Senior educated white male.

Senior educated white male.

Memoirs of a Wartime Interpreter

I commend to your attention the Memoirs of a Wartime Interpreter, from the Battle for Moscow to Hitler’s Bunker, by Yelena Rzhevskaya.

Rzhevskaya is the pen name of Yelena Kagan, who took her name from the titanic battles that occurred in and around the city of Rzhev, west of Moscow, in the years 1942-1943. In that first winter of desperate struggles between the Soviet red army and the Nazis, Rzhevskaya was assigned to be a translator for a Soviet army brigade. Her job was translate captured German documents for her military bosses, and to assist in the interrogation of German prisoners captured in snatch and grab operations.

Rzhevskaya is a skilled writer. Most important, she never lost her humanity. Her attitudes were those of a young patriot whose country had been invaded by a people bent on the enslavement of her countrymen and in her case, being Jewish, her extermination. She evinces curiosity towards German prisoners, even at times human sympathy, but nothing is out of place, no emotion is false, nothing is disproportionate. It is strange to be sharing a cabin with a peasant woman still trying to feed her kids in the midst of absolute devastation in a -30C winter, the colonel in the next room and a German prisoner sitting in despair, not knowing whether he would be shot or not. (He was not).

Rzhevskaya was in Berlin in 1945 and was among the very first to explore Hitler’s bunker and to capture documents detailing the thinking of the high command and senior nazis, such as Goebbels, the propaganda chief. Extracts from Goebbels diaries reveal him to be a complete swine. More importantly, the diaries reveal what I had read elsewhere but never was sure was true, namely that Hitler took the risk of attacking Russia because he thought that this was the best way to knock England out of the war. After Stalin had slaughtered the heads of his own army in the purges of 1936-37, and after the Red Army performed so dismally in the war against Finland in 1940, Hitler thought he could knock out Russia in six months. He might well have done so had his invasion not been delayed by his drive through Greece in early 1941, which threw the Brits out of that country. Churchill’s much-disputed diversion of tanks and material to Greece from North Africa may have had huge long term consequences for Russia’s survival and hence the war.

Rzhevskaya’s book deals extensively with the search for Hitler’s remains and the absurd cover up by Stalin of the fact that Hitler’s jawbone had been found and identified, largely through the work of the young Miss Rzhevskaya, some cooperation from Hitler’s dentist’s assistant, and a great deal of good luck, in the shattered wreck of Berlin in the days immediately after it had been conquered.

Why Stalin thought it important to keep Hitler’s certain death a mystery, and then deceive his chief military commander Georgiy Zhukov about it, remains unanswered. Rzhevskaya infers from Stalin’s behaviour that, aside from what uses reality had for Stalin, it had no independent validity or even existence. That seems a likely explanation for why he could slaughter 20 million of his own citizens and still sleep well at night.

The depiction of the behaviour of Hitler in his last days given by Rzhevskaya is like that of that scene in The Downfall where Hitler rants at his generals for the missing division of General Steiner which was supposed to save the Reich. Only the actual behaviour of Hitler and his entourage was even worse, according to the records Rzhevskaya unearths. The air of fantasy, the corrosion of all human feeling save desperation and sycophancy, and the booming echo of Soviet artillery landing on the bunker, are well captured. Excerpts from Goebbels’ diaries in the days before the Soviet invasion reveal him to be a repulsive creep, who worked for an even more repulsive creep.

Throughout the book, Rzhevskaya reveals her humane and decent nature. For students of war, for armchair generals, for the curious, this book is a profound experience.

Hungary

The first thing to understand about Hungary is that it is manifestly a free place. Anything you read about it in the media is likely to be a lie. Why is this? Because Hungary ranks high in the disfavour of the European Commission bureaucrats who seek to bend Europe to their will. Hungary is not for bending. Defiance is in its nature.

A week of travelling up and down the Danube brought me to various parts of the country, including rural areas and the capital, Budapest, which is one of the great cities of Europe.

The statues tell it all. They are images of martyrdom and defiance. Time and again the statues, plinths, and plaques commemorate hopeless rebellions, successful rebellions, wars of separation, heroes of resistance. This is not to say that Hungarians have always been wise, nor is it to say that they have had much tendency to unite with their neighbours in alliances. They could have done more to ally themselves with friendly powers and to act as better allies, perhaps. But they are not going to roll over and play nice with bureaucrats in Brussels.

The great Hungarian plain to the south of Budapest was under Turkish rule for a century and a half after the defeat of the Hungarian nobility at the First Battle of Mohacs (1526). In that time the Turks managed to depopulate the place. Whether through over-taxation, cruelty, bad management, or religious persecution, Hungarians were reduced to almost nothing in large parts of their country. They walked away, leaving behind a desert. Imagine Saskatchewan being deserted by its citizens, and villages once thriving being abandoned. That was Hungary under Turkish rule.

Today, on post-Communist Hungary, unemployment is 3%. Consumption taxes are high, income taxes are reasonable and taxes on business are low. The place is thriving. But every Hungarian is taught from day one that the survival of the nation is not guaranteed, that Hungary has known oppression , and has fought for, and often failed to obtain, its freedom. Think of the Hungarian revolt against Communism in 1956, the struggle with the Austrian monarchy in the failed revolution of 1848, or the wars against the Turks. People such as this are not going to submit to a bunch of Belgian pansies armed with regulations.

Hungarian Parliament building

Obama’s Communist background

I have known about this for years. I wonder how many other people are aware of these facts. Not rumours, but facts. Obama’s people were red-diaper babies, his mentors were American Communists party members, and why, in a free society, these facts remain largely unknown, is a mystery.

I do not mean Democrats. I mean the CPUSA. And he was a two term President of the United States, and he was as close ideologically to Leonid Brezhnev as George Lincoln Rockwell was to Adolf Hitler. Anytime you think that maybe the decks are stacked against conservatives, think about how Obama was treated as a god among men by the New York Times and the mainstream media, and wonder at how this fraud on the American people – Obama – was perpetuated.

The earthworm crisis

So here is how you write a newspaper article, scientific paper, or any non- fiction. 1) notice that something is happening 2) apply the story line that something is increasing carbon dioxide output 3) wring your hands about it and shout “carbon crisis”.

Today’s example is a story from the National Post that earthworms are gradually moving northward in Canada into boreal forest. Normally this would be a good thing, as the little creatures turn over soil and increase its productivity. Plus, the good news aspect can be readily ignored, which is that the North American continent is slowly recovering from the impoverishment of the most recent glaciation. (I nearly used “ice age”, but that would be wrong; we are still in an ice age, but we call it an interglacial period).

” Native earthworms disappeared from most of northern North America 10,000 years ago, during the ice age. Now invasive earthworm species from southern Europe — survivors of that frozen epoch, and introduced to this continent by European settlers centuries ago — are making their way through northern forests, their spread hastened by roads, timber and petroleum activity, tire treads, boats, anglers and even gardeners.”

At this point you smack both cheeks with you fingers and gasp in horror. Oh yes, do not forget to use the words “invasive species”. That will get them going. Species are supposed to stay where they are, according to the School of Climate Alarm.

There is no phenomenon of nature that cannot be dragged into global warming. I am waiting for the physicists to inform us how loop quantum gravity needs to be funded because it has implications for anthropogenic global warming, or climate change, or something. It is all a funding scam and a cry for attention.

Censorship by any other means

You can censor the Internet just as effectively through privacy or copyright restrictions as you can by over political means. In fact, that is how censorship is being achieved in Europe. Many American sites will not conform to the European Commission’s GDPR. Result: try to get the Drudge Report, Powerline or a host of other sites based in America, as you tour through Europe. You will wait in vain. “The server took too long to respond” is not always a technical response; it can be the result of political decisions.

Regulatory barriers act as an effective form of political censorship because they do not appear to be overtly political. If you fail to conform to a European law respecting “privacy”, which about the implantation of ‘cookies’, then you disappear. The European Commission can claim that the Americans fail to respect European notions of ‘privacy’, without censoring anything on overtly political grounds.

The net result is what the Democrats like Vint Cerf who run the Internet organizations fear the most: fragmentation of the Internet. Fragmentation can serve the interests of anti-Americans, and does. It can all be accomplished by goody two shoes European bureaucrats.

I will keep you posted on this as I can. This was one of those things I had to experience before it became real. Maybe the servers did take too long to respond, but maybe the cause was technical, not political. I doubt it.

Fatuity

Zuckerberg and Harari – the latter is one of the most over-rated gasbags of the modern world – talk past each other for an hour and a half. Harari is concerned with the implications of Artificial Intelligence, and Zuckerberg with the breakup of the Internet into national jurisdictions. All of which is reasonable from their perspectives.

I am going to say something outrageous here: I do not think these people are all that bright. I invite you to watch the show (I suggest from about 28 minutes into it). Yes I am aware that Harari has three hugely best-selling histories of everything on the market, and he is currently fashionable. And we all know that Zuckerberg is a Master of the Universe with many tens of billions of dollars in his grasp. I have neither the billions nor the best sellers and I could be accused of envy.

Zuckerberg thinks AI is a set of methods that improve processes everywhere. It should not be personified, as Harari does. Perhaps I should not be so harsh on Zuckerberg. He makes a few reasonable points. Nevertheless I find him banal, even if largely right .

Harari thinks the forces of efficiency and morality have split, and this has given a boost to totalitarian regimes. “Some system far away can know me better than my mother”, and that system can be hostile.

This, he says, is a situation we never had to deal with before.

Zuckerberg observes that there is no metric to optimize society. Harari conceives that “free will” is an illusion, and that what people imagine is their own will is an implant, so to speak, of the persuasive arts developed through the Internet.

My understanding of this attitude is shaped by what I heard recently from some left wing academic (I know, a pleonasm). He argues that the “press” needed to become professionalized , that is, turned into a self regulating professional body with powers of certification and disaccreditation, in the manner of lawyers, doctors or occupational therapists. He based his views o the terrible events of recent years, Brexit and the election of Trump.

It is difficult for those of us who look upon Brexit and Trump as perfectly understandable to sympathize with the shock that these two events delivered to the political Left. More even than the fall of Communism in 1989, the fall of Obama/Clinton and their replacement by Trump was their own personal “collapse of Communism”, their god that failed. And Brexit likewise has overturned the rule of the chattering classes in Britain, and they are fighting back as hard as they can to reclaim their accustomed role in ruling opinion.

Harari would argue that the customer is no longer right, because his opinion has been hacked by AI and manipulative algorithms. Zuckerberg, to his credit, demurs. These questions are not new, he says. In that he is perfectly correct. And I also agree with Zuckerberg that that technology has not made this problem more acute now than it has ever been, and thus I think Harari is merely handwringing. But he will not shut up about his concerns. Zuckerberg, by contrast, seems more rooted in the world of practice.

My bubble

Occasionally I am forced to realize that i live in my own opinion bubble. Or if you prefer, sphere. We organize our lives to stay away from strife, and so we live as much as possible in a place where we have filtered out the unwelcome. I do it, you do it, he does it.

Today’s lesson came from members of the NDP (Canada’s lefter that Left opposition party) objecting to an invitation to Jordan Peterson appearing at a parliamentary committee. The National Post stated:

“The NDP is objecting to an invitation Conservative MPs have extended to psychology professor and author Jordan B. Peterson to testify before the House of Commons justice committee, calling it “irresponsible and morally reprehensible.”

“In a statement released Tuesday, NDP MP Tracey Ramsey said the Conservatives are “dangerously pandering to divisive politics instead of standing up for human rights.”

If I were an NDP member of Parliament, I would enjoy having a set-to with Jordan Peterson. What dismays me is the constant effort not to engage other ideas. As the NDP representative on a CBC television show once said, in respect of a mildly controversial topic, “We shouldn’t even be discussing this”. Wrong – we should.

Everything has been settled, in this view. Only we keep finding that the number of topics that have been settled: gay rights, abortion, global warming, keeps expanding, and the zone of the discussable keeps shrinking, all in the name of “inclusion” and “diversity”. Of course as you will know, inclusion means exclusion, and diversity means uniformity, only the Left does not know that, or if it knows it, will not admit it.

But the false god Inclusivism must be served


North American Indians are now a protected class of people. You cannot say rude things about them, even if accurate. I am not defending Lynn Beyak’s taste or discernment, I am opposing the desire to squelch anything that offends this second’s standards of what can be said.

My hero Mark Steyn says it all:

“Without a healthy respect for free speech you have no culture of honest inquiry. Without a culture of honest inquiry you do not have the necessary climate of innovation that a genuinely dynamic business environment needs.

“That very narrow and particular focus tells you that what’s really going on is the substitution of one set of blasphemy laws by another. “

We used to laugh at the ideas of sacred cows, which are a reality in India. Now we have them ourselves, wandering into traffic and blocking streets. Don’t be mean to a panhandler. He or she could belong to a sacred group of humans. You know I am not exaggerating.

Small victories

It is not all doom and gloom.

The Ontario Bar rejects forced confessions (compelled speech) from the legal profession concerning racial awareness and white privilege.h

Prosecution service drops the case against Admiral Norman. Liberals look like political nitwits.

It is obvious that Trump will beat the Democratic nominee in the 2020 election, even to the Guardian.

On the other hand, the Liberals in Canada continue to lay waste to our energy sector with the approval of far too many people.

I am still not persuaded that the federal Liberals will lose power this autumn. I wish more people could be persuaded that Andrew Scheer was worthy of their confidence. I am not saying this conclusion is fair nor am I saying they are right in their assessment. I just do not feel Conservative victory yet. I hope I am wrong.