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Dostoevsky and what he can tell us about brutal and senseless mass murder near Moscow

The profound words of Dostoevsky can help us understand and cope with modern tragedies.

Vladimir Golstein

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Contemplating one particular suicide – of a young girl who threw herself from the 4th floor window floor with an icon in her hand–Dostoevsky wrote in his essay, “Two Suicides”: “There are some things which, no matter how simple they seem on the surface, one still goes on thinking about for a long time; they recur in one’s dreams, and it even seems as if one is somehow to blame for them. This meek soul who destroyed herself torments one’s mind despite oneself” (Diary of a Writer, Oct. 1876)

Indeed, there are similar haunting acts of violence like that occur all over the world. One such has been committed a couple of days ago in Russia, in some small village in Tver region. Yet, universal as these crimes might be, there is something particularly Russian about this crime, as there was in the act of a suicide falling to her death while embracing an icon.

I refer to the mass murder of nine people which occurred when a bunch of drunkards (ten altogether) got together to celebrate the weekend along with the Orthodox Feast of Pentecost, and who drank themselves to a rather irrational state in which insults and taunting are flowing easily and so are the propensities to take offense. So the men at this gathering began to taunt their neighbor for being too weak to serve in the Marines. The 45 year old neighbor, who served only in border patrol, got upset, rushed home and re-emerged with his rifle out of which he shot and killed everyone who was present at this party, four men and five women, ranging in age from ninety one to twenty one. Turns out that one his tenth intended victim survived having hidden herself beneath the blankets on the bed.

So the murderer found a way to show his toughness. How senseless and how stupid! Yet, despite its drunken senselessness, there is something in this outburst that does haunt one’s soul, and keeps one wondering at the causes of such disproportional brutality.

On the surface of it, the crime looks just like another shooting at an American high school. A student or two, who feel slighted by other more popular kids, decide to take revenge on the school, and end up killing a lot of people. There is a difference however, between an insecure teenager and a grown up man with the experience of serving in the army and taking care of his elderly mother. The murderer was good with his hands, he was known in the neighborhood as “electrician” for his ability to help other inhabitants with various household shores. In fact, he was invited to the drinking party after he helped his neighbors with their electrical problem. A seemingly nice, friendly, and mature person. Yet, he still ended up with nine corpses on his hand. His anger was so strong, that he drove one participant to the cemetery and told her to dig her own grave, only to shoot her after she refused.

What triggered this “senseless and merciless” act, as a Russian journalist labeled it, referring to Pushkin’s description of a Russian peasant rebellion?

To blame vodka on this senseless crime is hardly sufficient. A lot of Russians drank themselves into stupor only to wake up the next morning and continue with their routine. We clearly need Dostoevsky, the keen observant of all the complexities of Russian character to explain it. In fact, Dostoevsky explored the examples of hyper adolescent touchiness and insecurity, the qualities exhibited by many Russian criminals that he observed during his life in Siberian prison and that which he so brilliantly captured in his later texts, be it, Notes from the House of the Dead, Notes from Underground, or The Diary of the Writer.

House of the Dead is filled with Russian criminals who at certain moment decide that that they “cannot take it no longer” and go on rampage, demonstrating such levels of degradation, anger, and frustration, which vodka or other provocations can easily push into a violent explosion. These people, all subjects of some underground anger and rebellion, plunge into crime like a rock fallen from a cliff. Such is a relatively harmless Luka Kuzmich, an extremely vane but not much respected prisoner, who ended up in Siberian exile for killing his officer in the army. Why? Because he didn’t like how this major talked down to him. So one day, Luka obtained a knife, and killed the officer when he was declaring to the soldiers his usual tirade that he is their “Tsar and God.” Such is a cheerful and good-natured person, Baklushin, who at certain moment just lost it. Baklushin was in love with a girl whose relatives pushed her into accepting the offer of a wealthy German artisan. So Baklushin invites himself to the house of his former fiancé, and after a phrase of two of a smug German, and he kills him. Somehow he could not stand being exposed as inadequate in front of the woman he loved. And finally, there is the most disturbing and violent story of Akulka’s Husband, a petty and abusive man, constantly taunted and mocked by his fellow villagers, who in turn, takes his anger on his wife, whom he brutally beats and eventually kills.

Dostoevsky never gives up exploring this strange yet persistent need of people to assert themselves, to show their own worth. These moments of self-assertion are as unpredictable as they are inevitable: “A convict is obedient and submissive to a certain degree: but there is a limit beyond which one should not go. Incidentally, there is no phenomenon more curious than these strange outbursts of impatience and obstinacy. Often a man will suffer in patience for several years, resign himself, endure the most savage punishments, and then suddenly erupt over some trifle, some piece of nonsense, almost nothing at all.” (35)

In the same text, Dostoevsky provides the following explanation of prisoners’ sudden and unexpected outbursts of anger: “The cause of this sudden outburst in the man of whom one least expect it is nothing more than an anguished, convulsive manifestation of the man’s personality, his instinctive anguish and anguished longing for himself, his desire to declare himself and his humiliated personality, a desire which appears suddenly and which sometimes ands in anger, in frenzied rage, in insanity, fits, convulsions… it is enough only for him to get started: when the man grows intoxicated, there is no holding him back. And therefore it would be better in every way not to let him get to this point.. yes, but how can this be done.” (110)

While in his 1875 notebooks for Adolescent, Dostoevsky goes even deeper, as he connects these outbursts of wounded egos with the sense of tragedy, while suggesting the that it is the society’s obligation to be more pro-active in addressing the circumstances that lead to these tragic outcomes:  “I am proud to have presented, for the first time, the real image of the Russian majority, and to have exposed, for the first time, its misshapen and tragic aspects. The tragic lies in one’s awareness of being misshapen… the tragedy of the underground …consists of suffering, self-laceration, an awareness of a better [life] coupled with the impossibility of attaining it, and, most important of all, a strong conviction on the part of these unfortunate people that everybody else is like them and that it is, therefore, not worthwhile to improve oneself! What can sustain those who do try to improve themselves? A reward, faith? Nobody is offering any reward, and in whom could one have faith? Another step from this position, and you have extreme depravity, crime, murder.”

Today’s killer, also went crazy after being humiliated in front of men and women. Somehow he felt that they have slighted him. Could have this awful outburst been prevented? On many levels, it is a duty of a society to instill in everyone a sense of self-worth. Religion surely helps, as does the proper education, or family love. But last years of Soviet Union coupled with the decimation of perestroika were surely the worst for the ego, it was indeed the time, when people’s degraded sense of themselves had very few healthy outlets, when one’s personality had difficulties realizing itself through work, or other achievements. It is obvious that Russian society, despite its noticeable improvement in economics and morals, hasn’t yet found the cure to all the crushed and frustrated individuals out there. As the result, ten lives were wiped out (I include the murderer’s life here as well). Haunting indeed. God rest their souls.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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Why Joe May be Courting Stacey

Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


Of 895 slots in the freshman class of Stuyvesant High in New York City, seven were offered this year to black students, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before.

In the freshman class of 803 at The Bronx High School of Science, 12 students are black, down from last year’s 25.

Of 303 students admitted to Staten Island Technical High School, one is African-American.

According to The New York Times, similar patterns of admission apply at the other five most elite high schools in the city.

Whites and Asians are 30 percent of middle school students, but 83 percent of the freshman at Bronx High School of Science, 88 percent at Staten Island Technical and 90 percent at Stuyvesant.

What do these numbers tell us?

They reveal the racial composition of the cohort of scientists and technicians who will lead America in the 21st century. And they tell us which races will not be well represented in that vanguard.

They identify a fault line that runs through the Democratic Party, separating leftists who believe in equality of results for all races and ethnic groups, and those who believe in a meritocracy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed anger and frustration at the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in the elite schools. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have ignored his pleas to change the way students are admitted.

Currently, the same test, of English and math, is given to middle school applicants. And admission to the elite eight is offered to those who get the highest scores.

Moreover, Asians, not whites, are predominant.

Though 15 percent of all middle school students, Asians make up two-thirds of the student body at Stuyvesant, with 80 times as many slots as their African-American classmates.

The egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party sees this as inherently unjust. And what gives this issue national import are these factors:

First, the recent scandal where rich parents paid huge bribes to criminal consultants to get their kids into elite colleges, by falsifying records of athletic achievement and cheating on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, has caused a wave of populist resentment.

Second, Harvard is being sued for systemic reverse racism, as black and Hispanic students are admitted with test scores hundreds of points below those that would disqualify Asians and whites.

Third, Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Here are Biden’s quotes, unearthed by The Washington Post, that reflect his beliefs about forced busing for racial balance in public schools:

“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with.

“What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist!

“Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?

“I am philosophically opposed to quota systems. They insure mediocrity.”

That was 44 years ago. While those views were the thinking of many Democrats, and perhaps of most Americans, in the mid-’70s, they will be problematic in the 2020 primaries, where African-Americans could be decisive in the contests that follow Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden knows that just as Bernie Sanders, another white male, fell short in crucial South Carolina because of a lack of support among black voters, he, too, has a problem with that most loyal element in the Democratic coalition.

In 1991, Biden failed to rise to the defense of Anita Hill when she charged future Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a law-and-order champion responsible for tough anti-crime legislation that is now regarded as discriminatory.

And he has a record on busing for racial balance that made him a de facto ally of Louise Day Hicks of the Boston busing case fame.

How, with a record like this, does Biden inoculate himself against attacks by rival candidates, especially candidates of color, in his run for the nomination?

One way would be to signal to his party that he has grown, he has changed, and his 2020 running mate will be a person of color. Perhaps he’ll run with a woman of color such as Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

An ancillary benefit would be that Abrams on the ticket would help him carry Georgia, a state Donald Trump probably cannot lose and win re-election.

Wrote Axios this morning:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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