Sunday, January 26, 2014


We are determined that nothing shall stop us from sharing with you all that we have … Generations unborn will owe a great measure of freedom to the unconquerable power of the Soviet people. Harry Hopkins, Madison Square Garden Speech (Quoted from, Tim Tzouliadis, The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia, Penguin, 2008, 284)

Stalin gives the impression of a strong mind which is composed and wise.  His grown eyes are exceedingly kind and gentle.  A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him. …  A wonderful and stimulating experiment is taking place in the Soviet Union…  The Soviet Union is doing wonderful things… Joseph Davies (Quoted from The Forsaken, 120, 142)

Henry Wallace is a pacifist, a dreamer who wants to disband our armed forces, give Russia our atomic secrets, and trust a bunch of adventurers in the Kremlin Politburo.
Harry Truman on Henry Wallace (Quoted from The Forsaken, 279) 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt died seventy-two years ago two months after returning from his grueling journey to Yalta. With considerable unease one contemplates the famous photographs of a grey and gaunt FDR sitting between Churchill and Stalin, staring back at the camera with ghostly eyes sunken and lost, a dark cloak wrapped around his frail body.  Captured on film is a spent man leaning on death’s door doing exactly what? – negotiating the fate of millions of people with one of the 20th century’s most cunning, deceitful and brutal personalities. Off to the side and out of camera range, providing counsel and support was ... Alger Hiss.

FDR is the closest thing Americans have to a modern, secular saint, the man who guided America through the Great Depression and saved the world from Adolf Hitler. His reputation is guarded by an impenetrable protective halo, the greatness and heroism of his Presidency forever guaranteed. To speak disparagingly of FDR puts one on the fringe. 

FDR’s halo shines particularly bright for Democrats for whom there is no higher praise in the political arena than to be likened in any way to the 32nd President of the United States. Shortly after the 2008 election, Time magazine’s cover featured an eye-popping photo-shopped picture of President-elect Barack Obama accoutered in a signature FDR pose, teeth clenching the cigarette holder at a jaunty angle punctuating a broad, confident grin, head topped with the well-recognized fedora, perched casually behind the wheel of an open 1930s convertible ready, so to speak, to steer America out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Under the picture was the caption, “The New New Deal.”     

Image result for obama as fdrEight years later with the vapors of Obama-mania long dissipated, a stagnant economy unemployment rate the new norm, and “Hope & Change” a forgotten campaign inanity, no one should confuse the  President with the 32nd, at least as secular saint. Obama’s descent from the state of his 2008 divinity (“He is sort of a God….” Evan Thomas, Newsweek) to fallible flesh is easily explained and sadly understood. But the continued awe and reverence for Franklin Roosevelt, entrenched and undeniable as it is, is somewhat harder to comprehend.
Whether FDR’s policies prolonged the Great Depression remains an extremely involved and complicated historical-political debate and his legacy and reputation in some relative sense rise and fall with the movement of that controversy. However, with the availability of primary source material in the form of declassified official U.S. documents and material from the former Soviet Union archives, FDR’s formulation and conduct of American foreign policy up to and including World War II must be judged as nothing less than a monumental disaster.  His terrible judgment and decisions with in dealing with Stalin and the Soviet Union condemned tens of millions of people to decades of servitude and tyranny.        

The premises for making this case can be stated in two simple sentences, their truth, well documented and indisputable.

Joseph Stalin is one of history’s most brutal, lethal dictators.
FDR trusted Stalin as a decent, honorable man.

Once the God of the Communist world was finally and safely dead in March 1953 even his own protégés after a respectable time denounced him and evicted him from the mausoleum on Red Square.  Thanks to the great pioneering work of historians like Robert Conquest, later confirmed by opening of Soviet archives, we all know that Stalin was one of the most prolific mass-murderers in history, surpassing in sheer numbers his partner in the rape of Poland from 1939-1941, Adolf Hitler.  Moreover, while Hitler’s homicidal designs were focused primarily on Jews, Stalin’s terror-command state cut a much wider swath, was of a longer duration and spawned prolifically lethal emulators like Mao, Kim Il Sung and Pol Pot.    

It was FDR’s government, considerably influenced by the scurrilous, lying New York Times journalist Walter Duranty, which gave diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union in 1933. This was just the time when Stalin’s cadres were en masse forcibly extracting grain from the farmers in Ukraine. Stalin needed hard currency in order to capitalize Soviet industries through grain sales on the international markets. The result was mass-starvation, a terror-famine, as Conquest called it, which killed millions of Ukrainians including women and children. Driven to insanity by their savage hunger the Ukrainians began eating grass, bark, dirt and finally each other.  Country roadsides were littered with wasted corpses while the communist-guarded granaries were filled and readied for export.**  At that time there were from the outside a few witnesses to Holodomor, the Ukrainian word for the Stalin-made holocaust. Truth-tellers like Gareth Jones and Malcolm Muggeridge observed the starvation first hand and tried to tell the world, but the “blind-eye” was FDR’s preferred modus vivendi for the Soviet Union with the assist of organs like the New York Times and, even worse, with close personal advisors who assiduously enabled FDR’s view of Stalin as a tough but trustworthy sort of guy who only wanted the best for his own people.

In 1943 William Bullitt, the first U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1933-1936), a man who had had extensive first-hand experience with Soviet diplomacy and all of its duplicity and treachery tried to disabuse FDR of his benign view of Stalin. According to Bullitt’s memoirs FDR’s response was:

Bill, I don’t dispute the logic of your reasoning. I have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man.  Harry says he’s not and that he doesn’t want anything in the world but security for his country, and I think if I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.***

One could not imagine a more stunning and jaw-dropping revelation of an utterly willful, delusional mind. A “hunch” no less that trumped more than a decade of evidence of systematic tyranny and perfidy on an unprecedented scale. The “Harry” in this retort was, of course, Harry Hopkins, who was FDR’s “White House live-in” chief foreign policy advisor during WWII.  It is difficult to know with complete certainty if Hopkins was a Soviet agent or merely a dupe. In her book, American Betrayal, Diana West makes a strong and compelling case for the former.  In any case, Hopkins’s approach to Stalin, which also became FDR’s, was open-ended, obliging, obsequious, admiring even. Hopkins encouraged FDR to open wide the spigots of Lend Lease, and … to ask in return?  Not much. At least this is what the President seemed to think.  In return, so the “reasoning” went, Stalin would like him. Whether or not Stalin liked anyone, we know for a fact that close proximity to him was frequently lethal, as his second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Nikolai Bukharin, and many of his old Bolshevik colleagues discovered. The Studebaker trucks, heavy machinery and materials that FDR was sending to the Soviets to help them fight the Germans were also deployed in the Stalin’s Gulag to transport and maintain the slaves.       

The ambassador who replaced William Bullitt in Moscow was none other than Joseph Davies who, shortly after his arrival observed the first of three major Stalin-choreographed show trials and to the amazement of his own staff, including George Kennan, put his imprimatur on the farce.*  Much was made in the international press coverage of the high U.S. diplomatic presence at the trial, a legitimizing touch greatly appreciated by Stalin.* Davies spent the three years of his ambassadorial assignment fawning over and patronizing Stalin who was at the very time conducting a reign of terror that decimated the leadership of his own party and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people.  His own wife, Marjorie Merriweather Post, years after her return to the U.S., reported hearing from the windows of her Moscow apartment the screams of the victims being carried off late at night by the NKVD.*    

At this same time a heartbeat away from the Presidency was another Stalin-o-phile, Vice President Henry Wallace. Wallace’s contribution to U.S. Soviet foreign policy and to FDR’s fantasy view of Stalin was to treck through the Gulag and render high praise for healthy, hardy “pioneers’ mining the gold and cutting the timber in Siberia.  There are no more similar countries in the world than the Soviet Union and the United States of America,” enthused Wallace.  Free people, born on free expanses, can never live in slavery.”* After his NKVD-managed 25 day tour of the vast Gulag slave colony, Wallace sent an open letter addressed to Comrade J.V. Stalin to convey his “deep gratitude for the splendid cordial hospitality shown to me.”* Stalin was nothing if not cordial and hospitable, especially to gullible, hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, American politicians who would wildly rave about their Potemkin excursions and tell everyone back home how just how swell things were for the lunch pail gang in the Socialist Workers' Paradise.     

We now remember Stalin for his masterminding and executing of three monumental works of mass murder and slavery: the terror-famine, a holocaust claiming millions of victims; the terror-purge of 1936-38 that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people; and the Gulag, Stalin’s slave-empire, a hellish, murderous prison system, purposely designed and operated so as to subject his own people by the millions to maximum suffering and degradation and to forcibly extract as much labor from them as possible while simultaneously turning them into corpses.

But we should also remember that in these efforts, Stalin had the support and assistance of a triumvirate of stooges, Hopkins, Davies and Wallace, men who looked the other way, men who worked to provide American aide and assistance to  Stalin far beyond what he needed to fight off his former partner in depredation, Hitler. Wallace journeyed though the Gulag and managed to remain tenaciously oblivious to its reality. Davies sat in a front row seat in the Hall of Mirrors observing the Show Trials, yet somehow, like Wallace trooping through Kolyma missed its obvious features and purpose. Hopkins shuttled back and forth between Stalin and FDR, working tirelessly to give Stalin everything he wanted, eyes tightly closed to the many scenes and ample evidence of some of the worst atrocities in modern times.      

For FDR it is time to take him down from the pedestal and drop the reverence, time to look long and hard at the fools and Quislings he installed in high places and trusted. It is also time to write history that speaks forthrightly to his determined, invincible ignorance with regard to all things Russian. In the face of overwhelming evidence of Soviet finger prints on the 1940 Katyn massacre of 22,000 Polish officers in Smolensk, FDR preferred to echo Stalin’s version. “[T]his is entirely German propaganda and a German plot.  I am absolutely convinced that the Russians did not do this.” *** He seemed to be “absolutely convinced” of many things that turned out to be the opposite of the way they actually were which means that his judgment was deeply flawed and that his decisions were tragic.  One does wonder if FDR had lived to see the fate of the Poles, the Baltic people, and the rest of the European countries that fell into the Soviet maw: would his ignorance and arrogance turned to regret?

*See, Tim Tzouliadis, The Forsaken: an American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia, Penguin, 2008
**See, Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, Oxford, 1986.
***Quoted from Diana West, American Betrayal, the Secret Assault on our Nation’s Character, St. Martins, 2013, 199, 212
Kudos to Tim Tzouliadis and Diana West for their significant work on FDR's stooges.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Barack Obama -- the Perfect American Stalinist

"If they bring a knife, we'll bring a gun"
                                   Barack Obama

The ignominious American decampment from Vietnam and the subsequent collapse of the South Vietnamese government and capitulation to the Communists coincided with the death of anti-Communism in the U.S. The parallelism is striking—military withdrawal abroad; cultural surrender at home. The many Marx-quoting, Castro- and Mao-admirers who occupied chairs in America’s best universities (e.g. the “Alger Hiss Chair of Social Studies,” Bard College) made careers out of pooh-poohing the supposed evils of Communism and smearing anti-Communists. Whitaker Chambers was a psycho, the Rosenbergs were framed, McCarthy’s Communists-in-the-State-Department was a paranoid fiction, and Ho Chi Minh was the George Washington of Vietnam. Anti-communism was now the accoutrement of rubes and crackpots bearing all the marks of unsophistication, narrow-mindedness and chauvinism, and could be responded to with simply a shrug, a sneer or mockery. Anti-Communism was a failure to comprehend the profound dimensions of America’s own moral shortcomings. Communism, of course, had fallen short of its egalitarian, humanistic aspirations, but America needed to be called to account for the growing recognition of the multitude of its past transgressions – especially slavery and segregation.

Because the Communists excelled at pretending to be virtuous and at hiding their iniquities, it came as a big shock to the sophisticates in the West with all of their admiration for central planning when the Soviet Union suddenly collapsed in the early 1990s partly under its own dead weight of stagnation, corruption and incompetence and partly pushed by Ronald Reagan and Star Wars. Seventy plus years of Marxist-Leninist rule had turned Russia into a third world slum and thus revealed the essence of Stalinism – utopian promises; dystopian reality – a “Socialist Workers Paradise” whose vodka-besotted workers could not even produce a decent pair of shoes or blue jeans that anyone wanted to wear.

A Stalinist world is a universe of posturing and pretending where everything is the opposite of what it is officially declared to be. “Plenty” in reality was penury. The promise of liberation from exploitation unfolded in the Gulag and the creation of a massive system of lethal forced labor. The reality of equality became a caste system with the Party apparatchiks and bosses exempting themselves from the burdens and reserving the best of everything for themselves. Stalin’s much vaunted anti-Fascism was no less than a mirror of Hitler’s genocidal mass murder, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps and brutal secret police. From Moscow to Beijing to Havana to Pyongyang it was the same, depressing storyline, a self-glorifying Stalinist proclaiming the perfection of his reign, while the people he ruled over were poor, hungry, scared and longing to escape.          

With the collapse of the Soviet Union America enjoyed in the aftermath an illusory sense of triumph over Communism. The U.S. Cold War “victory” over the Soviets was completely overblown. The economic and technological superiority of the U.S. was vindicated, but culturally the story was much different. American institutions had “flipped”, so to speak. A conceptual framework and vocabulary absorbed from Marx and Rousseau by America’s intelligentsia had been imperceptibly positioned as a filter that altered the basic perception of American history and American society. Institutions came to be viewed not as civilizing, ameliorating forces that helped to keep destructive human impulses in check and to provide large spheres of personal freedom, but rather as instruments of repression, domination and exploitation. 

Such instruments thus had to be dismantled, a process that required “consciousness raising,” on behalf of the exploited and dominated, helping them recognize their plight through an “unmasking” of the beneficiaries of the repressive order. Universities, schools, mainstream churches, the entertainment industry, all embraced a poly-thematic program that focused on the grievances of various “victim-populations”, on the promotion of subjective self-realization through escape from the confines of traditional norms, and the need to permanently atone for the un-erasable guilt of slavery and segregation. Social fragmentation and atomization followed with the explosion of divorce and single parenthood, the normalization of soft-core pornography, rampant drug trafficking and abuse, and a thorough coarsening and vulgarizing of the popular culture.

Eight years into the 21st century, only 17 years after the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union, the country that fifty years earlier loathed the very notion of a Communistic-ruled society with its militant atheism, collectivism and unconstrained, ubiquitous secret police, elected as President a man whose personal history, instincts and aspirations are Marxist. As early as twenty years ago it would have been inconceivable that an individual with such extensively documented antagonism and hostility toward the history and institutions of the U.S. would be seriously considered for any national, high office, much less the Presidency.

Obama’s autobiography is a study in self-absorption, self-pity and racial resentment with no detectable appreciation or affinity for anything distinctively or uniquely American. His life’s influences, both personal and intellectual, cited and acknowledged by Obama himself, or undeniably obvious, are all Marxist – Frank Marshall Davis (Dreams from My Father), “Marxist professors,” “Frantz Fanon” (Dreams from my Father), Jeramiah Wright (Obama’s twenty year pastor and mentor), Bill Ayers (Obama’s colleague on the Chicago Annenberg Exchange and suspected ghost-writer of Dreams of My Father). Obama’s influences and associations were all brought up by his critics and opponents during the 2008 campaign but the revelations made no impact. Why? Well, because Communism as a benign, well-intentioned system of social order had become a reflexive, mainstream attitude. While generations of school children had learned all about the Jewish Holocaust, Ann Frank and Hitler’s racism, very few ever heard about the three to five million Ukrainians starved by Stalin, his order for the murder of 22,000 Polish officers at Katyn, Mao’s Great Leap Forward that killed tens of millions of Chinese or Pol Pot’s murder of as many as a fifth of the Cambodian people. Americans were inundated with movies, books, articles and documentaries on the evils of the Nazis but the far more vast crimes of Communism drew little attention. The slant on Communism from the likes of the New York Times has been its idealism and humanism and the heroics of its “anti-Fascism.”  When Fidel Castro finally expires, his New York Times obituary will go on for pages about universal health care in Cuba, ignoring the fact that for decades that while many people have died trying to get out of Cuba, no one has died trying to get in.

When Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” in a speech in 1983 the outrage from the intellectual class was clamorous and predictable. Eight years later Reagan was vindicated as the Poles, Baltic peoples, East Germans and other countries long subjugated by the Soviets ecstatically threw off the yoke. Reagan’s critics were aghast at the “amiable dunce’s” (courtesy of Clark Clifford) anti-Communism, but people who actually had to live under Communist rule acted out the truth of Reagan’s charge.  Even the suggestion that any of the many aspects about Obama’s past radical associations and perspectives elicited scorn and incredulity from the mainstream media and the opinion makers.     

Obama’s assent to power was neither a fluke nor an accident. His election was inevitable, a consequence of the cultural triumph of the soft Marxism that had been seeping into the corners of America for decades. By 2008 America’s dominant culture-shaping institutions – the schools and universities, the popular culture and entertainment complex, the main stream media and the news syndicates – were solidly Left wing propaganda outlets that: (a) peddled an amoral hedonism steeped in a patois of multiculturalism and moral relativism, and, (b) relentlessly promulgated the rationale for a system of moral blackmail that made white America permanent hostage to the guilt of slavery and de jure segregation. Racism was transformed into something far more complex and multi-faceted than it was originally understood to be, a bigoted belief in the in the innate inferiority of members of a different race.  Racism now permeated every crevice of American society. Protean and ubiquitous it could be direct, indirect, overt, covert, systemic, institutional and only practiced by white people.  Moreover, racism was the only offense such that the mere accusation alone was sufficient to convict. Denial is just more evidence of racism’s invincibility. In 1973 “micro-inequities” were discovered by a Ph.D. from MIT, defined as “as “apparently small events which are often ephemeral and hard-to-prove, events which are covert, often unintentional, frequently unrecognized by the perpetrator, which occur wherever people are perceived to be different.”

One can look back to the 1960s and observe the unfolding of an ironically perverse inverse social dynamic: as the practices of racial discrimination dropped away and attitudes of racial bigotry and white supremacy atrophied and diminished, racism eventually elbowed out every other social malady, becoming ubiquitous, defining America’s character and dominating its history.  The “white man’s burden” had become “white privilege.”         

The ubiquity of American racism gave birth to a new industry comprised of well compensated individuals who are experts in helping make our institutions and work places, as they say, “more diverse,” the main obstacle of which is racial prejudice and bigotry. Some are appointed to multicultural or diversity vice presidencies at universities or companies where they mandate and supervise “sensitivity” training programs and search for “microaggresions”. Others, like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are more ambitious free lancers, consummate publicity seekers who show up anywhere there is a likelihood of spinning a “hate crime” or exploiting racial tensions and make incendiary speeches. Their reputations and livelihoods have flourished by intimidating white people with their racial accusations and extorting apologies and concessions. The America they like to portray is permanently frozen in the early 1960s and every county sheriff is Bull Connor. Every career incentive and motivation for their ilk is for America to be viewed as it was in 1963 because in America 2014 there is no need or demand for people with their “talents”.         

Obama was the right candidate at the right time.  First, he was black and as such a candidate of redemption offering white voters the opportunity to prove, finally, that they were free of racism, a deep moral shame that for decades they had been constantly reminded that they had made and perpetuated.  Second, and equally important, he was a black man of the Left, which made him an immediate object of adoration by the elites who inhabited those spheres of influence in the media, political commentary and opinion shaping, and the entertainment industry.  He was proclaimed by these supposedly mature observers as “a sort of God,” a “Lightworker”, a “genius,” etc. Obama’s political assent unfolded rapidly into a cult of personality, which was particularly remarkable given his utter lack of executive experience and political accomplishments, his record of trimming and going-for-the-groin Chicago-style politics. Certainly, there were plenty of highly successful, articulate and brilliant black Americans of conservative pedigree, but they did not fit the right profile and convey the message of American guilt.  These Americans were marginalized and ridiculed not because of their skin color but because they did not reside on the ideological plantation run by the Leftist overseers.                 

Obama’s 2008 campaign was a masterpiece of 21st-century Stalinism in its pretending and posturing, a gigantic head fake toward the middle of the road largely a-political block of voters, a wholesome non-threatening change agent spouting clichés no one could disagree with – his administration would be the most transparent, competent, smart, accountable, compassionate, etc., etc. – and a projection of cerebral self-control and GQ cool.  He was also lucky to have an aging harridan and an over-the-hill incompetent as his major opposition in the primary and fall election.   

Now some years after the launching of "Hope and Change" it is obvious to all but the blindly partisan that Obama has turned out to be the polar opposite of what he promised he would be. The post-racial, post-partisan miracle man of 2008 was a mirage. Racial tensions and political polarization are the worst since the Vietnam War. Shortly before the 2010 congressional elections, Obama, dropping his ‘g’s’ told a Univision audience, “We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,” spoken like a true street organizer with a brass knuckles view of politics. His 2012 campaign, a work of pure character assassination, was the real, “If they bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun” Obama.

Obama’s Presidency is the consummation of 21st century American Stalinism. First for him politics is war, the object being not to electorally defeat the opposition but to discredit it, to destroy it. This approach is rooted in the foundational premise of Marxism, “All history is the history of class struggle.” For Obama, the opposition is a corrupted class of exploiters, characterized primarily by their greed and racism.  Such morally benighted types are not the kind of people with whom you can share power. And so the second Stalinist feature of the Obama Presidency, abuse.  Stalinists, self-perceived, are the “good guy”, the virtuous ones, the smart ones.  Those who oppose and disagree are corrupt and/or stupid, and as such deserve to be reviled.  Republican’s from the beginning of Obama’s first term were, as he called them, “the enemy.”  He routinely attributed the basest motives for their politics and policies. They wanted “dirtier air and polluted water.”  In a speech early in 2013 Obama said:

“They [The Republicans] have a particular vision about what government should and should not do, so they are suspicious about government’s commitments, for example, to make sure that seniors have decent health care as they get older. They have suspicions about Social Security. They have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat or whether we should be spending money on medical research. So they’ve got a particular view of what government should do and should be.”

This is just one of many examples of the politics of character assassination. As Peter Wehner wrote in Commentary. “During the 2012 election, Obama’s vice president said Republicans want to put African-Americans “back in chains’ while Obama’s top aides and allies implied Governor Romney was a felon and flat-out stated that he was responsible for the cancer-death of a steelworker’s wife.”

The third Stalinist feature of Obama’s Presidency is the flagrant dishonesty. Remember, Stalinism is a pretend-world where what is proclaimed and promised is the opposite of reality. In the fall of 2013 this was dramatically illustrated during the roll out of ObamaCare as thousands of Americans were being dropped from their health insurance policies and the promise of Obama was seen for what it was, a deliberate lie, calculated to ensure his 2012 re-election.  President’s weekly address, June 6, 2009: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it.  If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.  The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”  There were at least 37 documented instances where the President or his top aides made similar promises, yet when the reality of the rollout in late 2013 exposed the gross deception, Obama then lied about the lie he had told.  On November 4, 2013 he said, “We said was, you can keep (your plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.    

Anyone who paid close attention to Obama’s past in 2008 could have seen all of this coming. Unfortunately, his own party had long embraced his ideological agenda, and the mainstream media smitten with his 2004 Democratic Convention speech and delirious with prospect of a "progressive" black man in the White House seem to have decided that his personal history and his political track record really did not matter.  Obama’s 2008 election was a con job – shame on him.  His 2012 reelection was a hatchet job – shame on us. He will be gone soon; his damage will remain with us for a very long time.