Fraternal help 1968: an anniversary
21 August 2017 | 5:47 pm

Even the American Thinker noticed that exactly 49 years ago, early in the morning of August 21st, 1968, 200,000 troops from 5 countries of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia.

If you don't know much but you're slightly interested, I recommend you to watch this 48-minute (ex-Soviet Georgian!) video about the events. Just to be sure. Czechia and mostly Slovakia have been parts of the Western civilization – through the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Empire - for some 1,000 years. This country that has belonged to Western Europe politically nevertheless fell into the Soviet sphere of influence after 1945, partly due to the betrayal by France and Britain in 1938, partly due to our gratitude to the Soviet army that sacrificed a lot of lives, and partly because of the unstoppable growth of the communist movement in much of Europe.

The communist coup took place on February 25th, 1948, when the communist party was already influential in the government. The anti-communist ministers were aware of the growing danger and tried a desperate attempt: they submitted their resignation and expected the president Dr Edvard Beneš to call snap elections which would tame the communist party. Instead, the communist party took its paramilitary "LM" units (no relationship with me) to the streets. They threatened a civil war and our Stalin's counterpart Mr Klement Gottwald demanded the president to accept the resignations and replace the non-communist ministers with communist ones.

The effort by the anti-communist ministers backfired. But the situation was pretty tense so there was probably no way to stop the rise of communism at that time.

Thousands of people were executed – well, still many fewer than tens of millions in the Soviet Union. Insane collectivization, terror against the capitalists, aristocrats, intelligentsia. They were sent to uranium mines and other yummy places. Happily, in 1953, both Gottwald and Stalin snuffed it. The Stalinist cult was removed rather quickly in Czechoslovakia.

From the early 1960s, the third communist president Antonín Novotný allowed a lot and the society was getting gradually liberalized. He realized that it was too much and demanded some deceleration of these changes. Instead, in January 1968, he was fired and replaced with an even more pro-democratization leader of the communist party, Mr Alexander Dubček [doop-Czech] of Slovakia. Moscow thought he was great because Dubček looked like a typical communist leader who had spent his childhood in the Soviet Union, spoke Russian fluently, and so on.

But Dubček really kickstarted his socialism with a human face, the Prague Spring of 1968. It was like Gorbachev's glasnost' and perestroika but on steroids and almost two decades earlier. In March 1968, censorship was abolished (Google's managers are way more hardcore totalitarian communists than the Czechoslovak communist bosses in 1968) and it was just the beginning. Suddenly, the media were free and proposals that went even "beyond the pro-reform communist programs" – proposals by non-communists including the likes of Havel – were heard and written everywhere.

You may imagine that the Soviet boss Leonid I. Brezhnev was trying to stop these things. So he organized a propaganda and blackmailing campaign, met "Sasha" Dubček many times. During a last meeting, Brezhnev demanded something dramatic had to change. Dubček said no – well, he said "in that case, you will have to lick your own aß and do whatever you want". Sadly, Brezhnev did exactly that.

The process of the Prague Spring was stopped and reversed on August 21st. In the morning, all of Czechoslovaks could hear airplanes everywhere and everyone was woken up and told what was going on. The decision makers – mostly in Moscow – were determined to stop it even if the invasion meant the Third World War, as some documents in the video above point out. Poor Russian and other soldiers were coming to Czechoslovakia while they were brainwashed by ideas that we had some insane violent counter-revolution going on here. Needless to say, nothing like that was taking place in my country.

Only 137 Czechoslovak civilians were killed by the end of 1968. If you look at the number, you must agree that the tally was just a tiny fine structure constant relatively to the far-reaching consequences. (Somewhat fairly, about 112 of the occupying troops were randomly killed, too.) Censorship was reintroduced. Pro-Brezhnev, neo-Stalinist people were made bosses at every level of the society. The country returned into full-blown (albeit no longer bloody, like in the 1950s) socialism when it came to the suppression of the freedom of speech, entrepreneurship, and political competition.

This post-occupation period was known by the euphemism "the normalization" from the official propaganda books – and just to be sure, everyone is using this term, the critics simply consider it a terrible thing. We Czechs like to use clear names – in a similar way, we like to use the official term "the Protectorate" for the regime on the Czech territory occupied by Nazi Germany. Our diluted, Czechoslovak flavor of perestroika notwithstanding, the normalization basically lasted up to the November 1989 when the Velvet Revolution exploded.

If you want to have some idea about the soft communism that Czechoslovakia enjoyed already in the mid 1960s, look at this Greek document that also mentions the 1964 film Lemonade Joe [pronounce Yaw-eh], or the Horse Opera, a parody of the American Western genre where the main hero loves to drink Kolaloka's lemonade (they permuted some letters in Coca Cola, to be sure that it would really get through) and this Joe gets to the town of men drinking whiskey. Try to check some YouTube videos on Lemonade Joe.

A song from the movie. Ms Olga Schoberová's "Arizona", the true men's zone. Cards are rustling, bullets buzzing. Cows are moo-mooing full of feeling. I feel relaxed, as a fish in its element. ... You may imagine this is not the most typical movie genre that Leonid Brezhnev would be watching in a cinema. Schoberová was a sex symbol in the 1960s and 1970s, a material of the Playboy covers, living in the U.S. as the wife of Brad Harris. The world has known her from the 1966 comedy Who wants to kill Jessie? (YouTube excerpts: she communicated through the comic "bubbles" in the movie, a fun concept). It's rather amazing that the tabloid press allows the retired sex bomb to live in Prague so that almost no one knows she's there. The 74-year-old is said to be shocked by having more wrinkles than in 1964.

Well, with some limitation, this Western-style Czechoslovak cinematography continued even after the 1968 occupation but you could feel some political restrictions in it later.

A funny Czech reaction to the anti-Confederate cultural genocide in the U.S.
20 August 2017 | 2:22 pm

Most Czech pundits and media are surprised by the neo-Marxist habit of tearing down of the Confederate statues in recent days. Iconoclasm is something that we remember well from the Nazi era and the communist era – and indeed, from the post-communist era, too. The far left is trying to rewrite the history and frame the U.S. president as a Ku-Klux-Klan boss of a sort and all these things are just bizarre.

Let me pick a text by George X. Doležal – who is paid for somewhat funny, somewhat provocative works in Reflex, a mainstream journal.

Let's tear down the statues of Charles IV!
George X. Doležal, August 20th (satire)

After a mass demolition of the statues of the national heroes from the Confederate era which took place in the U.S. in recent days, this remarkable neo-Marxist happening could become a European habit, too. At least the Czech Republic should get inspired by the U.S. authorities and start to remove the statues of the great Czechs who must be disavowed today, in the name of the political correctness.

Every time I walk on the Charles bridge and I am passing by its Old Town side, I am shaken, repelled, offended, scandalized, and disgusted by the pompous and fascizing anti-Semitism that the citizens of Prague are expressing by their tolerance of the statue of Charles IV [the most admired Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor] who is standing (more precisely, sitting) near the Charles bridge. And, of course, by their continued habit to use a name for the bridge that is so outdated, currently unacceptable, and offensive – the name of the renowned anti-Semite Charles IV.

During the tenure of this uncritically worshiped Jews' hangman, plague arrived to Europe. It was raging especially in Germany and the local population over there accused the Jews of its spreading. Consequently, the councilmen in Nuremberg signed a pact with Charles IV that if the local Jews will be "eradicated or if they leave the city", their houses and assets will be assigned to the municipal authorities. Charles IV undoubtedly anticipated that plunderging pogroms would take place but he allowed the people of Nuremberg to beat their Jews, anyway. On December 5th, 1349, the people of Nuremberg murdered 560 Jews who had lived in the city – as a preparation for the Holocaust. Most of them were burned or beaten to death. Similarly, Charles IV allowed the citizens of Frankfurt an Main to confiscate the assets of the beaten Jews, so on July 15th, 1349, a pogrom took place there, too. Those pogroms were followed by one in Cheb/Eger, a Western Bohemian town, whose organizers were pardoned by Charles IV.

It is absolutely unacceptable that a renowned anti-Semite has a statue somewhere in Central Europe in 2017. It may be true that this racist was one of the most important figures of the Czech statehood. But that is no excuse! Our duty is to look at the historical characters without the pink glasses of prejudices and nationalist stereotypes, through a new perspective that takes the currently respected moral norms and civic freedoms into account.

That's why I am urging the City Hall of the Capital City of Prague to immediately remove the statue of this disgusting anti-Semite, before it will be done by an outraged, offended mob, and place a different statue on the pedestal. What could be a statue that would agree with the moral imperative of our age, a human-rightist, multicultural, and generally acceptable statue? It must be a statue of a transsexual Muslim vegan.

Bank of Korea is taking over Bitcoin Cash
19 August 2017 | 7:59 pm least, that's a result of your humble correspondent's inference...

Three weeks ago, I discussed the split of the Bitcoin to the new Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). For some time, the prices were around $4,000 and $300 or so, plus minus 30%.

But two days ago, BCH began to skyrocket. It reached $1,000 hours ago. The timing of this growth was attributed to the first 8 MB block mined by BCH (BTC only mines 1 MB blocks) and the fact that the BCH mining became more profitable than the BTC mining.

On Friday, the trading volumes of BCH actually trumped those of the "main" BTC Bitcoin, $4 billion to $3 billion a day. Moreover, it's been known that most of the BCH trade was the trade BCH against SKW, the South Korean won, and it occurred at Korean exchanges.

To make things more curious, 97% of the mining was known to be done by a single unknown entity – at least that's how it was a few days ago.

Now, the relationship between BTC and BCH is just like the relationship between iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. The latter is faster, newer, the blocks may be 8 MB and not just 1 MB (1 MB is close to 640 kB which should be "enough for everyone"). But is it enough to explain the rise of BCH?

Try to think how it's possible that the trade was overwhelmingly against the won. Is it possible that private Korean users got enthusiastic about the Bitcoin cash? I don't think so. The community of the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash folks is so internationalized that you wouldn't get such a dominance of a "smaller nation".

Also, no private bank could really afford to throw $2 billion a day, I guess. The traders would probably not get the permission.

Bank of Korea: Does it hold a big fraction of the Bitcoin Cash?

There is one conceivable theory: it's the central bank of Korea that is buying the Bitcoin Cash to its reserves. Note that the Korean Forex reserves are almost $400 billion which trumps the total capitalization of all cryptocurrencies by a factor of three. But things are simpler when you buy the Bitcoin Cash for the money you can print – you can print as much as you need.

OK, so assume my theory that it was the Bank of Korea that was buying the Bitcoin Cash. It will probably continue because those $2 billion or so is a negligible part of the reserves. Does the theory make any predictions? Yes, I think that the theory makes the prediction that the Bank of Korea has been thinking – doing research – about cryptocurrencies and how to use them in the context of the central banks.

Can we test the theory?

Yes, the theory basically predicts that you can find some traces of these cryptocurrency games played by the Bank of Korea. Google search for bank-of-korea cryptocurrency. You will easily find an April 25th article about a research paper by the Bank of Korea (Hong, Park, Yu 2017) that discusses the collaboration of the fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies in a "dual currency regime". The paper says that "crowding out" of one currency type by the other is only possible under extreme conditions and high costs.

Just like Bitcoin Cash looks indistinguishable from the Bitcoin, except that it's faster, this looks just like the astronomical clock at the Prague's Old Town Square City Hall. But just like the Bitcoin Cash is a Korean copy, this one is a Korean copy, "Castle Prague", in Seoul. ;-)

So I suppose that Bank of Korea wants to grab a significant fraction of the coins in a major currency – which seems to be the Bitcoin Cash – and it will try to do something with it. So I expect the increasing trend of the price of BCH to resume and continue on Monday, unless the Koreans also work on Sundays.

And yes, I also think that computers run by the Bank of Korea are those that were doing 97% of the mining of the Bitcoin Cash.

If this is confirmed or if the idea or meme becomes popular, I expect other central banks to join the Bank of Korea and start to diversify their reserves. Too bad that the Czech National Bank wasn't the pioneer. They may still be the #2. Needless to say, if the central banks joined this cryptocurrency tulip mania, another order of magnitude could be easily added to the value of the cryptocurrencies.

If someone reads this blog post at the Czech National Bank, I do recommend to quickly purchase cryptocurrncies for a few percentage of the ČNB Forex reserves.

A day before I got the idea about the Korean interventions, I have been thinking about various methods for such a central bank to create profit; to peg a cryptocurrency to a fiat currency; and to partly replace changes of the interest rates by BCHCZK sales and purchases, among other things. To impose any lasting policy like that, the central bank should have a big fraction of the coins to start with, of course.

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