Feed on Posts or Comments 29 June 2017

Category ArchiveFirst things . . .



First things . . . Richard Falknor on 29 May 2017

Any Future For Memorial Day? The Trump Presidency Can Provide Us Cover–But Grass-Roots Patriots Must Do The Hard Work Of Restoring America’s Sense Of Our History

The speeding cultural decay of universities, colleges, and high schools makes any future understanding of — or respect for — Memorial Day less and less likely without a strong push-back from the grass roots.

The difference between this year and the last several years is that Donald Trump’s November 8, 2016 election victory provides cultural — and possibly Federal — cover to begin removing Cultural Marxism (known to many of us as “Political Correctness”) from the Education Cartel.

This Trump “breathing space” can allow the beginning of a vigorous restoration of the proper teaching of our history. And not only restoring the understanding of our history for coming generations, but the expunging of all manifestations of Cultural Marxism from the 8th grade through teacher education.

None of this will happen, of course, unless the patriotic grass-roots organize state by state and “raise the consciousness” of their GOP politicians on the deadly civic threat posed by the Education Cartel.

Way back in 2014 on Memorial Day, we wrote – –
“Memorial Day: Time To Reacquaint Ourselves With Our History”


“We must abandon the naive faith that with enough money, education, or good intentions we can change the nature of mankind so that conflict, as if by fiat, becomes a thing of the past. In the end, the study of war reminds us that we will never be gods. We will always just be men, it tells us. Some men will always prefer war to peace; and other men, we who have learned from the past, have a moral obligation to stop them.” —Victor Davis Hanson

Barbary Wars 1804: Navy Lieutenant Stephen Decatur Boarding Tripolitan Gunboat by DM Carter. (Click on image.)

Barbary Wars 1804: Navy Lieutenant & Eastern Shore Native Stephen Decatur Boarding Tripolitan Gunboat by DM Carter. (Click on image.)

Conservative thinker Victor Davis Hanson wrote in his “Why Study War”  (click here)–

“Military history teaches us about honor, sacrifice, and the inevitability of conflict.”

Classicist and historian Hanson explains –

     “democratic citizenship requires knowledge of war—and now, in the age of weapons of mass annihilation, more than ever.”

But, says professor Hanson here, about today’s widespread absence of college courses in military history–

“Those who want to study war in the traditional way face intense academic suspicion, as Margaret Atwood’s poem ‘The Loneliness of the Military Historian’ suggests:
‘Confess: it’s my profession
T
hat alarms you.
This is why few people ask me to dinner,
though Lord knows I don’t go out of my
way to be scary.’”

Chosin Reservior:Chinese Prisoners

Chosin Reservoir: Chinese Soldiers Taken Prisoner by the U.S. 7th Marine Regiment, December 9, 1950, Photo by Sgt. Frank C. Kerr/USMC/National Archives and Records Administration via Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (Click on image.)

Much of this we posted last Memorial Day. Today the pillars of our culture are under even greater siege. As time passes, our military and constitutional traditions seem more frail, in large part because too few Main Street Americans have been taught them in any serious way. 

Perhaps this 2014 Memorial Day can be a time for conservatives to contrive ways to restore the study of our military history, our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers to taxpayer-supported curricula.  Surely no one should leave high school today without the grounding that Americans of 1914 had in these basics of self-government.

Too great a task to fight the Education Cartel and local school boards?  Vastly easier than the one these brave Americans faced in Korea at the Chosin Reservoir in December 1950.

Where To Continue, Or To Begin Our Study?

For citizens and teachers in universities, in high schools, among home-schoolers, and in all walks of life– scroll to the bottom of Hanson’s City Journal article here to read his helpful guide –

  “Studying War: Where to Start”
“While Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, a chronicle of the three-decade war between Athens and Sparta, establishes the genre of military history, the best place to begin studying war is with the soldiers’ stories themselves. E. B. Sledge’s memoir of Okinawa, With the Old Breed, is nightmarish, but it reminds us that war, while it often translates to rot, filth, and carnage, can also be in the service of a noble cause. Elmer Bendiner’s tragic retelling of the annihilation of B-17s over Germany, The Fall of Fortresses: A Personal Account of the Most Daring, and Deadly, American Air Battles of World War II, is an unrecognized classic.”

To understand how the American constitutional system – the commander-in-chieftaincy of the U.S. president – can work effectively in wartime, the narratives on Abraham Lincoln in Eliot A. Cohen’s Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime (another Hanson recommendation) are eye-openers even for those otherwise knowledgeable about American history.

In addition to Hanson’s magisterial list, we would recommend two challenging books–

Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully;
The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread the Strategic Realities of World War II by John Mosier.

 In our view, the study of war, together with our Constitution, is a lifelong march for citizens, but one essential to the freedom of our Republic.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Readers may wish to visit these earlier Memorial Day posts –

Memorial Day 2011: Honoring A Fading History?
To Keep Faith, We Must Teach Our History
Telling the WWII stories of so many valorous Americans | Scroll down to update!”

Bataan Airfield 1942. 24th Pursuit Group. P-40E Warhawk.

Philippines. Bataan Airfield 1942. 24th Pursuit Group. P-40E Warhawk. (Click on image.)

“We’re the battling bastards of Bataan;
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces
And nobody give a damn
Nobody gives a damn.”
–Frank Hewlett 1942

Today in 2017 the Trump Movement not just the Trump White House will have to bear the laboring oar.

As we warned our fellow Trumpers last year, his election will be just the beginning of a long and often contentious struggle to restore American values.

And tell our comfortable GOP incumbents: in times like these, Tom Paine is still right–this is no place for “the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot.”

 

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 06 May 2017

“It’s ‘Feed My Sheep,’ Not ‘Feed My Sheep To the Wolves’”— Stephen Coughlin Unmasks Interfaith Dialogue Movement

Activists warn of the continuing growth today of so-called interfaith-dialogue groups — reportedly blind to Islamic Supremacism in the United States. Consequently we are re-posting SUSAN FREIS FALKNOR’s December 10, 2015 review of  Stephen Coughlin’s illuminating Bridge Building to Nowhere! Susan Falknor explained: Coughlin spells out the codes that make it easy for an Islamic scholar to pronounce a message that reassures a listening Catholic bishop, but which, to Muslims with a hard-line Koranic education, rings with a subtext of implacable hostility. The self-imposed, self-censoring rules of engagement of interfaith dialogue cajole non-Islam participants to betray their own religious identities, traditional values, and their moral responsibility to protect their own flock from error. (UPDATE May 7, 2017 Robert Spencer “The Catholic Church is punishing U.S. priests for speaking the truth about Islam and jihad”)
Bridge Building to Nowhere: The Catholic Church’s Case Study in Interfaith Delusion, by Stephen Coughlin, Center for Security Policy, Civilization Jihad Reader Series, Vol. 6, 2015. (Click here or here for entire monograph.)
“Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” —Paragraph 253, Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, November 24, 2013.
“In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear” —from  “London,” by William Blake, 1738

Pope Francis and Grand Mufti of Istanbul

“In a gesture designed to highlight his commitment to inter-faith dialogue, Pope Francis conducted a silent prayer alongside a senior Islamic cleric in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque on Saturday. Facing Mecca, Francis bowed his head in prayer for several minutes while standing next to Istanbul’s Grand Mufti Rahmi Yaran. November 29, 2014. Photograph: AP” [Source: The Guardian.]

In this monograph from Center for Security Policy, CSP senior fellow Stephen Coughlin — author, attorney, decorated intelligence officer, and specialist on Islamic law — exposes how the interfaith movement has enlisted the Roman Catholic  hierarchy into the service of the dangerous deception that “Islam is a religion of peace.”

Coughlin’s 96-page booklet was originally an appendix to his magisterial Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad. (Click here for our review of the book.)

The new monograph explains, in the words of Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney—

“…how Jihidist groups like the Muslim brotherhood and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation take calculated advantage of liberal mindsets among Catholics — from the lay faithful through the clerical hierarchy and all the way to the Vatican.”

Coughlin, himself a Roman Catholic, evokes the doleful clanking of what poet William Blake called the “mind-forg’d manacles” within the Catholic interfaith movement today.

“This is not unique to Catholics,” Coughlin assures us, “as this scenario is playing itself out in many Protestant, Evangelical and Jewish communities as well.”

Cardinal Dolan radio show

Smelting Blake’s “mind-forg’d manacles”: “’Religion is not the locomotive of conflict,’ said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the Cordoba Initiative and the man whose efforts to build an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan five ago were thwarted after a bitter controversy over what foes labeled the ‘Ground Zero mosque.’”

As Coughlin explains, the self-imposed, self-censoring rules of engagement of interfaith dialogue cajole non-Islam participants to betray their own religious identities, traditional values, and moral responsibility to protect their own flock from error.

One dialogue pitfall, for example, “only allows discussions of Islam that Muslim partners affirm ‘as accurate.’”

The Roman Catholic partners blindfold themselves when they “pledge ‘to remain committed to being friends when the world would separate us from one another.’” (From Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims, International Institute of Islamic Thought

Coughlin describes dawah (Islamic outreach to people of other religions) as a form of “stealth Jihad.”

Dawah is much more than just the Islamic equivalent to proselytizing, and a competent due-diligence review would reveal this. The duty of dawah is doctrinally associated with the duty of jihad and concerns actions taken in preparation for jihad.”

For Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the ultimate goal of jihad is to impose shariah (including Islamic blasphemy laws, cover-up dress for women, and such traditional punishments as stoning and whipping) everywhere in the world.

Christian & Jewish Religious Leaders
Have a Duty to Learn the Islamist Codes

Coughlin spells out the codes that make it easy for an Islamic scholar to pronounce a message that reassures a listening Catholic bishop, but which, to Muslims with a hard-line Koranic education, rings with a subtext of implacable hostility.

  • The hard-line Muslim clerics—with authority derived from Islamic scriptures and enforced by violent, pro-Sharia movements—draw on the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, which gives predominant weight to the later, jihad-praising, passages of the Koran. In their minds, these later passages expunge any earlier verses that prescribe tolerance toward “the People of the Book.” But they do not tell their interfaith partners this. 
  • For these hard liners, revelations that occur later in time are superior to earlier, so Mohammed superseded the earlier “prophets” Abraham and Jesus Christ. Any Jews or Christians intransigent enough to cling to their traditional faiths after the appearance of the Prophet are condemned.
  • The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (God as a unity of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) is abhorrent to the Muslim hard line, which also holds that the concept of a Messiah—the fully human, fully divine son of God—is utterly blasphemous to the basic oneness of Allah.
  • “They do blaspheme who say, ‘Allah is Christ the son of Mary.’ But said Christ: ‘O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Whoever joins other gods with Allah, – Allah will forbid him the garden and the Fire will be his abode.” (Qur’an 5:72)
  • In November 2014, the Grand Mufti of Istanbul pleased Pope Francis by quoting a Koran passage that describes the birth of Jesus, the “son of Maryam.” Yet, says Coughlin, that passage concludes with reporting a first miracle by the holy child—a marvel not found in the Gospel scriptures—“…his express denial, as an infant, of his divinity. ‘He [‘Isa (Jesus)] said: ‘Verily, I am a slave of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.’” (Qur’an 19:30)
  • The Koran’s version of Judgement Day acknowledges Christ returning to the world, but only to pronounce damnation on those who believed in him while rejecting Mohammed, the one true Prophet of Allah.

Shepherds Who Cannot Recognize the Wolf

Why do these doctrinal issues—obscure to many Americans—matter?

Stephen Coughlinbuygenericmds.com

Stephen Coughlin briefs on “Abrogation & the ‘Milestones’ Process,” at the Center for Security Policy. Watch YouTube of briefing.

In the long term, ignorance of how Christianity is treated in Islamic thought sows basic confusion. Such “dislocation of faith,” is a major goal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Civilization Jihad.”

Even in the immediate term, however, as defense expert Sebastian Gorka explains, “no Islamist organization or movement can launch is efforts without first establishing its ideological legitimacy within the corpus of Islam.”

Gorka acknowledges the new importance of social media and peer-to-peer contact in recruitment of American jihadists, but also declares—

“It is the key failing of U.S. efforts to fight terrorism that we have not understood the importance of ideology, that every act by jihadists must be justified by radical clerics, jurists or scholars. Indeed, one can argue that the ideologues are more important than individual operational leaders. Field commanders, as we have seen again and again, are replaceable, but ideas live on. They are much more difficult to defeat.” [Highlighting Forum’s.]

The Catholic leadership, Coughin laments, has shirked their responsibility of examining and discerning evidence; they have even abandoned basic rules of reason that would enable them to judge the proposition, “Islam is a religion of peace” as a logical impossibility (that is, “A” cannot equal “not-A”). Or, as he puts it more simply—

“Shepherds who cannot recognize the wolf are not good shepherds.”

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 25 Apr 2017

Agents of Red Influence, Fellow Travelers, and Today’s Dhimmis: How Accommodation to Stalin From the New Deal through WW II Blinds Us To Today’s Islamist Threat

Diana West spelled out in 2013 how the long march of Cultural Marxism severely weakened America and the West. She wrote we now live in “not a West that simply fails to appreciate itself anymore but rather a West that isn’t itself anymore.” The ultimate battleground in this struggle, however, is the individual mind, heart, and moral soul, she declared. Now our Cold Civil War worsens by the day — from Berkeley to the Ivy League. Consequently we are re-posting SUSAN FREIS FALKNOR’s June 24, 2013 review of West’s American Betrayal.

American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, Diana West, St. Martin’s Press (New York), 2013.

In this landmark analysis, Diana West surveys the great penetration of our national government by Communist agents of Soviet Russia, documented from early defectors, all the way through KGB archives published at the end of the Cold War.  

Author West explores this unholy territory—not as some intellectual exercise–but to re-direct the public searchlight on today’s great totalitarian penetration by the agents of Islam and its all-encompassing code of Shariah.

Diana West
Diana West

Because the history of Communism is not routinely taught, she believes Americans are largely ignorant of its history of staggering bloodshed (at least 20 million killed under the Stalin regime), and its history of terror in Russia and abroad.

And because we are still in denial about our appeasement of World War II ally Joseph Stalin, Americans have “no context” to assess today’s totalitarian challenge: Islamist Supremacism and Shariah.

Our “deferential attitude toward the two ideologies is deeply and tragically related,”  columnist West argues.  

“It was a soul-selling deal our forefathers made with Communism as represented by the Soviet Union. We as their heirs, must come to terms with it. We will continue to pay until we do.”

West’s book argues that our government’s “failure to speak freely about Islam”—a policy that many of us have found so baffling in recent years—can be best understood as a case of the unacknowledged sins of the fathers being visited upon their blindsided children.

Her task is ambitious; her sweep of crucial but too-little-known facts of history is impressive; and her arguments are eloquent and witty.

Soviet Penetration of America

West does not talk much about those Americans in the 1940s and 1950s—the millions of American Christians, anti-Communist Jews, political conservatives, ordinary business owners, patriotic elected officials, and sidelined anti-Soviet U.S. diplomats—who did in fact recognize and speak out about Communism’s moral threat.

Understandably, she decries the narratives that won out, becoming dominant in our culture—the great successes of the Left to misrepresent, canonize, or smear various historical actors.

The Left, for example, has been largely victorious in painting three major mid-century political leaders—who did speak out on communism and its penetration—with derision (Barry Goldwater); dismissiveness (President Ronald Reagan); and bogey-man-like horror (Senator Joseph McCarthy).

She also tears the mask off the still-largely-successful project to shield the deeply flawed World War II leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his dark reliance on his top aide Harry Hopkins, later shown to be a secret Soviet agent (Venona Secrets, Romerstein and Breindel).

She points to America’s “lavish and almost indiscriminate” Lend Lease aid to the Soviet Union, to which Roosevelt gave precedence over supplying American campaigns and British allies.  Modern and vitally needed fighter airplanes, for example, intended for Singapore (which fell to the Japanese in February 1942) were diverted to Russia.

West, whose father fought in the D-Day landing, asks whether the decision to make the invasion landing in Normandy represented a very unwise concession to Stalin.  The better alternative, she suggests, would have been Winston Churchill’s recommendation to continue into south central Europe from Italy and via the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. This would have constrained the Soviet march across eastern Europe.

West asks whether both the Normandy Invasion and the Stalin-backed policy of unconditional surrender (the Allies declining to work with disaffected but also anti-Communist German generals) might represent, at heart, two highly successful Soviet “influence operations.”

Unconditional surrender, she writes, lengthened the war for years, increasing the toll of death and destruction; made it possible for the Third Reich to complete the “final solution” of exterminating the Jews; and enabled the post-war Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe.

Fast forward four decades: In negotiations at the end of the Cold War in 1989, president George H.W. Bush ceded to Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev what amounts to a self-imposed gag order—setting “a scrupulously nonjudgmental and even supplicating tone” in talking about our Cold War victory.

All these policy failures, West argues, amount to complicity with the murderous tyranny of the Soviet Union throughout its history and a cover up of the stunning successes of Soviet wartime penetration of America.

Because of this cover up, we have been largely dependent on invaluable gifts of intelligence information—such as documents from disaffected elements in the Russian secret police–and from our own intercepts many of which are finally available in the Venona Papers—for the inside story of wartime Soviet penetration.

And not facing up to the implications of our elite’s complicity in this lengthy cover-up increased our own vulnerability to a stealthy collectivism.

“You don’t have to win to win,” West dryly remarks.

Dhimmis and Fellow Travelers:
Totalitarianism Hijacks Morality Itself

Both Communism (with its disciplined operatives and true-believing fellow travelers) and Militant Islam (with its highly placed enablers of Civilization Jihad), seek to cloud our society’s moral judgment.

Civilization Jihad is the Muslim Brotherhood’s own term for its most ambitious influence operation.

For this campaign to make progress, West points out, Shariah apologists have to conceal the substantial, shocking evidence that Islam is not a religion of peace: Islam’s key role in the American slave trade; the ongoing practice of slavery today; forced conversion; death for apostasy; censorship; child rape; pillage and military conquest; and most recently, the advent of “no-go zones” ceded by police in European countries.

The War on Definitions

A key weapon of the totalitarian: instilling in our discussions the “conditioned reflex of rejection [of forbidden words], becoming instantly derisive and scoffing in disbelief”—in this case, to deny descriptive words such as “Bolshevik,” “Communism,” or “Socialism,” a place at the respectable table.

“What is being rejected,” West points out, “is definition itself, labeling, even with a factual basis.”

This “short-circuits” the thinking process, leaving us intellectually undefended.

Needed: A Personal Coming To Terms

The goal of Communism, Islam, and totalitarian systems in general, according to West, is to “suppress all individuality.”

This is done by stifling alternative points of view; attacking or denigrating those who think differently; and putting off-limits certain inconvenient concepts, such as liberty, the right to defend oneself, freedom of association, freedom of speech, and even the most basic tools of logical, evidence-based argumentation.

This diabolical perspective, she notes, has made itself dominant in our colleges and universities, as well as in much of our public discussion.

The long march of Cultural Marxism severely weakened America and the West, the author argues.

We now live in “not a West that simply fails to appreciate itself anymore but rather a West that isn’t itself anymore.”

The ultimate battleground in this struggle, however, is the individual mind, heart, and moral soul.

It is West’s comprehension of this individual battleground that makes this book so personal, so passionate, and so powerfully eye-opening.   

In The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene described the role of a priest in confession as “to draw [the] mind slowly down the drab passages which led to horror, grief, and repentance.” Greene thus details a purgative psychological process, something like the now so-called “stages of grief.”

To lead us along a similar transformational path is the task to which Diana West sets herself.

And that is why American Betrayal is one of those books that will change the way many of us see the world.

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 18 Apr 2017

One Man’s Patient Scholarship Exposed Stalin’s Mega-Horrors And Why Our Schools Should Reveal Them Lest This Happen Here


The moral lessons of Robert Conquest’s work are timeless. And they are more relevant than ever in today’s America beset by the planned turbulence of the Hard Left.
Consequently we are re-posting SUSAN FREIS FALKNOR’s review of October 3, 2015.

Review of:
The Great Terror: A Reassessment: 40th Anniversary Edition, 2008
by Robert Conquest

“And it should be a book to teach our emerging generations about the vigilance needed to keep our freedom—and to open their eyes to the evil that homegrown tyrants could inflict even on their fellow Americans.”

Just last summer, Robert Conquest, a great hero of the Cold War, died—on August 3.

The weapons he wielded were exacting research and a mastery of expression that marked his many works of poetry and fiction, as well as history and politics.

But Conquest will be most remembered for his comprehensive research and expose of the Soviet Union’s 1934-1939 Great Purge.

Conquest published his magnum opus first as the Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties in 1968, then as The Great Terror: A Reassessment in 1990, and then as The Great Terror: A Reassessment: 40th Anniversary Edition, in 2008.

In an August 14, 2015 obituary in National Review on Line, John O’Sullivan calls Robert Conquest, “the single most important historian of the Soviet Union and its crimes.”

To read The Great Terror is to become schooled—against all our deep-seated Judeo-Christian values—in how utterly evil a total tyranny can become.

Although it can be dizzying in its accumulated emotional effect, The Great Terror is very readable scholarly work, documented with 67 pages of notes and bibliography.

Former Margaret-Thatcher-adviser O’Sullivan continues:

“Bob’s narratives balanced the large collective truths with the small, revealing personal details of callousness. He revealed terrible crimes by presenting the evidence for them. As two other tributes illuminate, however, it was not only the truth that set readers free. It was the teller, too. Bob’s narratives balanced the large collective truths (how many millions Stalin murdered) with the small, revealing personal details of callousness (after signing more than 3,000 death warrants, Stalin went to the movies). He revealed terrible crimes by presenting the evidence for them.
He refuted the casuistical Marxist justifications of such crimes with more evidence and without raising his voice. He had an instinct for detecting dishonesty and a talent for exposing it — qualities evident in his literary criticism as well as in his historical research. He himself claimed what the facts supported, and not an iota more.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout)

The Guilt-By-Confession System

As Conquest relates, for those accused, arrested, grilled, and tortured, the Great Terror operated through a guilt-established-by-confession system.

For the accused were compelled to name co-conspirators, who then must be arrested and made to confess and to name others as well.

The accused party luminaries often ended in major public “show trials.”

Most of the accused, however, received “administrative” judgements, with lengthy sentences to forced-labor camps or immediate execution by shooting.
The purge targeted party officials, but also professional groups (military officers, diplomats, churchmen, historians, poets, weather forecasters), and leaders (party members, cadre, plant managers); ethnic nationalities (Polish, Ukrainian, Georgian)—as well as pick-up categories such as the wives and children of enemies of the state, or anyone who had contact with foreigners.

Kirov’s Murder: “Crime of the Century”

In his 40th edition preface, Conquest presents evidence to show that Stalin arranged the 1934 assassination of prominent Bolshevik leader Sergei Kirov, and then used the sensational murder as a pretext to begin the Great Terror.

Conquest explained

“This killing has every right to be called the crime of the century. Over the next four years, hundreds of Soviet citizens, including the most prominent political leaders of the Revolution, were shot for direct responsibility for the assassination, and literally millions of others went to their deaths for complicity in one or another part of the vast conspiracy which allegedly lay behind it.”

Kirov’s death, in fact, was the keystone of the entire edifice of terror and suffering by which Stalin secured his grip on the Soviet people, declares Conquest.

Conquest allows that “the circumstances of the Kirov murder on 1 December 1934 are still disputed,” but he argues that the weight of evidence attests to Stalin’s central role.

And Today?

In the World War II years, some Americans understood the nature of the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, more people did.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, as well as Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, became touchstones.

But do today’s Americans know much about the Soviet Leviathan?

Now television history documentaries of varying depth typically cover the crimes of Hitler’s Germany (against Jews, Christians, dissenters of all kinds, and conquered peoples).

But there is very little television portrayal of the malevolent regime of Joseph Stalin.

The slogan “Never Forget” properly evokes Jews under Hitler, but there is no slogan recalling the deaths of millions during Stalin’s Terror.

“Exact numbers may never be known with complete certainty,” writes Conquest, “but the total of deaths caused by the whole range of the Soviet regime’s terrors can hardly be lower than some fifteen million…. Yet the worst of the terror was not the killings, however excessive, but the regular accompaniment throughout of torture.” 

The voices of the Hard Left ignore if not “justify” the truly monstrous record of Stalin’s regime.

For example, read here about the “New York Times Moscow correspondent whose dispatches covered up Stalin’s infamies.”

In her essay on Conquest’s death, historian Diana West points to the denialist strain of the American “intelligentsia” when they discuss the Soviet regime.

“To be able to ‘deal with’ the evil of Communist extermination history, then, as Conquest writes, is to be judgmental as well as inquisitive. This suggests a continuum between such fruits of curiosity and academic labor—the repugnant facts of Communist extermination history—and our judgment of them.”

Reminding us of the scorn that met Ronald Reagan’s characterization of the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” West notes—

“Reagan’s exhortation to face ‘the facts of history’ was a broad challenge, his reference to ‘the aggressive impulses of an evil empire’ an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ moment. The cataclysmic histories of Ukraine, Finland, Bessarabia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Korea, East Germany, Vietnam, China, Cuba, Angola, and on and on were not the shining raiment becoming an empire of peace. Reagan was challenging us to acknowledge the implications of this fact, to fight the paralysis of ‘moral equivalence,’ and see not two bullies in a playground, as the East-West struggle was repetitiously framed, but one aggressor seeking to impose a totalitarian system over as much of the world as possible. Good and Evil.”

Robert Conquest’s life shows that the dedication of a few or even one person to the truth of a matter can make a global difference.

The Great Terror remains a testament to the strength of truth established by scholarship and evidence.

It also provides a perspective on the unnatural appetite of many on the American left for a “total elimination of dissent,” as Rush Limbaugh puts it.

And it should be a book to teach our emerging generations about the vigilance needed to keep our freedom—and to open their eyes to the evil that homegrown tyrants could inflict even on their fellow Americans.

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 16 Apr 2017

In Memoriam: Susan Freis Falknor July 17, 1941 — Easter Day April 16, 2017

Susan Freis Falknor

My wife and co-publisher Susan Freis Falknor died this afternoon at our home in Bluemont, Virginia after a brief illness.

Susan, a professional editor and researcher, was essential to the quality of all our posts and wrote our book reviews.

She drew on her substantial experience in nonprofit think tanks (such as the Urban Institute and the American Enterprise Institute) and for-profit information companies.

Moreover she made possible our related activity — the Maryland Center-Right Coalition (the Maryland Thursday Meeting) — which we guided through 2014.

Holding degrees in Humanities and English from the University of Chicago and the University of Maryland, Susan was also a published poet.

Most important, Susan was a devout Christian: “I AM the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.”

 

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 16 Apr 2017

A Blessed Easter To All — April 16, 2017!

 

“ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.”

(“This Collect is to be said daily throughout Easter Week.”)

(From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer)

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 09 Jan 2017

The Trump Reprieve—And The Indispensable Role Of The Trump Movement!

The extent and intensity of the pushback against president-elect Donald Trump — even before he takes office on Friday, January 20 — tells patriots what America barely escaped from a Hillary Clinton victory: completion of the Obama transformation of America!

And not just more open borders and more job-killing trade deals and the acceleration of Muslim refugee importation. 

But a Clinton Administration intent on using Federal power to impose even more Cultural Marxism on our state and local governments!

Think consent decrees on police departments (part of the “war on cops”) and the widespread implementation of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

Had Mrs. Clinton won, moreover, the House Republican leadership was prepared to move ahead on Big Immigration.

Only a Donald Trump could have put together a campaign strong enough to break the Clinton Machine — and to start to reshape a Republican Party whose leadership had become globalist and whose first instinct had been to capitulate to a Red-Green-Axis-oriented White House.

Thanks to Trump’s election, we have a reprieve from the destructive Obama-Clinton sentence for Americans.

How Should Patriots Use This Providential Reprieve To Restore America?

That is where a Trump Movement comes into play.

For the Trump election is hardly the end of the battle.

It is rather the start of our own long march through our government and our institutions to restore our historic values.

Tomorrow confirmation hearings begin for senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States.

Trump supporters everywhere should be leaning on their United States Senators to confirm Mr. Sessions.

There are more than purely legal achievements in Sessions’ strong record–

Back in April 2015, Hudson Institute senior fellow John Fonte wrote about Jeff Sessions–

“Clearly, the political leader of the conservative populist coalition is the indefatigable Senator Sessions. Day in and day out, for the past two years, Sessions has been issuing memos and talking points, giving speeches, and making media appearances explicating a coherent populist message. The Alabamian is a conviction politician. He is not ‘positioning’ himself for some strategic advantage; rather, he favors limiting (not eliminating) legal immigration because he believes doing so is best for the American people.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Don’t count on your local Republican Party to use this precious reprieve to advance patriots’ goals. 

Typically they restrict their role to electioneering for GOP incumbents, not acting as engines of accountability.

We can rarely push them to ask incumbents questions like “why did you vote for last year’s Paul Ryan budget?” — or get local GOP meetings to discuss exigent concerns like accelerating Muslim importation into the US.

Last month we explained–

Trump Patriots acting through their own well-organized statewide organizations can have a strong voice for the new president’s campaign priorities that will be heard by their Congressional delegations.

VDARE’s James Kirkpatrick elaborates

“Similarly, within the GOP, the critical need is to develop a crop of ‘Donald Trump Republicans’ at the local and state levels, running in his name and on the populist platform he campaigned for. Even if Trump himself does not explicitly endorse insurgent candidates, this can be explained away as simply something he has to do because of his position as head of the GOP. The debate should always be framed as though Trump wants populists to take over the GOP—even if he says nothing of the kind. This is a Narrative the Main Stream Media will be eager to believe and to magnify.”

The Trump Reprieve is our last chance — let’s get to work!

Remember the Other Team — from both parties — has not stopped working. They are not going to allow a second reprieve if the first fails.

 

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 26 Mar 2016

The Collect For Easter Week — The Gospel for Easter Day

“The Collect”

“ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.”

“The Gospel. St. John xx. 1.”
“THE first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home”

1928 — Book of Common Prayer

 

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 20 Mar 2016

Riots & Demonstrations: A Prediction From Rush!

Last Friday, Rush Limbaugh told us what to expect and why from the Hard Left (today’s Democratic Party and their vast network of agitators and  media megaphones)–

“You know what I told you I think’s gonna happen after this election, if a conservative Republican wins this election?  Whoever the next president is, is going to be harassed and harangued every day by the usual leftist suspects.  And if even element of the Obama agenda is attempted, if we try to get rid of it, Obama himself is gonna be on TV with his buddies in the media trying to defend it.  It’s not going to be for the faint of heart.  That’s why what’s happening in our campaign right now, this whole Republican primary, is tiddlywinks compared to what the future’s gonna be if we succeed in beating these people back. 
It’s tiddlywinks, and people have got to know how serious this is.”

Continues Limbaugh

“You’re worried about riots right now? You haven’t seen riots until somebody tries to unwind Obamacare.  You haven’t seen riots until the next Republican president takes dead aim at numerous Obama policies — illegal immigration, amnesty — until he takes dead aim at all of Obama’s executive orders. You haven’t seen riots.  They’re already promising us that it’s gonna happen. 
The Occupy Wall Street crowd, they’re already promising these things.  They’re bragging about the biggest riots anybody’s ever seen in the summer to protest Trump.  They’re gonna protest us no matter what, whoever on our side wins.  And what worries me is that we do not have a Republican Party apparatus that is equipped and prepared for this.  It’s a genuine concern of mine.  I don’t like using the word “cave,” but it’s patently obvious they’re not much into conflict.  It’s pretty clear that they are willing to compromise what they believe so that the media doesn’t call them names.  Well, we don’t even know what name-calling is yet. 
People are involved in this right now like it’s an academic exercise.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.)

Limbaugh translated: today’s GOP apparatus shrinks from the sting of battle!

quote-americans-love-to-fight-all-real-americans-love-the-sting-of-battle-george-s-patton-142694

If today’s Hard Left isn’t seriously attacking major GOP politicians, the Left has rightly figured that those politicians are all hat (self-styled “common-sense conservatives”) and no cattle (lacking the grit to plan successful action against the Hard Left’s agenda).

 

 

 

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 20 Feb 2016

Trump Iraq War Criticism Can Spur Rediscovery of First Principles For American Conduct in War and Peace

One of the many benefits of the Trump candidacy is that his iconoclastic criticism of George W. Bush and the War in Iraq may open the door to a rediscovery of the first principles of our foreign policy as developed by our founding statesmen.

Instead, what we have heard on the so-called Right, are politicians’ exhortations for the U.S. president to “lead”–somewhere with vague objectives and without reference to the military budget; debates over “boots on the ground” vs. airpower in the Middle East; reckless bi-partisan Congressional bankrolling of “moderate” Muslims in the Syrian civil war (resulting in Christian deaths); and no open accounting of what we were doing in Libya (Benghazi in particular) and which members of the Congress had signed off these questionable adventures. 

Moreover reports of U.S. efforts to hold Israel back from striking Iran’s nuclear capabilities are particularly troubling.

Donald Trump’s challenge to the validity of the Iraq War has opened a long-overdue public discussion of America’s policies on war and peace from the perspective of our national interest.

Bush2_Shoe

Islam scholar (and physician) Dr. Andrew Bostom last Wednesday (click here) examined the “dangerously misguided utopian mindset” that he believes was behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq (see his “WMD or ‘Democratization’? Bush II and the Iraq Invasion”).

Writes Bostom–

“Rancor unleashed by Donald Trump’s allegations during Saturday night’s 2/13/16 South Carolina GOP primary debate has completely obfuscated sober re-assessment of the overriding motivation for the Bush II administration’s March, 2003 invasion of Iraq.
I maintain that dispassionate analysis reveals Iraq was invaded on the basis of a dangerously misguided utopian mindset aggressively inculcated within eight days of the cataclysmic September 11, 2001 jihad terror attacks. Moreover, the abject failure of the Bush II administration to eliminate Iran’s much more tangible nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat—clearly evident before, during, and after the Iraq invasion—objectively validates my argument.”

So what was the driving U.S.  policy behind invading Iraq after the Jihadist attacks of September 11, 2001?

Bostom points the finger at what he dubs the “Lewis Doctrine.”

“Notably absent WMD references, Peter Waldman’s methodical, well-sourced Feb 3, 2004 Wall Street Journal investigative report (‘A Historian’s Take on Islam Steers U.S. in Terrorism Fight  Bernard Lewis’s Blueprint—Sowing Arab Democracy—Is Facing a Test in Iraq’) stands as important confirmation of the overarching ideology which spurred the March, 2003 Iraq invasion. Waldman meticulously documented how the so-called “Last Orientalist,” nonagenarian professor Bernard Lewis, exerted profound influence in shaping the Bush II administration’s ‘Islamic democracy agenda’—invading Iraq being the sine qua non manifestation of this ‘Lewis Doctrine.’ Lewis, as Waldman notes, began evangelizing his ‘Doctrine’ to the highest level Bush II administration officials just over a week after 9/11, accompanied, significantly, by Ahmad Chalabi, a likely ‘vector’ of Iranian influence.”

Author Bostom continues–

“Eight days after the Sept. 11 [2001] attacks, with the Pentagon still smoldering, Mr. Lewis addressed the U.S. Defense Policy Board. Mr. Lewis and a friend, Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi –now [circa 2/2004] a member of the interim Iraqi Governing Council—argued for a military takeover of Iraq to avert still-worse terrorism in the future, says Mr. [Richard] Perle, who then headed the policy board…
Call it the Lewis Doctrine. Though never debated in Congress or sanctified by presidential decree, Mr. Lewis’s diagnosis of the Muslim world’s malaise, and his call for a U.S. military invasion to seed democracy in the Mideast.… As mentor and informal adviser to some top U.S. officials, Mr. Lewis has helped coax the White House to shed decades of thinking about Arab regimes and the use of military power. Gone is the notion that U.S. policy in the oil-rich region should promote stability above all, even if it means taking tyrants as friends. Also gone is the corollary notion that fostering democratic values in these lands risks destabilizing them. Instead, the Lewis Doctrine says fostering Mideast democracy is not only wise but imperative.” (Highlighting Forum’s).

Readers may wish to consider the entirety of Dr. Bostom’s post here.

Congress’s Corker-Cardin Capitulation

In a previous article, Bostom blamed Republican leaders in Congress for not effectively opposing Obama’s dangerous Iran deal.

He presents Congress’s role in the Iran deal as a dereliction of duty to protect the country–a gross example of this Congress’ malfeasance and abdication of power.

Declared Bostom in hisCruz, Rubio, Paul: All abandoned ‘advice and consent'”–

“By voting for the Corker-Cardin amendment, S.615, ‘Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015,’ all three Republican senators running for president – Ted Cruz, Rand Paul (who just ‘suspended’ his presidential campaign) and Marco Rubio – relinquished their constitutional authority to manage one of the most important global security matters of our time.
Back in March of 2015 I supported the only member of the Senate who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Sen. Tom Cotton, and his March 9, 2015, ‘Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.’ Cotton’s letter, endorsed by 46 other GOP senators, informed the theocratic totalitarians of Iran – and reminded U.S. citizens – that, “In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.” Commendably, and consistent with the ‘advice and consent’ power of the Senate, Sens. Cruz, Paul and Rubio, co-signed Sen. Cotton’s letter. As signatories to the Cotton letter, these senators and presidential aspirants were cognizant – then – of the anti-constitutional Obama administration approach to such a dangerously destabilizing nuclear ‘agreement,’ shorn of senatorial review and debate, and mandatory two-thirds approval vote by that august body.”

The Blue Ridge Forum also addressed the Corker-Cardin disaster (click here) in our July 15 post “Iran Surrender — Worse Than Munich: Congress Greased The Way By Approving Corker Scheme With Huge Majorities Bigger Than Chamberlain’s in 1938.”

And we remind readers that constitutional scholar Andrew McCarthy termed here the Corker-Cardin scheme a “constitutional perversion” and explained here “Why GOP Congressional Leaders Support the Iran Deal in Fact — Follow the Money.”

First Principles: Drawing Sharp Lines between America’s Business and
That of Others, as Well as between Peace and War

Underlying both Bush’s and Obama’s foreign policy errors is the failure to identify America’s interest in making war and peace.

Many of us know Angelo Codevilla from his magisterial 2010 essay “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution” (click here) in the The American Spectator: “The only serious opposition to this arrogant Ruling Party is coming not from feckless Republicans but from what might be called the Country Party — and its vision is revolutionary.”

In his 2014 book, Angelo Codevilla has written an essential guide (click here) to putting America’s foreign relations on a wise basis: To Make and Keep Peace: Among Ourselves and with All Nations

“Achieving ‘a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations’ is statesmanship’s proper goal. It is also naturally indivisible, because peace  with foreigners guards tranquillity among fellow citizens and nothing so incites domestic strife and fosters the loss of liberty as do war’s despotic necessities. Domestic harmony is as precarious as it is precious, everywhere. But nowhere as much as in America, our nation of many nations,’  where so much diversity offers so much occasion for division. Nor are any people so jealous of liberty as are Americans. Fear of war’s effect on peace and liberty at home is the reason why our founding statesmen, beginning  with George Washington, were willing to sacrifice so much for peace and agonized so deeply over war.”

The thinking of our leaders is quite different today–

“Often do our statesmen contemplate commitments to conflicts, but seldom how to end them in ways that benefit the American people.”

How did we stray from these first principles of foreign relations?

Codevilla explains–

Among later generations of statesmen, however, other concerns gradually obscured that healthy caution. The illusion of serving noble causes by making foreign quarrels our own has lured the past century’s statesmen to abandon their predecessors’ sharp distinction between war and peace and to fight wars mindless of war’s first principle: that it is an extraordinary event conceived to end in peace. The result, intended to be ordinary and permanent, has been violent ‘nation building’ abroad plus ‘homeland security’ in America, enforced by a national security–homeland security complex whose very size fits it for use as an instrument of partisan strife.Peace among ourselves and with all nations’ is beyond the horizon of twenty-first-century American statesmen.”

Codevilla urges–

 We cannot know whether America can ever live in peace again, what kind of peace we may win for ourselves, or what peace we may end up having to endure. But we do know that our statesmen and academics have ceased even to think about such things. Our purpose is to rekindle such thoughts.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.)

In his review of Codevilla’s book, David P. Goldman (Spengler) catalogues the current consequences our national journey “from hyperpower to hyperventilator”–of a decade of wrong-headed foreign policy (click here) —

“It isn’t just that the emperor has no clothes: the empire has no tailors. In the decade since President George W. Bush’s 2003 ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech, America has gone from hyperpower to hyperventilater. The Obama administration and Republican leadership quibble about the modalities of an illusory two-state solution in Israel, or the best means to make democracy bloom in the Middle East’s deserts, or how vehemently to denounce Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, everything that could go wrong, has. Europe’s frontiers are in play for the first time since the fall of Communism; Russia and China have a new rapprochement; American enemies like Iran have a free hand while traditional American allies in the Sunni world feel betrayed; and China has all but neutralized American sea power within hundreds of miles of its coast.”(Highlighting Forum’s.)

Let’s pray that the Trump Insurgency also spurs ordinary Americans to demand we return to first principles on war and peace.

(Post has been edited since its publishing on February 20, 2016.)

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