DECEMBER 2019

DECEMBER   2019
Please, Have a Merry. Please. Oh, and get rid of the Orange Jerk!

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

GEORGIA PEACHES Chapter One

I have always been confused by Patrick Henry. He is famous for saying, “Give me liberty or give me death”, a bold statement that should have gotten a lot of press. Yet nobody at the time recorded him saying it.  
He also supposedly said “If this be treason, let us make the most of it”, another bold statement which, again, nobody wrote down at the time. What is fact is that he was always suspicious of the power of government. We largely have him to thank for the Bill of Rights, today a beacon of freedom for billions of people world wide. But he was also the CEO of the Virginia Yazoo Company, which sold swamp land to war veterans and unsuspecting tax payers. The Yazoo Company and its fellow scams shows that from the moment it was born the United States was a nation dedicated to the success of rich liars cheats and thieves. 
My guess is the Yazoo Indians were only joking with French explorer Robert de La Salle.   In 1682, la Salle asked about the water at the edge of their town and the Yazoos told him it was a river, A 180 mile long by 100 mile wide “river” which did not so much flow into the Mississippi River, as seep. It was a swamp.  But the last laugh was on the Yazoo Indians because La Salle named the “river” after them. And after the Revolution, that patriot Patrick Henry used his freedom to fleece a lot of unsuspecting would capitalist by selling them Yazoo swamp land.
Now, even in 1789 nobody was interested in buying a swamp, So the American crooks decided to call their inventory the Yazoo Lands, instead.  Besides patriot and ex-governor Patrick Henry's Virginia Yazoo Company, there was the Tennessee Yazoo Company and the Carolina Yazoo Company. And together they formed the first American lobbying firm, what they called "The Combined Society".  It's stated purpose was  “By means of certain influences...to obtain from the State (of Georgia) large grants of land...for the end of making a large sum of money...” They were certain they could obtain a deed from Georgia, because although Georgia did not claim the swamp, Georgia was also flat broke.
Georgia had paid for its war of revolution by claiming lands westward to the Mississippi and beyond, and used them as collateral to borrow gold and silver. The problem was that land was mostly swamp during part of the year, and during the rest of the year was partly swamp. And the part that was hardly ever swamp  was owned by native American tribes,  like the Yazoos, and claimed by the King of France.
The solution was first suggested by an ex-militia Colonel named Thomas Marston Green.  He'd been farming out in the Pine forests when a bunch of Spanish soldiers and surveyors showed up looking to inventory the lands they had just bought from the French. Colonel Green realized that after the inventory would come the taxes. And he hated paying taxes.  Luckily Green had no objection to collecting taxes. So in the fall of 1784 Green showed up in the state capital of Louisville, Georgia, suggesting the state take over his plantation as "Bourbon County".  It would be the largest county in the United States, and Marston Green would, of course, run it, selling the land he did not want and splitting the take with the state. And on 7 February, 1785, the rich white men running Georgia passed the Bourbon County Act, and waited for the money to roll in. 
Unfortunately, Green went home and told the Spanish to get out because Georgia was now running things. They threw him in jail. And as long as Georgia was taking that attitude, the Spanish decided Americans could no longer use the port of New Orleans to ship their produce to market. That made the settlers in western Georgia, very unhappy.  In 1788 the state of Georgia backed down and repealed the Bourbon County Act.  But that still left Georgia flat broke.
The next answer they tried in the fall of 1788 was the infamous Pine Barren Land Speculation, in which a dozen rich white men surveyed (badly) about thirty million acres of Georgia and sold it off (quickly), mostly to smaller speculators,  Everybody thought they were going to get rich. The problem this time was that Georgians occupied only about nine million acres. And for the new fast spaces claimed, there were a lot of duplicate titles, and five or six owners for every section of land. Over night land prices went from sky high to bargain basement,  inspiring a fake advertisement, offering, “ Ten millions of acres of valuable pine barren land in the province of Utopia, on which there are several very sumptuous air castles, ready furnished”.
This business model would later be called a Ponzi scheme, and the only people who got rich were the ones at the top, and none of that money trickled down to the state of Georgia. So in 1789, this time under the Governorship of an arrogant fire plug named George Mathews, they tried it for a third time,  only bigger. And this was when Patrick Henry got into the game.
It was enough to make you wonder why the American people continue to have such childlike faith in capitalism, considering how often they keep getting screwed by it. It's a morality play, of sorts, if the moral is "There's a sucker born every minute".
Patrick Henry had never been much of a business man. When he was 18, the “indolent, dreamy (and) procrastinating...ill-dressed young man” impulsively married the equally impulsive, plump and buxom Sarah "Sallie" Shelton.  He went to work for Sarah's father in his Hanover Tavern, but after a few months as a barkeep Patrick decided on a career which would not require so much physical labor. With only six weeks of study he passed the Virginia bar. The parents of the bride were so thrilled, they set the fecund couple up with some land and slaves – an instant entrance into Virginia's upper class. It was the perfect foundation for a politician. But, alas, Patrick would be short of money his whole life. Which is why he formed the Virginia Yazoo company.
The 53 year old Patrick Henry assembled a slightly odd group of investors. At 53, droll and humorless, Paul Carrington was a long time member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, and a judge of the Court of Appeals. At barely 30 years old, Abraham Venerable was an up-and-comer in Virginia society, while 50 year old Francis Watkins was the clerk for the local courts.
But the key investor, the actual brains behind the original Virginia Yazoo Company was David Ross, who had already assembled 100,000 acres in Virginia, buying up plantations and farms abandoned by loyalists during and after the revolution.  Ross also owned 200,000 acres of Kentucky, and several thousand more in what would become Tennessee (claimed at the time by North Carolina). He was a very land rich young man. And, oddly, he was Scottish
See, after the 1746 battle of Culloden, Scotland was under the royal lash, and David Ross stood to inherit nothing from his father's now looted Scottish estates. So in the middle of the 1750's he joined the horde of Scots emigrating to the American colonies. But where most Scotsmen chose the less settled Carolinas, and arrived with little but the clothes on their back, David Ross chose Virginia and arrived with contacts in the colonial government, and with cash,  Almost immediately he invested in the Oxford Iron Works along the Potomac River and the Antietam Iron Works in Maryland. He then began buying land and planting tobacco. It is hard to escape the suspicion that David Ross's family had sold out their fellow Stuart supporters, perhaps his own cousins. It is what the losing side of a rebellion often has to do to save the family fortunes.
Most years the iron works struggled to get by, and the tobacco barely covered operating expenses.  To really build a fortune, Colonial Virginia planters - such as the gout ridden George Mason - used their large plantations as collateral to buy cheap Indian land north of the Ohio River. The new owners then surveyed it quickly, subdivided it in haste and sold it off in 100 to 600 acre sections to land hungry farmers at inflated prices.  To quote from Wood Holton's 1994 paper in 'The Journal of Southern History:  “Land speculation was a principal source of income for the Virginia gentry, the 2-to-5 % of families who stood atop the colony's pyramid of wealth and power...During the frontier years, absentee landholders owned three-quarters of the region's total acreage...little acreage was left for residents. ”
The only draw back was that the invasion of English farmers set off the French and Indian War, which brought the sale of western lands to a halt for nine long years.  Then  in 1763, after the peace was signed, King George III issued a Royal Proclamation that henceforth no colony could lay claim to any land west of the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. Individual farmers were still free to negotiate with tribes for acreage on Indian lands, but their property rights would not be recognized by the English crown, meaning the land could be handed down father to son but could not be resold, ending speculating in Indian lands.  Wood Holton argues it was this loss of income which spurred Virginians, like the “great land-monger” George Washington, and speculators Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and Patrick Henry, to support the American Revolution
Even before the American victory at Yorktown, in June of 1779, Virginia and her governor Patrick Henry, joined the other southern colonies in reviving virtually all of the land claims rejected by George III's government. George Mason rehired his old employee Daniel Boone to began “exploring” new lands to the west of Boonesborough, paying him in land -  from which Boone earned $20,000, a hefty fortune during the revolution. And on 20 November, 1789, the Virginia Yazoo Company, headed by Patrick Henry and David Ross,  along with the Tennessee Company and the Carolina Company, formally applied for land grants from the state of Georgia for tracts along the Yazoo River/swamp.  
To the wealthy speculators who were also the founding fathers, this is what they meant by the word “freedom”. And that is the morality play we shall now follow.
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Friday, March 15, 2019

A PLATE OF HUBBLE PI

I suspect the problem begins with the oft quoted but not well understood phrase, “pi are squared.” In the first place, it’s not. It is a fact that you cannot square a circle, and yet it is done everyday, out of sight for those of use who are math-impaired. This is so because  pi is the relationship between the length of the line forming a circle, divided by the distance across that same circle. And this relationship somehow always works out to be 3.141592653589793238…etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitas, add infelicitous, and never ever repeating. This makes Pi an irrational number, which is confusing again because I find all numbers irrational, even on Pi day (3/15).
To find the area of a living room you simply ask a realtor, and then Subtract 10%. But to find the area of a circle you must  measure the radius of a circle and then square it -  or to put it another way, the radius of the circle times the radius of the circle times the radius of the circle - three times.  In the shorthand of math-speak that becomes, A(rea)= pi Radius squared.  Or PiR2. This is true math-media.      
What this mystery formula really means is that you can never turn a circle into a square of the exact same size: close, but never exactly. And it doesn’t matter if it is a great big circle or an itty-bitty one. Pi is always 3.141 etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, but never ending.
If you are a math freak this is obvious, while the rest of us have to be satisfied with accepting that Pi is an irrational number and live with it. But I ask you, what is the value of knowing pi? 
I had a fourth grade teacher who was so obsessed with having her students memorize the value of Pi to twenty decimal places that she had us memorize the following poem: “Sir, I send a rhyme excelling, In sacred truth and rigid spelling, Numerical sprites elucidate, For me the lexicon’s full weight”. Each of the 20 words of that poem has the number of letters required to read out the first twenty digits of pi, in order.  I had to memorized that poem again in my thirties because as a ten year old I couldn’t spell the word Nantucket, and as a sixty year old I rely upon a spell checker to detail any word long enough to rhyme with  “elucidate”. So this poem was as much a mystery to me then as the number Pi remained for years.
But I am older now and I have grown so used to making mistakes in public that I hardly notice the embarrassment anymore. So I openly admit that I still find pi a puzzle. Besides, every time I make a mistake, I learn something new. Things my mistakes have taught me so far include, never turn down a chance to use the bathroom, never loan money to attractive women, never invest in Nigerian lottery tickets, never give out my social security number over the net, and never question the value of pi. But, why pi?
Legend has it that the great Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse was struggling over the solution to pi when a Roman soldier blundered into his garden. The old man supposedly snapped, “Don’t touch my circles!”, whereupon the chastised legionary pulled his Gladius and separated Archimedes’ head from his face. I suppose that if Archimedes had been sitting in his bathtub, as he allegedly was when he discovered that displaced water could be used to measure density (Eureka!), something else might have been separated. But, suffice it to say that before computers, finding pi was a great big pain in the Archimedes. He managed to figure out that pi was somewhere between 3 10/71 and 3 1/7. He might have done better if he had invented the decimal point, first. But...
About the year 480 CE the Chinese mathematician Zu Chongzhi figured out that pi was a little more than 3.1415926 and a little less than 3.1415927. After that the decimal point zealots took over. The German mathematician and fencing instructor Ludolf van Ceulen worked out pi to 35 decimal places. And in 1873 the amateur geek, William Shanks, worked it out to 707 decimal places. But William made one tiny little mistake in the 528th number and that threw everything else off. But it was such a good try that nobody noticed his screw up until 1944. Today computers have figured pi out to one trillion digits to the right of the decimal point and still no repeatable pattern has been detected, and still it never quite reaches zero.  It is still a little bit less than 3.15 and a little bit more than 3.14. All that has changed is the definition of “a little bit”. It keeps getting smaller and smaller -  but it will never be zero.
But what does that mean? What does Pi mean, beyond its face value? Well, it turns you can find it in the  curve of the double helix of a DNA molecule, the chemical code of all living plants, animals and bacteria, and the behavior of light coming from distant galaxies, or out of our sun.  Einstein himself realized that if you want to describe why and how a river "meanders"  to the sea, you need to use Pi , because the actual length of a stream, with twists and bends is usually between 1.3 and 1.4 times the straight line distance - called the "meander ratio".  All the geologists have to do is plug in the variables for soil type, and angle of slope and latitude and drawing rivers on a map becomes predictable. Pi is why why so many rivers look the same when seen from space or on a map. Pi is what all rivers have in common with DNA. And airplane wings. And sewer pipes. And eye balls, human and otherwise. 
Pi reveals the underlying structure of the universe, the lines of force - magnetic,  gravity, chemical or electrical.  Pi is like a master key, that with a little jiggling, can be made to open just about any door. The mere fact that such a key exists, tells you that everything we can see, hear and feel is connected to everything else, even the stuff we can't see. Pi tells you the chaos inside an exploding super nova is governed by the same laws that control the budding of a flower. It is the mathematical proof that there is a logic to the entire universe, and that logic is 3.141592653589793238...etcetera, etcetera.        
Thus pi is the “admirable number” according to the devilish little Polish poetess Wislawa Szmborska. While being infinitely long it includes “…my phone number, your shirt size, the year nineteen hundred and seventy-three, sixth floor number of inhabitants, sixty-five cents, hip measurement, two fingers, a charade and a code, in which we find how blithe the trostle sings!” (…and no, I have no idea what or who the hell a trostle is or what makes it blithe or unblithe. Do you?)
Daniel Rockmore, in the pages of "The Chronicle of High Education" for 12 March 1999, wrote that Pi was "Foreign, unpredictable, otherworldly, yet as common as a circle...it's easy to find, but hard to know. Among mathematicians there still rages a fierce, unsettled debate about whether pi is a "normal" number--that is, whether each of the digits 0 through 9 each occur on average one-tenth of the time in the never-ending decimal expansion of pi...making...Pis...a veritable poster number for the fashion world's ambiguous and androgynous advertising campaigns."  And you thought mathematics had no sex appeal  Why, if Pi was plain old 3 or dull old 4, there would be no sex. Sex is made possible by being 3.14159265358979.... etceteraetcetera.. And it cannot be and will not be controlled. And certainly not owned.
A physician and a crackpot amateur mathematician from Solitude, Indiana named Dr. Edwin J. Goodwin thought that he had “solved” pi to the last digit - and none of this irrational numerical horse feathers for him!  He decided to make Pi his own personal private property by copyrighting it.  But in order to profit from his discovery (you know how wealthy the Pythagoras estate is) Dr. Goodwin needed a legal endorsement. And rather than subject his brainchild to the vagaries of the copyright peer review, the good doctor instead offered his theory as an accomplished fact to the local politicians. The proposal, Indiana House Bill 246, “…an act introducing a new mathematical truth and offered…to be used only by the State of Indiana free of cost…provided it is accepted and adopted by the official action of the Legislature…”. this insanity actually made it through the Committee on Canals and Swamps (Perfect place for it!) in record time, and was passed by the full Indiana house on 5 February, 1897, by a vote of 67 to 0.  Who says politicians don't spend time on important issues?
Unfortunately, in the Indiana Senate some wiseacre showed the bill to a visiting Purdue party- pooper, Professor of Mathematics C.A. Waldo. And now we at last know where Waldo was, at least was in 1897.  The lawmaker asked if the professor would like the honor of meeting the amazing Dr. Goodwin, and Professor Waldo replied that he already knew all the lunatics he cared to know, thank you very much. And with that comment Dr. Goodwin’s brief bubble of fame was burst. On 12 February, 1897 any further vote on the bill to copywrite the perfect definitive solution to Pi was postponed indefinitely.  Hoosier lunatics have since moved on to more productive fields.
It was not a victory for logic so much as an avoidance of a victory for ignorance, which is pretty much the same thing that happened in Tennessee about 30 years later when they tried to make evolution illegal. Don't tell the whales. They'll have to go back to being dogs. 
Still pi remains one of the most popular mathematical equations, if mostly poorly appreciated by those of us who aren’t trying to generate a random number or navigate a jet plane across the North Pole, or predict the next stock market bubble, or launch a satellite, run a radio station, process an X-ray or a Cat-scan, drive a submarine, drill for oil, purify gold or etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitas, add infelicity.
Just trust me, and always trust pi. It lifts your spirit, gives you a sense of security and keeps your circles on the square. To share it just try singing..."Pi, Pi, Me oh my, Nothing tastes sweet, wet, salty and dry, all at once, ...oh my, I love pi!
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Thursday, March 14, 2019

POLITICS AS MURDER Chapter Three

I believe the best evidence is that Joseph Stalin did not actually kill his own father. But he ordered him murdered, and watched it done. The cobbler Besarion Vanovis was a known violent drunk who for years beat both his wife and son, before abandoning them. And when, in March of 1906, he was found dead on a back street in Tifil, Georgia, there were few tears shed for his demise, and police wrote it down to just another drunken brawl.  But his wound, a huge hole smashed into his skull, was just the sort of injury Stalin now insisted on inflicting upon his other old enemy, Leon Trotsky.  Stalin was very specific about the method.  In fact, contemplating such acts of terror were Stalin's favorite pastime, as the drunken ruler shared with comrades in 1923: “To choose the victim,” he told them, “to prepare the blow with care, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then to go to bed....there is nothing sweeter in life.”.
After the raid of 24 May, the American Socialist Workers Party tried to raise funds to improve the defenses at 19 Avenida Viena (above), but were only able collect $2,250. Trotsky had previously been approached by Harvard University to donate his papers. And he now had two reasons to close the deal quickly, to protect his own life, and to move his papers to where Stalin could not destroy them. In exchange for his communications and notes between 1917 and 1937, Trotsky was to be paid $6,000 cash.
The money already collected was used to make certain that all windows facing Morelos Street (above) were bricked up, as were the doors in the portico which opened on Viena Street. The windows that remained were now guarded by iron bars. Wooden interior doors, which had proved easily smashed, were replaced with steel.
On 18 June, 1940,  the Mexican Police charged two dozen members of the Mexican Communist Party with taking part in the raid. The leader, artist David Alaro Siqueiros (above), escaped at first, releasing editorials insisting he was innocent and being framed.  But as more and more members of the raid confessed and named him as the leader, the tone of his press releases changed. Now he claimed he was not trying to kill Trotsky, but just to get him expelled from Mexico. Four months later Sisqueiros was finally captured in Jalisco. A judge was bribed to release the painter on bail, unheard of in an attempted murder case. And within 24 hours Siqueiros was in first Ecuador, and then Cuba, and then disappeared into "central America".  Most of the other members of the raid were not so lucky, and ended up serving years in jail.
It was during the confusion and trauma immediately following the 24 May attack that a old friend appeared at the Viena Streeet villa, a young blond woman named Slyvia Ageloff (above).  Her sister, Ruth, had once worked for Trotsky as a typist, and both sisters had met the Old Man and Natalia during his Paris exile.  Trotsky had taken an interest in the young socialists because he was,   in the words of a close family friend,  an “experienced philanderer”.  But Natalia also found the girls a pleasant diversion, and now Slyvia was doubly so.
Sylvia  (above left) explained she had come to Mexico to visit her mysterious Canadian boyfriend, Frank Jackson (above right), who had recently started a new job in Mexico. She was welcomed to tea with the Trotskies,  Although Frank's schedule prevented him from joining them, his absence only added to his mystery.  At first the only time members of the household saw Frank was when his Buick sedan pulled to the curb to pick up Sylvia. Eventually Frank became familiar with the guards, and even agreeing to drive the house-bound Leon and Natalia on an outing to Vera Cruz.  That kindness, and a gift of chocolates for Natalia,  made it easier when Sylvia asked if Trotsky could offer some advice on a political article Frank was writing
The article which Jackson wanted Trotsky to read was titled “The Third Camp and the Popular Front”, referring to Trotsky's argument that workers must reject both capitalism and the gangster state Stalin had created.  But as he read Jackson's words in his study,  Trotsky grew uneasy.  Frank Jackson was sitting too close,  right behind him,  on the edge of his desk, with his coat folded across his lap.  Since the 24 May attack, Trotsky kept a .25 caliber pistol, always within reach on the desk top. But his reach to an alarm switch was blocked by Jackson. Besides, Trotsky found the article obvious and dull.  And after he had made comments and sent Jackson on his way, The Old Man told Natalia he did not want to see the Canadian again.
But Sylvia begged, and Trotsky agreed to read the rewrites Jackson had made.  So about 5:20, on Tuesday afternoon, 20 August, 1940,  Jackson pulled up again in front of the villa. It would be his 10th visit.  Getting out of his Buick he called up to the guard shack above the foray (above),  asking if Sylvia had arrived yet.  The guards answered no, but opened the front door without question.  Again they noted he carried a raincoat. Trotsky was in the garden, feeding his rabbits, so Jackson stepped back to the kitchen, to tell Natalia that he and Sylvia would be leaving Mexico the next day.  But Trotsky's wife had also grown suspicious of the Canadian, and asked him why he was wearing a hat and coat on such a hot day.  Jackson answered, “It might rain.”  Abruptly, Trotsky appeared and invited Jackson back to his study to read the rewrites. Natalia let them go, despite her uneasiness.
Once in the study Jackson waited only a few moments, before drawing a cut-down climbers pick ax hanging off the rear of his belt, hidden beneath his jacket.  Nervously, he wrapped his raincoat around it, and raising it over his head, drove it with all his might into the very top of Leon Trotsky's head. 
The steel point smashed through the top of the Old Man's skull, tore through the living soft layer beneath, and was driven three inches into his brain. 
Jackson said in his confession, “As long as I live I can never forget his cry ...he screamed very long, infinitely long,” Jackson had expected the man to die instantly. He carried a pistol, and a knife, but had used the axe because the NKVD said a sever blow to the head would bring instant death.  But the sound of the old man's cry terrorized the murderer, and everybody else in the villa.
As Jackson pulled the ax back out, to raise it again, Trotsky stood and turned on his assassin. They struggled over the ax, destroying much of the furniture, and throwing Trotsky's blood all around the room. (above)   The younger man managed to slice Trotsky's cheek, before the 60 year old Russian pulled the ax out of his hands. 
As Natalia and a bodyguard rushed into the room they discovered Trotsky standing over his attacker, the ax in his hand, blood pouring over his eyes. Trotsky said to his wife, “Look what they've done to me!” He told the guard he'd been shot. Then Natalia guided him out to the garden.
The guards fell upon Jackson (above),  beating him while he cried, “They made me do it. They're holding my mother. They have put my mother in jail”  When he tried to pull a pistol out of his pocket, they beat him again. Again he cried out, “They have imprisoned my mother”  Then he added, “Sylvia Ageloff had nothing to do with this.”   Then he insisted neither did the NKVD. No one ever believed him.
Trotsky was driven to two miles to Cruz Verde Hospital in Mexico City. A team of neurosurgeons operated to release pressure on his brain. His last words were, “I think Stalin has finished the job he started.” Suffering from shock and blood loss, and severe brain damage, Leon Trotsky never woke up from the surgery, and died half past seven the next evening.  He was buried on the villa's grounds, which have become a museum, dedicated to his memory.
Later, the police, led the bewildered and terrified Sylvia woman into a hotel room crowded with reporters, where she was surprised to confront Jackson (above). He began yelling, telling her to go away.  But she was under arrest.
Jackson (above, right)  later re-enacted his crime, and even admitted to being Jacques Mornard. And under that name he was convicted of murder, and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He served every day of it,  if under luxurious conditions, with female companionship, and servants, all paid for by Stalin's  NKVD.
We know now that Leonid Ettingon told Ramon Mercader just before his final meeting with Trotsky, that if he failed to murder the Old Man, his mother Caridad Mercader (above) , would be sent to a gulag in Siberia.  After Trotsky was dead, Caridad was ordered back to Moscow, where Stalin himself presented her with the Order of Lenin.  The honor was tainted when she realized she would never be free again. Twelve years after the murder, Mexican police finally pierced Ramon's disguises, and his true identity was finally revealed.  Caridad knew that not only  had she turned her own son into a murderer, she would have been arrested and likely executed by Soviet NKVD if he ever talked. She became a drug addict, her heroin supplied by the NKVD.
Joseph Stalin, perhaps the greatest thug of all time,  died in his own bed on 5 March, 1953,  likely poisoned by the head of his NKVD, Lavrentiy Beria.  Beria was arrested and executed on 23 December, 1953 -  just another gangster rubbed out.  That left only the flotsam floating behind to record the damage the gangster had done.
Ramon was released from prison in May of 1960, and traveled immediately to the Soviet Union where he was honored and rewarded for his loyalty and silence. He would never reconcile with his mother (above), who said she was “only good for destroying capitalism, but no good for building Communism.”   She hated living in the Soviet Union,  and left soon after her son returned, dying in Paris in 1975.   Her son, Ramon, died three years later, in Havana, Cuba.  His last words were reported as, I hear it always. I hear the scream. I know he’s waiting for me on the other side.”  
And Seva, Trotsky's grandson, going by the name Esteban Volkov (above),  still lives in Mexico City,. As of 2019, he was the custodian of the Trotsky Museum (the Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky)  in the villa in which the old man died.  Esteban still suffers from occasional nightmare of his grandfather's brutal murder. He told a British newspaper, I still remember looking through the open door and seeing my grandfather lying on the floor with his head bathed in blood and hearing him tell somebody to ‘keep the boy away, he shouldn’t see this'.  I always thought that was a sign of his humanity. Even in a moment like that he was worried about me.”  And to a point, I'm sure that was true. However,  no one should doubt that given the opportunity, Trotsky would have been just as brutal as Stalin. It is the nature of the beast.
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