Bill Whittle is the writer/presenter of “The Cold War: What We Saw” podcast, available on iTunes.
Let’s say you just got married. You and your young bride want to go someplace where you can feel at home. Relaxed. Someplace where you can just kick back with friends and get roaring drunk on this happiest of occasions.
Bermuda, Acapulco, Rome, Greece? Please. You want to relax. And what better place to get away from all of the stress and oppression in life than Moscow in 1988? There’s video of Bernie on his honeymoon, shirtless, knocking down vodka with the rest of the comrades, and belting out the Woody Guthrie classic, “This Land is Your Land.” That song, of course, is about America, so some lyrical liberties might have been taken:
This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land
From the Kolyma Gold Mines to Sakhalin Island
From the Pripyat forests to the White Sea waters
This land was made for you and me.
Bernie must have been feeling jolly indeed, for all of these places were well known to him. The Kolyma Gold mines provided much of the wealth that powered the model Socialist government ruling his honeymoon paradise. No one is sure exactly how many people died in this one small dot in the Gulag Archipelago; what we are sure of is that virtually all of them – musicians, scientists, poets, writers and other undesirables – were put there as a result of the free elections held during the 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party: The Congress of Victors.
The Victory, of course, was the completion of the First Five Year Plan, and with it, the forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture. Essentially, the government nationalized, then ran all of the farmland in Russia and Ukraine; some of the richest soil on planet Earth. In order to do this, some ten million peasants had to be starved to death – but who are we to stand in the way of progress? Thousands of peasant revolts broke out, and thousands of them were put down with machine gun fire.
But why dwell on necessary unpleasantries? On February 10th, 1934, the Seventeenth Congress voted, and Joseph Stalin was elected as Secretary General of the Central Committee. It all sounds rather civilized when phrased that way, not to mention the fact that it is all 100% true. The 17th Congress voted, and Stalin was elected as leader of his party.
But Joseph Stalin did not receive the the most votes cast by the Congress of Victors. He came in second. He was defeated by the Leningrad Party Chief, the handsome and charismatic Sergei Kirov. When it was realized that the people had made a terrible error and not voted correctly, a number of late ballots arrived – as they did for Democrats Al Franken and Lyndon Johnson, just to name two – and so the correct result was finally obtained, at which point the ballots ceased and so did the counting.
A little less than two years later, Kirov was shot in the back of the head walking down the hallway of the Leningrad Communist Party building on the way to his office. His NKVD secret police personal bodyguard was immediately brought in to testify, but unfortunately died of a broken neck in the car ride to the interrogation. Stalin then got to work in earnest.
Here is a chart showing the actual historical lifespans of those who had voted in the 17th Congress:
Of the 139 full members and candidate members elected in that great Socialist democracy, ninety-eight died between 1936 and 1940. Eighty percent of them were under age fifty at the time of their death; 44 out of 71 full members, and 55 out of 68 candidate members of the Congress of Victors died in that four-year period.
Many millions of others were sent to the Main Directorate of Corrective Labor Camps, or Glávnoe upravlénie ispravítelʾno-trudovýkh lageréĭ, commonly shortened to GULAG. But unlike Hitler’s National Socialist extermination camps, the Soviet Socialist camps were work and re-education camps. Life expectancy for those undergoing re-education at Kolyma was about a year. Those political prisoners working the actual gold mines at Kolyma had a life expectancy of about four months.
Certainly Bernie Sanders knew about the Gulags, and Bernie Sanders was, and remains, Jewish. It has been reliably estimated that in the decades before Bernie’s Honeymoon in Hell, somewhere near 800,000 people died. They didn’t die in gas chambers – because that would have been murder. Instead, they were fed a 200-300 calorie a day diet, and sent out to break rocks where temperatures could often reach the one point where both Fahrenheit and Celsius thermometers happen to give the same reading, namely, forty degrees below zero.
The 800,000 people killed at Kolyma – just the worst of the 423 islands in what former inmate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called the Gulag Archipelago – would not make it the largest murder site in human history. But Kolyma does make the podium, behind Auschwitz at 1.4 million, and Treblinka with perhaps 830,000. This land is made for you and me.
On the night of September 1st, 1983, five years before Bernie went on his honeymoon, a Korean Air Lines 747 – the largest and most distinctive looking passenger jet in the world at the time – accidentally strayed into Soviet airspace. Three Sukhoi Su-15 interceptors were scrambled. Major Genadi Osipovich visually confirmed the 747’s distinctive hump and second row of windows. He clearly made out the Korean Air markings on the tail. After radioing this information to the Soviet Commander of the Soviet Sokol Air Base on Sakhalin island, General Anatoly Kornukov, he received this in reply:
“I repeat the task, Fire the missiles, Fire on target 60–65. Destroy target 60–65… Destroy the target!… Carry out the task, Destroy it!”
Osipovich slowed to an ideal firing position directly behind the civilian airliner, which continued to stray off course, oblivious to all of it. He then armed and fired two K8 air to air missiles. Both struck the 747, sending 269 men, women, and children plummeting 35,000 feet down into the darkness of Sea of Japan. This land is made for you and me.
On Saturday, April 26, 1986, a Communist party official overrode the frantic opposition of the technicians controlling reactor #4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. At the low power lever demanded by the official, the RBMK type reactors employed throughout the Soviet Union can become dangerously unstable. The nuclear reactors used in the west do not have this defect, because they are more expensive. Also expensive is the massive concrete domes called the containment vessel, designed to trap radioactive materials in the event of a disaster. Since they were more expensive, the socialists decided not to include them. A combination of political theory overriding theoretical physics, and an utter contempt for the people of Pripyat, home to these workers and their families just a few miles away, led to the explosion of the number 4 reactor. It’s estimated that 4,000 people would die of radiation poisoning in the area closest to the Chernobyl plant, and from 9,000 – 16,000 across Europe. The Soviets did not notify those downwind of the accident about the massive fallout plume, and when confronted by Western scientists, they continued to lie for weeks and months and years afterwards.
Yeah, Bernie: this Land is Made for You and Me.
Two of Bernie’s campaign organizers have been caught, on tape, talking about when Bernie is elected, those that disagree with him should and presumably would be sent to American Gulags. One of them also talked lovingly about the great Socialist achievement of the White Sea Canal, on which everyone came together to, like, work on, man. Well, not everybody. Secret Police chief Gingrich Yagoda had the canal built using prison labor from the Gulag. It was a prime feature of the Five Year Plan, so Yagoda was in a bit of a hurry. He got all 141 miles of canal dug in a mere twenty months – four months ahead of schedule. Now, of course, in order to do that he had to push the 126,000 slave laborers pretty hard. Hard enough to kill twenty-five thousand of them: that’s 177 human lives per mile. And since he rushed it, the canal was not dug deeply enough, rendering it worthless. On March 15th, 1938, Yagoda was shot in the back of the head by his successor, Nikolai Yezhov. On February 4th, 1940, Yezhov was shot in the back of the head by his successor, Lavrenti Beria. On December 23rd, 1953, Beria was shot in the front of the head by General Pavel Batitsky.
Bernie didn’t say a peep about the revolutionary zeal of his 2020 campaign staff. However, the honeymooner back from the land of millions of deaths through forced collectivized agriculture and thousands more from inhuman and incompetent industrial policies did say, just a few days ago, that our government, when run by him on the basis of his socialist philosophy, will take over all electrical power generation in the United States. Along with everything else. Excepting, of course, the three houses owned by Crusader Against Capitalist Income Inequality.