It’s difficult to determine which one of the columnists for DaTimes writes the most absurd claptrap. Charlie Blowhard? Paul, Nick, Frank?

Tommy Friedman just moved to the top of my list when he calls Donald Trump a “Chinese agent” in a recent column. Here’s Tommy’s “proof”:

No. 1: Trump ended U.S. support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP. That would be the same economic deal opposed by Hillary Clinton, the AFL-CIO, the Roosevelt Institute, and myriad groups from both the right and the left.

No. 2: Trump tossed out Obama’s plans to shrink the U.S. dependence on coal-fired power and changed mileage requirements on automobiles. Tommy cites China’s plan to build more clean-energy devices that will leave the United States behind.

Tommy lives in a mansion in Maryland of more than 11,000 square feet. That is quite a carbon footprint!

More important, China is a country that chokes its citizens nearly every day and doesn’t even recycle its trash.

No. 3: Trump wants to slash the State Department and foreign aid budgets and make it harder for people to immigrate to America, particularly Muslims.

China has one of the toughest immigration policies in the world and just issued new rules to tighten restrictions for foreign workers and banned wearing Islamic veils and long beards.

Tommy ends his silliness by writing: “So you tell me that Trump is not a Chinese agent. The only other explanation is that he’s ignorant and unread — that he’s never studied the issues or connected the dots between them.”

I have known Tommy since 1979 when we worked across the hall from one another in Beirut. He was at United Press International; I worked for Newsweek. Despite his Pulitzer Prizes and his books, I never thought much of his reporting. I have found out I am not alone.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, a longtime Tommy critic, writes: “This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s signs.”

The Huffington Post, not exactly a member of the alt-right, describes Friedman this way: “He’s not just a millionaire or a multimillionaire – he’s member of one of the wealthiest families in the world, and is one of the most influential media voices on the planet, who writes specifically about economic/class issues. If politicians are forced to disclose every last asset they own, you’d think at the very least, The New York Times – in the interest of basic disclosure – should have a tagline under Friedman’s economic columns that says “Tom Friedman is an heir to a multi-billion-dollar business empire.”

One of his many simplistic analyses is called the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention: No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.

He supported that observation, as a theory, by stating that when a country has reached an economic development where it has a middle class strong enough to support a McDonald’s network, it would become a “McDonald’s country,” and will not be interested in fighting wars anymore.

Not surprisingly, the theory has broken down repeatedly in Panama, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, India, Pakistan and many more places.

Here is how Taibbi ranks Tommy’s batting average on other issues: “To review quickly, the ‘Long Bomb’ Iraq war plan Friedman supported as a means of transforming the Middle East blew up in his and everyone else’s face; the ‘Electronic Herd’ of highly volatile international capital markets he once touted as an economic cure-all not only didn’t pan out, but led the world into a terrifying chasm of seemingly irreversible economic catastrophe; his beloved ‘Golden Straitjacket’ of American-style global development (forced on the world by the ‘hidden fist’ of American military power) turned out to be the vehicle for the very energy/ecological crisis Friedman himself warns about.”

A New York writer has kept a record of all of Tommy’s missteps: http://jilliancyork.com/2011/12/14/the-definitive-collection-of-thomas-friedman-takedowns/

On the right, The New York Observer provides a parody of how to write a Tommy column with a step-by-step guide at http://observer.com/2004/05/write-your-own-thomas-friedman-column/

Tommy has fooled too many people too often. Trump, the alleged China agent, should consider a libel suit against The New York Times for recklessly disregarding the truth on too many occasions.


Jeffrey Medford, a small-business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump.

Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority.

“We’re backed into a corner,” said Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’”

The story above appeared in The New York Times. Like a broken clock, the “newspaper of record” can be right twice a day. Well, twice a day may be a bit over the top.

But here is some more of the article:

Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right.

“The name calling from the left is crazy,” said Bryce Youngquist, 34, who works in sales for a tech start-up in Mountain View, Calif., a liberal enclave where admitting you voted for Trump. “They are complaining that Trump calls people names, but they turned into some mean people.”

Youngquist did not put a bumper sticker on his car, for fear it would be keyed. The only place he felt comfortable wearing his Make America Great Again hat was on vacation in China.

He came out a few days before the election. On election night, a friend posted on Facebook, “You are a disgusting human being.”

“They were making me want to support him more with how irrational they were being,” Youngquist said.

Like many Trump supporters, I have been shamed by some of the same people who display yard signs that say: “Hate Has No Home Here.”

In academia, I have to sit through meetings, which have nothing to do with politics, that include numerous jabs at Trump supporters. I have come up with a few responses to Trump bashers:

–Statement: Hillary won the popular vote!
–My response: Then start a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College.
–Statement: The right wing is taking over!
–My response: It’s not about right or left; it’s about failed policies.
–Statement: It’s Bush’s fault!
–My response: He left office almost a decade ago. Move on!
–Statement: Trump supporters are stupid racists!
–My response: Trump beat Clinton in these demographics: white, college-educated and 65 and over. That’s me! Do you really think I’m a stupid racist?

Nevertheless, I would like to thank liberals and leftists for pushing people firmly into the Trump camp!

Here is the complete story in The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/opinion/sunday/are-liberals-helping-trump.html


Christopher Harper teaches media law.

The New York Times asked me for my opinion about their news coverage, so I gave it to them with both barrels.

As a subscriber to the digital edition of The Times, I became one of the “lucky” candidates to spend more than an hour answering dozens of questions about the newspaper and myriad other issues.

Although the survey is not intended to serve as a scientifically based poll, the bias oozed from the questions.

For example, here’s one question: What three words best describe your initial reaction to Donald Trump winning the election? I doubt that elated sprung to others’ minds like it did for me!

Another one: Which of the following best describes Donald Trump when it comes to “sticking to the facts?”

–Sticks to the facts better than most politicians
–Sticks to the facts about as well as any politician
–Plays it more “fast and loose” when it comes to facts
–There has never been a major politician as devoid (or empty) of facts as him

When the survey asked for my opinion about The New York Times, I was asked to compare it with Fox News, the Drudge Report and Bloomberg News. That seemed like an extremely odd combination. I understand that the news organization thinks it competes with the world, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post seem like better comparable news organizations.

But then I got some red meat!

Question: How often do you come across news stories about politics and government online that you think are not fully accurate?

–Never
–Hardly ever
–Sometimes
–Often [My obvious choice].

Question: And how often do you come across news stories about politics and government online that you think are almost completely made up? Check. Often.

Question: What three words best describes your feelings about the news media and news organizations right now?

My answer: unreliable, biased, partisan

Question: In general, what is your overall impression of the news media and news organizations?

Very unfavorable [check].
–Somewhat unfavorable
–Neither unfavorable nor favorable
–Somewhat favorable
–Very favorable impression of the news media and news organizations

In general, how satisfied are you with the news coverage you are currently getting about President-Elect Donald Trump?

Not at all satisfied
–Not very satisfied
–Somewhat satisfied
–Very satisfied
–Extremely satisfied

Um, not at all satisfied seemed appropriate.

Here are some weird choices—many of which lean toward a favorable review of the media. I was supposed to pick the ones I agreed with.

–There are not enough positive/uplifting stories in the news
–Most news stories are generally accurate
— Most news stories get the facts straight
— In presenting news about social issues, most news deals fairly with all sides
— I’m taking a break from news for awhile
— It is easy for me to tell the difference between hard news and opinion
— I’m seeking more “soft news” these days
— I find sensational news headlines irresistible
— In presenting news about political issues, most news deals fairly with all sides
— News is no longer relevant to me
— I think the freedom of the press is part of a healthy democracy
–Most news is generally trustworthy
— These days it seems like news cannot be objectively reported
–All news is pretty much the same regardless of where you get it
–Most news is reported without bias

I really needed a selection here for “other.”

Here is an example of confirmation bias: Now thinking about news organizations in general, which of the following applies?

–Practice high journalistic standards [Seriously?].
–Objectively report the news [You betcha].
–Provide a service to the public [C’mon!]
–Has reporters with strong expertise in the topics they cover [Paul Krugman and Charles Blow?]
–Are trustworthy [About the same as car salesmen, with no offense meant to auto dealerships].
–Lie or mislead [Finally, I can agree with something!]

Here was one in my wheelhouse: Now, thinking about The New York Times, which of the following applies?

Practice high journalistic standards [Nope].
–Objectively report the news [Nope]
–Provide a service to the public [Ditto]
–Has reporters with strong expertise in the topics they cover [Are you kidding?]
–Are trustworthy [Sorry, car salesmen].
–Lie or mislead [YES, YES and YES!]

Which, if any, of the following applies to The New York Times? I dispatched the complimentary ones and chose the following:

–Does not deal fairly with all sides on political issues
–Arrogant
–Too focused on New York
–Makes it difficult for me to tell the difference between hard news and opinion
–It’s politically biased
–Does not get the facts straight
–Unreliable; I don’t trust their reporting
–Too liberal
–Does not deal fairly with all sides on social issues

I will allow that I was a bit disingenuous on some questions. I said I voted for Hillary Clinton. I wanted to see what happened. Later, I was asked again if I really voted for her.

I said I was a moderate who supported equal rights for everyone. I was tempted to choose one of the many religious options, including Shinto, Muslim, Taoist, Hindu or Buddhist. I settled for Christian since Catholic was not an option.

I accurately described myself as an educator who lived in a large metropolitan area and had a good income. Alas, deplorable was not an option here.

I doubt that my answers will affect the way The Times operates, but it sure was fun to take the survey. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had since the day after the election!

Here is a podcast about this column:

http://datechguyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/harperdatechguypodcast.mp3


Christopher Harper teaches media law.

A lot of people seem surprised at the sudden:  Hillary Clinton for Mayor of NYC push.

I’m not.

Clinton for mayor talk makes perfect sense if you consider this:

Because of demise of the Clinton brand, the Clinton Foundation resorts to bottom feeding, at least by their former fundraising standards. These people would have scoffed at such a small fundraiser only a few weeks ago. The Clinton Foundation’s donor list represented the Who’s Who of corporate elites, politicos, and countries. Not anymore.

If the Clinton Crime Family™ is going to have any chance of shaking down big corporations  they need a powerful position.  NYC is perfect:

  1.  It has an overwhelming majority of Democrats voters who gave her an incredible margin of victory in 2016, furthermore it has a large minority population that can counteract any Bernie voters who want to make trouble.
  2. It has a city council so radical it makes Massachusetts look conservative
  3. It puts her in the media and cultural center of the nation giving the media a reason to obsessively cover her every move.
  4. As NYC is Trump’s home base a Clinton Administration is perfectly positioned to make troubles for Trump’s holdings if she so chooses, or take credit if his policies improve things in the city and a national paper (the NYT) prepared to make either case for her as she chooses.

But most important of all not only does it, as the financial center of the nation offer great opportunities to shake down major corporations, as an international city it gives all the various nations a reason to keep the money flowing  their way.

“But DaTechGuy” you might ask, “Why wouldn’t she go for Governor of NY or perhaps California instead?”  Wouldn’t that be more powerful and be a natural jumping off point if she wishes to try again in 2020?”

That would be true but the Mayor’s position carries much less risk, No matter how badly she fails as mayor there is a zero possibility that the city council in NYC will flip to the GOP while there is the possibility that even if she wished to challenge the Cuomo dynasty a Clinton admin could be such a disaster that the GOP could make significant gains statewide.

Furthermore as the a Mayor she would be in a position to appeal to a Democrat Governor for state funds if a crisis ensues (and under Clinton such a crisis is bound to happen) while as a Governor she would have to turn to Trump, meanwhile NYC’s position as a cultural, financial and media hub makes it much less likely that a company, no matter how badly hit by Clinton’s policies, would choose to relocate.

Since day one the Clintons have been all about the money, put a Clinton in as mayor of NYC and the Clinton Foundation can feast on donor funds till the day they die.

One of the things I wrote in my first two weeks of blogging at DaTechGuy blog when it was still just a wordpress site with very few readers was this about Instapundit & the NYT:

I can’t think of the New York Times without thinking of my favorite writer Glenn Reynolds. Of course he is not a professional writer but a law professor who blogs for at Instapundit I am one of his many blog children. I never forget that when I started reading him in 2001 he used to have a quote on the top of his page saying “The New York Times of Bloggers.” I remember when he removed from his site thinking its absence enhanced his reputation.

The day the New York Times can call itself the Instapundit of Newspapers is the day its stock will not be tanking, its building will not need to be mortgaged and will be worth reading again.

BTW the link to the story above about the Times Stock Tanking is from 5 months ago, since that time when it “tanked” it has lost a further half of its value.I can’t think of the New York Times without thinking of my favorite writer Glenn Reynolds. Of course he is not a professional writer but a law professor who blogs for at Instapundit I am one of his many blog children. I never forget that when I started reading him in 2001 he used to have a quote on the top of his page saying “The New York Times of Bloggers.” I remember when he removed from his site thinking its absence enhanced his reputation. The day the New York Times can call itself the Instapundit of Newspapers is the day its stock will not be tanking, its building will not need to be mortgaged and will be worth reading again. BTW the link to the story above about the Times Stock Tanking is from 5 months ago, since that time when it “tanked” it has lost a further half of its value.

Today when I went to Instapundit I saw this:

Now in one respect seeing a NYT ad at Instapundit is no surprise, after all despite Glenn’s regular critiques of the Times they’ve been advertising at his site since at least 2009 and he does link to them a lot, furthermore while his stats are dwarfed by the times (The 25% of the NYT total hits which come from China alone likely blow him of of the water)  his numbers are large enough that it’s a logical place to put ads.

But doesn’t it speak volumes that we’ve reached the point where the NYT is running banner ads at the top of Instapundit offering their product for a month for less than the price of 4 chicken nuggets at Wendy’s in the hopes of finding some of Glenn’s readers willing to give them a shot?  Of course this might have something to do with it:

as New York magazine reported in 1992:

Not long ago, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the 41-year old publisher of the New York Times, was greeting people at a party in the Metropolitan Museum when a dignified older man confronted him. He told Sulzberger that he was unhappy about the jazzy, irreverent new “Styles of the Times” Sunday section. “It’s very”—the man—paused—“un-Times-ian.”

“Thank you,” New York Magazine quoted Sulzberger as replying, adding that the Times’ publisher “later told a crowd of people that alienating older white male readers means ‘we’re doing something right.’”

It’s no coincidence that the punitive worldview of Pinch and Raines took their toll on the paper’s quality. Four decades ago, the Times was once praised by no less than William F. Buckley’s National Review as being “so evenhanded that it must have been deeply dismaying to the liberal opposition…Were the news standards of the Times more broadly emulated the nation would be far better informed and more honorably served.”

Today, as Matthew Continetti accurately noted in 2014, the Gray Lady is staffed by overgrown versions of the high schoolers in the TV series Saved by the Bell. “Someone always has a crazy idea, everyone’s feelings are always hurt, apologies and reconciliations are made and quickly sundered, confrontations are the subject of intense planning and preparation, and authority figures are youth-oriented, well-intentioned, bumbling, and inept.”

Perhaps if they haddn’t rejected those “old white male readers” in the early 90’s they wouldn’t have to pay Glenn to try to get those same people to take just a taste.

Update:  A great gift for the 11th Day of christmas and a wonderful way to start the year is an Instalanche.  Welcome Insty readers,  take a look around and be aware our newest podcast is now available to non subscribers (click on the fedora), of course if you want to hear it when it comes out you can subscribe below.

Be aware that if you live in Minnesota, Michigan, Maryland, Montana or Missouri I’m looking to hire a part time (twice a month) writer from each of those states, details on the low paying low workload job here.

As for Glenn’s comment about who the Times should hire the NYT could of course hire a journalist part time who might appeal to Instapundit readers say a blogger that the President Elect trusts  but I don’t know if my reputation could take the hit.

 


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And that the slaves were never freed

by baldilocks

There were all kind of attempts to lure the GOP state electors into voting for someone other than Donald Trump. A few took the bait, but so did some Democrat state electors; Hillary Clinton lost even more electors that Trump did. But, now that the Electoral Vote is done—yesterday—and now that Trump is again the victor, but Clinton won the popular vote, there’s a new meme emerging: that the Electoral College is racist. Yes, you read that correctly.

The New York Times leads the outcry with a description of the three-fifths clause in the Constitution and a distortion of its relationship to the Electoral College.[i]

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations [Ed.: slaves and Indians—and women]. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

A more detailed description:

For the most part, those who opposed slavery only wanted to consider the free people [sic] of a population, while those in favor wanted to include slaves in the population count. This would provide for slave holders to have many more seats in the House of Representatives and more representation in the Electoral College. (…)

The implementation of the Three-Fifths Compromise would greatly increase the representation and political power of slave-owning states. The Southern states, if represented equally, would have accounted for 33 of the seats in the House of Representatives. However, because of the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Southern states accounted for 47 seats in the House of Representatives of the first United States Congress of 1790. This would allow for the South to garner enough power at the political level, giving them control in Presidential elections.

However, as time moved forward, the Three-Fifths Compromise would not provide the advantage for which the Southern states and slave-owners had hoped. The Northern states grew more rapidly in terms of population than the South. Even though Southern states had essentially dominated all political platforms prior to the Civil War, afterward that control would be relinquished slowly but surely. It would not be until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was be enacted in 1865 that the Three-Fifths Compromise would be rendered obsolete.

Bloody Kansas Era Editorial Cartoon

The Compromise was a trade-off because no perfect solution to the slavery conundrum was available at the time. It was an advantage to the South at first, but over time, the advantages amounted to nil. (This also explains Bloody Kansas.) Strategy.

Thus was the infant USA not born the perfect USA; it was born with a birth defect—an “original sin” just like every other nation on earth. ( The Organized Left always wants to talk about “original sin” even when they don’t believe in real sins—at least not those committed by their ideological allies.)

If the North had not compromised, one wonders what would have happened. Two nations would have likely been born and lasted about as long as 1812—the year of the next war with the British. And that time estimation is a generous one.[ii] And even if those fantasy nations had lasted, one wonders when the Southern Nation would have ever abolished slavery.  Sounds like a Democrat’s…er…Confederate’s dream, no?

So it is that the EC and the Compromise ensured that a USA was born, grew and matured and that her citizenry and liberty expanded.

But, it seems to me that the NYT editorial staff dreams of a never-born United States of America and believes it’s never too late to have an abortion. What a surprise.

[i] By the way, let’s not forget that Alexander Hamilton was a leading advocate and architect of the Electoral College.

[ii] There were three wars between the end of the Revolution (1783) and the War of 1812: The First Barbary War, The 1811 German Coast Uprising, and Tecumseh’s War.

RELATED: Electoral College Mission Accomplished All Around Left, Media and Right

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

by baldilocks

On Twitter, many people call on others to “do something” about the destruction and mass killing of civilians in Aleppo, Syria. By “doing something,” they mean something other than posting about it on Social Media. Likely, these are the same people that bashed our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, short of taking up arms and hightailing over there to fight on one side or the other—an action which was which was criticized both in the current US administration and the one preceding—what exactly should be done?

One wonders whether the do-something people were the same ones who were eulogizing mass murderer Fidel Castro as a freedom fighter a few weeks back.

Aleppo is how most of the real world operates. A New York Times headline calls it an example of “humanity melting down”—as if no group of humans has ever murdered another group of humans until this week. (Maybe they still believe OG Fake Newser Walter Duranty’s report on Ukraine from the 1930s.)

What it is: an example of true, unconstrained human nature. That nature is thusly described: fallen. When individuals allow their nature to be unconstrained, we see murder, etc. When nations allow their policies to be unconstrained, we see genocides.

And on a biblical note, with Russia and Iran being the main actors in this violent play, I can’t help but think of the Isaiah and Ezekiel prophesies about war in Syria—and the roles that Russia and Iran play in that war and in other wars destined to occur in the Last Days.

Could we be observing a prequel—a staging of sorts? Probably.

Side note: on my old blog, I had a commenter who criticized me for “fear-mongering” when I talked about Bible prophecy. My response was that if she didn’t believe the Bible, then I could not monger fear in her; and if she did believe the Bible, then she should know that there is no reason to be afraid.

Side note #2: Read about the Great Revolt—the fall and sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, 66-70 A.D. People who don’t read much history and who live in the USA, Canada, etc. are always shocked at how Hobbesian the rest of the world is and always has been.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

Nine or so years ago I spent an afternoon at the Princeton Public Library watching two American-made Cuban propaganda films. One of the films was titled The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.

At the time I wrote,

The film praises the virtues of Medieval agriculture as practiced in modern-day Cuba, including the return to the use of oxen, and how superior plowing a field with two oxen is, compared to using tractors. My late father, who was not Cuban, had a farm and if he got wind of that he would have turned in his grave.

After I posted that, a  historian friend joked that the agricultural practices I described date back to the Iron Age, if not earlier, so let’s not give the Middle Ages a bad name.

Fast-forward to yesterday’s article in The Former Newspaper™ (as Andrew Klavan calls the NYTimes), Cuba’s Surge in Tourism Keeps Food Off Residents’ Plates by Azam Ahmed:

Tourists are quite literally eating Cuba’s lunch. Thanks in part to the United States embargo, but also to poor planning by the island’s government, goods that Cubans have long relied on are going to well-heeled tourists and the hundreds of private restaurants that cater to them, leading to soaring prices and empty shelves.

Yes, foreigners and anyone else paying in dollars eat better than ordinary Cubans (be assured that the regime’s elite are not going hungry). As in healthcare, the dictatorship has an apartheid system against its own people.

Otherwise, like Rick in Casablanca, Mr. Ahmed was misinformed:

To this day, ordinary cubans are living in a regime where food rations are poorer than they were for slaves under the Spanish Empire.

Nine years ago I quoted IBD:  “The inescapable fact is that Castro has ruined the most industrialized Latin American country, and a food importer, and now the U.S. is Cuba’s food lifeline:

“Castro, whose ruined nation shipped $780 million worth of vegetables, sugar and agricultural exports to the U.S. in the 1950s, has turned his nation into a lunar wasteland over his 48-year dictatorship, its famous sugar industry now gone. Does Castro take responsibility? No. He blames global warming, not his disastrous decisions.

“But Cuba’s land lies in ruin not because of bad weather but because its massive propaganda-driven ‘great sugar harvests’ of the 1960s ruined the land in the name of making Castro’s arbitrary quota — and because no citizen can own or trade land for its most efficient use. Now, Cuba grows so little food it must import it from the very nation its leader denounces and undermines and blames.

“In fact, it’s Castro’s dirty secret: The U.S. is Cuba’s food lifeline. The U.S. sells $340 million in food a year to Cuba just so its ration books can be worth the paper they’re printed on.

“The U.S. is Cuba’s top trade partner, but Cuba ranks only 32nd on the U.S. list.”

In the first seven months of this 2015, U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba totaled $122 million, and like everything else in Cuba, you have to go through the Communist regime’s machinations (emphasis added),

All U.S. agricultural goods must be sold to one state-owned company, Alimport, and many Cuba observers generally believe the Castro regime uses it as a political lever. During much of the 2000s, Alimport purchased U.S. agricultural products from dozens of states with the hope of garnering support from the states’ respective lawmakers to repeal the embargo.

The purpose of this lobbying initiative pressuring Congress to end what remains of the embargo? To guarantee the survival of the Communist dictatorship.

“Cuba’s Surge in Tourism” is not what “Keeps Food Off Residents’ Plates;” what’s keeping food off residents’ plates is Communism.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I suppose now is as good a time as any to start a prediction list of who might be on the receiving end of the coming Obama pardons.  As you may have heard, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has already tossed his name in the ring for a presidential pardon:

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former American prisoner of war in Afghanistan who was freed in a 2014 swap for five Taliban detainees, has asked President Obama to pardon him before leaving the White House to President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has called the soldier “a no-good traitor who should have been executed.”

After the presidential election, Sergeant Bergdahl’s legal team submitted copies of a clemency application to the White House, the Justice Department and the Pentagon, according to White House and Justice Department officials.

Bergdahl’s desertion trial is scheduled for mid-April, an event he would certainly rather avoid – just like staying on duty during his tenure in Afghanistan.  Recall that Sgt. Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan in 2009 leaving behind evidence that he was dissatisfied with American policy in Afghanistan. He was captured and held prisoner for five years until the Obama administration traded five high-level Taliban prisoners for him.

During Bergdahl’s captivity, at least six American lives were lost in the search for him. Despite the recent claim by the New York Times to report honestly, their article this weekend indicates that no lives were lost looking for Bergdahl, but the families of these six soldiers might beg to differ. Interviews with family members and fellow soldiers all confirm that finding Bergdahl was always part of their mission. Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey was killed in September 2009 . His sister Krisa says: “Some say that he was not on a rescue mission, that he was on a humanitarian mission. And then some say that, sure it wasn’t a rescue mission, per se, but Bergdahl was always the secondary mission,” she told Reuters.

After Bergdahl walked off his post, his regiment searched diligently for him. Rather than rest between missions, they were searching for him. And some lost their lives because of it.

Now, Bergdahl’s legal team says he can’t get a fair trial under a Trump administration and so if no pardon comes, they will petition for dismissal of the case.

We can expect Bergdahl to be rehabilitated by our main stream media and it won’t surprise me one iota when the Obama pardon comes. All you have to do is remember this picture to see it coming.

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Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

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The New York Times’ decision to draw a line in the sand against Donald Trump’s threat to file a libel suit may come back to haunt the news organization.

The issue involves a story about two women who allege that the presidential candidate groped or kissed them without their consent. In a letter asking for a retraction, Trump’s attorney claimed the article was libelous, reckless and defamatory. The Times’ attorney fired back: “…[I]f he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”

The Times’ response is extraordinary in that most news organizations, when facing such a threat, issue the appropriate response: “We stand by our story.”

As an expert witness in nearly 30 defamation lawsuits, I have never seen a news organization take such a combative and public stance except in the courtroom. But The Times’ lawyer seemed pleased with the response. See http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/18/insider/i-hardly-expected-my-letter-to-donald-trump-to-go-viral.html

This immediate and rather vitriolic letter places The Times with both feet in the presidential muck that this campaign has become. No longer is the news organization standing above the fray.

In an editorial, The Times lectured Trump on constitutional law. “it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, is as ignorant about constitutional law as he is about every other matter pertinent to the nation’s highest office.”

The editorial noted Times v. Sullivan, the important case that defined the tenets for a successful libel suit against a public official, which was extended to a public figure in a later case. Trump would have to prove the Times engaged in reckless disregard of the truth.

What The Times failed to mention is another important libel case: Herbert v. Lando.

Anthony Herbert was a U.S. Army officer in Vietnam who claimed he witnessed war crimes that his commanding officer refused to investigate. In a 1973 report on 60 Minutes, correspondent Mike Wallace and producer Barry Lando argued that Herbert had lied and was himself guilty of war crimes. The Army officer filed a libel suit.

Even though CBS eventually won the suit, the U.S. Supreme Court provided plaintiffs like Herbert, and potentially Trump, the ability to investigate the “state of mind” of journalists while they are reporting a story.

“When a member of the press is alleged to have circulated damaging falsehoods and is sued for injury to the plaintiff’s reputation, there is no privilege under the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press barring the plaintiff from inquiring into the editorial processes of those responsible for the a publication.”

I doubt the news organization wants to have its editorial process placed under a microscope. The Times may win the battle and lose the war. To wit, I do stand by my story.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law