Sunday Facepalm.

I had never heard of this lunatic before; if you’re like me, you can find an excellent rundown of “Dr. Bill” at Swallowing The Camel:

Dr. William Deagle is a physician, a prophet, a government insider/whistleblower, and one of the two witnesses described in the Book of Revelation. He knows what really happened at Columbine, the World Trade Center, and Oklahoma City. He could be the ruler of the world, but he has chosen to enlighten the masses instead. Thanks to him, the world may someday be safe from Modified Attack Baboons.

There’s a whole lot of material there, and if you search this man, there’s a whole lot of people not happy with him at all, including other christians, which was a bit of a surprise. “Dr. Bill” has had his medical license revoked at least twice, so he went into the supplement business, what else? Okay, on with the current shit pouring out from Dr. Bill.

Earlier this week on “The NutriMedical Report Show,” a radio program hosted by nutritional supplement proprietor Dr. Bill Deagle, Deagle repeatedly threatened to kill anyone who dares to harass him, President Trump, or any other conservative politician in America.

Outraged about recent incidents such as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi being confronted by protesters, and Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for more such confrontations, Deagle declared that “these people need to understand, they’re not going to have a bad day, they’re going to die.”

Deagle said that if he had been on hand during the confrontation between Bondi and protesters, he would not only have pepper sprayed the protesters but “would have whipped out my concealed carry permit gun and I would have blown them away and put them in a box.”

He seems nice. It’s rather interesting how Deagle seems to think he has the perfect right to assault and murder people at will. That said, he seems to keep a cozy distance between himself and any protesters, so at this point at least, he seems to understand there would be consequences. I hope so.

“They need to understand the right is not going to be shouted down,” he said. “[If] they continue to think they are going to harass the right, these people need to understand they’re not going to have a bad day, they’re going to die.”

Right, because only one side is allowed to shout; only one side is allowed to march or protest. Everyone else needs a tank rolled over them. I get the feeling that “Dr. Bill” would be seriously at home with all aspects of Nazism.

“People need to start realizing they’re going to get a lot more than they bargained for if they want to harass us, supporters of Donald Trump and conservatism,” Deagle stated. “They’re not going to get just a little helter skelter and yelling, they’re going to get death.”

Deagle also issued a warning to Democratic candidates and lawmakers who are calling for the abolishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch.

“We’ll ice them, how’s that?” he said. “We’ll put them on ice.”

Unfortunately, no matter how much Deagle protects himself from any action with consequences, there are people who listen to him who might not be concerned about any consequence, and that’s scary as hell. There are already enough aggrieved white men spraying bullets and murdering people. This open incitement to murder is terrifying.

“I’ve reached my limit now,” Deagle fumed. “They want to bring it on? You’re going to get a lot more than you bargained for, believe me. The destroyer is not the devil, it’s God and we’re his proxy. You want to bring it on? You’re going to bring on your own devastation and destruction. Don’t push it.”

Every day, I wish more and more that christianity would just fucking die already. Religious fanatics are frightening, and christianity is chock full of them. For all that they scream about religious fanatics on the ‘other side’, they never seem to look within their own ranks, or face up to the reality that there are a lot of scary ass christian fanatics out there not only doing a great deal of damage, but with intent to do even worse at every step of the way.

RWW has the full story.

The Chains of Intolerance.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Art and artists most definitely have a place in answering wrongs, great or small, and everything in between. Andrew Ellis Johnson has a searing piece up at Hyperallergic. It’s well worth seeing and reading.

Cry Havoc!, and Let Slip the Horses of the Apocalypse. Er, What?

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887. Source.

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887. Source.

This week, Jim Bakker has decided the apocalypse to have begun. Who knows what the fuck it will be next week. Evangelicals can never seem to make up their mind. They seriously want the apocalypse to actually happen, so they can see all us godless heathens and other varieties of sinners tromped on my Jehovah and Jesus, while at the same time, their unquenchable lust for power keeps them from end time talk, because their only chance at oppressing the hell out of people will happen right here, in reality land.

“Have you ever seen a time when we hate our president like the people do now?” Bakker marveled. “Literally half the nation hates the president and would probably kill him if they got a chance.”

Oh, it’s much more than half of ‘merica, Jim. I’m afraid the Tiny Tyrant has pissed off and alienated a good portion of governments and people across the planet. That seems to be the only thing he’s actually good at, which is unfortunate for us all. Back to uStates a moment. Did you know that people used to assassinate presidents? Yeah. I’d say murdering someone was a pretty solid expression of hate, Jim, and no one has so much as tried when it comes to the Tiny Tyrant, and I’m quite tempted to add a “more’s the pity”, but that wouldn’t be nice.

Bakker said that when he asked God what was going on, God told him that “you are in Revelation, Chapter 6,” which tells of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

“This is what He told me,” Bakker claimed. “He said, ‘Donald Trump is a respite in this troubled times and I sent him in grace to give you time to prepare for what’s coming on earth.’”

This is what you call a respite? Intense divisiveness, people declaring Nazism a fine thing, and people everywhere lying down under the constant crush of lies and fascism? You have one fucking weird definition of respite, Jim.

Bakker said that while “the Antichrist spirit” has been let loose on America, “God has given us a man who is not afraid to fight. We have a president people think is crazy. They call him crazy, but he’s making peace treaties, he’s doing all the things to try to solve the world’s problems and God has put him on earth—God spoke to me the other night, He said, ‘I put Donald Trump on earth to give you time, the church, to get ready.’”

Uh huh. Peace treaties, really? Jesus fuck onna stick. The wannabe dictator is not crazy, but he is a liar, a narcissist, and a bigot to the core, with a lust for greed and power.  He’s also one hell of a dim bulb, who can’t think his way out of a wet paper bag. The president of this country is not supposed to solve the world’s problem, you dipshit. The problems of this country are sufficient, and all he’s done is to make every single thing worse. He recently bragged about ripping families apart and placing tiny children in cages. Seems to me if any horseman is to show, it would be to drag this unrepentant evil shit off to somewhere else. Anywhere else.

So, we’re to get ready, are we? I thought christians were always supposed to be ready. Well, at least those who believe in the rapture nonsense, which was not a part of christian belief until relatively recent times. Just how much time do you all need to pray and holler out “Hey, Jesus, ready!”? We all know this crap isn’t going to happen, but I would love it if you all disappeared. I expect it won’t be long before you dump this theory in favour of the next conspiracy or whatever grabs your fancy.

RWW has the story.

Tea for Trump.

Women adorning fancy hats celebrate President Trump's birthday over tea at an event hosted by Virginia Women For Trump at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on June 24, 2018. (Photo: Jared Holt).

Women adorning fancy hats celebrate President Trump’s birthday over tea at an event hosted by Virginia Women For Trump at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on June 24, 2018. (Photo: Jared Holt).

Tea for Trump. Uh huh. I’m just going to include choice quotes here, because reading the whole article made me feel rather ill.

The Trump International Hotel’s largest ballroom was packed wall-to-wall with Republican women donning ornate hats and fascinators made of mesh, lace, ribbon, and feathers, at the Virginia Women For Trump’s “Tea for Trump” event yesterday, which celebrated the belated birthday of President Donald Trump. Organizers repeatedly insisted that the idea that women do not like Trump was “fake news.”

[…]

Prior event descriptions claimed that a member of the Trump family was expected to attend, although none appeared to be on-site for the tea celebration. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was also rumored to be attending in order to receive an award, but did not make an appearance.

Rather, those in the crowd who had traveled from as far as California and paid at least $100 per person had a chance to gaze upon pro-Trump fashion designer Andre Soriano’s 45 gowns meant to commemorate Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States. One dress was dedicated to Trump’s meeting with North Korean officials in Singapore and a young girl wearing one of Soriano’s dresses earned widespread applause.

A model adorns a dress premiered at “Tea for Trump” that designer Andre Soriano fashioned as a tribute to Trump’s meeting with North Korean officials in Singapore. (Screenshot / YouTube).

A model adorns a dress premiered at “Tea for Trump” that designer Andre Soriano fashioned as a tribute to Trump’s meeting with North Korean officials in Singapore. (Screenshot / YouTube).

YouTube duo Diamond & Silk (Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson), who testified before Congress earlier this year after Facebook mistakenly flagged their fan page, were perhaps the biggest draw of the event and stepped on stage to a standing ovation. At the podium, the duo showered praise on Trump, at one point asking, “When I look at how our president has built this particular hotel. If he can do this and that, then why can’t he make America great again?”

The Tiny Tyrant did not build the hotel. He scammed a lot of cash to have it built, then turned around and refused to pay a lot of those people who did the actual work. When it comes to this country, he hasn’t changed tactics much.

The Deplorable Choir performs a brief song at Virginia Women For Trump’s “Tea for Trump” event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on June 24, 2018. (Screenshot / YouTube).

The Deplorable Choir performs a brief song at Virginia Women For Trump’s “Tea for Trump” event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on June 24, 2018. (Screenshot / YouTube).

The “Deplorable Choir” vocal trio made a surprise appearance while bearing a guitar that was not strummed once during their brief song. The lyrics were as follows:

Well, we love God and family,

We support our troops through everything,

We got Trump 2020 on the back of our pickup trucks,

We back the blue and the NRA,

We’re for pro-life and American-made,

Raise your hand if you’re proud to be damn deplorable.

Um…well, ladies, I wouldn’t be terribly proud of those songwritin’ skills you’re flaunting about. Perhaps if you learn how to play that guitar…no, wouldn’t help.

You can read the whole nasty mess at Right Wing Watch, although I don’t recommend reading with a full stomach.

“The true meaning of covfefe … is love.”

Bet this “adult colouring book” just made your day. Right? Hello?

Conservative commentator Ed Martin is promoting the new adult coloring book he wrote called, “Can’t Trump This: COVFEFE—Top Trump Tweets.” […]

“We have a president who is responsive to the people and communicating directly to them,” Martin said. “Covfefe became this sort of theme of, in my mind, all the Trump energy and all the messaging around it. There is a serious point in this book … I actually said that the true meaning of covfefe, and I think it’s really important, is love. I know that people look up and they say, ‘Well, are you really going to sit there Ed Martin and say Trump is about love?’ And the answer is yes.”

Martin claimed that conversations Trump has supposedly had about the issue of abortion, his appointment of anti-choice judges, and his efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are all proof that Trump operates based in love.

Oh. That kind of love, the christian kind that’s full of oppression, fear, divisiveness, cruelty, non-acceptance and hatred. Yes, that’s not only very conservative and christian, it’s very Tiny Tyrant, too.

RWW has the story.

This Black Cloud Called Trump.

Brenda Goodman, “Impending” (2018), oil on wood, 80 x 72 in (courtesy of the artist). © Brenda Goodman.

Brenda Goodman, “Impending” (2018), oil on wood, 80 x 72 in (courtesy of the artist). © Brenda Goodman.

Fifteen months ago, Trump was just beginning to embrace his new position of power but now he’s well into the dismantling of our democracy. My emotions are whipped around all day long. Mothers are torn away from their babies at the border. Families living good, productive lives here are sent back to “where they came from” — a place some of them hardly know. The reversal of all that Obama put in place to protect our environment. The destruction of an educational system that was once the best in the world. The attack on our press, which is treated like an enemy. Taking away our rights as he edges closer and closer to a dictatorship. And the lies. The constant lies. So that we can hardly find truth anymore. So many gut-wrenching changes.

I have nothing to add here. You can read more at Hyperallergic.

Sunday Facepalm.

Screengrab.

It seems that Jim Bakker thinks he has the most awesome superpower of electing presidents, and that’s why he ended up in prison. Yep. Nothing at all to do with the fraud and tax evasion. Besides, back in the day, people like Tammy Fay better than you, Jim.

“The church elected Ronald Reagan,” Bakker said. “And one of the reasons—I have been told by so many people in high places—one of the main reasons they put me in prison is they thought I was going to get with Pat Robertson and endorse Pat Robertson for president. They said, ‘Jim Bakker elects presidents, we must destroy him.’”

I would happily eat one of my hats with a tasty sauce if one person on this planet besides Jim himself had ever said “Jim Bakker elects presidents, we must destroy him.” As for Pat Robertson’s “run”, I was there for that one. He didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. You were arrested, convicted, and sent to prison because you’re a greedy asshole of a criminal, Jim, and not much has changed.  The egos on these lunatic christians, unbelievable. Nothing but a raw craving for power.

The whole thing is at RWW.

Behind the Iron Curtain part 9 – Shops and Services

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


After the WW2 the regime, under the lead of Stalin, had no thought of anything other than preparing for WW3. So after communists took power in a de-facto putsch in 1948, they invested all effort into re-building heavy industries and nothing else. And, at direct order from Stalin, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic refused any offers of help from USA and their western allies.

This was, as many other things, idiocy of first water. The economy as a whole was doing relatively well, with people being employed in the heavy industries. The main support of the communist party, the labourers, were making good money. The problem was they had nothing to spend it on. There was barely enough food to buy and nearly no luxury or comfort items, because light industries were deemed secondary and therefore not important and no effort was made to restore them after the war. And the iron curtain prevented importing goods in any meaningful amounts.

But people do not work like that, they want not only to barely survive on bread and water, they want savoury things, shiny things and pretty things too. Just feeding them enough so they do not starve is not enough. Hard work has to be rewarded with something more tangible than a pat on the shoulder and a word about how you contribute to the common good.

The regimes way to deal with the situation was to artificially devaluate the currency and thus effectively steal people’s money in 1953. It was touted as a final blow to the exploiters, the last remaining self-employed artisans and land owners, but the hardest hit was on the labourers. Before they had money but nothing to spend them on, but they had a hope of spending it someday. Now they had nothing.

Riots ensued that were drowned in blood. The propaganda tried to spin those riots as a work of infiltrators and foreign agents provocateurs, but it did not work. The regime has lost the trust of its main supporting class – the labourers. And it never regained it.

In reaction to this, some effort was made to provide people with things they want. It was succesful enough to prevent further riots, but not enough to regain the trust of people.

At the time of my life the situation was not as dire as it was in the fifties, but it was still pretty glum. Buying something was very difficult, even if you had the money for it. Not only luxury items like colour TVs were difficult to obtain, but even many ordinary items, like materials to do house repairs. For cars there were waiting lists.

This has led to a few main things.

One day when I was visiting my aunt in Pilsen we went shopping in a big shopping center. A huge shopping mall with half-empty shelves that nevertheless to me seemed full because I knew nothing better. My aunt saw the shopkeeper to sell a lipstick to a woman who was apparently her acquaintance and she wanted to buy the lipstick too. The retailer told her there aren’t any, to which my aunt replied, rather angrily, “Do not lie to me, I saw you to put the whole box under the counter”. This was my first meeting the concept of “under the counter goods”. Those were items that were so rare, that shopkeepers actually kept them hidden from the general public in order to either keep them for themselves or for their closest friends. If one wanted bananas or oranges, without a relative in the shop it was difficult to get either.

At another time and place I was talking with a friend of mine from school about a little experiment I wanted to do and I sighed, “I need magnets, but no shop around here sells them.” to which his incredulous reply was “Why don’t you steal them simply from school?”. To which I, equally incredulously, replied “I do not need them as much as to steal them!”. This was my first encounter of the concept “who does not steal from the state, steals from their own family”. For honest people it was nigh impossible to obtain some even quite ordinary goods, because they either never reached the public counters or were quickly sold out when they did. So it was quite common thing to steal for example building materials from public spaces. Who did not steal, did not prosper. Part of the reason why our house fell in such serious disrepair was that my parents did not steal.∗

But not only goods were hard to come by. Labour was difficult to get too. Need a house repaired or built? You better had a friend who is a builder. Not only would he be able to steal the materials you need, but he might also be able to make a lot of the work at the time when he is supposed to work for his employer. This in combination with previously mentioned slacking has exacerbated the labour shortage that was an ever-present theme. “There is not enough people” was the commonest explanation for why nothing works as it should be and work does not get done on time. You need some minor house repairs? You better do them yourself. If you cannot do them yourself, you are in bad luck, because “There is not enough people”.

For those who had occasionally got their hands on foreign currency, like German Marks, or US Dollars, or special secondary currency called “Bony”, there were specialised shops called “Tuzex” where imported western goods could be bought. These were highly sought after and a sign of social status. Jeans and Lego for example could not be bought anywhere else. But the regime did its best to prevent ordinary people from getting their hands on these currencies, they were reserved for the elite. So of course black market emerged. The proprietors were called “Vekslák” (probably from german “wechseln” – exchange) and were the official villains for the regime, by encouraging people in the following their base instinct to follow their own good instead of sacrificing it on the altar of the common good.

The iron curtain in this regard demonstrated where extreme isolationism, protectionism and one-sided economy leads – corruption and criminality. A lesson worthy of remembering,  yet nobody seems to remember it.


∗ Since my mother was a head of local food shop and my father was a factory foreman, people had difficulty to believe that they did not use their positions to enrich herself. There were rumours about us only pretending to be poor and how we have a car hidden i the garden shed and loads of money stashed away. After the fall of the iron curtain my parents were frequently asked why they do not start their own business or invest money. Nobody believed them for years when they said that they are not rich.

But they did use their positions to get some advantage. We always had some of the scarce goods. One of such goods were canned tangerines, those were so rare that actual fights broke out when they got into the shop. So when we wanted to buy color TV, my mother bought a whole box of canned tangerines  in order to sell them to the electronics shop keeper in the district main town who in turn held the TV under the counter for a few weeks until my parents could organize transport.

I succumbed to the peer pressure and I stole a piece of steel from school when I first wanted to make a knife. The knife was never made, because I have hidden the steel bar in a drawer and never used it. It gnawed at my conscience. I failed to internalize the imperative “who does not steal from the state, steals from their own family”.

 

Demonization and Ridicule and Mockery, Oh My!

Detail of Satan from Hans Memling's Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation (c. 1485).

Detail of Satan from Hans Memling’s Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation (c. 1485). Source.

This little snippet from Paul “Advanced Luciferian Beings” McGuire caught my eye in his latest screeth, in which he takes issue with people mocking his lunatic nonsense. It’s exactly like what Hitler did to Jewish people, donchaknow? He ends with this:

“Demonization and ridicule and mockery is an essential component in a mind-control brainwashing process that gives you the cultural license to destroy, kill your enemies simply because they may believe in the Constitution and the biblical God,” McGuire warned. “So you are looking for a moral license to kill them and you are looking for an immoral narrative that gives you the fake legality to destroy them and massacre them.”

That’s rather the plan of the religious reich, is it not? You want to force everyone else, regardless of belief, to adhere to your lunatic beliefs and ideals. You want to strip women of their autonomy, make sure only white, male, lunatic christian assholes run everything, and force every single person to conform to christian straightness. You want your hate and fear to rule. The rest of us want acceptance and inclusion, and are not afraid to treat all people as people, with full human rights. We want all people to be taken care of, able to provide a roof and food; a good education for all, and we don’t find diversity all terrifyingly scary. And I have absolutely no interest in tearing children from their parents arms, or stripping them of icons which are meaningful to them. But you’re in favour of all that. When I saw this photo, the first thought was “concentration camps. Now we’re doing concentration camps.” I have zero interest in putting anyone in a camp, let alone killing them. I’d be happy if you’d all just shut the fuck up, and get on with your lives. You and the rest of the religious reich would institute the Inquisition in a heartbeat if you could. Being blinded and driven by hatred and fear is no way to live, Mr. McGuire, and yes, I will keep mocking and ridiculing you, because that is exactly what you have earned. I think I’ll stick to my side, thanks.

The whole screeth is at RWW.

Luciferian Advanced Beings and Pharaoh-God Kings!

Paul McGuire, a lunatic lost in conspiracies is at it again, still flogging away on the whole Pharaoh God Kings business, but with added Luciferian Advanced Beings! Ooooh.

“The unprecedented attacks against President Trump and his administration are something that we’ve never seen before in all of human history,” he said. “These unprecedented attacks on Donald Trump are part of the greatest spiritual battle in the history of mankind.”

Sigh. Investigation does not equal attack. I always find it interesting that so many christians are adept at self-brainwashing, but that is part and parcel of Abrahamaic religions. It really wasn’t long ago that we had an actual president, who came under vicious attacks for eight long years. Not long ago at all, but it does feel a lifetime. The religious reich conveniently forgets all that, and happily acts as though no previous president ever was attacked, no. Just the Tiny Tyrant. If the narcissistic asshole sitting in the white house wasn’t a criminal, there wouldn’t be an investigation. That’s how these things work.

“The physical battles that we see in our world and nation right now are a direct manifestation of the spiritual battles going on in the invisible realm,” McGuire added. “There are people very high up in what is called the globalist occult or globalist Luciferian rulership system, and this rulership system consists of what used to be called the Pharaoh-God Kings, it’s what Aldous Huxley called ‘The Scientific Dictatorship,’ and these are advanced beings who know how to tap into supernatural multidimensional power and integrate it with science, technology, and economics.”

It’s interesting, the determination to keep hold of all the old bugbears, while trying to put a modern spin on them. Oh yeah, it’s Lucifer and Pharaoh God Kings, but with Science, Supernatural Multidimensional Power, technology, and economics! Got to try and make it interesting, I suppose. There’s a problem with the whole Lucifer business though – there is no Lucifer in the bible. Lucifer is yet another bad translation in the KJV. There is Hêlêl ben Šāḥar, that would be your bad guy. Granted, that’s a bit more of a mouthful than Lucifer, but practice makes perfect! As for Aldous Huxley and “the scientific dictatorship”, he never said that. That didn’t stop someone from plastering all over the net, unfortunately.

“They are people at the highest level of the pyramidic organizational structure in which the highest ranking officers, if you will, of the New World Order and Mystery Babylon are ruling the earth through an organizational structure that looks like the pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar,” he stated. “And they control the world because they understand that the true control of the world is done through supernatural mechanisms.”

“Mystery Babylon”? What in the fuck is that? A pyramid. Hmmm. I haven’t noticed any gigantic pyramids anywhere. Perhaps I’m just not looking hard enough. Or maybe it’s in the earth’s core. Who the hell knows. Okay, so they know control is managed through supernatural ooogaboooga. What happened to Jehovah then? That’s supposed to be his demesne, is it not? How about that lazy, ineffectual god do something for a change. Light a bush on fire, something.

Via RWW.

Dead Soldiers Woulda Loved Me!!1!

Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!

In contrast:

We can never truly repay the debt we owe our fallen heroes. But we can remember them, honor their sacrifice, and affirm in our own lives those enduring ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity for which generations of Americans have given that last full measure of devotion.

Via Rawstory.

Behind the Iron Curtain part 8 – Work vs. Employment

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


In the Czechoslovak Socialist republic everyone had a right to work. That is, everyone was entitled to be employed and make wages that guaranteed you shall be able to live off of them.

That sounds good on paper, but it did not work out so well in praxis.

First problem was that whilst there was some possibility of improving your income through work if you were a good worker and happened to be paid not per hour but per manufactured piece (or mined tonnage etc.), this was very strongly discouraged. The norms were still being evaluated and re-evaluated so if people worked too hard and earned too much, they would be re-adjusted so their income falls. This has led to peer pressure against too “hardworking” people to keep their heads down and not exceed the norms too much. Some minimal income was guaranteed, wo why work too much? If you do, you will have to keep working hard but you will not get more, so why bother? That was the general consensus among the populace. Nobody feared unemployment or not making enough money, and everyone knew that their chances at making more are abysmal, so people generally skived off of work left right and center. In trying not to get anyone too rich, the regime only succeeded to keep everyone poor (with exceptions, on that later).

Since It was not possible to keep an eye on everyone everywhere, the supervisors often did not even try. Greater care was taken to make the numbers look good on paper than to do good work, since it was easier. There were of course companies and individuals that did a good job. Some such companies were kept as the forefront for the regime and occasionally some random worker who exceeded the plan was paraded around as a PR stunt. I saw a discussion with one such worker on TV towards the end of the regime where the reality of this state of affairs was mentioned – that a lot of produced pieces was junk that once written into the glowing reports went not to the shops, but on the scrap pile. This was huge problem that has caused a lot of economical damage to the regime and has led to significant waste of resources.

Another problem was that it actively discouraged improvement and development. In the town where I live there was a small factory that has manufactured computer monitors. Our class was one day on an excursion in there and one moment stuck in mind. It was when the foreman was showing us a piece of new equipment, an automatic soldering table that was capable of soldering all components on a circuit board in one go in a bath of molten tin. He said “but we cannot use it too much, because otherwise we would not have work for all the women in soldering department”. To which our teacher, a bit zealous communist, replied with a sneer “but some capitalist would lave to have it so they could lay off those women”. The foreman looked baffled and not to pleased with this comment, but did not reply. As a child I could not put my finger on exactly where the problem lies with this reasoning, but it felt wrong. We were taught that advances in technology are a good thing, and making work for people easier is a good thing, but here people had to do manually work in an environment full of poisonous fumes even though the work could be done by a machine? It did not feel right. Well we need to keep those buggy whips manufacturers employed…

From that stems the fourth problem. A lot of work done was “work for work’s sake”. Not only was employment guaranteed, but unemployment was illegal. In order to achieve the nearly 100% employment, even with a lot of people skiving off and not working their best as a rule, there was an awful lot of busy but ultimately pointless jobs around. I remember how my brother finished his machinist’s education and went all giddy to his first job. He was actually looking forward to it. He came home all downcast and disappointed after his first day – he was given a stack of notebooks, a pencil and a ruler and he had to draw lines in the notebooks. Completely pointless task, but the factory – coincidentally the same one as in previous example – just did not have anything better for him to do.

Fourth problem was the widespread corruption. Most jobs that required higher education (like a physician, or a teacher) were assigned centrally so that availability of some services is evenly distributed. Not a completely bad idea since distributing these works purely on market basis means that countryside is without schools and doctors. However the implementation was deeply problematic, since party membership and family histories were a part of the consideration for who gets assigned where. So the countryside was sometimes stuck with teachers or doctors who were sent there as a form of punishment for not being subservient to the regime enough – and that was better option than those being sent there for mediocrity or incompetence. And the good spots were reserved for the competent – and, more importantly, the well-connected.

All in all this has led to the regime not progressing economically too much and average people were not particularly well-off. It tried to hide this behind the iron curtain, but some people did manage to visit western countries and word of mouth spread their experiences. And when the iron curtain fell, we could go and see for our selves the reality.