Friday, April 12, 2002

Oh, come on, Mr. Layne. Why not a blogger code of ethics? We bloggers are just as capable of hypocrisy and elitism as the pros.

I propose the following:

We swear to never claim to be writing with balanced objectivity, but rather, insist on being forward and honest about the fact that we are merely offering opinionated commentary of current events based on our own personal expieriences and viewpoints.

When you think about it, feigning objectivity is pretty much what the mainstream media does everyday. They just won't admit it. Please feel free to suggest other "ethics" in the comments section.

(both links found via the Professor).

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

To the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)
We appeal to you, asking you to pay a minimum of attention to our request.

We are prisoners who are returning from the Solovetsky concentration camp because of our poor health. We went there full of energy and good health, and now we are returning as invalids, broken and crippled emotionally and physically. We are asking you to draw your attention to the arbitrary use of power and the violence that reign at the Solovetsky concentration camp in Kemi and in all sections of the concentration camp. It is difficult for a human being even to imagine such terror, tyranny, violence, and lawlessness. When we went there, we could not conceive of such a horror, and now we, crippled ourselves, together with several thousands who are still there, appeal to the ruling center of the Soviet state to curb the terror that reigns there. As though it weren't enough that the Unified State Political Directorate [OGPU] without oversight and due process sends workers and peasants there who are by and large innocent (we are not talking about criminals who deserve to be punished), the former tsarist penal servitude system in comparison to Solovky had 99% more humanity, fairness, and legality. [...]

People die like flies, i.e., they die a slow and painful death; we repeat that all this torment and suffering is placed only on the shoulders of the proletariat without money, i.e., on workers who, we repeat, were unfortunate to find themselves in the period of hunger and destruction accompanying the events of the October Revolution, and who committed crimes only to save themselves and their families from death by starvation; they have already borne the punishment for these crimes, and the vast majority of them subsequently chose the path of honest labor. Now because of their past, for whose crime they have already paid, they are fired from their jobs. Yet, the main thing is that the entire weight of this scandalous abuse of power, brute violence, and lawlessness that reign at Solovky and other sections of the OGPU concentration camp is placed on the shoulders of workers and peasants; others, such as counterrevolutionaries, profiteers and so on, have full wallets and have set themselves up and live in clover in the Soviet State, while next to them, in the literal meaning of the word, the penniless proletariat dies from hunger, cold, and back- breaking 14-16 hour days under the tyranny and lawlessness of inmates who are the agents and collaborators of the State Political Directorate [GPU].

If you complain or write anything ("Heaven forbid"), they will frame you for an attempted escape or for something else, and they will shoot you like a dog. They line us up naked and barefoot at 22 degrees below zero and keep us outside for up to an hour. It is difficult to describe all the chaos and terror that is going on in Kemi, Solovky, and the other sections of the concentrations camp. All annual inspections uncover a lot of abuses. But what they discover in comparison to what actually exists is only a part of the horror and abuse of power, which the inspection accidently uncovers. (One example is the following fact, one of a thousand, which is registered in GPU and for which the guilty have been punished: THEY FORCED THE INMATES TO EAT THEIR OWN FECES. "Comrades," if we dare to use this phrase, verify that this is a fact from reality, about which, we repeat, OGPU has the official evidence, and judge for yourself the full extent of effrontery and humiliation in the supervision by those who want to make a career for themselves. [...]

We are sure and we hope that in the All-Union Communist Party there are people, as we have been told, who are humane and sympathetic; it is possible, that you might think that it is our imagination, but we swear to you all, by everything that is sacred to us, that this is only one small part of the nightmarish truth, because it makes no sense to make this up. We repeat, and will repeat 100 times, that yes, indeed there are some guilty people, but the majority suffer innocently, as is described above. The word law, according to the law of the GPU concentration camps, does not exist; what does exist is only the autocratic power of petty tyrants, i.e., collaborators, serving time, who have power over life and death. Everything described above is the truth and we, ourselves, who are close to the grave after 3 years in Solovky and Kemi and other sections, are asking you to improve the pathetic, tortured existence of those who are there who languish under the yoke of the OGPU's tyranny, violence, and complete lawlessness....

To this we subscribe: G. Zheleznov, Vinogradov, F. Belinskii.

Dec. 14, 1926

From the Soviet Archives (emphasis added).

This, my friends, is opression. This is squelching dissent. And this is one of the tamest accounts of what was suffered by dissidents under the Soviet Regime.

To call anything that any single author has had to bear at the hands of a publisher in the United States (Michael Moore, call your office) before and since September 11 something similar ("McCarthy put my name on a list! A list, for God's sake!"), is to defile the memory of the people who suffered such a horrible fate.

Jimmy Carter is slated to become the first U.S. president, either former or sitting, to visit Castro's Cuba. What better place for a man "known for his international missions to monitor elections and push humanitarian causes"?

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

The Times reports today that "General John de Chastelain, head of the independent arms decommissioning body, confirmed that the IRA had put beyond use 'a varied and substantial quantity of ammunition, arms and explosive material'."

Meanwhile, Michael Gove notes:

Since their first promise to stop using arms Sinn Fein/IRA have killed at least 13 people with the weapons they already have, tried to smuggle new guns from Florida, succeeded in acquiring them in Eastern Europe, been thwarted by good fortune from getting more in Colombia, waved them in the face of anyone who questions their authority and, most recently, had them by their side as they ransacked Castlereagh police station. And no punishment has been exacted. Instead the British Government wants us to suspend disbelief and think that those arms still aren’t being used.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Don't expect much out of me today, at least not until evening. And in case you haven't heard, the Pejmeister's got a fascinating, lively, and spirited article about tort reform in Tech Central Station today that will keep you guessing until the very end. Check it out.