We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

A $64.2m road built for the games leads to the “Science Centre Biosphere,” which Russian officials say will monitor climate change during the Olympics. The site consists of a ski lift, tennis court, snowmobile trail, two helicopter pads, and a 14-room alpine chalet”

– An infographic in (of all places) Mother Jones, reporting on the immense cost of the current Sochi Winter Olympics. Research in other places informs me that this private ski resort is of course Vladimir Putin’s dacha, or more correctly one of his many dachas. Apparently he was trapped there once and had to walk out after it became impossible to get helicopters in or out during a snowstorm. As it was obviously appalling for a man such as Putin to suffer such an indignity, it became necessary to spend $64 million on a road.

Disregarding the absurd plunder of Russian public money that these games represent, I personally rather love the Winter Olympics. Rich people from rich countries compete with each other at absurdly dangerous activities. I am often baffled as to why or even how some of these sports came to be invented, but they sure are fun to watch.

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Private landowners have had their land stolen and their houses demolished (Russian judges are appointed by the government and there are no juries – so going to law is a farce).

    The water had been polluted (drinking water should not be the colour of beer), and the construction work is shoddy – doors that will not open, open lift shafts and so on……

    Max Keiser’s boss, Mr Putin, is a naughty boy – a very naughty boy (as he proved as far back as 1998 -w when he sent the FSB to plant bombs in Russian apartment buildings in order to have an excuse for the second Chechen war).

    Still I hear the sport is good – so I hope everyone has a nice time.

    I think it would be best to have the winter and summer games in the same place each time.

    Perhaps in Greece?

  • Michael Jennings (London)

    Probably Norway, or Switzerland or some place like that for the Winter games. Even rotating them between two or three venues would be fine, as long as you could avoid the “Build the venues, use them once, then never use them again” problem.

  • Runcie Balspune

    “Build the venues, use them once, then never use them again”

    I’m sure Putin would re-use the venues if there was ever a threat parts of Russia would devolve.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Keep them in a few places: Switzerland; Austria, Canada and perhaps Italy. Simples.

  • Mr Ed

    How long before an EU Directive requires that there is one European team and then that the Winter Olympics take place in, say French Guiana, to avoid ‘unjustifiable’ indirect discrimination?

    A minor risk associated with mocking socialists is that it might give them ideas.

  • Mr Ed

    Private landowners have had their land stolen and their houses demolished (Russian judges are appointed by the government and there are no juries – so going to law is a farce).

    And did not the Olympic Delivery Authority in the UK use compulsory purchase (theft with a tip) to remove businesses from the Olympic Park or thereabouts for 2012? You cannot here even complain that the judges are biased, they would be simply baffled that you might question an Order issued under a Statute and expect a judge to intervene, property rights are not human rights, they only get a glancing reference in the Human Rights Act.

  • CaptDMO

    “Private landowners have had their land stolen and their houses demolished…”
    No different than Newark NJ for it’s “Art’s Center”, with ticket prices for events catering to those who’ve managed to skim “their fair share” off the municipal budget, or the city’s plethora of drug addicts.
    But THAT was 18(or so) years ago.
    I’m SURE they’ve drained the swamp, and things are “different” by now.

    Then, there’s the KELO case in Connecticut.
    I’m pretty sure the land is STILL undeveloped “for the public good”.

  • M. Thompson

    I’m thinking a rotating schedule of say, France, USA, Switzerland, Japan (Nagano), Norway, Canada, Italy, based on places that already have most of the equipment in place.

    A USA-Russia rematch in Lake Placid would be nifty.

  • bobby b

    Between the staggering cost, the outright theft of private assets to pay that cost, the dictatorial decision-making process controlled by one thug’s changing whims, and the blatant disrespect for the opinions and desires of the nation’s citizenry, this is almost as bad as Obamacare.

    At least Russia ends up with something to show for all of the effort.

  • Pardone

    But surely Tokyo’s Olympics ceremony will surpass all others, when a giant Mobile Suit Gundam, alongside the Colossal Titan and Godzilla descend on the stadium and rescue Hatsune Miku from being tentacle raped.

    Indeed, who hasn’t wanted to witness the Colossal Titan destroy our wretched piss-stained shambolic railways and the wasteful houses of parliament? (knock it down and replace it with cheap pre-fabs with outdoor toilets, and devolve so there are at least two English parliaments).

  • Mr Ecks

    Stefan Molyneux has several Youtube bits on the Olympics.The true costs are staggering. They are a vast waste of taxpayers money and (esp these Winter Olympics) a source of massive corruption. Not to mention a glory-fest for the scum of the state.

    The Olympics both winter and summer should be on permanent sites paid for by private subscription of those who want to see them.

  • bob sykes

    Considering the inveterate corruption that permeates all aspects of the Games and all members of the various Olympic Committees, it would be better to forcibly suppress all future Games and incarcerate all the Committee members, both national and international.

  • Jamess

    It would be nice to see some proper competition to the Olympics. It shouldn’t be hard – just offer decent prize money to the athlete who wins – and give a much greater bonus prize if they win their race in a time which beats the winner of the equivalent competition in the Olympics (ideally the races would be timed to go head to head).

    The Not-The-Olympics could save money by not building expensive buildings, and earn money by whatever sports company failed in their bid to broadcast the Olympics and wanted to try to dent the viewing figures of whoever did win the right to broadcast the event.

  • PeterT

    drinking water should not be the colour of beer

    Unless, of course, it is beer.

  • Mr Ed

    Considering the inveterate corruption that permeates all aspects of the Games and all members of the various Olympic Committees

    I would venture that a qualification of that statement is in order, IIRC, Princess Anne is on the UK’s Olympic Committee and I find it hard to accept that she would be corrupt, I recall laughing at a report years ago that someone had tried to bribe her. The first approach ‘Your mother is the Queen of England, you must want for something.’, then consideration of what we know of her personality, and even if she has the acquisitive nature of her grandmother Queen Mary, would she not simply expect something for nothing?

  • bloke in spain

    Can I put in for Granada for the perpetual Winter Olympics site? We have all the benefits. We’re nearly as corrupt as Russia & my dacha, just the other side of Mt Mulhacen, could do with a new road down to the city.

  • Mr Ed

    Sorry Bloke, you’ve got the Alhambra and anything more would be greedy. I say that we suggest Singapore as a tease to Keynesians? It’s near as dam it to the Equator, not that hilly and seems to have not that much of a local winter sports scene, so imagne the ‘multiplier’ effect of building ski slops and ice rinks, cross-country ski runs (that don’t end in the sea) and the huge engineering feats required to keep the snow and ice from melting and evaporating. If the locals paid for it, it would transform Singapore’s economy (on that we can all agree).

  • bloke in spain

    Shame. It does have lots of real snow ( he says looking out the window) & the steepest altitude change in Europe. 3 1/2 km to sea level in 35 km. That’d make one muthah of a toboggan run. Reckon even Putinman’d think twice.

  • bradley13

    I find all the fuss about the expense of the Winter Olympics a bit odd. Russia stomped a brand new tourist destination out of nothing, and has invested heavily to do so. It’s their decision, and not really any one else’s business. Whether the investment will pay off – whether Sotchi really becomes a long-term destination – only time will tell.

    The corruption and humanitarian abuses that have taken place are really a separate issue, and simply typical for totalitarian governments (which is what Russia really has). The fact that the Olympics are a very public event has almost certainly reduced the level of problems to a level below-normal for Russia.

  • Walked out in a Russian snow storm? Whatever else he may be, Putin is one double-hard bastard (as we used to say at school). I struggle to think of a British politician that would do the same.

  • bloke in spain

    “Russia stomped a brand new tourist destination out of nothing, and has invested heavily to do so”
    Sochi’s been the top Russian tourist destination, in Russia, for Russians for years. KGBville. The big medical facility’s the Dzerzhinsky Institute. Marketer of the Skenner* for the more gullible of the western alternative medicine sorority.

    *Let’s not go there unless you’re seriously into quasi technical bullshit.

  • RAB

    “I am often baffled as to why or even how some of these sports came to be invented, but they sure are fun to watch.”

    Well the way I heard it (and it could be apocryphal) ir was us Brits. Seems a bunch or rich aristocratic TP sufferers were sent to Switzerland because the cold dry air of the Alps was a cure. And over the months they were there convalescing, having read all the worthy tomes they had brought with them, and now bored out of their minds, decided to think up other things to do…

    ” I say Carruthers, see those plank like things the locals wear to stop themselves sinking into the snow and get about on, what say we try them on a bit of a slope, just for a lark don’t you know”

    Then they progressed to toboggans and tea trays (the louge) etc. We never win at these sports of course, we only invented them to distract foreigners and make them feel better about themselves because they couldn’t be English. ;-)

  • RAB

    Bugger! that’s TB of course…