Book review: Why Stalin starved Ukraine

Source: The New Republic
by David Patrikarakos

“History is a battleground, perennially fought over, endlessly contested. Nowhere does this aphorism hold true more than in Russia. A majority of Russians recently voted Joseph Stalin the ‘most outstanding person’ in world history (followed, naturally, by current President Vladimir Putin). No longer the monster of the gulags and purges that killed millions, Stalin now looms in the national consciousness as the giant who defeated the Nazis in World War II. … Pulitzer-prize winning historian Anne Applebaum is one of the world’s pre-eminent chroniclers of the crimes of the Soviet Union. Her previous works, notably Gulag: A History, which detailed the horrors of the Soviet prison system, and Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956, which analyzed the USSR’s imposition of communism in Eastern Europe, have played their part in bringing to light the full extent of Soviet oppression. Her new book, Red Famine — a masterpiece of scholarship, a ground-breaking history, and a heart-wrenching story — turns to the horrors of Soviet policy in Ukraine, specifically Stalin’s mass starvation of Ukraine from 1932 to 1933.” (11/21/17)

Germany: Stolen John Lennon items recovered in Berlin

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“German police have recovered more than 100 items stolen from John Lennon’s estate, including three diaries. The diaries were put on display at Berlin police headquarters with other items including a tape recording of a Beatles concert, two pairs of glasses, sheet music and a cigarette case. Police said a 58-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. The items were stolen in New York in 2006 from Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono. Detectives said much of the haul was confiscated from an auction house in Berlin in July, sparking an investigation to find the rest of the stolen items. Ono identified the objects from photos she was shown at the German consulate in New York, German media reported.” (11/21/17)

Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled

Source: Quartz

“Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card? Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed. Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers — even when location services are disabled — and sending that data back to Google.” (11/21/17)

The Jason Stapleton Program, episode 674

Source: The Jason Stapleton Program

“I’ve decided to do a short show today since, well, the news sucks. Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about the latest sexual misconduct accusations that are now being levied against everyone you can think of. Even Charlie Rose is being accused of some ridiculous and outrageous behavior. But there is a decent article about the number of older millennials who are still living at home or with relatives. Most commentators would use the story to complain about the younger generation, their lack of ambition, sense of entitlement or some other negative connotation. Instead, I’d like to use it as a teachable moment shed some light on why it’s happening and what can be done to ensure you get a job and keep a job regardless of how old you are.” [various formats] (11/21/17)

Unhappy anniversary

Source: Campaign For Liberty
by Norm Singleton

“November 7, 2017 marked the 100 year anniversary of one of the most tragic events in human history: the Russian Revolution that brought the totalitarian Bolsheviks (communists), led by Vladimir Lenin, to power, creating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or Soviet Union). The Soviet Union was supposed to create a worker’s paradise by replacing the market with government central planning. However, since central planners cannot know the true value of goods and services — as those can only be established in a free-market — central planners would be unable to calculate prices. Therefore central planning would result in widespread poverty and shortages.” (11/21/17)

On patriotic correctness

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Logan Chipkin

“While political correctness is typically associated with the American Left, modern conservatism has its own sacred totems that dare not be criticized. Like its progressive counterparts, the Right’s choices of sanctification fit together like an elegant jigsaw puzzle to form an internally consistent worldview. Police, Military, Bible, and Flag are all symbols of the Right — each embodying order, tradition, and Americanism to varying degrees. In response to our president’s provocative tweets, many NFL players are now kneeling during the national anthem. While many conservatives are criticizing their tactic and position, neither concerns me here. Those who have watched NFL games are familiar with jets flying overhead, soldiers touting the American flag, and other such theatrics. Like any other advertisement, this is intended to sell to the American people the most benign view of the product at hand. But in contrast to sellers in the free market, the State takes a brilliant additional step. It has drilled into the American collective consciousness that to reject its product, the military, is ‘un-American’ and therefore immoral.” (11/21/17)

Review: The Florida Project shines light on underbelly of American labor market

Source: Independent Institute
by Sam Staley

The Florida Project, a brilliant new film by director/screenwriter Sean Baker (Tangerine, Take Out) explores the precarious world of people living just a few dollars short of homelessness through the ears and eyes of six-year olds. Baker balances adult desperation and childlike optimism, an enigmatic blend that creates a gripping story centering on an important if neglected rung of America’s socioeconomic ladder. It also may well earn The Florida Project a spot on the short list for several categories in the next round of major awards.” (11/21/17)

JD Vance: Republican Presidential nominee in 2032?

Source: The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner

“This seems to be my year for crossing paths with right-wing notables. J.D. Vance is 33. His ideologically ambiguous book, Hillbilly Elegy, reflecting on his hardscrabble life in Appalachia, has been atop the bestseller list for more than a year. My wager is that Vance will be among those who pick up the pieces after Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Roy Moore, and Steve Bannon do each other in. Last year, I wrote a very critical review of Vance’s book. Much of the book, despite some poignant stories, wasn’t an elegy at all, but an exercise in moral superiority. In places, it was downright condescending. Sidestepping the economic devastation of Appalachia, Vance seemed determined to place most of the blame on poor choices and bad behavior by individuals, rather like the right’s favorite pseudo-social scientist, Charles Murray. In the end, Vance was insisting poverty is mostly about values and character.” (11/21/17)

VA: Plug pulled on “Coexist” light display

Source: USA Today

“A citizens committee pulled the plug on a light display in a city park here because it wasn’t ‘Christmasy enough,’ the event’s organizer said. The Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Action Movement, a political action committee that started earlier this year, had decided to participate in the Celebration of Holiday Lights that a committee of local residents has organized since 2006 in Staunton’s 214-acre Gypsy Hill Park. Tens of thousands of cars drive through the park from the Monday before Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day to see the various light displays, and the free event is considered a tourist attraction. Groups and businesses pay $25 to participate, and the city of Staunton picks up the tab for the electricity. SAW Action’s message? ‘Coexist,’ spelled out with symbols for world religious movements, such as a Star of David for the ‘x,’ and Islamic crescent for the ‘C’ and a Christian cross for the ‘t.'” (11/21/17)

CA: Barrators go venue shopping with frivolous Las Vegas shooting lawsuits

Source: Billboard

“Attorneys who filed one of the first lawsuits after the Oct. 1 mass shooting that killed 58 concert-goers and left hundreds injured on the Las Vegas Strip filed four new negligence cases Monday on behalf of more than 450 victims. This time, however, Houston-based lawyers Chad Pinkerton and Mo Aziz filed the cases in Los Angeles against companies including MGM Resorts International, the corporate owner of both the Mandalay Bay resort and the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert venue. … The company has said through representatives it won’t litigate shooting lawsuits in the media. In statements, it has blamed the massacre on the gunman, Stephen Paddock. Defendants in the new lawsuits also include Live Nation Entertainment, the concert promoter.” (11/21/17)