“[E]ven with some state control, experts say, property sales could transform Cuba more than any of the economic reforms announced by President Raul Castro’s government,” Cave noted before noting unnamed “experts” who fear that “[t]he opportunities for profits and loans would be far larger than what Cuba’s small businesses offer… potentially creating the disparities of wealth that have accompanied property ownership in places like Eastern Europe and China.”
One can hardly imagine a newspaper running a headline that suggested a fascist society like Nazi Germany had its good points. Yet the New York Times has carved out a side industry in headlines that suggest a bright side to Communist tyranny in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The latest came attached to art critic Holland Cotter’s 1,700-word review of “Ostalgia,” an exhibit of Soviet and post-Soviet art at the New Museum in Manhattan, splashed along the top fold of Friday’s Weekend Arts section: “When Repression Was a Muse.” “Ostalgia” is a coinage for the strange cultural nostalgia for Communism (i.e., inferior but somehow endearing cars like the East German Trabant) felt by some East Germans who found it hard to cope with the freedoms, opportunities, and responsibilities of a more capitalist society.
I've seen Associated Press reporters make absurd assertions before, but a statement written by Julie Pace and Vanessa Gera, who covered President Barack Obama's trip to Poland yesterday, has to be at or near the top of the list of all-time humdingers.
Polish Solidarity hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa did not meet with Obama yesterday. Wait until you see the sheer speculation as to why there was no meeting in the bolded sentence in the fourth paragraph of the following excerpt from the AP pair's Friday evening report:
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt marked the 50th anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion as "one of the most infamous events in American history." In the report that followed, correspondent Mark Potter proclaimed: "This weekend Cuba is remembering a critical moment in history still felt today. Huge crowds have come out to celebrate in ways not seen here for years."
Sounding like he was reading a press release about the celebration, Potter declared: "In the Plaza of the Revolution, a massive display of military might and a celebration of Cuba's victory 50 years ago at the Bay of Pigs. The failed invasion planned by the CIA and backed by the US military is seen as a historic turning point for Fidel Castro." At no point in the story was the brutality of Castro's 50-year communist dictatorship mentioned.
But some of the labeling was overheated: “A secretive evangelical Christian organization that some say has a right-wing agenda.” When the Times says “some say,” it almost always means “liberals say,” and indeed, Oppenheimer’s source, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) tends to target conservatives with their complaints.
The Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who was finally captured on Monday, defied nearly everybody: the United States, the European Union and the African Union. But right to the end, Mr. Gbagbo had defenders in the West, and they notably included several prominent conservative Christians.
In response to a question from Klein about "the animosity between unions and workplaces" (that is what Klein says he said), Stern made an interesting assertion that most readers probably took at face value:
We grew up in that culture. In the '30s, people didn't want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes . . . we had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. It's not viewed through that light anymore.
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC’s World News on Wednesday informed viewers of display items for the National Archives planned for next month’s commemoration of President Reagan’s 100 th birthday. Anchor Diane Sawyer recounted that Reagan had made "handwritten changes" to his 1983 speech in which he called the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire." Sawyer:
New York Times reporter Edward Wong took an inordinately cheery look at a Maoist tourist attraction in the Chinese city of Yan’an in Friday’s “Revolution Isn’t a Party, But It Draws The Tourists.” The online headline was clearer: “China’s Red Tourism Taps Communist Pride for Profit.”
Wong described a botched performance of a re-enactment of “a crucial moment in the Chinese civil war, when the Kuomintang tried to overrun the Communists in 1947 in their mountain redoubt here. The show, complete with live explosions and a fighter jet that swoops down on a wire, takes place every morning on the outskirts of Yan’an, a dingy city of two million in the northern province of Shaanxi.
Capitalism is thriving in China, but red is far from dead, at least in Yan’an. “The Defense of Yan’an” is a recent addition to tourist attractions that try to evoke the glory days of the Communist Party, after its leaders entered Yan’an in 1936 following the Long March. Local officials and businesspeople are profiting handsomely from a boom in “red tourism,” in which Chinese, many of them young professionals, journey to famous revolutionary sites to rekindle their long-lost sense of class struggle and proletarian principles.
(first listing) "not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero."
(third listing) "necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure."
One thus has to take the following sentence, the first in James's report, as a virtually explicit expression of admiration for the latest authoritarian moves by the country's "El Presidente," Hugo Chávez:
In a Reuters story ("Venezuela assembly gives Chavez decree powers"), reporters Daniel Wallis and Frank Jack Daniel took note of outraged "opponents who accuse him of turning South America's biggest oil producer into a dictatorship," relieving them of the responsibility for stating the obvious themselves.
Romero's item at the Times is particularly galling in its borderline admiration for the tactics employed by the man who is now Venzuela's virtual dictator (bold is mine):
A useful guideline in evaluating the significance of a national security-related news story first revealed by someone in the establishment press is whether other media outlets pick it up. If they don't, it's probably significant.
More sympathy from New York Times reporter Simon Romero for Lori Berenson, the American terrorist helper jailed in Peru, in a profile on Saturday’s front page, “Berenson Tries to Make Amends in Peru.” Romero attempted to make Berenson an object of sympathy, as he did in a profile earlier this year when she was released on parole.
Berenson was sentenced to life in prison in Peru in 1996 for being closely involved with the Marxist terrorists of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). Berenson’s parole was greeted with public indignation, which Romero did his best to quell, calling her fiery claim at trial, that “There are no criminal terrorists in the M.R.T.A. It’s a revolutionary movement!” merely a “youthful outburst.” (Berenson was 26 at the time.) Instead Romero picked up on the angle of a poor, picked-on Berenson:
It seems that the Times's Michael Shear is disappointed that Dear Leader is yet again caught up in a "distraction" ("Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Distraction"). It's headlined in the item's browser window as "Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Controversy." Interesting edit, don't you think? If it's a "controversy," the President owns it. If it's a "distraction," well, it's an unfair intrusion. Clever.
Shear wrapped it in a narrative whose theme was that "It all felt vaguely familiar." Well, yeah. What's more than vaguely familiar has been the press's tendency to lament the distractions our supposedly otherwise focused like a laser beam chief executive must endure. On April 9, 2009 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that "The words 'Obama' and 'distraction' have both appeared in 2,425 articles in just the past 30 days; excluding duplicates, it's about 450."
In his blog entry, Shear listed many other awful distractions the president has encountered. What's interesting are how many of them escalated because of Obama or people working directly for him:
New York Times reporter Channing Joseph engaged in light-hearted humanizing of those stuffy Communists in Sunday’s Metro section, “Where Marxists Pontificate, And Play.” The worst thing Joseph can say about the gathering of supporters of tyrannical regimes at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan is that Communists have a reputation for “seriousness.”
There’s even a boring online slide show with cozy captions: “There are little hints of humor all around the Brecht Forum....” Judging by the photos, very little.
Try to imagine the Times getting so cozy among a group of mainstream Republicans, much less Tea Party supporters. Hanging out with the Communist group, Joseph posed no inconveniently challenging questions on the atrocities of Stalin, Mao, or Castro. Instead, “smiles abound” and gentleness reigns in this non-news news story.
If communists have a reputation for anything, it is seriousness. (And if you have seen old photos of Karl Marx, you know that he did not smile much.) But at the Brecht Forum, a community center on West Street where revolutionaries and radicals gather daily to ponder and to pontificate, they also play. (Smiles abound.)
There are so many problematic items in the establishment press's treatment of yesterday's "One Nation" rally in Washington that it's difficult to know where to begin.
So let's start at the very beginning. Among the many howlers in the coverage is a claim the Associated Press's Philip Elliott pass without response towards the end of his 12:21 p.m Saturday report (saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; bold is mine):
One Nation organizers said that they began planning their event before learning about Beck's rally and that their march is not in reaction to it.
It would appear that either Elliott felt that this statement would easily withstand scrutiny, and thus performed none himself, or that he knew better, and let it get into his report anyway.
Given the fact that so-called progressives have been continually monitoring Beck's activities and pronouncements for several years, One Nation's organizers would have to prove that they began substantively "planning their event" before November 21, 2009. Good luck with that.
A UK Independent item about an unreleased book by historian Frank Dikötter made me think about New York Times columnist NIcholas Kristof. Readers will see why shortly.
Amazon says that Dikötter's "Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962" will be released on September 28. The Independent's Arifa Akbar relays Dikötter's core conclusion that "At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years." This is a significantly higher number than the highest previous estimate of Jung Chang, who asserted in her 2005 book, "Mao: The Unknown Story," that "38 million people were starved and slave-driven to death in 1958-61." The seven million extra deaths would move Chang's 2005 total of "more than 70 million" into the neighborhood of 80 million, padding Mao's lead over Stalin and Hitler as the worst mass murderer in human history.
The Independent's Akbar also writes that "Mr. Dikötter is the only author to have delved into the Chinese archives since they were reopened four years ago." If true, this reflects a startling lack of curiosity.
I hope Nick Kristof is just a little curious, and will peruse what Mr. Dikötter has documented when it becomes available. Perhaps it will move him to reach conclusions a bit different from those he reached when he reviewed Chang's book in October 2005 (bolds are mine):
It's not a stretch to believe that the folks at the Associated Press would rather not report bad news from that communist workers' paradise known as Cuba.
Just look at how the wire service has dealt with clearly significant news about the island nation's economy. Though the news, carried originally at the Miami Herald, is three months old, the AP as best I can tell finally got around to writing a story about it late Friday, the beginning of a summer weekend when few are following the news closely. How convenient.
Here is some of what the Herald's Juan O. Tamay reported on April 19:
Raúl Castro admits that Cuba has one million excess jobs The figures on unproductive workers in the government and its enterprises surprised even some Cuban economists.
The stunning figure was revealed by Cuban leader Raúl Castro himself: The Cuban government and its enterprises might have more than one million excess workers on their payrolls.
Rush has spent a considerable portion of today's broadcast ripping into this article by Christine Stapleton of Cox Newspapers, and rightly so, for the first three of the four opening paragraphs that follow:
Despite the warnings of Dick Cheney, George Will, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, the Russians are not drilling for oil off Cuba. Neither are the Chinese. In fact, no one — not even Cuba — is drilling for oil off Cuba.
The pesky and persistent rumor, bubbling back up with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is still nothing more than a pesky and persistent rumor — aired in 2008 by former Vice President Cheney (who got the misinformation from conservative columnist Will), repeated on Fox News and recently revived by conservative radio commentator Limbaugh, who told his listeners 10 days after the spill: "The Russians are drilling in a deal with the Cubans in the Gulf. The Vietnamese and Angola are drilling for oil in the Gulf in deals with the Cubans."
However, as oil from BP's exploded well continues surging from the Gulf floor and washing onto Panhandle beaches, the rumor is poised to become fact.
Late last year, a story carried by the wire service AFP reported on an announcement by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez that his government would launch "a new chain of government-run, cut-rate retail stores that will sell everything from food to cars to clothing." Chavez reportedly said that these "discount socialist stores" would show people "what a real market is all about, not those speculative, money-grubbing markets, but a market for the people."
This initiative was on top of Chavez's creation of Mercal (link is to the Venezuelan home page, complete with "The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela" logo), a state-run network of grocery stores, seven years ago.
How is this great leap forward into state control working out? A June 18 Reuters dispatch carried at CNBC reports that the government can't even keep its food fresh. But that's okay. The wire service takes a while to get there, and even then a bit of interpretation is necessary, but eventually we learn that the Chavez "solution" to that thorny problem is to seize replacement goods from private merchants:
Hugo Chavez Spearheads Raids as Food Prices Skyrocket
Mountains of rotting food found at a government warehouse, soaring prices and soldiers raiding wholesalers accused of hoarding: Food supply is the latest battle in President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.
The New York Times's obituary Saturday for Manhattan Project physicist turned Maoist Joan Hinton by William Grimes left out her Maoist beliefs in both the headline -- "Joan Hinton, 88, Physicist Who Chose China Over Bomb" -- and a text box: "A Manhattan Project member whose desire for peace led her to a Chinese farm." And the obituary itself completely omitted the deadly nature of Mao Zedong's totalitarian regime:
Joan Hinton, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, which developed the atom bomb, but spent most of her life as a committed Maoist working on dairy farms in China, died on Tuesday in Beijing. She was 88.
In 1948, alarmed at the emerging cold war, she gave up physics and left the United States for China, then in the throes of a Communist revolution she wholeheartedly admired. "I did not want to spend my life figuring out how to kill people," she told National Public Radio in 2002. "I wanted to figure out how to let people have a better life, not a worse life."
Grimes concluded without any reference to Mao's atrocities during the Cultural Revolution:
"Good news, comrades! Finally, after years of struggle the Industrialization of the Soviet Union paid off. From the creators of the Communist Manifesto, the October Revolution and the Perestroika comes the best Soviet Union product since Kalashnikov - iStalin! Finally the people will have the privilege to create Soviet posters themselves and spread the communist glory!"
Which is more newsworthy: hearsay accounts of racial slurs unsupported by video evidence of the alleged incident, or video of a protester calling for violent revolution against the federal government, the imposition of socialism, and the annexation of the Southwestern states for Mexico?
If you chose the latter, you're probably not a journalist of the self-proclaimed "mainstream" variety. The legacy media has been largely silent on video of Los Angles schoolteacher at a La Raza protest of the recently-passed Arizona immigration law literally calling for the violent overthrow of the United States government.
"There's 40 million potential revolutionaries north of the border, inside the belly of the beast," Los Angeles high school history teacher Ron Gochez told a frenzied crowd, referring to the 40 million Latin Americans in the United States. He went on to claim that teaching or writing a book "is not part of the movement," and that his followers needed to go a step further -- to literal revolution (video embedded below the fold - h/t Jawa Report).
A $787-billion stimulus. Liabilities of $356 billion for the TARP bailout on the federal government's balance sheet. And that's in addition to other unfunded liabilities from federal entitlements like ObamaCare, Medicare, and Social Security.
But that doesn't mean the U.S. is heading down the path toward socialism because they were one-time expenditures, according to CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman.
On CNBC's "Squawk Box" April 29, as jobless claims for the week was being released on the floor of the CME Group in Chicago, co-host Joe Kernen asked for Liesman's opinion.
During a speech to the winter conference of the Young Democratic Socialists the site Verum Serum found that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis praised socialism and attacked conservatives. She even goes so far as to say that today's political atmosphere is worse than McCarthyism, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and Jim Crow segregation:
Watch the latest business video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;It is virtually impossible to separate economics from politics, and politics from a society's culture - but is economics inherently intertwined with religion as well?
Fox Business Network (FBN) anchor Stuart Varney thinks so. On FBN's April 14 broadcast of "Varney & Co." Father Jonathan Morris joined the show's panel and explored the question.
"Do you think that Europe's paganism - it's turn away from Christianity - has anything to do with Europe's economic decline?" Varney bluntly asked the priest. "Can you link this secularism - what I call ‘paganism' in Europe- directly to economic decline?"
"Certainly Europe is much more secular than the United States, and all of a sudden you lose hope," Morrison said. "If you lose hope in what life is all about, you're not going to work very hard. On the other hand, if you have hope that what I'm doing today matters tomorrow - and I'm building a life and I'm building my family and we're going places - and there's something beyond this life? You're going to be hopeful, you're going to make money - you're going to build the culture of life and goodness."
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck - but just be prepared to have your spelling skills challenged when you reach that conclusion.
And so goes CNN's Roland Martin. On the network's March 21 special coverage of the House of Representatives passage of health care legislation, host Wolf Blitzer asked Martin, a CNN political analyst, about his views of those who call these so-called reform measures Soviet-style communism or socialism.
"That's just stuck on stupid," Martin said. "I mean to sit there on the House floor and all of a sudden you're talking about, oh, this is communism and you're sitting here and reaching - that's just dumb, OK? You know what? If Republicans truly cared about health care, why in the world didn't they do anything for eight years? So don't stand here now when the Democrats have been pushing the issue and now say, oh, no, ‘Republicans - we really care about health care,' when you had the opportunity to make changes to our system."
Back in September, Tom Friedman, speaking of China, proclaimed that "there is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today." That prompted Jonah Goldberg to call Friedman a "liberal fascist," drawing an example from his seminal book, Liberal Fascism, to demonstrate how Friedman's fawning over the Chi-Coms "is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s."
But far from being abashed, Friedman is apparently so enamored of his formulation that he has repeated it virtually verbatim. The Times columnist suffered another bad bout of Chi-Com envy on today's Meet The Press, guest-hosted by Tom Brokaw.
Remember Van Jones? He's trying to make a comeback, and the mainstream media seems to be lending him a helping hand in getting back into the Washington power structure. Jones, in case you don't remember, was the administration's Green Jobs Czar. He resigned after it came to light that his name appeared on a 9/11 Truther petition.
That, it turned out, was not the extent of his wackiness. He led a vigil mourning "the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world." He was an admitted communist and black nationalist. Now, it turns out, he considered Americans who shipped off to Iraq to be human shields for Saddam Hussein "heroes."
He said just that on MSNBC's "The Abrams Report" in 2003, according to a transcript of the show (relevant portion below the fold). I would post video here, but MSNBC refuses to release it: