Communism Through Rose-Colored Glasses.
Bret Stephens writes: “In the spring of 1932 desperate officials, anxious for their jobs and even their lives, aware that a new famine might be on its way, began to collect grain wherever and however they could. Mass confiscations occurred all across the U.S.S.R. In Ukraine they took on an almost fanatical intensity.”
I am quoting a few lines from “Red Famine,” Anne Applebaum’s brilliant new history of the deliberate policy of mass starvation inflicted on Ukraine by Joseph Stalin in the early 1930s. An estimated five million or more people perished in just a few years. Walter Duranty, The Times’s correspondent in the Soviet Union, insisted the stories of famine were false. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for reportage the paper later called “completely misleading.”
How many readers, I wonder, are familiar with this history of atrocity and denial, except in a vague way? How many know the name of Lazar Kaganovich, one of Stalin’s principal henchmen in the famine? What about other chapters large and small in the history of Communist horror, from the deportation of the Crimean Tatars to the depredations of Peru’s Shining Path to the Brezhnev-era psychiatric wards that were used to torture and imprison political dissidents?
Why is it that people who know all about the infamous prison on Robben Island in South Africa have never heard of the prison on Cuba’s Isle of Pines? Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? Do the same people who
rightly demand the removal of Confederate statues ever feel even a shiver of inner revulsion at hipsters in Lenin or Mao T-shirts?
These aren’t original questions. But they’re worth asking because so many of today’s progressives remain in a permanent and dangerous state of semi-denial about the legacy of Communism a century after its birth in Russia.
No, they are not true-believing Communists. No, they are not unaware of the toll of the Great Leap Forward or the Killing Fields. No, they are not plotting to undermine democracy. Read the rest of this entry »
President Obama broke all the boundaries—and now Clinton and Trump are following suit.
Kimberley A. Strassel writes: Twenty-two years ago, my esteemed colleague Dan Henninger wrote a blockbuster Journal editorial titled “No Guardrails.” Its subject was people “who don’t think that rules of personal or civil conduct apply to them,” as well as the elites who excuse this lack of self-control and the birth of a less-civilized culture.
“Can such leaders be trusted to administer Washington fairly? Of course not. That guardrail is also gone. Mr. Obama egged on his IRS to target conservatives, used his Justice Department to exact retribution on politically unpopular banks, and had his EPA lead an armed raid of an Alaskan mine.”
We are today witnessing the political version of this phenomenon. That’s how to make sense of a presidential race that grows more disconnected from normality by the day.
“Mr. Obama doesn’t need anyone to justify his actions, because he’s realized no one can stop him. He gets criticized, but at the same time his approach has seeped into the national conscience. It has set new norms.”
Barack Obama has done plenty of damage to the country, but perhaps the worst is his determined destruction of Washington’s guardrails. Mr. Obama wants what he wants. If ObamaCare is problematic, he unilaterally alters the law.
If Congress won’t change the immigration system, he refuses to enforce it. If the nation won’t support laws to fight climate change, he creates one with regulation. If the Senate won’t confirm his nominees, he declares it in recess and installs them anyway. “As to limits, you set your own,” observed Dan in that editorial. This is our president’s motto.
“Mrs. Clinton routinely vows to govern by diktat. On Wednesday she unveiled a raft of proposals to punish companies that flee the punitive U.S. tax system. Mrs. Clinton will ask Congress to implement her plan, but no matter if it doesn’t. ‘If Congress won’t act,’ she promises, ‘then I will ask the Treasury Department, when I’m there, to use its regulatory authority.’”
Mr. Obama doesn’t need anyone to justify his actions, because he’s realized no one can stop him. He gets criticized, but at the same time his approach has seeped into the national conscience. It has set new norms. You see this in the ever-more-outrageous proposals from the presidential field, in particular front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
“Today’s divisive president never misses an opportunity to deride Republicans or the tea party. He is more scornful toward fellow Americans than toward Islamic State. This too sets new norms.”
Mrs. Clinton routinely vows to govern by diktat. On Wednesday she unveiled a raft of proposals to punish companies that flee the punitive U.S. tax system. Mrs. Clinton will ask Congress to implement her plan, but no matter if it doesn’t. “If Congress won’t act,” she promises, “then I will ask the Treasury Department, when I’m there, to use its regulatory authority.”
“Think what you may about George W. Bush’s policies, but he respected the office of the presidency. He believed he represented all Americans. He didn’t demonize.”
Mrs. Clinton and fellow liberals don’t like guns and are frustrated that the duly elected members of Congress (including those from their own party) won’t strengthen background checks. So she has promised to write regulations that will unilaterally impose such a system.
“For his part, Mr. Trump sent the nation into an uproar this week with his call to outright ban Muslims from entering the country. Is this legally or morally sound? Who cares! Mr. Trump specializes in disdain for the law, the Constitution, and any code of civilized conduct. Guardrails are for losers.”
On immigration, Mr. Obama ignored statute with executive actions to shield illegals from deportation. Mrs. Clinton brags that she will go much, much further with sweeping exemptions to immigration law. Read the rest of this entry »
ANTI-BAEZ: THE JANET GREENE SONGBOOK
Janet Greene’s recorded musical output was limited to just eight songs during her anti-Communist heyday working for Dr. Fred Schwarz as Music Director at the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC). These “golden period” tunes were produced by Del Katcher and released as singles in 1966 on Chantico, the CACC house label. The tracks were also issued collectively, as an album side (Janet Greene Sings), on the Schwarz box set “What Is Communism?,” a collection of his lectures on the Red Menace (Chantico UB2160; 1966). Ironically, it is Greene’s musical contribution to Schwarz’s spoken word miasma that makes the set a collector’s item today, not the paranoid ruminations of the good doctor. The blatantly confrontational titles that Greene cut during this era (Commie Lies, Comrade’s Lament, etc.) were packaged with covers featuring the sunny and optimistic visage of the artist. It is a delightfully subversive contrast that makes the music all that more enjoyable.
[Check out the CD “Freedom Is A Hammer: Conservative Folk Revolutionaries Of The Sixties” at Amazon – Only 3 left in stock – more on the way]