May 30th, 2006

Anyone Who Is Surprised By This Has NOT Read History

North Korea's Concentration Camps

We've seen how dictatorships deal with people they don't like. Lenin and Stalin, for example. They were just peachy guys when they weren't deliberately murdering and starving millions of their own citizens. And good old Adolf--we all know how he treated the Jews.

In the twentieth century, communism murdered 100,000,000 people. These one hundred million were killed largely for being inconvenient for the governments that killed them.

In fact, Hitler was something of a piker. Even assuming the worst-case estimate of 26 million killed in Nazi concentration camps, that's still only 1/4 of the total dead due to communist atrocities.

These people were tortured to death for a variety of heinous crimes, including things such as:

* being critical of their government
* being homosexual
* having a religious faith

I wish I could say that the news of North Korea's concentration camps was shocking or surprising, but it is neither. This is the kind of thing that such regimes always do. Their governments rely on "maintenance of terror" to keep the populace in line. People who misbehave (or who are merely reported to misbehave!) simply disappear, never to be seen again...and that gets noticed by those left behind.

Just try leafing through The Black Book of Communism. Or try reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich--the chapter on the death squads and concentration camps will make your stomach churn, unless you have no shred of humanity in you.

It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to look at communism as a good thing, in light of all the evidence of the crimes committed by communist dictatorships. Every time communism is tried it ends up killing people by the millions; every time it is tried it results in a handful of people--those in power!--living very well, while the masses live in poverty.

When a communist revolution happens, the people who support it are sold a bill of goods; they're told that the "new boss" will make sure everyone is treated equally. But some people are more equal than others.

In the USSR, there were special stores for the high-and-mighty. The average citizen subject of the USSR could not enter such places; they were only for communist party officials and important politicians. These stores had more, and better, merchandise in them than the average stores did, and were much less prone to the shortages that plagued the average stores. No people waiting in line for three hours for a couple rolls of toilet paper at those stores!

The primary difference between communist Russia, and Russia under the Czars, is that in communist Russia the citizens were given ballots once in a while. The ballots frequently only had one name on them and the outcomes of the elections were foregone conclusions, but they at least had the illusion of self-determination. Otherwise there was no difference in the average person's life.

Well, except for the people who were killed in the name of communism, of course. The lives of those people were affected--they were truncated.

North Korea is the scapegoat of communism these days. People are more than willing to be critical of North Korea while ignoring Cuba under Castro, or communist China. But both Castro and China are killing their millions, one way or another, and the terror and the torture and the murder continues unabated to this day.

Anyone who wears a shirt with Che Guevara's unmodified photo on it and thinks he's being cool and striking a blow for the common man, is utterly ignorant of what Guevara stood for. Guevara was a cheap murderer, a gangster that Heinrich Himmler would have understood perfectly. In "Message to the Tricontinental", he writes of "hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine."

The majority of the 100,000,000 people killed by communism in the 20th century were Chinese--on the order of 60,000,000 or so. Think about this: that's twice the population of Canada.

Like any communist dictator in history, Kim-Jong Il is a brutal dictator, a person who thinks nothing of killing people wholesale in order to maintain his grip on the reins of power. The news that he's presiding over such brutal torture and murder is not at all surprising.

Unfortunately.

This is why I'm paranoid

People don't understand when I say that the universe is out to get me. But they don't understand because they just don't see all the things which thwart me in my everyday life.

Here is an excellent example:


You know where I live?

I LIVE RIGHT UNDER THAT FUCKING THUNDERSTORM

I'm trying to finish the work on my Fiero--front brakes, grease job, oil change, new belts, a few other miscellanious bits and pieces...and now, TWO GODDAMNED DAYS IN A ROW, my work has been interrupted by rain!

The damn skies are clear for 100 miles in every direction except RIGHT OVER MY FUCKING HEAD

And this isn't at all surprising to me! It's frustrating as hell but it's not surprising.

If I need a red light, I get all green ones; but if I don't need a red light, I hit them ALL red.

If I am running late and in a hurry, I get behind every stupid piss-head on the goddamned planet who can't drive faster than five under the limit, and I end up getting to work late even if I leave home on time. But when I'm not in a hurry, even if I leave home late, I get to work on time! Explain that to me!!!

And it never, ever fails! Ever!

Why the hell SHOULDN'T I be paranoid????

Social Theory: The Louder the Bass, the Smaller the Penis

The whole thing with extra-super-loud subwoofers in cars has gone too damn far.

There is some moronic teenager who drives home from school every day, and when he does, I can hear him all the way from the traffic light in town until he passes my street. I can hear him inside my house with all the windows closed. That is how stinkinous loud his car stereo is.

I've come to the conclusion that he feels the need to bludgeon the entire damn town with his bass because he's afraid that someone will discover how small his penis is. I mean, I can't imagine any other reason. I'm one of those people who just can't fathom people who are utterly inconsiderate and thoughtless; I figure that there must be some reason this stupid attention-whore has to have such a loud stereo other than simple lack of consideration for others.

It would be nice if the police would/could enforce the laws against noise pollution, but apparently they don't give a rat's ass.

And the cars you normally see with those kinds of stereos in them--well, just as an example, today I saw some moron in a mid-90s Dodge Neon with one of those stupid-loud stereos.

Cars are getting increasingly expensive--new cars have never seen a price cut--and most of these idiots couldn't afford the audio hardware if they bought a new car, anyway. So you have the case of the moron kid who owned a late '80s Dodge Omni, and doubled the value of the car by pumping it chock-full of extraneous audio hardware. And then parking that car in the parking lot of my apartment building after 10 PM with the stereo going THUD...THUD...THUD... while he went into his girlfriend's apartment for a visit.

The only reason for doing this is to annoy other people. There is no value to the owner of the car; past a certain point the ears cannot receive any more sound, and above around 120 decibels it starts to hurt and to damage the hearing, so the owner of the car-cum-WMD must wear ear plugs. Particularly if the stupid thing is audible more than a quarter of a mile away, inside a closed building.

It's about to the point that I'm ready to install a remote cutout in my car's exhaust, so when one of these asshats pulls up alongside me I can bludgeon HIM with my car's unmuffled exhaust.

Harmonics

Continuing my foray into the world of audio, I'm going to discuss the issue of harmonics. Sound doesn't always resonate purely, and in special cases something can sound like something else.

In the case I'm thinking of, it's my fan.

I have slept with a fan by my bed for countless years now. (Even in winter.) The fan provides a nice gentle white noise, which covers most of the noises which would otherwise wake me up. It also helps me regulate my body temperature so that I'm as comfortable as possible; I like to sleep in a cool room and the fan can make a warm room feel cooler.

But it's not all good.

Ever since I was about ten years old I have been terrified of tornados. You see, I had this nightmare one night, the kind where it's a really nice summer day and everything is great.

For some reason I went into the living room. Golden sunlight shone through the west window and it was really beautiful, and I wanted to look out that window, so I went to it.

Not more than half a mile away a huge, black, triple tornado was bearing down on the town. So I ran into the kitchen and warned my parents that there was a tornado coming!

Of course--as is typical of such dreams in children--my parents didn't listen to me, saying that the sirens would have sounded if there were a tornado. I was just gearing up a reply when I heard the sound of the church bell hitting the ground, and Mom got this look on her face...and that's when I woke up, scared out of my wits.

It made quite an impression on me, as you can tell...and from that day forth, any time I hear a siren it half-scares the crap out of me, even when I'm expecting it, even when it's a bright shiny sunny day without a cloud in the sky. In winter.

So what does this have to do with harmonics?

Well...the fan doesn't make pure white noise, you see. The fan makes other sounds. Under the right circumstances, I may suddenly hear a soft alto hum--and I'll bolt awake instantly, shutting the fan off, ears straining at the sudden silence...and then I realize that I was hearing an overtone from the fan, not an actual storm warning siren.

Since I moved back here, though, it hasn't been as much of a problem. There's a siren about a quarter-mile from here, and when they test it, it's painfully loud even with the house closed up. When it goes off, there is no mistaking what it is, and it cuts right through the fan noise.

This evening, then, as I was sitting down to dinner, a thunderstorm was arriving here; I had some music on. And suddenly I heard this sound. With the fan, the AC, and the music on, I could not tell if it was a harmonic overtone or the music or--so I hurried to the front door and opened it...and heard nothing but birds and traffic.

In July of 2003, when I was still living in Cedar Rapids, we had a hell of a thunderstorm one night. It had rained earlier that day, and the air was so saturated with moisture that mist hugged the ground in low spots, like in a jungle. As night fell, thunderstorms brewed up, and it got pretty bad pretty quickly.

The tornado sirens went off, but we didn't hear them because we were inside the apartment with the fans and the AC on. Fortunately we had the TV on and they mentioned on the TV that the sirens had gone off.

We--my then-girlfriend and I--ended up inviting several of our neighbors to shelter themselves in our garage.

Just another example of what it's like to be me, I suppose.