Q Can you give us an update on Elian Gonzalez, the boy rescued off the coast of Florida in 1999, then returned to Cuba over the protests of his U.S. relatives?--Mark Larsen, Calhoun, Ga.
A Elian, 15, has been well taken care of by Fidel Castro. His dad was rewarded with a seat in Cuba's national assembly, and the family was given a spacious home. Says Ann Louise Bardach, whose Without Fidel will be published next spring: "Fidel has been known to forget the birthdays of his own children, but never Elian's."
Heartwarming, isn't it? That Fidel is such a sweetheart. So massive is his affection for the young man that he, with the complicity of the U.S. government, forced the terrified boy back to Cuba. Just yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Cubans:
are preoccupied with staying afloat in a sclerotic economy where basics like toilet paper often disappear from store shelves and most people eat meat only a few times each month.
Tuesday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC showed a pre-recorded interview with CNN founder Ted Turner, in which O’Reilly got Turner to admit that he and Jane Fonda, who both opposed America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, had ignored the slaughter of millions by the Khmer Rouge communists in Southeast Asia after America’s withdrawal from the region. Turner: "You got me. I didn’t really think about it. You know, it didn’t make the news very much at the time."
The CNN founder, who was appearing to promote his biography, "Call Me Ted," readily admitted to "admiring" Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and expressed doubt when O’Reilly argued that Castro had murdered many people. Turner: "Well, I admire certain things about him. He’s trained a lot of doctors, and they’ve got one of the best educational systems in the developing world, and, you know, he’s still popular with a lot of people down there. He’s unpopular with a lot of people, too." After O’Reilly injected, "But he’s a killer. He’s a killer," Turner responded: "He’s not, that has never, to my knowledge, that’s never been proven."
But Turner only reluctantly praised President Bush after O’Reilly argued that Bush "has saved more lives, sent more money, and provided more medical care for the citizens of all the countries of Africa than any human being that’s ever lived." Turner: "I think he made a lot of mistakes, too, but you can’t, he did some good things, but I think you basically, he’s got a good heart."
There was an interesting post Tuesday morning on the New York Times's "City Room" blog, "Che, or a Statue of an Actor Playing Che," about a statue of an actor playing Che Guevara recently installed in a corner of Central Park. David Gonzalez interviewed passerby delighted at the representation (once-removed) of Guevara, the colorful Communist thug romanticized among the benighted left and the uninformed public for his colorful charisma and sex appeal.
Che Guevara has been put on a pedestal in Manhattan. This is something not lacking in irony, since Manhattan might not exist today had the Argentine-born, Cuban-tested revolutionary had his way and unleashed the Soviet nukes against the United States during the 1962 missile crisis.
Are New Yorkers really allowing such an homage to occupy the southeast corner of Central Park? Technically, no. The statue actually depicts a Barcelona street performer portraying Che, part of three bronze sculptures by Christian Janowski, which were recently installed by the Public Art Fund.
The Times's Gonzalez didn't genuflect to the urban hipster mentality.
In the interview for Wednesday’s Barbara Walters Special on ABC with Barack and Michelle Obama, excerpts of which were also shown on Wednesday’s World News with Charles Gibson, Walters asked few questions that put the Obamas on the defensive, in contrast with her January 2001 interview, aired on 20/20, with then-President-elect Bush in which she challenged him on a number of fronts. Most notably, she seemed to chide Bush for choosing John Ashcroft as Attorney General because he "openly opposes abortion," and claimed that Ashcroft was "not considered a friend to civil rights." She asked Bush about reports that, as governor of Texas, he "spent relatively little time studying specific issues," and "only does a few hours of work" a day. The ABC host also challenged Bush from the left on the trade embargo against Cuba, and even asked Laura Bush if her more "traditional" plans for her time as First Lady would be a "setback for women." It is also noteworthy that Walters asked Bush about his plans for dealing with Saddam Hussein and cited "people in the know" who contended that the Iraqi dictator was "stronger than ever."
“The KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work” with “worthwhile” achievements, CNN founder Ted Turner contended in an interview aired on Sunday's Meet the Press in which he blamed the U.S. for starting the battles with Vladimir Putin “by putting the Star Wars system in Czechoslovakia and Poland” and, when host Tom Brokaw recalled that Leonid Brezhnev reacted to Jimmy Carter's outreach by invading Afghanistan, Turner retorted with moral equivalence: “Well, we invaded Afghanistan, too, and it's a lot further -- at least it's on the border of the Soviet Union.” Brokaw called it “naked aggression on the part of the Russians at the time,” prompting Turner to charge: “Well, going into Iraq was naked aggression on the part of the United States.”
Turner, who did the sit-down as part of the media tour for his new book, Call Me Ted, defended Putin's KGB background by comparing it to someone who worked for the FBI:
We have an FBI and, and, and, and, and we're not prejudiced against somebody who's worked at the FBI. It's an honorable place to work. And the KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work. And it, it gave people in the former Soviet Union, a communist country, an opportunity to do something important and worthwhile.
Yeah, like oppressing people in captured nations and running gulags to suppress political dissent.
New York Times European correspondent Dan Bilefsky bizarrely relayed the contents of a secret police file from the former Communist state of Czechoslovakia to boost his argument that Vaclav Klaus, the new president of the European Union, is a dangerously arrogant proponent of the free market. Bilefksy's Tuesday story from Prague, "A Fiery Czech Is Poised to Be the Face of Europe," read more like a cautionary left-wing editorial than a news story.
In the 1980s, a Communist secret police agent infiltrated clandestine economics seminars hosted by Vaclav Klaus, a fiery future leader of the Czech Republic, who had come under suspicion for extolling free market virtues. Rather than reporting on Marxist heresy, the agent was most struck by Mr. Klaus's now famous arrogance.
"His behavior and attitudes reveal that he feels like a rejected genius," the agent noted in his report, which has since been made public. "He shows that whoever does not agree with his views is stupid and incompetent."
Expatica is an overseas publication for US expatriates in Europe with six country-customized editions. It betrays many of the biases that permeate mainstream US journalism. What follows is a prime example of that.
The publication's Germany version today has an article celebrating the 19th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall that makes it appear as if it, well, y'know, sorta just serendipitously happened because a bunch of people protested for a while.
"Societies in which the few are allowed to fatten themselves without limit on the labor of many are not just."
A. Friedrich Engels B. William Ayers C. Michelle Obama D. Timothy Rutten
Any of the answers would make sense, but the headline kind of gave it away. It was Timothy Rutten of the LA Times who penned that immortal line in his column of today. In doing so, Rutten echoes other in the MSM, as here and here, who in the wake of the financial markets' travails indulge in a certain anti-capitalist chic.
Let's have some fun deconstructing the intrepid class warrior's musings . . .
Chicago Tribune staff writer Rex Huppke has solicited the expertise of communist party leaders to defend Barack Obama from the fallout of the now famous answer he supplied to a man referred to as Joe the Plumber.
In an article with the misleading headline "Socialists: Obama No Socialist" Huppke applied some painstaking logic to reach his conclusion that Barack Obama can not be a socialist if avowed communists will not state that he is.
Local communists, rarely tapped as campaign pundits, say Sen. Barack Obama and his policies stand far afield from any form of socialism they know.
John Bachtell, the Illinois organizer for Communist Party USA, sees attempts by Sen. John McCain's campaign to label Obama a socialist as both offensive to socialists and a desperate ploy to tap into fears of voters who haven't forgotten their Cold War rhetoric.
For the last few days various groups like MoveOn.org, and the folks at Huffington Post, DailyKos and DemocraticUnderground have been beating the drum of a new theme to attempt to undermine the McCain campaign among the media. The newest claim from the extreme left is that McCain's focus on the Obama/Ayers connection is responsible for fostering "threats" and "violence" to be ginned up among Republicans at McCain rallies. The left is pushing the idea that McCain is inciting riots and "hate" among GOP voters and they are pushing this theme in an email campaign to the main Old Media outlets.
On October 9, for instance, I got no less than 25 emails "alerting" me to a particular Huffington Post jeremiad that is amusing in its replication of the same behavior it pretends to condemn. In this childish bloviation the HuffPo writer uses as much name calling, guilt by association, and bald faced lies as he claims to be refuting from McCain. But, the germ of the argument is that McCain is inciting violence.
It's the kind of socialist attitude that would make Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez proud. Unfortunately, it's coming from a New York Times columnist making recommendations for the U.S. financial system.
"[W]hat we really need is we need, well capital that the banks - we need to put money into the system," Krugman said. "And in effect, what always happens in financial crises is a partial nationalization - partial and temporary nationalization of the financial system. And, that is - you know and, I predict with almost 100-percent confidence that's how it will end, but the [Henry] Paulson Treasury wasn't willing to talk about that."
It remains to be seen whether this turns out to be Barack Obama's "Christmas in Cambodia" untruth, his Dukakis-in-tank hilarity -- or both.
Regardless, what follows is a pretty obvious "misstatement" that would not possibly be ignored if it were uttered by a conservative or a Republican.
In his hilariously titled post ("Mighta Joined If He Coulda Capped Some Cong") on Barack Obama's interview in a barn this morning (not kidding) on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, fellow NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reported on Obama's answer to a viewer's question about whether he ever considered military service. You can read Mark's post for his overall thoughts, but I want to focus on something the Illinois senator said that several commenters at the post took exception to (photo courtesy DayLife):
You know, I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. .... But keep in mind: I graduated in 1979.
Peripatetic New York Times columnist Tom Friedman was in China for the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and his Wednesday column "A Biblical Seven Years" praised the host country for the Games' "magnificent $43 billion infrastructure," built over the past seven years while the U.S. has been stuck fighting Al Qaeda. Friedman also praised the Communist nation's "planning, concentrated state power" and "national mobilization." Don't those words have more than a little echo of Stalinism?
After attending the spectacular closing ceremony at the Beijing Olympics and feeling the vibrations from hundreds of Chinese drummers pulsating in my own chest, I was tempted to conclude two things: “Holy mackerel, the energy coming out of this country is unrivaled.” And, two: “We are so cooked. Start teaching your kids Mandarin.”
In New York, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein has ordered the release of eight more grand jury transcripts from the famous 1951 spy case that led to the conviction of the husband and wife pro-Soviet spy team of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Reuters reports this story as if there is some cloud of doubt still hanging over the Rosenberg's conviction despite that their guilt is no longer debatable. Yet here is Reuters giving cover to those who stubbornly wish to cast doubt on the U.S. prosecution of the Rosenbergs. It also gives Reuters and U.S. detractors the opportunity once again smear America by raising their favorite Cold War boogie man, Joe McCarthy.
Reuters sternly tells us that,
The Rosenbergs were convicted in 1951 of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Rosenberg supporters describe the case as a frame-up amid anti-communist McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear.
It is amazing to see Reuters use every U.S. bash they could in one little paragraph. The Rosenbergs were victims of a "frame-up" because of "McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear." Notice how Reuters seems to forget to mention that there is no longer any doubt that the Rosenbergs were guilty, though?
On Sunday’s This Week on ABC, host George Stephanopoulos seemed to buy into the idea that Georgia provoked war with Russia as he asked guest Mitt Romney, "Didn’t President Saakashvili of Georgia bring some of this on himself by going into South Ossetia?" After Romney informed viewers that Georgian troops were deployed in response to violent attacks by South Ossetians, the ABC host followed up by asking Romney to respond to charges that the push, presumably by the United States, to expand NATO and build a missile defense system was perceived by Vladimir Putin as "belligerent and aggressive." Stephanopoulos: "How do you respond to the argument that by pushing for Georgia to be in NATO, by pushing for Ukraine to be in NATO, by putting a missile defense system in Czechoslovakia, this was seen as belligerent and aggressive by Putin and kind of brought him in?"
Chris Matthews: Back With an Obamania Vengeance . . .
If Barack Obama makes it to the White House, perhaps he should appoint Chris Matthews Commissar of Gosplan, the Commission charged with developing the economy's Five Year Plans. The Hardball host, back from vacation, displayed the enthusiasm of a dutiful apparatchik in praising an Obama ad that in turn amounted to a pitch for central planning.
During the "ad wars" segment on this evening's Hardball, Matthews first played a McCain ad that hit Obama over his plans to raise taxes and his lack of readiness to lead. After Andrea Mitchell suggested that the ad is "the wrong tone for the [NBC] Olympics," during which it's playing, Matthews wondered whether McCain is "the Grinch that stole the Olympics," and suggested a "taste test," comparing Obama's ad. Here's the ad's text:
VOICEOVER: The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind [images of electricity-generating wind turbines.] The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels. The hands that build today's cars can also build the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles. Barack Obama: a new vision for our economy. Fast-track alternative fuels. Create five million jobs developing home-grown energy technologies. Because America's future is in our hands.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen introduced a segment on China hosting the Olympics: "Well, the Olympic games are more than a chance for the world's athletes to excel, they also give the host nation an opportunity to shine. For China and it's 1.3 billion people, the Beijing games are feeding a groundswell of pride." Chen then went to correspondent Barry Petersen who declared: "From designer clothes to new cars, China is getting rich. Democracies once bragged that theirs was the only way to economic success. China is doing it the communist way."
Petersen began his report by observing: "Well, China wants to throw a successful Olympics party and so far they're doing just fine. With plenty of enthusiasm spreading from Beijing pretty much around the world." Of course that ignored the heavy pollution in Beijing, constant protests, President Bush’s criticism of China’s human rights record, and the fatal stabbing of the father-in-law of a U.S. coach. Petersen went on to describe how: "Beijing has the welcome banners out to a half million visitors. More foreigners at one time than the country has seen since the Mongol invasion a thousand years ago." So Olympic visitors are like barbarian hordes?
Saturday's Fox News Watch devoted a few minutes to the controversy, which was documented previously by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, over NBC's Matt Lauer claiming during an interview for the Today show that "some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life, something around 80 percent," but that in America, "only about 25 percent." Liberal panelist Patricia Murphy of Citizen Jane stated her belief that Lauer simply made an "error" in misstating a Pew Research poll which found that, when asked if they were "satisfied with the direction of the country," 86 percent of Chinese respondents said yes, but when asked about "personal satisfaction," that "the number was much, much lower."
Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton theorized NBC was being soft on China because the network is making money off the Olympics: "Could it be because NBC paid China a billion dollars to cover the Olympics? And they can't afford to have their reporters and sportscasters kicked out for telling the truth about China. So they have no choice but to cover up." (Transcript follows)
NBC’s Matt Lauer, broadcasting live from the Great Wall of China on Monday’s "Today" show, referred to the "double-edged sword" of the world’s attention being on China for the Summer Olympic Games and asked a Chinese professor about how that "spotlight" might be "co-opted by party crashers who have a bone to pick with this country. He then asked the professor, "How worried are the people here about that?" [audio available here]
Lauer, who will be in China during the next weeks for the Olympics, interviewed Professor Teng Dimeng of the Beijing Foreign Studies University 20 minutes into 7 am Eastern hour of the NBC program. According to the University’s own website, it is a "key university under the [Chinese] Ministry of Education" and that "since her initiation, the [Communist] Party Central Committee and the late Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, has provided great care and teachings for the development of the university." Therefore, Lauer, despite introducing Teng as a professor, was actually speaking to an employee of the Communist Chinese government.
Mass murder in real concentration camps in the Soviet Union are ancient history to National Public Radio, but the cause of poor, blacklisted communists in Hollywood charging America was a concentration camp is still a fresh and poignant soundbite. On the June 17 edition of All Things Considered, anchor Melissa Block championed a forthcoming new documentary about communist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, made by Peter Askin and Trumbo’s son Christopher and featuring big celebrities like Michael Douglas. Block made no mention of Trumbo’s actual Communist Party membership in the age of Stalin, and nowhere in the interview was there even a whisper of an alternative historical point of view, from Ronald Radosh to Kenneth Billingsley.
Block could only lament once again this alleged persecution of communists, once again utterly free of the irony that communists specialized in persecution everywhere they came to power:
Bloggers are being arrested more and more as the importance of the Internet is realized by governments across the world, at least so warns the BBC. It seems an alarming report where community activists and democracy advocates are finding themselves being oppressed by government, arrested, and maybe even tortured because of their blogging. But, one little fact of the story is never really focussed on in this alarming BBC report on the release of the WIA report from the University of Washington. The fact that bloggers aren't threatened much in democratic nations has been glossed over by this report.
Unfortunately, a cursory reading of this piece would leave the reader with the vague feeling that people all over the world are being arrested merely because they are blogging, but that isn't quite the case. The way this report is written serves as a perfect example of a PCism more concerned with upsetting the tender sensibilities of tyrannical, undemocratic governments, than in reporting the oppression of its citizens. It's a PCism gone so far that it makes the report uninformative at least to the most important aspect of the reason these bloggers are being arrested.
CNN, following the same vein as the Associated Press, highlighted how Elian Gonzalez is now a member of Cuba’s Young Communist League. Correspondent Shasta Darlington reported on Monday’s "American Morning" that the newly-minted communist "vowed he would always follow the examples of Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, Cuba's new president." She also acknowledged unquestioningly Fidel Castro’s "personal relationship" with the boy.
Darlington, reporting live from Havana, introduced her report by announcing that Elian took his "first step that, for a select few, lead to a bright political future in Cuba." She then gave a short summary of the custody dispute over the child eight years ago, during which she stated that "Fidel Castro himself led the ideological battle to bring Gonzalez back to Cuba and his father."
Leave it to the mainstream media to highlight the latest "accomplishment" of the Castros’ oppressive regime.
One of Yahoo.com’s front page news items Monday morning linked to a story from the Associated Press about Elian Gonzalez’s entrance into Cuba’s Young Communist Union. The short uncredited story put the news this way:
The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union.
Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.
In a movie role miscasting that would be akin to picking Michael Moore to portray George W. Bush, a new flick that is starting production soon will feature an unlikely actor as the president of the United States of America. Leftist activist, and virulent anti-American Danny Glover has been tapped to star as a U.S. president that will be confronted with a "global cataclysm" in the film "2012."
There's a "cataclysm" alright. That such a U.S. hater would be picked to star as the occupant of the White House is as big a disaster as can be imagined. It is just amazing how Hollywood likes to stick their fingers in the eyes of the American public. Of all the actors in LaLaLand that they could pick to take the role of POTUS, they have to pick Glover, one of the worst anti-Americans in the business. And in a business over flowing with folks with anti-American ideas, that is really saying something.
Over the weekend, the London Times gave us a foolish headline for a foolish story. The trumpeting headline read, "A seismic shift in China's relations with West?" This would be momentous news if true of course. But this supposed "seismic shift" was made up of whole cloth, not of any proof of actions by China otherwise. Instead of a story citing a series of decisions given a suitable amount of time to prove that China really has made some sort of shift in relations, it's all built on an ego stroke the Chinese gave western reporters. This "seismic shift" only exists in the uncritical minds of the western press because they had an easier time of covering this story with less of the usual Chinese restrictiveness. So, they now assume, because the Chinese gave the western press a few minutes of unexpected face time, this must suddenly mean there is a "seismic shift" in relations between the oppressive, murderous Chinese government and the west? The assumption is as simple-minded as it is stupid.
I don't often get as downright blatant as this, but sometimes one has to just come right out and say it -- the western media is filled with stupid people. If this story doesn't make you a believer that too many in the media don't have the good sense God gave a common rock, nothing will ever convince you. This story has it all; self-congratulatory arrogance, ignorance of history, foolishness, blindness and the willful appeasement of one of the worst, most oppressive governments in human history.
Chavez wants to increase domestic food production; so, of course, the logical solution is to base the recovery on Marxist economics. After watching the failed totalitarian agronomics of Cuba and Russia, you'd think they could have invested a few bucks in a SimCity game so they could practice a little first.
Unbelievably, Reuters said Chavez “sheltered consumers from rising world food costs with subsidies and price controls,” and then in spite of all of that awesome planning, something surprisingly went wrong (all bolded portions mine):
Aren't southern gentlemen supposedly chivalrous? Yet Joe Scarborough, son of the Florida Panhandle, today exploited Mika Brzezinski's less-than-encyclopedic knowledge of sports to lure his Morning Joe colleague into agreeing that the famous former coach of the Indiana University basketball team was none other than . . . Bear Bryant.
The jumping-off point was Joe's wearing of a red sweater today, which as a running gag he claimed was in solidarity with the workers of the world on this, May Day. But when Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a Hillary supporter, came on toward the end of the show, Scarborough pressed the sweater into double duty.
If they had a reality show for international politicians called "Biggest Loser" the most popular nominee for the title would be Mikhail Gorbachev, the man that lost his whole country, not merely an election. Yet, every once in a while and for some untenable reason, this communist loser is trotted out by the US media as some sort of expert on international politics. Unsurprisingly, his opinion is always sought to act as an attack on a Republican politician or policy. This time it is the All Headline News service trotting out old spotty in order to wag a finger at GOP presidential candidate John McCain.
Back on March 18th, McCain reiterated his idea of creating a new international organization styled as a "League of Democracies." McCain imagines this organization as a chance to renew the commitment of the world's democratic nations to the concept of helping others grow as well as lending more support to those already so formed.
Let's give them an "A" for feeling, but an "F" for history. Photographer Rowan Benum captured an amusing sign at a Pro-Tibet rally in California not long ago and it says loads about our fetid educational system in the US these days. History isn't one of the better understood subjects, but feelings are there in spades.
Of course, we understand the sentiment. The Nazis now serve as the single worst example of human evil. Say someone is a Nazi and you can't get a worse epithet. And the left in the US just loves to throw that name around at whom ever they don't like. Bush is a "Nazi," Bill O'Reilly is a "Nazi," conservatives are "Nazis," etc., etc.