Stalin compared to Hitler

A post at Whale Oil makes an interesting point, comparing the near universal condemnation of Hitler to far more lenience to Stalin’s extraordinarily brutal rule. I’ve seen plenty of information about it but it has seemed fairly distant and impersonal

In Giovanni Tiso’s fondness for “Grandpa” Stalin there are two personal accounts of life (and often death) under Stalin.

First in the post from a friend of Slater’s who’s family is Russian.

My family fled the Soviet Union during Stalin’s purges of the 30s, abandoning everything, their friends, family, worldly-possessions, because they were terrified of what would happen to them as former farm owners. Most of their family who stayed behind were either murdered by the NKVD or sent off to Siberia, only a handful managed to survive the remaining years of Stalin’s reign.

I remember growing up that my dedushka would nearly break down if we tried to ask him about what life was like in Russia before he and babushka left. He’d point out the millions of people who’d died as a result of Stalin’s purges, power games, agriculture reforms and ethnic cleansing, that’s before he pointed out the two brothers and one sister he’d lost in the years following their decision to flee.

People in the west seem to forget that Stalin was every bit as ideologically nasty as Hitler, intentionally murdering millions of people for reasons just a batty as those Hitler advanced. Yet for some reason, he’s not seen as reprehensibly evil as Hitler.

There’s debate over the number of deaths that can be attributed to both Hitler and Stalin but both wreaked a savage toll on their own populations and also in other countries.

There is also a comment from Lucia Maria, someone who will be familiar to many around the blogs.

My father was a child prisoner in a Soviet gulag in Siberia during WWII. He was transported from Poland to Siberia on train in compartments made for cattle, not humans, during winter.

When the USSR became allies with the West, all Polish prisoners were given amnesty – my Dad’s family was split into those who were directed to the Polish army in the USSR and those that were not army material (ie mother and children).

The second group were sent to Kazakhstan to die of starvation. Amazingly enough, my dad survived this, when those sent to bury the family found some of the children still alive.

Anyway, I don’t have a strong reaction to people such as Giovanni anymore – there are just too many of them. But yes, the comparison of Stalin to Hitler is one I had to stress to my husband recently. Most people just don’t get it.

I guess a significant difference is that we haven’t fought world wars against Russia as we have against Germany.

But give or take a few million lives Stalin was as bad a genocidal brute as Hitler was.

Another difference is that Nazism largely died with Hitler and hasn’t been given any credence by anything other than small groups of extremists.

In contrast many seem to have excused or ignored Stalin’s barbarity because he represented a political ideology they supported.

These same people strongly oppose much of what the US does and stands for. The US is far from unblemished in it’s worldwide inferences but has been nowhere near as bad as Hitler or Stalin, different plant degrees of difference.

Both Stalin and Hitler deserve similar levels of condemnation – as much as can be given.Joking about grandpa Stalin is akin to joking about uncle Hitler. I don’t know why anyone would want to be related to either in any way. Even in jest it would be a sick joke.

For the record Calculating the number of victims cites various sources with most estimates being between 15 and 30 million deaths attributable to Stalin and his policies (which include famines).

Update: Tiso knows what it’s like to be associated with tryants:

(There is, besides, the crass ignorance of the comment. When she was seven years old, my mother was made to line up along the train tracks outside her village and salute Hitler’s train as it passed at speed on its way to Rome. This is my history, you pathetic fool.)

- Tending Fascist

Alternate view on torture at Whale Oil

It looks like some alternate views are still allowed at Whale Oil. In a post where Cameron Slater supported torture in situations very unlikely to happen several comments question the pro-torture proponents.

A comment by ‘luke’ supports the post:

There is no justification of torture. Really? As I said before imagine, someone you love has been kidnapped and is in danger of being
killed. You have one of the kidnappers and he smugly tells you he won’t reveal where your loved one is. Are you seriously saying you wouldn’t take a pair of pliers to his testicles to force him to divulge the information you need to save your family member? No justification, are you certain?

caochladh makes a similar point:

So, we have the terrorist who has planted a “dirty” nuclear device which will kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Now, we are expected to sit around holding hands with him until the device detonates? Not me pal.

None of the situations where the CIA tortured were anything like that, I don’t know if it has ever happened like that with non-nuclear devices and never with nuclear devices.

And it’s worth remembering that suicide bombing is a common tactic, the bombers are likely to blow themselves up rather than be captured and make themselves available for torture.

‘Nebman’ responds:

I would challenge that on the basis that the chance of it ever happening to anyone ever are so slim, you’ve a better chance of winning Lotto. Ignore the Hollywood nonsense as it’s sensationalism without reality.

No-one will argue with your premise if it was their kids (I wouldn’t) but in my eyes, it still does not justify or excuse it.

Luke:

This is the issue, people responding on an intellectual level. Hollywood nonsense? Sadly many have to confront this issue in reality. Nebman I would support you if you in ‘reality’ your loved ones were at risk.

And Nebman challenges that:

I’m not some liberal pretending there’s no bad people out there doing bad things and all we need to do is hug them and talk to them and everything will be ok – far from it – I’d be the first to break out the hot wire and pliers etc etc.

But where do you stop/start and who gets to say what is ok and how far can you go? If you can quantify that and guarantee the process is free from political interference, I’d possibly see it differently but it never stays that way unfortunately.

And I challenge the “many” in your statement. It gets thrown around somewhat casually I’ve noticed without any real substance or facts behind it.

I see that too, unlikely claims being made as if factual but never anything to support them.

I’m happy to wear the intellectual tag if it means the argument explores all the ramifications. It’s why I’m opposed to binding referendum and online voting. I want people who are deciding serious issues to actually think it through rather than let the popular decision be seen as the “best” response – or worse the only one.

Another comment from Nebman:

The issue I have with both this topic and the death penalty is that the commissioning of it is both arbitrary and not consistent.

If the argument is that you must torture to save lives, then you must also torture to find out what they know, then you must also torture to see what they know just in case. The logical extension is that the information gained that might identify further subjects to torture in which case picking up other people to torture is justified.

And where do you stop? What if it is outside the traditional theatre of war? What about domestic situations? I get the “what if it were to save one of your kids” argument but that’s rhetorical hyperbole at best. Everyone would agree in that situation but that does not make it right or acceptable.

Who gets to do it? The army, the spooks, the police? Who gets to sign off on it? The Politicians? The Judiciary? Government Departments?

My rather long winded point is best summarised by a man called Albert Pierrepoint. He carried out more judicial sentences of death than any other modern executioner and at the end of his “career” he was totally opposed to the death penalty and even gave evidence at a inquiry when the Brits were looking at turfing it in the 60’s.

Because the carrying out of the sentence was and always remained at the whim of some politician, it could never amount to any kind of effective tool to achieve the ends it was designed to.

The use of torture would always be the same.

And ‘fecnde':

There is no justification of torture. All nations supporting it should be held in contempt and all people engaged in it – from the top down to the individuals performing it – should be held criminally accountable.

Some snippets from the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment”: http://www.unhcr.org/49e479d10…

A2.2: No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

A2.3 An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

A3.1 No State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

A4.1 Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
A4.2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate
penalties which take into account their grave nature.

No one proposing torture as a valid method for forcing a confession about an imminent bombing has said how it would work.

You would have to capture someone you were sure could reveal information that would prevent the terrorist act and have people on hand who were proficient in the use of torture that can produce instant results.

How often does torture work instantly? It produces more false and diversionary information than useful information when carried out over days and weeks. Has it ever saved people from a ticking time bomb?

I guess if we were to use time bomb torture in New Zealand we would have the ultimate interrogation device.

“Tell us where the bomb is or we”ll get Whale Oil to attack you in a post”.

We can safely joke about it, there’s no way any New Zealand government is ever likely to approve of torture.

Slater supports torture

Cameron Slater has posted in support of torture ate Whatle Oil – Former SAS man: Torturing terror suspects is a “moral responsibility”

People get waaaay too precious about torture.  There is a time and a place where the need simply makes it the only answer.

Timeliness of intel to prevent some major loss of life would always be justification in my book.

For squeamish people to live in their cocooned little lives where they are allowed the luxury of not having to look a cow in the eye and kill it just so they can have some steak, it is better that they leave the professional to the job of keeping them safe.

There is nothing more irritating than bleeding heart liberals declaring there should be no torture, ever.   They do so from the luxury of ignorance.  If it was their family held up in a bus that’s about to be blown up, I suspect very few would be as principled.

How many people (in the world) have family held up in a bus and the person proven to be the bomber is in custody and available to be tortured quickly enough to extract reliable information that would save the family members?

How many people would be saved in similar situations? And at what cost on the off chance you might occasionally save someone?

Real life isn’t like Hollywood. If you start to make excuses for torture based on ludicrous examples like this then you’re on a very slippery slope.

Torture is morally abhorrent. It’s far simpler and safer  to totally rule it out.

“Man’s name suppressed to avoid Whale Oil posts”

This is really weird. The Manawatu Standard reports:

A man accused of possessing objectionable material has been given name suppression, after concerns were raised that he could be targeted by Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater .

The suppression argument, which was heard today and last Friday in the Palmerston North District Court, revolved around what Judge Stephanie Edwards described as a “protracted” case stretching back nearly three years.

The man had interim name suppression orders rolled over after each court appearance, but an order had not been properly made on the two charges he faces, the judge said.

The man has pleaded not guilty to those charges, and elected trial by jury.

During the argument, defence lawyer Fergus Steedman said he had seen the man at various states of distress during proceedings.

“I know full well what a catastrophic effect publication will have.”

Steedman said the man would likely be targeted by Slater if named, which would have an effect on both the man’s health and his fair trial rights.

The judge gave the man name suppression today, after deciding naming him before the case was resolved could unfairly influence jury members.

The jury members were unlikely to understand some of the steps which had taken place for the case to get to where it was now, she said.

The judge also said naming him before the case was resolved would cause extreme hardship to him and people he knew.

The name suppression will be reviewed when the case is resolved, she said.

The man was remanded until next year.

Unless there is some history of harassment or ridicule from Whale Oil this seems very strange. There would be far wider exposure if  the mainstream media published the defendant’s identity.

Unless there is a specific reason why Whale Oil and Cameron Slater are valid reasons for suppression this is a worrying precedent.

Slater with Garner – a bit of a bully goat

Duncan Garner talked to Cameron Slater yesterday on his ‘The Hour of Power’ on Radio Live.

Garner: One of the more controversial players this year, and I’ve put him in my top five because he has impact. You may not like him, you may despise him actually and you may think he plays a pretty rough game, but this guy you cannot ignore him. Cameron Slater, Whale Oil, Cam good afternoon to you.

Slater: Good afternoon Duncan.

Garner: Do you like the fact that, well I’ll be pretty blunt here, that um a lot of people hate you?

Slater: I don’t care. I literally don’t care if they hate me or despise me, um, that says more about them and their thought processes that they allow themselves to be consumed by hate, because I literally don’t hate anybody um in this country and certainly not anybody involved in the beautiful game of politics.

Garner: Yeah although you do run some pretty um, some pretty aggressive attacks with a hate lines. you say you don’t hate anybody but one look at your blog and um you might think that you do.

Slater: When was the last time you read my blog Duncan?

Garner: Ah about an hour ago actually before I came on air.

Slater: And where’s the hate in there? There’s thirty odd posts there today, thirty yesterday or so, there’s not a word of hate there anywhere.

Garner: Yeah it wouldn’t be hard to find.

Slater: I don’t think people are a little bit subjective and a little bit soft and just don’t like the robust confronting that I do and that’s too bad ’cause I’m going to keep on doing it.

Garner: Let me just quote you one thing though mate, you said you play politics or blog like the Fijians play rugby”I’ll smash your face into the ground”, that’s pretty aggressive.

Slater: Oh it is pretty aggressive, but you know this is politics not tiddly winks. You know people want to, you take David Parker today, he stood up in the house again, smeared everybody, not a shred of evidence, he’s too gutless to say it outside of the house.

I say things in my own name, I say it on radio, on my blog, in public, and I’m not afraid of confronting the truth, but these gutless little wimps in Parliament are too cowardly to say anything outside of the house, and it’s my role in society to deal with that.

Slater has chosen that role.

He isn’t afraid of ‘confronting the truth’, bluntly (what is true is often disputed). He does it under his own name publicly. No problem with that.

He has fearlessly pushed boundaries and led the bleeding edge of blogging in New Zealand politics.

But he can be gutless as well. His blog blocks, censors and bans people confronting him with truth. That’s as gutless as any politician.

But he isn’t good at being confronted. He’s a bully who often over-reacts vindictively if someone annoys him.

Slater uses a sledgehammer and through his draconian blog moderation he takes the tiddlywinks off people who have tried to tell opinions or truths he doesn’t want competing with his own attack lines.

He may not hate anyone but his comments, his posts, his attacks can often appear as hateful.

Some of his attacks on David Parker recently gone further than aggresiveness, they have been unnecessarily nasty and spiteful. It’s possible to confront the truth aggressively without playing the dirty card.

Slater has a well worn pack of dirty cards. That diminishes his impact and effect because it’s easy to dismiss his over the top attacks as just hate and dirt.

It’s unlikely he will change his approach, which is an extreme mix of guts and gutless.

He’s a bit of a bully goat.

Whale Oil and Kiwblog bad, all other blogs good?

Anthony Robins throws down the blogger gauntlet at The Standard on media and blogs.

I want to pick up on the last point in particular. Permeating this report, and the coverage of it (e.g. RNZ quoted above) is the assumption that all blogs are equal – a blog is a blog is a blog. This is a version of the Nats’ dirty politics spin that “everyone does it” and “Labour has attack blogs” and “The Standard is written by Labour staffers” and so on – these are all distractions, deflections, and lies lies lies.

So it is disappointing to see this report accepting (apart from one quick comment by Russell Brown) the assumption that all blogs are created equal, and that all are tarnished by dirty politics. Bollocks. It makes no more sense than saying that all TV is game shows, that all radio is talkback, or that all websites are porn. Blogs span a rich and interesting spectrum, and the only ones tarnished by dirty politics are the ones that were actively involved – Whale Oil, Kiwiblog, and the (deleted in shame) Asian Invasion.

So – media – how about a little bit more honesty in the coverage of bloggers and blogs eh? And with all due respect to the JMAD team, for your next report, why not get out and talk to some bloggers, find out a bit about what is really going on (and not going on), instead of repeating the media lines that you are supposed to be critiquing?

(As a last point for a lazy Saturday, quoted above “blogs have started to fill the gap in public interest journalism left by the commercially operated media corporates”. Discuss!)

Whale Oil and Kiwiblog bad, all other blogs good?

Whale Oil and Destiny Church fundraising

After recently raising something like $70,000 to pay for legal bills Cameron Slater at Whale Oil is testing the legal fundraising waters again in What would you do if the Leader of the Opposition called you a sociopath on television?

Perhaps Andrew Little should shut his gob….after all there was quite a considerable effort on my part to help several of his MPs across the line…and it was ok then for them to have an “unhealthy relationship” with me.

But what should I do readers?   

Should I sue his arse off him like Michael Laws suggests? Should TVNZ be a party to the action?

Slater has been highly critical of others (Colin Craig) for taking defamation action.

Thoughts?

Any lawyers want in? It would seem an easy case, and after he caved to Judith Collins I should think he might not want the distraction keeping him busy defending himself and cost him lots of money and on the way through give me a lot more publicity.

Is this something readers want to invest in via crowd funding the case with a share of any winnings is something?

Seeking partners and raising funds for political attack legal action is ‘innovative’ but a very risky investment. I’d have thought Slater would have had enough legal hassles by now without actively seeking them.

Perhaps he is looking at Brian Tamaki’s fundraising enviously. There’s a similarity between Destiny Church and Whale Oil, both are manipulating a devoted audience to raise money for their own benefit.

Last night Campbell Live showed Tamaki in action in Hannah Tamaki fronts on church’s stage donation.

Last Sunday, the congregation of Destiny Church showered thousands of dollars at the feet of ‘Bishop’ Brian Tamaki in the hope of “qualifying for an unprecedented favour”.

DestinySeaOfMoney

They showed video of Tamaki asking for the money. This is what he said:

You will qualify for unprecedented favour, ’cause in due season shall reap.

Come, along here, and place it, and put it all up on, not the stairs up on here, on the flat.

Come come, place it, try and spread it out and put put the money there.

Come come come come come. Take it out of the envelopes and spread it, spread it out.

God’s told me how this should happen.

It’s going to be placed in the open, so it can, so it can swirl the aroma and the fragrance can spread through the place, and the atmosphere, and it can sit here, and it can begin to allow that to arise to God.

This is a clear message to every demon of poverty, every demon of poorness, economic inequality.

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory, according to Christ Jesus.

My God, God that has blessed us, the God that has called Hallelujah.

The Holy Spirit told me to do this, last night.

He said “Spread it out! Put it on the floor. Let everybody see it.”

Still coming. Come come.

Campbell Live said the fundraising was for new carpet. In a six month old (already carpeted) building. Hannah Tamaki had tweeted:

Hype over this, yes we r excited we were able 2 raise the $$ 2 pay 4 our new carpet. & a offering 4 White Ribbon

Maybe there’s misinterpretation. Brian Tamaki asked for a carpet of money, so the aroma could swirl up to God.

Religion has long been used to raise money for bishops living in opulence and for extravagant temples.

Brian Tamaki seems as similar to Jesus as hell is to heaven.

Whale Oil is nowhere near this. Yet. They are not a charity like Destiny. They are up front about what they want the money for and why. Slater does not seem to be living in luxury like the Tamakis.

But they are ego-driven leaders of their respective flocks.Tamaki calls himself ‘bishop’, Slater is bitter about his father not getting a knighthood but labels himself ‘Sir':

SirWhaleOilAnd to different extents have taken to fleecing.

Slater has had a taste of evangelical style fundraising, and has been tempted to ask for more money to be thrown at his  feet.

Time will tell how far he takes it.

Tiso to boycott voters after Whale Oil wins again?

Whale Oil has been voted best blog in the ESET Netguide Web Awards 2014. It was by vote so the biggest blog is in a good position to get the most votes, especially if they promote voting to their loyal audience (and believe it or not there seems to still be a loyal audience still at Whale Oil amongst the self promotion)..

When Whale Oil beat Giovanni Tiso’s Bat Beam Beam for an earlier Canon media award Tiso campaigned just about forever for it to be unawarded. Award sponsors (Canon) were targeted to try and pressure a retraction of the award.

In that case a single judge chose the winner and she was lambasted.

This time the award was won by vote.

Will Tiso campaign to boycott the voters this time?

Is The Standard following Whale Oil’s example?

Over the last few months Whale Oil has transformed from a relatively open forum to a tightly controlled and orchestrated self advertisement.

The Standard is proposing seems to be also considering a major makeover – see Guest post: What now for the Standard? and The Standard on Facebook:

A number of authors met during the weekend to discuss The Standard and what can be done to improve it. Changes and improvements should be rolled out within the next few weeks.

One of the simpler ones is a dedicated Facebook page to be used to broadcast new posts. The page is here. Feel free to like it.

And thanks to Ad for his guest post on the future of the Standard which generated a lot of very helpful discussion and feedback.

Part of that makeover is a shift to deleting unwelcome comments, despite this claim on Sunday when lprent posted:

Unlike Cameron Slater, who removes posts and even comments for politically or legally expedient reasons, we don’t remove comments or posts which have gone up on the site and passed initial moderation.

Which is kinda ironic considering this on the same thread:

[deleted as being diversonary]

[lprent: The claim was made by Scott Campbell that posts attacking journalists were written. They were not. You are trying diversion. Do not comment on my post again or I will ban you from the site. ]

And today on Key calls Slater’s bluff:

[deleted]

[lprent: I can’t see any evidence one way or another. That topic is off-limits unless I see a credible link. ]

And

[deleted]

[lprent: I can’t see any evidence one way or another. That topic is off-limits unless I see a credible link. ]

And on Supping with the Devil (more irony in the title):

[deleted]

[lprent: Why would we be interested in awards? We never apply for them. Anyway, permanent ban for being a dickhead troll. ]

Looks a lot like following Whale Oil’s example (apart from not being keen on awards, Slater is hoping to win another tonight).

It seems an odd approach to try and grow a blog by draconian pruning of it’s branches.

November’s top 4 blog rankings

Whale Oil seems to be a bit slower than usual to promote the latest Open Parachute blog stats.

Whale Oil Beef Hooked

  • September: visits 3,716,364 page views 5,309,045
  • October: visits 2,008,487 page views 3,275,031
  • November: visits 1,776,421, page views 2,981,810

It doesn’t look like Whale Oil have posted on this yet which suggests they don’t think there slide is good to publicise.

Kiwiblog

  • September: visits 695,190 page views 1,093,806
  • October: visits 373,637 (53.7%), page views 604,405 (55.3%)
  • November: visits 301,11 page views 522,519

.David Farrar was on holiday for much of the month and his posting was substantially reduced.

The Standard

  • September: visits 429,438 page views 868,342
  • October: visits 255,449 page views 561,703
  • November: visits 194,646 page views 431,100

That’s a bit of a surpise, I though Labour’s leadership contest would keep them up.

The Daily Blog

  • September: visits 504,304 page views 813,779
  • October: visits 210,877 page views 347,647
  • November: visits 160,716 page views 259,736

Having pipped The Standard in election month The Daily Blog is slumping. It looks like Martyn Bradbury’s failure to come close to reality in his election picks has knocked the stuffing out of him and the blog.

Bradbury’s post today – So what does Cameron Slater have over John Key?  – has 7 votes and 3 comments, a very flat response.

Not all blogs supply Open Parachute with site statistics, notably Public Address.

Here the visits are down a bit but page views are up over 25% reflecting much more activity here – thanks for your support.

Open Parachute September and October and November Sitemeter rankings.

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