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Oh, my! Who says history is boring? Bolshies, American airmen, King Kong, cavalry champions meet, and Our Lady of Victory resonates again with a victory on the Vistula. This story takes place in the 1920s.
After WWI borders changed, maps were redrawn, and old ambitions were rekindled to retake territory lost in centuries past.
The Polish Anchor
The Cheka is the NKVD, which is the KGB, which is the current FSB, which still controls Moscow, where old and new Russian errors still dominate. The same Moscow, under new ideological veneer, whose genocidal intents in Ukraine would lead, if allowed to succeed, to the end of Catholics in that martyred nation. – from the New Catholic, Rorate Caeli
As the Russian war against Ukraine continues, Putin knows that Poland is the lynchpin of resistance to his imperial ambitions. Poland is as the Scots might say, the The Auld Enemy. The auld enemy of the old Czars, and of the new Czar.
Join Jim and Chad as they analyze how China’s ‘zero-COVID’ strategy is having a tumultuous effect on it’s cities and economy. They also shake their heads at a new report that found as much as $80 billion was stolen from the Paycheck Protection Program. And in another press conference fumble, President Biden may have admitted that the U.S. is training Ukrainian troops in Poland.
Join Jim and Greg as they react to a new NBC poll that has President Biden’s approval rating at a record low 40%. They cringe at Biden’s gaffe-stricken trip to Europe and what it means for American foreign policy. And your favorite podcast hosts share their opinions on Will Smith’s public slapping of Oscars presenter Chris Rock.
Join Jim and Greg as they dive into a new poll showing Democrats underwater with Hispanic voters and what it means for the upcoming midterm elections. They also criticize the Biden State Department’s meek responses to missile strikes close to a U.S consulate in Iraq and Russian strikes near the Polish border. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi comforts Americans struggling with higher prices at the pump and grocery store by assuring them that runaway government spending actually decreases inflation.
Cyprian Kamil Norwid, (1821-1883), Polish poet and exile, wrote what is known to us now as the “Ashes and Diamonds” poem. I’ll transcribe it in four sort-of verses and interleave some translation. Preview Open
…and I’m in it. This would be Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. The article in question is here: Not with Their Children by John D. Martin | Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity (touchstonemag.com)
The magazine is well worth your time. We subscribed for years before I began contributing. Yes, the article is behind a paywall. I encourage you to subscribe or donate to support The Fellowship of Saint James which publishes it or do both if you can.
Poland is fighting against a powerful tide – more like a tidal wave. The leadership is fighting for its sovereignty, freedom, and the heart and soul of a country that has suffered so much. Does that sound familiar? The European Union is not amused. Maybe it is because Poland only threw off the stranglehold of communism in 1989, and they remember the oppression. That’s only 32 years ago. Can you imagine for a moment if the United States was only free for the last 32 years?
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in an October 18 letter to EU leaders:
Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that Polish law takes precedence over European Union law. The landmark ruling, which seeks to reassert national sovereignty over certain judicial matters, has called into question the legitimacy of the EU’s supranational legal and political order.
Like many of the heroes of the Warsaw Uprising, nearly no one in the Anglosphere has ever heard of Witold Pilecki, a deeply Catholic member of the Polish resistance. However, his heroism is inspiring far beyond his actions during the largest single act of Polish resistance to the Nazi regime.
When we speak of resistance against the Nazis by occupied nations, we speak almost exclusively of the French and sometimes of the Dutch. Rarely mentioned are the Poles, despite the fact that they had a functioning government in exile coordinating with an underground government on the ground with its own military arm, the Polish Home Army.
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has been granted a humanitarian visa by the Polish government so she can apply for refugee status in Poland. Her husband, Arsen Zhdanevich, had fled to Ukraine from Belarus as his wife continues to fight repatriation.
Tsimanouskaya was seen entering the Polish Embassy on August 2 after appealing for Japanese and international help to avoid being put on a flight against her will and spending the night at Tokyo’s international airport after apparently running afoul of Belarusian officials.
Apparently April is Poetry Month (did anyone else know?) and every morning the English Department at our high school publishes a poem at the end of the daily announcements. I felt inspired to contribute something and as I was skimming through works by my favorite poets, I came across this poem by one of the […]
American voters face a choice, not an echo, and need to act accordingly in this election season. As the Democratic National Convention rolls out in some form this week, measure Democrat supporters’ claims against President Trump’s accomplishments. Start with just last week. The Trump administration moved with purpose all week, taking both domestic and international actions that matter. Consider this daily summary of the past week’s events [emphasis, bracketed comments, and links added]. Bear in mind, President Trump had his brother Robert on his heart all week, as Robert was in hospital “having a tough time.” Sadly, the week ended with President Trump saying farewell in person to his beloved younger brother, but that did not stop the president announcing a defense agreement with Poland, to the consternation of Russia and their Democrat true friends. Robert Trump died on August 15, 2020:
It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.
Either Poles are too dumb to understand what’s ridiculous about a pornographic butter-churning contest, or they’re not. I’d bet they’re not, and they know a parody of eroticism when they see it. Too bad The Imaginative Conservative doesn’t. Apparently, there’s at least one writer out there lacking the imagination to recognize a parody when he […]
“The apostolic church is a church of the heart. When you steal from it you steal the heart. Hence the theft is easy, and amends are long and hard.” A strange way to sum up a story of erotic love. Nonetheless, it was Scruton’s way, as he described, in the second half of his essay, Stealing from Churches, the thwarted love affair that taught him a “narrative of transubstantiation” transmuting body into soul. In truth, the love affair wasn’t thwarted at all, but one that fulfilled its purpose, a purpose his stubborn young beloved, Basia (pronounced “Basha”), saw more clearly than he did.
Scruton had organized a subversive summer school for the Catholic University in Poland, bringing together Polish and English philosophy students to resist communism. Under the codename “Squirrel” (in Polish “Wiewiorka”, for his red hair) and tailed by at least one jug-eared agent, Scruton had stumbled into more James-Bond mystique than most ginger-haired philosophy dons could hope for. It would be almost cliche, then, for an exotic young thing to throw herself at him. Wry-smiling, stunning Basia was no cliche, though. Or rather, if she were, it would be the cliche in a kind of story too little told these days to count as cliche anymore.
Basia, at 26, the oldest, most academically-advanced of the bright young things attending Scruton’s summer lectures and their unofficial leader, was an uppity young woman with a checkered past. She wasted little time with Scruton: after his second day in Kazimierz, she waylaid him in the woods to announce she noticed no ring on his finger. Such a frank admission of desire seems likely to end in embarrassment all round whether the desire is reciprocated or not, and perhaps it would have if it weren’t accompanied by her equally frank admission that consummating desire was not her aim:
Yes, you’ve driven me to bear posting, again. This is the story of a heroic bear, Wojtek (VOY-tek), who helped beat the Axis powers in Italy. He joined a unit of Free Poles, served with them through the war, and retired with honor to the Edinburgh Zoo, where he lived out his days. His death in 1963 was reported on radio and in the newspapers. His likeness became part of his unit’s official badge.
Wojtek was born in what is now northern Iran, and was orphaned when another group of orphans adopted him into their den. The other group of orphans, so to speak, were Polish soldiers who were released from Soviet Russian prison camps, the Siberian gulags. These men made their way south across the Caspian Sea and down into Persia/Iran, then effectively controlled by the Soviets and British, who had invaded from the north and south on the pretext of securing the oil fields and supply lines.
The Shah had made the miscalculation of trying to be neutral when there was no German force immediately adjacent, in contrast to Spain and Portugal. The British already had a grudge against this local ruler who dared tear up their exclusive oil deal in the 1930s. Deposing and making the Shah a prisoner in South African exile until his death, the British and Russians put the man who would be the last Shah on the Peacock Throne: Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The deposed ruler’s son was realistic and took the throne, eventually outlasting the British Empire and building an alliance with the United States to counterbalance the Soviet Russian empire’s continuation of the Great Game.
Two news items caught my eye this weekend, both of them in Stars and Stripes. One story was from Korea, and the other from Germany. Together, they told a story of rebalancing our forces in the world.
The first story is about the activation of a group of new Army Reserve units in Europe. This was a growth in the total number of units or end strength in the Army Reserve. Instead, this was a relatively typical rebalancing of types of units in different parts of the world.
It may seem odd to you to hear of Army Reserve units based in Germany, but this has long been so. There is a very small full-time staff, then unit members either fly in from the States or fly/rail/drive from their American expat civilian jobs in Europe. I had a War College classmate, a native-born American citizen, who lived with his Finnish wife and kids in Finland, working for a tech company. He drilled in Germany.
Vice President Pence spoke in Poland, marking the start of World War II with the German invasion of Poland, 1 September 1939. Highlight comments include: “None fought with more valor, or determination, or righteous fury than the Poles…Poland proved itself a homeland of heroes.” and “The fight against the twisted ideologies of Nazism and Communism reflected the eternal struggle between right and wrong, good and evil.”
Vice President Pence’s remarks were punctuated by the notable absence, this time, of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.
Back to Pawel Pawlikowski: @FlaggTaylor and I have a companion piece to Ida — Cold War, a romantic tragedy, which features a couple escaping from and then returning to the Iron Curtain. Whereas Ida is about divine love, this is merely human love. In both cases, the Polish past and totalitarianism are the most important concerns of the story. A deeply affecting movie about national memory and personal memory with special attention to what art and love can and cannot do. A remarkable performance by Joanna Kulig. The beautiful black-and-white cinematography of Lukasz Zal (which earned him an Oscar nomination), as well as heartbreaking Polish folk songs.The movie won the Palme d’Or in Cannes as well as the director prize — it was nominated for three big Oscars, too.
Our own @FlaggTaylor and I talk about Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn, his 2007 film about the terrible Soviet slaughter of the Polish officer corps–some 22,000 men — as well as its aftermath. The protagonist is the wife of one of the officers and we follow her through both the Soviet and the Nazi parts of occupied — and dismembered — Poland. We get to see various characters struggling with questions of honor and prudence as the country is being destroyed. Only memory is left to give reasons for hope for future freedom. Krzysztof Penderecki’s music is also worthy of mention.