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Belmont Club

Lost in Translation

July 30th, 2014 - 3:59 pm

It may come as a shock to well-educated Westerners that Communists can be corrupt. Yet in 2013, “China was ranked 80th out of 178 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, on par with Serbia and Trinidad and Tobago, ranking less corrupted with tied countries Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Jamaica, Panama, and Peru” — and worse than Sri Lanka.  Most corruption is concentrated in the Communist Party of China because the party hands out all the goodies.

It’s so bad that scholars think corruption is China’s major national security problem. “China specialist Minxin Pei argues that failure to contain widespread corruption is among the most serious threats to China’s future economic and political stability.” Despite the recent boom which produced goodies to go around, the competition between factions is so great that last week China was openly wracked by the biggest purge since the bad old days of Mao and the Gang of Four.

To appreciate the scale of the purge, imagine a man with the police power of Eric Holder, the wealth of Bill Gates and the prominence of Al Gore arrested — together with US senators, former cabinet secretaries and hundreds of merely famous people and herded into a kangaroo court  – prosecuted by the equivalent of president Obama, in consultation with presidents Clinton and Jimmy Carter. The Sydney Morning Herald says:

On Tuesday evening, China announced an investigation into the 72-year-old former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, one of the nation’s most feared political identities, and a man who once controlled the country’s police force, state security and lucrative state oil monopoly.

Mr Zhou, as a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, is the most senior official ever to be investigated for corruption since the founding of the Communist Party – breaking an unwritten rule that standing committee members, past or present, should effectively be immune from investigation in the interests of party stability.

Purges are the elections of the left, but there’s nothing high minded about them. Although president Xi Jinping is portraying himself as Eliot Ness to Zhou Yongkang’s Al Capone, a long article by Reuters believes it’s just another power struggle. The fallen Zhou Yongkang used his position and the oil billions he controlled to create a network of patronage whose power became so vast it threatened to rival Xi and the CPC leadership itself.  Now president Xi Jinping is burning out the nest — and perhaps — redistributing the zillions to himself and his followers.

The Independent calls the ongoing drama as “China’s Corrupt Purge” — “the question the Chinese are now asking themselves is how much further the purge can go. If the anti-corruption machine grinds forward, the obvious remaining targets are Xi’s predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. But by lopping off eminent heads, it is not just the immediate relatives who are upset: the vast networks of inter-dependency on which China’s economic success has been built risk being shattered.”

But the comparison is a Western one, with its obsession with consensus and legitimacy. In Xi’s world politics is winner take all. It is Al Capone shooting down Bugs Moran and his associates on the Chinese equivalent of St. Valentine’s Day, for as Reuters puts it, once indicted “acquittals are rare”. Deception is part of Communist Politics. The Hundred Flowers Campaign was ostensibly about letting a “a hundred schools of thought contend”. Yet it was really an operation to lure dissidents out into the open. “Mao remarked at the time that he had ‘enticed the snakes out of their caves.’”

The world is a wicked place. Most leaders — whether they profess Communism, Islamism, Transnationalism or any other ‘ism’ — are really in it for themselves. But they attain it by weaving ropes made from the dreams of ordinary people, whom they persuade to loop around their wrists. Only when the civilians awaken do they feel the pinch but by then it’s too late.

The true currents run under the surface. The New York Times notes that Arab leaders are unusually silent about Israel’s campaign in Gaza because their loathing of Hamas is so great they are secretly rooting for Netanyahu. Deep in their hearts they are cynically hoping Israel will take out the trash to leave the field clear for themselves.

“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents. “I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas. The silence is deafening.”

It’s the Westerners yelling in Paris who are the dopes; the regional leaders know that Hamas cares as much for ‘Palestinians’ as Mao cared about flowers.  The world lives on two levels; the plane of the popular narrative and the zone of power politics.  The way the Islamist game is really played was illustrated by a video posted by ISIS showing the mass murder of their prisoners. The Jihad is not about ‘breaking the cycle of violence’ or ‘advancing universal brotherhood’. It’s about ‘you lose you die’.

What is really striking about the expressions of the doomed in the ISIS video is the attitude of acceptance, resignation and absolute bewilderment as they cower in dump trucks on the way to the execution site. These emotions must have been similar to the millions of victims of the 1940s who died unable to believe the nightmare was actually happening until the bullet smashed their skull.

We often think of Founders as idealists when in truth they were cynics.  Or rather they were graduates of the School of Hard Knocks. Their experience with human nature convinced them that the least government was the best government; that freedom was not forthcoming from the king; that liberty was a respite from power not something Cass Sunstein decided you should have; and that dreams did not visit leaders in their kingly beds but individuals in their humble little homes.

And for confirmation they had the story in Genesis, set in a place not far from where ISIS is digging mass graves.  A story from the past saying that the only creatures who build anthills should be the ants.

it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and … they said … let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven … and the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded … and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do …

so the Lord scattered them … and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth

The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel

In the Tower something gets lost in translation. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.  The Narrative is Truth.

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Top Rated Comments   
My son-in-law specializes in International Emergency Medicine and has helped Ministries of Health in Nepal, India, Cambodia, Turkey, Rwanda, and elsewhere. His immediate boss was from India and teaches at a major West Coast Medical Center. When my son-in-law wrote a report that included the criticism that the major difficulty in his consultation work in India was that the doctors, nurses, and administrators typically lied about their data, another colleague accused him of racism. Fortunately his boss quashed that charge by endorsing the report and agreeing with my son-in-law's findings.

The one indispensable ingredient to progress is that the data be as free as possible from inaccuracies, be they deliberate or inadvertent. But this is not the way of today's Left.

The main problem with a dominant government is those who govern. By making the assumption that everyone is corruptible and decentralizing power and creating balancing institutions we render corruption less efficient. Of course we also render some desirable things less efficient too, but the trade off is worth it. Unfortunately Utopians who demand perfection ignore the risks of corruption and focus only on the inefficiencies of lives left to the individual.

Who profits and who is protected? As Subotai Badahur said in his comment, if you know these things you will be able to track the corrupt. But if those who are supposed to expose information not only refuse to tell the truth but also are enlisted to perpetuate lies and false paradigms, we will get what we have now.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The Hundred Flowers Campaign was ostensibly about letting a “a hundred schools of thought contend”. Yet it was really an operation to lure dissidents out into the open."

It's a dilemma. How do Americans resist the drive towards fascist statism without speaking out and speaking with each other? But you can't do those things without the NSA being aware. Even the frickin X-Box is listening. But my kids and grandkids have to live in the USA, so I'll keep calling a fascist a fascist even if I end up being one of the men on those trucks one day.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The purpose of any collectivist or totalitarian government is corruption. The accumulation of power and wealth is the motivating factor for those on top and aspiring to be on top, regardless of what they claim.

China is more used to it, because in the Old Country dynasty after dynasty lost the "Mandate of Heaven" because those on top were more concerned with their own gains than running the country well enough to hold it together.

Politics is whatever means and rules a culture uses to allocate POWER and resources short of violence. Those means and rules can vary widely from culture to culture, but one thing is constant. Violence is the default basis underlaying all politics.

In any system where there is no effective limitation on the acts of those in power, checks and balances if you will, the government becomes corrupt and both the basis for, and the only limitation on, that corruption is violence.

Right now, China is in mid-purge, as the Mandate trickles away. Russia routinely uses violence, and has as a matter of normal practice throughout its history, to support the power of those ruling. Right up until the moment when there is a change in those ruling. The fate of those replaced does not involve a lot of fluffy pillows. In the West, look at who the State is willing to protect with deadly force, to figure out who is corrupt. And that includes inside the borderless entity that technically is still referred to as the United States.

The civilian government is armed to the teeth. DHS roams the country threatening civilians. The civilian government trains using these "No Hesitation" targets that they have bought en-masse:

The politics of those who benefit from corruption here is very like the politics in China.

>>>The world lives on two levels; the plane of the popular narrative and the zone of power politics.<<<

TWANLOC are playing power politics. All the while trying to convince everybody else to play by the rules that they ignore.

Satori is what is needed.

Subotai Bahadur
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30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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Here's the second half of the Communist subversion/treason documentary, even more shocking than the first:

I was stunned by what they said about even Eisenhower, e.g.

They paint a grim picture of how far, deeply, and high we've been infiltrated by our enemies. All the cases they mentioned that I knew about, they were accurate. If they're accurate about the rest of it, then the only reason we're allowed to vent here is that the totalitarians have judged us impotent.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hauling victims to their place of execution in dump trucks was standard operating procedure for the SS in KZ-Bikenau. However, the SS were a little bit more "professional" in that they subsequently herded their victims into gas chambers and later cremated the corpses (dealing with the corpses is always a problem for mass murders). That video of the ISIS monsters murdering those defenseless young men was almost identical to scenes of SS Einsatzgruppen slaughtering their victims in Poland and Russia. These ISIS monsters are no different than the very worst of the Nazis.

Heaven help us, the whole World War II nightmare is being repeated with Islamicfascists as the offenders rather than European fascists. One would think that human beings could learn something from history.

World War II ended with entire cities being blown away with nuclear weapons. Are we going down that same road again?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Monster from the Id: “Simply put, most men just aren't that brave.”

"...just aren't that brave"...or they have another they want to protect (kids, wives, friends) and unknowing of the future they hold out as long as they can.
Others "get it" right away (Flight 93 on 9/11) and they know there is not a single thing they can do to change the situation short of Providence intervening, and God hasn't put in a cameo appearance in a long, long time.

The Italian who told his captors, "Now I will show you how an Italian dies," believed his captors were actually going to "do it." He was brave to be sure, but he was also totally aware of the reality, not the druthers, of his situation. He was “free,” but in a very terrible way.

The most ominous quote from Andre Solsenietzen - speaking about the purge of millions of Russian citizens by Stalin's Communists:

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more {and worse} – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

Woudda, shouldda, couldda.

Having a good grip on reality, no matter one's personal bravery, is the starting point for one's tactical decision-making process. But bravery makes the execution of what you know is right, notwithstanding the dangers, much smoother. As the Lt. Speirs said in “Band of Brothers,”

“Lt. Ronald Speirs: Do you know why you crawled into that ditch Blithe?

“Private Albert Blithe: I was scared.

“Lt. Ronald Speirs: We're all scared. You crawled into that ditch because you think there's still hope. But Blithe? The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead. Only then can you function the way a soldier is supposed to function. Without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it.“
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Italian who told his captors, "Now I will show you how an Italian dies,"

Fabrizio Quattrocchi. We should remember his name.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaking to journalist Jorge Ramos yesterday, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that Hamas operates in civilian populated areas in Gaza because it's "pretty small."

"The problem is, and this is something, I'm not a military planner but Hamas puts its missiles, its rockets in civilian areas, part of it is that Gaza's pretty small and it's very densely populated. They put their command and control of Hamas military leaders in those civilian areas," Clinton said.

This is the front runner.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
She is a question about that...

News from J Post reports that Israel has agreed to a Kerry-UN 72 hour ceasefire, beginning about 3.5 hours from now. Nothing I have seen suggests the disarmament of Gaza. So, has Mr. Netanyahu at last found his excuse for stuffing the mouth of victory with ignominious defeat? Can Hamas resist the temptation to fire just one more rocket?

A vacillating, weak-kneed Netanyahu has to go. How long has he left before his cabinet, Knesset and the public turn on him? According to the White House, he is, implicitly, a war criminal given the school bombardment of yesterday. Where will he find refuge?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
According to IDF radar imaging, 13% of Hamas rounds end up hitting inside Gaza. Yesterday in a volley of four only one round made it into Israel where it was taken out by Iron Dome, while one of these hit a Palestinian refugee camp. Naturally, every time this happens, the Libstream Media is shown the carnage that the IDF is deliberately wreaking.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The White House staff gleefully jumped all over it, without a shred of evidence. Kerry is determined to force Israeli compliance to his will. He is one of those Nimrod kinds of guys, either as a Stooge or a Maoid collectivist. In any case, Washington is determined to see genuflection.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT. Not so many threads ago I asked about the use of National Guard troops called by individual governors to 'assist' at the border.

Shortly thereafter Gov. Perry did the deed, followed by hoots from the left and legalisms from Belmont. We hear nothing from the Administration.

Today it is reported that Perry *gasp* has a plan and is executing said plan.

Now, suppose other sympathetic governors/states made state-to-state or gov-to-gov agreements to assist. If 20 states sent a thousand men each, well, talk about a pre-election surprise!

The effort could even be funded by the two week annual training budget. I even bet that many soldiers would volunteer for 3 or 4 weeks for 2 weeks pay, good chow and a dry tent. I certainly did a lot of non-pay work over 20 years reserve duty.

Yes, I know the ACDU pay budget is Federal, but it will probably be paid... the Administration and DoD will not be able to handle the fait accompli. And maybe, just maybe, there is a little support at DoD for a soft 'gee nobody officially stopped the budget for ACDU pay, and I have to obey the regs' mutiny.

Or ASK FOR FORGIVENESS, not permission

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
By the way. I have sent, and will continue to send, emails to Governors and Senators from states that I believe are supportive of Gov. Perry and Texas making the same suggestion.

Let's see.....
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...a network of patronage whose power became so vast..."

I might as well state the obvious and say this sounds like the Democrats' vision for America.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mao was a dirty scumbag and no intellect. Power flows OUT the barrel of a gun, but it flows FROM the mandate of heaven, which we might translate as the weight of shared opinion or faith. You've got to get your guys to want to fight or do whatever. Power is violence when it is corrupt or challenged. In the first place, power is the exchange of signs, a mind game we all play but no one can long control despite our best efforts to do so. We are different from animals because no animal pecking order (rule of the strongest) could keep us in line, or more to the point, in a circle around a common centre of LINGUISTIC attention.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, but he was an IDEALISTIC dirty scumbag. He even wrote a book about it.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This time around, the Arab Levant of Jordan Saudi UAE & Egypt are onto Hamas terrorist gambit, and unlike simpletons like Kerry & the EU herd, just ain't buying it.

As an FSO Arabist who has lived in three Arab countries [Lebanon, Saudi, & Egypt] and travelled to all but a couple Arab League members, this does not surprise me.

After a year of Morsi and his autocratic ways and lack of any personal politics, no compromises led to the Egyptian Army reasserting its paramountcy. As I had written all along was going to happen.

It would happen to Al-Maliki were his 60% majority not fireproof. Or at least he thinks, and never compromises.

Over 1300 years, the Arabs have either ruled by tyranny or seen anarchy. Tsisi in Egypt is a tyrant replacing an anarchical situation Morsi caused.

And Hamas is a member of the Ikhwan just as the Muslim Brotherhood is. No wonder sensible Arabs are staying away and even silently urging Israel on by their thundering silence.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment

You are correct that cynicism is the result of observation and experience. Sometimes it is difficult to say in verse exactly what you believe. I am cynical to a degree, but not to the degree that I believe ALL lawyers and ALL politicians are crooks. I can readily believe that some or most are, and I can believe that evil exists because it does, and still believe that the world is not quite as wicked a place as all that.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Evil exists because human beings exist. No other living thing, and no inanimate object, is capable of being, thinking, feeling evil or of committing evil acts. Only us.

"The world" is not a wicked place. And Humanity is not a wicked thing. Evil is just one of many capabilities we possess. We have to recognize it and (if we're sane) choose not to indulge in it. That's not easy.

Most of all, we shouldn't deny evil or act all surprised when it turns up. Like it or not, it's business as usual for us humans. Fortunately, it's not the WHOLE business. We can do better...
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
So many of these guys are sons and grandsons of serfs. They don't have the cultural foundation to fight back. Or worse, they are part of the urban lumpen, unschooled, with little family structure in a society where family and tribe are everything. To be perfectly brutal about it, surplus, expendable males being expended. In a way, not really too different from what goes on in our abortion mills or inner cities. Embracing a culture of life is the only solution.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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