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Why 9/11 still matters…and why the left would like you to forget

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I wrote this essay many years ago and have posted it several times.  The insights remain as valid today as ever.  Never forget…

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In 1923, the world was still reeling to recover from the horrors of the trench warfare of World War I as the seeds of ideological conflict were being sown in the fertile soils of this country. The Bolshevik Revolution had just gotten a foothold in Russia, so the future focal point of liberal socialism/communism was still in its infancy. Part of the liberal vanguard in this country consisted of the theologians whose slow but steady progress into the minds and hearts of the new preachers of the day eventually overcame the efforts of the likes of J. Gresham Machen and his cohorts at Princeton, much to the detriment of our present culture. In his book Christianity and Liberalism, (Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1923), this godly man made an astute observation that is most relevant for today (emphases added):

At this point is detected one of the most obvious lines of cleavage between Christianity and the liberal Church. The older evangelism, says the modern liberal preacher, sought to rescue individuals, while the newer evangelism seeks to transform the whole organism of society: the older evangelism was individual; the newer evangelism is social.

This formulation of the issue is not entirely correct, but it contains an element of truth. It is true that historic Christianity is in conflict at many points with the collectivism of the present day; it does emphasize, against the claims of society, the worth of the individual soul. It provides for the individual a refuge from all the fluctuating currents of human opinion, a secret place of meditation where a man can come alone into the presence of God. It does give a man courage to stand, if need be, against the world; it resolutely refuses to make of the individual a mere means to an end, a mere element in the composition of society. It rejects altogether any means of salvation which deals with men in a mass; it brings the individual face to face with his God. In that sense, it is true that Christianity is individualistic and not social.

But though Christianity is individualistic, it is not only individualistic. It provides fully for the social needs of man." (page 152-153)

Thus we have succinctly expressed a significant part of the foundation for liberal opposition to religion in general and Christianity in particular.  Dr. Machen then goes on to explain briefly how Christianity provides for the social needs of man, showing conclusively that Christianity addresses both the individual and the group. While not ignoring the group, it is this value placed upon the individual that separates true applied Christianity from the cultural ideologies of the day that, though claiming to meet the needs of the individual, do so through the individual’s association with the group to the exclusion of considerations of the individuals that comprise the group.

This is not God’s way. God expresses His concern, oversight, and omniscient care over His individual creatures in a multitude of ways throughout Scripture. Let me suggest one such.

Concerning the divisions of the porters: Of the Korahites was Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. And the sons of Meshelemiah were, Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Elioenai the seventh. Moreover the sons of Obededom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth, Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him. Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they were mighty men of valour. The sons of Shemaiah; Othni, and Rephael, and Obed, Elzabad, whose brethren were strong men, Elihu, and Semachiah. All these of the sons of Obededom: they and their sons and their brethren, able men for strength for the service, were threescore and two
of Obededom." (1Chronicles 26:1-8)

Chances are you’ve never heard of any of these men before. Why, you ask, did I just bore you with this obviously obscure passage of Scripture? There are many such passages listing names in the Old Testament. Those are the ones you usually speed read, or skip over entirely. Yet, if all Scripture is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and written for our admonition (1 Corinthians 10:11), what is God trying to communicate with these lists of names? Let me suggest that at least one reason these are included is because He knows each one of these people as individuals. He knows them by name and, in His omniscience, He knows all about them (just as He knows all about you, dear reader): their strengths and weaknesses, their joys and fears. God truly cares for the individual, and so should we.

The Ideology of Group

In contrast to this, the observations of Dr. Fred C. Schwarz in his book, You Can Trust the Communists (To Be Communists), regarding the historic fruit of the Marxist/Leninist ideology that is the basis of what we call liberalism today are stark (emphases added):

The record of Communism is one of recurrent fratricide and genocide. Their contempt for individual human life has known no bounds. Whether the life to be sacrificed was that of friend or foe appears to have been immaterial. The Communist Party of Russia devoured its own creators. Stalin put to death a majority of the original Bolsheviks. The Communists destroyed not only landlords and Capitalists, but peasants and workers, Kalmucks and Balts with equal ferocity. In spite of knowing this, the allegiance of many educated, apparently cultured American Communists has not been shattered. Many people are amazed that they do not turn from Communism in loathing and repulsion when confronted with its unutterable barbarism, brutality, and intellectual prostitution.

To the dedicated Communist, however, these are but the temporary necessary sacrifices which the glorious future demands. To wipe out the residual Capitalist debris is not murder but social science. Since any individual man is a mere historic accident, an undergraduate beast, it is stupid to regard him as of infinite value. It is the species and the class that are important. The Capitalist class has been rejected of history and must be destroyed.

Here is a fundamental reason why Christianity remains diametrically opposed to so much of the leftist policies that are being foisted upon Americans today by the liberals who have been allowed to permeate our country and culture. Here is a foundational reason liberals attack Christianity in the culture anytime they think they can get away with it. It is the value of the individual that, as a basic principle of biblical Christianity, forms the bedrock of our very government. The founding fathers constructed a government that has granted the maximum amount of freedom for individuals while acknowledging the need for associations of individuals into groups and seeking to provide appropriate boundaries for both while maximizing the potential for the prosperity of both. It was a monumental task that, amazingly enough, has succeeded to date. Our country has been one of the most prosperous nations on the face of the planet since history began.

And returning to Dr. Machen:

Only – and here emerges the enormous difference of opinion – the Christian man believes that there can be no applied Christianity unless there be ‘a Christianity to apply.’ That is where the Christian man differs from the modern liberal. The liberal believes that applied Christianity is all there is of Christianity, Christianity being merely a way of life; the Christian man believes that applied Christianity is the result of an initial act of God." (page 155)

The Ideology of God

The Judeo-Christian ethic places not just a high value on the individual, but also on individual responsibility, and asserts that principle throughout the Bible. Responsibility goes hand in hand with privilege. Privilege in God’s sight does not lead to coddling. Each individual is responsible for his own choices, and will be held accountable for them by a holy God. Here we see a two-fold basis for the opposition of the liberal to biblical Christianity. Not only do they not like the emphasis on individual responsibility, let alone the individual himself, but individual accountability to a transcendent Being is not to be tolerated. The herd is much more impersonal, and gives him so many others to blame for his actions.

But this herd mentality causes a dependency on the group that is unhealthy and irresponsible, so that when disaster strikes, paralysis ensues, multiplying the death and destruction. Since noone is responsible, everybody assumes somebody else is responsible, and nothing gets done. The clearest example in recent history is the stark contrast between the school buses under water in New Orleans compared to those bussing people out of Texas during the Katrina debacle.

Machen makes another interesting observation regarding the social institutions established in biblical Christianity:

The most important of such institutions, according to Christian teaching, is the family. And that institution is being pushed more and more into the background. It is being pushed into the background by undue encroachments of the community and of the state. Modern life is tending more and more toward the contraction of the sphere of parental control and parental influence." (page 154)

These ideas of the individual and the family group are connected, because it is in the family that the individual receives the best nurture as an individual that will fit him for the social. Dysfunctional families produce dysfunctional individuals which significantly diminish the society in which they participate. This is why God tells His people, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuternomy 6:6-7)

Thus, an ideology that would diminish the individual and promote the group must attack the family, and that is one of the battlefields of the culture wars today. It really does not take a village to raise a child, just the complementary input of a mother and a father, but liberals really don’t believe that, and don’t want you to do so either.

Why 9/11 Has Had Such a Visceral Impact

This Judeo-Christian ideology/anthropology of the individual provides us some insight into why 9/11 has had such a diverse impact on the psyche of this country. I would submit that it revolves around which side of the individual versus the group concept you embrace. The Islamofascists see themselves as a group, and their victims as the opposing group. Compassion for individuals is completely foreign to their mindset. Leftists in this respect are the same. They see the victims as a group (especially a group they can exploit, but that is another post) and thus we can hear outrageously hateful and hurtful tripe comparing the people who were in the Twin Towers to "little Eichmanns" simply because they worked there.

Not a single 9/11 retrospective? (vanity)But the majority of Americans, whether they are Christians or not, still have the Judeo-Christian value system in their practical daily living, and do not see those who lost their lives as a collective to be pitied or used, but a set of individuals to be known and mourned and avenged. Each body that hurtled through the air to avoid a fiery death, or that was crushed in the tons of rubble, was a unique human being created in the image of God and had an intrinsic value all their own.

And that is why we must remember 9/11. That is why we should see those horrific images on a regular basis. Until the ideology of hate that engendered that and so many other barbarisms in the world is ground into the dust bin of history, we must not forget these individuals, nor those fighting to protect us all from further such atrocities. Until those individuals who embrace this ideology of hate are reformed by truth or exterminated by force, they will not relent, and neither can we.

We must not forget. God won’t, and neither should we.

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So Deal With It, Buttercup

There is significant food for thought in this August 17th post from Doug Wilson.  I give it to you in its full glory for your cogitations.   (Emphases added to the more salient (IMHO) points.)

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There is a difference, and not a small one either, between answering an argument and responding to a tantrum. When you try to make the tantrum stop through appeasement, all you are actually doing is purchasing the next tantrum. “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: For if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again” (Prov. 19:19). It is a most unfruitful way of paying it forward.

This is why the removal of Confederate symbols and statues is a big deal. A people can decide to put up statues, and a people through their elected representatives can decide to take them down again. It might be a shame or not, depending on the symbol. But because it would be a function of debate and deliberation, what is at stake is the subject under discussion—the statue or symbol itself.

But there is another way of conducting public affairs, where the impetus to do something is because somebody is pitching a fit. And that means that if you capitulate, you are not just capitulating on that subject. The issue is not what decision you are making, but rather how you make decisions. If a surly two-year-old boy is throwing down in the toy aisle at Walmart, you are not just negotiating with him about the particular toy he wants. You are actually talking about everything in the store.

Because we are living in a time when any attempt at rational discourse will get you branded as a racist, and then shouted down, this means that we are talking about every toy in the store. We are talking about Stone Mountain, the American flag, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, Mt. Rushmore, the name of Washington D.C., the name of Washington State, the name of Washington State University, the name of the Washington Redskins (how about the Beltway Indigenous Peoples?), and so on. There is no logical stopping point because we are not dealing with logic. We are dealing with what the Left wants, with what the Left demands, with what the Left is drumming its heels on the floor about.

As we respond to the tantrum, it does not need to be reasoned discourse. It should be a simple no. Deal with it, buttercup. There is no need for argument in response because no arguments are being offered. There has been far too much appeasement already, and so the appeasement should skid to stop at the very next thing that is demanded. Sorry, kids. Moscow, Idaho will continue to have streets running north and south with names like Washington, Jackson, Jefferson, Grant, et al.

Of course, in the meantime, we do have to take some account of the losers on the bent-Right who want to make paper mache shields with stark and frightening lightning-bolty thingies on them. But these are people who live on the margins, and are not likely to be able to run anything larger than a convenience store. They are a bugbear—they are not a real threat. They can overrun a comments thread on a blog like nobody’s business, but the only big thing they can successfully do is besmirch the reputation of honorable men like Robert E. Lee. And the only thing real conservatives actually have to do with regard to them is to make it absolutely clear how much we genuinely detest their venomous posturing.

Meantime, the antifa types are a genuine threat because they do have backing of the actual commies who run places like Illinois, say, or California. These people can’t even run a convenience store, but they can take anything, however large, and run it into the ground. They can do that, and have done, many times.

How to Unite

31 Aug 2016 1 comment

Ben Shapiro’s essay, We Have Nothing Left Holding Us Together, says it well.  Read the whole thing below (emphases added).  Despite what they say, liberals/progressives/the Left are not pursuing unity.

On Friday, a South Carolina high school stopped students from bringing American flags to a football game against a heavily Hispanic rival school. Why? The principal was presumably worried that waving the flag might offend the Hispanic students. According to the principal, “This decision would be made anytime that the American flag, or any other symbol, sign, cheer, or action on the part of our fans would potentially compromise the safety of all in attendance at a school event.”

This isn’t the first such situation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that a public school in California could ban students from wearing a shirt emblazoned with an American flag on Cinco de Mayo thanks to fears over racial conflict at the school. The lawyer for the children complained, “This opens the door for a school to suppress any viewpoints that are opposed by a band of vocal and violent bullies.”

Meanwhile, has-been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been widely praised in the media for refusing to stand for the national anthem during football games. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” explained the man earning an average of $19,000,000 per year for sitting on the bench. He continued: “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

We’re watching the end of America in real time.

That doesn’t mean that the country’s on the verge of actual implosion. But the idea of America required a common definition of being American: a love of country on the basis of its founding philosophy. That has now been undermined by the left.

Love of country doesn’t mean that you have to love everything about America, or that you can’t criticize America. But loving America means understanding that the country was founded on a unique basis — a uniquely good basis. That’s what the flag stands for. Not ethnic superiority or racial solidarity or police brutality but the notion of individual liberty and equal rights before God. But with the destruction of that central principle, the ties that bind us together are fraying. And the left loves that.

In fact, the two defining philosophical iterations of the modern left both make war with the ties that bind us together. In President Obama’s landmark second inaugural address, he openly said, “Being true to our founding documents … does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way.” This is the kind of definition worshipped by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has singlehandedly redefined the Constitution. He said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

But this means that liberty has no real definition outside of “stuff I want to do.” And we all want to do different stuff, sometimes at the expense of other people’s liberty. Subjective definitions of liberty, rather than a common definition, means a conflict of all against all, or at least a conflict of a government controlled by some who are targeting everyone else. It means that our flag is no longer a common symbol for our shared definition of liberty. It’s just a rag that means different things to different people based on their subjective experiences and definitions of reality.

And that means we have nothing holding us together.

The only way to restore the ties that bind us is to rededicate ourselves to the notion of liberty for which generations of Americans fought and died. But that won’t happen so long as the left insists that their feelings are more important than your rights.

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Why the West Loathes Civilization

29 Apr 2016 1 comment

Dennis Prager hits it out of the ballpark in his recent essay by this title.  (On a side note, Mr. Prager uses “liberal” is the historic sense compared to how I use it here on this blog.  Modern leftists tend to self-identify [inaccurately per Mr. Prager and reality] as liberals and progressives, thus I use the term.  In this latter sense, I would consider it pejorative in nature, whereas in Mr. Prager’s more historically accurate sense, it is not.)

A primary quote to whet your appetite (but please go read the whole thing in context), the answer to the question…

So, the Big Question is, why? Why is the left hostile toward Western civilization?

After decades of considering this question, I have concluded the answer is this: standards.  The left hates standards — moral standards, artistic standards, cultural standards.  The West is built on all three, and it has excelled in all three.

Why does the left hate standards? It hates standards because when there are standards, there is judgment. And leftists don’t want to be judged.

Mr. Prager then continues to demonstrate his thesis from the facts, of which there is an overwhelming plethora of examples.

Q.E.D.

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A needed dose of common sense

Once again, Thomas Sowell’s Random Thoughts contain more wisdom and common sense than all the punditry of the useless media and so-called experts.  Enjoy some samples, or go read the whole thing.

With the "global warming" zealots predicting catastrophic consequences over the next century, I wonder if anyone has studied how accurate five-day weather forecasts turn out to be.

Since doctors have the same 24 hours a day as the rest of us, do believers in Obamacare understand that every hour a doctor spends filling out government forms is an hour that is not spent treating patients?

How can anyone consider it to be either logical or moral to force other people to be defenseless because of a theory without any factual evidence? Yet that is what gun control laws amount to.

Racism is not dead. But it is on life-support, kept alive mainly by the people who use it for an excuse or to keep minority communities fearful or resentful enough to turn out as a voting bloc on election day.

Our situation today reminds me of what Winston Churchill said to his bodyguard, after the king appointed Churchill prime minister in the darkest days during World War II: "All I hope is that it is not too late. I am very much afraid it is. We can only do our best." He had tears in his eyes.

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Minefields of the Mind

Originally posted May 2007.  The observations made and concepts discussed still ring true.


I don’t know about you, but I find myself increasingly dismayed and astounded at the antics and shenanigans of the liberal Left and the so-called Democratic Party (if truth in advertising were to apply to party names, we should really call this the Socialist Party; and yes, the Republicans should probably be called something like the Spineless Wonders given their recent history). But when alleged leaders such as Harry Reid can bluntly state that if a general gives him an eyewitness report that he doesn’t like, he won’t believe it, well, I think it entirely justified to question their grasp on reality, let alone their patriotism. I’ve recently pointed to Bill Whittle’s essays on Seeing the Unseen, an excellent effort in three parts, of which we have only two to date. In part 1 he shows how one applies the ability to think critically to the canards of Bush Derangement Syndrome, blowing them away in the process, and in part 2 he likewise shreds conspiracy theories with Occam’s Razor. (Part 3 he says will be on global warming, and I can hardly wait to see how he deals with that globaloney.) Now, it is great fun watching him present the relevant facts and data that destroy these fairy tales, but there are some additional thoughts that he briefly pursues to which I’d like to turn at this juncture.

Given the way the facts so oppose the aforementioned canards and conspiracies put forth, how can a rational person embrace them with the fervency one all too often sees on the left and in the Democratic side of the aisle? At one point in part 1, Mr. Whittle says,

Seriously now, there are millions and millions of people on this planet who will torture logic and reason to mind-bending extremes in order to believe monumentally ridiculous ‘theories’… theories drawn from an emotional need so warped and debased that you are catapulted beyond anger and disbelief directly into pathos and the desire to call 911 before these people hurt themselves.

Then in part 2 he concludes,

But these denialists – the Moon Hoaxers and the 9/11 ‘Truthers’ – these are a different breed. And they are cut from precisely the same cloth. That is to say, they suffer from the same disease: an unwillingness to face reality and its consequences.

Read more…

The Enemy Within

Originally posted on Townhall Interface blog on November 10, 2006.  Even scarier now than then.


Introduction

In my last post I made the assertion that “The second enemy is the liberal leftist, socialist, dare I say, communist worldview that permeates Western civilization in both Europe and the U.S.” (Technically, communism and socialism are distinguishable, but their policies, goals, and underlying philosophy are so often indistinguishable that for the purposes of this essay they will be considered the same thing.) I want to provide the evidence for this claim in perhaps a more unique way than might have been expected. I will assume only that the reader is somewhat conversant with the problems seen and talked about in American culture, i.e., our current culture wars.

In 1953, W. Cleon Skousen wrote The Naked Communist. In that book he listed 45 Communist goals and noted that anyone willing to do his or her homework, i.e., read the reports of Congressional hearings together with available books by ex-Communists “will find all of these Communist objectives described in detail.” We now have the advantage of slightly over a half a century’s time to see how much progress has been made in achieving these goals, and in so doing, draw our conclusions about the nature of this internal enemy. I will not present the entire list in this post, but you may find it here. Please remember, these were drawn up in the 1950’s. Some goals I’ve listed are just particularly obvious historically speaking. Others are particularly relevant to my last post, and the issues of this last election (I have kept the original numbering for the readers reference):

Their Goals – The Data

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the UN.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the UN as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a world-wide basis.

30. Discredit the American founding fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of “the big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political or social problems.

Conclusions

So, you tell me. How successfully has the Communist/Socialist agenda been implemented? Has the defeat of the Soviet Union hindered it in any way? Although not communist/socialist in name, the only rational conclusion in light of this evidence is that the left (perhaps we should capitalize that, as in The Left) in this country is, indeed, controlled by the Marxist-Leninist worldview of communism. No other worldview has adopted these kind of goals and implemented them so successfully. This is why many call what is going on a “cultural war.” The conflict is real and it is here in this country, taking place in the streets of our cities, the pulpits of our churches, and the halls of our government. The struggle is real and the stakes are high, our very freedoms we love and cherish.

How to respond? Let me provide these thoughts from Martin Luther: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”  [Update:  this alleged Luther quote does not appear to be verified as a quote from Luther, although it certainly sounds like something he would say.  Nevertheless, the concept it expresses is still true.]

For additional reading, I would recommend the book by Dr. Fred Schwarz entitled You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists). The HazZzMat blog also seems to be plugged in here. [Update:  this blogsite has not had recent posts and appears to be inactive.]  There are undoubtedly other resources that I’ve not yet located. Feel free to add them to the comments section.