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.
News has leaked out from the folks at Muppet central (The Jim Henson Company) that the next Muppet feature film will sport a story line that attacks oil companies. According to CHUD.com, the story will center around all our favorite Muppets producing a show to raise money to save their old theater. They need the money, of course, because an "evil character" is trying to buy the building so that he might tear it down to "get at the oil underneath."
Why is it we have to turn everything into an anti-capitalism, anti-oil hatefest?
Even more alarming is the fact that it seems that the writer/director team pegged to head the project will be Jason Segel and Nick Stoller, the team that recently gave us the very R rated "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." One wonders if the Muppets will go from kid friendly to edgie and R rated? (I must admit that I would doubt the owners of the Muppet property would do that to their long standing kid friendly product, though.)
On Thursday's The Situation Room on CNN, Time magazine's managing editor, Richard Stengel, suggested that the 1961 Bay of Pigs attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro should not have been planned, as he assigned some of the blame for the fiasco to President Eisenhower for planning it in the first place. During a discussion of the importance of experience for a new President, Stengel contended: "John Kennedy, when he was first elected, very inexperienced President, got us into the Bay of Pigs. Terrible mistake. But who planned the Bay of Pigs? Dwight Eisenhower." (Transcript follows)
Before ... Those of us on the Right side of things have a profound disdain for what has become known as Che Chic -- the rampant popularity amongst the ignorant and idiotic portions of society (ours and elsewhere on the globe) of the recently retired Fidel Castro's designated Revolutionary hit man, Che Guevara.
Shirts, hats, and flags bearing the likeness of the Central and South American Communist assassin have adorned the bodies, heads and campaign offices of some of the world's finest mindless.
So it was with joyous exhuberence that I came upon the current issue of Mad Magazine whilst strolling through the grocer's this afternoon.
For the cover art alone (below), it was indeed an absolute must purchase.
In a report yesterday from Cuba, Anita Snow of the Associated Press, with the help of the headline writers at ABC, seemed intent on telling any Yanqui imperialists or hard-liners in Miami's Little Havana who might have any ideas of doing something rash during the transition of power from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul to forget about trying anything (HT Rush Limbaugh; story #4 at link; link will be available until next Monday):
Saturday's Fox News Watch featured a discussion on revelations that CNN staff were sent a memo advising them to make positive claims about Fidel Castro to balance out the regime's critics, crediting the communist dictator as a "revolutionary hero" to leftists who established "free education and universal health care." FNC's liberal contributor and NPR correspondent Juan Williams took exception:
I don't know what was going on there. ... what news man is at work and saying here is what we want to say nice about a man who was an oppressive force in his culture, in his society? A man who long ago left the heroic stance, the Che Guevara time period, and became somewhat of a hard hand that has left his people living at a low quality of life. I don't get it.
The email recommended against using wording that implies Castro didn't write his letter of resignation and to rely on reporting by Communist Party daily Granma. It then reminded “Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba” and “'[w]hile despised by some, he is seen as a revolutionary hero...for standing up to the United States.”
Here is the email posted by Babalu (bold mine after email's heading):
The "charismatic" Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's shock retirement for health reasons is covered on the New York Times web site this morning by James McKinley Jr., writing from Mexico City -- "Fidel Castro Resigns as Cuba's President."
President Castro? Was there nothing stronger in the NYT thesaurus this morning?
During a two part interview on the Thursday and Friday CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Hugo Chavez’s ex-wife, Marisabel Rodriguez, "Is Hugo Chavez a charismatic leader or a mad man?" This was followed later by the question, "Is he a Communist?" To which Marisabel Rodriguez responded: "If he's not, he's very similar to one."
Maggie Rodriguez, who is Cuban-American, had several other questions critical of Chavez:
Just last week Hugo Chavez reportedly boasted about chewing coca leaves, which is the base of cocaine. What do you think about this? Could this have altered his mind?...Do you think he should step down as president of Venezuela?
On the national holiday that celebrates the birth of famed civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., the AP decided to remind us all that there was more to King than the popularized view of him affords. AP says that it is a shame that King has been "frozen in a moment in time that ignores the full complexity of the man and his message." Who can disagree with this? After all, very often notable historical figures end up being turned into cardboard cartoons known for that one "frozen moment" in history that made them famous.
But, even as the AP argues that we should learn more about the whole of MLK's life and take a more measured look at his life and works, the AP itself whitewashes several aspects of his real life. AP never mentions, for instance, his ties with communists nor do they mention Dr. King plagarized parts of his doctoral thesis. They don't mention his distrust of capitalism nor his support of the concept of special treatment and quotas, an idea that strays from his acclaimed position of "equal" treatment. So, the AP may want us to avoid putting Dr. King "on a pedestal of perfection," but it is also a fact that they only want us to know some of King's real record instead of all of it as they claim.
The '80s are back -- Sylvester Stallone has prepped another "Rambo" movie, Chuck Norris is an Internet icon and Mr. T is doing commercials. Alex Williams tackled the "trend" for the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, "Tough Guys for Tough Times." Williams' story is a retread in its own way; the first sentence below in particular could have been been found 20 years ago in any college rag, pretentiously penned by an earnest liberal student straining for profundity:
"The leading action symbols of the Reagan era -- with all their excess, jingoism and good vs. evil bombast -- have returned, as outsize and obvious as they were in the decade of stonewash. Yet as stars of prime-time hits and feature films (not to mention Republican mascots), these actors are still as ripped and imposing as they were 20 years ago, and they continue to carry an undeniable authority with fans old and new."
Williams cracked on insecure conservative men, albeit in code ("likely not Hillary Clinton supporters"):
The wire service began by deliberately mischaracterizing the Cubans as “migrants” instead of calling them “refugees” or even “passengers.” Labeling them “migrants” ignores Cuba's political and economic straitjacket, and more importantly links Cuban refugees to the issue of illegal immigration.
The media are beginning to call everyone who comes to America with the intent to stay, “migrants,” whether here legally or not, which erases any distinctions. People who are anti-illegal immigration often support Cuban refugees remaining in the US, and linking the two issues can reduce opposition to illegal immigration.
While explaining why the Cubans risked their lives coming to the US, Reuters ignored Castro's totalitarian regime (bold mine throughout):
Politico is having some snarky fun, running a "populist pop quiz" challenging readers to guess whether it was John Edwards or Mike Huckabee who made the variety of class-warfare claims listed. You'll find a sampling of four of the questions below, but I'd encourage people to take the entire eight-question quiz and report back your scores. A cyber-statue of Karl Marx to the winner!
1. “No young person is more equal than another person because he has a higher IQ, or a higher net worth, or because he lives in a nicer home, or his clothes have a label of a designer that the other guy doesn’t have. That’s not what gives us equality.”
2. “There is unfortunately some disconnect between people who have never struggled and those for whom everyday life is a struggle.”