March 13, 2014

America's Shallow State wages World War G

In retrospect, we can see that World War G got kicked into gear in September 2012 when the Obama Administration appointed radical anti-heterosexual marriage activist Masha Gessen to run the Russian Service of Radio Liberty (which costs American taxpayers $92 million per year). From Wikipedia:
Masha Gessen

Gessen was born into an Ashkenazi Jewish family in Moscow. In 1981 Gessen moved with her family to the United States.[2] She returned in 1991 to Moscow.[2] She holds both Russian and US citizenship. Her brothers are Keith Gessen, Daniel Gessen and Philip Gessen.[citation needed] 
Activism[edit] 
Gessen is openly gay and an activist for the rights of sexual minorities. She served as a member of the board of directors for the Moscow LGBT rights organization "Triangle" from 1993 to 1998.[3] 
She has written on LGBT rights and Russian affairs. She writes in both Russian and English, and has contributed to The New Republic, New Statesman, Granta, Slate and Vanity Fair, and US News & World Report.

I've seen her byline a lot at NYTimes.com.
... Gessen covered Pussy Riot and their punk rock protest against Putin in her 2014 book Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. [5] 
She was dismissed from her position as the chief editor of Russia's oldest magazine, Vokrug Sveta on 1 September 2012 after she refused to send a reporter to cover a Russian Geographic Society event featuring President Putin, claiming that it had become a mouthpiece of Putin's government.[6][7]

So, she was then put in charge of a mouthpiece of Obama's government:
In September 2012, Gessen was appointed as director of the Russian Service for Radio Liberty, a US government funded broadcaster based in Prague.[8][9] 
Shortly after her appointment was announced and a few days after Gessen met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, more than 40 members of Radio Liberty's staff were fired. Radio Liberty also lost its Russian broadcasting license several weeks after Gessen took over. Gessen's role in both of these events is unclear but has caused controversy.[9] 

The conservative Heritage Foundation, which of course is all for Radio Liberty, is highly critical of Gessen's takeover of RL's Russian Service, which involved her bringing her pals in (presumably at the expense of Heritage's pals): "Most importantly, Gessen, who was a consultant to RL for reorganization, managed to land the coveted RL Russian service directorship and then led the service straight into its nosedive by eliminating experienced broadcasters and bringing in with her a team of like-minded elitist print journalists, with little or no experience in radio broadcasting."

More from Wikipedia on Masha Gessen:
In December 2013 she moved to New York to avoid legislation in Russia that bans "homosexual propaganda". [10] [11] 
... She is however opposed to the existence of marriage at all, and advocates for the fundamental change of the institution of marriage, including her three children being legally able to have five parents. [13]

One interesting question is if the U.S. government was so committed to handing control of tens of millions of dollars per year in propaganda over to a Gessen, why not hire Masha Gessen's more sensible brother Keith Gessen, founder of the n+1 literary magazine? Here are extracts from Keith's 2013 obituary for Boris Berezovsky:
Boris Berezovsky, 1946-2013
The oligarch Boris Berezovsky was found dead in his home outside of London over the weekend, either a suicide or a heart attack. He was depressed over losing a lawsuit to his old business associate, Roman Abramovich; had failed to secure what he thought was his rightful property after the death of another, much closer associate, Badri Patarkatsishvili; was losing a decade-long battle to his former protege, Vladimir Putin; and was also, on top of all that, apparently running out of money. With him he took many of the secrets, and insights, and schemes, that nearly destroyed Russia in the decade after the Soviet Union fell apart. 
Berezovsky wasn’t just an oligarch: he was the first oligarch. He is sometimes referred to slightingly as a “former used car salesman”—this is a kind of joke. In fact Berezovsky was an accomplished mathematician, a corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, with a specialization in game theory. ... 
The incredible success of Berezovsky—he would have become a multi-millionaire when he started moving hundreds of thousands of cars, and a billionaire, at least on paper, when he won the Sibneft oil conglomerate in the rigged loans-for-shares auctions of 1995—represented the colossal failure of his generation of Russian liberals. He may not have been the best of this generation, morally speaking, but he may well have been one of the brightest (for a Jew of that generation to have made it as far as he did in Soviet academia was a tremendous accomplishment), and in certain important ways he believed what they believed: that capitalism was virtuous; that because capitalism was virtuous, those who succeeded at capitalism were the elect, and those who failed at it were the damned; that, politically speaking, all that was required for the liberation of the Russian people, after three hundred years of oppression, was to open the windows and let the free market in. What all this led to, in fact, was the enrichment of a very few and the immiseration of the populace, the reduction of life expectancy for Russian males by nearly a decade, and, as of last year, nearly a million suicides. And now it seems possible that Berezovsky is one more. 
What was criminal capitalism in Russia actually like? On the most fundamental level it was a series of protection rackets. If you sold vegetables on the street corner, eventually you’d be approached by some guys in leather jackets who would demand protection money. If you didn’t pay, they upset your vegetable stand; next time, they beat you up. If you paid them, they protected you. They didn’t do this particularly well, but they would try; if some other group of guys in leather jackets came along and tried to shake you down, they’d tell them to lay off, and if they didn’t lay off, they’d fight them. There was a lot of fist-fighting in those days, and most of the guys in the protection rackets were boxers or karate or wrestling champions, including, occasionally, a former Olympian. ...
My father, a computer programmer who emigrated to the US in 1981, went into business in the 1990s with two of his old computer programmer friends who had remained in Russia. They did “import-export”—they brought things into Russia that were much cheaper to get abroad (the classic example of this was personal computers, which were nonexistent in Russia in 1991, though relatively plentiful in the West), and exported things that were cheaper to get in Russia than abroad, like timber. After a few good years, my father and his partners closed up shop when the Russian economy collapsed in 1998. 
But my father had a great time; I suppose it was especially fun since he spent most of it in Newton, Massachusetts. He liked telling the story of how his partners got shaken down by a criminal gang. By this point they were an established business; they owned a beautiful old mansion right next to the Belarusskaya train station. But one day two men marched into the mansion and demanded protection payments. My father’s partner, a former computer programmer, explained that they already made payments to someone (which was true). The two gentlemen didn’t seem to care. They said they’d be back in two days for their money. 
My father’s partner called the security firm that was supposed to be guarding him, otherwise known as his krysha, or “roof.” The krysha was run by a former police colonel. Other such groups were run by former KGB colonels. Others still were run by former (or current) gangsters. In any case they were now all in the same game. This former police colonel listened to the story and said he would make some inquiries. “If it’s the Georgians,” he said, “we can deal with it. And if it’s the Izmailovo group, we can talk to them. But if it’s the Chechens, we can’t help you.” ...
... In 1998 and 1999, Berezovsky’s position—at this point he was not only a rich man, but a frequent visitor to the Kremlin and adviser to Boris Yeltsin—became tenuous. ... Berezovsky saw this happening and came up with a plan. The mood of the country was nationalistic, even militaristic. The oligarchs (or liberals, as Berezovsky thought of them) needed their own nationalist candidate, and he found one in a short, unassuming former KGB officer named Vladimir Putin. He convinced Yeltsin to replace Primakov with Putin. ... 
To his credit, Putin disappointed Berezovsky’s expectation almost as soon as he assumed the presidency. He tried to bring the oligarchs to heel. Whatever else he was wrong about—which was everything—in this at least he was right. These were men who had been handed immense industrial fortunes by a desperate government. They became billionaires overnight. But they had not built these companies. The companies had been built by Soviet workers over the course of decades—some of these workers believed that they were building Communism, some of them were prisoners of the Gulag. All of them worked for pennies. For the oligarchs to pretend like they had earned their fortunes was tremendously insulting to the millions of people who had built them in actual fact. The best and fairest thing to do would have been to nationalize the giant oil companies right then and there. But Putin is a bully and he tried to bully the oligarchs. He began police inspections of Gusinsky and Berezovsky, and soon they had both fled the country; Gusinsky quietly and forever, Berezovsky loudly and with a promise to return. The other oligarchs agreed to behave themselves. The exception was Khodorkovsky, who neither left nor agreed to behave himself. He ended up in prison. 
... In recent years Berezovsky would often talk about how Putin was his biggest mistake—“I thought I knew people,” he would say, “but look at the mistake I made.” The implication being that if it weren’t for that one mistake, things would have turned out all right. But they had already not turned out all right, long before Putin. ...
I know that it’s a turn-on for Westerners, left and right, to pretend that big bad Putin ordered Berezovsky killed. The likelier scenario is more tragic and more internal: the self-reckoning of a man who had been given a magnificent mind, and limitless energy, and who devoted these, primarily, to destruction, speculation, and manipulation. With humor, panache, extraordinary inventiveness—but still.
   
Or is Keith Gessen just too reasonable for the purpose of waging World War G?
     

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

"One interesting question is if the U.S. government was so committed to handing control of tens of millions of dollars per year in propaganda over to a Gessen, why not hire Masha Gessen's more sensible brother Keith Gessen, founder of the n+1 literary magazine?"

Well, that's precisely the problem, Steve. Keith is just too sensible for that kind of job. Plus, he doesn't have the clout of the Gay Mafia behind him.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit to not knowing that Radio Liberty was still operational. I guess once a government operation starts, it's practically immortal.

Anonymous said...

"personal computers, which were nonexistent in Russia in 1991,"

This is most likely a deliberate lie. The Soviet Union was making its own personal computers. As a teenager I wrote little BASIC programs on this thing. There were millions of them around. I refuse to believe that Mr. Gessen doesn't know about them.

Dan said...

This is all quite clearly NOT a conspiracy .

Victor said...

"...including her three children being legally able to have five parents."

Sounds like a sitcom waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"This is most likely a deliberate lie. The Soviet Union was making its own personal computers. As a teenager I wrote little BASIC programs on this thing. There were millions of them around. I refuse to believe that Mr. Gessen doesn't know about them."

Given this description of the Electronika BK from WIKIPEDIA, I would say that its less a deliberate lie and more a case of hyperbole:

"They initially sold for about 600-650 rubles. This was expensive,[The average Soviet wage was about 150 rubles per month at the time] but marginally affordable, so they became one of the most popular home computer models in the Soviet Union despite numerous problems."

Anonymous said...

Masha Gessen actually claimed that Russian living standards rose in the 1990s.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2013/05/24/the-intelligence-squared-debate-masha-gessen-has-some-really-strange-ideas-about-the-1990s/

Anonymous said...

RE:the Electronika BK,

Does anyone know how this matches up with Western pcs, circa 1985? I'm afraid that it was a bit before my time.

Dan said...

Anyone ever heard of Brendan Braken?

1st Viscount Bracken.

Reminds me of Gessen. Except she's Jewish. These editors get about a bit.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"This is most likely a deliberate lie. The Soviet Union was making its own personal computers. As a teenager I wrote little BASIC programs on this thing. There were millions of them around. I refuse to believe that Mr. Gessen doesn't know about them."

"There were millions of them around," eh? Well, this article disagrees on that point....and much else:

"The backwardness of the USSR in microcomputers (=PC's) (and in
computers in general) is well known. While at the Start of 1989 there
were about 200,000 personal computers in the USSR, there were about 50
million in the USA (CPSR, p.11 [see Reference page for meaning of CPSR
etc.]). The Statistical Abstract of the US reports production of PC's
in the US at a rate of a few million a year (see index under "personal
computers"). One must clearly understand what type of computers these
refer to. While many of the US computers are old and obsolete 8-bit
Computers, a much higher percentage of the Soviet micro's are 8-bit.
While the US is currently going through a transition from 16-bit to
32-bit computers, the USSR is making the transition from 8-bit
machines to 16-bit machines."

(http://www.lafn.org/~dave/russia/russiaPC.txt)

Anonymous said...

More info on Soviet era pcs:

Thus the US has about 250 times the number of Soviet PC's and the
US PC's are (on average) a few times more powerful. We thus have over
1000 times the computing capacity of the USSR. However much of the US
capacity represents home computers often used for video games etc.
including old computers, which are seldom used, so a much higher
percentage of the US computer capacity is being "wasted" than for the
USSR where sometimes people work late at night in offices due to a
shortage of computers (reported on Usenet).

Due to inefficient and small scale production methods, Soviet
microcomputers are many times more expensive than for the US. For
example at the start of 1989 the cost of a new Soviet PC with only 56K
of memory cost almost 36 thousand roubles (retail, see CPSR p.13). It
is likely only an 8 bit model. However a price of only 3,000 roubles
is reported by the CIA (CIA p.5) for a similar computer so perhaps the
higher figure is a "back-market" price. In the US today, one may buy
an 8-bit computer like this for about $500 new and much less if it
were used. It is also reported (CPSR p.13) that one may need to wait
over a year in the USSR to get it repaired. The high price of
computers in the USSR indicates that there is a high demand for such
computers. "

(http://www.lafn.org/~dave/russia/russiaPC.txt)

Anonymous said...

Given this article:

"PERSONAL COMPUTERS: USSR vs. USA
by David S. Lawyer, Jan. 1990" (http://www.lafn.org/~dave/russia/russiaPC.txt)

I would say that Gessen's description of Soviet pcs in 1991 is broadly accurate, especially when one bears in mind that he had the counter-example of the USA in mind.

bjdubbs said...

Gessen and gf Emily Gould have interesting essays in "NYC or MFA" about their money problems. Being a New Yorker writer isn't such a great job after all. BTW, one of the M. Gessen children is a product of K. Gessen and her partner.

A Doubting Thomas said...

She is however opposed to the existence of marriage at all, and advocates for the fundamental change of the institution of marriage, including her three children being legally able to have five parents.

Believe it or not, many Russians are so backwards and reactionary that they believe a child should only have, like... three or four parents. Maximum.

What a country!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"This is most likely a deliberate lie. The Soviet Union was making its own personal computers. As a teenager I wrote little BASIC programs on this thing. There were millions of them around."

Incorrect. There were 200,000 pcs in the Soviet Union in 1989, vs 50 million in the USA (http://www.lafn.org/~dave/russia/russiaPC.txt)

Given this disparity, I think that Gessen can be excused for saying that "personal computers [...] were nonexistent in Russia in 1991."

Anonymous said...

What's with the number of Jewish lesbians? Is it just a fad, of which Jewish women are fond, or is there a biological connection?

I know. Dumb question as they haven't really studied what causes lesbianism. Probably is not the same thing that causes male homosex.

Anonymous said...

"Commission Finds ‘No Compelling Medical Reason’ To Exclude Transgender Americans From Military"

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/03/13/commission-finds-no-compelling-medical-reason-to-exclude-transgender-americans-from-military/

Anonymous said...

On the domestic front of WWG, I would be interested in your opinions of the Iowa HIV case, in which all right-thinking people side with the non-disclosing HIV+ homosexual over the deceived HIV- homosexual partner. http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/02/health/criminalizing-hiv/index.html

Anonymous said...

How easy was it to move from Moscow to the USA in 1981? Could Muscovite just do it? I kind of suspect not.

Anonymous said...

I think there is an old saying that is appropriate here:

Never send a lesbian to do a man's job.

Anonymous said...

America's Shallow State

Vuh-vuh-vuh-vuh-valley girls!

ray said...

Good reportage, informative.



Gessen is emblematic of the nation, especially (though not exclusively) under Obama.




. . . Sheryl Sandburg, Valerie Jarrett, on and on, same theme. Empowered rebellion against anything good.



Obviously, that's an attractive position, as that constituency is so, well, diverse.

Anonymous said...

The sister seems like distilled poison but that was very impressive from the brother.

Tvoy skuden dar said...

To put your observations in context - Putin is not super intelligent, but has lots of experience with glorified office politics with the uber-intelligent who thought that they did not need to exert themselves 100 percent. He has, so far, always won. Sees himself, accurately, as the first Christian non-alcoholic leader of his vast Christian country in several hundred years (the Romanovs are perceived, correctly or incorrectly, as Germanic). Unlike 99 per cent of his critics, and unlike every U.S. president since Eisenhower, he has not spent more than ten seconds in the last 40 years wondering why beautiful women don't like nice guys. Is bored, bored, bored by gays. Is similarly bored by American and other Western liberals. Is grateful to those who have been nice to Russia in the past, whether Jewish, Arab, Persian, or Occidental. In his better moments, does not want to be on the wrong side of the last chapters of history, which many people whom he respects believe may soon end in events that include the wars of Gog and Magog. Very few people know how frequent his better moments are. He is angry that so many of his talented operatives are so violent, but reluctantly feels that he must rely on them, since he is responsible for a country that is going to suffer greatly if certain unfortunate events occur (including a coup, including an attack without his permission on any part of the world where lots of Russians or friends of Russians live, and including a hand-off of de facto social power to cold-hearted big-picture progressives). Since he is functionally pro-choice, silent on injustices that his dictator pals propagate (and have propagated, to include sins that cry out to heaven), and since he took so long to prohibit adoption of Orthodox children by non-Orthodox westerners, he is obviously not as strong in the faith as Russians would like him to be. Transfers of billionaire money are simply not the priority for him that one might think.

Anonymous said...

I always break down idiotic programs like this into the number of super hornets we could have bought with the cash. About 3 per year here. That's an entire squadron every 4 years.

Anonymous said...

off-topic: Who wants to be rich?

There have been a few times on here when people have asked for suggestions how HBD could make them rich and I think I have one.

http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Dr-Brownstein/iodine-pregnancy-IQ-ADHD/2014/01/22/id/548448/

Children with even mild iodine deficiency end up with reduced IQ.

So: iodine deficiency testing kits for parents. Once a month for age 0-12 to check their kid is fully topped up. Also for pregnant women or lactating women.

So if the kit says too low then the parents can feed the kid more dairy or fish.

Obviously the test would need to be simple to administer.

(iodine supplements would be simpler but you can have too much as well as too little)

A testing kit is easy to create as it's just cotton wool and tincture of iodine. The main cost would be in advertising it.

http://voices.yahoo.com/test-yourself-iodine-deficiency-436481.html

Anonymous said...

As with the earlier Anonymous I too thought Radio Liberty had been shut down.

But give Masha her due: she's a woman, a gay, a Jew and a nut.

That's three and a half points on the affirmative action scale.

(I presume that, unlike Elizabeth Warren's American Indian heritage Gessen really is gay).

Anonymous said...

off-topic: Who wants to be rich?

That will make your kid smarter, not necessarily richer. It could well make your kid into a penniless beatnik poet rather than a plumber with a steady income.

If you really want to make your kid richer, join secret societies and pull strings for him/her. It worked for the Bush family.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, many Russians are so backwards and reactionary that they believe a child should only have, like... three or four parents.

Mom, Dad, the Comintern, and the KGB...

Anonymous said...

What's with the number of Jewish lesbians? Is it just a fad, of which Jewish women are fond, or is there a biological connection?

I always though the combination was: Jewish + lesbian + baby boomer. In other words, something that peaked a long time ago, and has been declining for a long time.

Anonymous said...

"That will make your kid smarter, not necessarily richer."

umm

"iodine deficiency testing kits"

Should have drunk more milk :)

Anonymous said...

To the person citing that article by Mr. Lawyer:

Robert Heinlein claimed that Moscow had something like 800k people when in fact it had 10 times as much. Some American general claimed in print to have gone to Moscow and verified the 800k number. He was wrong.

I'm assuming the 200k number for BK 0010s belongs to the same category. Why? Because I personally remember how common they were.

During the Cold War Americans were personally invested in that sort of rhetoric. For example, they imagined the USSR as mostly rural when it looked and felt more urban than America ever did or ever will.

Anonymous said...

http://nicholasstixuncensored.blogspot.com/2014/03/socialism-and-racism-joke.html

http://vdare.com/posts/abcs-the-bachelors-affirmative-action-trainwreck

Anonymous said...

"and unlike every U.S. president since Eisenhower, he has not spent more than ten seconds in the last 40 years wondering why beautiful women don't like nice guys."

I get that like the whole "every president since Eisenhower" is basically the paleocon equivalent for once upon a time. Discontented fogey slang for since the Jews took over starting with Kissinger but what on earth does this mean? You really think either of the Bushes or Reagan didn't reel in a bunch of chicks. Putin is a short, balding ugly dude who gets chicks because he is absolute leader of a big country. Believe me in college Putin was just as lonely as you are. Meanwhile GHWB was a freaking all-american baseball player at Yale/ fighter ace and Ronald Reagan was a movie star.

Hideous said...

I'm getting very tired of these migrants who obtain (falsely, as I shall explain) the indicia of US citizenship, but repatriate themselves and then shuttle back and forth carrying two passports and telling everyone they are dual citizens. Other countries may, of course, give passports to whomsoever they please but US law is very jealous, as befits a "proposition nation," and "naturalized American citizens" who go on to claim simultaneous foreign citizenship are breaking their oaths and the law. Becoming a US citizen requires the renunciation and abjuration of all foreign allegiances. There is no such creature in law as a naturalized American dual citizen. Ms. Gessen is a fraud and an ingrate.

Gessen is ineligible for most US government jobs because she can only sign the (mandatory) oath by perjuring herself. If she were Martha Stewart she would be in jail now since she commits the crime of lying to a Federal agent every she comes through US Customs. (I don't know if Radio Liberty management jobs require a US loyalty oath-- they may not, since the radio service needs to hire a lot of foreigners with language expertise, but if they do then Gessen should be fired and prosecuted.)

Anonymous said...

"(presumably at the expense of Heritage's pals)"

And paleoconservatism didn't begin because Mel Bradford ran his mouth of one to many times and didn't get to be Chairman of the National Endowment for Humanities. Just because you and your allies see everything through the prism of the spoils system doesn't mean that everyone else does too.

Anonymous said...

"I'm assuming the 200k number for BK 0010s belongs to the same category. Why? Because I personally remember how common they were.

During the Cold War Americans were personally invested in that sort of rhetoric. For example, they imagined the USSR as mostly rural when it looked and felt more urban than America ever did or ever will."


So because Robert Heinlein got something wrong allegedly we have to pretend that Russia isn't a backwards dump. It wasn't that we thought Russia was rural it was that we knew Russia was a dump even in the cities. I'm sorry you grew up in a crappy country but I refuse to lie just to protect your feelings. Your culture isn't very bright. Sorry them's the breaks. But I like your arguing style I'm going to try it out myself. Kruschev said that Russia would crush the West, but the West spanked Russia instead so never trust anything a Russian has ever said.

I mean what more evidence of Russia's crappiness is needed than the kitchen debate between Nixon and Kruschev. Kruschev literally couldn't believe that the average family had access to a refrigerator. He assumed Nixon was lying and refused to accept that his country just sucked.

Bert said...

Radio Liberty is officially known as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. It moved it's headquarters to Prague back in 1995. It currently exists solely as an anti-Russian propaganda tool. It's suffered some budget cuts in recent years, but it's still there, and is unlikely to be shut down anytime soon. It also used to have some Chinese-language broadcasts, but after Beijing complained about it they caved.

Anonymous said...

Reagans first wife left him because, allegedly, he was, in person, repetitively boring. He commissioned an abortion, allegedly, and if that is true it means he was a loser who slept with women who were not good enough to be the mother of his children. As far as I can tell at a distance, neither Bush, in spite of their bags of money, married an attractive woman who a Christian father would want as a daughter-in-law. Most self-respecting American males, myself included, would not think flying a government plane in one's youth, when most of us are brave, or playing on a rich kid college ball team, or actually being rich, or even being a male model who performed in movies, would be sufficient, in terms of experience, to keep otherwise mediocre males from wondering why they, being the nice guys they think they are in the depths of their relative mediocrity, are insufficiently loved by beautiful women. There are more important things in life, and "reeling in bunches of chicks" is not a sign that someone understands what those things are. I am not a paleocon; I am a student of Proverbs and the Psalms, two very well written Jewish books.

Anonymous said...

If she believes in 5 parents, why isn't she waging WWP(polygamy) in the US?

Anonymous said...

Your culture isn't very bright. Sorry them's the breaks. But I like your arguing style I'm going to try it out myself. Kruschev said that Russia would crush the West, but the West spanked Russia instead so never trust anything a Russian has ever said.

I am not the Russian guy you are debating, just an American reading your stuff. I can't get too excited about this victory you describe. The people of the West, like those of Eastern Europe, are being replaced at an alarming rate. I don't think this victory will matter much in another thirty years or so. It's too bad we couldn't have taken all that positive energy we had in defeating the USSR and used it to defend ourselves from the greater threat of demographic replacement.

Mike the QMED said...

When I traveled to Russia in the 1970s, I dealt on the black market, trading Marlboros, Levis, perfumed bar soap (Lux), and antihistamines (go figure) for Russian icons.

In Odessa my main contacts were a young Jewish architect and a Jewish computer designer. Nice guys. Always looking for an edge. Pay sucked in Russia so you had to "mek beesnuss".

Peter the Shark said...

What's with the number of Jewish lesbians? Is it just a fad, of which Jewish women are fond, or is there a biological connection?

Jewish women are more intelligent on average than other women, more assertive than other women on average, and less physically attractive, on average. I think Jewish women in particular suffer from the cognitive dissonance between the media/academic world they believe in - where smart, assertive women are valued, and the real biological world where attractive,collegial women do much better socially, and are much better at attracting men. The men Jewish women do attract often do not meet the high standards Jewish women are taught to expect, making Jewish women even more unhappy. Makes sense that many educated Jewish women are bitter and would choose lesbianism.

SFG said...

"What's with the number of Jewish lesbians? Is it just a fad, of which Jewish women are fond, or is there a biological connection?"

Liberalism, mostly. Women's sexuality's more fluid, so if ideology (ie feminism) makes lesbianism attractive, more women will do it.

There are a lot of advantages, actually--lower risk of domestic violence, compatible sex drives, your partner actually wants to talk about feelings all the time. The big disadvantage is, of course, trouble having kids, but there are ways around that and I doubt that crowd goes for that much anyway.

"and unlike every U.S. president since Eisenhower, he has not spent more than ten seconds in the last 40 years wondering why beautiful women don't like nice guys"

Whatever his other qualities, you think Bill Clinton had problems picking up women? ;)

rightsaidfred said...

more than 40 members of Radio Liberty's staff were fired

Wow...government workers fired. That is real power.

Or were they just shifted elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

Anon:

It's too bad we couldn't have taken all that positive energy we had in defeating the USSR and used it to defend ourselves from the greater threat of demographic replacement

Joe Sobran already figured it out. "While we were worrying about the bomb, we should have been worrying about the Pill."

Libido always gets in the way of common sense and the energy needed to maintain freedom. A good proportion of the male right is currently busy figuring out new ways to seduce women for casual sex in the manosphere.

Gene Berman said...

"to defend ourselves from the greater threat of demographic replacement."

Anon, you do not realize how right you are. But I don't think you have any idea of the cause (which is the very same in both cases: SOCIALISM).

In 1921, Ludwig von Mises noted that one day, we'd all go to sleep in a world in which the USSR was one of the most powerful nations and, the next morning, when we'd have awakened, it would have collapsed "like a house of cards." He even allowed it might take a few generations, "because brutality has a certain efficacy."

Our malaise is of exactly the same sort--just in different form and in lesser degree.

Absent socialism, immigraton would cease to be a problem not easily addressable by the various civil authorities (apprehension and prosecution of criminal law violators). With socialism, our decline is assured--albeit more slowly--no matter how severely we might succeed in restricting immigration.

Chicago said...

Do any Russians actually listen to Radio Liberty? They must have gone on an extensive talent search to find the most deviant freak possible. It's really an embarrassment to have creatures like this representing us. Once started they can never get rid of any program even though it no longer has any purpose. The money could be better spent elsewhere, such as repairing some of the potholes in the streets here.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 9:36 PM said: Your (Russian) culture isn't very bright.

Hunsdon said: That is a laughably inaccurate thing to say about Russia. About the Soviet Union? More defensible, but just barely.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"I'm assuming the 200k number for BK 0010s belongs to the same category. Why? Because I personally remember how common they were."

Ah, the old "how can this be so when I remember it this way" line of argument. Reminds me of the Pauline Kael anecdote ("How could Nixon have won? I don't know anyone who voted for him.")

If you really want to persuade us of the ubiquity of pcs in the Soviet Union, find some statistical support.Your personal recollections are simply too subjective.

Peter the Shark said...

Anonymous claims "I'm assuming the 200k number for BK 0010s belongs to the same category. Why? Because I personally remember how common they were.

During the Cold War Americans were personally invested in that sort of rhetoric. For example, they imagined the USSR as mostly rural when it looked and felt more urban than America ever did or ever will."


You are either a liar, remembering incorrectly through a childhood haze, or grew up as a sheltered Nomenklatura kid. You have everything backward. I lived in the USSR in 1990 - no one had PCs. Maybe Soviet PCs were common in Akademgorodok, central Moscow, Riga and a few other elite towns but not in most of the USSR. I also remember visiting Rostov Vyeliki - a town in the Golden Ring, an ancient Russian city a few hundred miles from Moscow - and watching the women carry water in buckets from a spigot on the street because there was no running water in their houses. More urban than the US? Afraid not. Moving peasants into cheap barely functional apartment blocks does not make a country "urban". During the Cold War the USSR was actually far poorer and more backward than most Americans understood. Americans were actually invested in rhetoric which was quite the opposite of what you are claiming - Americans thought the USSR was a totalitarian repressive country that had industrialized impressively under Stalin and had a highly effective military and well educated population. It was the "Evil Empire", remember? Like Darth Vader. Everyone thought the Communists were brilliant geopolitical strategists, and the opposition consisted of brilliant poets and scientists. In reality the USSR was a chaotic mess, with a corrupt military, a cynical elite, and small pockets of highly educated people in a sea of barely literate peasants. Remember, a high percentage of the USSR population consisted of Russian collective farmers, Uzbek cotton pickers , Tajik and Kyrgyz shepherds, and the like. The USSR/Russia has never recovered from the damage the October Revolution caused and probably never will.

sunbeam said...

Hideous beat me to it.

But:

"nicholasstixuncensored.blogspot.com/2014/03/socialism-and-racism-joke.html"

How is this possible? I thought only certain countries were "blessed" enough (ie have enough people of that ethnicity in congress) to lobby for an exemption, like Ireland.

So how is she doing it?

Anonymous said...

More info on Soviet PCs:

The professor clearly was right. Personal computers are practically not being produced in the Soviet Union today. An article in a central newspaper last year said it would be necessary to increase the quality of the design by a factor of at least 20 to 25 (sic!) to be able to put a PC on the market.

Gorbachev said in a recent speech that Soviet industry is producing unsatisfactory computers. “We have to look the truth in the eyes,” he said.

I think the truth is even worse. During my stay in the Soviet Union last year, I did not see even one Soviet-made personal computer. Scientists from several institutes told me that the prototypes of a small computer produced in their workshops were taken and demonstrated for the Central Committee to show that the situation is not so bad.

Seven months after my visit, the situation became even worse. On January 27, 1988, the Soviet Literaturnaya Gazeta devoted an entire page to the problems of the Soviet PC. The title? “Tommorrow Will Be Too Late.” Here are some quotes taken from the article: " “it is a catastrophe. No more and no less.”
" “The situation is threatening.”
" “It is a tragedy in all respects:
in scientific progress and cultural development, in education where we were not a long time ago ahead. . . the gap is widening and we risk to lose a place among countries—leaders of the world community.”

“We have no choice: either computers—and a future, or without computers—and without a future.”

In fact, computers are a problem for the entire Soviet bloc. The attempt to create a PC in Soviet bloc countries has not been successful. The situation is more than desperate. In the scientific institutes of East Germany there is often only one old-fashioned personal computer (an 8-bit Sinclair Spectrum with 64K of RAM) for every 10 to 15 scientists. No one in the West would buy such an old-fashioned PC today. Sometimes these scientists must wait a week or more before they get a turn to use the computer for a few hours. Senior scientists there receive only 1,000 sheets of printer paper per year. In Hungary, PCs are being assembled almost entirely from imported parts.

I recently was looking through a volume of conference proceedings compiled from camera-ready manuscripts. The differences in the quality of the typesetting were striking. Papers from the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries were produced using techniques far more primitive than those of Africa and Asia.

No wonder the scientific institutes in the Soviet bloc are trying to get Western computers by any and all means. In spite of the Western embargo on such technology, large computers continue to be imported or smuggled into Soviet bloc countries every year. A Western colleague once told me his lab had just purchased a new VAX mainframe very cheaply and had gotten a good price for the old VAX. Why? The embargo on the old VAX had been lifted, and the supplier was anxious to sell them for exorbitant prices in the East.

(http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/9396/title/The-Crisis-in-Soviet-Computer-Science/)

Anonymous said...

Still more info on the dire state of Soviet Era Computing:

"During my stay, I visited the computer laboratory of a school in Novosibirsk, where the children ranged in age from 13-18 years. It has not a single PC. A few terminals are connected by direct telephone lines to an old Hewlett-Packard computer at the local affiliate of the Academy of Sciences. A Polish made printer, looking like a prehistoric monster, is able to print (capital letters only) in the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets. Except that it is permanently out of order.

The teacher told me the lab serves 150 to 200 senior pupils and several dozen pupils from the so-called “scientific circle”—students chosen to receive extra training in science. That means that four or five terminals serve some 300 people. The children learn to program in BASIC, ALGOL, FORTRAN and PASCAL. “The last language we are teaching only theoretically,” the teacher said. “We do not have a single computer where we could test it.” The teacher showed me a collection of programs written by the students. They were interesting, and they testify to the students’ knowledge and lively interest.

But why, I asked, are they stored in a box and written on cards cut out from a notebook? The teacher didn’t understand the question. “Wouldn’t it be more natural to have them stored in the computer?” I asked.

A very young boy came to help. “The memory is not big enough,” he said.

“How big is your memory?” I asked. We struggled to find a common language to describe memory size. After some discussion, I learned that the computer had 1 megabyte of memory.

During my trip, I carried a portable Toshiba 1100 Plus PC. It weighed 4 kilos and had at least 2 megabytes of memory. Thus, my little Toshiba had a memory twice as large as—and could process data much faster than—the one being used by 300 students in Novosibirsk.

Culture shock indeed. My shock only grew when, hours later, I shared my experience with a friend. “You have to take into account that the school you visited is a very privileged one,” he said. “You will hardly find, in computer technology, a betterequipped school in the whole Soviet Union.”

Another characteristic of Soviet backwardness is that only Western computer languages are used. Programming is done in Roman characters, which naturally leads to further complications for the production and installation of terminals, printers and keyboards. Soviet scientists obviously have given up any attempt to develop their own programming language using the Cyrillic alphabet. Thus, Soviet backwardness in software is even greater than in hardware, but it is not yet felt so much. Our colleagues in the East will understand their lack of software sophistication only when they have at their disposal more modern and faster computers.

When I told my Soviet colleagues about the rapid development of computer technology in the West—about CRAY supercomputers, laser printers, worldwide computer networks, electronic mail, modem communication between home and office, access to hundreds of data bases, instant exchange of letters and articles with colleagues the world over—they shook their heads in disbelief."

(http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/9396/title/The-Crisis-in-Soviet-Computer-Science/)

Anonymous said...

Further confirmation of the paucity of pcs in the USSR:

"As a result of the difficulties inflicted by the centrally planned economy, the Soviet
Union entered the Gorbachev era largely without the computer. In 1987 there were roughly


200,000 microcomputers in the USSR,"

(http://digitalcommons.olin.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=ahs_capstone_2006)

Anonymous said...

Still more info on the dire state of USSR computing:

Soviet computers at the top of the line were inferior to their Western counterparts, and the
military directed some of the best products away from the general economy.25 Indigenous
computer production was low, and in 1988 an estimated 40% of Soviet computers were imports,
with most software derived from “pirated” Western programs. 26 Imported computers are
undesirable because, although they might offer superior performance to Soviet designs,
depending on the model, there was no structure in place to support the users with software,
peripherals, or repairs. Printers, plotters, and external memories were particularly difficult to
obtain.


(http://digitalcommons.olin.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=ahs_capstone_2006)

Anonymous said...

"If you sold vegetables on the street corner, eventually you’d be approached by some guys in leather jackets who would demand protection money."

In New York City you need to buy special permission from the city government to be a street vendor. This system is enforced by the police and not only the vendor but people with no relationship with the vendor pay city salaries and pensions. When the pensions are increased or the pension fund is too small citizens end up paying not only for the current city employees but all living employees and survivor benefits for dead city employees.

This system would be more tolerable for me if it lead as to employment of the handicapped or at risk youth or whoever. But in order to maximize tax (protection) revenues all the vendors seem to be illegal aliens from South Asia who will likely need lifetime support even when they can no longer working.

Big Bill said...

Gessen sounds a lot like the Volokh clan. They skipped out of Russia about the same time, with a similar background, and likely for a similar reason: they could get rich selling their Russian PC software in the West. The early 80s were a wild time for solo/duo software development: Visicalc, PC Write, Word Perfect, etc.

Whiskey said...

Somewhat OT or maybe not, a US General speculates that missing airliner was hijacked and landed in SW Asia to deliver nukes.

Poles are predicting Putin will annex East Ukraine as it supplues all of Crimeas water and power. Merkel reluctantly agrees to sanctions this ams FT.

Merkel. Not exactly down with the gays and dependent on Russian gas.

Germans are scared. Obama is worthless.

Anonymous said...

Soviet apologist:"This is most likely a deliberate lie. The Soviet Union was making its own personal computers. As a teenager I wrote little BASIC programs on this thing. There were millions of them around. I refuse to believe that Mr. Gessen doesn't know about them."

I have not been able to find any evidence for your assertion that there were "millions" of pcs in the USSR.The sources that I have consult give a figure of around 200,000, far less than the tens of millions that were in the USA. The highest figure for pcs in the USSR that I have been able to find comes from Gladys D. Ganley's UNGLUED EMPIRE:THE SOVIET EXPERIENCE WITH COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES. On page 29, she says that the number of pcs in the USSR in the late '80s was "perhaps 300,000, as compared with about 50 million in the US."Of course, that still comes nowhere near your figure of "millions."

Marissa said...

It's too bad we couldn't have taken all that positive energy we had in defeating the USSR

Or it's too bad we couldn't have taken all that positive energy we had in supporting the USSR to fight demographic change. Here's a link to the full text of Antony Sutton's The Best Enemy Money Can Buy: http://www.reformed-theology.org/html/books/best_enemy/index.html

Anonymous said...

antihistamines (go figure) for Russian icons

And cough syrup too?

Anonymous said...

In Odessa my main contacts were a young Jewish architect and a Jewish computer designer. Nice guys. Always looking for an edge. Pay sucked in Russia so you had to "mek beesnuss".

So much, that Armenians became known as "bizinizmenki".

David said...

Once something is defined as a "human right," the logic of the Enlightenment kicks in and the thing becomes a categorical imperative which must be imposed on the world even if this results in mountains of corpses. We can't let mere human lives stand in the way of human rights.

Hepp said...

http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/live_at_politics/2014/03/masha_gessen_discusses_words_will_break_cement_the_passion_of_pussy_riot.html

SAVANT said...

Keith Gessen may - does - come across as more balanced than his (cough) sister. But he manages to cover the whole oligarch scandal without ever mentioning the 'J' word. IOW he's a more subtle form of disinformation agent.

HA said...

"...without ever mentioning the 'J' word..."

Actually, he does mention it, in the section where he subtly reminds you of how oppressed Jewish academics were in Soviet academia (though I'm guessing that's not the kind of mention of the 'J' word that many would consider most relevant when it comes to the oligarchs, so in that sense, it reinforces your point):

"He may not have been the best of this generation, morally speaking, but he may well have been one of the brightest (for a Jew of that generation to have made it as far as he did in Soviet academia was a tremendous accomplishment)..."

Anonymous said...

Obama is worthless.

What do you want him to do? On other posts you clearly understand that Ukraine is more important to Russia than to the US, You clearly understand that Russia has more power there locally than the US. Yet you keep saying Obama is worthless. So what do you want him to do?

Anonymous said...

Mr.Sailer should be ashamed for misinterpreting Masha's engagement within Murican Glavlit Radio as a some kind of propagandist hackery.
After all, Integrity is a family trade of Gessens:

http://www.granta.com/Archive/64/My-Grandmother-the-Censor

....or- just in case you really want to learn how did Baba Ruzya get a gig with something called Department of Control over Foreign Media ,but you ain't willing to cough up 48 greenbacks for the required Granta subscription - feel free to indulge yourself with a futher pericopic insight of Mashenka's 'memoirethicism' :

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Martin-Calb/20973038

Whoo-Whoom,Whoo-Whoom...

Anonymous said...

Isnt Masha a nickname in Russian for Michael?

Anonymous said...

Savant:"Keith Gessen may - does - come across as more balanced than his (cough) sister. But he manages to cover the whole oligarch scandal without ever mentioning the 'J' word. IOW he's a more subtle form of disinformation agent."

You must not have paid attention; Gessen did mention Berezovsky's Jewish background.

Anonymous said...

Obama is great. He's like kryptonite for neocons.

Anonymous said...

David:
Once something is defined as a "human right," the logic of the Enlightenment kicks in and the thing becomes a categorical imperative which must be imposed on the world even if this results in mountains of corpses. We can't let mere human lives stand in the way of human rights.

Or, to use pre-Enlightenment terminology, it becomes a crusade.

Mr. Anon said...

I guess that Gessen is the voice of America. That someone like her, with views so hostile to all normal decency and tradition, fills that role is one of the reasons that we are increasingly despised around the world.

She is a typical radical who thinks that because she is a deviant, the very concept of normal should be abolished. They seek to remake the world in the image of their own twisted self-loathing.

CJ said...

Unlike 99 per cent of his critics, and unlike every U.S. president since Eisenhower, he has not spent more than ten seconds in the last 40 years wondering why beautiful women don't like nice guys.

That was not an issue that troubled Bill Clinton.

Anonymous said...

For a country without computers, how is it that by the mid-1990's, Russia was renowned for its programming and hacking capabilities? Did that really all develop in a matter of 4 or 5 years?

As to America's 50 million personal computers in the 1980's, I remember working on these. They were glorified typewriters that could play a few games. Think the Commodore 64 or the IBM PC Jr. When I went to Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1990's, the best computers owned by a student on campus were scratch built by EE/CE/CS students, because most of what was on the market was useless junk or exhorbitantly expensive. An enterprising student, however, could work a few odd jobs and scratch together the cash to buy parts and build a computer more cheaply that was also more powerful IF he knew what he was doing.

CMU had mandatory remedial computing courses for basic computer skills for all students because most students in 1992 had limited or no experience on a real computer beyond possibly writing high school papers in WordPerfect and playing Asteroids. This is one of the leading technical schools in our country just 22 years ago.

HA said...

"She is a typical radical who thinks that because she is a deviant, the very concept of normal should be abolished. They seek to remake the world in the image of their own twisted self-loathing."

When one pauses to reflect on Burgess, Blunt and the Red/Pink coalition that was elemental in Soviet spycraft, one begins to wonder if those who hire the likes of Gessen might have a long memory, or perhaps just a very twisted sense of humor. Or maybe it’s just that history has a knack for irony.

Luke Lea said...

re: Antony Sutton's The Best Enemy Money Can Buy: http://www.reformed-theology.org/html/books/best_enemy/index.html

Interesting. Why would not the identical argument apply to Communist China today? We transfer technology to them like mad even though it is quite clear that, in official Chinese eyes, America is their ultimate enemy.

Just one more reason to end our insane free trade policty with that low-wage Goliath.

Luke Lea said...

re: "During the Cold War the USSR was actually far poorer and more backward than most Americans understood. Americans were actually invested in rhetoric which was quite the opposite of what you are claiming - Americans thought the USSR was a totalitarian repressive country that had industrialized impressively under Stalin "

True. I remember in my 1960 edition of Samuelson's classic textbook, Economics, a projection showing how the Soviet GDP was close to that in the US. Can't remember the details exactly but that was the gist of it. [It may even have been an illustration on the inside cover.]

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 5:21 PM said: Isnt Masha a nickname in Russian for Michael?

Hunsdon said: That's Misha. Masha is a nickname for Maria.

Hunsdon said...

I should have said, and I neglected to, that Keith Gessen's obituary was very touching; the conclusion most so. The "but still" denoted a tragedy, a perhaps ungrammatical way to end but a very effective one.

dcite said...

"Jewish women are more intelligent on average than other women, more assertive than other women on average, and less physically attractive, on average"

I lived in Israel a couple years. Professional reasons. I'm an American of Irish, French, English, maybe Spanish background, raised Christian though not one now.

Jewish girls are mostly really beautiful there--I mean the ones descended from European Jews, but also Moroccan Jewish women who were once described by a French (gentile) writer as "pearls of Eden." I guess I can vouch for that. btw, I'm female and feel no sex attraction towards other females at all. Strictly objective observation and a bent for art history.

I don't know why the Jewish young ladies look so good there. Opinion was they looked better than the guys. They also got drafted into the military after high school.
As another American there said, "the young people are gorgeous here. The politicians are ugly slugs like they usually are everywhere else. What happens?"

Hunsdon said...

CJ said: That was not an issue that troubled Bill Clinton.

Hunsdon said: This is OT, I know, but Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGcffXXZYEg

Anonymous said...

"Jewish women are more intelligent on average than other women, more assertive than other women on average, and less physically attractive, on average"

In the more assertive category, they aint got shit against Greek women who are really nuts.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"For a country without computers, how is it that by the mid-1990's, Russia was renowned for its programming and hacking capabilities? Did that really all develop in a matter of 4 or 5 years?"

None of the articles pasted here dispute the intellectual calibre of the Russians in terms of computer engineering; they merely note that the Soviet system was startling inept (for a host of reasons) at producing PCs. Clearly, once the Russians were able to get their hands on higher quality PCs from the West in large numbers, their native prowess began to show itself.

Anonymous:"As to America's 50 million personal computers in the 1980's, I remember working on these. They were glorified typewriters that could play a few games. Think the Commodore 64 or the IBM PC Jr. When I went to Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1990's, the best computers owned by a student on campus were scratch built by EE/CE/CS students, because most of what was on the market was useless junk or exhorbitantly expensive. An enterprising student, however, could work a few odd jobs and scratch together the cash to buy parts and build a computer more cheaply that was also more powerful IF he knew what he was doing."

Well, Two points should be borne in mind:
1. The ongoing dispute in this blog was over the resident Soviet Apologist's strange notion that there were "millions" of PCs in the Soviet Union. This is clearly untrue.There were millions of PCs in America, vs 200,000 to 300,000 in the USSR.Arguing over the quality of PCs in America does not alter that fact.

2.Despite the shortcomings of American PCs, things in the USSR were far worse, as this article from 1990 shows:

"One must clearly understand what type of computers these
refer to. While many of the US computers are old and obsolete 8-bit
Computers, a much higher percentage of the Soviet micro's are 8-bit.
While the US is currently going through a transition from 16-bit to
32-bit computers, the USSR is making the transition from 8-bit
machines to 16-bit machines." (http://www.lafn.org/~dave/russia/russiaPC.txt)

Anonymous said...

"When one pauses to reflect on Burgess, Blunt and the Red/Pink coalition that was elemental in Soviet spycraft"

I think minority otherness can make people hostile towards the majority like Hitchen's "We didn't like immigration we disliked Britain."

Minority otherness can be anything: sexuality, ethnicity, religion or even in the case of a lot of intellectuals - being an intellectual.

.

"As another American there said, "the young people are gorgeous here. The politicians are ugly slugs like they usually are everywhere else. What happens?"

A change in mating pattern due to majority status? Mating more for looks?

David said...

> it becomes a crusade<

Crusades are out. We justify our jihads by logic, reason, and science now. The God thing was great cover for a time, admittedly; but among us that time ended 2 or 3 hundred years ago.

>Jewish women are the most beautiful...art history, etc.<

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I've seen those calenders of Israeli models and didn't have the same response.

dcite said...

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I've seen those calenders of Israeli models and didn't have the same response."

I'm not talking about calendars. I'm talking about young girls & women on buses, for example. I lived there. Most of us foreigners thought the Israeli girls tended to be pretty, but I did not say "Jewish women are the most beautiful."

Anton Chigurh said...

Googled Images for Masha Gessen. Good lord, how I wish I hadn't. The face of that women! YIKES. Not recommended viewing.