Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: It was 20 years ago tomorrow ...

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  • dubmugga,


    madchester baby...oh yeah!!!

    the back of your mind • Since Nov 2006 • 257 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sorry to ruin your Friday platitudes. It isn't historically illiterate. It's the truth. I've read a lot about it. I recommend Johnson's recent book "South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid".

    My apologies. I still think were overlooking Mandela's very real contribution for the sake of your argument, but I could have said that in a more measured fashion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I've read a lot about it. I recommend Johnson's recent book "South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid".

    I'd recommend actually going there.

    When you had a system that relies on screwing the majority population for the benefit of a tiny minority, then dismantling that is gonna cause problems. Especially for those in the minority group who suddenly lost all the privileges they previously got, just by being white. Not surprising then that a few of the whites have left.

    South Africa is doing ok. I've found people in all communities there to be positive about the country and making a go of the future. Sure, the government has had issues (most notably AIDS denial) but what government doesn't?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I remember Ice-T's 'High Roller' 12" hitting the shelves in mid '89. The most shocking cover I'd ever seen

    She dressed like that over the three nights at The Siren / Box that year when Ice came to town. I spent most of a week with Tracy (as he is known to his mother) and Darlene and she wasn't that much less, uhh, startling in the flesh.

    They bought All Blacks jerseys for the family back in LA..never heard of the team but loved the name.

    I think '89 was a killer year for NZ music. There was a lot happening: the early dub stuff which was documented on the first DeepGrooves double 10", Upper Hutt Posse, the first South AK hip hop, Jazz Committee and much more. It just wasn't within RIANZ's radar.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    1990 stands out for me for a couple of reasons. I was in Switzerland in a little place called Vevey. It was also the year that Princess Caroline of Monaco's second husband died, and, I believe, the year that Kuwait was invaded. I watched these events on French TV as I stared out across Lac Leman at the French Alps and yearned for home. And until 12 minutes ago, or so, I thought that it was 1989. In fact it was 1990. A very very interesting year - did you know, for example that it was the year that the NZ Navy stopped the distribution of the free tot of rum? - but it wasn't 1989. As you were.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    And I thought the Wall fell in '90. I vividly remember watching it on telly. I was definitely in Switzerland. I remember Pink Floyd playing. And now I find out - thankyou google - that actually it was the aforementioned 1990, July in fact, that the Floyd played at the Wall 8 months after it fell. 1989, I apologise sincerely.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    My apologies. I still think were overlooking Mandela's very real contribution for the sake of your argument, but I could have said that in a more measured fashion.

    Accepted although not necessary. Think about it though. Which is more likely: the levers of power willingly decided that a massive blood letting was in no one's interest OR some old ANC dude Sinatra'd his way into everyone's hearts and stopped violence?

    I'd recommend actually going there.

    I'd love to. I hope going theat isn't a prerequisite to having an opinion, though.

    When you had a system that relies on screwing the majority population for the benefit of a tiny minority, then dismantling that is gonna cause problems.

    Absolutely. But the dismantling happened quickly. The ANC now effectively has no opposition at all, except from the (white) left. Many of the problems that exist now -- such as income disparity and violence being worse than they were under apartheid -- were caused by ANC corruption.

    Especially for those in the minority group who suddenly lost all the privileges they previously got, just by being white. Not surprising then that a few of the whites have left.

    The ANC exile community lived a life of extreme privilege. They do now as well because they've used the state to line their pockets. The whites have left because the ANC has turned the country into another third world kleptocracy. It was shit before and it's generally shit now. Apartheid was vile. It's vile now.

    South Africa is doing ok.

    Ok? Not really. It's turning into Zimbabwe. The Ontario refugee tribunal just gave refugee status to a white South African on a totally black letter application of the Convention on Refugees.

    Sure, the government has had issues (most notably AIDS denial) but what government doesn't?

    Well, most countries don't have polygamist rapists as presidents who take showers to cure HIV.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Have you been to South Africa?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the NZ Navy stopped the distribution of the free tot of rum

    Was still bloody cheap by the late 90s from the non-profit store on base. And port for about four dollars a bottle if that's any measure.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    No, Brickley, don't answer that. Feel free to continue feeling superior to the people who have actually had to deal with the aftermath of apartheid.

    (It was shit then and it is shit now? I dare say people who are rude about the ANC don't jump out fucking windows. Seriously, there's ignorant white utopianism, and then.there's Brickley getting judgemental just because he can. And honestly pal if you think SA is worse than, I dunno, India what planet are you living on?)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Feel free to continue feeling superior

    I trust you're being ironic. No encouragement needed.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    During the run up to the '81 Tour a South African manager at a Christchurch firm said in all sincereity that 'Blacks' were sub-human and needed Paternal Governance.
    I have a really ugly story to illustrate the point, but won't share, it's Sunday after all.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Seems to me a justice system with any semblance of meaning would have confiscated The Hav's car about 10,000 fines go. What is the purpose of a car park other than to make money and provide parking space? Why would the Government shirk their responsibility on both counts there?

    "We need more DJs"

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    1989 was a good year because the “The Communist government of East Germany resigned” and the “checkpoints were opened”. Just happened all by itself did it? Is that an understatement or misunderstanding or just being casual about one of the most positive events of the last century (or in all of human history)? One hundred million lives and the suffering of billions of people are worth a bit more than such casual detachment aren’t they?

    It is a great shame, and a stain on honor of modern society that we don't do much to remember the victims of Communism. Here is some one who is trying to correct that, to some extent.

    http://www.reason.tv/video/show/lee-edwards

    I have done a bit of reading on the Gulags recently. Hard to comprehend state sponsored suffering and cruelty on that scale.

    It is, I think an even greater shame on modern society that we don't spend much, if any time, focusing on the millions who still suffer under the greatest disaster to ever befall the human race, the demented and destructive musings of Marx and Engels. For those poor people their 1989 hasn’t happened yet, their walls are still very much up.

    Think of the millions who still suffer, are imprisoned and / or die in Cuba, North Korea, Burma & Zimbabwe, Marx’s worker's paradises all. And the bleeding hearts sip their lattes, wear their Che Guevara tee shirts (imagine the reaction to wearing a Heinrich Himmler tee shirt?) and ignore the epic on-going suffering and death in those remaining Marxist hold outs while jerking off over the “incredible outrages” of Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, which aren’t even a fly speck in comparison, even if you take the dimmest view of what happened, or is happening in those places. A very firm grip on the wrong end of the stick, in my view. If you are bent out of shape by Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, you ought to be in a paroxysm of rage about North Korean Cuba et al.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    1989 was a good year because the “The Communist government of East Germany resigned” and the “checkpoints were opened”. Just happened all by itself did it? Is that an understatement or misunderstanding or just being casual about one of the most positive events of the last century (or in all of human history)?

    It was a statement of fact of what happened on those days -- there's no misunderstanding about it, and I'm well aware of the courage and sacrifice that laid the groundwork for that.

    I thought you were going to trot out the wingnut truism that credits Reagan with the opening of the wall. That's really offensive.

    And the bleeding hearts sip their lattes, wear their Che Guevara tee shirts (imagine the reaction to wearing a Heinrich Himmler tee shirt?)

    Good grief. Grip, anyone? Guevara was a revolutionary brute -- they are littered through history. Himmler co-ordinated the execution of more than six million people. He tried to exterminate an entire race. Your comparison is fatuous, offensive, ignorant and bizarre.

    If you are bent out of shape by Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, you ought to be in a paroxysm of rage about North Korean Cuba et al.

    The problem is, James, that when you say this it does read a lot like "move along, nothing to see here ..."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Cuba is always interesting to compare with the US on deaths through predicted severe weather events.
    It is also considered the most sustainable nation.
    If you've been cut off for so long it is one of the two possible outcomes.
    I must also admit some ignorance as to the other realities of Cuba, but it's on my wish list of places to go.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    If you are bent out of shape by Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, you ought to be in a paroxysm of rage about North Korean Cuba et al.

    Glod forgive me for rising to this troll, but: who says "we" aren't? State repression in those countries and others is widely campaigned against by people right across the political spectrum.

    You can't really decry such repression and declare that the US has higher standards, then throw a hissy-fit at those who suggest the US might also try to adhere to its own espoused values.

    Beacons of democracy need the "flyspecks" cleaned off every now and again. Be grateful you actually live in a country where you can hear voices from outside, and learn to deal with it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I must also admit some ignorance as to the other realities of Cuba, but it's on my wish list of places to go.

    Friends of mine who've been have come away somewhat disillusioned. Its performance on various institutional measures is good -- it has a better adult literacy rate than Spain -- but press and political freedoms are negligible, and it seems sad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Think of the millions who still suffer, are imprisoned and / or die in Cuba, North Korea, Burma & Zimbabwe, Marx’s worker's paradises all.

    You really are a moron.
    Burma. Zimbabwe....Marxist workers paradises?
    Millions dying in Cuba?
    And just to help you along read Hitchens on what N Korea governance most resembles.
    Then you can go stick yer dick in a mangle.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Interesting read from Stratfor on the reasons behind the fall of the wall and subsequent decades in Russia.

    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20091109_russian_dilemma

    An article that sums things up the inherent faults in communism quite well, including this quote from JFK:

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/the-berlin-wall-15282.

    "it is clear that the forces of diversity are at work inside the Communist camp, despite all the iron disciplines of regimentation and all the iron dogmatisms of ideology. Marx is proven wrong once again: for it is the closed Communist societies, not the free and open societies which carry within themselves the seeds of internal disintegration. The disarray of the Communist empire has been heightened by two other formidable forces. One is the historical force of nationalism -- and the yearning of all men to be free. The other is the gross inefficiency of their economies. For a closed society is not open to ideas of progress--and a police state finds that it cannot command the grain to grow."

    All Reagan did was ramp up the pressure on the defective system eloquently described by Kennedy until it collapsed. In economic terms he simply increased their costs with a military build up the Soviets couldn’t match, and reduced their income by persuading Fahd to open the spigot collapsing the price of oil, the Soviets only source of hard currency that they needed to buy the grain that their defective system couldn’t produce in order to feed their population. In the end game, Gorby couldn't send his tanks into Poland or East Germany as the loans he needed from the west (due to less oil revenue) in order to buy western grain (that they couldn't produce) would have disappeared. At its core very simple. How could this simple and voluminously documented fact be offensive? As Stratfor article explains Gorbachev was no liberal, he didn’t have a choice, and so the explanation that you occasionally hear that Gorby just woke up one day and thought “Gee, let’s stop suppressing the masses, what a nice idea!” is just bollocks.

    As Stratfor frequently discusses, the need for hard currency explains Russia behavior to this day. Russia’s major and vital export is oil, they need oil to be expensive in order to fund the Russian Govt so they are willing, able and happy to do geopolitically whatever they can do keep the price up. Like play all manner of games regarding Iran’s nuke program.

    Andin: Millions dying in Cuba? No, just tens of thousands over the years (if I recall correctly it is estimated that 70,000 have drowned trying to flee the worker's paradise over the years.) But it is estimated that 2 1/2 million people starved to death in North Korea in the mid 90s, and who knows how many are dying right now, they have another famine. So, yes, millions.

    Just thinking: Yes, I once had the desire to go to Cuba myself, as I found out more about what a totalitarian hell hole Cuba really is, a veritable Caribbean gulag, my desire diminished.

    Here is a great article on the Cuban revolution, in the form of a review of Andy Garcia's great movie, The Lost City. It is a lot of fun, a real piss-take on the many Hollywood and media Fidel apologist wankers. Some interesting comparative data points on Cuba v Europe & the US circa 1958 that I bet you have never read before which makes Cuba's current miserable situation after 50 years of Fidel's hell all the more tragic.

    http://97.74.65.51/Printable.aspx?ArtId=4625

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    James, I like how you slid past being called on the fact that the regime in control of Burma are actually right-wing, and much of the opposition to them - both parliamentary and outside parliament, is left-wing.

    Gives me faith in the non-changing nature of some things.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    closed Communist societies, not the free and open societies which carry within themselves the seeds of internal disintegration.

    Yeah right, those seeds can spout anywhere.
    How do ya think empires crumble.

    and so the explanation that you occasionally hear that Gorby just woke up one day and thought “Gee, let’s stop suppressing the masses, what a nice idea!” is just bollocks.

    one word - Strawman.
    I suggest you read Edward Teller's biography by Peter Goodchild.

    No, just tens of thousands over the years (if I recall correctly it is estimated that 70,000 have drowned trying to flee the worker's paradise over the years.)

    And the pissy US sanctions, which continue to this day, had nothing to do with it.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    You know, there is one thing communism is good for, if you look at the state of Tsarist Russia or pre-communist China. And that is taking hopelessly corrupt, ossified and pitifully poor countries and turning them into economic powerhouses within two generations.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    You know, there is one thing communism is good for, if you look at the state of Tsarist Russia or pre-communist China. And that is taking hopelessly corrupt, ossified and pitifully poor countries and turning them into economic powerhouses within two generations.

    Although once you're there it's a bit of a job stopping ossification, corruption and poverty from eating the insides out of your economic powerhouse once again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    James, I like how you slid past being called on the fact that the regime in control of Burma are actually right-wing, and much of the opposition to them - both parliamentary and outside parliament, is left-wing.

    James is always very selective in his outrage, and often finds the urge to pull in George Friedman, whose also very selective wisdom and tailored semi-truths can be very handy when one wants to tighten one's blinkers a little.

    I suggest you read Edward Teller's biography by Peter Goodchild.

    Indeed, or any reasonable history of the end of the cold war.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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