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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.)

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 19 Feb 2016

Diana West’s “The Big Conservative Dictionary of Donald Trump, 2nd Edition”

Historian Diana West writes

“Unveiling a work in progress, The Big Conservative Dictionary of Donald Trump.
The fun part about The Big Conservative Dictionary of Donald Trump is that it is brought to you by those erudite conservatives who, some even between birthing the stink bombs below, endlessly deplore crudeness and ‘tone’ in simply scads of elevating sermons and television lecture-bytes. (See ‘Rudeness Is not a Conservative Value,’  ‘Against Trump,’ etc.).”

The Trump Insurgency has already changed the national conversation about America’s future: now focusing on legal and illegal immigration, one-sided sovereignty-ceding trade deals, and the grave dangers of importing Jihadists.

The venomous tone of the “conservative” establishment,  a.k.a. Conservatism, Inc., shows their well-grounded fear that they will no longer be able to shape the national conservative narrative.

Click here to read author West’s dictionary in progress!

 

 

 

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 03 Feb 2016

Report On The Trump Ground Game — And The Larger Importance Of Getting It Right!

Politico’s Ben Schreckinger today reports here in “Trump resists staff calls to change coursethat – –

“In the lead-up to Donald Trump’s loss in Iowa, staffers sought additional funding for campaign infrastructure and were denied. Now, six days from the New Hampshire primary and looking for his first win, Trump is still refusing to shake up his ground game.”

Read the entire post.

We cannot second-guess Trump’s Grand Campaign Strategy with the information we have.

Our gut, however, tells us that from what we have seen in our part of the forest (Maryland and Virginia), more talent and resources would be most helpful.

But this brings us to the larger picture of the Trump Insurgency, or better, the hopes for an American Reformation he has raised throughout the nation.

These hopes — for the return of our sovereignty through control of our borders, management of our legal immigration, trading arrangements that clearly benefit us; restoring our economy to benefit ordinary Americans; rebuilding a robust national defense while distinguishing between selected foreign actions that are our business and avoiding the many entanglements that are not our business — have taken on a life of their own.

From conservative patriots ranging from Phyllis Schlafly here to senator Jeff Sessions here to Ann Coulter here, to thousands of Americans who have lined up across America to hear Donald Trump, they are deeply invested in the future he has evoked.

Trump is now the steward of these widely held hopes — almost as if he were already in public office.

The message to  Trump: understand as you make your tactical decisions that your campaign has become a national movement to begin to resuscitate a seriously endangered United States.

The future of your fellow Americans depends on your careful judgment.

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 01 Jan 2016

The Omnibus: The Moral Failure of the House Conservatives — Did They Even Try To Derail The Omnibus Express?

The left-leaning Politico got it right when they declared “Conservatives give Ryan a pass on budget deal they despise” —

“But unlike past fiscal battles, when lawmakers took shots at GOP leaders and tried to tank bills, this time conservatives are largely holding their fire. Even as they vow to oppose the package, many are still praising Speaker Paul Ryan’s handling of the $1.1 trillion spending bill and $680 billion in tax breaks.” (Highlighting Forum’s)
“Virginia Republican Dave Brat, a Freedom Caucus member who also sits on the budget panel, said Ryan has also gained support because he has been ‘credible on regular order’ — Congress-speak for empowering committees and rank-and-file members — and has already teed up the budget process for the beginning of 2016, a starting point unheard of in recent years.
‘The end product here is just cleaning the barn; it’s a disaster,’ Brat said of the spending and tax deal. ‘We’re breaking our pledge on the budget caps to the American people, we’ve lost fiscal discipline, and we’re throwing it all on the next generation.’
But in the same breath, Brat praised Ryan: ‘Not only is he saying the right things, he is lining it up to do the right things … and then leadership can’t hijack the budget at the end of the year and throw in the kitchen sink, which we just did.’
Praise from members of the conservative flank is a sign that they believe Ryan (R-Wis.) is trying to chart a new course in his nascent speakership. The conservatives feel more included in the process and said Ryan’s staff has been vocal about wanting their feedback. But the lawmakers are also planning to watch the speaker closely in 2016, when they say he’ll have more control over the appropriations process and Boehner can’t be blamed.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

But PowerLine’s Paul Mirengoff has a sharper perspective in his “GOP leadership caves on Gosar Amendment”–

“From the Politico article, it’s clear that Freedom Caucus members like that Ryan is giving them face time. This represents the triumph of vanity over principle. Ryan is playing these folks and they seem happy enough to be played. (Highlighting Forum’s)
Ted Cruz likes to talk about the ‘Washington Cartel’ — the leaders from both parties who, he says, make sure business continues as usual, to the people’s detriment. Cruz’s rhetoric seemed extravagant to me, but now I wonder whether it is apt.”

Last week Mirengoff added further insights in his “The problem with Speaker Ryan in one headline”–

“[Amber] Phillips’ [WP] article does a good job of explaining how Ryan managed to sell out conservatives without drawing the ire of his conservative colleagues. She demonstrates the problem with House conservatives in two paragraphs:
Ryan managed to negotiate a spending bill with Democrats in the same manner and with largely the same outcomes that Boehner likely would have. But Ryan did it without earning the same kind of vitriol from the right flank of his party that Boehner likely would have. The group on the right didn’t like the spending bill, and many didn’t vote for it, but they didn’t call Ryan names for negotiating it with Democrats.
Knowing he was at risk of being compared to the politically toxic former speaker during these negotiations, Ryan did his best to subtly draw contrasts with Boehner outside of them — Boehner smokes and drinks; Ryan works out every morning. Boehner stacked powerful committees with his allies; Ryan opened the positions up to the whole House.
Apparently all it takes to turn House conservatives into poodles is a morning workout and the promise of ‘openness.’ Amazing.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Who Voted Against The Consolidated Appropriations
Act of 2016 &
The Rule Enabling Its Consideration?

Take a look who voted no on these two bills:

Think about this. If just 40 of the 95 Republican members (42%) who voted against the bill itself had earlier voted against the Rule (together with the 183 Democrats who did so), they might well have brought the Omnibus Railroad to a halt.  

The reasonable and publicly defensible objective would have been to enact a further continuing resolution until mid or late-January (as Americans for Limited Government urged), allowing both the members of the Congress and the public carefully to examine and consider this enormous legislative package.

Daniel Horowitz summed up the Omnibus problem in his “Paul Ryan’s 11 Christmas Gifts to Obama–

“At 1:34 on Wednesday morning [December 16], the party of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan dropped their Christmas package off at the White House lawn in the form of a 2,009-page omnibus spending bill and a 233-page tax subsidy bill.  The House plans to vote on the tax bill today and the spending bill tomorrow [December 18].  The enormity of this betrayal is breathtaking. At the same time, however, it perfectly illustrates why the American people are done with the Republican Party as currently constituted, as witnessed by the direction of the presidential primary.  Amazingly, many ‘D.C. conservatives’ are giving Paul Ryan a pass.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Perhaps even a seriously organized pushback of House conservatives against rushing this monstrous Omnibus to approval might have failed — with Nancy Pelosi getting enough Democrats and Ryan enough Republican Poodles to get the House to approve a Rule giving the green light to the Omnibus Railroad before Christmas.

But if House conservatives had pushed back hard against the GOP leadership on the Omnibus, whatever the outcome, they would have kept their credibility — and their honor — for the future.

* * * * * * * * *

For readers’ quick reference, the following articles make it very clear what this Omnibus should have accomplished, and suggest just some of the damage already identified in that lamentable measure.

“By locking in the President’s refugee, immigration, and spending priorities, Ryan’s bill is designed to keep these fights out of Congress by getting them off the table for good. Delivering Obama these wins–and pushing these issues beyond the purview of Congress–will suppress public attention to the issues and, in so doing, will boost the candidacy of the Republican establishment’s preferred presidential contenders, who favor President Obama’s immigration agenda.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

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