Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Investigation: Red Flagging Walberg's Ridiculous Stalin Quote

Link to Printable, formatted pdf of this report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nCJlLfewvjWLklQDR0deS-2q3K3-ElhM/view?usp=sharing


“I don’t normally quote from Joseph Stalin, but today he said something appropriate about liberty.”
– Tim Walberg(February 16, 2012 – Washington, DC)


A popular Tea Party meme, web capture from October 21, 2011

Initial Red Flags About That Meme
  1. Who was Stalin talking to? Citation?
  2. It seems like an inefficient scheme: Didn’t Stalinist Russia just want more loyal Soviet states? How would he even attempt to collapse the U.S. through a slow moral decay? Wouldn’t it have been easier and more suited to Stalin’s interests to propagandize the U.S. into becoming a strong and loyal Stalinist compatriot?
  3. I’ll wager what I’ve got in my western Yankee capitalist wallet that it’s a phony quote.
CONTENTS

PART I - The Russians and the Representative

PART II - Origin of the Bogus Stalin Quote

INTRODUCTION and SUMMARY

The main concern of this report is Tim Walberg’s judgement. 

This report uses a funny object to explore a serious subject. The Stalin meme is a funny object, and the subject of Tim Walberg’s judgement is as serious as the consequences of his decisions.

Walberg missed, or ignored the problems with the Stalin meme. Even after being repeatedly challenged on it, he continued for years to recite it publicly with urgency to our Congress, to a foreign parliament, and even from the pulpit. And now, in a tragic reversal, Walberg faces genuine, ongoing threats from Russia, to which he has chosen to undermine and ridicule.

Part I
When Walberg first read the Stalin meme in a committee hearing, the Chairman, fellow Republican Darryl Issa questioned Walberg for bringing it up. Another committee member made a joke about it, and then Jon Stewart also made fun of Walberg for it on The Daily Show. Those challenges did not seem to give Walberg pause, and he continued reciting the quote for over three years in Congress.

It is very concerning that Tim Walberg took the Stalin meme seriously for so many years, but he does not take Russia’s interference into our elections seriously at all.

Part II
This Stalin meme has already been partially debunked through outlets such as Snopes and PolitiFact. I have traced the quote even further back through documents to Donald S. McAlvany. I have identified three distinct periods where the meme has spread throughout our culture, and each of those periods points back to materials connected to McAlvany, who I believe created the bogus quote.

·       1983-1986:The Initial Newsletter Period
McAlvany produced an evangelical dominionist newsletter, featuring the quote which was then copied in newspaper letters to the editor columns across the whole country.
·       1995-2007:The Chain-Email Period
The Stalin quote reemerged in McAlvany’s newsletter and in a book that he wrote, which was copied again throughout more reader op-eds and later, in chain-emails.
·       2010-Present:The Tea Party Meme Period
The Stalin quote was featured in a documentary by Curtis Bowerswho is the Son-in-Law of Donald S. McAlvany, during the 2010 midterms, it became a viral meme with the Tea Party.

TIMETABLE

By coincidence, the timelines of both the Stalin meme and Tim Walberg’s career in politics align closely in origin, and by jumps in their popularity within the timetable.


PART I -: The Russians and the Representative

            There were so many things along the way that should have prevented Walberg from even once reciting a bogus Stalin quote in the United States Capitol. For starters, with Walberg’s own judgement.

Tim Walberg is steps away from the world’s greatest library and research service to use at his disposal 24/7 (http://www.loc.gov/crsinfo/). Time is incredibly limited and valuable on the floor of the Capital, even for the most powerful elected officials. yet on several occasions Walberg thought the Stalin meme was worthy of that chamber’s time. That should raise concerns about his judgement.

There are two sections to this part of the report:

Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters

            This section chronicles the six known times that Walberg publicly recited the bogus Stalin quote over the course of three years. I expect there were more occurrences than this. Walberg seemed to really like that Stalin quote a lot.

Walberg Pushes Ridicule on Urgent Matters 

            This section chronicles Walberg’s response, starting in March 2017 to Russian interference into United States elections, and the ongoing investigations into those crimes. Walberg’s response to Russia in this section stands in contrast to his response to Russia in the previous section. If Tim Walberg did not have so much power and serious responsibility, the whole thing might have made for a fun 1960’s farce:


Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters
Thursday, February 16, 2012
11:00 am (approx.)
Committee on Oversight & Gov’t Reform
Washington, DC
Full video (1:31:00 mark): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nJRUxj-HUY
Enlargement and Markup of Official US House Committee Transcript (Source: US Government Publishing Office)


Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters
Thursday, February 16, 2012 (7:12 pm)
House Floor Speech- Washington, DC

“Prophecy”- So according to Congressman Tim Walberg, Joseph Stalin was a prophet.

Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters
Monday, February 20, 2012
The Daily Show: with Jon Stewart
Segment title: “The Punanny State”

Jon Stewart: “Two weeks ago the Obama administration found themselves at the center of a controversy over its decisions to make religiously affiliated institutions or their insurers cover contraception as part of their government mandated health care…” 

Jon Stewart [continuing]:“So last Thursday, Congressman Darrell Issa convened a panel to settle the issue, and while no ladies were actually allowed to speak until the afternoon session, and no ladies actually ever spoke on behalf of ladies, some of these fellas were wearing gowns, so that’s something. Let’s hear the reasoned tone that the sausage fest struck in this effort to find balance between religious liberty and the realities of the secular world.

Walberg [video clip]: “I don’t normally quote from Joseph Stalin-

Jon Stewart: “Okay, I’m going to stop you right there. We’re just going to move on to the next guy if that’s all right. Anyone have a slightly less hyperbolic take on this?”

This Daily Show segment is an example of the immediate national attention, challenges, and ridicule that Walberg got for his Stalin remark. And yet, it did not seem to cause Walberg to reflect on, or question his mistake. In Walberg’s July 2015 public sermon in Toledo, he recited the Stalin meme again, and how he resented the National Media pushback he had gotten earlier, which was perhaps in reference to this Daily Show segment. Also, in that sermon, Walberg falsely said that the Committee Hearing was about the “educational system”.

Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters
Monday, September 9, 2013 (2:11 pm)
House Floor Speech- Washington, DC

Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters
Monday, September 9, 2013 (7:49 pm)
House Floor Speech- Washington, DC

When Walberg returned to the House floor to read the bogus Stalin quote for a second time that day, he mentioned that he agreed with Stalin, that he thought our country was collapsing.

Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters
Thursday, July 2, 2015 (9:15 am)
Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast- Kyiv, Ukraine
Our U.S. Congress member reading the Stalin meme to the Ukrainian Prayer Group 
(Photo by: Руслан Кухарчук)
I do not have a recording or transcript of Walberg’s 15-minute speech, but three days later, Walberg described reciting the Stalin meme to the prayer gatherers, and their reaction to it [See next page].

Excerpts from Walberg’s official Foreign Travel Disclosure form
The organizers who paid for Walberg’s trip have been linked to recently arrested Russian Agent, Maria Butina

Walberg Pushes Urgency on Ridiculous Matters
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Emmanuel Baptist Church- Toledo, OH
Article from PrayUSA.com, about the event where Walberg delivered this Sermon
Walberg:“I just read a quote from Joseph Stalin when I spoke to the National Prayer Breakfast in Kyiv, the Ukraine just Thursday - Thursday morning. And you could see when they had their interpreter, interpreting for me, you could see their ears prick up when I said Stalin. They wondered what in the world I would say that was good that would come from Joseph Stalin, and probably you would say the same.”

“And those commentators and national media that push back on me using that quote in a committee meeting one time, and talking about our nation and its problems relative to our educational system.”

“These are the words that Joseph Stalin said. He said, ‘America’s like a healthy body, and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life.’He went on to say, ‘If we undermine those three areas, America will collapse from within.’ Its patriotism, its morality, its spiritual life.”

“The enslavement we find in our country today comes from that. Not so much the patriotism, because that’s still there, but our morality. When you can go online and see, as my kids have told me, in their blogs and their Facebooks [sic] accounts from some of their classmates at Christian schools and universities speaking positive about the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. These are Christians! Raised in our churches! In our Christian homes! And yet they have been undermined to the point in their spiritual life and their morality, while they wouldn’t do it themselves necessarily, yet they will countenance this because it’s a loving thing to do.

“… a loving thing to do.” - So according to Tim Walberg: Loving thy neighbor does not countenance Christian students behaving positively toward their gay neighbors.

Walberg Pushes Ridicule on Urgent Matters:

We’ve now seen how, starting in 2012, over the course of three years and five months, our U.S. Congress member recited a bogus Stalin meme as though informed about a real threat to our country.

     Then in 2016, Russia attacked our U.S. elections, and those same threats still persist. Let us observe Walberg’s level of interest, accounting of, and action toward those Russian attacks.

Saturday, March 18, 2017
Coffee Hour- Adrian, MI
Declassified ICA Report from January 6, 2017 (assessment by FBI/Justice Department; CIA; NSA)

“did not make an assessment” is much different than there being “no evidence”. For example, what if the FBI had arrested a restaurant employee who was suspected of a plot to poison the diners, and forensics had not yet measured the contamination of the food stocks? Per Walberg’s judgement, that would be no evidence” of poison… It’s okay folks, keep eating!

Walberg also said that the Attorney General of the last administration had assessed that the Russians did not have, any impact on the outcome of our electionsLoretta Lynch spoke specifically about tampering with voter machines and tallies. When questioned for more, Lynch deferred to that intelligence report that was to be released on January 6th.

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Politico Playbook Breakfast Washington, DC
Attorney General, Loretta Lynch:“Fortunately we didn’t see the sort of technical interference that I know people had concerns about, also, in terms of voting machines and the like.”

Walberg has falsely stated numerous times that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job is “supposed to look at collusion with Russia by Trump”. Here is the actual work order [with highlights]:


Order and scope of the Special Counsel

Walberg also lies about the concerns brought to him by constituents about Russian interference in the elections. On August 8, 2018, Walberg claimed that constituents never mentioned Russia in his two town halls from the previous day. In fact, it had been brought up at both of those town halls, and furthermore, at all but one of Walberg’s town halls in 2017 to date. Here is the link to my report on that: http://www.takecaretim.com/2018/07/walberg-lying-that-constituents-dont.html

Walberg seems impulsively motivated to divert away from questions related to Russian election interference, to raise suspicions of Democratic politicians. At the following coffee hour, one constituent walked out during Walberg’s remarks, so Walberg issued a snide partisan judgment about that person.

Walberg Pushes Ridicule on Urgent Matters
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Coffee Hour- Spring Arbor, MI
The Hillary thing that Walberg tried to deflect our attention toward was the Uranium One deal.

When Walberg said the Special Counsel could not go on “forever”, it had only been going on for about five months. Three people from Donald Trump’s campaign had already been indicted, with one guilty plea [George Papadopoulos]. The other two indictments had just occurred the previous day [October 27, 2017]. They were Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and the deputy campaign manager and deputy chair of Trump’s inaugural committee, Rick Gates. Manafort was then tried and convicted in August 2018, and Gates pled guilty in February 2018. 

What motivates Walberg to try and undermine and deflect away from all of those efforts?

Walberg Pushes Ridicule on Urgent Matters
Audio Source: http://podbay.fm/show/701477224/e/1525996800?autostart=1

As the order shows, the Special Counsel’s task is not to, “look at collusion with Russia by Trump”. The scope permits looking into whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Russians, but that is not their primary objective. The indictments from the special counsel have been perfectly on point, and proportional to the scope of their order.

I would like for Walberg to show us when the Special Counsel has ever found that there is, “more of a problem with Clinton and the Democrats”, and why he claimed that, it’s really proved nothing. At the time of that radio call-in there had already been four guilty pleas, and one sentencing.

Again, what would motivate Walberg to try and undermine and deflect from the urgent national security work of the Special Counsel? 

Walberg Pushes Ridicule on Urgent Matters
Audio Source: https://stevegruber.podbean.com/e/tim-walberg-cont-1529597115/


Let us hear the wind-brushed water, and think how that person was elected to serve in the U.S. Capitol:


Firstly, as Counsel, it’s not Mueller’s job to exonerate anybody. Mueller is not a Judge or Jury. 

Secondly, a person cannot be exonerated without having been indicted first. Trump has not been indicted with anything yet. So, on what charges does Walberg expect Trump to be exonerated from? 

Thirdly, let’s piece together the portrait of the special counsel that Walberg has given us: They are biased witch-hunters– assembled via rigging from the deep-state– However! If the witch hunters don’t personally exonerate the Trump of all wrong-doing - Walberg will be surprised.

Finally, let’s attempt to diagram out Walberg’s conspiracy theory about James Comey·Walberg’s premise is that James Comey did not foresee the outcome of the election. Very well, I’m still on board. ·However, prior to the election, he supposedly rigged…[yadda yadda -some unnamed thing]… so that eventually a Special Counsel would be called to investigate Russian interference in the election. What was Comey anticipating? ·According to Walberg, Comey enacted the scheme upon an assumption that Hillary Clinton would win. So, who does Walberg think that Comey was working to undermine? ·If Comey assumed Trump was naturally set to lose the election, did he hatch the scheme to further crush Trump after the inevitable election loss? What were Comey and the ‘Deep-State’ hoping to gain from all of that effort? ·Walberg yadda yadda’d over the best partA motivation for enacting such a conspiracy.

Let us observe the translucence of the leaves, and reflect on how we chose that person to Represent us.

PART II - Origin of the Bogus Stalin Quote

This is an original investigation into the origin of the bogus Stalin quote, and how it managed to spread over the years. There are gaps within this reconstruction of the events, but I have assembled the most complete chronological picture to date.

There are three distinct periods in the way the Stalin meme spread. There was a lull toward the end of each period, followed by a boost in which the context alongside the Stalin quote changed. The context clues helped identify the quote’s sources. Each period points to Donald S. McAlvany:

1983-1986: The Initial Newsletter Period
During this period, the quote was always attributed just to “Stalin”, which never included his first name. The quote frequently mentioned a List of Goals of the Soviets, cited from the book “The Naked Communist”. After 1986, the quote was hardly shared around for nearly a decade.

1995-2007: The Chain-Email Period
During this period, the quote was always attributed to “Josef Stalin”, which is a less common spelling of his first name. Early in this period, the quote sometimes appeared alongside a Samuel Adams quote. The quote began appearing on websites, and shared in chain emails.

2010-Present: The Tea Party Meme Period
During this period, the quote made its greatest social splash from the touring documentary “Agenda: Grinding America Down”, internet memes, and from powerful proponents Tim Walberg and Ben Carson. The meme also attracted its first critical investigative reporting. To this day, the bogus Stalin quote still gets shared in memes, and reader op-eds.

Letterhead from McAlvany’s monthly newsletter

            Old copies of Donald S. McAlvany’s newsletters, are not easily obtainable. On June 4, 2018, I called their office to try to obtain some copies from prior to February 1983. I explained to their researcher Jeb Baker that I was trying to find the origin of this Stalin quote after reading it in an IFA newsletter from 1983 that cited McAlvany’s newsletter. Baker then emailed me an attachment containing articles from Snopes and Washington Examiner, debunking the Stalin meme. They did not explain the attachment, but I took it to mean that Baker understood that the quote is not authentic.

I thanked Jeb Baker for sending that information, but explained that I was still curious because no one had yet tracked down the origin of the quote. I asked if Donald McAlvany himself has ever said anything about the quote’s authenticity. Baker did not respond to that question. Based on the following evidence, I suspect that the bogus Stalin quote originated with, and has been primarily propagated over the years by Donald S. McAlvany.

1983-1986: The Initial Newsletter Period
Tuesday, February 1, 1983
Intercessors for America- Newsletter


I contacted Intercessors for America on May 30, 2018 to obtain a copy of this newsletter, based on the reference that I found in the November 21, 1983 ad from Iowa. The operator said that they were intrigued by my question, and they kindly mailed me a copy of the newsletter that I was looking for. This newsletter cited Donald S. McAlvany’s newsletter for the above information and Stalin quote.

1983-1986: The Initial Newsletter Period
Wednesday, February 9, 1983
The Greensboro Record- Greensboro, NC
Link to Archive (note: paywall): http://nl.newsbank.com/sites/gb/

This letter was printed roughly one week after the IFA newsletter was published, and contains a great deal of references and language copied word for word from either the IFA newsletter, or McAlvany’s newsletter. All of the letters from this period are clearly drawing from the same source, and contain all of the same references.

1983-1986: The Initial Newsletter Period
Monday, November 21, 1983
Ad in The Daily Iowan- Iowa City, Iowa

This Ad (above), led me to call Intercessors for America, to obtain a copy of their Feb. 1983 Newsletter.

1983-1986: The Initial Newsletter Period
Wednesday, November 23, 1983
The Daily Journal-World- Lawrence, KS

This was the earliest source of the quote that Snopes.com had found. Notice how both of the sentences in the last paragraph appear verbatim in the top and bottom of the Iowa City ad, which was published just two days prior in a different city. It is possible that those sentences are from the original McAlvany newsletter, and so both the ad and this letter are drawing from that, but I cannot be sure without seeing that newsletter.

1983-1986: The Initial Newsletter Period
Thursday, January 23, 1986
Observer-Reporter- Washington, PA

This particular letter contained all of the key points from the other letters, but also specifically cited the Intercessors for America newsletter. After this letter, the Stalin meme did not appear anywhere that I could find for nearly a decade. This marks the end of the Initial Newsletter Period.

The following page is a quick Side Note, looking into the book that is cited in some manner in all of the letters from this period, “The Naked Communist” by W. Cleon Skousen.


1995-2007: The Chain E-Mail Period
Tuesday, August 29, 1995
The Placer Herald - Rocklin, CA
Note: The spelling of “Josef”

Every occurrence of the quote from 1995-2007 features Stalin’s first name, with the spelling, “Josef”. This is the only example of the Stalin meme that I could find from the 1990s until the two pieces by Donald McAlvany in 1999. I searched for a source of the story in this letter, and landed on a Romanian website that cited McAlvany’s newsletter from March 1995, six months before this letter was published. I did not get a copy of that newsletter to see if it also had the Stalin quote:

Excerpt from a Romanian website that cites the March 1995 McAlvany newsletter

1995-2007:The Chain E-Mail Period
August 1999
The McAlvany Intelligence AdvisorPhoenix, AZ
Note: The spelling of “Josef”

This document from Donald S. McAlvany features Two Unique Variations from all of the other example of the Stalin quote:
1)    The way it ends: “…she will fall into our hands.”
Every other example ends with: “…America will collapse from within”
2)    The attributes are in a different order: 1) Morality, 2) Patriotism, 3) Spiritual Life
Every other example lists it in this order: 1) Patriotism, 2) Morality, 3) Spiritual Life

This is why I suspect that Donald S. McAlvany is the one who made up this Stalin quote from scratch, based on these two key points:
  • The earliest version of the quote points back to McAlvany.
  • The one document with a significant variation of the quote is also from McAlvany. It’s as though he accidently pulled the wrong page from a draft folder and sent it out to print.

1995-2007: The Chain E-Mail Period
December 1999
Storm Warning: The Coming Persecution of 
Christians and Traditionalists in America
by Donald S. McAlvany
Source: Google Books provides these small searchable excerpts.
Note: The spelling of “Josef”

Notice the difference of the quote from the newsletter that Donald S. McAlvany published just a few months prior.

On the same page of McAlvany’s book above with the bogus Stalin quote, there is a Samuel Adams quote. Notice in the following two reader op-eds, the same Samuel Adams quote is used alongside of the fake Stalin quote. Altogether, I think that proves that the letter writers used McAlvany’s book for their information.

This is an authentic quote, from Samuel Adams’ Letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779.

1995-2007: The Chain E-Mail Period
Thursday, March 23, 2000
Xenia Daily Gazette- Xenia, OH
Note: The spelling of “Josef”

This is one of two letters that I found [see next page], that contains the Stalin meme alongside a Samuel Adams quote, which appeared together on the same page of McAlvany’s book from two months prior.

This letter is mainly criticizing a TV Movie from February 13, 2000 called “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal”, starring Carmen Ejogo in the title role, and Sam Neill as Thomas Jefferson.

1995-2007: The Chain E-Mail Period
Sunday, October 20, 2002
Leader-Telegram - Eau Claire, WI
Note: The spelling of “Josef”

This is the second newspaper letter to the editor using the same Samuel Adams quote alongside the bogus Stalin quote. The two quotes had previously appeared together on the same page in McAlvany’s 2009 book.

I did not find a reliable source for the J. Reuben Clark Jr. quote. I did notice that the letter writer spelled his name wrong. 

1995-2007: The Chain E-Mail Period
July 20, 2006 (and earlier)
Liberty-Tree Quotes- Conservative Canadian Website
[Sourced through Archived PageCurrent Page: http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Josef.Stalin.Quote.CC49
Note: The spelling of “Josef”

This is one of the earliest places online that I could find that had the bogus Stalin quote. The spelling of “Josef”, is the same spelling that Donald S. McAlvany used in his two pieces from 1999. The website also features quotes from McAlvany as well as some quotes from his monthly newsletter. Therefore, I think it is a reasonable assumption, that the person who posted this quote to the website had referenced something by McAlvany.

            This website became a base through which the Stalin quote was spread to a lot of other places online. The Semper Vigilans blog, from March 2012, links to another website, which in turn links back to This Liberty-Tree site.

1995-2007:The Chain E-Mail Period
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Austin Daily Texan (School Paper)- Austin, TX
Note: The spelling of “Josef”

This student’s article provides insight into the way that the Stalin meme got passed around through chain emails at the time. I mark this as the end of the Chain E-Mail Period. There is a noticeable difference in style and tone when the quote reappears in right-wing forums in 2010, leading up to the Tea Party push against the Obama administration.

2010-Present: The Tea Party Meme Period

The earliest appearance of the quote that I found in searches through social media platforms was from a Facebook post on December 12, 2009 at 2:44 pm. It gained traction from there pretty quickly. It was shared and reposted several more times that same day by other people on Facebook. Shortly after that, it appeared in the following article:

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Article - Canada Free Press

The last paragraph of this article definitely resonated with people. Several right-wing message boards from the time [such as freerepublic.com] cited this article, and particularly the Stalin quote in the last paragraph. There are no links, or citations to any sources, so it is undetermined where Kelly O’Connell found the quote. It could have been from an email, social media, or from the Liberty-Tree website. 

2010-Present: The Tea Party Meme Period
Friday, September 3, 2010
Agenda: Grinding America Down
Left: The movie opens with the quote being slowly revealed over the sound of crackling thunder
Right: Ad for one special screenings, with the quote [Leaf-Chronicle, Clarksville, TN – March 2, 2013]

This documentary was written and directed by former Idaho State Representative Curtis Bowers [Republican, District 10]Curtis Bowers is the Son-In-Law of Donald S. McAlvany. In the movie, Bowers pushes the idea that left wing agendas are in cahoots with, or are unwitting pawns in a Communist conspiracy that has been hatching ever so slowly since Stalin’s time. Not only that, according to the movie, certain widely cherished values such as universal equal human rights, and protections for the environment are just a friendly veil for the Stalinist plot slip in through and destroy the USA. According to Bowers, liberal values are a slippery slope to oppressive Communism.

While in State Legislature, Bowers sketched out that thesis in a guest Op-Ed in the Idaho Press-Tribune [Monday January 14, 2008]. His editorial sparked some controversy, and material claims were disputed about it. Bowers parlayed that drama, from his viewpoint, into this 2010 documentary. He narrated it and spoke on camera throughout the movie. He frequently referred to Cleon Skousen’s book. I only devoted part of my attention to the movie while it was on, but I’m fairly certain that Donald McAlvany was never mentioned or featured in it. I had hoped that he would be. Bowers made a sequel, but I have not watched it.

A screening tour for the movie was conducted through 2011 and into 2013 among Tea Party and Christian groups. Those screenings often included Q&As with Bowers. The tour was well advertised in newspapers [see above]. Several videos of those Q&A events with Bowers are on YouTube.

2010-Present: The Tea Party Meme Period
Friday, October 21, 2011
Early Spread of the Graphical Meme

This blog slightly predates the earliest capture of the Stalin meme that Snopes.com obtained from Facebook in November 2011. It does not seem that this blog created the meme though.

2010-Present: The Tea Party Meme Period
March (14-21), 2012
The Meme Becomes Viral
Left: TexasFred Blog (http://texasfred.net), March 14, 2012
Right: Always on Watch: Semper Vigilans blog (http://alwaysonwatch3.blogspot.com), March 21, 2012


TexasFred’s blog published the meme one month after Walberg first recited it in Congress. 

The Semper Vigilans blog includes all of the elements to show how it became viral: 
1)     It links to the trailer for Curtis Bowers’ Documentary.
2)     It links to a blog called “Moonbattery”, which in turn links to the Liberty-Tree Quotes website.
3)     The blog also refers to the Stalin meme twice as “prophecy”, which is the same word Walberg used to refer to it in his House floor speech the previous month [February 16, 2012]

These two blogs also bookend the point when Snopes.com published their investigation of the Stalin meme, rating it as false [March 15, 2012]. The Stalin meme truly became viral at this point so from here it is difficult to trace the way it spread. Walberg continued repeating it in his official Congressional capacity for the next few years. And then Ben Carson, as a U.S. Presidential candidate repeated it a couple times during the primary campaign in February 2016 [see next page].

2010-Present: The Tea Party Meme Period
Saturday, February 13, 2016
GOP Primary Debate (CBS) - Greenville, SC
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 [Speech after the Iowa Caucus]:

Ben Carson: “And it was Joseph Stalin who, I guess, put it very succinctly. He said, ‘In order to destroy America’, which he was quite interested in doing, but he said we were too strong. He said, ‘you have to undermine three principles: their spiritual life, their patriotism, and their morality. And if you can undermine those things, America will collapse from within.’ But we’re in the process of collapsing from within.

Full video of post-Iowa speech (1:00 mark): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO2xxyIPI_E

Saturday, February 13, 2016 [GOP Debate]:

Ben Carson: "I, like you, am a member of ‘we, the people,’… And we know that our country is heading off the cliff. Joseph Stalin said, ‘If you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things: our spiritual life, our patriotism and our morality.’ We, the people, can stop that decline."


If Ben Carson had been elected President, he would have surpassed Tim Walberg as the most powerful elected official to mistake the Stalin meme for a real quote.

On a related note, Ben Carson has frequently stated his admiration of W. Cleon Skousen. It was later discovered that Carson had plagiarized portions of Skousen’s writing in one of his books: https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/ben-carson-book

Carson’s response to the discovery of the plagiarism:
https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/ben-carson-blindsided-plagiarism-charges-eliana-johnson/


2010-Present: The Tea Party Meme Period
Friday, May 11, 2018
The Cincinnati Enquirer- Cincinnati, OH
Source: cincinnati.com

This recent newspaper letter to the editor shows that after more than 35 years, the bogus Stalin quote still spreads in the same manner that it did in the beginning. Shucks, I don’t understand why, because it goes against my values for scrupulous facts, but seeing this reader op-ed honestly gives me a warm feeling of happy nostalgia.

CONCLUSION:

“I don’t normally quote from Joseph Stalin, but today he said something appropriate about liberty.”
– Tim Walberg (February 16, 2012 – Washington, DC)

“Remember he [James Comey] rigged it in a time, none of them thought that the President wouldn’t be anybody but Hillary Clinton, and they could cover all of that. That didn’t happen. Heh, heh! And now they’re, I believe, caught in their own trap.”
– Tim Walberg (June 21, 2018 – Radio Call-In)

            The Stalin meme was one of any number of objects through which we could have explored Tim Walberg’s poor judgement. Almost any other topics would have been of much greater consequences too. That is why I juxtaposed the meme against Walberg’s judgement around the Mueller investigation. Both examples show Walberg’s poor judgement. The reason for focusing on the Stalin meme is that it is removed from polarized policy debate. So, we can observe Walberg’s performance more clinically, and removed from partisan leanings.

            American politicians ain’t saints, never have been. I love Mark Twain’s books, which are well-populated with portraits of pious frauds. Twain would have made a meal out of Walberg. I don’t subscribe to Twain’s cynicism though. I believe that we are on a trajectory toward the American Dream. Though, it takes effort and a healthy skepticism to stay the true course.

Thank you for reading,
Steven Meyer
Michigan’s 7th Congressional District

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Loose-Ends for Further Research
I would love to dig into these items further, or pass them along for others to report on.
  • Ask Tim Walberg where he learned of the Stalin meme, and why he felt it was so compelling despite being challenged on it. What are his thoughts about it now?
  • Find the edition of the McAlvany Intelligence Adviser that first printed the quote, or perhaps any of the other older writings of Donald S. McAlvany where the quote, or variations of it may have appeared.
  • Ask Donald S. McAlvany, first-hand to address whether he thinks the quote is authentic, or not, or perhaps where he first found the quote.
  • Dig into that phenomenon of the newspaper reader op-eds, where so many similar letters appeared at once, citing the same document, all around the country. Were they guided, or encouraged to do that? Are there more examples of that phenomenon? For me, that was the most unexpected and exciting part of this research.

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