eat the fish of Wuchang.

Now I am swimming across the great Yangtze,

Looking afar to the open sky of Chu.

Let the wind blow and waves beat,

Better far than idly strolling in a courtyard.

Today I am at ease.

"It was by stream that the Master said-

'Thus do things flow away!'"

Sails move with the wind.

Tortoise and Snake are still.

Great plans are afoot:

A bridge will fly to span the north and south,

Turning a deep chasm into a thoroughfare;

Walls of stone will stand upstream to the west

To hold back Wushan's clouds and rain

Till a smooth lake rises in the narrow gorges.

The mountain goddess if she is still there

Will marvel at a world so changed.

Mao "swam in China's rivers to prove his mastery over nature." Like China's emperors, to control China, Mao had to control and reshape the rivers. China's rivers are both a military and natural challenge to be overcome in Mao’s poems. That’s why Mao is known as "The Great Helmsman"—he controlled China’s rivers and so also controlled China. Mao's poetry is notable for its many examples of riverine imagery.

Mao's most famous poem "Snow" depicts the Huang Ho, or Yellow River, which is "extremely prone to flooding." The Chinese believe that Chinese civilization originated in the Yellow River basin.

I recently posted an analysis of the political significance of Mao's "plagiarized" poem "Snow." This poem shows that the narcissistic Mao dreamed that he was superior to the ancient heroes who did battle along China's rivers because he was not only a revolutionary but a cultured scholar and writer.

As Professor Andrew J. Nathan observed after reading The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhi-Sui:

Here's a picture of the daily life of a man who has absolute power, and the fascinating thing is how absolute power sort of deranges the possessor of it, so that the boundary between fantasy and reality is obliterated because there's nothing to check his will.

Mao's dreamy, lyrical, rose-colored poetry reveals a fantasy life that allowed the dictator to obscure the true nature of his cruel and despotic regime even from himself.

I think that the young Weather Underground terrorist Billy Ayers was also mesmerized by Mao's dreamy, lyrical, rose-colored poetry. Billy also considers himself a revolutionary, a scholar, and a writer.

Jack Nez: Navajo Code Talker

The CIA (11-6-08) has an interesting article on its site titled "All in the Family: The Son of a Navajo Code Talker Shares His Father's Story":

During World War II, the capability of the Allied forces to decrypt a large number of messages sent via the Enigma machine was a significant breakthrough for intelligence organizations around the world. It is believed that this breakthrough shortened the war by as many as two years and saved many lives.

Another breakthrough in codes occurred at this time, but from a different perspective. Twenty-nine Navajo Marines developed a code from their native language that would stump cryptanalysts around the world. The code that the Navajo Code Talkers developed protected precious intelligence that could have lost the war for the Allied forces had it been broken.

CIA employee Glenn Nez had no idea that his father, Jack Nez, was one of the first 29 Code Talkers that helped develop the code.

The Shock of a Lifetime

Jack Nez never shared much about his experiences during World War II with his family.

“He showed us some pictures from a scrapbook that all soldiers take from wherever they’re stationed. We saw pictures of where he was on Wake Island, but he never told us what he did,” Glenn said.

The Navajo Code Talker program wasn’t declassified until 1968. Although Jack Nez passed away nine years later, he never shared his tales of being a code talker with his family. Glenn thinks the secrecy of the program kept his father from telling his family what role he played during the war.

“I got the impression not just from him, but from other Code Talkers, that they were very secretive about what they did,” Glenn said. “All we knew was that he was a radio operator, and technically, they were because they talked over the radio.”

Glenn Nez and his family didn’t find out about their father’s participation in the program until 2000, when Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed a bill to recognize the Code Talkers. The story was in newspapers nationwide. The family learned of Jack’s role when they recognized a picture of him in an article.

“We were in shock when we found out, but in a good way,” Glenn said. “We were very proud to know that he was involved with this bit of history.”

The Making of a Code Talker

Jack Nez was born in 1924 and grew up in Fort Defiance, Arizona, on a Navajo reservation. He was fluent in the Navajo language. Jack left the reservation to attend high school. He spent his college years studying to become an auto mechanic at Haskell University in Lawrence, Kansas. It was there that he met Glenn’s mother, LaVera, who was studying to become a nurse.

With the start of U.S. involvement in World War II, Jack decided to volunteer for the Marine Corps. He was 17. It was soon discovered that Jack could speak Navajo and he offered to participate in a special project involving the Navajo language. The group of Navajos was separated from the rest of the Marines and asked to develop a code. Jack served in the Pacific Islands from January 1943 to August 1944.

The life of a code talker was exciting and, at times, dangerous. The Code Talkers worked in pairs—one on the frontlines and one behind the lines—and communicated over the radio and telephone. There were no code manuals. The Code Talkers had to memorize everything in order to minimize the risk of the enemy breaking the code.

Well-Deserved Recognition

On July 26, 2001, President George W. Bush presented the Nez family, as well as other Code Talkers and their families, with the Congressional Gold Medal. This award, as well as some of Jack’s other medals, are on display at CIA Headquarters.

“With an award of such honor, you can’t just put it in a safety deposit box and keep it at home,” Glenn said. “It’s something that you have to share with everybody. If it weren’t for those men, I don’t think this world would be the way it is.”

Following in His Footsteps

Glenn and most of his siblings have gone on to serve in the military or the government. In fact, Glenn’s job has an eerie similarity to his father’s duty as a code talker during World War II. He serves as a support administrator to the language school.

“My father would be very proud of how we’ve carried on in his name and example,” Glenn said. “We’re all very proud of our country.”’

Related Story:
Navajo Code Talkers and the Unbreakable Code
Cracking the Code

KRISTALLNACHT – THE NOVEMBER 1938 POGROMS

The is a picture of the gutted shell of the Berlin Synagogue after it was burned by the NAZIS exactly 70 years ago on the night of November 9-10, 1938. Pretty soon the NAZIS would burn up all the Jews, too.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reminds people that tonite is the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, which is considered the beginning of the Jewish Holocaust:

Seventy years ago, on November 9–10, 1938, the Nazis staged vicious pogroms—state sanctioned, anti-Jewish riots—against the Jewish community of Germany. These came to be known as Kristallnacht (now commonly translated as “Night of Broken Glass”), a reference to the untold numbers of broken windows of synagogues, Jewish-owned stores, community centers, and homes plundered and destroyed during the pogroms. Encouraged by the Nazi regime, the rioters burned or destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized or looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and killed at least 91 Jewish people. They also damaged many Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as police and fire brigades stood aside. Kristallnacht was a turning point in history. The pogroms marked an intensification of Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored murder of Jews. [See the site for more information.]

The police and fire department stood aside. Luckily, our police and firemen try to save us when terrorists like the American Indian Movement, the Weather Underground, or Al Qaeda attack us.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Chairman Mao: The Revolutionary as Poet

"Had [Mao's poem "Snow"] been written by a lesser figure than Mao himself, the author might well have been viewed as a plagiarist as far as technique is concerned.

Between Su Tung-po's poem [“Thoughts of the Past at Red Cliff”] and Mao Tse-tung's "Snow," however, there is a difference, a difference that gives the latter poet much credit. Su Tung-po's great power of imagination has led him to a penetrating recollection of past heroes of China, but he concludes with a sense of self-pity that he himself has not been able to emulate them and deplores his own lack of accomplishment. Mao, while paying due tribute to the ancients, demonstrates enormous self-assurance, considering himself not only their equal but rather their superior, the only cultured hero of the group."--YONG-SANG NG ["The Poetry of Mao Tse-tung." The China Quarterly, No. 13 (Jan. - Mar., 1963), pp. 60-73]

In one of China's most famous poems, "Thoughts of the Past at Red Cliff" by the eleventh-century Chinese lyrical poet Su Tung-po, the dreamy narrator stands by a mighty river, possibly near the site of the Battle of Red Cliff [See film depiction of this famous naval battle on the Yangtze River], and contemplates the past. He regrets that his modest accomplishments do not measure up to China's ancient heroes:

Thoughts of the Past at Red Cliff

The mighty river flows east,
Sweeping away countless heroes down the ages;
An old fortress on the west
May be Red Cliff where valiant Chou Yu fought.
Jagged rocks scatter foam,

Fierce billows crash on the shore,
Hurling up drifts of snow:
A scene lovely as a painting,
But how many heroes fell here!
I think of Chou Yu that year
Newly wed to Lord Chao's daughter,
Handsome and bold
With plumed fan and scholar's cap,
Laughing and joking as his mighty foe
Was turned to dust and ashes.
Do you smile at me for a sentimental fool,

Roaming in spirit through that ancient kingdom
Though my hair is white before its time?
Life is but a dream --
Let me drink a cup to the moon above the river!

The river is a recurring symbol in both Mao's poetry and political theater. Chairman Mao "swam in China's rivers to prove his mastery over nature" and was often called "The Great Helmsman." [For a collection of Mao's poems in English see Mao Zedong Poems at marxists.org; a selection from Mao Tsetung Poems, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1976; and Mao Tsetung Poems at longmarchspace.com. See annotations of some poems.]

Time Asia (9-27-99) reports apocryphal Chinese claims that Mao swam the Yangtze River in his 70s:

By the early 1960s, China was in the throes of economic catastrophe and widespread famine--both resulting from the radical political and economic experiments of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward. As opposition to Mao's leadership grew, the Chairman left Beijing in late 1965 for Hangzhou, where he would map out his last assault on the Communist Party's "revisionist" leadership--the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. After months of cloistered plotting, Mao suddenly resurfaced in Wuhan in the summer of 1966 to stage one of his greatest acts of political theater. On July 16 he took a vigorous and well-reported swim in the Yangtze River by the Wuhan bridge. It was a signal that Mao was in robust health--and that he was launching a counterattack against his critics in the party leadership.

Although Mao was in his early 70s, party propagandists claimed that the Chairman had swum nearly 15 km in 65 min. that day--a world-record pace, if true. The contention elicited guffaws from foreign observers, who took the claim as a sign that China was descending into political madness. Yet for the old man of the revolution, the swim was a call to China's younger generation to dive into a political struggle against "counterrevolutionary" party bureaucrats. If the aging Chairman could conquer the mighty Yangtze, surely the nation's youth could brave the winds and waves of a political storm and overthrow Mao's opponents.

Mao's imitative 1945 poem "Snow," subverts the message of Su Tung-po's lyrical "Thoughts of the Past at Red Cliff."

The narrator of Mao's "Snow" stands by a river and minimizes the achievements of China's past heroes: They were lacking culture and literary talent. The narrator closes by looking to the present and claiming that "To find men truly great and noble-hearted/We must look here in the present."

It is hard to avoid the impression that "The Great Helmsman" penned this paean to celebrate himself and that the poem was supposed to supplant the outlook expressed in Su Tung-po's eleventh century classic.

The official English translation reads:

Snow (1945)

This is the scene in that northern land;
A hundred leagues are sealed with ice,
A thousand leagues of whirling snow.
On either side of the Great Wall
One vastness is all you see.
From end to end of the great river
The rushing torrent is frozen and lost.
The mountains dance like silver snakes,
The highlands roll like waxen elephants,
As if they sought to vie with heaven in their height;
And on a sunny day
You will see a red dress thrown over the white,
Enchantingly lovely!
Such great beauty like this in all our landscape
Has caused unnumbered heroes to bow in homage.
But alas these heroes! -Chin Shih Huang and Han Wu Ti
Were rather lacking in culture;
Rather lacking in literary talent
Were the emperors Tang Tai Tsung and Sung Tai Tsu;
And Genghis Khan,
Beloved Son of Heaven for a day,
Only knew how to bend his bow at the golden eagle.
Now they are all past and gone:
To find men truly great and noble-hearted
We must look here in the present.

Both of the poems above were cited in the extremely interesting article "The Poetry of Mao Tse-tung" by YONG-SANG NG.

Mr. Ng prepared the translation below of Mao's poem for the book Chinese Communist Literature (1963) by Cyril Birch.

Snow Scene (1945)

The grandeur that is the northern country-an expanse

of the good earth ice-bound,
snow-covered for thousands of miles around.
Surveying the Great Wall, to its north and south,
nothing but whiteness meets the eye.
The torrents of the mighty Huang Ho into
insignificance pale.
Silver snakes dance atop the mountains,
waxen elephants roam the plains,
as if to wrest heaven's domain.
Let us wait for the sky to clear when, clothed in
radiant colours,
the land becomes more magnificently dear.
For such an enchanting empire, little wonder
countless heroes matched wits with one another.
Alas! The ambitious emperors of Ch'in and Han could
scarcely boast of literary lore.
E'en the founders of the great houses T'ang and Sung
became nought before the sages of yore.
As to the redoubtable Genghis Khan,
pampered child of fortune he was,
excelled only on the field of battle.
Gone are they all.
For leaders truly worthy of homage,
must yet be sought among men of our own age.

The Great Helmsman Mocks Unscientific Séances

“The trembling blue plane of the Pacific. The moss covered cliffs and the cool rush of Manoa Falls, with its ginger blossoms and high canopies filled with the sounds of invisible birds. The North Shore's thunderous waves, crumbling as if in a slow-motion reel. The shadows off Pali's peaks; the sultry scented air.”--from the Great Helmsman's memoir, Dreams From My Father
On Friday, November 7, 2008, Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet asked the Great Helmsman if he had spoken to all the "living" Presidents.

The Great Helmsman revealed to the people:

I have spoken to all of them who are living. I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances.

The Great Helmsman was a very precocious child; when he was only eight years old, he read the New York Times and learned that Nancy Reagan consulted with an astrologer.
Everyone laughed at the Great Helmsman's joke.

The Great Helmsman, of course, is a scientific person who does not participate in superstitious séances to consult relics of the past.

In another gasp from the past, revisionist running dog Yevgeni Primakov performed self-criticism on the pages of Izvestia (3-19-92):

“The head of the Foreign Intelligence Service [KGB General Yevgeni Primakov] made a number of really sensational announcements. He mentioned the well-known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing the U.S. scientists’ 'crafty' plot against mankind were fabricated in KGB offices. In revenge for this, the U.S. special services cooked up their own version of the attack on the Pope in the early 1980s, accusing the Soviet Union of organizing this terrorist act.”--Izvestia, March 19, 1992

Friday, November 07, 2008

What Is President-Elect Obama Hiding?

"This past weekend it was discovered that Barack Obama, terrorist Bill Ayers and Maoist hardliner Mike Klonsky worked together in the same office building on the same floor for several years. And, it wasn't that big of a building. Here's a photo of the building at 115 South Sangamon in Chicago, Illinois where Obama and Ayers worked together on the third floor for several years."--Gateway Pundit (10-22-08)

Senator Obama was telling a huge lie when he claimed that the terrorist-teacher Bill Ayers was just his neighbor.

In an article about the Weather Underground terrorist manifesto Praire Fire (1974), Zombietime (10-22-08) documents some of President-elect Obama's connections to the Maoist terrorist William Ayers:

• Ayers and Obama worked together for years on a school reform program called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

• Ayers and Obama also served together on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a separate charity organization.

• Obama had his political coming-out party in William Ayers' home.

Ayers mentions Obama by name in a book he wrote in 1997, and mentions that the two are very close neighbors.

• Obama gave a short glowing review of that same Ayers book for the Chicago Tribune.

• Obama and Ayers were both presenters together on a panel about juvenile justice (organized by Michelle Obama).

• Both Obama and Ayers were close friends with the same person, Rashid Kalidi.

• There are also several unverified rumors swirling around that have not been documented: That Ayers may have helped to write part (or all) of Obama's autobiography; that Obama and Ayers shared an office space together for three years, on the same floor of the same building in Chicago; and that Ayers and Obama may have known each other as far back as 1981.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace Says Jeffrey Scott Shapiro

The Wall Street Journal carries an opinion piece by Jeffrey Scott Shapiro titled "The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace: What must our enemies be thinking?" (11-5-08):

Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.

According to recent Gallup polls, the president's average approval rating is below 30% -- down from his 90% approval in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.

This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."

Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties...

It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.

Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country's current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them...

Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman's presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years -- and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House. [Full text]

Did Oxford Don Peter Millican Trivialize and Misrepresent Jack Cashill's Research?

Dr. Jack Cashill is making the case in a series of articles that the Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers had a hand in writing President-elect Obama's memoir Dreams From My Father (1995).

Dr. Cashill writes in an article titled "Oxford Don Trips Badly On Dreams Analysis" (11-3-08) that Dr. Peter Millican, an Oxford Philosophy professor, is mocking his theory:

Oxford philosophy don Peter Millican has posted a report on Bill Ayers’ likely involvement in the writing of Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father so shabby and slapdash that it had me checking Britain’s famous libel laws before I was halfway through.

Millican seems to be a man on a mission. He tells readers that they “will be pleased to discover that the probable next leader of the free world did not get his impressive first book written by Bill Ayers.”

His gratuitous leaks to the London Times about his work have netted him glowing headlines as a bloke bold enough to blow the whistle on Republican chicanery.

“How they tried to tarnish Barack Obama,” reads one laughable headline. “Peter Millican reveals how he was drawn into a plot to link the Democrat to a former radical.”

Dr. Cashill criticizes Dr. Millican's article for trivializing and misrepresenting the facts that support his argument:

Millican begins by trivializing the undeniable evidence that three nearly identical stories appear in Obama’s Dreams that also appear in Ayers’ works. (Please see cashill.com for more details).

Even if parallel passages were to be found between Obama's [1995] book and Ayers's Fugitive Days of 2001, the charge of plagiarism could only be directed at Ayers . . . “ writes Millican [my link].

Let me repeat: I have found not just parallel passages but detailed and distinctive parallel stories, at least three of them, all of them embarrassingly obvious.
Millican tries to explain them away by suggesting Ayers possibly plagiarized Dreams, given that Fugitive Days was written six years later.


If Millican had bothered to read what I had written, however, he would have known that two of the parallel stories appear in Ayers’ 1993 book, To Teach. [not Fugitive Days!]

The third parallel story is cited in Ayers’ 1997 book, A Kind And Just Parent [not Fugitive Days!], but has its origins in a 1992 book by black author Reginald McKnight. Ayers obviously knew enough about this story by 1995 to adapt it to Obama’s life. [See full text]

Three Questions For President-Elect Obama

Did the Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers help President-Elect Obama write his memoir Dreams From My Father?

Did President-Elect Obama know Bill Ayers and/or Bernardine Dohrn when he was a student at Columbia?

Who made up the lie repeated in President-Elect Obama's church that the U.S. made AIDS to kill black people?

Monday, November 03, 2008

On the Eve


Draft...

The on-line publication of the Weather Underground's revolutionary manifesto Prairie Fire will help me to understand what these Weather Underground terrorists were all about with the perspective of an older adult rather than with the fear and confusion of a Vietnam-era college student who was always being hammered with their guilt trips, bullying, propaganda, and lies about "AmeriKKKa."

Those Weather Underground were spoiled, indulged, rebellious kids who didn't listen authority in America but went to Cuba for weapons training and indoctrination. They were stooges manipulated by the KGB through their Cuban and N. Vietnamese surrogates.

Those arrogant, psychopathic, rich brats Billy Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were the "leaders" of the murderous Weather Underground. Billy Ayers was a creep who forced his girlfriend Donna Ron to have sex with his roommate and let his other girlfriends handle the bombs.

Today some communists believe that the proletariat are "losers" who have failed in their historic mission of making the world revolution, so they are supporting Islamist terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. As the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) puts it, the proletariat turned out to be "couch potatoes."

The Maoist MIM reminds me of that other little snot-nosed narcissist/revolutionary Adolf Hitler, who put his hope in "the people" instead of the proletariat. Before he blew his brains out, Hitler expressed the unintentionally ironic view that the German people were a bunch of losers who "didn't deserve him."

Italy's New Red Brigades also see the Islamists as "propellers of protest" and as the "new proletariat" who are advancing the anti-imperialist struggle while the communist movement is "temporarily" weakened.

La Voce [the magazine of Paris-based Italian militants linked to the New Red Brigades] has expressed the view that Islamist clerics are useful to keep the pressure on Imperialism but will disappear when the communists reemerge to take control of the next phase of the proletarian revolution.

Colin Powell has gone over to Senator Obama. He says he doesn't care about some "washed-up" terrorist like Billy Ayers.

I remember General Colin Powell testified about WMD in the UN. I believed him. Colin Powell was my hero. Now the man who showed me the test tubes in the UN has gone over to Obama, the guy who wants us to think he voted against the war even though he wasn't even in the Senate until 2004.

And who is Senator Obama? Whom does he belong to? Some are making the case that Billy Ayers, who is credited as one of the authors of Prairie Fire, wrote Senator Obama's memoir Dreams from My Father.