Tag Archives: Poland

The 70th Anniversary Of The Soviet Invasion Of Lithuania

VILNIUS – For the first time, Lithuania has so solidly marked the anniversary of the invasion of Soviet troops into Lithuania, on June 15, 1940. According to Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviviene, some 150,000-250,000 Soviet soldiers entered Lithuania on that day. On June 15, a special session was organized in the parliament to commemorate that sad day which shocked Lithuania 70 years ago. It was attended by President Dalia Grybauskaite. The next day the session was followed by conference of historians in the parliament. During both events the consequences of the Soviet invasion were emphasized.

“Now we can notice the lack of trust in democracy because the communist occupation left its traces in the people’s psyche,” Julius Sasnauskas, Catholic priest and Soviet-era political prisoner, said in the parliament adding that it is quite weird that Lithuania used to commemorate, on a state level, the first mass deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia on June 14, 1941, but the date which took place a year earlier and which caused those deportations was somewhat forgotten on the state level.

“According to scientists, if not for the Soviet occupation, Lithuania would now have five million inhabitants – the same size of population as Norway, Finland or Denmark. Lithuania’s standard of living would be the same as in those countries. There would be no such emigration from Lithuania as it is now,” Parliament Speaker Irena Degutiene said during the June 15 sitting in the parliament.

Earlier on that day, she went to the Uta village of the Varena region to pay tribute to Lithuanian border policeman Aleksandras Barauskas, who was killed by the Soviet army on that day 70 years ago. Barauskas was the first victim of the USSR’s aggression in Lithuania. He rented a flat in a wooden house just 100 meters from the border with the USSR. At 3:40 in the morning, 20 Soviet soldiers crossed the border and attacked that house where Barauskas was sleeping with his wife and children. This attack was carried out before the time limit of the USSR’s ultimatum demanding allowance for the mass entrance of the USSR’s troops ran out. The Soviet soldiers hit Barauskas’ head with a sword, and afterwards shot him. After that action, the Soviet soldiers went back to the USSR, just to return after several hours, together with a mass invasion of Soviet troops. Barauskas died when his colleagues were transporting him to a hospital. His daughter, Ona Marija Brasiuniene, took part in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of her father’s murder in Uta. On June 15, 1940, her father had no idea about the secret Stalin-Hitler deals and the Soviet ultimatum to Lithuania.

On Aug. 23, 1939, the USSR and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, with secret clauses assigning spheres of influence in Central Europe and the Baltic Sea area. Later in 1939, the city of Vilnius was occupied by the Red Army during the Soviet invasion into Poland and the Soviet-proposed Soviet-Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Pact transferred Vilnius and one-fifth of the Vilnius region to Lithuania in exchange for stationing 20,000 Soviet troops within Lithuania. In 1940, Stalin presented the ultimatum to Lithuania. The ultimatum demanded to form a new pro-Soviet government and admit an unspecified number of Soviet troops. Lithuania accepted the ultimatum, as effective military resistance was impossible with Soviet troops already within the country.

“President Antanas Smetona was in favor of armed resistance. He was supported by Defense Minister Kazys Musteikis, Education Minister Kazimieras Jokantas and National Audit Office Chief Konstantinas Sakenis. They were in the minority and the ultimatum was accepted,” Defense Minister Jukneviciene said about the last meeting of the Lithuanian government before the Soviet invasion, at the commemoration ceremony in the village of Uta. Smetona left Lithuania immediately after that meeting, in fear that he could be forced by the Soviets to justify the occupation. Smetona died in Cleveland, USA, on Dec. 9, 1944, during a fire caused by unknown reasons in a house where he lived.

On June 16, historians from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland presented their findings about the Soviet aggression against the Baltics. The majority of those facts are well known. However, some interesting findings still take place. For example, according to Polish historian Krzysztof Tarka, during WWII, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt had the intention to agree officially with the Soviet annexation of Finland and the Baltic states with one condition to Stalin: those citizens of Finland and the Baltics who do not want to live under the Soviet rule should have the right to leave the USSR. However, advisers in the White House convinced Roosevelt not to do this, and the U.S., as well as the rest of Western democracies (with the exception of Sweden and Finland) never recognized the Baltics as a legitimate part of the USSR. Tarka made his finding studying documents of the diplomatic service of the Polish government, which moved to work in London when the Nazis and the Soviets divided Poland among themselves.

On June 15, Lithuanians also demonstrated that they remember not only their own history’s wounds. On this significant day, officially called in Lithuania as Occupation and Genocide Day, a square in the Uzupis district of Vilnius was officially given the name of Tibet Square. The artsy community of Uzupis was pushing the Vilnius municipality to do this for a long time, but the Vilnius municipality tried to avoid it because of fear of China’s reaction. However, the Uzupis’ bohemians were so persistent that the municipality surrendered and Vilnius Vice Mayor Gintautas Babravicius took part in the opening ceremony, enriched with various rituals of Tibetan Buddhism.

On June 15, the Lithuanian parliament, using the symbolism of the date, on the initiative of Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, MP of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, made amendments in the Criminal Code stipulating criminal penalties for those publicly justifying, denying or playing down international crimes, as well as crimes committed by the USSR and the Nazis against Lithuania.

A total of 68 MPs supported the amendments to the Criminal Code. Five lawmakers voted against the bill while 32 abstained. In line with the amendments, those justifying or denying the aggression by the USSR and Nazi Germany against Lithuania, as well as cases of genocide of the Lithuanian people, and “grave crimes committed in 1990-1991 against Lithuania and its people” will face criminal prosecution. Those violating the law will face a fine or a prison term of up to two years only in case they justify, deny or play down the crimes “in an insulting way” or if such actions “result in the violation of public order.”

http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/26506/

The International Olympic Committee Gave Obama “The Finger”

Obama, acting as a pimp for his big-moneyed donors, put his personal prestige on the line on in Copenhagen and made a pitch to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

Chicago was the first city to be voted out!

In this economy, there would surely be intense oversight of how Olympic Dollars are spent, even in Chicago – . overruns being stuck on taxpayers, corruption, etc. If you haven’t noticed, Illinois has one ex-Governor in jail, another headed that way, an illegitimate Senator, a nepotistically-appointed Cook County Board President who’s given Chicagoans the highest sales tax in the nation, ongoing federal probes of City Hall etc. etc. etc. The Olympic committee has a rich history of expecting and receiving bribes, so they awarded the games to a country where financial scrutiny won’t be as vigorous as in the U.S.

“Hahahahaha,” Erick Erickson wrote. “I thought the world would love us more now that Bush was gone. I thought if we whored ourselves out to our enemies, great things would happen. Apparently not. So Obama’s pimped us to every two bit thug and dictator in the world, made promises to half the Olympic Committee, and they did not even kiss him.”

“This is a big win and a massive relief for taxpayers,” Michelle Malkin wrote.

The National Review Online called the episode an “embarrassment for Obama,” before adding: “If he can’t work his personal magic with the Olympians, why does he expect it to work with the Iranians?

The Drudge Report’s headline: “THE EGO HAS LANDED WORLD REJECTS OBAMA: CHICAGO OUT IN FIRST ROUND.”

There has been a growing narrative about Obama’s presidency in recent weeks: that he is a miserable failure.

Chicago’s dismal showing today, after Obama’s personal, impassioned last-minute pitch, is a stunning humiliation for this president.

Americans want their presidents to be winners – not losers.

Obama was greeted, as usual, like a rock star by the IOC delegates in Copenhagen, then humiliated by them. Perception is reality. A narrow defeat for Chicago would have been acceptable, but the sheer scale of the defeat was a bombshell and is a major blow for Obama at a time when questions are being asked about his style of governance.

It is difficult to turn on a television and not see Obama giving a press conference, or an interview, or at a town hall rally, in his all-out effort to sell Obamacare. After three months of enormous exposure, all Obama has achieved the growing likelihood of ramming a Bill through Congress with, at most, just one Republican vote.

Obama promised in his Inauguration address to engage our enemies, and he proceeded to kiss our enemy’s asses and apologize for America. He has nothing to show for this despicable behavior other than embarrassment. Yes, Iran took part in bilateral talks with the US this week over its nuclear weapons program, but that is something Tehran has wanted for years. There is still a very good chance that the meetings will prove to be an exercise in futility and a time-wasting ploy by Tehran.

Obama also scrapped the plan for a missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland, brown nosing the Russians and hoping to get in return Russian co-operation behind new sanctions against Tehran. Vladimir Putin, and the Chinese, remain fiercely opposed to sanctions.

Meanwhile, we are being forced to witness a very public agonizing by Obama and his advisers over his Afghan strategy, six months after he announced that failing strategy.

This has all added to the realization that Obama’s soaring rhetoric is simply not enough when it comes to confronting the myriad challenges of the presidency. His spectacular Olympic failure will only add to that.

Tax Oppression Index Ranks America in Bottom Half of Industrialized Nations

A thorough new study of 30 nations from the Institut Constant de Rebecque in Switzerland reveals serious shortcomings in America’s tax system.

The report, entitled “Tax burden and individual rights in the OECD: An International Comparison,” creates a Tax Oppression Index based on three key variables: the overall tax burden, public governance, and taxpayer rights. The good news is that the United States has a comparatively low aggregate tax burden, though America’s score on this measure would be much better in the absence of a punitively high corporate tax rate. The bad news is that corruption and inefficiency in Washington drag down America’s score for public governance. The ugly news is that America has a very low rating for protecting taxpayer rights — largely because politicians have tilted the playing field to favor the IRS, including the fact that taxpayers lose the presumption of innocence provided in the Constitution.

Here is a brief description of the study:

The OECD’s campaign against “harmful tax competition” and “tax havens” has overshadowed the essential issue, namely the important roles that both tax competition and “tax havens” play for capital preservation and formation, leading to higher prosperity and better protection of individual rights throughout the OECD.

The tax oppression index is based on 18 representative criteria measuring fiscal attractiveness, public governance and financial privacy in the 30 member states of the OECD. Switzerland appears as the country with the lowest tax oppression — due to a relatively low tax burden and a more [classical] liberal institutional order, including its citizens’ right to veto legislation, political decentralization, and protection of financial privacy. Germany and France, on the other hand, whose governments have supported the OECD’s efforts, are among the most questionable states in terms of safeguarding their residents’ individual rights.

…The tax oppression index evaluates the 30 OECD member states on three complementary dimensions quantified by 18 representative criteria, on the basis of OECD and World Bank data. The index enables relevant conclusions about the tax burden and individual rights among those countries.

Switzerland earns the top ranking in the report, followed by Luxembourg, Austria, Canada, and Slovakia. Italy and Turkey have the worst systems, followed by Poland, Mexico, and Germany. The United States is tied for 19th, behind the welfare states of Scandinavia. With Obama promising to raise tax rates and increase the power of the IRS, it may just be a matter of time before the United States is competing for the world’s most oppressive tax regime.