Published Articles

Monday, November 14, 2011

For weeks, Joseph Stalin had been plagued with dizzy spells and high blood pressure. His personal physician, Professor V. N. Vinogradov had advised that Stalin step down as head of the government for health reasons. That was not what Stalin wanted to hear from the good doctor. Soon the Professor would pay for this temerity and indiscretion with his arrest and alleged involvement in the infamous Doctor's Plot (dyelo vrachey).

According to Dmitri Volkogonov in Stalin — Triumph and Tragedy (1991), the night before Stalin (photo, left) became ill, he inquired from Beria about the status of the case against the doctors and specifically about the interrogation of Professor Vinogradov. Minister of State Security Lavrenti Beria replied, "Apart from his other unfavorable qualities, the professor has a long tongue. He has told one of the doctors in his clinic that Comrade Stalin has already had several dangerous hypertonic episodes."

Stalin responded, "Right, what do you propose to do now? Have the doctors confessed? Tell [Semyon D.] Ignatiev [Minister of the MGB security organ] that if he doesn't get full confessions out of them, we'll reduce his height by a head." Beria...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Revolutionaries — From Anarchism to Zhou Enlai by Martin van Creveld is an essential reference book for those interested in researching the history of revolutions and revolutionaries. The main drawback is the liberal, left-of-center academic bias that one has come to expect in most of these types of books. And this occurs in most (but not all) of the entries, probably reflecting the views of the various authors. There are also a few mistakes in dates and facts that may be distracting to scholars and serious researchers.

The entry on Ernesto (Che) Guevara is a case in point. Guevara is lionized to the degree that his entry becomes a virtual hagiography of the fallen, flawed and communist revolutionary. For example, Guevara did very little work as a physician contrary to what the authors lead you to believe. The entry also contains a factual error that “Batista sent a train load of troops to recapture Oriente Province. In a pitch two-hour battle, Guevara captured the train.” In fact, the province and battle took place in Santa Clara in the center of Cuba, not in Oriente Province at the eastern end of the island.

The entries on the...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Let us now discuss the more arcane, extreme and revolutionary, right-wing philosophy, namely anarchism. You may ask when and where in recent history have anarchist revolutionaries been successful?  For the answer, we must travel back in time to Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). It was in Barcelona and surrounding districts that idealist anarchism flourished in the early period of the war as anarchists defended the radical Republican government that the communists also supported against the military insurrection of General Francisco Franco. At this point, let me recommend two fascinating references: Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General by Edward Gazur (2001) and Deadly Illusions: The KGB Orlov Dossier Reveals Stalin's Master Spy by John Costello and Oleg Tsarev (1993).

The first book was written by retired FBI agent, Edward Gazur, who debriefed and protected Stalin's NKVD General, Alexander Orlov, after Orlov defected to the United States following the communists’ defeat in the Spanish Civil War. The second book, Deadly Illusions, was written with the collaboration and approval of the KGB (i.e., when the Soviet KGB files were made available following...

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Founding Fathers of this great nation designed a Republican form of government. By this, they meant a government under the rule of law and not the capricious rule of man, under a written constitution whose main function is to clearly demarcate the limits of authority of the federal government. This constitution contains the principle of separation of power between the three branches of government  — executive, legislative, and judicial — and a further check on authority, a principle of balance of power, not only between the three aforementioned branches, but also between the federal government and those of the respective states. These series of checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution prevent the usurpation of power by any one branch of government, or the outright establishment of tyranny of the majority (i.e., mob rule) at the expense of weaker minorities.

But a Republican form of government was created and intended for a vigilant and informed citizenry, who would keep a watchful eye on the government and jealously guard their liberties like precious jewels. Failure to maintain this watch, would lead to the leveling of society, the erosion of individual...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The "Right" versus "Left" convenient but capricious political arrangement came from the seating position of delegates to the National Assembly during the French Revolution, but it is at times a confusing concept and too often subject to media and academic bias and even misinformation. I have found it easier to have a political spectrum based on degrees of government control.

In the political spectrum concept of degrees of government control, the Total State or totalitarianism, exemplified by practical communism (i.e., as opposed to the theoretical, anarchistic communism, where the state is supposed to disappear once property rights are abrogated and which has never existed) becomes the extreme left. Anarchism (no government) is on the extreme right. Direct democracy (e.g., as practiced by the ancient Athenians) is center left; a representative republic (e.g., in the model of the ancient Roman Republic, which the American Founders imitated to some degree and adapted for a growing continental nation) occupies center right. Here roughly is my conceptualized political spectrum:
But I believe that the presumed evanescence of the political spectrum actually becomes a...

Monday, September 26, 2011

In a recent letter to the editor published in my local newspaper, the Macon Telegraph (9/16/11), Jack Bernard, a self-described "Republican,” retired health care executive, was "disconcerted by the ideological free market rigidity” that he observed during a debate by the Republican presidential candidates concerning “the health care reform question.”

Moreover, Mr. Bernard asserted, “If the free market were going to take care of access issues, it would have already done so.” He then took a back-handed swipe at the candidates by second-guessing them: “Herman Cain and Gov. Rick Perry seem to be OK with over a quarter of all Texans being uninsured. Former Gov. Mitt Romney is running as fast as he can from Romneycare, although it has reduced the uninsured to 4 percent in Massachusetts.”

The "Republican" executive did not forget Rep. Michelle Bachmann. He decried the Minnesota Congresswoman’s alleged “attempt to tar ObamaCare as a socialist plot.” The health care executive’s unimaginative, collectivist solution was simply "to copy the health care of other developed [socialized] nations” and use more "regulatory authority to cover everyone and hold down costs."


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This summer at least three editorials have appeared in my local, Georgia newspaper, the Macon Telegraph, about how the Electoral College process works and explaining why our Founding Fathers created that system for presidential elections. They were not always accurate. One writer, for example, wrote, "The framers... felt the common, everyday, average, eligible voter was not intelligent, well-versed, well-read and knowledgeable enough to vote for the most qualified and best candidate.”

Although that statement is certainly another good reason to maintain the process of presidential elections today, it is historically incorrect. While it is true the Founders distrusted the idle mobs of the cities, the vast majority of Americans in the late 18th century lived in rural districts as farmers and yeomen, working the land and living from the fruits of their labors. These Americans were almost idolized by the Founders, particularly the Virginians Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Moreover, from their knowledge of history, the Founders knew the tragic fate of Athenian democracy and the death knell of the Roman Republic at the hands of Rome's notorious mobs, who incited by...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

“¿Cómo estás? Muy bien, gracias. ¿y tú?”

Can you translate? Do these words mean anything to you? If not, it’s time to start learning a little Spanish. I know it’s difficult for people my age to wrap our minds around the demographic shift that is happening even as you read this column. Here are just the facts — and why it’s time to take up a second language.

According to the latest Census data, there are 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S. And before you ask the question, “How many of those are illegal,” forgetaboutit. That’s a moot point. The arguments we’re having over immigration will seem quaint in a few years as attitudes toward Hispanics change because of the sheer numbers of them.

In 2010, Hispanic growth patterns didn’t just impact the border states of California, New Mexico and Arizona. There are an estimated almost 500,000 in Georgia. Hispanics make up almost 7 percent of North Carolina’s population. Hispanics are showing up in strange places such as Kansas.

In the border states — and some not — the Hispanic population has doubled or almost doubled since 1990. Just ask the folks living in California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois...

Keyword(s): poliltics

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stalin’s Last Crime — The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953 by Jonathan Brent and Vladimir P. Naumov is an in-depth study in psychological survival in a nightmarish police state — Stalin’s Russia, circa 1948-1953. The untangling of this Gordian knot of conspiracies and plots is the convincing achievement of the authors of this suspenseful, historical drama. They accomplished an almost inscrutable task, the successful unraveling of Joseph Stalin’s (photo, left) byzantine, evil plot against the Jewish doctors.

The problem for the protagonists and antagonists in this Stalinist nightmare is that of survival. The moral conundrum is how to survive without denouncing other innocent persons, as this Kafkaesque drama unfolds. And yet, perceived survival, or at least the delaying as long as possible of the loss of life or limb by the avoidance of physical torture, could only be attained at the expense of denouncing and putting in jeopardy the lives of others. And, what is one to confess to without divining what was being formulated in Stalin’s monstrous mind?

Thankfully for some, there was the critical issue of timing, the clock was ticking rapidly, and time was...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

There was a time until the early 1960s when the terms to describe those of African decent, like me — African-American or Black or Afro-American — were almost unheard of.

I remember a distinct conversation with a friend discussing descriptive terms for ourselves in 1963 or ’64. The term “black” was just coming into vogue and he didn’t like it one bit. “Call me a Negro,” he said, “but don’t call me black.”

Now, the word “Negro” (publications used a lower case “n”) has almost become a pejorative, so I was a little surprised when my pastor, the Rev. Willie Reid, used it during Thursday’s revival. “Back when we were Negroes,” he said, and listed several things that were different about black life in America back then.

That got me to thinking. Back when we were Negroes in the 1950s, “only 9 percent of black families with children were headed by a single parent,” according to “The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies” by Kay Hymowitz. “Black children had a 52 percent chance of living with both their biological parents until age 17. In 1959, “only 2 percent of black children were reared in households in which the mother never married.” But now that we’re African-...

Fransini Giraldo is a Colombian girl who dances her own style of Salsa. In this video, she dances to the rhythm of Sonora Carruseles de Colombia, presumably in the Colombia countryside. Published July 16, 2013.