WASHINGTON — It has been a pretty good week for Donald Trump. The economy is growing faster than anyone on the left or in the middle or among the Never-Trumpers believed possible. Inflation is low, and employment is at a record high. Moreover, the president and the European Union reached an understanding on trade last week that signals the likely end of a trade war, at least with Europe.
In its roughly 30th installment of "Red Century," a weekly series of op-eds dedicated to the notion that 20th century communism wasn't all that bad, the New York Times performed a bit of perhaps inadvertent recycling. On Monday, Helen Gao, in an item the Times appears to have had the good sense to keep out of its print edition, argued, with "crucial caveats" (but not enough of them) that "the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big." Times columnist Nicholas Kristof infamously said much the same thing in 2005.
Another result of the Trump administration: It has made die-hard anti-Communists out of the New York Times. After Trump accused fake news purveyors of being an “enemy of the people," the Times talked about the depredations of international communism on its front page Monday, if only to compare Trump to Josef Stalin and Mao Tse-tung. Andrew Higgins' dispatch was headlined “Phrase With a Venomous Past Now Rattles American Politics" and came complete with a photo of Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev.
In a tweet posted early Thursday morning, lefty singer Cher superimposed Trump’s features onto a Mao Zedong headshot with the caption: “You want a Bully,DictatorVote GOP & You'll get one.”
On Friday's Hardball, Chris Matthews and Howard Dean slammed the supposedly "lunatic" Republican Party for opposing President Obama's $3.7 billion request to deal with the ongoing crisis at the U.S-Mexico border. Dean likened the political stalemate over this issue and in general in Washington to McCarthyism in the 1950s: "It reminds me of the 'who lost China' debate...where one side is frothing at the mouth and finding communists under every bed; and the other side – including some reasonable Republicans...actually trying to run the country."
Matthews endorsed the former Vermont governor's take, and targeted fiscal conservatives/the Tea Party as somehow akin to Mao's Red Guards: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Nicholas D. Kristof (I've tended to call him "Nick" through the years) has made and implemented a momentous, course of civilization-altering decision effective 1/1/2014 (HT Twitchy): "If you look closely at my Times byline ... I’ve knocked out my middle initial for the new year."
Why oh why would Nick want to do that? "I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious." I've got a clue for you, Nick, old buddy old pal: Your columns are much more than "a bit" ostentatious and pretentious. Unfortunately, the disappearance of your middle initial is not likely to change that. If ever anyone exemplified navel-gazing, knee-jerk, double-standard liberalism, it would be you. Accordingly, I suggest that you begin to use a more appropriate middle initial than the one you just dropped. My suggestion follows the jump.
The fascination with and excuse-making for long-gone communist dictators responsible for the murders of millions during their reigns is a long-standing phenomenon.
Both CNBC and the New York Times continued that hoary tradition last week. Each headlined reports on the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong (whose name was written as Mao Tse-Tung until about two decades ago) with "Happy Birthday, Chairman Mao!" headlines. CNBC's appears after the jump (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine throughout this post):
A pathetic, obsequious act on the part of an establishment press member was exposed as utterly foolish mere days after its appearance.
On Wednesday (for Thursday's print edition), New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote glowingly of "Joining a Dinner in a Muslim Brotherhood Home." He swallowed a lot more than food while he was there, as the following excerpts indicate (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Sunday, Alexa Olesen at the Associated Press wrote an item headlined "One-child policy a surprising boon for China girls." My immediate comeback: "43-60 million Chinese girls aborted because they were of the 'wrong' gender or would have violated the one-child policy were not available for comment."
While nowhere near as odious as Nick Kristof's "Mao Tse-tung wasn't all that bad; look what he did for Chinese women" conclusion at the end of a book review on Mao's murderous legacy almost six years ago, Olesen gets into the neighborhood.
Here are the first seven and two later paragraphs from her report:
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):
Fox News' Glenn Beck isn't catching a break anywhere - from "Saturday Night Live," The New Yorker, Al Gore's Current TV and Comedy Central's "South Park." They have all taken shots at the popular TV host.
On his Nov. 16 program, Beck responded to the "South Park" interpretation of him - that he wasn't making accusations, but phrasing them in the form of a question. The show's character Eric Cartman played a spoof of Beck in which he railed against his school's president, Wendy Testaburger. Beck maintained he wasn't making the "accusations" in the form of a question - but playing the words of the "accused" themselves.
"Have we gotten to a place you can't ask questions?" Beck asked. "What were my crazy accusations or questions? Well, the accusation was that Van Jones was a communist revolutionary," Beck said. "I didn't describe him that way. In his own words he described himself that way. He was a 9/11 Truther. He was forced to step down. Was it that the administration was using NEA as a propaganda arm for the administration? That was a question. We played tapes of the call with Yosi Sargent and Yosi Sargent had to step down."
In an August 2008 report on the Obama campaign, Anne E. Kornblut of the Washington Post also described Dunn as "as senior adviser" who had joined the campaign "in the spring."
Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media has the video of Dunn's speech. NB's Jeff Poor (covering Glenn Beck's original broadcast that broke the story) and P.J. Gladnick (on Dunn's pathetic attempt to excuse herself) have previously dealt with Dunn's speech.
Here are the Mao-relevant portions of the speech excerpt: