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Remembering the 1979 Russian Invasion of Afghanistan: How Democrats created radical Islamic terrorism

Don Hank in an email titled “This is how the terror started (in 1979)” provided this quote:

In his 1993 memoirs [“From the Shadows“], ex-Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Robert Gates revealed that direct CIA involvement in Afghanistan had commenced almost six months before the Soviet invasion. Jimmy Carter signed a presidential decree in July 1979 to covertly aid the Mujahideen insurgents.

Hank then wrote, “And then came Al-Qaeda and the 9-11 attack, and then ISIS and the invasion of Europe. It all seems to have started with the CIA. If you want a war on terror, you have to start with the people who spawned the terror. A true war on terror would include a war on the CIA. It starts with education.”

Hank provided a link to a Daryl Morini, paper dated January 3rd, 2010 titled “Why Did the Soviet Union Invade Afghanistan?.” Morini wrote:

The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a costly and, ultimately, pointless war. Historical hindsight has made this evident. However, exactly why the Red Army wound up in direct military conflict, embroiled in a bitter and complicated civil war—some 3,000 kilometres away from Moscow—is a point of historiographical uncertainty. The evidence available suggests that geopolitical calculations were at the top of the Kremlin’s goals. These were arguably to deter US interference in the USSR’s ‘backyard’, to gain a highly strategic foothold in Southwest Asia and, not least of all, to attempt to contain the radical Islamic revolution emanating from Iran. The subsidiary goal of the invasion was to secure an ideologically-friendly régime in the region.

[ … ]

Following the 1970s period of détente between the United States (US) and the Soviet Union, the latter seemed to be in an advantageous strategic position, compared to the post-Vietnam paralysis which plagued its main opponent. Scott McMichael, a military historian, argued that this “turned out largely to be an illusion,” although there is substance to the claim that the Soviet Union was ahead of the game in the lead u p to 1979. This is exemplified by Moscow’s increasing assertiveness in foreign affairs during this period. As a direct result of the so-called ‘Brezhnev doctrine’, the USSR asserted its “right and duty” to go to war in foreign countries “if and when an existing socialist regime was threatened.” [Emphasis added]

Read more…

Is Russia, under Putin, making the same mistake that his predecessors in the Former Soviet Union made by exerting Russia’s “right and duty” to go to war in foreign countries “if an when an existing socialist regime [like Assad’s Syria] was threatened.” According to Wikipedia:

The Ba’ath Party, and indirectly the Syrian Regional Branch, was established on 7 April 1947 by Michel Aflaq (a Christian), Salah al-Din al-Bitar (a Sunni Muslim) and Zaki al-Arsuzi (an Alawite). According to the congress, the party was “nationalist, populist, socialist, and revolutionary” and believed in the “unity and freedom of the Arab nation within its homeland.” 

[ … ]

The party merged with the Arab Socialist Party (ASP), led by Akram al-Hawrani, to establish the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party in Lebanon following Adib Shishakli‘s rise to power. [Emphasis added]

Read more…

Has President Obama made the same mistake as Jimmy Carter did in 1979 by arming the anti-Assad Mujahideen insurgents? Is the CIA complicit, once again, in doing the wrong thing for what it believes is in America’s national interests?

President-elect Donald J. Trump has expressed his doubts about the CIA and other U.S. national intelligence agencies, especially when it comes to Russia, Iran, North Korea, China and Syria.

On January 20th, 2017 Donald J. Trump will be sworn into the Office of the President of these United States. Will a President Trump learn from the failures of both Democratic President’s Carter and Obama? Me thinks so.

RELATED ARTICLE: Secretary of State Kerry’s Speech on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

How the Collapse of the USSR felt from the inside: A reflection by a witness 25 years later

25 years ago George Bush Sr. was still in office, and so was Saddam Hussein. The European Union didn’t exist and neither did China’s economic powerhouse. The Berlin wall had just come down and Germany had finally reunited. Hillary Clinton was a little-known mouthy First Lady of Arkansas and the media gleefully predicted that Donald Trump would never climb back to the top after his Atlantic City fiasco.

On the other side of the Iron Curtain, the Eastern bloc was in shambles, but the USSR was still standing with Mikhail Gorbachev at the helm. Vladimir Putin dabbled in minor corruption working for the Mayor of Saint Petersburg, which had just been renamed from Leningrad. The KGB meddled in other countries’ affairs as usual, spreading “fake news” and helping leftist politicians to win elections with no objections from the Western mainstream media.

fall-of-the-ussrThen, all of a sudden, the USSR disappeared from the map. How did that happen?

Political scientists have and will continue to write, with varying degree of accuracy, about the details of it. What I’m attempting to do here is describe how it looked and felt from the inside – as seen by me, who at the time happened to be a voiceless, powerless Soviet citizen trying to make sense of the universe.

The Soviet clocks may have been the fastest in the world, but time wasn’t moving and seemed to be broken. With three-fourths of the country overlapping with Asia, where time had stopped a millennium ago, the Soviet Union defied the Western concept of progress. The official TV and radio stations always played old, slow songs with flowing melodies; if their purpose was to set a sluggish rhythm of life for the rest of us, it was working. Even the few semi-unofficial rock bands tried but mostly failed to get a different rhythm out of their instruments. It was as if we all lived in a gigantic aquarium, whose sleepy inhabitants lazily picked slowly descending flakes of bland food, distributed to them by the invisible owner’s hand. It could be quite relaxing if that is your thing, but most of the time I felt like a trapped passenger of the sunken ship at the bottom, next to the fake plastic seaweed.

The textbook date of the end of the USSR is December 26, 1991, but for us, Soviet citizens, the dissolution began a few months earlier and happened in stages.

Very few people feared or believed the Communists any longer, ridiculing their institutions and their lying media. A typical political joke at the time was about a man who always complained that Communists had run out of everything – food, toilet paper, consumer goods, and so on. So the KGB brought him to their office and tried to explain that the country was going through historic changes and we all needed to be patient. “You should be thankful this isn’t the old days when you could be shot,” the KGB officer said, pointing a finger to his head. To which the man responded, “Ah, so you’ve also run out of bullets.”

The Soviets continued to obey the old establishment mostly out of habit and because there was no functioning alternative. We knew something was bound to happen; we just didn’t know when.

To understand the reasons of the breakup, one must remember that the USSR was a union of fifteen ethnic republics that had little in common except for the common misfortune of being absorbed into a messianic empire and subjected to absurd social experiments. Though they were all touted as “equal,” everyone knew that Russia was “more equal” than others.

Officially, the Soviet Union was a model of international solidarity and brotherly love. Unofficially, it was a prison of nations. Any non-Russian nationalist sentiment was viewed as treason and as an attempt to escape. In contrast, Russian nationalism was encouraged; it was a glue that held the country together, which effectively turned ethnic Russians into jailers. What started as a maximum-security prison, however, towards the end degraded into a low-security facility with crumbling perimeter fencing and drunken jailers who no longer wanted their jobs.

The first mortal blow to the system was delivered by the breakout of Ukraine. Technically speaking, the first inmates to get away were the three Baltic states, but those had been known malcontents who always kept to themselves and their escape wasn’t critical to the empire’s survival. But when the second-most powerful republic ran off with its prime real estate, industries, agriculture, and ethically related Slavic population, the compulsory “brotherly union” could no longer exist.

Secession from the USSR had been a matter of hypothetical speculation for months if not years in every Soviet republic. However, after a failed communist coup d’état in Moscow on August 19, that idea was upgraded from hypothetical to absolutely urgent and necessary. The delusional coup members had attempted to bring back a form of Stalinism, but they only succeeded in convincing everyone that the threat of tyranny would always remain as long as there was a USSR in its current form.

A few days later, on August 24, Gorbachev dissolved the Communist Party, ridding the country of a nominal force that held it together. On the same day, no longer bound to the Kremlin’s masters, Ukrainian leadership declared independence from the USSR, pending a popular referendum in December. Other Soviet republics quickly followed suit.

Years later Mikhail Gorbachev said that “the most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.” I couldn’t agree more. However, back in 1991, Gorbachev campaigned against Ukraine’s referendum to exit the USSR as passionately as today’s European leaders (and even president Obama) campaigned against Brexit – a similar referendum whereby British citizens voted to exit the European Union.

Gorbachev’s hopes to keep the USSR alive were crushed on December 1, when 90% of Ukrainian voters (including me) chose independence. Opponents of the referendum had tried to scare us with the specter of Ukrainian nationalism, which they said was as bad as Nazism. But a 90% vote for exit in a country where only 70% were ethnic Ukrainians proved that people feared staying in the USSR more than they feared the “scary” nationalists. All they wanted was to live as a normal independent European nation.

The U.S. Press Secretary Fitzwater cautiously congratulated us on the results of the referendum, but reminded us that the official recognition of an independent Ukraine would take time. Foreign governments expressed concern about 1.5 million soldiers and 176 nuclear missiles based in Ukraine, as well as about its industry producing aircraft carriers, heavy military planes, and missile launching equipment (these concerns were removed later after the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons and demilitarized in exchange for guarantees of its territorial integrity).

But the real point of no return was crossed a week later, on December 8, when leaders of the three Slavic republics of the union – Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine – gathered behind Gorbachev’s back at a mansion deep in the Belorussian woods and signed a declaration proclaiming that “the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics no longer exists as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality.”

The declaration, known as the Belavezha Accords, announced the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, or the C.I.S., and welcomed other formerly Soviet republics to join. Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk called it a model for the European Community, based on “horizontal relationships” as opposed to the “vertical relationship” with the central government in the form of a pyramid with Gorbachev at the top.

The same night, unsuspecting Gorbachev spoke on TV, warning Ukrainians that if the USSR should dissolve, Russia would most certainly claim possession of eastern Ukraine and Crimea. On Ukrainian TV, a local official representative shrugged him off, calling Gorbachev’s opinion “a tragedy of a man outstripped by his time.” After all, Ukrainian president Kravchuk and Russian president Yeltsin had signed waivers of any mutual territorial claims.

Morning newspapers called the C.I.S. declaration a political bomb laid under Gorbachev’s chair. Instantly, the peak of the tremendous pyramid of power appeared hanging in the air with no support, with an army of bureaucrats crashing down on the ground, screaming in anger and swearing to get their positions back.

Reports from the Wall Street and Tokyo exchanges registered an increase of the dollar against the yen and the German mark, since Germany and Japan were the biggest money lenders to the old USSR. At about the same time, English-speaking Ukrainian diaspora in the U.S., Canada, and Australia made a point that everybody should stop spelling Ukraine with the definite article “the” because it was no longer a province but an independent nation. Native speakers had no idea what that meant since Slavic languages have no articles, definite or indefinite. But the same idea could be expressed with different prepositions, so one could now glean people’s political leanings by their use of grammar.

I remember that it was a Sunday because I spent that day at the airport, seeing off a friend who had traded his Soviet citizenship for a refugee status in America. As it turned out, he fled the USSR on the same day the USSR ceased to exist. We didn’t know it at the time, but on the following day I was thinking that my friend wasn’t the only one who left the old country for good. We all did. In a way, we all received a free ride, only my friend landed in the U.S., and we landed in the C.I.S.

He, a Soviet refugee in the U.S., was entitled to welfare benefits. We, Soviet refugees in the C.I.S, weren’t. There wasn’t a plane nor a train or a ship that could take us back. No amnesty would grant us a return. It was a different form of emigration. The new country looked exactly like the old one: the climate, the buildings, the language, the people and their problems. And yet something was different,  something in the air, something that pioneers must feel in new territories: a chance to start a new life.

Founded by Lenin, expanded by Stalin, and somewhat remodeled by Khrushchev, the USSR remained an impossible, contrived, and hopelessly fake Potemkin village of a country until on its seventy fourth year the “three Slavic leaders” went ahead and cut a slice of it each for himself, leaving the rest for the taking.

For a human civilization, seventy four years is a blink of an eye. For the hundreds of millions of individual souls trapped within its militarized borders, it was the only time they had. Imagine being born and living an entire life in a bomb shelter, seeing everything in the artificial light, breathing filtered air, and learning about the outside world only from military reports. My generation was luckier than others – we were still young, in our early thirties, when we stepped out of the bomb shelter and walked on our shaky legs into the forbidden sunshine. Some of us couldn’t get our eyes off of the sun and went blind, proving that our elders were right – the sun was dangerous! But the rest of us didn’t care. Unlike the bulbs of measured brightness, the sun was also equally bright and warm for everyone.

It was a country of many names. They called it a freak and a prophet, the world’s bogeyman, the cradle of the revolution, the evil empire, the bulwark of peace and socialism, the prison of nations, the embodiment of the brightest dreams of humanity.

It had given me my first notions about the world. I grew up knowing there were things we shouldn’t be talking or thinking about. But when someone tells you not to think about an elephant, all you do is think about an elephant. I figured out early on that no one could check if I wasn’t thinking about the things I shouldn’t be thinking about.

Life would have been easier if the list of forbidden things existed in the form of a spreadsheet with three columns for the name, description, and magnitude, similar to the List of Forbidden Rock Bands. But even if such a list of forbidden things existed, we would by definition be forbidden to see it. All we knew was that things on that list were always changing and so we had to be careful what we say and to whom, which taught us never to trust our own judgment. Instead, we were expected to check the Party newspapers for reliable updates on how to see the reality correctly on any day of the week. Once I entered the workforce, newspaper subscriptions became mandatory.

Our teachers kindly taught us that individual liberties resulted in crime, violence, and depravity. The Communist Party was the only thing that kept us alive, separating us from chaos and certain death. Individual people couldn’t be trusted to make the right choices, which was why we needed a caring government. It was a matter of common knowledge that should the government stop regulating society, the world would almost immediately end in a terrible bloodbath.

At the same time our teachers told us that the Communist ideology was “historically optimistic.” And I remember thinking to myself then that a capitalist society that trusted people with their freedoms was a lot more historically optimistic than the bunch of misanthropic curmudgeons in the Kremlin who taught us to fear freedom and took everything away from us in exchange for a vague utopian promise. Not in these exact words, but that was the general idea.

We were taught to love our country for its beauty, mind, and soul – and so we did, while secretly hating it for its deformity, idiocy, and cruelty. Now this bipolar relationship was over. No longer will the word “USSR” invoke that special paranoid feeling of a humongous monster rising behind my back, depressing me and supporting me at the same time. We called it the Motherland. It will sound like Neverland to my children. They won’t grow up to be Soviets like their parents. We were the last of the Soviet breed. Not of the New Man breed, though, because the promised New Man of Communism – the selfless, multitalented altruist – never emerged despite the seven decades of painstaking indoctrination. At least no one can say he wasn’t given a chance.

The student-age Soviets were thrilled for the hell of it, but they didn’t have much to say. Those closer to retirement felt scared and disoriented, but their long lives had taught them to keep their mouths shut. The ones in between were for the most part too busy with their daily survival. Like working ants, they didn’t care about large distant objects. What could the three presidents offer them apart from changing the name of their anthill? The passing away of the glorious messianic era was met with silence.

Though I was born in Ukraine, I was taught to think of the rest of the USSR as my land as well. My land is your land, and your land is my land, even if I’ll never be able to correctly pronounce your land’s god-awful name or spell it in your ridiculous language. Now the era of many names was over, too. Stretching from Europe to the Pacific, the vast country slept under a white blanket of snow, like an uncharted white spot on the world map – or a gigantic blank page. A nameless country.

Gorbachev resigned seventeen days later, by declaring the president’s office extinct. On the following day the Council of Republics voted the Soviet Union (and itself) out of existence. It was December 26, 1991 – a date forever stamped on the USSR’s official death certificate.

A POSTSCRIPT

I wish I could say “and everyone lived happily ever after,” but that would be a lie.

The official breakup had gone so smoothly in part because the former Communist Party and government bosses were in a hurry to enjoy new opportunities offered by the independent economies within a quickly emerging private sector. The highly centralized Soviet system had been too bulky and riddled with nepotism and corruption, leaving those outside of Moscow fewer chances of advancement. The breakup gave the formerly disadvantaged bureaucrats a chance to be the rulers of their own corrupt domains.

My dreams to see Ukraine develop into a prosperous European country were dashed when I realized how thoroughly corrupted the society had become after decades of socialism. The way most people imagined capitalism was the ugly caricature painted for them by Communist propaganda. Instead of re-examining that wrong image, it was simply assumed that ugly was the new beautiful. So we ended up constructing a caricature of capitalism.

Our former Communist elites found this approach agreeable. In the absence of qualified experts, they were now in charge of transitioning to the market economy, which in their minds was indistinguishable from crony capitalism. Soon the former USSR had become a commonwealth of kleptocracies where billionaire thieves ruled over impoverished subjects, beset by high unemployment and hyperinflation. The only exception were the three Baltic states that had retained some memory of how life was before their 1939 annexation.

Vladimir Putin called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.” His idea to reassemble the USSR, albeit in a different format, is critical to the survival of the immense centralized kleptocracy he has crafted in Russia. His biggest fear is an emergence of a transparent, functioning government in any of the ex-Soviet states, which will make his loyal subjects wonder why Russia can’t also be like that. Putin’s notion of “maintaining Russia’s sphere of influence” most fittingly translates as “using bribes and threats to keep the neighboring corrupt regimes dependent on Russia’s corruption, thus ensuring the continuation of his power.”

For that very reason, when in 2014 Ukrainians revolted against their pro-Russian corrupt government, Putin punished them by annexing the Crimea and orchestrating a war in eastern Ukraine. His willingness to violate the Budapest accord (and thus suffer international sanctions) prove how critical for his power it is to keep his neighbors corrupt and dependent.

While the extent of Russia’s meddling in American politics this year has been greatly exaggerated (for obvious reasons), such an interference isn’t new and has existed since at least the 1930s. Imagine how much damage Russia’s interference, multiplied tenfold, can do to a weaker neighboring country with a Russian-speaking majority and frail democratic traditions.

In 1994 I emigrated to America, hoping to raise a family in a country ruled by reason and common sense. But lately I’ve been noticing a shortage of these commodities in the U.S. as well. While the ratio of reasonable people in this country may still be greater than elsewhere in the world, the ignorant passion for Soviet-style politics is very alarming.

Just as it was in the USSR, American media now publishes articles that read like Pravda’s updates on this week’s current truth. American entertainers and moviemakers are consistently pushing the politically correct party line. Social media giants are seriously considering political censorship. Indoctrination in American schools and colleges is worse than what I’ve seen in the Soviet Union, where getting a real education was actually important. And finally, just as it was in the USSR, more and more people begin to resent the “progressive” establishment and mock the lying media.

The way I see it, the proliferation of socialist ideas is largely a consequence of the decades-long Soviet meddling in American affairs, aimed at demoralizing the public and promoting the “correct” people and opinions in places where it mattered most. According to KGB defectors, only about 15% of Soviet intelligence activities here focused on actual espionage; the rest were influence operations. Their seeds have now blossomed, long after the “gardeners” have left this earth. Today’s left-wing radicals in the Democratic Party owe Russia a large debt of gratitude for their unearned power. Seeing Russia turn against them in the last election must have felt excruciatingly scary and painful; they still seem to be in shock.

History is still being written. In this country, where a citizen’s voice still means something, we are a part of this writing process. Trump’s victory and the movement it started makes me feel “historically optimistic” again. This winter it is America’s turn to be a blank page. It is up to us what will be written on it.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

We Know Something that most Americans Don’t — How I became a thought-criminal

This morning I received an email from Piotr Jankowski, managing editor of a Polish-language news website in Warsaw, telling me about an article they had just posted about me, my work, and my recent arrest at GMU by the politically correct campus police. The article was titled, Persecuted: in USSR for anti-communism, in USA for anti-Islamism.

Surfing their site, it didn’t take long to discover close to a dozen People’s Cube images and parodies by me and other Cubists from several years back, translated into Polish.

Since my grandfather was Polish, we had a Polish dictionary and a language manual in the family library. Polish is also close enough to my native Russian and Ukrainian, so with some practice I was able to read Polish magazines, which were more interesting than the Soviet ones.

As a kid, I loved the Polish satirical magazine Szpilki. It wasn’t widely available and their cartoons were often a lot more sexually charged than those in the Soviet print media, so my parents tried to keep them out of my sight. But seeing just one issue was enough to make me wonder why such things didn’t exist in the Soviet Union. It was possibly then that I first experienced adult thoughts about the existence of censorship. Seeing those magazines today wouldn’t probably impress me that much, but at the time they turned me into a thought-criminal. I realized that a world without censorship was more fun to live in.

Granted, Poland was a reluctant Soviet satellite with heavily censored press. And yet Polish movies and books seemed more honest and revealing in just about anything, from sex to politics. Apparently the Poles enjoyed a little less censorship and a little more freedom that we in the USSR did. It was logical to conclude that if a little less censorship meant a little more fun, a world without any censorship whatsoever would be a blast. And that world existed just west of Poland – in Europe, America, and the rest of what we call Western societies.

Ever since I imagined a world without censorship, I wanted to live in it. My own country began to feel less like the Motherland and more like an obstacle to freedom. As a teenager, whenever the Motherland’s embrace felt especially stifling and cold, I stayed warm thinking about parts of the world where people were free. I imagined I was one of them and it made me felt better. These people could speak their mind without the fear of being overheard. They could write and read books, make and watch movies, play and listen to the music without government’s permission. They gave me hope.

The sounds of the Beatles and other rock and roll music of the 1970s also helped. Turning on the tape recorder provided an instant immersion into that free world, a temporary escape from the stuffy Soviet reality. I believe that was a common experience for many young people of the Eastern Bloc. Owning an overpriced pair of blue jeans and listening to Western music went way beyond mere aesthetics; it was a non-verbal expression of our longing for freedom and an analgesic relief from the daily ideological bullying and brainwashing by the Communist regime.

It felt as though all those uncensored cartoons, music, and blue fade-out apparel were made especially for us. Communist propagandists agreed, telling us that all those “Western things” were masterminded by capitalist propagandists with the sole purpose of subverting the Soviet youth and weakening our communist resolve. We laughed at their paranoia, and yet the feeling of some secret messaging addressed to us was inescapable. Living in a totalitarian society will do that to you.

Everything the Communists did had a special political purpose, and they projected the same on their “capitalist adversaries,” claiming that all those “Western things” were part of a clandestine anti-Soviet operation. Later it came almost as a revelation to many Soviets that it wasn’t so. The superior consumer goods were the natural outcome of the capitalist economy, the uncensored art was the outcome of freedom, and rock and roll was a scream of joy that resulted from it. Whatever political messaging the Soviets attached to those things would have most likely surprised their creators.

As for me, I just wanted to experience a world where things were appreciated merely for their beauty, without any political weight clinging to them after they’d been dragged through the garbage of false totalitarian narratives.

Then I finally came to live in the U.S. and discovered a country chained by political correctness, which has become America’s new zeitgeist. Censorship came not as much from the government as from the media denouncements, which were then universally repeated by the mindless adepts of “progressivism.” Wherever I look I see a never-ending buildup of false narratives in an increasingly unfree society, where few things remain to be enjoyed for their beauty without the political ball and chain attached to them. One can’t even buy a chicken sandwich or watch a TV show, let alone read the news, without thinking about political messaging, symbolism, or ulterior motives.

The perpetrator is, once again, leftist ideology. It may not be a replica of the Soviet ideology, but it is nonetheless aligned with the general delusional idea of a world-wide socialist Utopia achieved through a totalitarian rule of “benevolent” elites. And now the totalitarian leftists are teaming up with the totalitarian Islamists. The censorship in Western societies has redoubled since Islam came into play. Apparently the leftists are hoping that Islamic supremacism will quietly go away once it helps them to conquer the world. That is, of course, yet another dangerous delusion.

I hate politics as much as a soldier hates the war but continues to fight because it’s the only way to victory. I’d rather live my life enjoying beautiful things without any politics attached, but today that seems like an impossible dream. The alternative to fighting is a surrender to the stifling totalitarianism and censorship, which will be a lot worse than going back to the Soviet days. The West’s surrender to the leftist agenda means that there will be no other parts of the world left to give us the hope of freedom. Nowhere to smuggle uncensored books, tapes, or cartoons from. Nowhere to run to.

This is why I do what I do. And this is what also drives the people in the far-away Warsaw to do what they do, including the translation of the People’s Cube satires into Polish.

Having grown up in an unfree world, we know something that most Americans don’t.

EDITORS NOTE: This column was first published in the alt-media FrontPage Magazine.