This article originally appeared in The Greanville Post, of which the author is the founder and editor. He submitted this comment to Russia Insider for republishing
We have long maintained that the truth about the USSR, in general, and particularly the Stalin period, has long been the object of the most cynical, mean-spirited, and comprehensive propaganda effort ever seen in the annals of history.
For reasons of sheer class interest among the plutocrats of the West, the business elites that still rule most of the so-called “capitalist democracies,” the demonization of Stalin was a necessity, a campaign only briefly interrupted by World War Two and quickly resumed literally a few hours after its ending.
The Western elites —with the American ruling circles in the lead—correctly saw an enemy in Stalin. They could not bribe him and they could not intimidate him. Nor could they easily topple him, as they had done (and still do) countless times with weaker, “inconvenient leaders.” What’s more, Stalin was at the helm of a powerful nation and titular leader of an ideology directly opposed to their indispensable economic system. Occasional diplomacy aside, they hated him. He and his nation stood in the way of their plans for global hegemony. So the the venom had to flow and did—abundantly. And in that sordid enterprise the capitalist elites found countless allies, not to mention the usual battalions of ignorant, useful idiots.
As any propaganda student will attest, when vilifying a nation’s policies and social values, it’s far easier (and effective) if the propagandist aims the Big Lie machine at its leader. As we have seen in recent times with Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, Fidel Castro, Iran and North Korea’s leaders, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and finally Putin—among many others (the empire is never lacking in “dangerous enemies”)—the character assassination of a leader is an old tactic to prepare the perennially benighted home population for an attack on the targeted nation.
From this perspective it’s not difficult to see that if the Ministry of Truth could swiftly complete the total demonization of Vladimir Putin—a figure in good standing merely 3 years ago—and not even an avowed socialist, one can only imagine what outrageous fabrications they could have concocted (and did) to cordon off the image of Stalin, an outspoken communist, over several decades. This made eminent sense to the West’s doctrinal gatekeepers. Given the identification of Stalin’s long rule with the Soviet Union at its most embattled, the blackening of Stalin’s name served an important purpose: it provided the Western propagandists an invaluable shorthand—an “irrefutable symbol” of communism’s putative evil—to block the very idea of genuine socialism as an option for humanity.
The preceding is obviously not to argue that Stalin was a flawless leader, or a saint who just happened to have a powerful army, or that he didn’t make some serious mistakes. He did. However, the most elementary fairness demands that we ask, which world historical figure confronted with enormously difficult choices emerges today (barring self-serving ideological propaganda) unscathed from close and impartial examination?
Judging Stalin by the context in which he had to act, and even more important, the purposes he served, he was arguably no worse, morally, than most Western leaders, and by any rational measure, probably a damn sight better. For who are these distinguished gentlemen who have led the West for over a century now?
Churchill, the most revered member in the club, was an unapologetic racist and imperialist who in the 1920s endorsed the policy of RAF bombing and gassing Iraqi villages (Mesopotamia) into submission, for for failure to pay their assigned tribute. JFK, Lyndon Johnson, and Nixon pursued an illegitimate, barbaric, genocidal war in Vietnam that remains one of the horrors of modern imperialism. Truman dropped the bomb on the Japanese as a way to keep the Soviets “in line,” making America so far the only nation to have used nuclear weapons on a civilian population. And during the postwar, the US tentacles, chiefly acting through the CIA and its clients, have managed to murder and repress tens of millions of people around the globe—in all latitudes and scores of nations, from the Philippines, to Indonesia to Chile, to Nicaragua, to Iran, the Congo, Korea, the entire Middle East, literally bathed in blood—always in pursuit of geostrategic advantage, and the suppression of popular democracy in order to better permit the continuation and maximization of corporate profit. So much for the inherent perfidy of communism and angelic innocence of capitalism.
The record is by now so huge and consistent, the hypocrisy so staggering, that we can state categorically there is not a single case in which America has used its immense diplomatic and military power to back a genuine democratic leader (such people are immediately branded “communists” and dealt accordingly) or assisted people struggling for freedom from class oppression. It’s a vile and hypocritical record that continues to this day, thanks to the complete brainwash to which the American population has been subjected as a measure of pre-emptive pacification. The whole thing is amply documented so there’s no point in even trying to refute it.
In any case, recovering the truth about Stalin and the USSR from the cesspool of hostile propaganda in which the enemies of socialism situated it, assisted by the perennially misguided and often fanatical anti-communist and especially anti-Stalinist leftists, is no task for the weakhearted.
That’s why we salute our colleagues at Russia Insider, and its editor, Charlie Bausman, in particular, for their decision to publish Grover Furr. Letting this scholar speak to a larger audience is a badly needed blow for truth —especially in the current context of reckless warmongering on Russia’s and China’s doorstep. The Big Lie must be defeated if a lasting peace is ever to be attained by humanity.
Census 2022 – what difference does it make?
Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.
But what it is it all about?
At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.
The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.
The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.
Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.
Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.
And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.
Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture
Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.
At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.
During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.
When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”
He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.
House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022
House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.
Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.
The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.
Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.
This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.
MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.
It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.
“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.
“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.
“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.
“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.
He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.
Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.
Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.
The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.
“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”
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